Thursday, April 30, 2009

the greener side

The grass always appears to be greener on the other side.

I'm on the other side...

And the grass is REALLY green.


my head is spinning, I am exhausted, I am hungry, I have more to do than time to do it...


my ability to unavoid activities that cause me to procrastinate is still fully intact.

{such as blogging.}

Love you all!


Monday, April 27, 2009

in a nutshell

My fascination with personality types, I believe, will quite possibly never die down. Every once in awhile I do a quick search for "Myers-Briggs Personality" online and soak in all the information I can!

Anyway, tonight I came across a very humorous but altogether very true collection of words that describes my personality type, an ENFP, in a nutshell.

It is as follows...

"outgoing, social, disorganized, easily talked into doing silly things, spontaneous, wild and crazy, acts without thinking, good at getting people to have fun, pleasure seeking, irresponsible, physically affectionate, risk taker, thrill seeker, likely to have or want a tattoo, adventurous, unprepared, attention seeking, hyperactive, irrational, loves crowds, rule breaker, prone to losing things, seductive, easily distracted, open, revealing, comfortable in unfamiliar situations, attracted to strange things, non punctual, likes to stand out, likes to try new things, fun seeker, unconventional, energetic, impulsive, empathetic, dangerous, loving, attachment prone, prone to fantasy."

For those of you who know me... does this sound about right? If you're interested and know what type you are, leave it in the comments and I'll get you your description!

Love you all!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

revealing power

My previous post lived up to its expectations. Last week was busy. In fact, I was hardly home. It's one thing to be busy with a self-employed business that is based out of the home. But it's an entirely different story to add a new part-time job + a 3-day training course at a different location.

Anyway, it was a great week. I learned an important truth last week:

I need people.

Now of course, we all essentially "need" one another. The cruelest form of punishment may just be solitary confinement. I'm not talking about the innate need we all posses to live with human beings. I'm talking about my personality. In order to feel truly fulfilled, I must be surrounded by people on a daily basis.

For 6 months, I have spent a lot of my time in a small purple office in the basement of my home. It has suited me well for the more computer-like nature of my work. Every once in awhile, there were days in which I had a meeting scheduled with a company, a dozen phone calls to make, or a photo session to conduct. Other than that, though, a large portion of my work was done in a solitary manner.

Fortunately, my business partner will be looking at her first week of cut-back hours at her current full-time job. This is an amazing remedy in my life and the life of our business; not only will I have a "team" player on a nearly daily basis, but I know a lot more production, advertising, marketing, and work will get done with the two of us on board. I love it that we will be working together a lot more and can really dive in with our all. Furthermore, this will keep me motivated and accountable as an individual with this creative business.

Ironically, as she will be coming into this with a lot more time on her hands, I am introducing a very busy time into my life. I was recently hired at the AC Home for the Handicapped, or Timber Ridge, as a 3rd shift person at the CILAs, which stand for Community Integrated Living Arrangements. These homes house a myriad of residents, and my job will be to come in at 10pm and sleep through the night at the home as a DSP. Of course, this requires training. Last week was the introduction to a lot of the required courses. I found myself highly interested in the health care field, while also understanding why it is I did not go into this field while at college. I never had a desire to serve medically, although I do have a desire to connect with individuals and reach out, and I believe this can be done with the basic knowledge I will be trained to have as a health care provider. Thus, my current opportunity.

However, I will be working 3rd shift. So the chances of grandiose human connection are nill compared to that of 1st and 2nd shift. Yet, I still find my self attracted to this human service-like job. As I sat through hours of training last week and, at times, was walking down the hallways of Timber Ridge, I could not help but smile continually. I thought to myself, "I love people." I really do. I love talking to people, learning from people, helping people, and be around people.

These past several months, I have been in an office all alone with little contact to the "outer world" or "tangible people" unless out on a meeting or photo shoot. Yet, I know that the Lord has placed me on this Earth to be a creative person and I am so excited for the opportunity to have my business and be in it with an amazing business partner, and I trust the Lord will reveal opportunities to be a blessing to many through it all. Especially now, when we have really gotten a lot busier and have the prime time to hit the ground running and make a difference as a team. However, I was glad to be reminded that the "people" part of my heart could be manifested in this other part-time job that I elected to take. I trust that my "creative" job will also fill itself with more human interaction in days and weeks to come, but this is another contribution to that important area in my life. It also fits into my schedule like a glove; it's a nice supplement to my busy daily schedule.

It has been so encouraging to see how the Lord has worked this out in my life and with perfect timing. It was one of those "extra special" gifts that I did not even ask for. It is as if the Lord knew what I needed and just landed it in my lap. We serve an awesome God! It is my prayer that this job, although it is just a "sleep shift," may be a blessing and a wonderful way to serve other lives beyond my own.

After my 3 days of training, I took half of Friday off to, well, sleep. =) I would literally get home from training and run off to my night-life activity, most of which was pre-planned and took up most of my evening. Upon returning home on those nights, I would attend to whatever IA work needed my urgent care and then head off to bed sometime after midnight. So needless to say, I was tired.

Saturday marked the beginning of a very fun "Wedding Photo Weekend" for Imagine Artists. The Lord blessed us with some beautifully warm weather, and we headed down to the U of I campus at Champaign to shoot the bride, groom and bridal party images. The campus was beautiful with flowering trees and unique buildings all around, so we had an ideal playground of ideas surrounding us on all sides. It was delightful. There was a huge event going on so a lot of high-school age kids were there, as well as a "photo contest" so Kristi and I had to smile when every once in awhile, someone would run up next to us and take a picture of our shot. Come to find out, one of the high schoolers ended up winning the competition with the bridal party as the subject! It was also over 80 degrees out, so Kristi and I were heated by the time it was all done. We grabbed a bit to eat on the road and headed back to Washington, which was a little over and hour drive. It was then that we realized the air conditioning in my car stopped working. So there we are, on 74, eating our Arby's with the windows wide open. It was a VERY warm trip home. =) We kept rolling down the windows and then back up, blasting the very warm air on our skin until we couldn't stand it any longer. But we made it.

Sunday brought about some more wedding photography at the reception. I was home by 5:30pm and in some desperate need of "active" time. Sometimes I just crave to get out of doors and just walk or jog while listening to music. It just does something for me. Even if I have been running all day, I would so much rather do that then take a nap. Naps seem to make it worse while getting out into the fresh air and walking it off rejuvinates me. So I did it, and I was so glad.

First of all, this weather is outstanding. The warmth is a temendous asset in my life right now. Secondly, I just updated my ipod so all of my newest songs were on there. So I went to my "recently added" list as I always do, and a particular song came on that stood out to me. Not to long ago, I was chatting with a friend online and he sent me a few songs from a CD called "Can You Hear Us?" The songs were written by Kaitlyn Pflederer and are the voice of those trapped in child trafficking. The words are powerful and the message meaningful, but I really hadn't paid too much attention to them until this evening. The song "Can You Hear Us?" and "Ridiculous" came on and the lyrics made me think as I was out in the outside air.

Then tonight, an event took place at my house that has been planned for awhile. Kevin & Erica Kipfer, family friends of ours, will be serving as missionaries in Ethiopia within the next several months and to gear up, they are having a series of informational/prayer meetings at our home. We are glad to have them host the events at our house as a more spacious option, and tonight was the very first meeting. It was fantastic! There was a great turnout of around 20-24 people, and the 3 Pflederer sisters came. Kaitlyn and her sister Liesel sang the song "Can You Hear Us?" to the group, and it was absolutely outstanding and heart-wrenching.

Earlier in the evening, Kevin talked about how we may hear that several thousand girls are affected and we just hear the number and may shake our head and think, "That's a shame." Yet what we don't realize is how very personal this is. Each number is a girl, a living breathing soul... like one of us. They showed a movie at the beginning that was powerful, speaking the message, "Imagine being sold off to a man... being addicted to drugs... seeing several "clients" tonight... and turning 8 years old tomorrow." That is the reality, believe it or not. And it goes on with a lot of lives that are so far removed from our own that in our own little air-conditioned homes with our very shallow, surfacey problems, we often overlook. It's the sad truth. Another truth is that we will not all be called to serve those wounded in this way, but we can still support in prayer. And we can certainly support those who are willing to go serve in this way... because we may have our own passions or areas of service, and the Lord will bless any of that work.

So it has been quite the week. I look forward to another busy one this time around!

Love you all!


Monday, April 20, 2009

thanks to calendars


It's Monday.

It is 10 til 9pm and I am still "working."

Well... technically, writing a post for my blog isn't working, it's just a nicely placed procrastination activity until I decide to work again. :)

Anyway, the rest of this week is going to be crazy busy. I realized that today in looking at my calendar. I recently discovered that I have learned to cope with life by writing everything down. We all know that my memory is worthless. I'm not even joking, it really is. I am one of those people who cannot remember anything to save my life. It's not purposeful. Really, it's not. To the contrary, I have to work really hard if I want to remember anything at all. I recently joked with a friend that just perhaps, my memory will only get better as I get older and I'll be one of those phenomenons that demonstrates the "reverse of Alzheimer's."

She was skeptical.

So, as I sit in my office, off to my right is a giant calendar that hangs on a bulletin board. If someone decided to burn this, I would be in trouble. On it is housed my "business" life. All of my client appointments, photo shoots, weddings, etc. is recorded on this calendar.

Well, the criminal would also have to burn my computer because I have a copy of my 2009 schedule saved somewhere on this machine.

Anyway, at the beginning of every week and often before even that, I take a good look at what the week is bringing me and make any necessary phone calls or e-mails to get or give directions or remind customers or my business partner of upcoming meetings.

Next, I look to my left. On my desk sits my "Procrastinator's Day Calendar" that has my personal life scribbled onto it.

Between these 2 calendars, I live day by day, letting my calendars tell me what is going to happen. It's a very freeing process. Letting the inanimate objects do all the work like that. So my brain doesn't have to.

Starting tomorrow, I have a 4-day training session for a part-time job that I recently acquired. I'm excited about the potential financial supplement this job offers, as well as doors that could open to schedulize my life even just a bit more and encourage responsibility, personal collaboration, and enlightenment in my life.

I'll fill you in on more details of that as it continues to unfold in my life, but anyway, that will take up most of my next 4 days. The remainder of those days will be used to sustain my Imagine Artists projects and maybe even fit in a social life.

Oh yeah, my mom leaves for Arizona tomorrow and she informed me that I have been elected as the cook while she is gone. So somewhere in there I will be going grocery shopping and formulating some sort of a supper menu. Leftover Monical's pizza is on the menu for tomorrow evening. My dad isn't too picky.

I must also have a veggie pizza made and a bag of chips & dip in tow by Friday evening, as I have successfully double booked myself for 2 events that night and I will somehow simultaneously attend both.

Then to top it all off, on Saturday and Sunday Imagine Artists is shooting a wedding. So I'm thinking the next available moment to breathe will be next Monday at this time.

See you then.


(Love you all.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

a time to dance

Tonight I finished a book.

I started reading it last night at 9:30pm. Around 1:15am, I shut off the light and willed myself to go to sleep. I read a bit today, then this evening I picked back up at 7:30pm and just read the last page not too long ago.

It's been a very long time since I haven't been able to "put a book down," but oh, it's such a good feeling.

I have recently decided that I spend WAY too much time with mindless activities that don't get me anywhere in life. They may entertain me for awhile, even hours, but to what avail? One of my solutions was to fill my time with more reading. Any kind of reading. Reading is good for the brain and a lot of times is educational.

In this case, it was also a boost to my spiritual life.

The book I just finished was about 2-decade old marriage between a couple that was at the brink of divorce. The man in the relationship was on the verge of an affair, and the wife had been too busy and caught up in her own little world for years to realize her relationship with her husband had dwindled by the wayside. Both spend the entire book in a prideful state of blaming the other for the imminent death of the marriage, ignoring warning signs and promptings from the Lord to fix it.

What stuck out to me was how the author showed God's Almighty workings throughout this entire book. How she weaves His goodness and His miracles in the characters, situations, and storyline to form this beautiful outcome. It paints this picture of turmoil, devastation, and a fiery trial only to deliver the characters stronger on the other side.

Isn't that how God works? As I read the story, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it have been easier if...?"

Often, at the end of the long road and horrible heartache, it's easy to look back and say, "If we had just had that conversation 6 months sooner," or "Had we just resolved this in the first place, then A, B, and C wouldn't have happened."

Yet often it is in those tough, tough times when the Lord reveals Himself to us the clearest and draws us closer in the process. Our human error is no excuse to not try, but in situations when it seems like we should have "figured it out sooner," the good Lord can turn our mistakes into miracles.

One exchange I read in the book went like this:

"... You're forgetting the first rule of being a Christian."

"What rule is that?"

"The enemy doubles his efforts when a breakthrough is right around the corner."

How often do I allow the really tough times to deliver me to the depths of despair? I hang my head in defeat, thinking I'm at the end of the road, when in fact the Lord may be holding the answer in His hand just inches away. It doesn't mean that every tough time will result in momentary rainbow, but what it does mean is that often we fail to see the spiritual battle that goes on when the Lord is working so closely with us. The devil doesn't want us victorious, so he steals away this joy by introducing temptation, trial, and hardship into our lives. This "doubling of his efforts" may last a day, a month, for years, or it may seem to last for a lifetime, but one thing is for sure. If we stay true and faithful to God, no amount of Satan's schemes will steal away the true joy and eternal reward we have waiting for us at the other end.

One of the bible studies I am doing right now teaches how to "Scripture-pray" but picking verses in the Bible and then praying the Words of Truth as a personalized prayer. In this book I finished tonight, the author showed God speaking to the characters in a still, soft voice through Bible verses. It was so powerful. It reminded me of the importance of using the Word as a beacon of Truth in my own life each and every day. Reading it keeps it familiar, but more than anything else, memorizing it locks it away in your heart forever. And certainly praying it is like speaking God's language to God. So the Word is a powerful tool and one of our main communication sources to the Lord.

There is much more I learned from this book but I will close, largely due to the hour.

Love you all!



Thank you to everyone who took my quiz—there was a total of 13 participants!

Here is the final score board:

Rank Name Score
1 guess 90
2 Kel 80
3 H 80
4 Kristi 80
5 Wilma 60
6 Friend 60
7 lol 50
8 I shall be nameless 40
9 Katie 30
10 rebekah kaufmann 20
11 tyrna 20
12 Tami 20
13 Vanessa 10

I feel like a teacher right now reporting these results, but here we go…

No one scored 100%. So I’ll put my gold star stickers away.

The person who scored 90% is anonymous. As you see above in the score board, it says “guess.” That person may choose to remain nameless or may reveal him/herself in the comments. I would love to know who scored the highest and quite honestly, I have no idea who it is. But whoever you are, evidently you either a) know me well or b) are a great test-taker! (or perhaps both.)

Kelly, Heather, and Kristi came in 2nd place with 80%. Good job, girls—all 3 are good friends of mine so I am pleased with their scores.

Wilma and “Friend” scored 60%, and “lol” scored 50%.

The rest were 40% and under. Someone even got creative in being anonymous and transposed the letters in my name as an identity.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who participated. For those of you who scored low, not to worry. The 3 closest friends of mine who took this didn’t get above 80%, and I was told by more than one person that this was “tricky.” The “all of the above” questions seemed to stump a lot of you. ☺

Now for the questions overview…

Most people either knew I walked fast or thought I was a “stop and smell the roses” type of girl.

A lot of people didn’t know that I love bacon cheeseburgers because they either picked chocolate or popcorn for my favorite food.

Several people thought my coffee shop of choice would be any vintage coffee shop, when in fact it is Starbucks.

Almost everyone knew the title I would least likely have would be “farm girl.”

A lot of people must think a nick name of mine was Tea Bag and may not know that I was actually called T Dog by 2 of my good friends back in the day.

Most people know my dream car, a green VW Beetle, but those that didn’t know this DID have tasteful backup guesses with the Golf and Mini Cooper. ☺

The next question was a bit controversial. A lot of people thought I would never run more than 1 mile. It would not be my 1st choice activity but I definitely would do it, and often jog for exercise. Also, others thought I would never shoot a deer. One of my good friends even to this very minute argues that I would NEVER do it. I told her if there was a plate with a mushroom in front of me and I either had to eat it or pick up the gun lying next to me and shoot a deer, I’d shoot the deer.

That’s how much I hate mushrooms.

A lot of people didn’t know I had 9 nieces and nephews. That one is tricky because I have a pregnant sister. Noah, Oliver, Naomi, Silas, Domniq, Sophia, Beau, Lola, and Tillie.

Almost everyone knew my original business was called Two Peas in a Palette.

The future boy names question was pretty scattered… the only person who would legitimately know the correct answer to this is Kristi, since I had this discussion with her recently. For all the rest of you… I just wanted to see how eccentric you think I am. ☺

Good job, everyone, and again—thanks for participating! This was fun.

Love you all!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

experimental shooting

Photography is an interesting concept in my life.

Not only is it my "job," but it is also my hobby. At first the line between professional work and my interest in it as a creative pursuit was a bit blurry, but now it seems to make sense.

Imagine Artists is a photography and graphic design service designed to provide a solution to customers who want to hire us (Kristi and I) as their "creative" eyes. Some projects are independent but most of the work requires both of us, which is what creates a meshing of our styles. Kristi brings classy simplicity and exquisite moments to the table, while I bring vintage texture and candid captures. This combination equals Imagine Artists.

Yet when the day is over and I am done editing photos or designing a logo, I still desire to create. Moments are always there to be captured, and whether I am at a family event or out on the town with friends, I "see" moments. I also desire continued education and learning, as well as experimentation. It enhances my abilities as a creative individual and as a professional.

One exciting opportunity I have had over the past few months is the monthly "Experimental Shoots" put on by a fellow photographer. Each month, he plans a shoot at a different unique location with models and photographers can come and capture images. It is a great way to meet new faces and collaborate with other creative people. It has been an interesting learning experience and a great way to experiment with the capturing of images and the post-production process. It has been fascinating to see the work output in so many different ways. We are all at the same shoot capturing the same models and shots, yet with different equipment and from different angles and perspectives. Furthermore, the editing process can change it up even more.

The first experimental shoot I went to was in January and we shot around in Pekin. I didn't make it to February's shoot, but in March we shot at a very awesome, old home in Peoria. Then last weekend, April's shoot was in Pekin again but at an old school that is boarded up and vandalized. It was a great location and a beautiful sunny day.

I will also mention that we had has some great models for the past shoots. Perhaps I will share some from March's shoot at some point, but following are some of my resulting images from April's session in Pekin.

Love you all!


Wednesday, April 08, 2009


I have decided that there are certain things in my life that seem to recur often. So following is a list of things that I might be addicted to. Note the version of "addicted" that I use here: "enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity." By the way, did you know that word is an adjective? I would have guessed it a verb.

1. Coffee
It has come to my attention that in the past 6 months, I have developed some sort of an attachment to this drink. It's funny, though. I brew a cup every morning but by lunch time I look at my blue coffee mug and usually I have only sipped 1/4 of the drink.

However, gas station coffee is a whole other story. I usually grab a 16 oz. cup and layer it with white chocolate caramel flavor and hazelnut coffee, switching back and forth from the machines. They haven't stopped me yet. It's my gas station specialty and it tastes so good. I usually almost finish the entire drink.

Then Starbucks is on a whole other level. In fact, Starbucks itself should probably make the list as a bold item category. But I'll just talk about it here. I hate to admit this but sometimes when I have errands to run in Peoria, I specifically plan my trip around when and where I can get a Starbucks coffee. My favorite drink of choice is the mocha frappucino, and on cold days, the mocha. I love it there.

2. Popcorn
When I say that I eat it every night, I am really not joking. It is to the point where nothing else seems like a better evening snack. Except a bowl of Lucky Charms. But most of the time, popcorn makes the cut. I love this salty snack, and I will put a shout-out to Orville Rendenbacher's Tender White flavor. It's truly a delight! A wonderful buttery snack to be enjoyed with friends, family, or all by yourself!

3. Gilmore Girls
I was introduced to this show a few years ago when I always heard my close friend talk about it. I thought, "What's the big deal?" Then I saw a re-run one day on TV and after just one episode, I was hooked. I asked my friend if I could borrow the previous seasons and I watched them all on DVD, getting myself caught up to what was at the time the last season.

I love the quick-witted chatter in this show and the mother-daughter relationship. It's such a charming show, and it always makes me laugh. Anyway, it is one of the few shows in which I could sit and watch re runs for hours.

4. Pictures
This is a good thing, considering it's a big part of my profession. But really, I love taking pictures and never really get sick of it. We had 3 photo sessions today and while it was exhausting, I still walk away at the end of the day loving it. I am thankful for that!

I have always felt that no matter where you are, who you are with, or what you are seeing in life, there is always something to capture. Always. How it is captured is up to the person capturing it, which is the beauty of being an artist. Anyway, I love images and "seeing" those moments, and when an image can lock away one moment in time forever, it is so special. If I could carry a camera everywhere, I would. Furthermore, if I could choose to be invisible in some situations, I would. I love photographing the candid moment.

5. Dessert
It just makes me happy. It really does. I love dessert. I thought about making this category "chocolate" but I feel as though chocolate falls into this bigger realm of possibilities. I'm not one of those people who eats dessert first or dessert instead of my meal, but I will always appreciate enjoying one. I have a big sweet tooth, that is for sure.


Love you all!


Monday, April 06, 2009

top.ten :

I am posting an early Top Ten Tuesday. It is one of the rare times in life that I am not late, so please treasure it.

I attended a birthday party for my 4-year-old and 6-year-old nieces on Sunday evening. It was very cool. I miss being a little girl.

Anyway, for today's Top Ten, I would like you to look at 10 images that I captured during this time.

Pictures speak to us all in different ways. Some of us react to the emotions of the person in the photo, others of us focus on what is taking place, and still some of us tend to look at colors, lines, and mood.

Choose the image that evoke the following responses and explain why:
1. A big smile
2. A chuckle
3. A feeling of nostalgia

While all of the images are similar in theme, each picture holds its own story. I will with hold from titling since I feel like that may play with your responses. I want this to be totally based off of the image itself.

Thanks for participating... it will be interesting to see what your choices are.











Love you all!