What a beautiful way to end 2009. The weather forecast said it would begin snowing around 6:00 a.m. I awoke at 5:38, and by 5:55, I was downstairs to let Puddin' out. It was already falling and just beautiful. Did you know that you can actually hear snow falling? At 5:55, it is very quiet outside, so I was able to hear the snow gently falling to the ground.
When the sun came up, I was able to capture a few photographs. I am so glad to have snow cover again. It's amazing how pure and clean everything looks under a blanket of freshly-fallen snow.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
How often do you see the sunrise or sunset? It comes and goes so quickly. I am blessed that my desk is right next to a window that faces to the east. I am able to enjoy the beautiful sunrise every morning while I work. The thing about sunrises, though, is that if you blink, you can miss them.
Most mornings, I see the sky begin to light up every so subtly behind South Mountain. Then, in a matter of minutes, the entire sky explodes with beautiful pinks, oranges and reds. But, just as quickly as it came, it's gone again, and the sky is just grayish blue.
I believe the sunrise is God's good morning greeting to us. As the Psalmist declared, "the skies proclaim the work of his hands." There is no real purpose for a beautiful sunrise and sunset. I believe God created them for our enjoyment alone, so we could look at the sky and realize how incredible He is, and just how much he loves us.
Sunday afternoon, Kurt and I went down to West Chester, PA to visit the QVC studios. It was amazing. I have been a viewer of QVC since Jonathan was a baby. I would watch QVC in the middle of the night when I would be up with him. I rarely order anything, but I love to watch. QVC has definitely found it's niche. The show hosts make you feel as though they are right there in the room with you. When I am home alone, I often turn on QVC just because then I don't feel so alone.
The tour was incredible. Unfortunately, they did not allow cameras in the studio, but we were able to take pictures in the lobby which was really neat.
It was really exciting because my favorite QVC host is Mary Beth Roe. When we began the tour, we found out that Mary Beth Roe was on the air right then. I was beside myself I was so excited. There were other "QVC Groupies" (as Kurt called us) on the tour too. The men (along with Kurt) didn't quite understand our excitement about much of the tour.
We were able to look through glass down at the studio and see it all going on. I thought that was awesome, but then it got even better. At the end of the tour (I guess they had to make sure we were all civilized first), they let us walk out on a bridge-like structure and look down at everything as it was going on. They gave us the speech about not making a sound and not having any electronic devices that could make a sound before they allowed us to go out there. We could actually hear them talking on the show. It was sooo cool.
Another Christmas has come and gone. This year was different than most Christmas holidays. My former sister-in-law and her family where here for a visit to enjoy Christmas in the snow. What really made Christmas unusual was that I had to work on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had to have Christmas at 5:30 on Christmas morning so I could be ready for work by 7:00. Needless to say, Christmas with 6 kids that early in the morning was pretty funny. We made them stay upstairs until we were downstairs and ready to take pictures. Then we had them come downstairs in order from youngest to oldest. It was so funny to watch. Even the older ones were so excited about getting downstairs, but they were not thrilled with having their picture taken that early in the morning.
My sister-in-law took all the kids to their hotel for most of the day while I worked. When I got off work, Kurt came over and everyone else came back for Christmas dinner together. I was finally able to give Kurt his Dallas Cowboys quilt. He really liked it. I was so happy that he liked it. It's been a very cold week, and he has been glad to have it at night.
What can I say? Today was incredible. Andrea and I spent several hours just driving backroads in Lancaster County. With the fresh blanket of snow, everything was more beautiful than ever. We saw so many beautiful things - some were captured on camera, and others were just captured in our memories. Andrea was more than happy for me to stop constantly, sometimes every few feet, to get the most perfect photographs. She is excited about having these photos to help her remember her trip.
I have taken many pictures of Amish schools, but today was a special treat. If you look very closely in the middle window, you'll see a little hand waving. As we wer backing out from the school there were many hands waving to us. It was so sweet. I thought these Amish children did a very good job of building a snowman as well, and oh, look at the scooters parked by the side of the school. Many of the Amish children ride scooters instead of bicycles.
Baaaaaa..... look at these sheep. Aren't they precious. These are part of an Amish farm. It is almost as though they poased for my photo.
I am excited about completing an entire year of Amish through the Seasons photographs. I'm going to continue to do Amish photography, but it feels good to have collected a year's worth of photos.
I am going to look into having calendars made of my photos to give as Chrismas gifts next year. Also, one day I hope to publish a book of my Amish Country photos.
I can't believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve Eve. I am looking forward to all the excitement that Christmas Eve and Christmas will bring. Timothy is pretty hyped up. I am excited about giving Kurt his Dalls Cowboys quilt for Christmas. I hope he likes it. He will also have a Dallas Cowboys stocking filled by Santa (asuming he is on the nice list, of course.)
Andrea and I will be going on an Amish adventure tomorrow. I can't wait to get lots and lots of photos of Amish Country blanketed with snow. For the past year, I have been working on a collections of photos that I am compiling and calling, "Amish Through the Seasons." I have a few photos of a dusting of snow in Amish country, but it is nothing compared to what we have now.
I think one of the hardest things about life is figuring out exactly who I am. I've learned the hard way that my identity has to be independent of anyone else. I spent many years believing my identity was found through being a pastor's wife and homeschooling, stay-at-home mommy. However, with just a signature on a legal document, I lost my entire identy.
Over four years later, I'm still trying to figure out exactly who I am. I know I am a child of God in the spiritual sense, but who am I on this earth? Is my identity a medical transcriptionist? No, because in the blink of an eye, I could lose my job. Is my identity a mommy? No, because my children will grow upand leave home. Is my identity Kurt's girlfriend? No, because again, that could change.
Who am I anyway? Where to I find freedom? I love to quilt, but in reality, I'm not very good at it. Do I like to bake? Oh yes, cookies are my speciality, but that's not it either.
When I think back over the past few years, I have found the most freedom behind the lens of my camera. I can be in the midst of a crowd, but not hear or see anything except what I have set my sights on to photograph. I am able to express my creativity and permanently capture the world through my own eyes.
When I am forced into an uncomfortable or undesirable situation, I am comforted if I can bring my camera and take pictures. Just last week, I felt so alone and awkward as I entered Timothy's elementary school for his Christmas program. I saw all the happy "normal parents" (mommy and daddy together) and felt conspicuously alone. However, once I pulled out my camera and began to photograph the program, the insecurities and awkwardness faded away.
So, is my identity a photographer? I don't know.... maybe so....
This past weekend was gorgeous. It snowed most of the day on Saturday. We got to play in the snow and enjoy watching it fall. Saturday evening we went to Christmas Village http://www.koziarschristmasvillage.com/ . It had been snowing all afternoon, and was snowing most of the time we were there. It was so beautiful. The kids had a good time. Jonathan even invited his girlfriend, Jenny, to come along.
I've seen a lot of light displays before, but nothing could top this one - especially not on a snowy night.
The truth is, I tend to be a slow learner. You see, when I take the time to sew/quilt and be creative, I blossom. When I get too busy in the mundane and stressful activities of daily living, I start to wilt. I become less vibrant. I become droopy.
What I don't understand is why I can't seem to remember this. I go through phases like this often. I'll find myself wilted and droopy. I'll start to be grumpy and stressed. I become overwhelmed with everything. When I get to that point. I force myself to sew/quilt. It's the best thing I could do for myself because it HELPS!
This past weekend, I was stressed beyond believe. I was overwhelmed with just about everything. At that point, I decided to take a day off this week to have some *me* time.
That day off was yesterday. I even turned down an invitation to lunch with Kurt so I could stay in my PJ's and sew/quilt all day with no interruptions. It was wonderful. I finished Kurt's quilt, and I finished my ornaments for the Martha Pullen Fan Club ornament exchange. I had a spring in my step that has stayed with me even today.
On my morning break, I pulled out my fabric to begin sewing my Christmas purse on my lunch break. My creative juices have been flowing nonstop, and I am even thinking of making more Christmas gifts. I have plenty of time (over 3 weeks), so why not?
Yes, sewing/quilting is what makes me *ME*. Without it, I'm just a gloomy, droopy, wilted girl.
After over 2 months of slowly working on Kurt's quilt, I finished it today. I am so happy to have it
finished. He is a big Dallas Cowboys fan, so I thought this quilt would be perfect for him. I used fusible batting for the first time. In some ways it was a time-saver, but in other ways it was a pain. I'm no tsure if I will want to use it again. I was really excited to find my quilt labels I had purchased years ago. I really wanted to personalize the quilt somehow, and I found the labels and was able to add one to the bottom right-hand corner of the quilt.