September 29, 2006

Golden Syrup

Good day mate! I am feeling a bit nostalgic for my mother's land of Australia. My mom loved music, she loved broadway soundtracks, country - back when country was really country, and irish ballads, Foster and Allen to be exact. Most people these days don't know Foster and Allen. When I was a child I really thought my mother's music was a bit off. My mom's favorite song was the Green, Green Grass of Home, which has been sung by many, but this was her favorite. During my childhood when my mom would hear that song inevitably tears would start falling. She loved her homeland dearly, and always longed for it, she missed her sisters, brother and parents. I fell in love with my mother's music while she was dying of cancer. It has been over 6 years since my mother has passed on, and I can still close my eyes and remember the surroundings like it was just this morning. My brother Rob and his wife Cari, generously opened up their home to all of us siblings and our kids to spend my mom's last weeks together. My mom's hospital bed was placed in the middle of their living room so my mom could be in the middle of the day to day goings on. During her last days my mother's music played as the background music. Foster and Allen filled the room with their ballads on love and life, and sang her into Jesus' arms.
Those were some of the sweetest days of my life. Hospice walked us through the journey of a loved one passing on, we were there to love my mom and tend to her. I would keep her lips moist with a balm, and spray a moisturizing spray lightly on her face to refresh her. Many times I wanted to just lay down next to her and go to sleep in her arms like I did so many times in my childhood. My mom was always a nurturer. She was a great mom.
Yesterday I was in one of the local grocery stores and walking down the pancake aisle, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something I havent seen in 25 years, Golden Syrup. I think I screamed in delight, went straight to the shelf and picked it up, held it in my hands, and then my eyes teared up, because I wanted to call my mom and tell her, she would have also screamed in delight and asked me to buy her some and ship it to her. Her scream would have been louder than mine because finding foods from Australia always made her happy, some of the things she has screamed in delight over have been, Violet Crumble, Vegemite, and Wheetabix, so the Golden Syrup would have put her over the top.
I miss my mom.

September 28, 2006

Sweet Diana the Bling Queen

I lifted the group toenail picture from Sarah's blog. Thanks Phil for your great photo taking skills. A couple of weeks ago in celebration and togetherness our Coffee Group that was speaking at the ACU Lectures had our toenails done, one after the other at Objet D'Art, by Diana. She is the most talented manicurist/pedicurist ever! I love that she can make even my toes blingy. Sadly yesterday I broke the bond (as Judy put it) and had a polish change done. I loved the coffee mugs, but I was aching for the "black, silver and bling" as Diana calls it. I decided several weeks ago I wanted Raiders (my son is on the Pop Warner Team, The Raiders) colors and Diana told me she had just the design for me. Well I can honestly say I am in pedicure heaven. Diana you are great. If you want to make an appt. with Diana you must call 6-8 weeks ahead of time, she is always booked, so think ahead. But! She is an artist, and worth the wait. We love you Diana.

September 26, 2006

Scripture lived out.

Good morning. We are all doing well here in our house. We seem to be staying busy. Derek had a football game in ye ol' town of Merkel last Saturday. The score was Raiders (us) 44 - Badgers (0), it was a blowout. Sunburns were the keyword of the day, it seems like the sun caught us off guard, maybe it was the time of the day, but I was as red as a beetroot by the end of the day. If you win by that much in pop warner football the rules start changing in the last half, the winning team may not play their first string, or if they do play they are not allowed to make a touchdown, there is also a "mercy" rule where the losing team can choose to always be on offense and the winning team is always on defense, what happens if someone picks up a fumble? Good question. Derek did get to play alot due to the score, so he had a good game. We are almost half way through our season.

After the football game I had set up a photo shoot for some publicity pics for the wedding fair on Oct. 8th, I asked a couple (who are already married by the way) to be my models for the shoot. I bought a wedding dress on Ebay and Tamara F. (my style guru) allowed me to use some fabulous shoes and accessories. It was a perfect day, the weather was beautiful and a light breeze on occasion. It was fun to work with Anna and Kirk. There is a certain freedom in not having to please a client, just taking the pictures that I had in my head. It is a great opportunity to try out some different types of poses and then take those and put them in future sittings. Click here to see a couple of the images of the day.
Kristen S. came over and helped me make a page on photoshop for the bound book for the fair. Every day I learn something new.

Jack has pt and ot today, his foot braces gave him some blisters on Friday last week, so we are letting his feet heal, then I guess we need to get back to the orthotics doc for him to do some more work on the braces. Poor little punkin' feet.

The Daniel study is going well, intentional integrity for the Lord is the basis of this study. Being relevant in the world we live in, and also being set apart in our character and having it be obvious we are a child of God will does not just seem to happen. We have to resolve (another word from Daniel) to make that happen with God's leading. Very exciting!!!!!

Moving on to a different subject, kind of. We have been studying Ephesians, and marriages, commitments, family, at church. On Sunday morning Phil played a clip on the big screen to finish up his lesson. It came from a movie I can't recall, but the scene showed an older man, kneeling down in front of his wife, who is wearing a glazed blank look. He confesses to her that he has found her in the past to be a burden, he is her caregiver, and she has alzheimer's. He makes his confession, apologizes, and then recites the vows from their wedding ceremony decades earlier. For better and for WORSE, in SICKNESS and in health, ... he tells her that it would be an honor to care for her and that she is still the love of his life. (sniffles and tears are the backdrop in the sanctuary)
I have watched many spouses nurse their husband or wife over the last years of their lives, sometimes even decades long. My grandfather is one of them, but there are several more that come to mind. They are the vows being lived out. What testimonies of faithfulness, to God first and then their spouse. It seems like in my life if I put God first anything is possible.
Scripture lived out.

September 22, 2006

One small step....but such an important one.

I am so excited that I have processed my first "camera raw" photo shoot, as of about an hour ago. Thanks to C.J. at Photo Image Center (the best quality lab in Abilene) for helping me work through this first one. I came home started all over again and did it all by myself. I took engagement photograph's of Geoff C. and Jamie P. at ACU on Wednesday. Geoff C. is the son of our beloved children's minister at Southern Hills. Yes Donnie, you are beloved, crazy wild and beloved, what a great combination of energy for our kids. Anyway click here to see a handful of favorites of Geoff and Jamie.

Living in the land of Battlestar Gallactica

Good morning. Friday is here.
Last night I was putting Jack to bed and he told me that one of his friends in his classroom was going to be on a commercial. Jack told him that he knows what it is like to be on tv, he is an old pro I guess.
I am still trying to learn several new programs on my computer for digital imaging. I am sure there will be a time I will know what I need to know, but right now it seems light years away living in the land of Battlestar Galactica 2. FYI I have not seen BG2 but my friend Denise got real excited about it being released on dvd so I am sure it is a great sci fi show.
I am headed out for coffee with my friends so I will keep today short but I just wanted to check and say hello.
from your living in the land of photoshop friend. (p.s. a mask is not just something your kid wears on halloween, it is a very important tool in photoshop.)

September 19, 2006

How many different situations in my life can I use the word tweak?

ACU Lectures day #2. Donna and Denise both did great today. Today was their day to speak. They made us laugh and convicted us to let the Lord lead us. Well tomorrow is my day to speak. And the thoughts of forgetting everything that was ever put in my brain from birth to today is going through my mind, I wish I had an external back up hard drive for my brain.
A couple of days ago, as I was preparing for tomorrow, I pulled out my pages of bullet points from 3 weeks ago at Southern Hills. I looked at the pages and for the life of me couldn't remember what I was talking about with several of the points. No big deal, I thought to myself, I will just pull up the unabridged version on my handy computer. Oh, wait my computer crashed last week and I don't have those notes any more. I think back to when I was cleaning off my computer desk just about 2 weeks ago and thought about the big stack of papers which were the hard copies of my talk, unabridged, and being the organizer that I am, sent them straight to file #13, because after all, I have it on my computer, why would I need to have that paperwork cluttering up my work space.
I have felt the Lord calling me to tweak my talk a bit, maybe I wouldn't have given it the full-tweak if I would have had a lovely set of papers or a file to look at all my old stuff. So here I am 6:39 pm listening for the Lord's guidance for my talk in the morning. For those friends who were there a couple of weeks ago, don't worry about having to listen to the same talk twice! Pray for me to be open to the Lord and His guidance.

September 18, 2006


The ACU Lectures got underway today. The group I am in called "The Coffee Group," completed our first of 3 sessions. All went well, we had some sound issues, for some people we weren't quite loud enough. Tomorrow we will pull our theatre voices out of our guts and fill the room with voice, as Jana puts it. I was sitting on the stage of Fulk's Theatre today at around 10:15 listening to Sarah talk about Jesus and how busyness can affect our lives, it was an awesome talk, but I was sitting there listening and a picture popped into my head of just how far away I used to be from God. And how today I was on a stage preparing to share my life with Him with all who might show up on Wednesday. It really doesn't matter where I have shared with others my walk with God, on a stage, in a pew, over coffee, through tears, or writing about it here, it is such an honor to be a child of God. That is what draws me to our coffee group, the ladies who hash through the good and bad, the pretty and ugly, it is all hashed about knowing that in the center of that is Jesus. We can share Jesus with each other, we can find the blessings when things are so dark we can't see our feet in front of us, we have a shoulder to cry on when we need a friend, and friends to laugh so hard with that our insides ache, which is just what we were doing 5 minutes before the presentation got underway. Thanks Judy for your story of mud.
I find God simply BREATH-TAKING. What an awesome God we serve and the opportunity for me to sit on a stool and tell people about God calling me to Him and not settling for anything but my whole being, brings me to such a state of gratefulness that I just don't know how to even express it. Someone asked us after our rehearsal a couple of weeks ago at Southern Hills, what was the purpose of our group? I don't think she got us, and that is o.k. But the purpose is to shout from the rooftops the Glory of the Lord, and just how he tugs at us to pull His sweet children closer to Him and to each other as encouragers, listeners, laugh with those that laugh, and crying with those that cry. God continues to call us into relationship with Him and each other. I am looking forward to Tuesdsay and Wednesday.

September 14, 2006

Glory Be

I have my life back.... I am proud to announce that my new photography website is complete!!! Check out Marcelain Photography and let me know what you think. Props to my cousin Michael for helping me with it. I decided to work on a program called iweb a part of the ilife package that you use on a mac. I can honestly say, if I can design my website, a monkey could design a website, it was a great program to use. I have some tweaking to do on the slideshow part of it, I need to size it down a bit and add some tunes, but other than that it is in full working order.
Derek is doing well in football, and had a great practice tonight. Jack and Sophie are LOVING their acting class they take at APAC. All is well in the Marcelain house, big sigh.
Jack has taken to reading large books lately. He started Harry Potter and is quite a ways into it, and then started reading a bigger book that Rob just finished called Aragon, story of a dragon I think. He is quite the reader.
Our ladies bible class at church just started a new study on Daniel, by Beth Moore. The first class was excellent and I am really looking forward to it. Daniel is such a rich character to study. He had so much devotion to God and was so strong in his faith, I think that the more I learn about Daniel, he is one of my favorite characters from the Old Testament. He was a man who lived out his faith under pressure to conform to the society around him. He stood up for God and didn't bow down to any one or anything else, Father help me be more like Daniel, and thank you for Your mercy when I fail.
I had a great time today visiting with Sophie's class at school. The book they read this week was about a photographer so Sophie's teacher asked me to come in and talk about being a photographer. The kids are so fun. One of the little girls that saw Sophie after class told her, "your mom is so cool." When Sophie told me that, I started to get teary eyed. I don't really care at all if anyone thinks I am or for that matter am not (which is more accurate) cool, but I could tell that Sophie was proud of me. Of all my kids Sophie is definately the most independant. Often times in the past when I would visit her school to eat lunch with Jack, she would choose to just stay with her friends at her class table. I was totally fine with that, and never made her feel bad, she just likes to socialize and she has already hit that stage that she thinks that I am cramping her style at times. So to see that pride in her eyes for me today made me shed a tear or two. She came home and said that she thinks she might want to be a photographer when she grows up.
Now I know how Rob feels when Jack says he wants to work with him when he grows up. Jack also says he wants to live at home forever, no spending his money on an overpriced house, he will just live at home. When he wants a break from us he is going to go to Mommer and Tom's and sleep on their couch. He did comment that at our home he would actually have a bed of his own, so that is where he will stay most of the time. I just tell him, "you can live here forever and ever, and I would love it." which gets a big smile from my sweet little boy. Oh that he would stay here forever, but someday he will fly the coop and our house will be Jack-less, Sophie-less, and Derek-less, now that really makes me cry. Someone asked me the other day how old my kids were, I told her, and she said this is the meaty time of your life with your kids. These are the years that they are growing into the young adults they will be soon enough, but they still want to live in your house forever. Glory be, how can life get any better than this? Tears are falling again, I am thankful for what I have.

September 12, 2006

The Ingredients of a Digital Image

Tuesday early evening. Rob took Derek to football practice and the twins are watching Arthur. I feel like I have been glued to my computer lately, and very little has been blogging or fun. I went to a photography seminar yesterday and learned alot! As I have just switched to digital there was alot for me to learn, like almost everything. It was a great day, I have tweaked some stuff I was doing and switched things up here and there and I am thrilled about it. One of the major questions, pleadings, gasping for last breath questions that seem to pop up all through the day was, "how do I manage my workload?" Going from a film photographer to a digital photographer is a totally different ball game. With film, you get what you get, you can remove a blemish or a stray hair, but basically the picture is put in an oven, cooked, and cooled down all before you ever see the final print. Digital is a whole different monster, a beautiful monster, but a monster none the less. It starts in your camera, balancing white balance so skin tones are true - every time your lighting changes, then downloading the lovely pictures just taken, then managing the photo's - the keepers and trash, then sending everything to photoshop to tweak, burning - dodging, upping the color, taking away the color, sharpening the lines... then printing... what form - there are dozens to choose from, who, how long...and then last but not least storage off all of this on a hard drive, back up cd's and whew! take a breath, now start over. Apparently there are photographers who used to have leisure time spent however they choose, now they live in photoshop. The key is managing your work flow. I hope I am on the way to that from the very beginning, getting some important programs and actions that will do the work for my tired little fingertips. The seminar was a great success and I am grateful to Elaine, Tom and Rob who took care of things on the homefront while I was gone.

September 11, 2006

9/11 Tribute

Carlos S. DaCosta, age 41.
Place killed: World Trade Center. Resident of Elizabeth, N.J. (USA).
Father God please be with the family of Mr. DaCosta, continue to bless them as only You can. Mr. DaCosta was an innocent man who suffered at the hands of the terrorists. May his legacy continue through his family and friends. And may they find comfort in Your presence.
Over 3000 bloggers signed up to remember the men, women and children that died in the 9/11 attacks. You can click here to read more about it.

September 10, 2006

Raiders Win Again!

And they win again.
Raiders 33
Jets 7
The game was truly a West Texas game today. The sun beat down on us like a fire iron. It was a good game and Derek had a good time.

September 09, 2006

And the Raiders Win!

Raiders 12
Sweetwater 0
What a fun morning. The game was great. There was fun to be had. Here are a couple of pictures of the game. Good job Raiders. Derek mainly plays the "O" line, and the guy he blocked for the most part was a 225 lb 5th grader. Hello - he looked like a pro wrestler, had to be atleast 5'5". Derek held his own, I did see him get pummeled to the ground once, but other than that he remained standing and battling.

September 08, 2006

3 Words To Live By: Thank You Jesus

3 words to live by in computerland: EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE - why is it I didn't know how important those words were until about 10:30 yesterday morning. Backup - it was a word I had heard, but wasn't quite sure how it applied to me.
Let me tell you how it applies to me, if I don't want to lose everything on my computer again and spend 8 hours reloading dsl, scanner, word, ilife, all the updates that go along with that, then I must buy an external hard drive and back up my computer. The tech at Apple support told me that last year he had to re-install (I know that word now too) and it took 7 minutes to get his computer back to where it was....7 minutes...did he say 7 minutes? minutes.
Good lesson to learn, and a very good time to learn it. Outside of computerland this is very small in the scheme of things. I did not shed a tear, I did not freak out, I did try in vain to grab my info off my computer before the reinstall but decided, why? It is just information, yes there were pictures (most were on a cd), yes I lost itunes, but I was kinda sick of my songlist anyway. During the computer issue I just told myself, Jack is alive. This doesn't matter. The perspective I have gained over the last 2 years is enormous. Today I will count my blessings, 3 wonderful children, an awesome husband, friends that I am so blessed to have, and a really clean computer with plenty of disc space. 3 words to live by: Thank you Jesus.

Following is a poem my cousin Cheryl sent straight from Aussie Land.


Endless visions fill my head - this man - as large as life

And instantly my heart mourns for his angels and his wife

Because the way I see Steve Irwin - just put everything aside

It comes back to his family - it comes back to his pride

His animals inclusive - Crikey - light the place with love!

Shine his star with everything he fought to rise above

The crazy-man of Khaki from the day he left the pouch

Living out his dream and in that classic 'Stevo' crouch

Exploding forth with character and redefining cheek

It's one thing to be honoured as a champion unique

It's one thing to have microphones and spotlight cameras shoved

It's another to be taken in and genuinely loved

But that was where he had it right - I guess he always knew

From his fathers' modest reptile park and then Australia Zoo

We cringed at times and shook our heads - but true to natures call

There was something very Irwin in the make up of us all

Yes the more I care to think of it - the more he had it right

If you're going to make a difference - make it big and make it
Yes - he was a lunatic! Yes - he went head first!

But he made the world feel happy with his energetic burst

A world so large and loyal that it's hard to comprehend

I doubt we truly count the warmth until life meets an end

To count it now I say a prayer with words of inspiration

May the spotlight shine forever on his dream for conservation

...My daughter broke the news to me - my six year old in tears

It was like she'd just turned old enough to show her honest fears

I tried to make some sense of it but whilst her Dad was trying

His little girl explained it best...she said "The crocodiles are

Their best mate's up in heaven now - the crocs up there are smiling!

And as sure as flowers, poems and cards and memories are piling

As sure as we'll continue with the trademarks of his spiel

Of all the tributes worthy - he was rough...but he was real

As sure as 'Crikey!' fills the sky

I think we'll miss ya Steve...goodbye


September 06, 2006

MRI Scheduled

Hello - Wednesday afternoon and the kids are fixin' (Texas word) to be walking in the front door from the bus any moment. I just received Jack's next MRI date, it will be November 1 and then the follow up visit will be November 2 when we find out the results. I think that a ball got dropped somewhere in the appt. scheduling department because Jack's appointment should have been the first week of October. I emailed the doctor today to check on the appointment as we hadn't received any notification of it yet. It really is not a big deal, but there seems to be a big red star in my mind-calendar for Jack's appointments, and now I have to re-adjust my big red star for November, and insert 4 more weeks of patiently waiting to know what is going on in Jack's brain. I will need to file it in the don't think about it cabinet, just pray for peace.
Derek had a good practice last night, he took down mammoth boy, you could hear their helmets crash across the field. They were scrimmaging and mammoth boy had the ball, somehow Derek ended up being the player that got in his way and took the boy down. Go Derek. His coaches gave him a big pat on the shoulder. He has 2 football games this weekend, the regular one on Saturday then the make up one on Sunday afternoon. The coaches added another practice for tonight as the boys missed the game due to rain on Monday night, which is when normal practice takes place. So for 6 days Derek will be playing football 5 days of that 6. I am leaving out my next comment about what I think about that, in the name of love.
Well the kids are home. Start up those prayers for our November trip to Dallas.

September 05, 2006

Hello New Look

Thanks to Bluebird Blogs for designing my new blog look. She did a great job deciphering my idea's, I had no real clear direction, but she made it perfect.

I have been in a bubble over the last couple of days getting a wedding ready to print and working on the redesign for my Marcelain Photography website, I also added a Photo Blog for my business,, to post pictures and report what cool new things I am learning or ideas I love.

While in my bubble my husband told me Steve Irwin died, The Crocodile Hunter. My kids watch one of his video's on a pretty regular basis, he seems like an old friend, Crikey. He was an example of someone who lived while he lived, he made his passion his life's work. We will miss him. God bless his family with peace and comfort.

Derek's first football game was rained out yesterday. I am sure it will be rescheduled. I was ready to be a football mom and put on my "mom shirt" for the game. I will just have to contain my enthusiasm. Go Raiders!

September 03, 2006

Weekend Fun

Happy Labor Day Weekend. We have had a busy couple of days. Rob's dad went back to Tucson yesterday to get ready to head back to work this week. He is always alot of fun. We all went to the Wylie Vs. Brownwood football game on Friday night. It was a great game, but Wylie lost. The kids had alot of fun screaming for their team. Derek has his first football game tomorrow (Monday) night, as long as it doesn't get rained out. We will take the rain without complaining, our grass is looking lovely and green for the first time in months.
The kids and Rob have tomorrow off, Rob's days off are few and far between so we always enjoy the ones he has. I took pictures at a wedding last night. This wedding was amazing. The mother of the bride made all the dresses, including the wedding gown, she made the backdrop in the church, all the decorations that were around. The linens on the tables at the reception matched the fabric backdrop for the wedding, the napkins, napkin holders, placemats, flower arrangements, all sorts of backdrop areas at the reception. She did a phenominal job and it looked so beautiful.
We had shepherding group tonight and our group met at Sharon Allen's Barbeque, it was delicious. Denise we missed you, hope you feel better soon. I love our shepherding group.
Rob and I are going to have a Gilmore Girls marathon tonight, fix some decaf coffee and snuggle on the couch. Dreamy.
I hope your holiday weekend is blessed.
Love, Tammy