Art Shop Update! (new prices and originals!)

Morning everyone! I am ready to greet you with colorful art and photographs after a summer break in the shop.  Needless to say, I am VERY excited to have my Etsy shop freshened up with some of my summer art! 

There are a few changes I want to let you know about.  First, prices have changed.  Art prints are now $14 with $2 shipping.  That's a $7 difference (saving you the seven dollars) from before.  All art prints are 8x10 and printed on Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster with archival inks, so they won't fade over time.  

I also added many, many originals from my art journals.  This means they are done on paper instead of canvas, making the price point more affordable for those of you interested in originals.  

You can also find various sizes of photography canvases as well as a few favorite art prints in the shop, along with all these new goodies! 

You can find my shop here:  
If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at

I am honored and delighted to share a bit of my heart with you through my art and photography! Thank-you so much for coming along on this fun journey! 

Exploring Kansas City!

Morning! You guys, this photo feels like you crawled inside my brain! We went to Kansas City recently on a one-night family get-away. One of the many fun stops we had was at the Hallmark Center.  This fun little scene is from Kaleidoscope, a free art exhibit for kids!  You simply get a ticket for each of your family members ahead of time by walking in and taking the next available time.  Once your time arrives you are ushered into the coolest, most creative room ever filled to the brim with art supplies that are all free to use!  Brett and I had just as much fun here as the girls! 
For us, one of the most fun parts of the trip was simply picking a cool park and letting the girls play.  Another free, fun thing to do that worked well for everyone!  The name of this park was Hawthorne Park.  It also had swings and a playground.  Our girls quickly made friends with the other children and had a blast playing! 
Union Station was another big hit.  The building alone was gorgeous! We paid $5 for two-hour parking but once inside enjoyed this awesome free model train exhibit.  I mean like a whole room filled with every kind of scene you could imagine, with trains rolling through!  We were at Union Station on a Sunday so most things didn't open until later that afternoon.  After doing some exploring in the building we quickly figured out we must plan another trip soon where we can actually visit the other awesome places in Union Station. 

For example, Science City is a museum for kids that we can use our Amazeum pass at and get in for free! We also noticed an Imax theater and several other neat things we wished we had time for.  

I got to sit on one of these benches for about 5 minutes while Brett took the girls to see the trains.  The quiet was amazing.  

Crown Center was another fun little spot! For starters they had a giant Crayola store! 

There was also a Mr. Potato Head exhibit at Crown Center and you guessed again. Yeah! 

While waiting for our schedule time at Kaleidoscope we did the self-guided tour of Hallmark.  My girls were amazed at the bow machine, the huge display of Christmas trees, and all the beautiful art and ornaments! 

I can imagine how incredibly fun it was for the person that got to create this!! 

A few other things we enjoyed were eating at some places I'd read about on Yelp and visiting Barnes and Noble, which is always a favorite for our family. 

Overall the trip wasn't perfect, as it may seem.  You know my view on this! Please share the real view! We had tons of bathroom visits and even more talks about being grateful/having a good attitude.  We had a meltdown or two and five wake-ups in the hotel.  Was the trip worth it?  Yes.  Because no matter if we travel far or stick close to home the expectation for our family isn't perfection.  It is saying yes to adventure though and we certainly did that! Brett had never even been to Kansas City before this weekend so that was fun!  We were impressed by how clean and beautiful the city was and truly easy to get around.  We are already planning our next trip! 

Where have you explored lately?  Or what is on your adventure list? 

DIY letterboard and the power of "no".

Are you shaking your head laughing, wondering why my title says "no" and my first photo says "yeah!" .  I can explain, I promise! I have always wanted a letter board.  If you unloaded the random wish list from my brain onto a notebook page the results would be strange and would leave you curious.  Things like "set of lockers, letter board, and a good pair of overalls" definitely make the list, among other random objects I'm just waiting to come across serendipitously.  I thought I was close to checking "letter board" off my list when I noticed them popping up all over Instagram.  I did a bit of research and quickly discovered these cute little boards were way out of my budget.  

So I put my creative thinking cap on and started hunting around Etsy.  I came across a listing for these letters at a super great price and immediately purchased them. 
To finish my letter board I simply stuck them onto an old canvas and watercolored the edges.  This project couldn't have been any faster or easier, plus it was inexpensive! 

As for the words on the canvas, well, they have a story of their own. 
Does God work on you and work on you, slowly and steadily over time through all different ways of communicating? He does me.  Perhaps I'm a bit slow to listen to Him.  But whatever the reason, the past year He has done a life-changing work in me.  Through sermon podcasts, discussions over bible verses with Brett, certain songs, books, being quiet, many prayers, conversations with others, and just complete signs from God, I have learned the value of both "no" and "yes".  

Previously I was living a life of hustle, of "dream bigger", of serving my IG/blog world more than my world, of trying to be the skinniest, most successful, and biggest people-pleaser.  This way of living was exhausting.  Combined with raising two babies, being a wife, and barely being a friend, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  I have since learned the value of a good hearty "yes!" and a grace-filled no.  I shared this with a friend over coffee this week (a wonderful yes!) and we got so tickled at all the ways people will truly to pull you, all the directions your time will be tempted to go. 

I won't go into all my "no's", because there are too many to list.  
Just know that my "yeses" include those glorious words above.  They include showing up in real life for my friends, day in and day out.  Texting, dropping dinner over, sending prayer videos via text, or lending a listening ear in real life.  My "yes" includes giving my family my best energy first, researching and learning more about adoption and foster care and scriptures concerning orphans more than ever before, painting because it's simply fun, and photographing families because it fits well with our family's schedule.  My "yes" includes stacks of laundry, a fridge full of home-cooked food, opening my home to others, and also giving myself grace to rest and be quiet.  It means not posting my whole life on Instagram or trying to be anything other than what I am, myself.  No more, no less.  

My "yes" means I can curl up with a good book, pressure-free.  It means I can handle the big, hard things of life that seem so near some days because my brain and to-do list aren't clogged.  It means a much, much shorter "to do" list than ever.  

Where do you stand on all of this? Have you found the freedom in saying yes to the best, most needy things, leaving your soul filled to tend those actual needs? Have you included self-care and enjoyable things in your "yes", so you are refreshed to take care of others? 

I'd love to hear your heart. 
(p.s.-one way I stay refreshed is with music! Christy Nockels is playing while I'm typing!)

focus and perspective: a mini photo lesson

Photography runs in my veins.  I'm not sure why, I just see the world in photos.  Driving down random roads interesting backdrops stare back at me, the rest of the world fading.  Rain is no longer just rain.  It becomes a million sparkles, just begging to be photographed on the freshly washed grass.   The business side of my photography is simply the icing on the cake. It thrills my heart immensely to offer the gift of storytelling through photographs to others.  But, (and don't take this the wrong way) it isn't the whole cake.  If I never photographed another family on earth besides my own, I would still pull out my camera on a daily basis.  It just does something for my soul.  I am in a season right now of figuring out what gets to take priority in my heart and mind.  I can tell you for sure, the photography stays. 

Once upon a time I taught a one-day photography retreat on the farm.  What complete joy it was to share my passion with others and see their eyes light up at this amazing gift we call photography.  Today, let's pretend that we're on a mini retreat together.  Lean in close-I have a few tips that hopefully will inspire your own photos! 
 First, let's talk about focus! I want you to go back up and look at the first chicken pictured again. 
Now look at this one.  See how the focus has changed?  

These photos were taken with my phone, by the way. In the first photo the focus is on the whole scene.  I simply held the phone up to the scene and moved it up, down, and to the left and right, trying to find that sweet spot of light.  Then I took the photo. 

In the second photo I stood up, instantly putting me at an angle where I was looking down at the chickens.  I noticed that the chicken wire made an almost "frame", so I decided to go with it.  While holding the phone still I tapped the phone screen where the chickens were.  This made the focus box show up around the chickens, leaving them extra-sharp looking and the chicken wire fence blurry. 

This is one of my favorite ways to take a photo.  You still notice the chicken wire and it definitely helps play up the story of the image, but by choosing to have it out of focus your eye goes entirely to the main subject-the chickens. 
 Tip number two is all about perspective.  As I was traipsing around the garden this flower caught my eye.  You might be surprised at first that I took a picture from behind the flower, instead of in front.  But remember, perspective is everything.  I'm always fascinated how a group of people can all photograph the same thing and yet every single view/angle/take on that same thing will look different. 

It is pounded into our heads as children how unique we are and how great that is!  Then as we get older the shininess of being unique kinda wears off.  Or we learn certain rules for photography.  I remember this one, simple "rule." Find what makes my heart feel something and photograph that

Do you see the many layers on the back of this beautiful flower?  Or how it seems to bow down in awe at the beautiful, blue sky?  Or how about that one petal on the bottom that is kicked back away from the rest, just doing its own thing?  That's what I see from this perspective.
The obvious way to photograph these flowers would be to hold your phone or camera above them.  That would certainly deliver a gorgeous view.  But these two beauties, hanging out next to one another, are as equally interesting from the side.  To take this photo I did the same thing as I mentioned in the first tip-I tapped the flowers to put the focus there and let all the green grass and blue skies fade into the background and become blurry.

Again with the side view! Come on, I bet you even have a favorite side view of yourself.

When looking for an interesting perspective to capture, don't forget the side view.  Things aren't always their most beautiful selves from capturing them straight on or from up above.  I thought this photo was made interesting also by the fact that the flower is the main focus, with not much of the stem showing. 

As always, I love to capture things up high, even if it means holding the subject up high yourself!
That blue sky just paints the most gorgeous, eye-catching background for this simple bouquet of flowers.  Had I just held the bouquet up with the dirt as my background, the dreamy affect wouldn't have been near the same. 
And last but not least, don't forget to also look down low! I got way down on the ground to capture this basket of okra and flowers.  If I had stood up to take this photo a lot of the details on the front of the flowers would have been missed. 

I challenge you to look for new ways to focus and find perspective this week! 
Any other photography questions? Ask away!

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...