December 6, 2010

Dreams Come True in Blue Hawaii

It's true. It's really, really, true!!!!

Dad and Mom have been in Hawaii for 1 week, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. (Which was August 10th, but they wanted to go during our rainy, winter months.) They arrived home just the other night, and I have never seen them so bubbly, so tan, and so twinkly in their eyes. Was it *just* Hawaii that did that? Wow. I was impressed.

I really wasn't expecting any other explanation. I mean, it had been 14 years since they went away on a special trip, just the two of them. That explains it all, right?

We all were gathered around together in the living room the next morning. Nothing was out of the ordinary, except that I was down with a bad bad sore throat, so I sat there listening as much as possible while dozing in and out of sleep. Dad was telling stories. Anyone who has heard him tell a real full-on story, knows he is the best story teller alive. He can captivate a crowd with his animation. I've seen it happen!

Dad was explaining something about a "Captain Zodiak ultra speed boat adventure" they were looking into taking, and I hardly remember Dad handing David the brochure. My ears perked up when I heard Dad say, "Well...... the Guide told us that we couldn't go if we've had back surgery or are pregnant. So anyway, we were kind of bummed that we couldn't go . . ."

We all looked at them like ?????????????????????

Ummm... Dad, since when have you had back surgery??????????

Keslie matter-of-factly asked, "Soooooooo..... Why didn't you go?!!!!!!!!
ARE YOU PREGNANT?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I sat there like Costello, laughing at the joke- You know, how it's all good and silly, and then you realize that this is real as real could be!?!?!!?!?!?! David was the first to put the pieces of the puzzle together and jumped up to hug Dad, and Keslie followed suit, running straight to Mom. Our giggles turned into roaring screams, tears, and laughter. Everyone was jumping for joy!!!!!!!!!! And Dad and Mom sat there, glowing with that same glow that I thought Hawaii had given them.

Little did I know that God had given them a gift far greater than our wildest hopes and dreams.

But, it does make it seem that they did come true in Blue Hawaii!*!*!*!

Here's the clincher:

Mom is due on August 10th.
Their 26th Anniversary.{Mom is about 7 weeks along~ And we'd covet your prayers and God's grace for the journey. Obviously, we're all excited beyond words!!!!!! We're still in lala land.}

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

*all photos taken by Dad and Mom!

November 18, 2010

Handmade Gifts by Rambellwood Studios

Just thought you'd like to know about this goldmine~ especially with Christmas quickly approaching! I've received cards from Rambellwood Studios, and I always LOVE them... They're unique, creative, wholesome, personable, and most importantly:: made by a gem of a girl. Please do stop by Emma Ramsey's Etsy shop and consider getting a set! I know you'll love them! (Click on the banner to visit the shop^)

A card like these is definitely a gift in itself~*~

November 12, 2010

Two be or not two be...

That is the question.

Do you think it's confusing {or an unnecessary hassle} that I have a Crooked Stream "business website" AND a "personal blog"?

I could combine them.

I could keep it how it is.

What do you think? I'd love to know!


October 28, 2010

Two Little Punkies... went to town.

"Punkie"~ that's what Emma calls them...

(Hats by Keslie!)
I went along with these little punkies on David and Keslie's trip to the big city yesterday. (Chiropractor and flooring store, oh yessss!) I sat smack dab in the middle... We laughed, we cried... Well, *I* didn't cry, BUT at one point I did have a crying choir in the back seat. THAT is when I had to start laughing!!!! Oh, you dear babies... :) What a memorable trip that was!

Molly Dolly~

October 22, 2010

Meet Molly!

As a second born, I must say, YAY for second borns!!!!!
God is so good, so faithful...
Meet Molly, my second born niece~
Check back soon for more pictures!*!*!

October 11, 2010

The Little Yellow House | Simple Love

This little yellow house is the new home to a sweet little family~ my sister, her husband, their little Emma, and baby-on-the-way... It's so perfect for them, but not quite polished up enough to move in right away. That's where we've been this week: polishing, painting, sanding, and enjoying this happy home together.

I've nominated this song as David and Keslie's "theme song". You do that too, right? Theme songs? They're the best! This one struck me one day, reminding me of them in more ways than one: from the "little yellow house", to the "two children", "beautiful wife",
and their
"simple love: always giving, never asking back".
It's true, all of it.

I want a simple love like that.

Love the barn... It use to be a gift shop, so I've heard!

We did do some celebratin' too... just for Kess, on her birthday. It made my whole week just to see the look in her eyes when David brought her Tulip bulbs. She couldn't stop smiling, kissing him, and exclaiming "You're so amazing!". It was priceless.

Oh! And we planted all 90 of those bulbs, too...

Keslie, Mom and I cooked a bunch of freezer meals for when Baby arrives~

Emma was entertained by a little Caterpillar while we worked on the house.

The Smith girls came by for a day, and we painted, and painted, and painted....... Don't ya love that room? (It's the guest room, by the way!!!!!)

David's friend, Caleb, came and worked all week as well. They re-did the ceiling in the living room. I had to record them working on their "paint bucket stilts". Looks like Ben LOVED the idea... And there is the little mommy workin' hard!

Gabe has started the family tradition of singing "Happy Birthday" backwards. Wait, no, you want to hear me sing it? Okay...It goes like this:
Birthday Happy, you too.
Birthday Happy, you too.
Birthday Happy, Keslie dear.
Birthday happy, you too!
*and instead of blowing OUT your candles, you suck in*
^It makes for flattering pictures anyway- because you don't look like a chipmunk!!!!!!^

And...uh....well.... that was the only candle we could find!!!!! ;)
It's never easy to say goodbye.
But that Simple Love carries on and on,
even when you're miles apart.
And even so, we happily arrived home to our much missed, dear Daddy, who had been holding down the ranch. The amazing guy BBQed dinner for us: steak, salad, and French bread...
These are the "good old days".

October 7, 2010

Teaching Art

I love being creative. I love observing. I love beauty-
I love this thing called "art"-
Teaching it though, is a whole different art in itself. Whether it be a drummer boy in my studio by morning, a little sis wanting to sit together at the piano by evening, or an up and coming photographer brother running my biggest black camera...

I mean, it's something I've always loved, so what more would I want than to spread that "love of the beautiful" around and around and around until I was spinning? I've always had grand images in my mind of walking, skipping, and running through the great outdoors with little children at my side, listening intently to every word I had to offer. Artists like Beatrix Potter, Edith Holden, Maria Von Trapp, and Miss Stacey all came to mind.

But there's more to it than just that..

Some people say art is something that can't be taught. You can honestly look at that from either prospective. The prospective that I've personally discovered is teaching the heart that is behind it all.
That was the lesson I learned today.

Our most recent project has been Nature Notebooks.
(Can't forget the bags of Sunflower Seeds! Wow...)

It seems so simple, so self explanatory: You go with an open mind and empty page, just waiting to be filled.

I can't stop smiling as I think about the last 3 nature trips I've made the past 3 weeks. There I was, outside, with the children by my side. My dream had come true!
Who said they would stay by your side? Or want to hear about mottling? Or even remember what it was? What about the famous "I've gotta goooooo!!!!!" when you just opened your notebooks after hiking to your observation spot? What about the boys who would rather climb the tree instead of sit there "observing" the mushrooms that grow on it? Or shoot the grouse, squirrel, or pigeon before they draw it? How about distractions? You ever get those, too?

When I came inside after our very first nature notebook trip I almost cried.
It was the very opposite of what I had thought it would be, all these years. I didn't feel like the sweet "Miss Stacey", I felt more like the insane orphanage lady who couldn't keep her head on straight!!!!! ;)

It hit me just today...
After much convincing that today's "spider hunting" would be a blast, we were heading up the dirt road. This art adventure wasn't any easier than the last. Nothing had changed...yet. But you can't stop, just because people don't do what you want them to do, or don't love what you love. You press on, you put your heart into it. So, I pressed on, encouraged on, observed on, drew on, hoped on, prayed on...even though on the inside, my heart ached.

I had plopped down in the middle of the road and looked up as much information as possible in my field guide about spiders and their webs. I read aloud, the words reaching the kids' ears, planting seeds of curiosity. We observed the sticky spokes of the intricate web. We drew those spokes and spirals. We learned that it was called an "Orb Web".

And then something changed.

I wasn't performing some miraculous formula or technique. I was just constantly magnifying God's creation. It speaks for itself. It reveals HIS heart behind all that He has created. This is what gives birth to that deep, awe inspired love. That is the answer. It's not me, not what I have to offer...

Suddenly one of them shouted with honest delight, "This is amazing! I never knew this!!!! I LOVE this kind of school!!!!!". Just then I almost cried, out of happiness, this time. They saw it.

It had captured their hearts.

The greatest thing about teaching is that it reveals what is in our own hearts. It digs up a lot of dirt that we didn't even know was there. We focus so much on the task set before us, when the #1 focus should be the heart that is behind it all. That is the very essence of an artist. That is from which everything flows...

And I thought I'd be teaching? ;)
I've learned more than I ever imagined.

When you hit that wall, press on.
Getting to the other side is not easy, but it's far more rewarding than you ever imagined.
"Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as the droplets on the fresh grass and as the showers on the herb. For I proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God!" Deuteronomy 32:2&3

August 9, 2010

Augustine Alaskan Salmon

It's here! It's official~ We launched our site today.
Order your Augustine Salmon today!

July 26, 2010

JR and Amy Ellen

This Saturday, there were countless people touched by the precious marriage of J.R. and Amy Ellen. God's goodness was poured out abundantly, and we all walked away that glorious summer day with more in our hearts than when we arrived.

It was breath-taking~

Dear ones traveled from far and wide to witness this union back on the original Family Farm. Words can hardly describe the depth and feeling that was woven into the very fiber of this event...

And to top it off, everyone from the Sunny South brought some of that much needed sunshine with them to the chilly Northwest~ It was a wonderfully warm day, I tell ya!

It was a very, very happy day~*~

June 23, 2010

A Bridal Gown for Christa

Remember this wedding? "Plumfield"?

There is a certain reason beyond being their photographer that attaches me to this beautiful wedding...

I made her wedding dress.

That's where I've been for the past two months...

...Happily sewing the dress of her dreams.

In the process, I began to fall in love with everything about it.

I tried to catch her likes and personality in each detail.

I didn't want people to look at her and just think that "Christa's wearing a gorgeous gown"... But rather, have the dress be absolutely perfect for her that people's first reaction was "Christa, YOU are gorgeous!"

I've never experienced anything like what I felt when I watched her on her wedding day...wearing this Ivory dress.
She truly took my breath away.