Tired brain, Pinterest pics

Today, my creative brain is tired!  When my inspired well is dried up I look to pinterest, magazines, or other blogs to get my creative juices flowing again. 

I do best re-charging in my craft room or outside, no plans or goals in mind.  Just a wish to wander, to roam amongst paints, pencils, washi tape, and found bits.

{What do you do to recharge?}

Always and forever, Anna

I adore my gals.  Both are so vastly different from one another.  Being a twin, I'd hardly expect anything else.  I've always been the moon to my twin sister's sun.  The bread to her butter, the jelly to her peanut butter.  Opposites in the most extreme ways you can imagine.  "Opposites" gets a bad reputation doesn't it?  People twist their mouths around and spit that word out like it's vinegar.  I rather like opposites.  They make the world a more interesting, eye opening place.  They balance the too sour life moments with sweet, the boring days with bold.  Would we appreciate one without the other?

 I picture my sis and I atop a teeter-totter.  Thank goodness for our opposites so she can show me important things like how to organize, run a household, and raise my gals.  I need her to bring back down from la-la land every now and then. She is most talented and calm, creative, and such a nurturer.  I might be planning the show in my head for days...but without her the show might not ever get on the road sometimes! 
What I've learned from a lifetime of being opposite of someone (and others pointing it out over. and over. and over!) is that the little things that make us different should be celebrated, applauded, and taken in with glee.  This brings me to Anna Ruth.  She has such an enormous personality.  Her little frame is bursting at the seams with determination, questions (like Where'd it came from?), adventure (she prefers the ranger, truck, and tractor over anything), and love.  My goodness, how this gal can love.  When we scoop her up out of the crib in the morning she says "I lost you!", her voice all scratchy and small.  "Hi Mah-nee", or "Hi Dada" are as regular around here as the coffee that drips steadily, morning after morning.  
She's got a serious side that can't be shaken.  Once her blue eyes are locked in on something I can just see the gears starting to crank and turn in her mind.....processing each sight and sound.  She asks "What's that sound?" a thousand times a day.  I pray her ears are always so open to hearing the music of our world, the cling and clank here, the bird singing it's heart out there.  And oh, her love of music!  We listen to Kari Jobe, instrumental guitar, or Need to Breathe while she falls asleep.  There's been more than one occasion where I've suddenly thought "What's THAT sound?" in an almost panicked way, and then realized it was Anna Ruth howling along in her crib. 

"Whatchya doin' Mah-nee?"

"Here Mama, you want some?" 

Day in and day out my Anna Ruth wakes up and meets the world with an eagerness to explore,
hands ready to seek and stay clean ("I need a wipe! My hands are sticky"),
voice ready to laugh, showing off all those little teeth in a row,
legs ready to chase almost anything that will run from her,
arms ready to hold "Detsy",
eyes ready to pierce,
and heart ready to feel the rhythm of our Father's love for us.

Shop talk-Q/A...with myself. (and 15% off!)

Hi everybody! I hope you had a fabulous weekend.  After an unexpected rainy day on Friday, it sure was nice to see the sunshine on Saturday!  And puffy clouds! I could look at those all day..

This weekend found me recovering from sinus infection stuff, which wasn't fun.  My mind was in good spirits though and I had time to think up some fun ideas for the blog and my Etsy shop! 

Today I thought I'd do a little Q/A session about the little details that go on behind the scenes in my shop....a little self-interview, if you will.  I hope you enjoy!  These are questions I get asked often.  {Make sure to read the coupon code details below too!}

Q: Where does your inspiration come from?
Some people might think I set out on foot, camera in hand...looking for a photo to capture and sell.  That's actually not the case.  Sometimes I grab my camera when I'm headed outside with the girls, but usually I'm just doing life, day after day...and when something catches my eye I run inside to get the camera!  Most of my photos are taken outside because that's where I seem to be delighted the most, by nature finds.  I also like grabbing a handful of my favorite props and styling them for a photo as well. 

Q: What kind of camera and settings do you use?
I use a Nikon D3000 with a regular lens attached.  For now, I use the automatic setting with the flash turned OFF.  I always, always have the flash turned off!  I hope to learn how to shoot in manual mode someday.....but for now I've found my stride in automatic.  Someday when I have the time and money to take a photography class I'd like to.  I'd also like to learn Photoshop!  Goals for the future...

Q: What do you sell in your shop and how does the pricing work? 
I sell photos in three different sizes in the shop (Sunshine by Sara Etsy Shop).  I have the photos printed from Shutterfly and have been extremely pleased with their product/quality.  The prices for all prints are: 4 x 6 ($5), 5 x 7 ($10), and 8 x 10 ($15).  
For photos of an even larger size, feel free to contact me for pricing! 

Q: What does the $2 shipping charge cover?  Why do you ship local prints?
When I had my handmade shop still open I quickly learned that although it sounds easy to schedule a pick-up for an item sold to someone local, it's actually not!  Trying to coordinate two busy schedules to hand off an item is tougher than it sounds.  So, when I re-opened my Etsy shop I decided I'd only ship prints, local and all.  The $2 charge covers postage, a thick mailer envelope, and a Ziploc bag to keep your photos dry.  Plus a little embellishment to make your package extra sunshiney! :)

Q: When do you add new prints to the shop? 
As I'm inspired, prints are added!  Currently, most of the prints in the shop are rather summery looking. I have plans (as the seasons change), to reorganize the photos in the shop a bit, by season.  Coming soon! 

Q: Do you take family/individual portraits?
This is something I've done a few times for close friends and family.  You can see some examples below!  I love the creative process of photographing others.   Sessions last around 45 minutes and take place on our property.  They will generally take place during the evening, or on a rare occasion-a morning.  I edit the photos afterwards and give them to you on a cd.  You can then print to your heart's delight!
You can e-mail me at sunshinebysara@hotmail.com for more details if you're interested!  

Any more questions? Comment below! 
More Shop Talk Sessions with some local gals soon! Stay tuned! 

{Now through this Saturday (8/3) use the coupon code 15PERCENTOFF to enjoy 15% off your total purchase in the shop!  Check it out here: Sunshine by Sara Etsy Shop)

A practice in perspective: try this.

Let's talk about our good 'ol friend, perspective, today.  Perspective can make us see clouds of gray, or clouds with silver linings.  She sneaks up on us, after hearing the news of a battle a friend is going through and makes us realize our "hard" isn't so hard after all.  Perspective is right there also, to fill our days with beauty in brokenness, joy pockets, and spoonfuls of grace.  We just have to invite her in.

I've had this idea for a while, to start doing some photography exercises on the blog.  To show you how to capture the rosy in your routine.  I suppose I've been afraid I would come across as silly, an amateur, or obvious.  Surely everyone knows these little tips.....but if you'll remember a post way back I decided to kick negative thoughts to the curb.  So, I'm going ahead with my little idea and here's Post #1! 

A practice in perspective. 
Sometimes I think we grudgingly lug our fancy camera around (or our tiny Iphone) and after snapping the obvious Kodak moment or two, we're just done.  We either don't know what else to photograph, or we feel that our pictures won't be good enough.  Practice my friend, makes perfect.  And a little perspective doesn't hurt either.  

Let me show you what I mean.  Look at the photo above-Do you see anything particularly interesting?
Me either.  I'm not standing in an attractive way, there's nothing breath-taking about my shadow, and the rocks and grass are just ordinary. 

Watch what happens when I place the cardboard circle (in the first pic) over a spot in the grass...
Ahhh....there it is. Beauty is found.  Would you have ever seen this beautiful piece of tree bark in looking at that great big, dull picture above?  I wouldn't have.  By placing boundaries on where my eyes rest, I have learned to notice beauty.  I see the beautiful ashy gray and peachy colors blending in this tree bark, the layers and texture.  

Do you see what I mean?  In looking at the "big picture" my eyes don't necessarily fix themselves on anything that special, beautiful, or unique.  Yet I've taught myself to take on a new perspective.  I believe that finding the rosy pieces of life, among the routine, is a learned habit.  I've learned to bend down, sit on the ground even, and look....
and then look again,
and look one more time until you find what delights your heart. 

Once you've found something you like, don't listen to the voice that might tell you it's silly, not pretty enough, or a waste of time.  Instead-make sure your flash is turned OFF (mine always, always, always stays off), and focus on the tiny object you want to capture. Snap-then look to see if you like the photo or not.  Take 10 pictures if you need to, changing your angle a bit each time, until your heart sighs a happy breath. 

Here's what I've learned about perspective.  Noticing the tiny things here and there that delight me make the big, more obvious scenes even more enjoyable.  When I look at the sky picture above I don't just see one glowing sky.  I see a fracture of light here, a ray of light there.  I see this cloud particle joining with that one, this piece of evening glow saying to that one-want to stick together?  I see a variety of components coming together to create that awesome, mighty, melting pot of an evening sky. 

{Want to practice some perspective this weekend?  Cut a hole in the middle of a piece of paper if you have to and plop it on the ground.  :)  Send me your favorite photo captured to sunshinebysara@hotmail.com}

We went to a fish fry.

Isn't that just lovely?  
We have some good friends from church who asked us over for a fish fry.  And believe it or not-this post actually doesn't have a single picture of fish!  I promise-there was fish and hushpuppies (the jalapeno were my favorite) and the best coleslaw I've ever eaten.  It was spicy and peppery with a kick.  
I don't know whether to be blessed or embarrassed (or perhaps both) writing this, but I've gone to church with this particular family pretty much my entire life.  I've attended the same church since I was in the third grade.....and I'm coming up on 30.  That'll tell you it's been a long, long time.  I've "known" this sweet family (or at least who they were) for years.  Years of a friendship missed? Perhaps.  But I'm so glad God got my attention with them now!  

This is their awe-inspiring greenhouse.  Their place just brimmed over with LIFE, things growing here and there, and chickens galore running around. 

Anna Ruth was in heaven and full explorer mode. As in, she didn't even want to sit at the table for dinner (that's a whole 'nother story we won't ruin this lovely post with, lol).  
And look at all these chickens!  
(I'm embarrassed and amused to say I STILL couldn't point out the difference in a chicken and a rooster.  I'm not quite as country as I'd like to be sometimes )
This sweetie is my friend's daughter.
Isn't her outfit fabulous?  
I'll take one in my size please.

Betsy Grace got her hands on some fresh spinach in the greenhouse.  This gal is an eating machine! She'll take whatever we'll give her, and then some.  I like her determined look here!  There's NO way we were getting that lettuce from her! 
I don't know what pretty looks like to you (outside of people I mean),
but this is it for me. :)

friends :) 

And this is my dear friend Naomi I've mentioned on the blog before! The kitchen queen!!! Seriously. She's divine in the kitchen.  She's also a creative soul, texts me randomly, sends me happy mail,
and is just the best friend a gal could ask for. 

What fun this night was! We ate outside and talked, laughed and looked at the garden.  I laughed so much! I told Brett on the way home I just wonder if we miss "it" sometimes.  We drove a bit over an hour to reach our friend's house this night which is longer than the girls are used to being in the car.  I think though, that sometimes we pray desperately for friends or just forget about even trying to make them altogether.  We spend an hour or two (or five) on facebook, but won't drive an hour to a friend's house. 

Can I tell you how worth it it is to have friends?  To feel at home among a group of believers?  To get your soul filled up and your belly too?  

If you don't have friends like these, be brave and friendly and pray hard.  That's how I became friends with Naomi in the first place. And see what fun we're having now? :) 

The rosy in my real life!

Hello friends! I'm here for another edition of "rosy in my real life!"  I tried to number these and do one for every week o...