Photos That Freeze Time

"I love photos, because the best thing about a photo is that it never changes, even when the person in it does. " Iambino

This quote reminded me why I love photography so much. Photos hold the history of life. One image can remind me of an event, a place, a person, or an experience. I can actually smell the room, feel the love, see the yard, hear the sounds of voices. I never get tired of looking at old photos and remininsing with family and friends. " Where were we when this picture was taken?" "Was I really there on that day?", " Did we really look this young?" These question are always followed with more stories or full laughter. Here are a few of those photos. I love the picture above of my dad and brother. It depicts my dad as a working man that found such simple joy in his first born son.

My sister with her friend Tina at her anniversary party last summer.

My brother dancing in my living room with my niece Zoe back in the day.


My first dogs Lucy and Nikki in my backyard in Kennewick.

Dad making his infamous Tom and Jerrys at Christmas. Check out the seventies crock pot on the counter. Mom still has that!!

The house I grew up in until I was seven. This is a more recent picture of how it looks.

Photos and memories.... love them.

Beginnings: The Ritual of Writing

I write every day. I write necessary documents for work. I write blog posts, samples to share with students, Facebook posts, and thoughts. Unfortunately I have not given myself enough time to focus on my own personal writing. I have projects that have been put aside for too long. My priority as I move into February is to carve out  more time for my own writing that is longer than a blog post or FB status. Next week-end I am attending a writing retreat at a beautiful lodge in Princeton, Idaho and will be surrounded by writing friends. I think this will just what I need to get a kick start for the ritual of writing more every day. Below is the Palouse Divide Lodge, my retreat home away from home next week-end.

Organizing 101: Savor the Little Things

I have been on a home/life organizing project this month. I am afraid to start the same project at school! I may never find  I have been reading and rereading tips from the experts in orgainzational science. One book that has been very helpful is Organized Simplicity by Tsh Exenreider. She walks you through the house with checklists on what you'll need to clean, declutter, and organize. She also addresses other parts of daily life like finances and time.  If you don't want to wait for the book from the library like I had to, her website is full of information also. She also has plenty of downloads that are helpful for getting life in order.  She also has an inexpensive e-book called One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler, which you can learn about at her website.

One part of the book I just loved was the chapter called "Savor the Little Things". She reminds us how important it is to cherish the little things. One way to do this is to find ways to use our hands. Whether is is learning to fix a leaky faucet, scrapbooking, or creating a homemade gift... these tasks bring us joy. The second little thing is cooking from scratch. I don't need reminding about this because I love to cook from scratch, but she said " a home that nourishes life takes time to cook real food from scratch. " Agreed! Another way to savor little things is to have casual gatherings that include family and friends. It give you a purpose for decluttering and enjoying fellowship with people that important. 

I look forward to moving through my house with her checklists and organizational ideas. When the snow is deep outside and the temperatures are below freezing.... it is a great time to nest inside and organize.



Amaryllis: The Showstopper Flower of Winter

I don't know what I did or how I did it, but I am now successful with growing amaryllis. These are things I learned in growing them:

1. It doesn't matter if you order them from a fancy catalogue and pay high prices for them. The ones that did best for me were the 5.00 ones from the big box store.

2. It can't be about the quality of soil because all you do is add the peat moss that is in the box.

3. I did water them as instructed on the box. Maybe it is our well water?

4. Wood stove heat must be a key. Perhaps the warm all day, cool all night is what they like.

5. Light is crucial. Ours have sat in full light since they were placed in the pots.

6. Maybe they like getting their pictures taken. More photos.... more blooms!

I have now grown four this year to bloom stage and two more are about there.Those I bought after Christmas for 2.50. They will probably be as beautiful. Plan ahead next year and try them. They really are a foolproof plant in the winter and so pretty when the skies are gray.

A Winter Ten-Mile Road Trip


Today started out with sunshine and beautiful snow. It warmed up, clouded over, but remained snowy. We decided it was time to get the dogs out for a run and take some winter photos. Here are some of my favorites from today. The one above is a shot of Lake Roosevelt before sunset.The one below is Meyer Falls Dam in Kettle Falls.


The Marina at Kettle Falls Campground on Lake Roosevelt

We chased the sunset as we circle back home again.






Beginnings: Winter, Finally

"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you. . . In spring,
summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other;
only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches
when you can savor belonging to yourself." Ruth Stout

Winter took her time arriving this year. I agree with Ruth Stout. This is the time we belong to ourselves. We are enveloped in a cold, quiet world of winter. It is quiet. Not too many people are outside. Even the birds are scarce. It is a beautiful season.

There is a simple beauty in the dried summer bloom sprinkled with snow.

Beginnings: Slowing Down

My body always tells me when I need to slow down. Often it is not the time I want to slow down. I went on a tear last week-end on my extreme home office makeover. I am feverishly trying to wind down the semester at school with paperwork to organize, tests to write, and essays to read. I sometimes forget my limits.

Yesterday about noon I began to realize my limits. I started to feel ill then. I stayed and made it through the day, but ended up in bed for a long nap when I returned home. I thought that would do it. When I got up I realized I was sicker than I thought. My body was telling me something. I decided to listen.

After a day of light food, lots of sleep, tea, and TLC I am not healed yet. I am going to listen to my body again and slow down for another day. In this case, rest is what I need.

Beginnings: Home Office Makeover, Part 1


I started weeks ago dreaming about how I wanted my home office to be redone. I didn't want to spent a lot of money. I also didn't want to do much painting. I spent lots of time on Pinterest getting inspired with home office ideas. I looked at magazines and color chips. As I said a few days ago, I knew I wanted something different. I said good-bye to the pink. I said hello to a lovely combination of brown and green for accents and left the walls a light peach color. Everett figured out how to spray paint in the cold weather. He converted some old cardboard striped shoe cuppbies  to a rich brown set for the room. I rearranged the room, and added different furniture. This is a preview of what I did first. More to come!!


Beginnings: New Year, New Blooms

When the welcome sun appeared yesterday afternoon I grabbed my camera and headed for the greenhouse. It is difficult in winter to capture the beauty of this room because it is usually dark when I leave and dark when I return each day during the work week. 

I took full advantage of the light yesterday and surrounded myself with the smells of rich dirt and scented geranium leaves. I also love the earthy feel of clay pots as they sit waiting for propagated plants.

I was pleasantly surprised by the blooms that had appeared on the jade plant. It only happens once a year, but is well worth the wait.

I couldn't believe the impatients have survived through the winter. These tender plants not only survived, but are blooming! I see the sun coming up again today. I think today would be a perfect time to try my new tripod in the greenhouse!

Beginnings: Life Unplugged

It was frutstrating during the thirty-six hours without the internet. I still don't know what caused the big outage in our area. It was also a blessing. I am undertaking a big redo,revise,repaint,redesign project that involves a makeover of the home office, cupboard reorganzation, a pantry move, and the taking down of all things holiday for another year. I am using green and brown as accent colors in the home office.... I think. I never know for sure until I see how it works!!

It was a productive day, but frustrating when I wanted to see pictures again of the room arrangement I liked online or wanted to see another idea on Pinterest for organization of a closet.I survived! Above I am creating a new craft corner in our "Annie Room". The dog graciously allowed me to have this beautiful, sunny corner to set up shop.


Beginnings: Baby Steps

When we strive to make changes in our lives, whether it be simplifying, getting things in order, or redecorating a room we need to be cautious of not taking on too much. In magazines the order and decor looks all glossy and neat. It looks like a morning project. The real test comes when a person takes on the task. I am reminded to take baby steps. Getting overwhelmed is not going to help the cause. I will take baby steps and break down the tasks. I will keep you posted how it goes!


“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” – Plato

Beginnings: Putting Order to Things

" When I cannot bear outer pressures anymore, I begin to put order in my belongings... As if unable to orgainze and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects." Anais Nin

The first time I saw this quote I must have been in one of my pressure cooker times, because I cut it out and filed it for later. This quote was written for me. When I can't manage a to-do list I orgainze my recipes. My banking gets put into order when I have a stack of papers from school to read. When I start reoganizing cupboards or junk drawers....  a crisis on the rise.

This quote spoke to me. It reminded me of a desire I have for control in my life. When I can't manage the end of quarter grading, tax time, or Christmas to-do lists I put objects in order. Sometimes I don't even put things in order, but fantasize how it might be, only to further avoid the pressure cooker at hand. When I tackle putting online photo albums in order.... look out for a full blown catastophe or a photo on my blog post showing a kitchen  like the one above.

Beginnings: Ask Me

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.
William Stafford

Today I am celebrating my birthday. I found this poem a few days ago and pulled it back out today as a way of reflecting on my life. Stafford reminds me that I need to remember patience. My life has been full of people who helped and people who hurt. I also need to sort out the lovers and haters and move forward from the haters. 

Yes, on my birthday is a good time to take stock and figure out what I move ahead with and what I leave behind.

The photo above is a winter picture of Sherman Creek by Highway 20, Inchelium Highway, Washington state. 

Beginnings: Creating a Space for Inspiration

"Space is important to writers. They need to carve out space and time to be creative. For many writers, where they create is as important to their process as the words they use to create the images and stories they tell." anon.

 I have a small guest room that I have turned into my home office. I thought I knew a few years ago how I wanted it to look.  I wanted books, files, craft supplies, tables, boxes, bulletin boards, candles, photos, and storage tubs shoved into this room.What has happened is the room is in chaos. It is much too busy. I am distracted by the "stuff". I am always trying to reorganize what I thought was an orgainzed room. The room above looks so clean and serene to me. That is what I am striving for.... I think.

I am to the point I hardly use my home office. I feel like Tina Fey in this American Express ad without a baby! One priority for me is to recreate this room. I want it pretty, yet peaceful. I want it organized, yet useful.


I want my own space for inspiration. I want a place to write, create, think, and write some more. Thanks to Pinterest I have found a few ideas. I don't want to spend much money, but want to reuse what I already have a freshen it up with paint or fabric. I am going to continue to research and plan. I did pick up paint samples yesterday

I am drawn to the room here. Both the rooms are from the blog decorologyhere.I don't know what draws me to these rooms. Perhaps the colors, the light, the clean lines, the orgainzation, the space. What works for you in your room design? Any ideas?      

Beginnings: Photography 101

I love to take photographs. I did much  pointing and shooting with my first digital camera. To get photos I was happy with I usually needed to take fifteen or more of the same subject! Then I began reading more about photography and was fortunate to upgrade to an even better camera last year. I am still learning how to use all the features. 

Everything I have read about photography says to use a tripod for effective photos. Today my brother gifted me with my first tripod. I now look forward to experimenting with different shots with this new tool. As I have mentioned many times, I live in a place that provides images of beauty each and every day. I live close to spectacular mountains, a scenic lake, woods that provide ample images for photos, and sunrises and sunsets that fill the sky with beauty.

As I begin this year, I have a goal of learning even more about photography. Before the new tripod today my brother gifted me with a book Why Photographs Work by George Barr for Christmas. I am already learning more about this favorite hobby.

The photo above was taken on Sherman Pass between Kettle Falls and Republic. 

Beginnings: Time to Think

My first week back to school after winter break was one that I eased into. Tuesday the students appeared well-rested and ready to be back. Our friend Joan came and spent two nights and even came with dinner! It felt good to laugh together was we recited old poems, sang old western songs, and listened to Everett's jokes. Laughing and singing is so good for the soul.

I was off on Wednesday for jury duty, then Thursday and Friday just flew by. Now it is time to think. As the new year begins and my birthday looms ahead, I need time to think this week-end. I want to continue to focus on goals and priorities so I am headed in the right direction. I look forward to some quiet time to do that. I have other plans for the week-end, but I am going to find that quiet time to think also. Do you ever just sneak off so you can think quietly? I think it is something all of us should try to do.

Beginnings: Taming the To-Do List



As I begin a new year I decided to reevaluate my organizational style. Sometimes I am really orgainzed, then other times things just fall apart. Does this sound familiar? I just finished reading the book How Did I Get So Busy?  by Valorie Burton.It was a timely read right at the start of the new year. The book provided me with reasons to reflect on my own time and priorities.

The section that really hit home yesterday (confession... I was reading while waiting on jury duty) was the one titled " Tame Your To-Do List." One idea just put me shock. She suggested operating without a to-do list for a week. The author felt like too many people have long lists that never get done. The list is too overwhelming. She suggests to focus on simple tasks that need to be done for a week without making a list. Scary, scary. I always have a list. This will be new territory for me. I think I will give it a try. I just hope I don't forget to go to school or take my coffee in the morning!!

photo looking toward White Mountain, Highway 20, northeastern Washington state

Beginnings: Hidden Beauty

Today I was dreading driving over a mountain pass to the other side of the county to serve on jury duty. I don't drive Sherman Pass much in the winter. It is the highest pass in our state and it usually has more snow that what we have below. Forturnately today the road was bare and the sky was clear. I managed to capture some photos at a few stops as I was reaching the top of the summit. Today was a reminder that even if you are in a place you dread, or on a road that might be unsafe, there is always beauty. Sometimes the beauty is hidden under the clouds, the fog, or the trees. I was glad I captured these photos on the way to Repulic. I wasn't chosen for the jury and headed home. I was pleased I had taken the photos at the start of the day. The middle of the day was shrouded in fog.


Beginnings: Looking for Potential

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. " ~Ellen Goodman

This quote yesterday gave me much to think about as I too wandered through the rooms of my life. Yesterday I wrote about priorities, which I hope to focus on each day. I also like the idea of looking for potential. 

At home I am certainly not a person to redo,redecorate, and redesign every room in my house each year. I would rather focus spending in other areas. What I love to do is look for potential. What can the old table from Grandma's house be used for that will better serve it's purpose? Can I repaint the shelves so they work better in the home office? This week I am looking for potential in what I already have so I can reuse,recycle, and redo a few spots in the house.

As we began a new year to in the classroom, I looked for potential in my students. Their well-rested faces lit up as they shared stories of hunting, dirt biking, the school basketball party, and funny activities over break. What a way to start meaningful writing. I saw potential memoir pieces emerge as students added details to their oral stories. I saw even more potential as their words and phrases emerged in paragraphs and stories.

I look forward to examining potential in other areas this new year. How about you?