Sunday, November 17, 2013

Christmas Photo Cards

For our photos this year, we had them done in the summer, my sweet friend Stacey who has been doing our photography for a couple of years now, and has just moved away to Michigan. We are so thankful for her and her beautiful talent. We are so blessed to be at a church that has members that share their wonderful talent with others and especially many photographers--we had another family who has done our photos before as well, the Barretts and are just as thankful for them too!  She got us our cd of photos and we are so pleased at how she captured our little ones in the photos. We got some great family shots and are so thankful to capture this moment in time, the ages of our kids and our family together.

As always, I found my way to my favorite photo website and starting plugging my photos into my Christmas photo cards. I found one I liked and sent them to my cart. Added in all my promo codes and found that with the amount I wanted to order, I would be paying double of what I paid last year. I don't know what I am doing wrong, maybe I order too many Christmas cards? Probably, but I can't pick who to write a regular Christmas card to and who to send the photocard, I feel if I send them to some people, we should send them to all the people on our list (and there is nothing wrong with regular Christmas cards, I love getting them so very much!)
I ran to Pinterest, thinking, I can just make them myself, but without having Photoshop or I couldn't figure out PicMonkey, I found on Pinterest a very sweet chalkboard looking Christmas photo card, customized from for only $15.00. In the matter of 12 hours or less, I had the custom card the way I wanted it, proofed by me and sent with the rights to print it myself. Then the matter of cost to print. I realized today, I could upload my card to and for only 9 cents (9 CENTS!). I could order a 4x6 of the print or for 58 cents I could order a 5x7...both of which were at least $1.00 + cheaper than my other online source. For $9.00 I could order 100 cards + $15.00 for my beautiful customized etsy purchase and **bling** my total is $24.00 for my cards this year!!
This is the etsy shop that our photo card was ordered from:
Go check out this awesome business! Less Ordinary Designs

Here's the one we chose:

If you want to see a final copy, you'll have to wait until you receive our photo card! This was such a blessing to us to stumble upon this great find! Now you too can print photo cards for only 9 pennies a piece! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

throwing in the towel and coveting

Yesterday and today I have had frustrating experiences. For one I was at a garage sale, which I had happened upon after dropping off my older girl to school. I was so thrilled to see one at this time of the year, considering weather in Ohio can be generally anything but this warm in October, but it has been a beautiful fall, with bountiful warmth. I stopped, grabbed my wallet and went up the driveway. I found a little stash of older clothes for my big boy and they were only $1.00 each and hardly worn. I was so thankful for this little bundle of finds that were great quality. However, my heart turned a quick one when I heard a lady exclaim, "Are you sure you want to charge only a $1.00 for these Willow Tree's?" My heart started skipping a beat...I turned around and saw every one that I've been wanting...the one holding a baby, the one with the husband wife and the pregnant one. All of which I was hoping to get when Kyle and I were first married, and when we had babies. And now that we no longer had babies it seems silly-almost to ask for these. So here I was running, almost leaping over tables at this lady's garage sale hoping to get a piece of that pie. However, to my dismay, the lady who had this great exclamation decided to buy the entire lot. I looked at her and said, "were you planning to buy all of them or just a few?" Her eyes caught mine and she said, "All of them." My heart was crushed! I paid for the clothes for my big boy and went around the corner, found another garage sale and found a few nice clothes for my big girl and started to drive past the house of the original garage sale. I stopped the car and walked up there again thinking maybe one will be there...and they were all gone. I fumed in my heart about this all day! I talked to my Mom on the phone about it twice, I told Kyle. I was flabbergasted! And then there's today! God got a hold of my heart, "Hey lady, you're heart is coveting!" There are so many times, I know I do this, as I know most of us do. I was wanting those figurines for only $1.00!! Goodness! I am so thankful today that God helped me be gracious to the lady yesterday, to forgive me for my heart that was so annoyed yesterday with not getting what I want. Lord I need your forgiveness--and thank You for helping me to see it!

I absolutely love photo books. I threw in the towel after my daughter was born (6.5 years ago) with scrapbooking! I remember I would get all my photos out, stickers, paper, pens, etc. and get one page done and then she would be up from her nap. Our cousin sent us a birthday thank you that was the cutest thing I'd seen and on the back it gave the website for Shutterfly and I've been hooked ever since. I have made photo books for each of my kids for their first year (well I am just now starting to work on little boy's book) and I am trying to get caught up for my big girl's years, by doing a book for every year, and then will be starting on the older boy's after that and once I am caught up it will be one book per year. Shutterfly offers free books all the time, or books at 50% off and a lot of times you can get free shipping. I have just started using the Custom Path which reminds me of scrapbooking because you can add stickers and embellishments, etc. All this to say, I thought now that my little boy has had his first birthday, it was time to start downloading photos for his book. I started loading photos and all  the ones I would download, about less than 50% would work and it would take all day to download 35 photos. I was so frustrated and called for help. They told me to remove all cookies and cache and neither of those helped. I was back on the phone today with them and they had me check my Java and Adobe. Both were so out-of-date that is the reason my Shutterfly is going haywire! Just a quick download and restart of my computer and here I am back up and running! Yay!! I was starting to think I would have to use a different website...which I love my photo books so much I didn't know where to turn next! So moral of the story, when ever you feel like you'd like to throw in the towel, you may need to update your software and restart!

Just a little snapshot of my life today!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Walking with God

Powerful words from the pages of scripture, "walk with God." As a youth group this year, our Pastor challenged us (and us as leaders) to read through the whole Bible in one year. This consists of reading 3 chapters a day, everyday for a year. And really that is not a lot. There are days that chapters seem longer than others, but so far (and I gather all year) it has truly been a blessing to me. I prayed before beginning that God will show me something with each weekly reading, that through this I will learn more about this Great Creator and Deliverer. So as we jumped into Genesis last week and I noted as I read from Genesis 1:1- Genesis 6:9  that  many, many men's names were listed: Cain, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalelel, Jared, etc., etc., etc., there were only two names of men who actually walked with God. In Genesis 5:24 it says, " Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. And in Genesis 6:9, it is written that "These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
I have read this account through the names of these men several times, and of course Enoch has stood out to me, because he did not live and die, but he walked with God and God took him to be with Him. Also, Noah walked with God. I was just challenged by these words. What will happen while I am living on this earth...will I walk with God all my days, will that be said of me? I know I will not be posted in a Bible or probably anywhere, but to my future generations of my family, will that be known of me? When I write in the journals for my kids, that is always my prayer at the end, "I pray you will walk with God all the days of your life, and to cling to Him." I pray it will be true of my three kids. 
Dear Lord, what a great example in just three little words (walk with God) to be said of unknown men. Lord, I pray that it will be said of me, my husband, my children and the generations to come. May my thoughts, motives, actions, words, etc. be a picture of someone who does walk with you! Amen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your Lasts

Have you read this book, "Let me Hold You Longer," by Karen Kingsbury? If you haven't, here's an expert from a page in her very wonderful, tear-filled book: 

"I keep taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts..." This week I am feeling overwhelmed with lasts, I didn't realize these would be flooding so quickly, so very quickly this very week. This week was my last time nursing my last baby. Every child is weaned, that means no longer am I needed to give life to this world. I am no longer in the stage of birthing babies and nursing them and I have tried not to be heartbroken about it, but this week I am hit with the reality that the next time I hold a newborn baby from my family, I will be a grandparent (wow)! Now that's a reality! No more new babies, no more time of just them and me. Of course we make other memories now and memories that we will cherish together that I won't just have on my own. I think I am understanding when the Bible talks about Mary, Jesus' Mama, that she, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19--these are the types of things that she probably thought of. Of course Jesus was the Son of God, so there is nothing to compare, but Mary was a normal mother and I feel like today I get it...I'm cherishing these things and pondering them in my heart.

Yesterday, I realized the baby will be having a birthday in a month so he will probably be getting new toys and he is not interested in his baby things anymore...he wants to play tractors with his big brother. So I began sorting baby toys that he has outgrown, which lead me to cleaning out the toy cabinet. Never thinking today would be the day that my big girl, my 6 year old girl, would now be too big for her dress-up shoes, or 24 piece puzzles of Ariel or Dora (I know she's 6), or Littlest Pet Shop, or her magnet dolls. Never once did that cross my mind that she would look at me so nonchalant and say, "Mama, I am too big for those," or "Mama, I want to give them to my little cousin." I wasn't prepared for today, for the last time I'd see these precious shoes strewn across the floor or trip over them. I'll have the memories of her walking across the house in those shoes, "clop, clack, clop, clack" across the hardwood floor. With beads tossed around her sweet little neck and curls tucked around her ears. I didn't know today would be the last. 
I keep snapping photos, as the book above says, you just don't know when it will be their last!
Pondering, Lord I am pondering and cherishing. Thank you Lord for the memories you've given me to ponder, to cherish, to love. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Oh! The Places You'll Go!

Oh! The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seus is a great book to give for graduation gift. A reminder of who you've become by the the places you've been and the people that you meet. My friend, Krista gave this book to me as a graduation gift from high school and left a very sweet note inside. Since my daughter started in K-4 last year my mom suggested to start having her teachers write a special note inside to my girl and then give it to her on her graduation day. I would love for it to be a surprise, but she is too inquisitive  and probably has it figured out, but she will have to wait until graduation to read the messages from these special people and special teachers. My mom did a few of these for her former students and suggested if I wanted to do it to get started early, because you don't want to go back and try to find all those teachers. I agree with that, maybe in one area I can be organized and on target with completing! I found a poem on Pinterest and the original can be found here. I took what was written and rewrote some and made it so it applied to us. Our daughter and our boys will go to Calvary Christian School so this is written to remind our children that it is through the Lord that sets us on our journey, He is the reason we meet the people that we do and it is by His grace that we get through all. This is their journey but it's by God's grace that they complete it.

To Kari's Teachers:
We have started a tradition
with each child that we raise
In hopes that on graduation day
Kari can see pieces of God's grace.
To show her God has a purpose
even with the people that we meet,
that Jesus can be found
through the people on her journey street.
You are one of Kari's teachers,
so there is a special spot for you.
Just open up this book
and write a note to her from you.
Please don't forget to sign and date
so she can always see
The teachers that taught and walked with her
and made her school journey complete.
We thank the Lord that you are a part of Kari's school journey.                             
Thank you for doing this for her.                                                                       -
Kyle & Kristy Gantz

I pray this will bless you and your children today.