Green Jeans Photography. 2014. Missouri.

 Some 2014 highlights from sessions in Missouri.

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Green Jeans Photography. Fall 2014. California.

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It was an absolute blessing to be able to see 23 clients in a whirlwind week home to CA this past September.

A trip I am hoping to repeat yearly each fall.  I hope you enjoy a few of my favorites from each session and thank you to all my sweet clients and friends who came out.

I so enjoyed seeing each of you.

See you next year!

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Four Years Old.

 

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…and just like that he is four. Absolutely one of the brightest spots of my life.

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This fall has been crazy. Emma turning 10, Greyson turning 4, my oldest turning 16, our 20th anniversary next month, along with all the regular holidays at this time of year. Not to mention we are grieving and adventuring our way through our year of “firsts” here in Missouri. So, on a Sunday I was like, “aaaah I want to have a party for Greyson”. We were so happy that with six days notice we had a houseful of friends young and old to help celebrate our little man. We had a little breakfast party using some 90% superhero decorations that I ridiculously moved from California to Missouri, hoping I would use them one day.

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*that empty plate soon held a yummy stack of quiche :)

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On Greyson’s actual birthday, Grandma J was in town and Shawn was able to take the day off. We went to “high town”, which is Greyson’s name for downtown Kansas City. We played at the park, visited Union Station and his beloved trains, and ate Chipotle.

Just a couple weeks after his birthday, we snuck in this quick Pinterest inspired little photo shoot.

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It was 22 degrees and downright unacceptable weather for a photo session outdoors, lol. BUT we made it happen.

Happy Birthday Little Man.

Your mommy absolutely adores you.

Greyson’s Birth day

Greyson’s First Birthday Monster Party

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The Wordless Post

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100 Days of Real Food Cookbook – GIVEAWAY

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NUMBER ONE on the New York Times Best Seller List! Congratulations Lisa!

 

Unknowingly, to me in March of 2012, our lives were about to change for the better. I participated in a 10 day challenge to eat real food. I had NO CLUE what was about to happen. NONE.

 

Read as we began our challenge here including a sample of our menu.

Read our experience here, including the changes we saw in our health.

…and a month after we completed the challenge here, how I was feeling and what we were doing.

 

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The changes are real, long lasting, and profound.

Yet, this last year our family made a move from Ca to Missouri. It was an incredibly difficult time leaving the only home we had ever known and venturing over half way across the country. During these weeks and months, cooking meals from scratch and paying high attention to what went into our bodies took a back burner, AND BOY did we see the effects of that. It is amazing what happens when you start putting Taco Bell burritos and Chick Fil A sandwiches back into your body. No good can come of that, I assure you. It didn’t take long to get a hold of things again.  We are back on track.  Thank goodness.

If you hear nothing else, please hear this.

I urge you to try the 10 day challenge. Just try it and see if it makes a difference. Prior to this challenge, I fed my kids what I thought was “healthy” off the grocery store shelves. We had chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs, cereal, and soup that cost $.19 cents a package. I thought I was doing well, as a mom feeding my kids. Little did I know that 2 of my children, in particular, have a HUGE negative reaction to what I was feeding them. Want a true test? Take all the processing, chemicals, and absolute fake food away and then give your child a bag of “dark skittles” (skittles that have extra food dye in them, basically). I watched my child turn angry, withdrawn, and miserable within hours. It’s the worst feeling as a mom. Absolutely horrible. Yet, if you think about it, I basically fed my child a bag of chemicals that are also some of the same ingredients that they use to make gas, like the gas you put in your car. Why would I ever do this, I wonder? Well back then, I didn’t know any different. Knowledge changes you.

I just didn’t know that this was happening.

Now I do and I have to do something about it.

“The ugly comes when I haven’t grocery shopped and the house is EMPTY and the kids need lunch NOW because they have been at church all morning and are starving. Ordering Mountain Mikes Pizza just may mean a day of stomach pain and feeling like a huge blob with no energy. I am guessing when you maintain a steady stream of highly processed foods that involve sugar and other additives, you become used to it. When you are truly eating clean and you put some of those processed foods back in your body. Watch out. I am sure everyone responds differently, but it’s not a fun thing. Trust me.”

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It is a constant learning curve to navigate all the situations you encounter as a busy family living in a society that demands instant gratification and has deep emotional connections to food as an intregal part of our daily lives and celebrations. It is work to change these things. Work that is WELL worth it.

Lisa, writes a story about my son Cameron and what our family has been through in the beginning of her new book. Honestly, it is so exciting to be a teeny tiny small part of this amazing project. I had always been intrigued with healthy eating. Lisa’s blog breaks it down and makes it something you can understand. She has helped my family tremendously. Thank you just isn’t enough.

This book is phenomenal. It is a must have.

Look here to see more about what is inside!

Lisa has sent me TWO copies to give away!

Good luck! If you don’t win it, buy it, or put it on your Christmas list. Lisa’s recipes are a regular part of my cooking and have been for two years. They are delicious.

You won’t be sorry.

Best Wishes!

 

 

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Go Buy This Pencil Sharpener…No, Really.

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I tend to get overly excited about what one might consider a small issue in one’s life. For example, I titled a post once How Sam’s Club Changed My Life. When I like something I like it, all the way. So, let me tell you about the world’s most amazing pencil sharpener.

I have had children in school for the past 12 years and I have been homeschooling for 6 years. I now have four children and we go through pencils! Lots and lots of them. Over the years, I have had several utterly useless pencil sharpeners. I was about to resort to chiseling pencils this year with a knife, when I had a suggestion to try this one.

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First let’s discuss color. They have color options. Not only do they look amazing and sort of vintage like, but you can choose from Midnight Black, Firehouse Red, Groovy Green, Cool Blue, or Precious Pink. The groovy green was it for me. Love at first sight.

Next, let’s discuss it’s function. No batteries and no plugs! THIS was a HUGE selling point for me.

It’s whisper quiet.

The pencil actually get’s sharp.

I haven’t had one pencil break yet.

My 3 year old can work it.

It’s easy to dump the shavings.

It has the option to clamp to a table top.

It definitely feels “sturdy”. No flimsiness in sight!

They even have videos on their site of how to use it. Which is amazing because I learn best that way. It is SO easy.

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Honestly, there is not one thing I would change or say doesn’t work correctly.

It is amazing!!!

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…and my love of pencil sharpeners has been restored.

Hallelujah.

One more thing. It’s just $24.99. Can you believe that?

Please go buy one! Like right now.

 

CLASSROOM FRIENDLY SUPPLIES

 

Watch for a giveaway coming soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vulnerable Strength

Last Sunday, I sat in tears in church listening to my pastor recount a story of a competition that he did years ago. It ended by going up Heartbreak Hill. He described how spent he was and how he doesn’t do endurance things well. He talked about how his lungs were burning and he was tired and weary. As his body was shutting down and his legs wouldn’t move, one of his team members came back for him. He helped him, pulled him, and pushed him up Heartbreak Hill. (You can hear the sermon here.)

That is what Jesus does for us. When you come to Heartbreak Hill. He’s there. 

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“Just when you think you couldn’t be anymore tired and you don’t think you can take one more thing, you come to Heartbreak Hill. It’s the place where dreams die, where people stop. You kick and claw and you just can’t quite get ahead. You start to go forward and slide right back down.”

Grace is God hanging on to you when you can’t even hang on to Him.

Keep your eyes on the prize, not the pain.

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This has been an unmatchably difficult year or two and I have struggled in some very deep ways. Dealing with death and life and everything in between. Life is beautiful and yet I find myself at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. Truly, down in the depths of my soul.

February 7th, my dear friend Joany passed away and when she died a very deep part of me awoke. It awoke with a pain that was too deep to smother and pretend that everything was ok. It was too deep.

God works in layers on our soul. Praise Him for His grace. Layer by layer, He has gently been working on me to let go and live without fear. While the pain that I experience with her dying was deep, I felt it…and that my friends is trust. That, is courage. For this world, as I am continuing to learn takes a healthy dose of both. For a woman who was such a blessing to me personally through her life, even in her death, she helped me.

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For a girl who has spent a great deal of her early life flying around about a million miles an hour to stay busy, to avoid feeling, to avoid hurt, the Lord is healing me of that over the last several years. When you live like that you may escape some deep pain, but you also sacrifice deep joy. It is no way to live. God does not want that for me or anyone else.

I am clawing, and kicking, and screaming and there is fight in me that comes straight from Him and I am grateful.

He is hanging on to me…

The desire for authenticity in this life runs deep. It is my fuel and my lifeline and the more I awake the more I crave and the more I see it everywhere.

We need each other in this lifetime. We need to tell our stories.

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…and today as we celebrated my daughter’s 10th birthday and carnivaled it up at my church all afternoon, I teared again.

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This time watching my other daughter on stage with a ministry she is involved in. They lead worship for the kids at our church and they were doing shows throughout the afternoon at the carnival. I am so grateful for this group of kids and the people who started this ministry. I am so grateful that she wants to spend her time singing and dancing and proclaiming God’s truth. I am so grateful that God has given my girl a place to make friendships and belong.

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…and they sing. Big or small, Jesus Heals it all. #amen

I cry because today is also Joany’s birthday and I can’t imagine the way her family misses her on this day particularly.

There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1

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I know that these last months God is working in my heart in ways I have yet to understand and my head trusts. Yet, it has left me bloody and bruised, for real. You know those times in life?

I head out Monday morning to go back to my Ca people. I am flying out alone for a week. A week  jam packed full of therapy that my soul needs.

I also can’t wait until I am on the plane coming back home to my family. I am already dreaming of the moment that my three year old will run to me and scream and give me that amazing hug he gives. I can be sure of this because this is the response I get when returning from the grocery store, the post office, or on most days even the bathroom. I can’t wait to be back under the same roof with the five most important people in my life. To continue this journey that the Lord has me on.

I am ready to climb.

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A Big Giant Update

1. It’s customary that when I return from a blogging break, I make a list. Too much in my head to try and tie it all together in pretty paragraphs.

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2. I have jumped in the essential oil world with Young Living Oils. I can’t say emphatically enough that I wish I had tried them sooner. I kid you not. If you want any more information or have questions, please comment below or email me. I would be happy to share my experiences. We have seen significant improvement from things such as allergies (took my symptoms away 100% within a minute, I know hard to believe, yet true) to headaches, to drastic improvement with some issues with sensory processing with my children. I adore them. I’m all in. #wouldntyouliketobeahippietoo

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*totally loving when there are awesome friends who give your kids a fire station tour, complete with putting out the fire (or knocking over the cone), just because they’re cool like that.

My guy still talks about this, weeks later. Thanks Jeremy.

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3. I have been able to do a bit of photography. My calendar is starting to fill. It’s nice. I have missed it, yet enjoyed my time off as well. So many new places for photography. Seriously inspiring. When we first heard about the job opening in Missouri, I have to admit I had to look up exactly where it was. I just knew it was in the middle. This place is absolutely gorgeous.

leessummit Collage*head on over to Green Jeans Photography on Facebook to see more highlights from these fun sessions

4. How are we REALLY doing? My kids are adjusting. My church is seriously unbelievable and has taken my kids in and grabbed their hearts right quick, my whole family really. Don’t get me wrong, this move from Ca to Missouri has been incredibly challenging at times, but that much more rewarding as well. Every single thing is different. It isn’t just the obvious things like leaving family and friends, etc. Everything, everything here, is unfamiliar. The clouds are lower and the formations are incredible,  there are weird bugs, the sky moves (the clouds, like a lot) while the earth stays still, green is a whole new shade of green, the weather really does change every 5 seconds, it’s humid sometimes, it smells different, it feels different, and yes it looks different; mainly it’s flat, well not flat, but rolly like. I don’t see the Sierras here and there isn’t a palm tree to be found. There are no spare the air days. There are water towers everywhere, it rains in the spring and summer, I have seen more lightening here in the past five months than my entire life combined previously, times 10, people say “pop” for soda, they ask what earthquakes are like, I have had to explain smoking to my littles (it’s way more prevalent here than where we came from), lightening bugs rock my world. Even the Carl’s Jr. here is called Hardee’s. Go Figure. Cicadas are ridiculously loud as is the thunder. I have learned more about hunting, than I ever thought I would. I never get caught in traffic. Our house is the same size here as in Ca, just 3 stories instead of 1. 8 ft ceilings instead of 10-16 foot ceilings.

Different.

Nothing BIG is necessarily different. It’s just a thousand little things.

I get asked these things all the time. Yes, there are “regular” stores in Missouri…Target, Chipotle, Office Max, and Hobby Lobby. All the same things we were used to.

For a girl who lived a 40 years in Ca. I was ready for a change. So as different as it is, it’s been fun too. I guess it’s the season of dual emotions coexisting constantly.

Happy/ sad. Adventorous/ fetal. Excited/ homesick. Confident/ terrified.

No big deal. No wonder I am tired.

It has been an unbelievably stretching year for all of us. Because a million little things make up your world and when they almost all disappear, it takes some time. It just does. God never wastes an opportunity. He takes every challenge, every heartache, every new experience and works them all together for good.

It’s been 9 months that we have been here. The time that it takes to grow a baby, or the time it takes to move a family of 6- 1770 miles away and create a new life.

There is freedom here. Watching my husband be loved on and trusted and free to do and be who God has created him to be means the world. It is a gift that I watch unfold a little more each day and one that I cherish. I would follow this man anywhere…and the parting words from my dentist in Ca was, “you must love your husband if you would follow him to Missouri.” lol.  Turns out he led me to a little well kept secret in the midwest.

Don’t get too comfortable. Comfortable is no way to live. No way at all. God is the Master Creator and He molds and stretches and changes. Sometimes He reaches down and grabs you and moves you and does it quick. Sometimes He allows you to come all kinds of undone and puts you back together in the way you didn’t know you needed. It’s incredible. I trust. I am grateful. There are no words to express how grateful I am.

To. Be. Here.

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5. I am heading back to California soon for a visit. All by myself. I feel like I have lived an entire lifetime since I left. I can’t even handle the fun I have planned and the way I am going to miss my people that will be staying home. I can’t wait to hug my people in Cali…and I might be visiting a certain magical mouse. Seriously. We left so quickly I didn’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye. To the mouse, not the people…

 

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6. We have been exploring. Mansions, tea houses, antique and thrift stores, neighboring towns, parks, Truman’s house, and our lake. Kansas City has an amazing zoo. My high schoolers went to camp. I went to a retreat and had the opportunity to speak at a workshop there and be in some fun skit type things. My hubby attended and led worship at Man Camp. My daughter turned 14. My parents came to visit. My Nicole has come to visit. My Betsey has come to visit. My Ashley and her amazing family have come to visit. We have also rested. A ton. This summer has flown by and I am so ready for fall. We first came to Missouri last October and it was incredibly beautiful. I can’t wait to see it again.

 

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 *photo credit to Abundant Life Facebook page.

7.  Our church just broke ground on a new building recently. Today I was excited to see the first wall up. Frequent overflow lobby seating, which is way less than ideal, just prompted the launch of another service on Sunday @ 4:30 pm, as we wait for the completion of our new building. We now are busting the seams at a total of 8 services on Sundays and are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new 2100 seat auditorium in the fall of 2015. This church is so exciting. You know why? It’s not because of what they do, it is because of who they are. Followers of Jesus, and Jesus brings people here in number. Jesus changes lives and when you walk in the door you can see it on these faces. I’m so blessed to be here and learn, grow, serve and be a part of what God is doing here.

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*surprise phot0s on my camera rock

8. I ran my first backlight 5k. Well truth be told we walked it under giant lightening and big fat thunder. As if a backlight run isn’t enough, we did it with a thunderstorm. We were drenched to the core and very colorful. It was amazing. Like a therapy session but 1/10th of the price…and I still am finding color in places…

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9. I will leave you with this thought. Please tell me why we have a Bank of the West here in Missouri, when we are more on the east than the west…and furthermore why isn’t it called the mideast? There should be an east, mideast, midwest, and west. Don’t you think that makes more sense? Because it’s current set up is weird. I give you exhibit A….

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and that’s what’s up…

Happy Sunday…More on our first week of school coming soon!

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GIVEAWAY!!!

Alright friends! Here is the deal.

It is time for a giveaway. I don’t do giveaways unless they are a thing that all my friends need in their lives. It’s kinda a rule I have.

I met Alicia through Amy and they are both fabulous. The kind that you hope to meet in real life someday so that you could hug their face off, ya know?

 

Alicia blogs at Investing Love. She has four adorable littles, is a homeschool mama, and beyond creative. Love, Love, Love her blog.

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Anyway, if you homeschool, then you just gotta have these in your arsenal.

Mrs Hutchinson’s Classroom Guides

No for real, you need them.

Homeschool Basics- NOT just for newbies. She included solutions for everyday problems, curriculum guide, tons of printables, and more. $7

and

Planning and Organizing- She included almost 20 pages of printables for you to use as well as tips on how to organize your schoolroom, you lesson planner, your yearly plans, and your daily schedules. This guide also covers tons of tips on getting through the nitty gritty of organizing and keeping things in order. $7

Please go get some cookies and a cup of tea and head on over to sit and read up on the details on these ebooks!

Go HERE!

 

and ya know what? She has another title coming out soon, Make Homeschooling Fun.

and ya know what else? She just released her lesson planner. For just $7. It’s modern, simple to use, cute, and practical.

 

 

Enter below to win a copy of BOTH of her ebooks!!!!  Homeschool Basics and Planning & Organizing!!!

 

Good Luck!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Curriculum 2014-2015

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Last school year was NOTHING like what I had planned. Let me repeat NOTHING!!!!!!!!!N O T H I N G. So plans become nothing short of plans. What I intend to do. I hold them somewhat loosely :) Some of the extras that I had planned from last year, went out the window about the same time my husband’s appendix decided to burst into bits. Then when we moved to Missouri at Christmas time, we went even further down to the essentials! So, if some things look like you’ve seen them before, you have!

BREAKFAST! Each week the older two will take turns having a breakfast date with me and my husband. Mom/daughter one week and Father/son the next. We have a couple of parent/teen devotionals picked out. These will be a time to get away from the noise and happy chaos and just spend one on one time with these TWO teens of mine.

HOLIDAYS! My bloggy friend, Megan, does the BEST thing and it is a perfect opener for our school day. Did you know that there is about a jillion holidays? National Hot Dog Day? How about National Hot Cross Buns Day? We are going to find them and celebrate them! We started last year and it was SO fun. My favorite was celebrating the birthday of the frozen tv dinner. I fed my kids a chicken fried tv dinner at 8:30 am. It was glorious.

DEVOTIONS! JESUS CALLING FOR KIDS

 

CAMERON – 10th grade

Language Arts/ History/ Writing/Bible –My Father’s World

Science – Marine Biology, Apologia

Math- Math U See

Foreign Language- Mandarin, Rosetta Stone

PE-  training for a Triathlon next spring

Community service volunteer- TBD

Elective- Intro to Logic (semester 1) TBD (semester 2)

 

TAYLOR – 9th grade

Language Arts/ History/ Writing/Bible –My Father’s World

Science – Biology, Apologia

Math- Math U See

Foreign Language- Mandarin, Rosetta Stone

PE- training for a Triathlon next spring

Community Service volunteer- TBD

Elective- Intro to Logic (semester 1) TBD (semester 2)

 

EMMA- 4th grade

Character- Building Christian Character

Math- Math U See

History/ Bible – Mystery of History

Science- Apologia, Astronomy

Grammar- A beka

Reading– Book Studies based on Veritas Press Comprehension guides and supplemented with various projects/field trips

Little House in the Big Woods| Milly, Molly, and Mandy| The Boxcar Children

Spelling- Christian Liberty 

Art- Deep Space Sparkle

PE- training for a Triathlon next spring

 

 

 

Looking forward to receiving my boxes and getting things ready!

Fall is my favorite!

 

 

 

 

 

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