Sunday, February 28, 2010

Show Me Some Recipes!

fresh veggies

It's been great being in our house and having my very own kitchen.  However, without internet and recipe books, I'm left to rely on old favorites or be creative.  Between home schooling and unpacking, my brain has little space to be creative, so I don't have a recipe this week!  Does anyone have any easy favorites they would like to share!?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pondering Life's Mysteries...

pondering

Friday, February 26, 2010

Leadership...Is It Glamorous?

This is the question that has been rolling around in my head lately. I've been reading the Psalms a lot lately, and I love how David is not afraid to let it all out with God. He asks what's on his mind and says what he's thinking. And I don't think God is one bit insecure about that. That's a little disclaimer to say that these are very raw but real thoughts and questions. None of these are necessarily a stopping point but merely a process rolling around in Jen's head.

wheat

Over the years, I've found that leaders are often scrutinized and judged with people having many different opinions on how to do the job. I think it's just the nature of who we are to do that. Expectations are often placed on leaders, some said, some unsaid, some realistic, others not. And unfortunately disappointment can occur all too easily. The pressures can be overwhelming as leaders balance all of this and take everything into consideration to determine what is the best for the whole. It can often be a lonely place.

Without being too negative and to offer something redeeming here, I will say that I believe it is a calling of God and one that requires total dependence on Him. And that's a good thing! Being point leaders these last years haven't always been easy, but they have brought me to my knees in total dependence on Him. They've also brought me closer to my husband in ways that I would never have imagined.

sun shining

So going back to my question, I would have to say that leadership isn't glamorous. It can appear that way when you see that man or woman up front, but behind the scenes, it can be tough. BUT I would and will do it for Him, because He alone is worthy!

So how's that for raw and real? Probably the first of many on this sabbatical journey! I can see why it is so important for leaders in ministry to take that time away...to reflect, to be filled back up, and just to rest. I know I definitely need it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm Lovin'

Bengal spice tea with a drop of agave!
bengal spice tea

Looking at the same old things in a new way.
fire hydrant

Simplicity.

Home schooling these 2 munchkins...most days anyways. :)
joshua home schooling
 
emma g home schooling

Baby knitting (not for me, mind you).
baby knitting
 
Hearing my boy read from the Bible.

Seeing the creativity ooze out of my kids.
DSC_0021
 
DSC_0023
 
Really fun snacks made by a really cool boy.
banana hot dog
 
That my husband gets home from out of town today!
 
A line I read in a book I'm reading, "God will not allow any of us to frustrate His love," because He just is love.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Simple

simplicity

Now that we've been in our house for a little over week, I've been able to settle into some kind of routine with the kids.  We're finding our new normal for this season.  A normal that includes regular bedtimes (finally!), home schooling days, and afternoon play with the neighbor kids.

Another thing I am enjoying is living a little more simply.  I guess it's the nature of the season for us with most of our belongings sitting in storage in Africa.  We are learning to get by on a lot less.  It actually feels so good.  Evaluating what is really needed and not having a lot of extra stuff that I have to find a place for.  Yes, it feels good.  It feels freeing.  It feels less weighty.  It just feels right.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Photography 101...Tripods, Monopods, And Understanding Lenses

I actually missed this class when I went to my friend's funeral but they let me make it up. So even though this was class number 2 in the schedule, it was actually the last class for me. In order to make it up, I had to sit in on a different teacher so some of the info was a repeat for me. Some things, however, that I found interesting...

We learned a bit about understanding lenses. Glass and aperture usually dictates pricing levels. There are 2 types of lenses: a fixed or prime lens which produces very sharp photos and a zoom lens which of course offers a good range.

I've decided that I want my next lens to be a Nikon 35 mm prime.  Look at that aperture!  1.8!  Beautiful.  And on my Nikon D40, a photo taken at 35mm provides a normal angle view (for many cameras it's 50mm).  It's a $200 lens but that's much better than the $1000 lens I was salivating over!



On tripods and monopods, there's a whole range of ones out there. I think they are a good investment. I'm really kicking myself for leaving mine in Africa! The teacher had this one in class, an inexpensive flexible one that seems like it might be worthwhile.

 I think I have chosen an expensive hobby.  Oh, well!  I still love it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Place To Call Home

front door

We've been in our home for several days and it's been such a blessing! When we first arrived back from Africa, we set out to buy a home. It seemed like it was the right thing for us as we travel back and forth a lot. A place to come back to seemed wonderful. But as we explored it further, the doors were closing. I have to admit it was a bit emotional for me. Being without a proper home for almost a year now, I was so ready to have one. I longed for a kitchen that was my very own, a place where my kids could each have their own room, and a good environment for home schooling my kids. Maybe I was being dramatic, but when it clearly wasn't working to buy a home, I was crushed.

So we began the hunt to find a place to rent. We were blown away by the prices of even renting a small apartment. But just like the faithfulness of God, He led us to the right place for us. A 1400 sq. foot, 3 bedroom 2 bath place at a great price. And it is just perfect. The kids have their own room. Our room is bigger than any room we've ever had, and there's a big window by the kitchen table that lets in beautiful sunshine for a perfect home schooling spot. Joshua has already made friends with the neighbor boys and spends his afternoons running around wearing himself out. He informed the boys that when it's hot, you take your shirts off because that's what they do in Africa. Oops! (It warmed up for a few days so you would see the kid from Africa running around barefoot with no shirt. :) )

And we have so felt the love from so many people as they have given us or let us borrow items to make this home. We have felt so blessed. It is just amazing. Some of you have asked for pictures which I will gladly show you as I get it all together. I am thinking of calling it my Corner Series as I let you in on the corners of our little place. So stay tuned!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ants On A Log

ants on a log

How to make ants on a log...

First, you take a very cute little girl who loves helping to make food.

Next, you find celery, peanut butter, raisins, and a plastic knife for said little girl to use.

Finally, you give all the supplies to the little girl to create her masterpiece.

And voila! You have ants on a log!

Emma Grace saw ants on a log on a TV commercial and thought it was fantastic so she wanted to make it for everyone! They were the best ants on a log I've ever had!

Oh, and I've spent my time this week cleaning and unpacking instead of cooking! Can you tell?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So Handsome

This guy is the coolest, most handsome 7 year old I know!

handsome son
photo by jeremy

Friday, February 19, 2010

We Teach Each Other Patience

I took these photos of Emma Grace about 3 weeks ago when we were visiting friends in South Texas.  Unfortunately I couldn't get my white balance setting right and they turned out a little yellow.  Let's just say it was meant to be antique, shall we?  Yes, we shall.  I look at these pictures and I'm reminded once again that we teach each other patience.  Oh, yes, in the best ways.  But in the midst of her learning patience, I get these great facial expressions that range from slight smile to utter boredom!  :)

not having fun

slight smile

turn this way?

looking for something

bored in the grass

Absolutely love it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sweater Weather

knitted doll sweater

It seems it's that time of year where everyone needs a sweater.  Everyone including little babies...at least their little mamas certainly think so! 

doll sweater

I've had almost a whole ball of yarn leftover from these projects (one sweet little vest and one very cute neighborly).  It's been staring me in the face as ideas have come pouring into my brain.  Ideas that sat there until they (or I) were ready to be put to life.

sleeve

After a sweet Valentine's lunch with all my loved ones, I decided to tackle a little sweater and see how those brewing ideas came out.  I didn't stop until it was finished (ok, maybe to eat dinner and put the kids to bed).  Let me tell you, this was so fun!  I knew I wanted some feather and fan action simply because I just love that pattern, but the rest just kind of happened in the moment.  The old ideas were there but new ones came into the picture and I just went with whatever felt right in that moment.

feather and fan

I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  I'm thinking this little doll needs some pants next!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Photography 101...Color Calibration And Printing

"The negative [digital] fill is the score, the print is the performance."  Ansel Adams

That quote is so true.  If you take a great photo but the print comes out bad, it ruins the photo, right?  But if you take a great photo and the print comes out beautiful, then it's so satisfying!  I don't print my own photos.  It just doesn't seem cost effective to me, but it is important to me to get prints that I am happy with.  Ones that I want to look at again and again in the pages that fill our scrapbooks.  Generally images printed between 200 and 300 dpi (dots per inch) are acceptable, because the human eye can usually see about 240 dpi.  Anything lower than 150 can appear soft and anything below 72 pixelates.  So be sure your prints are printed between 200 and 300 and choose a lab that you're happy with!  If you do print your own photos, make sure the printer and paper are compatible so that you get the best results possible.

pixelation
a photo that has pixelated

On color calibration...I never really paid much attention to this, honestly.  Well, I actually hadn't even heard of it.  Color calibration is basically adjusting your monitor's colors so that when you look at your screen, that's the print that comes out.  You can do this using devices such as a spyder or by going into your computer's settings.  You can set your monitor's calibration to match your printer.  Some photo printing sights even allow you to calibrate your screen to match the prints you receive from them.  Although I haven't paid much attention to this in the past, I definitely see the benefits of color calibration.

 calibrating your monitor using a spyder

I've always been the student to turn in homework so I was quite surprised with myself when I didn't complete the Using Flash assignment.  Maybe I was lazy.  Maybe it was too cold to go outside.  Or maybe it just wasn't my most favorite assignment.  The point is I didn't do it!  To make up for it, I decided to do it anyway.  So here's a photo using flash and a couple taken in low light with a long shutter speed.

snowfall
Flash was used in an effort to stop action to actually see the snow falling.
ISO 200, aperture f/5.3, shutter 1/320

snow at night
This was taken at 7:15 at night.  It was already very dark out.  I set the camera on a makeshift tripod.  It came out looking like it was taken during the day because of the long shutter speed.  You can even see the headlights shining out from the car.
ISO 200, aperture f/5, shutter 13 seconds

driving away
Taking photos in low light with a flash using a long shutter speed can result in the object looking like it has disappeared but a trail of lights leaving evidence that it was there.  This was taken at the same time as the above picture.  My husband was leaving for the store.  You can't see the car but you can see the line of tail lights.
ISO 200, aperture f/9, shutter 3 seconds

If you like taking low light photos, you definitely need a tripod to get the best results!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Moving Day!

photo taken from here

That's right! Today is moving IN day for the Price's! We're very excited to finally have a place to live for the next several months that we are here.  We don't have a lot of stuff but many of our friends are graciously loaning and / or giving us stuff to use.  I've scheduled a few posts but if you don't see me visiting your blogs for a few days or I don't make it to post a couple of days this week, it's because I'm getting settled (and because I might not have internet).  After 3 months already here in the states, I am so ready for this place to become home for this season.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Day

snow on the deck
snow day - berries

For my Texas friends, wasn't that snowfall last week incredible?  Over 7 inches!  When the forecast called for snow, I was skeptical.  And then when I woke up and saw the falling flakes that lasted the entire day, I was convinced!  It was a beautiful day.  I do think, however, than I'm wimping out.  I don't like going out in the cold!  The only thing I managed to do was snap a few shots of the beauty and the beautiful snowman built by a little girl and her daddy!

Snowman builders

Look at that man!

snowman

I always love those rosy cheeks that appear after a day of playing in the cold!

rosy cheeks

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