He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Monday, January 31, 2011

First Aid for the First Responder Marriage

This article seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for me.. hope it helps someone else out there! We gotta love our guys, sometimes we won't exactly understand them, what they've seen or how they handle certain things.. or how they vent. But, whatever we can read to help us understand, all the better!

In First Aid for the First Responder Marriage, Focus on the Family "focuses" on us and our marriages! I love finding things that are more tailored to what we go through. 

I pray that this blesses all of you, First Responder's wives.  We are now planning for an "imminent storm" that is coming here in the midwest. I'm going to stay warm, and cancel pretty much all plans in the next couple days. I'm excited to be "snowed in!"

Win a Kindle from Lysa TerKeurst's blog!


Find out more about Lysa and her book by watching this video. Click on the link about to enter to win a Kindle! Would that be a fun thing to use waiting to pick the kids up, or cozied up on the couch with a blanket and yummy coffee?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who is Lysa Terkeurst?

Some people have been asking me about her since she's going to be speaking on our Girls Get Away Cruise, so I thought I'd do a little introduction to Lysa TerKeurst. By the way, are you going too? Click on the button under my banner or at the end of this post to save $100 by booking under Group KARA! 

I first heard her subbing in for KLove Radio's morning show. She was talking about her blog post being featured on CNN and the firestorm that ensued as a result. There were many comments for and against her convictions. She talked about her faith, and how many people have now heard her story and what she believes, that may never have heard from anywhere else. You can read it all here from her blog titled When the fat girl got mad at God.

I also heard the tail end of her story about how and why she adopted two children from Liberia, Africa. I couldn't stop listening as I drove up to my house, how these adoptions led to over 45 boys in that orphanage being adopted to families in her church and community. It just takes a leader, doesn't it?

Lysa’s amazing story led to appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The 700 Club, USA Today newspaper, Woman's Day magazine, and Focus on the Family radio! Her story on Oprah can be read here called Love Knows No Color.

Lysa is also the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I was a fan of her page on facebook before I even knew who she was.  
Proverbs 31 encourages nearly 400,000 women through their daily online devotional. In addition, she co-hosts a 1-minute inspirational radio program aired on more than 1,200 stations around the world. Lysa’s blog averages over 70,000 avid readers per month. Plus, she touches hearts through their monthly magazine, P31 Woman.

Something else about Lysa that I love, is that we both have an Ashley and a Brooke! :) I said, "No way!" when I read it. How cool is that? This is her Ashley and Brooke (and family) on the left, and this is my Ashley and Brooke (and family).

Lysa's book, Made to Crave, is number 9 on the New York Times Bestseller List for paperback advice books! She has also written 14 other books. I am going to pick one up this week! Probably Made to Crave, that's what I need most help with I think! Because, wow.. I love sweets and treats, coffee with cream and sugar, and other fattening things that my mother taught me how to cook. This was directly passed down from my paternal grandmother as she taught her how to "cook southern!" Gotta love that Alabama cooking! Even though I'm from the Pacific Northwest, I have roots as a "southern belle!" Ask my husband about these arguments we've had over this. :)

I am excited to hear her speak on the cruise! Anything that I can hold onto to help me get through the day in a positive way... is my kinda speaker!  

Don't be left behind! Book your cabin now while they are still available and save $100.00 when you use this button (link). Book under Group KARA if asked the affiliate if they double check, and be sure to use this button! 

Join Kara on the Girl's Get-a-way 2012

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I have the * Girls Get Away Cruise Information!!*

The information is here! Are you wanting to go on this cruise with us? It is going to be phenomenal! So grab your best friend, your daughter, your mom, your favorite auntie, your neighbor, your friends at work...... and let's make some special memories!! Prepare to be moved, inspired, uplifted and refreshed! 

We will sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Cozumel MEXICO Jan 12-16, 2012!

I am so excited as I dream about my very first cruise with several of my friends, family, and whoever is out there that may be interested! (please click on the box above that says Join Our Group, and the name on that is KARA this will assure that you are placed in our group)

* * * Here are some of the awesome details so far! * * * 
 I will let you know as artists are confirmed, but for now, Lysa TerKeurst is sailing with us on the 2012 cruise! YAY! Lysa, whose book, Made to Crave is on the New York Times bestseller list and who's hosting a FEW webcast on 
Monday nights at MadetoCrave.org.  

Girl's Get A Way Cruise will sail - Jan 12-16
We will be sailing on the Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas. I hear it's amazing. I have checked out the site, googled other comments, and am more excited as I see... this will be US! Well, you don't exactly have to ride this wave rider, but I've gone on one before and it's a blast!

Prices include -- cabin and all meals (and there is a LOT of it) , entertainment, tea, water, lemonade, coffee, port fees, taxes, and gratuities  -- no hidden additional charges.  
And guess what? YOU WILL SAVE $100 for booking with me!  Make sure you click on my button at the top of the page, that is under my group name, KARA. Make sure while you are booking if they ask, what affiliate you are booking under, and the code is again, my name, KARA. If we book the most cabins then our group will win a special treat!!  I cannot plan what this is, but let's be a part of it on this cruise together!

(excited look!)  ;)

NOTE-- Payment plans are for 10 months (March through Dec).  I will have updated info before March 1. 

Interior (most affordable)  2 per cabin - $848 per person (this includes the $100 savings per cabin for booking with KARA).  
Payment plan -- $100 down per person and 10 payments of $78.80 per person (includes a one time convenience fee of $40) 

Join Kara on the Girl's Get-a-way 2012

Ocean view (most affordable) 2 per cabin - $1148 per person (this includes the $100 savings per cabin for booking with KARA). 
Payment plan -- $100 down per person and 10 payments of $108.80 per person (includes a one time convenience fee of $40) 

Remember that you MUST say you are booking through KARA to get the discount. 

* * * In the next day or so, I personally am planning a special drawing to do with our own group on the ship! I am in the middle of preparing details, so please check back for more info!! * * * 

Please let me know if you will be a part of this. If I don't know you, it will be a great time to get to know you before hand and it will just be like a reunion when we get there! I am SO excited!! 

Blessings for now,
I can't wait to hear from you!
~ Kara

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mom unplugs teens for 6 months!

Unplugging for 6 months? Who could do this? I know this is how I grew up, but I'm sure my children would just wither up and die. I'm afraid my other half wouldn't be so keen on the idea either. I actually love the thought of this. I would do it in a heartbeat. Especially if we lived on a farm, had a fireplace, could run around the "back 40".. but we don't. 
Isn't that just the case though? Don't we have every excuse not to do something that may be the best thing for us? Here is the article that got me thinking.

What happens when mom unplugs teens for 6 months?

This undated photo courtesy of Frances Andrijich shows Susan Maushart, second from left, with her children, from left to right,  Anni, Sussy and Bill AP – This undated photo courtesy of Frances Andrijich shows Susan Maushart, second from left, with her children, …
NEW YORK – Susan Maushart lived out every parent's fantasy: She unplugged her teenagers.
For six months, she took away the Internet, TV, iPods, cell phones and video games. The eerie glow of screens stopped lighting up the family room. Electronic devices no longer chirped through the night like "evil crickets." And she stopped carrying her iPhone into the bathroom.
The result of what she grandly calls "The Experiment" was more OMG than LOL — and nothing less than an immersion in RL (real life).
As Maushart explains in a book released in the U.S. this week called "The Winter of Our Disconnect" (Penguin, $16.95), she and her kids rediscovered small pleasures — like board games, books, lazy Sundays, old photos, family meals and listening to music together instead of everyone plugging into their own iPods.
Her son Bill, a videogame and TV addict, filled his newfound spare time playing saxophone. "He swapped Grand Theft Auto for the Charlie Parker songbook," Maushart wrote. Bill says The Experiment was merely a "trigger" and he would have found his way back to music eventually. Either way, he got so serious playing sax that when the gadget ban ended, he sold his game console and is now studying music in college.
Maushart's eldest, Anni, was less wired and more bookish than the others, so her transition in and out of The Experiment was the least dramatic. Her friends thought the ban was "cool." If she needed computers for schoolwork, she went to the library. Even now, she swears off Facebook from time to time, just for the heck of it.
Maushart's youngest daughter, Sussy, had the hardest time going off the grid. Maushart had decided to allow use of the Internet, TV and other electronics outside the home, and Sussy immediately took that option, taking her laptop and moving in with her dad — Maushart's ex-husband — for six weeks. Even after she returned to Maushart's home, she spent hours on a landline phone as a substitute for texts and Facebook.
But the electronic deprivation had an impact anyway: Sussy's grades improved substantially. Maushart wrote that her kids "awoke slowly from the state of cognitus interruptus that had characterized many of their waking hours to become more focused logical thinkers."
Maushart decided to unplug the family because the kids — ages 14, 15 and 18 when she started The Experiment — didn't just "use media," as she put it. They "inhabited" media. "They don't remember a time before e-mail, or instant messaging, or Google," she wrote.
Like so many teens, they couldn't do their homework without simultaneously listening to music, updating Facebook and trading instant messages. If they were amused, instead of laughing, they actually said "LOL" aloud. Her girls had become mere "accessories of their own social-networking profile, as if real life were simply a dress rehearsal (or more accurately, a photo op) for the next status update."
Maushart admits to being as addicted as the kids. A native New Yorker, she was living in Perth, Australia, near her ex-husband, while medicating her homesickness with podcasts from National Public Radio and The New York Times online. Her biggest challenge during The Experiment was "relinquishing the ostrichlike delusion that burying my head in information and entertainment from home was just as good as actually being there."
Maushart began The Experiment with a drastic measure: She turned off the electricity completely for a few weeks — candles instead of electric lights, no hot showers, food stored in a cooler of ice. When blackout boot camp ended, Maushart hoped the "electricity is awesome!" reaction would soften the kids' transition to life without Google and cell phones.
It was a strategy that would have made Maushart's muse, Henry David Thoreau, proud. She is a lifelong devotee of Thoreau's classic book "Walden," which chronicled Thoreau's sojourn in solitude and self-sufficiency in a small cabin on a pond in the mid-1800s. "Simplify, simplify!" Thoreau admonished himself and his readers, a sentiment Maushart echoes throughout the book.
As a result of The Experiment, Maushart made a major change in her own life. In December, she moved from Australia to Long Island in New York, with Sussy. Of course, the move merely perpetuated Maushart's need to live in two places at once: She kept her job as a columnist for an Australian newspaper and is "living on Skype" because her older children stayed Down Under to attend university. Ironically, the Internet eased the transition to America for Sussy, who used Facebook to befriend kids in her new high school before arriving.
Another change for Maushart: She's no longer reluctant to impose blackouts on Sussy's screentime. "Instead of angsting, 'Don't you think you're spending too much time on the computer? Don't you think you should do something else like reading?' I now just take the computer away when I think she's had enough," Maushart said in a phone interview. "And now that she's been on the other side and remembers what it's like, it's less of an issue."
Maushart realizes that living off the grid for six months is unrealistic for most people. (She also admits getting her kids to go along with it partly by bribing them with a cut of proceeds from the book, which she planned to write all along.)
But she encourages families to unplug periodically. "One way to do it is just to have that one screen-free day a week. Not as a punishment — not by saying, 'I've had enough!' — but by instituting it as a special thing," she said. "There isn't a kid on the planet who wouldn't really rather be playing a board game than sitting at the computer."

Thursday, January 13, 2011


FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real...
- Dave Ramsey 
I've had a lot of time to think about this lately. What do we fear most? For me, it would be the loss of a child/family member, a failed marriage, basically anything beyond my control. What did I just say? Control? In our house, we're always reminding each other with the question, "Who's in control?" the answer is, "God is." Certainly not us, and it seems the more we try to take the reigns, the less control we have. 
As our two oldest kids are both taking missions trips this year, one out of the country, I am reminded of this every day. Should we let them go? Should our fear get in the way? Are we trying to have the ultimate control over where God will lead them? A cousin emailed me saying this, "they are in God's hands, and He will protect them there the same way he protects her here, according to His will. There is no place safe, but there is also no place they can go where God is not there." The word "His Will" there really struck me. Wherever they are, God is there also, and His Will - will be done.
When I think about fear, it's easy for my mind to keep wondering, getting further and further from the real truth. Sometimes, you think about it so much, it becomes real in your own mind. Beth Moore in her Breaking Free study, had this to say.
TRUTH: John 8:31-36 - Christ sets the captive free through truth.
LIES: John 8:44 - Satan sets the free captive through lies.
My environment + My experiences = My truth
"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth" Psalms 145:18
My truth + Nothing (0) = Incomplete (sometimes we don't even know our own truth. It's all perception)
My truth + Satan's lies = Captivity
God's Truth > (is greater than) My "truth"
 My truth + God's truth (infinitely wonderful and perfect) = FREEDOM! 
Psalms 40:11 - May your love and truth always protect me.
 Isaiah 43:2-3 - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Toowoomba, Australia Flood 1-10-11

Praying for the families in Australia right now. So sad to hear about all of the devastation.

This article  has photos and is a great reference to what is going on. If you want to help and give a donation, click here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 10 - taken from my 365 blog

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

Not well-traveled, not well-read
Not well-to-do, or well-bred
Just want to hear instead
Well done, good and faithful one
- Nichole Nordeman 
I have thought about this, and how will "they" remember me? Don't you sometimes wonder? In this rat race called life, it seems like we get so caught up with things that don't matter. I sometimes think, what if I don't make it back home, who will find all those dirty dishes? Who will take care of the things I hold most dear to me? If I were to leave this earth tomorrow, what would "they" say about me? I am trying to "Leave a Legacy" and show my kids there is more to life than "stuff."  
We made these little verse cards and were reading them before every dinner. Everyone would pick one to read, then take turns reading one. I did a mad clean one day and they disappeared. Well, guess what I just found (and my youngest was elated!).. the cards we had made together. I pray that my children hold these verses close to their hearts. And maybe, one day, "they" will pick up my Bible and find these verses underlined and realize what matters most.

Day 10
ISO 400, f/1.8, ss 1/50, 50 mm, no flash

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 2 - Taken from my 365 project blog

A great start to a new year is always spending it with my awesome man. Today we celebrated being married for 18 years! We have gone through so much together. We've laughed, cried, celebrated life, mourned loved ones, locked arms trying to raise three kids, supported each other, and taught each other what it is to be partners. It's not easy at times, but if you can let things roll and trust that God will help you all through, you can make it! I say this after 18 years of marriage, 19 years of being together. After all this, I love this man, I'm thankful for this man, and I support him.

There. Enough mushy stuff, here's to my 2nd day! We went downtown to an amazing dinner, it was so lovely I forgot to take out my camera. Plus I thought, that's a little tacky, to grab my camera and take a picture of the cute dessert they brought us "on the house" complete with candle! After we had several bites, I thought. THAT should have been my 365 photo! Oh well, live and learn. 

I do love clocks. I could take a tour of old clocks around the city and put them all together. In fact, I may do that! So don't be surprised to see several clocks show up in the next year. 

Okay, I read about night time shots in my manual today. I realized that I didn't need a flash at night. Let the lights take on their own tone. So here is the old Marshall Fields clock (before it became..ahem..Macy's) on the corner of State and Washington. I used to work across the street and just came to love seeing it every day.

365 Day 2 
Night time.

My thoughts: I love the old feel of the stone, the coloring, and the old lamp posts. It probably still looks a lot like it did so many years ago. I'm sure I'm not the only one that loves and appreciates that old clock.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goals for 2011

My friend posted goals for herself this year. One for each month, makes sense to me.
So I've been thinking about this as I rang in the New Year last night, before I went to sleep and this morning. What do I want accomplished by 2012? I think I've made my list. Not sure if it's in order of importance, but here goes..

  1. Reading the Bible everyday. I wanted to do some "Bible in a year" plan, but I really don't think I'll make it through. I will shoot big though, and try one of these fabulous reading plans from you version. They also have a great Bible app. for your phone!
  2. 365 days of photos. I want to get better and learn from others, so I've started my kara's 365 blog. Join me!
  3. Work on my photography business. Learn more about the business side and learn how to apply myself, advertise and gain respect in the photography world. Find workshops in my area, and attend a Merakoh workshop somehow! Okay, one can dream...
  4. Shadow a professional photographer. This is hard for me because I hate to ask people to tag along. In any way shape or form. So this has to be it's own "goal."
  5. Get family photos on my walls! Another goal that I cannot seem to accomplish. I need to order and frame family members. I have immediate, I just need to branch out more and get this done.
  6. Garage sale! Will try to de-clutter our lives a bit more. Don't laugh, I have to make this a set goal or it may not get done.
  7. Once a month family ministry opportunities. Last month it was dropping off blankets to a shelter together, touring the facility and being changed by seeing through other's eyes. Each month it can be as simple as taking some food to a neighbor, but being more mindful of other's needs.
  8. Helping the kids get prepared for their missions trips. One to Uganda, one to Missouri. I guess to help prepare them more spiritually. Which leads me to the next one..
  9. Become a better example of God's love. I sometimes get wrapped up in the moment, get frustrated like everyone else, and react. I need to stop, be patient, think about what I say, then respond..or not. This is easier written than done, but I'm putting it out there.
  10. Better steward of my time/money.. Less time facebooking, blogging and watching movies, and more time picking up, and delegating people to help in certain areas around the house. I will try and take at least 1 coupon on every shopping trip, then hope I can add more and save. Putting down the things I don't "need." Telling the kids "no" more when they think they need things. Silly, but necessary.
  11. Enjoy my family time! Putting things down and letting things go to take more moments with who matter most. 
  12. Work out! Well, one could hope...notice how it is the last one posted.
 I may have to add things as I think of them, but these are what I've come up with in the last 24 hours.

Kara's 365

Okay, I'm finally going to do it. I will take a photo every day for 365 days. Why? This has become a popular challenge across the blog world, and I've seen people grow so much in that year. What to do..

  • Read in my manual every day, and use that knowledge to photograph something for that particular subject.
  • Post 1 photo each day for 365 days.
  • Look at professional images each day whether it be books or online.
  • Be more creative! 
Join me on my journey... kara's 365
and also on my new Flickr group to post all of our group's photos together!