She started unloading the dishwasher with a heavy sigh and droopy shoulders. She was obviously not happy with the task at hand and truthfully hadn't been happy with any task lately, content to only do what she wanted to do.

I stopped her and reminded her that part of being in a family is taking part in the tending of that family and it's stuff. And I also encouraged her to remember that she should be grateful that there were dishes to put away because that meant we'd had food to eat. And the very fact that she was unloading a dishwasher meant that the task of actually washing dishes had been done for her and she had the easy part. We talked a few minutes about not despising the work that often times comes with the gifts we receive in our lives.

And right then and there my own gentle words that I was hoping to encourage and teach my daughter gratitude with turned around and smacked me in the face.

We've had a busy six weeks. I mean ridiculously busy and things keep crowding in on my to-do list.  I realized that while individually I did not mind the tasks at hand, cumulatively I was drowning. And I was letting the feelings of overwhelmedness (I think I just made a new word) wash me down a river of resentment. I couldn't enjoy anything because it was all beginning to look like just one more than thing that had to be tended.

So I hugged my girl and took a minute to rejoice in the work of parenting and for the ways our Father uses those situations to parent me. And instead of looking at a great big pile of must take care ofs I needed to look at each task as the gift of work from the hand of a loving Father who has given me much. The work my friends, represents the blessings of family and friends and clients, home and church and school activity. And I don't want to fall prey to despising His generosity.

So whatever is crowding your to-do list at the beginning of this week, whatever crazy holiday schedule is looming on the horizon, remind yourself that God is the giver of good gifts and that the work that can sometimes come from those blessings and opportunities is a gift in and of itself.

This is crowd pleasing comfort food at it's best. Biscuits and cheese are two of the main ingredients so seriously, how could it not be? I cannot even remember how I found the recipe, or when, but I know since I pinned it and started making it it's a favorite at every potluck I bring it to. I was actually surprised to realize I hadn't blogged it already.

What you'll need:
2 cans Grands biscuits, cut into pieces
1 jar of Alfredo sauce (I like the family size jar but the regular works fine)
2 cups Swiss cheese, separated 
(I have only found shredded Swiss once, the rest of the time I just use sliced and chop it up)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 garlic salt
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 lb deli ham, shredded

What you'll do:
Toss the biscuit pieces with the Alfredo sauce and garlic seasonings
Add chicken, ham, and 1 cup of cheese
Stir until everything is well blended and coated with Alfredo sauce
Place into a 9x13 that has been coated with non stick cooking spray
Top with the remaining cup of cheese
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until biscuits are done.

Serve with a Caesar salad or steamed green beans so you're at least giving a nod to the healthy life and enjoy!

A few weeks ago, like hundreds of pastors and preachers across the country, Rob preached a Reformation sermon. Our worship was a little extra that day since not only were we marking the 500th celebration of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, we were celebrating paying off a mortgage in less than three years in a joint service with a sister church. Another layer was added to the sweetness of the day as we contemplated the history of two churches that used to be one and how God had gifted friendship and genuine love where before there had been angst and turmoil.

The whole sermon was good and even though the themes of death and Resurrection are familiar to me viewing it as being torn apart and reformed into something else, something more, was beautiful. Rob sent me a copy of it so I could share part of it here.

God loves to tear things apart. We don’t often think about God in these terms, perhaps, but the biblical record (and what we observe in history and in our own experience) shows us that it is so.

If we go back to the creation narrative we can see that God is immediately about the business of tearing things apart – of separating thing from thing. He divides the day into light and dark – day and night. He made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse.

When we get to man, God separated some of the dirt he had made and formed it into a man and breathed life into him with his own Spirit. Then he took the man and put him into a deep sleep – a kind of death – and tore from him through a hole in his side part of his body. And from the rib he took from the man he formed the woman.

He loves tearing things apart. But notice that he doesn’t just rip them apart because he’s dissatisfied with them. Rather, he tears them apart in order to re-form them. The things divided become complements of each other, making a new thing. The one day is made up of day and night. The two humans (male and female) are then brought together and become one flesh.

Even in the case of our Lord who is Life itself, God separated his Son from life and in a sense from himself (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?). But, of course, he was raised from death and was reunited with life in a new, glorified way.

God separated Abraham from the other nations to create a unique people for himself, but even here we see in Ephesians (and elsewhere, of course) that God is remaking from the two one new man.

Even we ourselves are subjected to separation from ourselves (God killing in us that which separates us from him) in order to be put back together, to be human in the way our Lord would have us be human.

Sometimes in the midst of busy seasons it's easy to get caught up in the finish the thing move on to the next thing moments. But always I want to be mindful of how God is at work and, like the woman at the end of the pregnancy yearns to feel the pain of contractions that she knows will bring about the arrival of her babe, I long to feel the pains of God at work tearing me apart and reforming me more and more into the image of His Son.

But really more like chunks than the title would suggest. I have lots of thoughts in my head and every intention of actually blogging them but it just hasn't happened. So I'm going to dump them all here and see if I can work up a rhythm for regular blogging by starting with a clean slate.

We'll see.

There is a thing in photography called the golden hour. As the name suggest it is the time of day that is particularly good for taking pictures. Photographers covet this hour because of the beautiful soft light. Saturday I was reminded that early morning has some rather beautiful light of it's own. I can't share any of the pictures yet since it was a bridal session but in the ten minutes it took to leave my house in the pitch black to hitting the interstate gas station by Pensacola Bay this happened and I had to stop and take a few pictures. I should maybe explore this early morning light more often.


As I've gotten older I have become less and less of a candy person. Which is something because at one point in my life I ate a Reese Cup and drank a Sprite every day for a snack. Now I might have the occasional piece but I can take it or leave it but with Halloween last week I've been rather indulgent and I've learned few things. Firstly, I underestimate the yumminess of plain M&M's and secondly, I seem to like Kit Kat's.  Who knew? Thirdly, I really love twizzlers but I got a really bad headache after eating them twice so I think I'm going to steer clear. And fourthly, whoppers are still gross.

I'm a little bit behind in the Bible Reading Challenge but am amazed at how connected the Old and New Testaments are. I realize this is a simple observation but the connection and overlap is so clear and even more so when time is spent in reading from both. It really has added a depth and richness to my Bible reading.

Related to that is Bible Study Fellowship. Boy, do I love the book of Romans! We had such great discussion in last weeks class. One of the things I shared was how, right in the midst of David's soap opera with Bathsheba, was the simple phrase , "And the Lord sent Nathan." Chapter eleven ends with God being displeased with David but in the very next chapter He is sending Nathan to rebuke and call David to  repentance. It reminded me how much we need Nathans in our lives, people who can call us to confront our sin.

Later that day I would also come to realize how we need to be willing to let there be Nathans in the lives of our kids. I mean, it's easy for us to feel like we're fulfilling that role in their lives but truly we need to be willing to have other people carry out that task sometimes too, which can be much much harder. But other people can bring a perspective and shed light that we need and our children need. I want to hold on to this thought as we approach parent/teacher conferences at school. Not that I am expecting trouble or bad reports but I want my kids' teachers, who spend a lot of hours with my kiddos each day, to be willing to be Nathans to the sin in their lives. And I want to be open and to hear them if they have reason to be a Nathan.

On a lighter note, our Sabbath lunch was not exactly all I had hoped it would be for reasons outside my control, I might add. Sam was quite funny though and afterword came up and hugged me and said, "Nice try with lunch, Mom." It made me laugh. I was also grateful that the two families we had invited over for the fellowship had to cancel. That was God's kindness to them I think :-)

What else has been rattling around in my brain?

Time change. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I've never been a fan but Oh.My.Goodness, yesterday afternoon lasted forever and I was up by 4 o'clock this morning! That's right...four in the A.M. I've unloaded the dishwasher, folded a load of laundry and washed another load. And here I am blogging and it's not even five in the morning.

Big wedding weekend coming up with the marriage of one of our church members on Saturday and my nephew's wedding on Sunday.

Looking forward to a long weekend with Friday off for Veteran's Day.

Got a notice that it is time for my yearly renewal with the blog. Which ever always puts me in a place of considering whether to keep blogging or not. In theory, to be a successful blog you're supposed to blog regularly and often. It isn't hard to see that I am in a season of not blogging regularly so inevitably I question whether to be done or not. Which means I spend time examining why I even blog and exactly how should I judge whether it's successful and should that even be a consideration. And if I do keep at it do I stay here or move on to a different platform like wordpress or something which seems like a more grown up way to go for some reason.

I am one of those people that hates to see Christmas stuff go up in October.  I also have a rule about not listening to holiday music before December first. I want to very deliberately savor the season of Thanksgiving before diving into the joyful and thoughtful season of Advent and Christmas. However, due to the fact that we celebrate Advent as a family and at church I have to open that door a bit in order to plan and prepare. Not to mention the planning that goes into our 12 Days celebration means I'm already having to think about presents and stuff. I'm really trying to keep a tight reign on things though so that Thanksgiving is given the proper attention. I realized yesterday that I really want some stuffing. I also realized I am not sure why I only make it once a year but so far that seems t be what I do. I treat it like eggnog which means it's seasonal. Except I was surprised that eggnog was out at the store before Halloween even. Don't tell my kids but I already enjoyed some. The next thing you know they'll want to start listening to Christmas music.

Saturday ended much the way it began with a family session that wrapped up in time for me to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Pretty spectacular book end to the day, don't you think?


It's no secret around here that we frequently eat breakfast for dinner. I was actually surprised to find out that two of our family friends not only don't do that upon occasion but the husbands of each family actually dislike it.

So weird, right?

I actually forgot that bit of information and one family was over visiting and dinner time approached and I knew I had all the stuff so I started flipping out frittatas only remembering after I had served him. He really enjoyed them though and told his wife she could make them (for breakfast though.)

My beloved? He will eat them anytime of day as often as I am willing to make them. They're not complicated and really this is more of an assembly post that an actual recipe. But they make for a really pretty looking meal and they're delicious.

Frittata are basically a kind of omelette. A traditional frittata looks more like a one layer cake with all of your fillings (veggies, meat, etc.) mixed in instead of folded into the middle in the way of an omelette. But when Rob and  I went to Lakeland a few months ago and ordered them from room service this beautiful dish was served and it's the only way I make them now.

What you'll do:
Gather and prepare your fixings. I usually roast chopped potatoes after tossing them with olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary. I've used store bought hashbrowns but just don't have a knack for cooking them. (I know, I know! It's frozen potatoes but I just can't make them turn out right.)

We love sauteed onions so I try to include them.

Mushrooms, spinach (also sauteed), chopped roma tomatoes, cream cheese or goat cheese, basically anything you'd put into an omelette.

Because you will be flipping the egg mixture you need a small frying pan. I have made Rob a five egg frittata but that gets a little messy when I flip it so normally I stick to four. I make two egg ones for myself or the girls and I have also used one whole egg and two egg whites before.

Whip your eggs in a bowl and pour into a well buttered hot pan just like you would if your were making scrambled eggs.

Just make sure not to stir them and pop any bubbles that begin to rise. Once it begins to get firm use a spatula and flip it just like you would a pancake. It won't take long but while it finishes grab your plate and build your base. In our house we do the potatoes and onions on the bottom. Apparently I sometimes add my mushrooms too.

The we place the egg cake on top and add the other goodness putting the cream cheese or goat cheese on last. According to this picture I guess we tossed in some chopped avocado too.

It's not a complicated meal but it can be time consuming. Sometimes we work it short order style and everybody eats as they come off the skillet but I have cooked up batches and kept them warm in the oven until we could all sit down together to eat as a family.

Some mornings I may leave out a few of the ingredients like the potatoes and onions just because it's faster. I've also added  tomato and green onion to the egg mixture while it's cooking.

So, there ya go...a yummy and quite pretty breakfast you can eat anytime. Even for dinner.

The glory of childbirth.

I've done it five times myself and have had the privilege of being present at least that many times at other births and I cannot find words that even come close to describing the miracle of life coming into this world.

I think that may be why I am so drawn to birth photography. I may not have the words but I can take pictures that reflect, at least in part, the glory of a human being's arrival.

This labor and delivery was one of the most beautiful l&d's that I've been a part of either as a participant or spectator. From start to finish is was saturated in the Word and covered in prayer. And the sense of community was profound.

This was Cody and Jessica's third child but the first time she has ever gone full term before so it was a bit of a waiting game for all of us but the call finally came that labor had indeed started. Little Miss Heidi was also the only day time birth for the family, both of her big sisters arrived in the middle of the night. I think it was incredibly gracious of her myself.

When I got to the hospital they were settling into their room. It was a natural childbirth but periodically Jessica would get hooked up so that heart rates could be checked and contractions were tracked to establish a baseline.

They had made a play list of praise and worship music and had it playing in the back ground. She had also made a list of favorite Bible passages that would be a source of encouragement to her during the hard moments of labor. During some of the stronger contractions her husband would put counter pressure on her back while a sweet friend read various verses giving her something to focus on.

You would think that would be the sweetest moment in the room that day but when things really got going her Dad stood up so he could go hang out in the waiting room until time to meet his new granddaughter. Just as he went to hug her a contraction came on. Without missing a beat her father rubbed her back and prayed over her until it passed.

Later, it would be her mother's turn to give comfort and prayer.

She had such an amazing support group around her each moving in and out of the way giving her comfort and help as needed.

I love the moments with the family and friends but my favorites are still what is going on between husband and wife. 

No matter how hard the contractions Jessica always rebounded with her beautiful smile and sweet attitude.

Heidi was a pretty big girl and it was a lot of hard work to get her here but mama persevered and at long last she made her debut. She had a little trouble breathing at first but the nurses were fantastic and got her going.

Dad was pretty close by keeping an eye on her.

As soon as he was able he very quietly spoke over her, The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face to shine upon you...

Beautiful exhausted grateful amazing mama.

Welcome to the world, lovely Heidi Rose! Gad has graciously placed you among a family and with friends that have already covered your life in prayer and in His word.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you
in the knowledge of God and of  Jesus our Lord.
II Peter 1:2

A couple of posts back I shared about having the amazing privilege of photographing the birth of my niece's daughter. And while I haven't been able to attend the arrival of my other niece's two sons I have had the great joy of doing their newborn pictures. So I'm really happy that tradition is being carried on with Miss Kya's sweet self.

She is absolutely adorable and we spent a lovely morning together last week taking pictures. Because her mama is who she is and my niece's mama is who she is the child is not lacking in cute outfits and head bling to wear.

But her Daddy gets all the credit for picking out the most adorable coming home from the hospital outfit. He found it and ordered it online as a surprise for my niece.

See what I mean? Worth the wait all sparkly and then those leg warmers! But then we have this on so fancy head piece.

The sweet little baby was a trooper during her pictures. She was awake a little bit but when her mama got her to settle and go to sleep she was out and let us move her all around without a whimper.

And how perfect is this bridge? My mother-in-law just got it as a sweet birthday present for my daughter. It made the most phenomenal prop and I am already plotting and planning how to use it again.

Looking at these and I just can't wait to love on her some more. She is so precious and we thank God for her life.

Welcome to the world little one! You are so loved.

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