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cherish this day



the joy project june 17 2 Being still, being quiet, listening, and waiting. None of these things come naturally for me. My mind seems wired to think ahead, to plan, to talk. But the older I get the more I realize how much I need to take time for all of these things. I need them to hear, to know, and to feel God's presence around me.

Please visit the Cherish this Day blog to see a collaboration of work from photographers across the world. Each of these ladies were a part of my Everyday Beauty workshop and I am so grateful to know each of them. We are all inspired to capture the beauty in our lives daily.



embracing today for Him

embracing him 1 ginger unzueta This week I was listening to the radio when one of the artists began talking about God's purpose for our days here on Earth.  He said how many of us are running through life at this incredible pace.  He continued to share how many people are  living for the day to be over, so they can get to the next day, or the next weekend, or the next vacation.   Parents are waiting for their children to get older, so they can do life differently. Many parents, and even students, are wishing away the school year; dreaming of summer, when things will become slower. People are working jobs, with hopes of finding the next better one.   Others are waiting for their next big accomplishment; a new house, a new car, a new whatever the "it" thing is for them.   

God did not intend for our lives to be this hurried rush.  He gives us our days to use for His glory and His purpose.   I believe He wants us to soak Him in and to take time for relationships with others.   He commands us to love others.  We can't fully love others if we aren't slowing down enough to appreciate "the now". We aren't ever completely enjoying our days, if we are rushing on to the next one.

As I listened to this artist speak, I knew I had been guilty of this mindset myself.  Many times my husband has been gone on deployments or overseas for work, and I counted the days down until he returned.  The past few weeks have been filled with obstacles in our home.  We encountered a broken dryer, a broken fridge, a broken air unit, a flooded bathroom, and a tree falling in our driveway, which had to be removed after smashing our neighbor's car. During these weeks, I let the stress add up, and my days became a blur.  I went from one day to the next, just surviving.

I have made a conscious effort the past few years to really live a slower pace of life. We home school our children and spend a lot of quality time as a family. We love the outdoors and you can often find us relaxing and enjoying God's beauty around us.   We limit our outside activities and commitments and try to appreciate each day.  I realized as I thought back on the past month, that I am great at embracing today, until today, goes off course.  It is then that I often, let the distractions affect my mood and my focus.  God tells us in Psalm 46: 10 to "be still, and know I am God."

He doesn't want us to do life on our own. We have to sit still and delight in today for Him. We need to do this so we can hear Him and to be assured that He has our life in His hands.  He wants us to come to Him and leave our worries, our problems, our dreams and desires all at His feet.  As we do this, we can better enjoy the life we have today, just as it is.

This week I have slowly felt our normal routine take hold again. I have spent time being still and it feels exceedingly better than over tired, stressed and empty. These moments of stillness are always good for my soul.

One night I watched my youngest while she played with one of her cousins.  The big siblings were off at church and these two were enjoying the beautiful summer like evening. I now look at these images and can't help but think how children really embrace today for all it is.  They live in the moment and soak up the glory of now.  It is a beautiful thing.

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the joy project may 8





rainy morning bowling

It was Monday of Spring Break and it was raining, so we decided to head to the bowling alley with some of the cousins and Aunt Katie. What a fun and chaotic time we had together. The bowling alley doesn't have the best lighting and some of these images missed focus, yet, somehow they come together to tell the story so well. One of the things I am trying to embrace more often is imperfection. I want to save the snapshots in addition to the more polished pictures, because this is life right now. reflections 2GIU_8262 blogGIU_8259 blogGIU_8248 blogGIU_8217 blogGIU_8227 blogGIU_8250 blogGIU_8259 blogGIU_8241 blogGIU_8208 blogGIU_8243 blogGIU_8266 blogGIU_8283 blogGIU_8287 blog

Please head on over to the Cherish this Day blog to see the everyday beauty captured in the lives of some very talented  and special ladies.



cherish this day | october

"Life is fleeting. It is to be enjoyed."-Tori Amos

One morning this week my 4 year old daughter woke up asking for her cousin to come play.   We had a car to get washed, groceries to buy, dinner to start, and schoolwork to be completed.  BUT I told her that we would try our best to have her over some time during the day.  While out grocery shopping we stopped in the dollar tree and stocked up on some fun craft supplies: glitter, foam crowns,  and sequins.   I was able to talk to my sister n law and arrange a play date while our older kids were at church later that afternoon and evening. It was perfect because I was able to give the little girls my full attention so we could make beautiful princess crowns.   We couldn't have asked a more glorious evening, so I set up all of our supplies on a picnic table in the yard. I gave the girls the glue, paint, glitter and sequins and let them have fun until their hearts were content.  Glitter was thrown, paint was spilled, and the mess was everywhere. It was wonderful.   Everyday's a true gift indeed.

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Now, head on over to the Cherish this Day Blog and see what other beautiful every day moments have been captured.



cherish this day | august

This  week we began our new school year which marks our third year of homeschooling.   After having done this for the past two years we were all excited to get started again. I have found that as much as I appreciate and LOVE the long, lazy days of summer, I do enjoy the routine of school as well.  And, as I told our children, since we live in Florida and we home school, summer is really not over. We have many more days ahead of playing outdoors and we keep our school schedule very relaxed. I am by no means a homeschooling pro but I will say that I am so much more confident and relaxed in my choices as we start this new year. I have been able to see all the benefits and lovely way of life this choice for schooling offers us.   That is not to say there are not hard or frustrating days, but I am much more at ease in handling them.

This year our children will be in 4th grade, 1st grade, and pre-school.  It will be our third year using Sonlight Curriculum. This curriculum works well for me and our children. I love that the lesson plans are made for you and I can then make changes if I chose.  This will be our second year using Singapore math for our older children.   We are starting a new Science Curriculum which I am loving so far called Nancy Larson Science. I am using one unit and making it work so that all of our children can learn and grow with it.  We are also trying something new this year with our schedule.  This year we will do our Math and Science combined on one day and History and Language arts on another day.  We will repeat this through the week. Then we will do handwriting, Bible study and reading all five days.  For my preschool aged daughter I am working on introducing letters and doing a lot of hands on learning with her. She loves to create things so I am trying to incorporate this into her learning. I will use a very relaxed style of learning with her as I want her to love to learn.  I plan to include her in reading time and other areas as well to expose her to what her brother and sister are learning. I have been reading a book called The Three R's, which I have enjoyed getting ideas from as well.

I really love that through homeschooling parents can pick curriculum and learning tools based on their children's interests and learning styles. I talk to so many other mothers that do things completely different and it works awesome for their family. I love that!

Our first day of school began with homemade waffles and the start of our new Bible Study called...Who is God?  (And Can I really know Him?) After breakfast we worked in the school room for a couple of hours on our daily lessons.   We took a break for lunch and our afternoon reading and quiet time.  Finally, we tie dyed.  This has become an annual first day of school tradition which the kids LOVE.   The day ended with porch play in our pajamas and popsicles.  I'd say it was a wonderful first day.  I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to spend this time with my children daily. Its such a blessing to see them growing together in the Lord daily.

Please be sure to stop by the Cherish this Day Blog and see all of the amazing images from our group.



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“While there are birthdays, holidays, and special occasions, most of life happens messily in between the milestones.  And we can’t forget to celebrate it.”  -Maile Wilson it really is the moments in between all the milestones and celebrations where i find us and the beauty of the life we have been given.   i used to think that what i lived and knew as ordinary was everyone's ordinary.   slowly, my eyes have been opened to the world around me.  this has come in many different ways, but i am thankful for each way it has happened.  no, the peace, the light, the calm (even amidst the chaos of three young children) that we seem to know in our home, in our family, is a unique gift. it is a gift i thank God for daily.  it is also a gift i want to capture and savor and document.  it may not be our forever, but it is our now and i never want to forget these days together.  they are cherished.

one afternoon my girls made strawberry ice cream.  their only request was to do it all by themselves.

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please follow along to the cherish this day blog.  together, we are mothers and photographers who want to capture the beauty in our every day lives.


this group was formed after finishing my first Everyday Beauty workshop with the Bloom Forum.  it has been amazing to watch each of these ladies grow in their photography over the past few months.



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"every summer has a story" -unknown there is such  beauty in the long summer days and the carefree essence that seems to accompany them.  this summer, my children have been spending most of their free time playing outside with their cousins.  it's something i truly never take for granted.  i love that they are each only a short walk away from our home. i love that having them in my home is very familiar for me and them.  and i love the craziness when they are all together.

i cherish this time of our life--it is unique and something i never want to let go.

i participate in this project with a very special group of ladies. they each were part of my first Everyday Beauty workshop.   i'd love for you to go to the Cherish This Day blog and see all of their amazing work. they have each grown so much in the past two months.  i will be hosting another workshop in July if you are interested in learning more about capturing the Everyday Beauty in your own home.



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“Photography is (a means by which we)…learn to see the ordinary.”  David Bailey In March I was blessed to teach my first photography workshop called Everyday Beauty with the Bloom Forum.   I am really excited that I will be teaching it again in July.  I made many wonderful new friends through my class.  I have grown to love their hearts and talent alike.  What a gift it is to watch them grow and challenge themselves daily to document their families.  When the ladies in my class decided that they would form a blog circle to continue their everyday beauty exploration, I was over the moon.  I was even more excited that they wanted me to join them for this project.

Each month we will have a different theme to capture in our home.   The theme for this month is pretend.  I have to be quite honest in that these were pictures I had shot before the theme was given to me. My camera has been in the repair shop for over two weeks, but I didn't want to miss this first month.  I hope to get more creative in future months--I've missed my camera so much.

Be sure to go to our Cherish This Day blog to see the other beautiful pretend images.  I am blown away by their images this month.

And thank you to all of my students. I am so blessed to have you each in my life now.