My travels to London, England!

I've been to England 12 times in my life. I've traveled the whole country and I never tire of it. The English Classics are in my blood and everywhere I look I see scenes from a movie/book I love! On top of that, my sister lives there and when I visit we spend the time talking and using London as the background for one long conversation. I love to travel! I love to be brave and explore new lands...but, I also love that I get to stay with friends when I'm there. But, just so you know traveling with a photographer can be hard work...sometimes I make my travel companions pose for pics AND I have to have good light AND I might make you take the same shot 10 times! But, I think they still love me afterwards. :) Enjoy these pics of Eltham Palace - Did you know King Henry IV spent time there as a child? Yup, true. That's what happens when you listen to the learn crazy awesome facts! The grounds were so beautiful...but, wait until you see the gold bathroom!!!! And yes, we played dress up! Good times.

Here's a quote from their English Heritage Site:

"Eltham is a unique marriage between a medieval and Tudor palace and a 1930s millionaire’s mansion. From the 14th to the 16th century it was an important royal palace, where monarchs often stayed and hunted in the surrounding parks. After centuries of neglect, Eltham was leased to Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in 1933, who built an up-to-the-minute house here that incorporated the great hall. The result was a masterpiece of 20th-century design."

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Hope. and a future.

I turned 40 last week and it got me thinking... The story of my life is made up of the people I grew up with, the ones I have loved, those who have loved me and the mountains/valleys those relationships have been through. That's what makes me who I am. Those relationships hold the memories of my life. I've lived a pretty amazing far. I have loved and have been loved. I have been hurt and I am still learning what it means to forgive. I have risked and learned to be brave. I have lost and gained...sometimes in the same day. I have learned so much about myself and life.   

Wise words from older me to younger me:

- sometimes life isn't fair. don't just focus on when it's unfair "against" thankful for how it is unfair "for" you. 

- learn that you are beautiful. really beautiful. just as you are. whether people see it or not. no one does you better. 

- don't lose sleep over the things you can't change. (Serenity prayer is a good one)


- learn who you are. learn you are enough. keep being you.

- sing and dance every day...cause it gives you steps on your Fitbit. (Must. Beat. Sisters.)

- love. because love always wins.

- boy bands are timeless. and they always make you smile.

- you are stronger then you think. 

Through my life people have always told me that I’m strong. Hearing that as a child made me feel like a super hero! At times that strength was a source of pride, but lately I find myself not wanting to be "strong." I think it’s because of the simple principle that if you are strong, than it's likely that strength will be tested. I know we all go through hard is through the storms of life that we find out the truth of who we are. Here's a little secret: Sometimes strong people don’t want to be stronger. But, I'll tell you what I do want. I want to faithful. I want to be brave. I want to content in every season. I want to believe in hope and offer that hope to those around me...because, I really believe that joy will come in the morning.

Hope has been a powerful source of strength to me during this season. I wrote about it a couple of times on this blog.

So now I'm 40.

For my birthday I went California with 2 friends and we had an AMAZING time! We laughed a lot.

And I came back ready for the beginning of a new era.

40 is weird. It’s the first time you start saying, “I don’t feel old.”

(I remember thinking people 40 were really old.)

It’s the first time people start saying, “You look good...for your age.” (um, thanks?)

If I am getting old-er, I’m really okay with that. I love that peace that comes from knowing myself. (I’ve gotten to know a few things about myself over the years.)

I’m happy my grey hair is coming in "pretty". (Only at the front on my hairline...thank you mom and dad for good hair genes.)

I can honestly say that I’m happy for my freckles and fair skin because it means I have been forced to wear sunscreen every day of my life (well, it felt like it!) And, now I don’t have wrinkles because of it :) It might even make all the teasing in elementary school worthwhile? Who gets the last laugh? Bahahahaha.

40 is kinda that half way marker. I get to look ahead and realize that there’s still life ahead of me. (My car accident this past year taught me so much in that area.)

I still have dreams. I’m going to keep walking towards them. And when I reach them, I'm going to keep dreaming new dreams.

I'm looking ahead to a great year of photography, I'm working on my art degree and loving being back at school, I'm pouring out into the wonderful people that I have in my life and enjoying living. I have hope for the joy to come...because after the winter always comes spring.

This is me at 40.

A little softer. A little wiser. A little quieter. A little stronger...but, still me.


Photo Credit: Shelley Paulson 

Sick Day

One of the greatest parts of being a mom is taking care of your sick kids. No one can care for my babies like I do. Today I was struck by how beautiful my baby is when she is all cozy on the couch. Even when she's not herself...she's stunning. So I did what every caring mom would do in this situation and I ran to get my camera. Sick at home...and still beautiful.

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Wedding and Portrait Photography

Summer nights

I have known these kids since birth. They are natural athletes and this was my first time watching them compete. I wasn't able to stay as long as I wanted there may be a followup post with more photos...but I know the kids didn't want to wait! Delaney rocked the long jump and Jude kicked it for the mile. (He ran it in 6 min. and 6 seconds...tying his personal best!) It's funny to think where I would be if I tried to run along side him. LOL!

Family Photography

Family Photography

Family Photography

Family Photography

Family Photography

Family Photography

Family Photography

Car accidents change things...

Friday, April 17th, 2015 I was on my way to pick up 19 Pokemon cards for $2 (Leyton was spending some of his birthday money and I was being a good mom :) Instead of picking up the cards I was in an awful car accident. Here's the car accident breakdown: I was driving on Highway 21, I had my blinker on from changing lanes, a car at a side road thought I was turning at Duluth Ave. and pulled out in front of me NO WARNING. It happened so fast I had no time to react or brake. So, we hit hard, the airbag deployed and, although it probably saved my life, it cracked my sternum. I remember feeling dazed and then hearing clara crying. I got out of the car and went to her...after seeing she was okay I realized I couldn't breathe and sat down. The kindness of people was everywhere at the scene of the car accident and at the hospital...the kindness of strangers brings me to tears even now. (I remember a "biker" guy who left his bike in the middle of the road and wouldn't leave my side until he knew I was safe in the hands of the medical people.) The ambulance took us to the hospital, and a CT scan to rule out any other injuries. The pain was crazy. I couldn't stop throwing up (a bad reaction to pain meds) and throwing up with a cracked sternum feels like someone is shooting you at point blank over and over. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. They kept me overnight to monitor me (and the pain.) On Saturday, I came home with bruises on my nose, elbow, hip, knees and chest. But, I was home...and that felt better.

I had this strange haze around me that I was saved and I knew it was for a reason. 

The accident meant I couldn't fly to England to see my sister, but in a whirlwind she decided to come here and help me. And she did. In so many ways. Having a sister is like nothing else. She bossed me around and cared for me in exactly the way I needed.

I'm praying that the worst is behind us...cause it's been miserable. I'm thankful that this will heal, Clara wasn't hurt badly, I'm not in the middle of wedding season and we have already reached our medical deductible this year! Car accidents are awful, but God is good.

I'm trying to process everything and that's not easy. I'm so emotional these days. I feel like I cry all the time. I'm sure this is normal, it's just not normal for me. I'm trying to just "be" and crying is part of that.

Driving is hard. I'm jumpy and cautious. (Especially with black cars merging on the right side.) I will be okay, I know that, but it's weird to experience the lasting effects of a car accident. It's like my insides heart remembers what my brain wants to forget. Does that make sense? I want to trust the cars around me to do what they are supposed to do, but I can't yet.

Seeing these pictures you know why.


This was a horrible crash. I went for 45 miles an hour to zero in one spilt second. But, I'm thankful for only bruises on Clara. I'm thankful the front glass didn't shatter. I'm thankful the other guy walked away with only a sore shoulder...not sure how, cause I crushed his car. I'm thankful I'm here. Thankful for friends and family. Thankful for the kindness of strangers. Thankful I'm not done with this life. So, you're stuck with me for a little longer.

How am I doing? I just need to rest...Lord, help me to do that. (It's not easy for me to lay still and let other people help me...but, I'm trying.) Thank you for all your kind words through social media, meals, cards, caring for my kids, praying and loving me. I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness.

I'm an American...and I need to know what's going on in the world.

Why I avoided the news before: 1.  if you don't watch or listen to the news it sounds like a foreign language...I felt like I was starting in the middle of so many stories and I didn't know what was happening or why. I just gave up.

BUT...then I found I get an email sent to me every day. It's short and easy to understand!

Today they release a chart on all the terrorist groups. People like me need a simple breakdown. 

2. everything is sad.

BUT...just cause something is hard doesn't mean I shouldn't read it. How else am I going to learn and pray? Plus, my kids need to be able to ask questions and I should have some answers.

3. There isn't anything I can do about it.

BUT...I'm an American, so I can be informed and I can vote accordingly. I need to know what's going in the world...not just here in America. "The week" helps.


It's my birthday...I can write whatever I want to!

Wedding and Portrait PhotographyI was thinking about the interviews I've seen on E-news (mainly Jennifer Lawrence...I love her!) and how they ask pointed questions to get thoughtful answers. That's what we're going to do for today's post. What are your deep thoughts for this year?

"Whenever anyone asked my Grandma how old she was, her answer was always the same, "39 and holding." (for that reason we never really knew her exact age and she always acted younger anyway.) But, it's made me think about her a lot in the weeks leading up to my birthday, she must have loved this age to hold onto it for so many years. I think there's something special about getting all I can out of the 30's...I plan to be more brave this year and I intend to look for beauty and hold onto hope."

What are you doing differently with photography business?

"This is my second year spending my winter months ("off season") mentoring photographers and I'm realizing how much I love it. I've been teaching photography workshops for years and will continue to do that, but there's nothing like walking with someone for 6 months and seeing them achieve goals they never thought possible!" (Find out more)

"I'm not giving up my day job! I love wedding photography and portrait photography is a close second. I'm going to be doing this for a long time!"

Why are you going back to school?

"I never got my degree and for a long time I didn't think I needed it, but as my youngest will be going to kindergarten in the fall, I started to dream (again) about what I want to be when I grow up. I decided that I love photography too much to give it up, but I love investing in people as well. So, I'm getting my generals at Normandale and probably finishing my degree at University of Minnesota so that I can grow my photography business and start a new life coaching business. Of course, all this is subject to change, but I'm enjoying the ride. Going back to school has been amazingly exciting and totally scary! In each class I'm learning not only about the subject, but about's been really good. (sounds a little mid-life-crisis-y? maybe. but, I'm okay with that.)"

What does "almost 40" look like for you?

"I have grey hairs. I don't mind the change in color but no one told grey hairs are crazy, coarse, stick straight up and look ridiculous...just cause for pulling them out!"

"I feel a little older (winded after walking up stairs :) but, I also feel a little wiser. I like the trade off."

"And lastly, I would sum it up in one word...quieter. It's hard to explain. I'm still me with all my passion, extroverted-ness, and zeal, but I'm quieter on the inside. More content to just be. Happy in my skin. Does that make sense?"

Anything you want to add?

"Being brave has its risks, but life is worth living.

Life is messy.

I'm messy. I'm okay with that.

I want to learn from my first 38 years and keep learning. I want for you too!"

March 5, 1976 I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. (long story) But, I googled what was happening that day and here's what I found!




Happy New Year!

I hope you have a happy new year! And that this year is one of getting to know yourself and those closest to you. I get reflective this time of year and I'm all about sharing my deep thoughts with my blog readers. Ask yourself:

What makes you happy?

I'm learning that you have to know the answer to that question in order to help yourself be happy...and sometimes we need to help ourselves.

What do you want?


What do you want?


What do you want?

be brave.

What do you love?

dieting in life is good. discipline is needed. structure helps. goals push us forward. But, don't get rid of what you love most. What am i saying? Diet, but don't get rid of dark chocolate. Create a schedule for discipline, but leave room for resting/sabbath. Set goals for your emotional, physical and spiritual well being, but live in grace because you're not perfect and neither is life.

What do you want this next year to be? to change? to not be?

Write it out. I'm a huge fan of journaling.

Want to be encouraged in hope? read this



Bravery leads to Bravery

You need to read this today...Bravery leads to Bravery

After taking the StrengthsFinder test a few years back and I found out my top strength was “Activator”, I took a deep breath, smiled and said, “that sounds like a superhero.” On the surface it looks like I never stop activating, but over years of routine and serving others, I lost what it means to risk for myself. This revelation came to me somewhere after having my third (and last) baby, crisis in close relationships, achieving my goals in business, reading the Divergent series, searching for answers to, “What now?” and slowly, starting to dream again. Without trading in my stay-at-home-mom life and joining the Marines, I wanted to be among “the few, the brave.” Veronica Roth helped me to start thinking about being courageous, but I did the hard work of soul searching, facing my inner demons, taking responsibility for myself and inspiring others to do the same.

Helen Keller was right, ”We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.” An act of valor means confronting an obstacle, fear, or challenge that must be overcome or there will be a higher price to pay. There isn’t a need to create these obstacles, they will find us. The choice to be brave should be a hard one; the difficulty of those moments gives those willing to be daring their rare beauty. How have I shown my adventurous spirit in the past? Creativity. I have sung my heart out in front of thousands. Missions. I have travelled to sixteen countries on four different continents. Business. I started a photography company after being talked into shooting my first wedding. Family. Having children didn’t come as easily as I expected: two surgeries, countless doctor’s appointments, endless prayers, months of infertility treatments, and the miraculous result is three stunning kids. I have confronted my fears many times; sometimes gracefully and sometimes painfully, but always wholeheartedly.

In the Novel, Divergent, tattoos are a symbol of rebirth, new identity and a decision to embrace bravery. Tattoos are grand gestures when hair makeovers, name changing and stylin’ clothes are not enough. I’ve thought for years about getting a tattoo to distinguish myself and communicate my rally cry to the world. What would I say? Would my dauntless act be a single statement? A memory? A work of art? An act of love? “But art itself is a form of expression – to express feelings, characters or even a single thought on a canvas and to me (and to many others, I hope), our body is the best instrument.” (3 Excellent Reasons Why People Choose To Get Tattoos) If I got a tattoo today it would read, “to love” on the inside of my left wrist and “to be loved” on my right wrist. These ink characters would only be seen when my hands are open to give and receive. Love and love alone is why I was created. That is why I’m brave...just not brave enough to get the tattoos.

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. Sitting at the pool watching our kids play and talking about my aversion to Zumba or any fitness class for that matter. I’m a mom in my 30’s and the thought of “shaking it” when I’d never taken a dance class in my life terrified me. What would happen if I messed up? Nothing. What would happen if I couldn’t keep up with the class? Nothing. What about the moves? What if I looked ridiculous? What about the bumping and grinding? No. I couldn’t. It felt like the sweaty-palm moments of high school all over again. Why would I purposely do that to myself? No, thankyou. But I needed to be gutsy in a small way, to not be perfect, and to be at peace with my messy self. Zumba pulled me out of my nice routine of predictability and control. Remarkably, having the courage to try something new gave me the confidence to pursue other intimating interests. “Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in. Show me how big your brave is!” (Bareilles and Antonoff) Pop culture music, movies, books and zumba conversations urged me to be lionhearted in all areas of life.

Zumba led to confidence, confidence led to me asking bigger questions, and questions inspired me to enroll at Normandale to complete a bachelors degree. School would cost a pretty penny and already established in my photography business, I didn’t need to go, but I knew coaching and consulting small businesses would require more education. Initially, it was all business. I would go back to school to make more money and that was rational, practical, and wise. But was it brave? In my first semester I realized my passion for the arts was pushing to the surface; screaming at me every time I walked down the math wing on my way to Algebra class. I listened, followed my heart and changed my degree to reflect that core value. Simple, yet bold. I would take an art associates now and continue on with a build-your-own-degree program that allows me to take business, marketing, art and communications. In the wise words of Princess Merida, “There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.” (Brave)

Why risk when I’m comfortably established in my life? Confronted with my fears, I’m learning to first acknowledge that I’m afraid. “When you first start anything, you usually suck at it – quite a bit. Over time, if you keep practicing and improving, you’ll begin to suck less and less and less until eventually you become mediocre. With bravery, it’s the same thing. At first you’re scared. Then you’re scared less, then a little less, then a little less. It never really goes away, you just learn how to not let it get in your way.” (A Brief Guide To Bravery) The echo in my mind repeated, “I can’t do this alone. I’m not strong enough. It’s too hard for me.” But, then I breathe, lift my eyes, see life around me, find beauty in people I love, breathe deeper, and remember I was given life for a purpose, and I’m not finished living. ”You call me out beyond the shore into the waves, You make me brave, You make me brave, No fear can hinder now the love that made a way.” (Cook) That plan and purpose gives me the strength I lack and the courage I don’t possess. It makes me brave.

The army slogan, “Be All You Can Be” and defines being brave not by a tattoo, fitness class, college degree or senseless risk; bravery is defined by courageous behavior and character. I don’t want to be reckless in my choices because that’s not heroic, it’s a midlife crisis. “I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.” (Roth) I’m inspired, but I my senses are peaked with the reservation that I might get hurt. What’s worse the that? I could stop risking. Be a coward. Mark Twain explains why I won’t give up, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream.” I believe the rewards of saying yes to a valiant heart are greater than the regrets of saying no.

I’m convinced that courage, wise risk taking and being strong in character are necessary in moving me and our whole society forward. Bravery is contagious. I’m a housewife, mom, business owner, middle-aged, woman, redhead, daughter, writer, singer, sister, friend, artist, blogger and I have a voice. When we see someone else a risk, something stirs inside, compelling us to do the same. “Admiral Nimitz's ringing epitome of Marine fighting on Iwo Jima was applied to the entire Marine Corps in World War II: "Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” (Marine Corps Motto & Slogans) The decision to go into a problem with a heart of boldness and give my best is enough. Consider this essay me paying-it-forward to you, now it’s your turn to show your hidden superhero side. I choose to be brave whether it changes the world or not, but, “Honestly, I wanna see you be brave! 

How are you going to be brave today?

Me? I'm studying for my college algebra test and facing it with boldness...or at least trying to.

Greenwich, England with friends

Greenwich, England with friends means spending the afternoon walking about in gardens that used to be used for the royals hunting grounds, eating ice cream, seeing the Prime Meridian Line, taking in the breathing view, having lots of laughs and of course, taking pictures. :) Then we went home for dinner and more laughs around the tables. Pretty much awesome-ness. Wedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait Photography

Behind the scenes of a food blogger

Behind the scenes of a food of the best, actually. If you haven't "pinned" one of her incredible recipes, you are missing out. Vikalinka I love her blog, but, I love her more. She is lovely. Worth following and listening to. Find out more about my sweet friend...

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A day in London...

A day in London...10 000 steps - easy! We walked, and talked, and shopped, and talked, and ate, and laughed, and cried, and talked some more. London was perfect and being there with  my sister was a dream! She's lived in England for 17 years and I've visited 9 times (I think.) It never gets old. Where did we go?

Camden Markets

The Apollo Victoria - WICKED!

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One day in Toronto? Go to the Distillery District!

One day in Toronto? Go to the Distillery District! Why? It's incredible. It's where old and new meets and compliment each other perfectly. See for yourself!

And I absolutely love the feel in the's historic, in a hopping kind of way.

My sister and I used it for the background for a long conversation, tons of laughs, window shopping...most of the stuff was a little out of our price range :)

Can you find the sWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait Photographyhots of us running on a sculpture? My sister looks a little scared. LOL

Greenwich, England Photography

It's no wonder that Greenwich, England is the second most popular city for tourists to's gorgeous.

I have been working on some of the photos from my trip last week and of course wanted to share them with you. Have you been to England? Where did you visit? I have travelled all the way to Scottland and then down to the southern tip of England. Not all in one trip. :) I've been there 9-10 times! And I never tire of visiting. It feels home-y and like I've stepped back in time all at the same time.

Wedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait PhotographyWedding and Portrait Photography

Why is HOPE so important?

I've been thinking about hope a lot lately. Hope isn't rational. Hope doesn't make sense. Hope sees beyond the obvious. Hope may seem naive. But, without hope, what else do we have?I typed "Why is hope so important?" into and got tons of answers. (see below)

"Faith and hope are closely linked, but different. Hope is a precursor to faith. While faith is believing and trusting in something that you cannot see, hope is imagining that there is something there to even believe and trust in. It is the belief in what could be. Hope redefines what is probable and opens the paths to the impossible. For example, faith is putting your trust in God to help in a financial difficulty, but hope opens the door to even let yourself consider that there may be a way out of your problem. Without hope, there can be no faith, because we would not even deign to pray about those things we could not imagine. Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” To read more from this blog post click here.

Put simply: hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there.

"Why is hope important? Well, life is difficult. There are many obstacles. Having goals is not enough. One has to keep getting closer to those goals, amidst all the inevitable twists and turns of life. Hope allows people to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable to success, thereby increasing the chances they will actually accomplish their goals." To read more from this blog post click here.

"In this world, Hope still remains strong on the list of human needs. It is like a single candle during the night , it gives light for us to continue on and find the way out of the darkness. This light of hope burns so strongly in the hearts of some. Hope is all we need to keep on living. It is the foundation to build one's life upon. It is a commitment to continue to struggle, creates endurance and strength in a person. Otherwise he or she is simply sitting back and wishing away his or her life. Because of hope some people take action and decide what will become of their life. People must also accept finite disappointment, but must never lose infinite hope, because in life there will be many failures, but without hope, there will never be a single achievement. Hope is a very necessary component of every day life. We must never give up and never think that our goal is impossible or too hard to attain. If everyone thought that the goals that they had set in life were too difficult, there wouldn't be any of the great inventions today, and this world would be a much different place. Hence, hope will always be the road map and light to the darkest path of life. It will be one's guide on his or her path to happiness." To read more this post click here.

Hope lifts my eyes. Hope let's me see what could be. Hope tells me there is more. Hope forces me to keep walking, searching, longing, loving...hope leads to faith.

That's why hope is so important. Believing in myself or in the people around me will bring disappointment. But, allowing hope to lead me to faith means that life is about more then me and my life. It's about things eternal.

"In other words, hope is the birthplace of Christian self-sacrificing love. That's because we just let God take care of us and aren't preoccupied with having to work to take care of ourselves. We say, "Lord, I just want to be there for other people tomorrow, because you're going to be there for me."

If we don't have the hope that Christ is for us then we will be engaged in self-preservation and self-enhancement. But if we let ourselves be taken care of by God for the future—whether five minutes or five centuries from now—then we can be free to love others. Then God's glory will shine more clearly, because that's how he becomes visible." to read more of this post click here

Thoughts from abroad...England traveller

I'm sitting in my friends conservatory, a small window room (walls and ceiling) added to homes in England, and it's raining. Seriously. It's the true English experience. I should make myself some more tea to complete this picture :) I came last Wednesday and have enjoyed every minute. I love London. Always have and always will. It's my 9th visit to England and I love it more every time I come. Of course, my experience is sweetened by my sister (who has lived here since she got married 16 years ago) and my sweet kindred spirit friend Julia. You've heard me mention her before because she writes THE MOST AMAZING food blog. See for yourself

Their home is in the south east of London (Jude Law's old stompin' grounds) and her home was built for soldiers returning from World War I. History is everywhere here and you don't even have to look for it...I love that. I just keep asking questions and learning.

It's my last full day here and I'm already starting to miss it, but I'm ready to go home. I'll be on the train at 8am, get to Gatwick airport at 10am-ish, check in and fly to toronto at noon, take another flight to Minneapolis and arrive home at 9pm (3am English time) It's going to be a long day, but I'm looking forward to reading my book and watching movies on my flights :)

I've taken tons of pictures while I've been here. Check out my sneak peaks on Instagram. I can't wait to show you the rest.

Being here reminds me of much I love to travel and learn about other people and their cultures. It has also reminded me how tiring it is to be a tourist. We were supposed to go back into London today and woke up to rain and decided to just rest. There's nothing like pampering yourself in another feels more thorough. I hope you are able to find a few moments of rest today.




Stepping out of my comfort zone.

Stepping out of my comfort zone is exactly's my comfort area and it takes courage to leave it. I would say I'm a risk taker.  I love trying and doing new things. I love to learn. But, I make decisions carefully and through my filter. In that way, I'm safe.

I don't like to fail. So, when I'm trying new things I still like to make sure my chances of succeeding are "ever in my favor." (movie line.)

I also don't like to lose...yes, even a board game. I like to win. I'm the kind of person who would keep playing games until I end on a win so I can sleep with a smile. :)

I also don't like to waste. Time, Money, Effort, or just being away from my family. So, I make decisions weighing it against the things I value most.

That's my comfort zone.

But...I have something pulling on my heart. I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and blog about my next step.

I'm 38 and I don't have a college degree. Out of high school I travelled, worked full time, did ministry and was content. I captured my first wedding in 2003, took one photography class and said to myself, "I got this!" And spent the last 11 years building and reshaping my Wedding and Portrait business. I am so thankful.

I love business, especially "the success of small business = the american dream". I also love mentoring and building into people. So, I'm going back to school to study business, marketing, communications, leadership and hopefully a couple art history classes (just for fun.) I don't know if I'll get a 2 year, 4 year or 4 year and a masters...I just know that I'm going back to school. AND I know, I will change me...It will improve my photography business, help me mentor other photographers and maybe help me to start a second business. Why not? My baby girl is going to be in school starting next September so I'll have tons of time on my hands.

So there you have it. I'm stepping out and I'm a little scared. But, I'm ready to learn.

It's hard to face the next season without having a ton of emotions...but, I'm embracing the truth that I'm allowed to feel all of them. Today, I'm excited and nervous because I don't want to fail, I want to win, and I don't want this to be a waste. Nothing is certain, but I know this, when I am stepping out of my comfort zone:

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Serial Casting for toe walking

Our story:My son Leyton has been a "toe walker" from the day he started walking. At first it was really cute, but as the years past I made a point to ask the doctor about it. Every year they would ask if it was all the time and I would say 99% of the time and they would say, "as long as he can stand on his heals he is fine." But he's not fine. Walking on his toes makes him fall more, makes his feet really hard and muscular, makes his toes stretch out, makes his muscles tight, it's causing him to lose flexibility/mobility...and it can lead to ankle, knee, hip and back problems in his adult life.

So, we're doing something about it.

Today we went to Children's Hospital in St. Paul, MN to start a 8-12 week process of Serial Casting for toe walking.

What is toe walking? Toe walking is a diagnosis in which a person walks with bilateral toe-to-toe walking pattern.  There may be a medical cause or it may be idiopathic in nature. (my definition: he looks like he is walking on his tippy toes all the time)

How does Children’s treat patients who toe walk? 

  • We offer serial casting, orthotic intervention, and physical therapy treatment for treatment of toe walking.
  • Serial casting has been proven to be an effective intervention for toe walkers in treatment of tight heel cords to increase the range of motion and to also weaken the heel cord muscle to allow us to re-train the child’s walking pattern.
  • Children’s and Orthotic Care Services have designed a new type of solid ankle foot orthotic that mimics serial casts for treatment of toe walking.
  • The orthotic brace is a two-pull carbon fiber solid ankle foot orthotic.  The carbon fiber on the outer shell decreases the amount of multi-planar ankle motion that is available which mimics the effects of serial casting through increasing range of motion through the heel cords as well as weakening the heel cords but allows the child more flexibility in that they can take off the brace to shower or participate in certain activities.
  • After serial casting or carbon fiber bracing intervention has been completed, children are then placed in a two-pull plastic ankle foot orthotic to re-train their gait pattern to allow for a consistent heel-toe walking pattern.

Is this how I want him to spend his summer? No, I don't, these casts can't get wet. But, he has a great attitude about it so I will too. I'm going to invest in heavy duty plastic bags and double sided medical tape so that he won't miss out on anything! And we're going to figure out fun new things to do in St. Paul...since we'll be driving there every week to change the old cast for a new one. I'm thankful to live in a country that provides such incredible care for my sweet son.

How do I feel? I have a lot of emotions, but I'm trying to keep perspective. The mommy heart in me hurts for my son.

Sad that he has to struggle, but happy that it won't be his whole life.

Bummed that my son needs to be in casts for 8-12 weeks, thankful that we have the medical coverage that provides it.

Grieved that I can't stop this pain, grateful I have the privilege of walking with him through it.

During our appointment she asked a great question. "Why does he toe walk?" (I'm all about figuring out root causes for things so this conversation was really helpful.) They have done studies linking sensory issues, genetic tightness of that muscle, and other neurological reasons. Leyton is an extreme happy-go-lucky was interesting to separate what I always thought was his personality and what may be toe walking related. We will learn as we go. He is worth it!

I'd love to hear from anyone who has gone through this process...please comment.


I'm usually an "advance" kind of girl. I like to move forward all the time. My top Strength Finder characteristic is "Activator!" (which I love btw because it's sounds like a super hero!)

I like to make lists and cross off tasks.

I like to finish books and movies…even if they are lame.

I don't really sit still very much. I like to "do" stuff and "feel" like I accomplished a lot in a day.

But…every once and a while, I need to retreat.

I'm doing that this week.

Picture a lake home, quiet walks, reading, praying, singing, journalling and being all by myself. Sigh. I can't wait.

I need to retreat sometimes.

I need to rest.

So do you.

Take time for you this week.


Circle of friends - Kindred Spirits

I'm friends with my siblings (below is a lovely shot of us last summer) …but we live in 3 different countries and only get to see each other once a year.
I need friends.
Wedding and Portrait Photography
“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

How do you look for friendships? What are you looking for? I'm writing a couple of posts with my thoughts…if you missed it, here's the first one.

 Friendships and relationships are one in the same. Sometimes I think if we looked at them more similarly we'd figure them out quicker. When a guy and a girl want to "get to know each other" they hang out in groups, take opportunity to chat, phone, and text, put their best foot forward and when their ready…they go on a date. Girl friendships should be same. Let me explain...

1. When you're in a big group and you see someone you admire make a decision that you want to be friends with her. You may not think this is necessary and if you're "supposed" to be friends it'll just happen, but without effort most things don't "just happen." How many friends have you made in the last 5 years? 10 years? It took effort right?

2. Take every opportunity to talk and get to know her in person and through mutual friends. In our Facebook-ing, texting, emailing social media culture we don't take the time to ask real questions and get to know the real person. We just know what they post for the world. It's simple, spend time in person to get to know each other and build friendships. Old school, right?

3. Tell her that you want to be friends and get to know each other better. This one is the best! I love their faces when I say, "I like you…I really want to be your friend!" They are shocked and honored…as they should be! Remember when you were a kid and you walked up to someone and said, "Let's be friends!" and you were? I think the same principle applies now. Women need to hear that you want to be there friend.

4. Plan a group event to get to know each other better. This is safe and easy. Especially if you're trying to get to know a few friends at the same time and you don't have a lot of available time to invest in friendships. Here's some ideas: plan a SWAP, arrange a game night, or even a movie night!

5. Ask to hang out just the two of you (or with husbands and kids) This is the big step! You're making it official. You're investing and pouring into this friendship. It's risky, but worthwhile.

Who are you're Circle of friends - Kindred Spirits? likes on Facebook, clients, people you go to church with, Mom's you share life with, friends of friends, and family members? Yes. potentially. They are out there you just have to find them.

Next time we're going to talk about, "What I want in a friend?" more to come.