Today's post is a combination of three days. I didn't have as many pictures of these days so I can condense it and cut down on the number of posts :)
First up is some photos of the animals and farm fields. This first photo of a row of banana trees is one of my favorite photos :)
I don't think anyone was living in this house, but it was interesting to see with it's homemade bricks.
This is how they do laundry...they set up a shelter over the water canal and stand in the water while scrubbing on the stones. We saw pig intestines and several dirty diapers floating in the water so you certainly don't want to use it for anything other than clothes and irrigation :)
These are peanuts drying in the sun.
While we ladies handed out invatations to the crusade, the guys built a bridge for Emilton's mother so she can gather firewood on the other side of this creek.
Making cookies to pass out to the children at the school the next day.
The next day we did two skits for the children from the school across the soccer field from our houses. Eventually I will upload the videos to YouTube.
Each person on the trip brought items to use in making these bundles that contained school supplies and hygiene products. There were 60 children at the school and each child got a bundle.
These little gecko things were all over in the house...I can't remember what they were called in Spanish. They are only a couple inches long.
This little guy was so cute! You can see how bitty he was by comparing him with the fingers.
And Lavonne :) Can't get enough of his smile.
Me with one of the pastor's and his family. I loved their family! Amazingly, he could fit himself, his wife and there four children on one very narrow motorcycle!
The pastor's daughter, Abigail, playing with some play dough I gave her. She refused to let go of it for the group photo :)
Photos from the balcony of Emilton and Lucille's house of the crusade pavilion and the ladies selling food.
In the post we are going to the Pacific Ocean! This was a special part of the trip for me because I have never been to any ocean before, mainly just the lakes hear in Michigan. And I've never been in salt water before.
There were too many of us to all fit in the van, so some of the group rode in the back of the truck the 1 1/2 hours to the ocean. I opted for the truck...it's easier to take pictures from :) Plus I never pass up the opportunity to ride out in the open!
This was an interesting thing...it's a truck stop for the truck drives...with hammocks! They need these here in America!
We pass miles and miles of banana trees. It was pretty neat to see a fruit we eat all the time growing. They put the plastic bags on the bunches of bananas to trap the gases and help them ripen faster.
We also passed a large section of palm trees planted in perfect rows on either side of the road. It was so dark and cool underneath them, like a jungle, you could feel the cool air.
Welcome to the Ocean!
The sand there isn't pretty and white like our Michigan beach sand, it's black and actually pretty dirty. And it's very hot! I had scandals on and it was still difficult to walk on.
A couple hundred feet from the edge of the ocean, families build these shelters with palm fronds so you can get out of the sun. You can also purchase lunch from them, more on that in a minute.
Jothum enjoyed playing in the sand and Lavonne loved being tossed around by his aunt.
Random photos of our group enjoying the water :)
This is our trip leader, Emilton, his wife, Lucille and their boys, Elison and Lavonne.
Me enjoying the Pacific Ocean!
It was a little intimidating for me as I don't know how to swim and I'm generally leary of water, but I had a ton of fun! The currents were super strong and going two different directions so even in the knee deep water it was difficult to stay on your feet. I was too nervous at first to venture out very far, but with the help of Jeremiah and his daughter, Hosanna, I did finally go out to the sand bar where the water was up to my chest and the waves were high! It was exhilarating. I only stayed out for a little while because it took a lot of energy to stay upright and not let the current push you around.
A shout out to my Aunt Mary for making my wonderful swim suit! Guatemala was my first time using it and it worked splendidly!
Angel, a friend who came with us to the ocean, drawing pictures in the sand. He was quite good!
This was our dinner at the ocean...it was very good.
Horses, pigs and stray dogs at the ocean...quite different from our beaches here :)
On our way home we encountered this sow with her piglets walking down the street in town!
And to sum up this post and our day at the ocean, we were blessed with a beautiful sunset on our way home :)
This post is a combination of the shopping trip we took to Malacatan, and photos of the first crusade we helped with. This crusade was three nights, but I think most of the photos were from the last night.
This is the town of Malacatan. The streets and sidewalks were very narrow...my heart got to racing a few times :)
Our main interest on this shopping trip was fabric. It's pretty cheap compared to American prices and they have a lot of variety. The photo on the left is how they display the fabric on the street and the photo on the right is how the store that we did the majority of our shopping at displayed their product.
The ladies doing their shopping :)
The shop owner.
Lavonne fell asleep in the scrap bin. So cute.
We then went into what would be considered an open air market. They had every thing from garden items, pottery, tourist items, clothing, hammocks, food stands and more. It is under a roof because it so hot, and it was like a maze! I would have been lost for sure.
This is the tent where the first crusade was held. One of the projects the guys had was putting up this tent. They used bamboo for the poles. Inside the tents are the church people and the "friends", or the unsaved, sit outside the tent. At the back of the tent the women of the church hosting the Crusade set up food stands and sell it during the whole of the meeting.
We helped the church youth usher, and then before the sermon we sang two songs in Spanish and in English.
A photo of the youth from our group with the youth from the host church.
It was at this crusade that my phone was lost/stolen. So I was without cell service the rest of the trip. We thought it might turn up, but it never did, so someone in Guatemala has a new phone :)
The highlight of this post, for me, is the iguana! This is a LIVE iguana that the guys caught near one of our swimming spots. In the right picture, I was only brave enough to touch it while Tony held it, but I mustered up the courage and held it. I found it interesting that at no point did it struggle. They said that when you hold it around its neck, it just goes limp. They can bite so you do have to be careful.
This is Mamita, preparing the iguana to be made into tamales. I did try a little bit of the meat. It wasn't my favorite thing ever, but it's neat to be able to say I've eaten iguana :)
On the left is our group leader, Emilton, with the iguana and on the right is Jothum, with his uncle. It's almost as big as he is!
The guys found this log that jutted out from the bank and took turns standing on it while the others bounced it around...no one lasted very long and there were some interesting spills!
A banana leaf hat!!
If there is a flat cement surface nearby, that is what the locals use for drying maize. (or peanuts). This was by the pavilion across from our house. The last photo shows them gathering it up at the end of the day.
Lavonne...we had so much fun!
We enjoyed a couple lovely campfires. It was great to sit around and chat together after a long day.
Are you ready for part 4?
Ready or not....
Isn't this little piggy just too cute?! I'm not usually fond of pigs, but this little guy was cute :)
I was surprised at how many turkeys we saw, all domestic. Some were even tied up. This tom was really showing his stuff.
We were blessed to be able to purchase firewood for a local widow and deliver it to her. She has been widowed for five years and does not have a steady income, so the wood was a blessing to her, as she didn't even have an area she could go gather it. Her name was Lorna, the bottom left photo is me and her.
Horses are still used quite a bit there and we saw some riders doing an interesting balancing act with produce!
You saw a photo of the Moreno's houses in Part 2, this looking from the road toward their row of four houses.
A lady from the church down the road cooking lunch for the guys who were working on a project for the pastor's family.
The guys took down an old tin roof that covered the family's cooking and eating area and put up a new one. (for the pastor's family)
Papito preparing these leaves for our dinner. This plant is similar to something we have here in America and is in the Nightshade family.
The river! We only swam at this spot once and I really enjoyed it. There was a high bank that the guys enjoyed jumping off of. We had a few local boys join us as well. One of our group, Joe, jumped in with his glasses on and lost them in 8-10 feet of murky water. After several minutes of searching, Emilton, our group leader, found them on the river bed! Truly a miracle. This was one of the times I wish I knew how to swim...or at least had a life jacket because that high bank looked really fun!
This posts are not doing our time there justice...I wish I could give you all just a taste of what I experienced...but since I can't, you'll just have to go back with me sometime :)
Life happened, my computer stopped working, but I'm back with Part 3!
I have to say, going through these pictures for the posts is hard, really hard. Even though I only got back a few weeks ago, it seems like a lifetime since I was there. I loved every second and I miss it terribly.
This picture just gets me every time...how could you not fall in love with that face?
Passing out baby clothes and salve :)
This cutie...she was so shy but so adorable!
Being the animal lover that I am...I was in heaven! This puppy was adorable and I got to see him twice :) The palm trees were on of my parts of the scenery. This was something that for me, I'd always seen pictures of, but it was really interesting to see them in person. To look up in the sky and know that it wasn't someone else's photo, but the read deal!
There are banana trees everywhere, another novelty for me. The second photo is Emilton, our group leader, purchasing oranges from a passing vendor. They peel their oranges with apple peelers.
A creek that we swam at several times. A very beautiful spot to cool off at.
I had so much fun with these three....Elison and Lavonne are brothers and Jothum is their cousin.
Helping with the dishes :) I told my dad we need a sink like this...it's huge! But really handy.
That sums up part three...hopefully I'll get part four up sooner!
Day 2, Feb. 16th-
Time for Part 2!
These are the houses we stayed in...there are actually four houses in a row that belong to the Moreno family, but we were staying in the blue and red houses. Emilton and Lucille's house is the blue one and that is where the married couple and the three guys stayed. All of us ladies stayed in the red house.
This is the Moreno's truck. If we were going only a short distance, this is the vehicle we used. Depending on how many were riding in it, we sometimes could use benches along the sides, but most time we stood.
This was our first full day there and we got up very early to start handing out invitations to the first Crusade before it got too hot. We paired up with some of the local Christian youth. We walked and walked and walked! But it was very interesting to walk the back roads and see how the majority of the people lived....very, very primitive.
There were pigs everywhere!!! Even in the houses. The piglets were cute, but they are an important part of the food chain there.
These two houses are pretty typical of what you see. Very primitive and they still use thatched roofs!
A local church that was putting on the first Crusade we helped with.
The kitchen area in the red house...I love their sink! And yes, there is a motorcycle in the house...that's where they store them at night.
Putting together bundles for the school children. They consisted of hygiene products and school supplies.
Our dinner....still alive!
This is Papita, Emilton's dad, with one of his horses.
After all that walking we still had enough energy to play volley ball in the pavilion across from our houses.
And that sums up our second day. I hope you are enjoying the photos!
I had so many wonderful experiences in the last two weeks that I want to share with you all...if I tried to squeeze them all into one post it would be very, very long!
So I'm going to break it up into parts...I'm not sure how many parts though. We were there for fifteen days...but some days I'll combine together so it shouldn't be that many posts :)
To start off, the first photo is our entire group, twenty individuals including the children.
Day 1, Feb. 15th-
My trip actually started on the 14th, when I drove down to Ohio and spent the night at my friend, Alyssa's house. We had to leave around 2 am for the Detroit Airport, so it was easier for me to go with her. There were four of us leaving from Ohio and we met up with another girl at the airport, so there were five of us flying together.
This was my first time flying, so it was a new and interesting experience. It was a lot of fun! We flew from Detroit to Atlanta and from there straight to Guatemala City.
From the airplane as we descended into Guatemala.
Looking over Guatemala City from the airplane as we landed.
At the airport waiting for the rest of our group to arrive.
The van we crammed about fifteen of us into for the seven hour ride from the airport to Emilton's home town, Escupula. Emilton is a native Guatemalan and was the mission trip leader. He is standing on the back of the van. I couldn't believe we fit all our luggage and all the people in this van...
A man we saw juggling machetes in the middle of the street in Guatemala City.
Some interesting things we saw in Guatemala City.
Some of the gorgeous scenery we saw on the ride to Escupula. The mountains were so beautiful.
We stopped and had dinner at a nice restaurant about two hours into our trip. It was very good food!!
We arrived at Emilton's home very, very late and it was dark so I didn't get pictures of us arriving. Our first day wasn't terribly eventful...the second day saw more action. Check back tomorrow for that post!
I popped in to say hello and to share some videos and pictures from Bible School with you all :)
Instead of making a DVD to send out to all the students this year, I am just sending out YouTube videos by email. So, since I already had all these uploaded to the web, I thought I would share them with you.
Bible School was amazing as always and it just gets better every year. I am already looking forward to, Lord willing, attending next year!
First up we have the group photo...42 students this year, which I believe was the largest group in the 12 year history of the program.
And the first video is a slideshow of photos featuring some of the entertaining moments of Bible School :)
This second video is rather lengthy, but if you are having a gloomy day, this is sure to have you laughing in no time with the antics and accidents these students experienced as they played a game appropriately titled "Train Wreck".
And again, an amusing video, my personal favorite, titled "Three's A Crowd". I was told this is a sort of matchmaking game...and I can see why! It was a lot of fun....I don't recommend watching this while drinking anything, you will probably end up wearing your drink! And you should probably keep the volume turned down as well....some of the players got rather loud!
And last but certainly not least....a video of the music program. It's about 40 minutes long, but if you need to chill out after a long day, this is the perfect remedy!
If you don't want to sit through 40 minutes of singing, all thirteen of the songs we sang are also uploaded individually on my YouTube channel. Click the link below to view them.
I will be leaving for Guatemala in two weeks. The time has flown by and it's hard to believe I will be leaving so soon, but I am really looking forward to it. I don't know if I will post again before I leave, but I know I will be back after I get home with some photos and videos.
I have been absent from my internet home for quite some time, but I decided to pop in to say howdy and give you all a bit of an update and to celebrate three years of blogging! Yep, today is my blog's third anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been that long!
Last week I was in Ohio attending the Dunkard Brethren Bible School. This was my third year to attend and my brother, Seth, joined me. We had an amazing time of learning and fellowship. I just got home yesterday, so I have not had a chance to go through all my photos and completely edit the music program video, but here is a video of my favorite song. We sang 13, but Just Over Yonder was amazing!
I am still planning on going to Guatemala in February for two weeks. We will be doing two crusades, handing out care packages and baby clothes, and gathering firewood among a few other things. We will also be going to the ocean, visiting the river that separates Guatemala and Mexico and going shopping. I am very excited for this opportunity!
You have probably noticed that I have not been posting very often. My schedule has been such that finding the time to blog has become nearly impossible.
I have decided to take a prolonged break from blogging and writing, putting all my projects on hold at least until I get back from my trip in March, possibly longer. I was very disappointed that I didn't get Be Still My Soul finished by the end of December, but life happens! I was feeling very burned out, so hopefully I will feel refreshed after this break.
I will probably do a post or two during that time with updates about the trip, or any major happenings. But other than that, I will wait until March to resume my regular schedule.
I will miss reading all your comments! Until March…
Happy Friday, you all!
My cousin, Rachel and her husband, Stephen, are expecting their first child, a little girl, anytime this month. We tried to set up a pregnancy photo shoot a couple different times, but between our work schedules and illness, we just finally made it happen!
I'd never done anything like this, so it was a very fun experience! My favorite photo is the two of them reading the baby book and the three pairs of shoes.
I'm looking forward to my little second cousin's arrival...and I can't wait to take her newborn photos! I'm sure some of those will make it to the blog :)
Grandpa didn't know it at the time, but he was building me my very own life size rustic, western studio!!
Which one is your favorite? If you were having a shoot like this done, what are some poses you would like?
Today I would like to introduce...Cowgirl!
Due to health issues, Lydia recently lost her old mare, Lena, and that left her without a horse to ride. We had planned on waiting until spring to look for a new horse for her, but Mom found an ad for a horse that looked promising so we went to take a look.
The horse we went to look at ended up not being a match as far as temperament and personality, but the owner said she had another mare she thought might work for us so we were introduced to Cowgirl.
Cowgirl is a nine year old registered paint mare. We usually don't prefer horses that young because they are still in their "stupid phase", but Cowgirl had been used as a lesson horse at the owner's boarding barn all summer and had a very quiet disposition.
Lydia and I both rode her in the arena and she did very well. She has no problem communicating her disapproval when asked to do something she doesn't want to, but if prompted firmly, she just goes ahead and complies :)
Lydia was able to control her easily and we also liked her size, which is a few inches shorter than our other horses.
Cowgirl has been home with us for a few weeks and Lydia and I have had her out a few times in the round pen and out on the trails. I even chased my brother's calves around a little (and accidently made one jump the fence!) and Cowgirl lived up to her name...she's a cowgirl!
We switched her to bitless bridle as I prefer to ride bitless whenever possible, and she seems to like that whole lot better.
Since she is young, we hope she'll last Lydia several years. Although size may be a problem...Lydia is only eleven and is only a inch or so shorter than I am!
Since Smoke is still recovering from her shoulder injury and has been having some weight issues, I'm probably going to give her the winter off. I was disappointed because I was looking forward to doing at least a few cattle sorting competitions, but I think I will be able to use Cowgirl for that.
We were sad to lose Lena, but God provided a horse very similar to her and Rio has taken a shine to Cowgirl, maybe because she looks so much like his mama :)
On Saturday I went to a craft show/farmers market in Capac with my books and pictures. It was a smaller size show, so I didn't sell a whole lot, but I covered my expenses and learned a lot! I hope to do some more shows soon!
A week ago, I asked you all to share something you were thankful for in the comments and that one person would be chosen to receive either a $10 Starbucks gift card or a $10 Amazon gift card.
I was supposed to announce this yesterday...for some reason I thought today was Thursday instead of Friday! I'm blaming it on brain freeze....
Anyway, I am very excited to announce that the winner of our Thankfulness Giveaway is...
Congratulations, Liberty! I will be contacting you shortly.
To everyone who participated, thank you! I was pleased at the number of responses and it was so lovely to read all your comments overflowing with thankfulness.
I will be back next week with an update on the craft show I am participating in tomorrow with my books and photo art.
Also, a quick update on the trip to Guatemala coming up in February, I just got my ticket today and will be leaving on February 15th, Lord willing!
Since I posted about the Black Friday Book Sale on Friday, my weekly photo post got pushed to today :)
And I had a lovely, flowery post all planned out. Alas, I ended up going to a friends house to discuss photo's to print for my show this weekend and that is how it came to be 11:30 PM and I cannot summon the energy to think up something clever for you all :)
These photos were from a week ago Saturday when we had our first snow fall! And it was impressive! I believe we got 9 inches in all...that's a lot for a first snow! It hung around for a few days, then melted off. But I'm sure it will be coming back soon.
My favorite photo is my sweet Bannie. Isn't he handsome? What are your favorites?
After several weeks of trying to get a semi-clear photo of little Wild Willy, I have succeeded! He's really cute! The second photo is him with his mother,Molly. These are Mini Herefords.
Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my “things I’m thankful for” list every year. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2015 and am thankful for.
Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.
Don’t know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!
What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.
How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was great...there were babies to cuddle :) We've had a good number of comments on the What are you Thankful For? post. Keep them coming!
Hey all my wonderful blog readers!
You are probably busy getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Hopefully you are sharing this holiday with friends or family :) I will be gathering with my mom's side of the family, around forty people in all I believe! We will be enjoying some Lebanese food, which I am really looking forward too.
Thanksgiving is pretty much the only holiday my family celebrates, so it's a pretty special occasion, at least for me. I really enjoy this time of year...everything about it is great!
So to celebrate Thanksgiving on the blog this year, I am hosting a Thankfulness Giveaway.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us at least one thing you are thankful for. Feel free to share more than one thing!
On Thursday, December 3rd, one winner will be chosen, who will receive their choice of either a $10 Starbucks gift card, or a $10 Amazon gift card.
Please make sure the email you enter when you comment is a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.
Be sure to share this with your friends! Let's see how many things we are thankful for this year.
To kick start the giveaway, I will share five things I am thankful for...
A warm house....
Your turn! Ready. Set. Go!
Just a quick note here: Due to a special Black Friday announcement, Photo Friday will be changed to Photo Monday this week. Be sure to check back...I have some great images from our first snow to share with you all :)
Well, I've had a few requests for a writing update...I don't really have much to update you all on, but I'll give it a shot!
As the title of this post suggests, my writing life has been (nearly) non-existent. On one hand, it's been a good thing. On the other, it's been very frustrating.
But after really struggling to find time each day to sit down and write, whether it be a blog post or book, I decided to only write if I felt inspired to and that has relieved a lot of stress the last month or so.
I know by the book you are supposed to make time to write every day and I tried that for awhile, but in the end, I feel it hurt my productivity because I felt pressured into writing. And if you feel pressured, not inspired, we all know what happens then.
Hence the reason for a recent lack of blog posts.
And the lack of new material to share with you :)
I tend to write best in the winter months, not really because I have more time, but because I feel more inclined to snuggle down with a soft blanket, a cup of coffee or tea and stare at my computer screen. (Do any of you other writers out there find the same to be true for you?)
Although, I may not have all that much time for writing this winter, more on that in a minute.
First, I'd like to share with you an image I put together with a snippet from one of my favorites parts to date from Be Still My Soul.
I love writing about Sarah...she's so sweet and sincere. Here's a very short humorous excerpt:
As I started to pull away from the cleared window, I found myself nose to nose with a face on the other side.
Screaming, I stumbled backwards, tripped over something under the snow and landed flat on my back in a huge drift. The snow caved in over me until I was completely buried.
I floundered around, sinking deeper into the drift. The snow was cold and heavy, making the dampness seep even further into my clothes.
Finally, I managed to get some leverage and pushed myself up and out of the drift. As soon as my head cleared the snow, I yanked off my gloves and wiped the snow out of my eyes so I could see.
I raised my eyes to the window and saw Sarah's little face framed by one of the panes, tiny hand pressed tightly over her mouth. I was certain her shoulders were not shaking from the cold. I was cold, wet and exhausted, but I couldn't help laughing with her. I must have looked ridiculous.
This is unedited, so excuse any errors, but can't you just see city girl Adah floundering around in that snow drift? I chuckle every time this scene comes to mind :)
With my recent lack of inspiration, I am disappointed to announce that I will not be able to meet my goal for a December publication.
I have, however, reached my goal of 40,000 words! It's looking like this novella may turn into a novel :) I'm not getting my hopes up, but I am aiming to have this book published by spring. I don't have too much more to do, so even with everything else going on that should be plenty of time. I am very jealous right now of you writers who can turn out a book in a few weeks.
Now, on to some more exciting news...
I am very excited to, Lord willing, be headed to Guatemala for two weeks in February! A group from the Dunkard Brethren church here in Michigan is going there on a missions trip and I will hopefully be tagging along!
I am very excited, and very nervous! I've never flown and never been out of the country except into Canada, so this will be a very interesting experience. I do not any Spanish, but am trying to learn a few words and phrases so I'm not 100% lost :)
I don't have an itinerary, but I know we will be going to several cities leading crusades (revival meetings). Please be in prayer that getting the tickets goes smoothly, along with all the other planning that needs to happen before February 16th.
I don't have many details right now, but I will share more as it gets closer to the date.
I am also attending the Dunkard Brethren Bible School in Ohio in January. This will be my third year attending and I am very excited!
On Nov. 28th and Dec. 5th I will be taking my books and framed photos to craft shows...I've had great success with live events in the past, so hopefully the results will be the same :)
Do any of you other authors/writers experience a writing slump this time of year? What do you use to motivate yourself? How do you find inspiration when you are feeling uninspired?
If you read my post from Monday, you already know that we spent Saturday at Niagara Falls. It was my first time seeing the falls and it was pretty incredible!
I was pleased with how my photos came out and I was able to get some really good ones after sorting through the nearly 900 photos I took :)
My favorite part about the falls was all the rainbows we saw. They were incredible! I think we saw around ten in just an hour or so including two double rainbows! The first photo here is my favorite...I've never had the chance to get a double rainbow shot until this one.
Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Would you like to go someday? What is your favorite photo?
For those of you who have asked, a writing update is coming next week so be sure to join us!
I had an entirely different post ready for today...but some spectacular events unfolded over the course of this weekend and I just had to share them with you all!
I can't say exactly how long ago it was that I first met KaraAnn on Google+, but it was six to eight months ago. We had some things in common, horses for one and our faith for two. We chatted occasionally, commenting on each other's posts and sharing horses stories.
Through KaraAnn, I was invited to be part of the Pictures of Praise group, a group that shares photos that give glory to God. I shared a few photos and became slightly acquainted with two other young people that I sensed had some connection to KaraAnn, but I was unaware what it was at the time.
A month ago, my parents took an anniversary trip to Niagara Falls. The falls are only about five hours from where we live, but they had never been there is 26 years of marriage. So they spent some time at the falls, then traveled on to New York State and visited a church called Antioch that we had heard about through some friends who used to live in Michigan, but move to New York State and were going to a sister church to Antioch.
They had a wonderful time at the church and enjoyed meeting new families and catching up with our old friends.
Dad really wanted us kids to experience this church, so we headed out on Saturday, spent the afternoon at Niagara Falls (more on that on Friday...I took nearly 900 photos) and then went on to New York where we spent the night at a motel since our RV had already been winterized.
Late Saturday evening, I got a message from KaraAnn, saying she wished she would have known we were at Niagara Falls as she only lived fifty minutes from there and would have driven up to meet me. We chatted back and forth for awhile, discussing the possibility of meeting in the future. This was the longest conversation we had had and as I was relaying the conversation to my dad the next morning, he said I should have invited her to join us at Antioch for church.
We got to discussing where KaraAnn said she lived and my dad voiced the idea that perhaps Antioch was KaraAnn's church. I laughed at the idea, thinking it was too crazy to be true, but in the back of my mind, I wondered if it was possible.
I sent her a message saying I thought she lived close to where we were headed and mentioned Antioch. Her mom answered my message and informed me that Antioch was their church and that KaraAnn would be there! I just about fell off my seat from the shock....there was no way this could be happening!
But it was! I was elated to be about to meet my online friend. When we arrived at the church, I was shocked to find that I knew two other people from Google+ and several recognized me! I have never, ever had something like this happen to me. I found that KaraAnn's family and mine had much more in common than I thought. (Later, KaraAnn told me she had thought about inviting us to church when we were chatting Saturday night!)
My family has been searching for a church for 14 years and we have visited many, many new churches during that time. I always feel a tiny bit of dread when walking into a new church with people I do not know. I was blessed to feel at home at Antioch. Having someone to chat with that I actually knew, even just an online acquaintance was so nice! This is why I do not believe in coincidences!
Have any of you ever experienced something like this? Something that showed you that God puts people in your life for a reason?
This week, instead of being behind the camera, I'm in the line of fire for a change :)
Mom was kind enough to take some action photos of Smoke and I tearing up the turf. I've been riding Smoke bareback while her shoulder heals because if we have the security of a saddle, we both tend to overdue it. Riding bareback keeps us moving a little slower!
I don't mind though, because I really prefer bareback riding to riding with a saddle...it's so much easier to feel my horse and there is a deeper kinship when you have rely on the horse to stay one. It helps me concentrate on my position and the feeling of freedom is just the best.
An added bonus is a preheated seat in the winter, who likes to sit on cold leather!?
Anyway, I love how some of these images turned out. The fall colors complimented Smoke's coat so nicely and the lighting was just right for great photos. Mom got some really good action photos that really show off Smoke's fire! The first photo is my favorite because we are both wearing such intense looks!
I really appreciate the time Smoke and I have had together. We have been through a lot, there were times I was scared to death of her because of how much speed and power she had, but something changed after our accident and we are wonderful partners. I never have to worry about her spooking, running away or hurting me. She takes great care to protect me and loves our long rides. In fact, I have not been riding her much because of her shoulder injury and she is depressed and angry with me....she will turn around and walk the other way if I do not have a bridle in my hands when I come see her! She loves to work. If she sees the bridle, she will come put her head in it for me!
We will have been together for three years in January. And for the last two years, she has not had a bit in her mouth. We ride bitless and it has done wonders for our relationship. Smoke is a very special girl.
Do you have a favorite? Do you have a special animal friend, or have had one in the past? What was something special you shared with them?
I have been attempting to catch Wild Willy out in the open for some photos, but every time I spot him he is either in such a position that I can't get the photos, or I don't have my camera! I have noticed that he has been hanging out under the apple tree early in the morning, so I'm going to try to get out there early and catch him.
He is staying small and cute so far, we'll see what kind of opportunities this next week affords :)
Photo 1: Brown bear somewhere in Canada.
I have finally gotten through all 14,000+ photos from our trip to Alaska in June and sorted out the best of the best. In today's post, I am sharing some of my personal favorites. There were a lot of them! I was very happy with the amount of print worthy photos I aquired.
I have updated my photography website, www.photoartbylauren.com, and there is 80+ photos available for sale as prints on the Featured Photos page. See website for prices.
At the bottom of this post, there is a YouTube video slideshow of all my favorites. I believe there is around 75-80 photos included.
Grab a hot drink, this is going to be a long post!
The photos are not in chronological order.
Photo 2: Golden Retriever we saw at the Lower Lake in Skagway, Alaska
Photos 3 & 4: The train we took into the mountains in Skagway, Alaska
Photo 5: Beautiful Lily's in Skagway, Alaska
Photo 6: Humpback whales bubble net feeding in the Keni Fjords, Seward, Alaska
Photo 7: Glacier alongside the road near Seward, Alaska
Photo 8: Wild stallion alongside the road near White Horse, Yukon Territory
Photo 9: The harbor in Seward, Alaska
Photo 10: Baby moose just outside Denali National Park
Photo 11: Caribou spotted in Denali National Park
Photo 12: Coyote spotted in Denali Nation Park
Photo 13: Big Horn ram spotted in Denali National Park
Photo 14: Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) in Denali National Park
Photo 15: Moose cow somewhere in Canada
Photo 16: Bull moose somewhere in Canada
Photo 17: Stone sheep, mother and baby, on Stone Mountain
Photo 18: Black bear somewhere in Canada
Photo 19: Porcupine somewhere in Canada
Photo 20: Bison Bull, Yellowstone National Park
Photos 21 & 22: Bull Elk in Yellowstone National Park
Photo 23: Last but not least, this is probably my favorite photo from the whole trip.
A gorgeous sunset in Yellowstone National Park.
This was about a third of my favorites, but anymore would have overloaded the page! If you have ten minutes, watch the video below which contains all of my favorites :) Do you have any favorites from this post?
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Fall has definitely arrived here in the thumb of Michigan. These photos were taken a few weeks ago, hopefully I will have some colorful, updated photos next week. I plan on taking an hour or two to drive some country roads on Saturday :)
My favorite this week is the hand cupping the sun. This was very hard to get as the camera kept want to focus on my hand instead of the sun, and since it was my left hand in the photo, I only had my right to hold the camera! It's a little lopsided, but oh well! I still think it came out pretty nice.
The farmer who rents our fields was harvesting soybeans and I got a few shots. The sun wasn't really at the right angle, but I did the best I could.
What is your favorite this week?
Update on Wild Willie:
Willie is doing great. After his many adventures, he seems to have calmed down a bit and his mother, Mad Mollie, is finally starting to take care of him. He had some sort of fungus problem on his back, but that is clearing up and he has not gotten out of the fence again, thankfully.
Below is a photo of Grandpa holding him so we could treat his back and a photo of him with his mother. I'll try to get some cute photos of him for next week.
I love autumn!
If you've known me for any length of time you probably already know how much I love autumn and may have heard me sing it's praises before.
Check out my special "Autumn Love" Pinterest board.
If I were asked to pick one thing about fall that I enjoyed above every thing else, I'm not too sure I could do that. It really is the whole season, the whole atmosphere that I love, not just one particular thing.
But if you were to really put the heat on, I think I would have to say my favorite thing about fall is the changing colors and the crisp mornings. I know, that's two things, I told you I couldn't pick just one.
I am very glad I live in Michigan, where not only do we have brilliant colors in the fall (we get a lot of tourists in the fall for the "color tour"), but the fall season last a fairly decent amount of time. And it actually feels like fall.
I could go on for hours about everything I love about autumn, but I'll just mention a few things.
The brilliant colors...Autumn definitely has the most variety of colors when compared to the other three seasons.
The crisp, cold mornings where you can see your breath and it feels good to slip on a jacket
The feel of the horse's soft hair as they begin to get their winter coat
The storms, they are amazing!
The wind...it seems to have a whole knew language in the fall
The increased animal activity
Reading by an open window while it is raining, cuddled up in a soft blanket, with a warm drink
I could come up with a dozen more, but I'll leave it at that. :)
What is your favorite season? What are some things you like about fall? What is fall like where you live?
I have seriously neglected my poor blog these past two weeks. Life got in the way and I could not summon the energy necessary to come up with posts. My computer was also in the shop for repairs and the few times I did sit down to post something, our internet was so slow I soon gave up.
But I am back now and I will try to keep up!
So since I have been away from my Internet home for awhile, I will catch you up on some of the happenings around here, writing related or otherwise.
First off, I am in the process of re-publishing the two books in my TCCAS series, Rustlers and the Texas Trail and Hidden Treasure and Wedding Bells. Due to continued issues with my publisher, I am re-publishing on my own through CreateSpace. I hope to have that all wrapped up in the next two-three weeks. After this, I will publish all of my books through CreateSpace. I am very relieved to be working on my own.
Be Still My Soul has slowed somewhat as I did not have much time to devote to my writing the past few weeks, but hopefully that will change. I am still hoping to have it published by December but….we will see. For not that is my tentative release date, but it could get pushed into the new year. For now, my word count is at 37,000. My goal is 40,000.
Thunder is at a standstill. I have promised myself I will not start any new projects until it is complete….that is proving to be a painful promise! But I am determined to stick to it. My designer, Perry Elisabeth, finished designing the cover for Thunder several weeks ago and I am very thrilled with it. This a guess-what-never-mind moment because I don't intend to release the cover until the rough draft is nearly completed. Sorry!
Jacy, the mustang is coming along nicely. She is learning to trust me and I have ridden her once so far. At the bottom of this post is a video of our first ride. She did buck on me once, but it was a buck of fear an insecurity rather than malice, which is very comforting. She is such a sweet, loving horse. I really hate to part with her, but I bought her as a project horse and I am sticking to the plan. Lord willing, she will be sold within the next few weeks.
Smoke injured her shoulder quite severely a few weeks back and has been isolated from the other horses to keep her from reinjuring it as she heals. My farrier thought it could possibly be spring before she was rideable, but she has shown significant improvement and I am hoping that the injury was not as severe as we thought. We may even be able to do a few competitions, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
The other horses, and Rio the mule, are doing great. They are fat and sassy, no worries about their condition as we go into winter.
Mom purchased a goat in milk and her 8 week old son last week. We now have our own milk again. My goat, Sabriyah, is visiting a fellow breeder's buck and hopefully we will have babies sometime in February.
My plate has been full as I continue to work at the auction, work with the mustang, kickstart my eBay store and I just started giving riding lessons to a nine year old girl. Mom and I spent this past Friday and Saturday in Indiana at the annual Dunkard Brethren Ladies Retreat. This was the third year we have attended and it was a wonderful time of fellowship.
What have you all been up to? Are you enjoying this lovely fall weather?
Grab My Button!
Blogs/Websites I Follow