Hunt and Cut 2015

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We gathered once again with friends….and hunted for the perfect Christmas tree. I leave the cutting down the tree part to Reed. It’s a lot of hard work, but he’s certainly the man for the job!

This annual Hunt and Cut has looked different for us every year [check out 2013 & 2014]. The locations and the friends who have have gathered and hunted with us have varied as well. I’ve enjoyed every single year for their own reason……all have been special….and this tradition will always hold a special place in our hearts.

This years Hunt and Cut was with the couples in our AMAZING life group [plus the Brandeberry family]. One couple had NEVER cut down a tree before- so it was wonderful to see the sparkle in their eyes as we trekked through the forest, looking for the perfect tree.

There was a fantastic sledding area for the kids…..so their laughter became the soundtrack of the day. It was perfect.

Ezra was a trooper, walking through the snow……but eventually he got tired and momma had to carry him back to the car. Oh MY ARMS!!! He’s almost getting too big to carry, but I still take the chance to hold my baby as much as he’ll let me. He was a really big help this year….he loved adventuring in the wild. He’s good at that!

It’s been a while since I’ve brought out my camera- the iPhone has been so much more convenient, but when it comes to special occasions…..I bring out the best. I always enjoy documenting our life….and the annual Hunt and Cut always delivers such beautiful and memorable moments.

We found the perfect tree. Its tall and a little more like a Charlie Brown tree, even though every year we seek out to find the fullest tree in the woods. HA. Everything looks bigger and fuller with snow on it. Right?

Our day ended at the Red Caboose, where coffee and hot chocolates were passed all around.

Im so very thankful for the fiends in our lives here in Montana.

Do you cut down your own tree? Do you put up a fake tree? Theres pros and cons to both……what is your tradition?

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Thanksgiving 2015

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The last time we were in Boise for Thanksgiving was 2011. Reed and I sat around the table with my sisters and mom….and we told them we were expecting a baby. It was a pretty exciting season for us.

This Thanksgiving looked a lot different.

Mom wasn’t at the table this year. However, I was with my sisters and I know that my mom would be happy about that.

[We also celebrated my sister & aunts birthday while we were all together…..and went bowling too!]

Our Thanksgiving table was beautiful….one of my sisters works at Pottery Barn and I loved how she decorated…..all the details were so wonderful.

I am thankful for the reconciliation that has taken place within my family this year….and I am thankful to have even more family [aunt, uncle and cousins] living in Boise now.

Although it was bittersweet…..it was good to be near the ones I love.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving !
xoxo

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12.7.15

Amy - I’m really glad to hear this….especially that there’s been reconciliation. :) God is good.

Artifact Uprising

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I’ve been a fan of Artifact Uprising since they launched their business. I love everything about their brand, their story and their vision. I mean….their tagline is incredible “Inspired By The Disappearing Beauty Of The Tangible.” They had me at that right there.

I’ve printed the wood block set, as well as the Instagram Photo Book [for Ezras 52 week series]. Both products were beautiful.

My most recent print project was the Square Photo Print Set.

This project is a special one. I usually print gifts for other people…..but this one was for me. I printed images that I took on our drive to/from Montana to Boise…..right after I received the call that my mom passed away.

The drive was heartbreaking. There were moments of silence and tears and sometimes laughter….as we talked about my mom.

Since this was my 4th rodeo in the past 5 years…..dealing with the loss of a loved one….I knew that I needed to focus on Gods Word. It’s the only place that brings peace and keeps me from losing my mind. I know what I need most in times like this….and that is to focus on Eternity, otherwise….this situations can easily be turned inside out and upside down. Its a slippery slope……and so this project was born.

I began taking photos of the landscapes throughout the drive. All shot on my iPhone. Some shot through the car windshield [due to inclement weather] and others with the windows rolled down. It wasn’t so much about a perfect photo…..but capturing something that demanded my attention and pairing it with the Truth that was anchoring my soul, in that moment. I posted these on Instagram all throughout out my trip. It was how I was processing each second, minute and hour of the day.

Its a fact. If we don’t write it down….we will forget. Forgetfulness is the enemy of Faith.

This road trip may not seem to be one for the books, but it was for me. I was reminded multiple times of Gods great love. God was near and tending to my broken heart, as He promises to do so in Psalm 34:18.

I don’t ever want to forget the things that I have learned and experienced, especially while in the trenches. These trials shape us and make us into better versions of ourselves. Nothing is wasted. Pain is a Microphone.

I took a self-portrait an hour before my moms Celebration Of Life service. A wave of grief had come over me and my mind was so full that I couldn’t even put words on paper. So I took a break and a deep breath. As tears streamed down my face I knew I wanted to remember this moment. I wanted to remember what I looked like. And what I felt like on the inside. They say our eyes are the windows to our soul…..and in capturing this moment….I would remember all that I needed to from this day.

So, I decided to print this series….which was truly inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible. Today marks six months since I received that call that took my breath away. I love you, MOM.

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#ichoosethankfulness

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“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
-Brene Brown

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Three years ago, I started a hashtag on Instagram titled #ichoosethankfulness

There were zero posts the evening that I typed that hashtag in the search bar.

Tonight….as I write this blog post, there are 2,681 photos using the hashtag.

The phrase was inspired by my sister Melissa, who went to Heaven on November 14, 2010.

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I CHOOSE THANKFULNESS is about being thankful in all things and in all seasons. Its choosing thankfulness even though our hearts are broken & burdened. It’s choosing faith over fear. It’s choosing joy. It’s choosing Jesus. Always.

I treasure the stories that have been shared using #ichoosethankfulness. I love that its been used all year long and not just around the Thanksgiving holiday. I have met some incredibly brave women who were vulnerable enough to share their heart…..and in turn has inspired an online community.

A lot has happened in 5 years. I have walked through the valley of death 3 separate times.

In these past 5 years…..I’ve lost my dad, my little sister and most recently, my momma.

Its been tough. Losing my mom this past May was a doozy for me. It hit me hard. There are no words to describe what it feels like to me…..to be here on this earth….without parents. I’ve never walked this out before. I came into this world with parents….and now, at 37 years old…..my parents are gone. For the first time….I’ve look at this world as a place that truly is not my home. This whole thing has set my gaze on Eternity and on Heaven, my homeland.

It’s natural for us to think that as time goes by…..we get further and further from the ones who have left this earth, but its just the opposite. As each day goes by….we get closer and closer to Heaven, which is very near.

Will you join me in sharing the ways that you are choosing thankfulness this month? This year? Some have posted a photo a day for the month of November, while others have posted randomly through out the year. Whatever you choose to do…….be encouraged to share your story and inspire others. 

My pastor, Levi Lusko and his wife Jennie know the incredible pain of loss. The way in which they are sharing their story of pain….and using it as a microphone has been powerful. It has encouraged and inspired me greatly. I will be giving away 4 autographed copies of his book, Through The Eyes Of A Lion this month. I’ll be scrolling through the #ichoosethankfulness hashtag and will be choosing one photo a week.

Join me! And be encouraged, my friends. xoxo

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For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 

Halloween 2015

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I’ve never been into Halloween. Like ever. I’m still not a huge fan. However, this year [by the persistent encouragement of a friend- thanks Wanda] we went all out……& laughed all day. We had so much fun.

And a funny little story regarding Ezra’s consume…..

Not sure where or how he heard about a Jack-O-Lantern, but he had been talking about it since September. He wanted to be a “Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween.” 

I’ll be honest….I was convinced he’d forget about it…..you know, so I could dress him up as what I wanted to.

Last week, my friend urged me to dress Ezra up as the Jack-O-Lantern.

“Just let him be a Jack-O-Lantern. He’ll love it.” said Wanda.

And so I did.

The only one I could find was a size 1-2, rather than the size 3-4 he should wear. I bought it anyway.

Ezra LOVED his costume. And you know what? I did too.

It’s not even about the costume, but the joy on his face….all day [he was experiencing a sugar overdose in this photo. HA!] As hard as it is sometimes to let our kids make their own decisions….it’s a good thing. I love this little Jack-O-Lantern and my idea would NOT have topped this. 

These are the days….& the best of memories.

///// A group photo of Ezras friends from church…and some details of some sweet-sweet costumes.

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