Friday, December 28, 2012

At the Years End With a Piece of Fudge (or two) in my Hand



That’s what this week has been, this last full week of the year.


Nothing happening.  Nothing scheduled. 


No school!  Yippeeee!


No rushing, just relishing in the quiet.


Staying up late and reading all those books piled by my night stand, then sleeping in an hour later than usual! 


Studying deep into God’s words….leaning back into His truths and trusting.


Enjoying once a year treats, using a vintage candy cookbook from 1970.  Resulting in the BEST fudge I have ever eaten! I seriously  can’t leave it alone.


fudge- SycamoreLane Photography- w


Superior Chocolate Fudge

(taken from the Farm Journal Homemade Candy Cookbook 1970)

4 c  sugar

1 (14 1/2oz) can evaporated milk

1 c  butter

1 (12oz) pkg.  semi- sweet or milk chocolate chips

1 (7oz) jar marshmallow crème

1 tsp vanilla

1 c   broken walnuts or pecans (optional)

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in heavy 3-qt pot.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till soft ball stage is reached (234 degrees).  Remove from heat; add chocolate chips, marshmallow crème, vanilla and nuts. Beat until chocolate melts and blends into mixture. Pour into a heavily buttered 13 x 9 in. pan.  Makes about 4 lbs.

**I did this a bit different.  I put some broken pecan pieces into a buttered 9 in.  pie plate.  I used another pie plate but did not add nuts to it.  Then I split the mixture between the two pans.  That way I had a little variety since I have some in my family who like their fudge without nuts.




cook book- SycamoreLane Photography-w


Doing a bit of crocheting, just for fun.

yarn- SycamoreLane Photography- w


Taking care of Bob (a.k.a Bobcat or Mr. Bob) who, my retired Veterinarian dad has discovered,  has a congenital heart defect called ductus arteriosus.  I listened to his heart the other day when my dad was checking him out.  There is not a strong beat to his heart just whoosh-whoosh.  He has now been brought inside, no longer to be a mouse catching barn cat, and is currently being babied.  He sleeps A LOT.  We will love him while we have him and he will lack for no amount of attention!


bob cat-w


There has been a fair amount of ingenuity going on around here, too!  Sis, got out the boxes from my bedroom closet that our Christmas gifts were shipped in.  She made herself one fine dolly house… a three story, she informed me. 




And I’ve had a bit more freedom to take some photos.  How I love capturing the beauty of God’s nature in a photograph.  I stand there snapping away, looking for great composition, and praising my Great God with all that is within me!


house finch- SycamoreLane Photography- web


sunset- sycamoreLane Photography- web


This year is at its end, quickly fading into the new year.  I’m savoring these last few days and looking forward with great anticipation for what the Lord will bring with the new year.


Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What Is Christmas?

What is Christmas? 

Is it perfectly decorated “Martha Stewart Sugar Cookies” or is it kid frosted, mile high sprinkle cookies and Cyclops gingerbread boys.


December 2012-gingerbread men-w


sugar cookies


What is Christmas? 

Is it a white light Christmas tree in perfectly coordinating theme colors or is it a kiddie Christmas with any lights you can find in the Christmas tub, white or colored, any that work wins the day, with  ornaments of all types in a helter-skelter hanging arrangement.



December 2012-tree


What is Christmas?

Is it wonderful, artfully wrapped presents with corners and bows. Placed just so under the tree.


December 2012-6-2-gift





OR …. is it so much more?

Is it being able to impart an afternoon of joy.  Talking and working together with a sweet, precious 8 year old girl.  Hearing the heartfelt laughter of a little girl who is watching day and night as her sister battle’s cancers debilitating grip.

Oh Lord, Christmas joy came to our house this afternoon.  YOU were hear.  True Christmas.  Your love flowing, circulating, bringing tears to my eyes and a deep thankfulness to my heart.  That You would use us in this manner filled me with a deep knowing of Your love, power, and majesty.  Love spilled down my cheeks and I knew I was witnessing true, God given joy.  She laughed.  She played.  She was a child.  Beautiful, overflowing, Christmas love.  An abounding  well spring of love flowing from our Lord.  True Christmas being played out in a simple act.  An afternoon of loving for one so young and yet so old.  You grabbed my heart and showered upon me a beautiful gift… to see her happy, an abundant blessing.  Thank you, Lord Jesus. 


Love, joy and peace were poured out upon our souls today, reminding us to slow.  To step out of the rush of Christmas and all the world twists it to be.  Today we were encouraged  to soak up His love and pour it out upon others. In turn, we were blessed beyond measure and I felt once again the thrill of Christmas that I had lost. 

The excitement of Christmas is in the giving to those who are truly in need.  To share Christ’s love, the soothing balm, for those who are hurting.  To give of my time for the lost.  To show the true meaning of Christmas through my actions, words, and prayers.  To boldly proclaim Christ as Savior for all.


Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twenty Years

The calendar states it, bold as can be, it has been twenty years.

Is it possible?

Can twenty years go by so quickly and yet seem like forever at the same time?

I remember when we first got married how I thought couples who were celebrating anniversaries in the twenty to twenty-five year mark had been together “forever”.  It seemed like a lifetime, being married twenty years.

It isn’t a lifetime, but it is a lifeline.

Who could have ever guessed what twenty years together would bring. What amazing stability and strength. 

Twenty years is something to cling to. Can anyone know me better and yet love me all the same.  What amazing security.

Twenty years has produced much insight.  We possess a deepness that bonds us together even when we face off in stubbornness. We don’t always see things the same.  But, we shape and mold one another.  A perfect fit, willing to shift, move and wiggle a bit to make a union that will stand the test of time.

Who else could melt my heart with moments that speak louder than words?

Joel and sis-edited


No other could have helped form the perfect, loving family that we call ours.


family shot


You are my joy, my strength, my calming force.  My own personal comedian, in blue jeans and hoodie.  And the hardest working man I have ever known. You are a provider with tenacity.



harvest 2012- SycamoreLane Photography


  I love watching you when you aren’t looking.  It’s in those quiet times when I have a moment just to observe,  that my heart yells… I love that man!  And I’m reminded once again why I love you so very much.


skipping rocks-1


Vacation Sept 2012-superior-Joel


You had my heart the first time we ever talked.   It is still yours. I still can’t resist your deep brown eyes and dimples. You’re irresistible.

May God bless us with many more years in which we can serve Him, together. 

Arm in arm, heart to heart, you and me. Always.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Plain Words

Holy Moly!

Where have the days gone!  They were here… I know they were.  They just passed in a blur.

I have been BUSY!  Over the past two weeks. I have memorized (in less than a week) a monologue of Mary, mother of Jesus, for the opening of my Pastor’s sermon (which I presented at both services).  I was then asked to fill in the 2nd biggest speaking part in the musical that our church put on. The lady that was supposed to do the part couldn’t.  I had a week!  We just finished putting on 3 performances last weekend.  Funny… I never saw myself as an actress and within two weeks did more of it than ever before in my life!   My heart was beating so fast, I could feel it in the back of my head behind my ear!  So glad I didn’t pass out or throw up…. now that would have been an interesting scene.

In the midst of all that I got a funky infection in my lower lip.  It was HUGE and I had to drink from a straw.  I looked very interesting!

I also had a photo shoot.  I took photos of a dear friends  four children.  Super adorable and so much fun. 

And I am currently trying to finish up a “thirteen lesson”  assignment for Union Gospel Press.

Busy, busy, busy.

I’m ready for some quiet!  I haven’t even done any Christmas baking yet.  Very unlike me.

So, this week is dedicated to our final week of school before Christmas break, cookie making, candle making, gift wrapping, last minute stocking stuffer buying, assignment writing, kid snuggles, and in between some deep soul breathing.

I miss writing, the kind that is just for me… yet ends up here!

I miss putting words down in type, it soothes my soul. 

There’s so much I could put down and thus, learn from myself as I dump my heart out onto a blank screen.  Does anyone else feel that way?  Whenever I write heart deep, I always learn, and I always grow.  It’s therapeutic. 

It’s quiet here for a moment. The oldest two have gone with our youth pastor for several hours.  Joel and sis are at the neighbor ladies checking in on her and my youngest son has wandered down to the basement.  It’s just me, the ticking of the clock, the tapping of the keyboard, the glowing Christmas tree. Even though I have much I’d like to write, it seems to be trapped within right now.  I can’t seem to get it into words tonight. 

Plus, if dinner is going to be made.  I’m the one to be doing it. The time crunch has got me limited.

So for now….

It’s just a normal everyday post. Mumble jumbled.  Quickly tapped out.

Nothing extraordinary.

Just simple words documenting.

Plain words, but my words, for my everyday.

December 2012-textured sunset



***********I am in the process of shutting down my Etsy site.  I have placed some of my favorite photos on a site called Fine Art America.  On this site you can buy my prints.  They offer my photos as prints, metallic prints, canvas prints, framed prints, acrylic prints, and greeting cards.  I set my price for the photos and Fine Art America charges for materials used.  For example,  most of my photos start at $10-$15 for a 5x7 and then go up for there in $5 increments.  So if you were to buy a print of the above picture in a 12x7.88 print it would cost you $20 (my cost) plus the cost of printing… that would make the price around $37.  If you get a moment check out my Gallery.

Here is a sample of my work….

Art Prints

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Scavenger Hunt~ 12/09

Need a Christmas gift for someone? Take a moment and check out my friends Etsy shop.  She is having a 50% off sale on her Jewelry! 



This Weeks Items:  Season, Colorful, Weather, Silhouette, Calm


Tis’ the season for baking.  I made this Homemade Caramel Pudding the other day.   It was the best pudding I have ever eaten.

Caramel Pudding- SycamoreLane Photography





Caleb 2012





The weather here has been unseasonably warm for November and December. I was able to take my youngest son out and get some photos of him the other day when it was in the 50’s.  It was so nice to be able to take some winter type shots without freezing.






November2012 sunset-hd




Calm (Archive)

Deep Breath in…. Deep Breath out…

foxtail-1-SycamoreLane Photography



Linked up with Ashley:


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Slow Dance

It’s late.

Deep sleep, soothing slumber, encompasses my household. There is rhythmic breathing floating through doorways and down the hall. The clocks count out the time and the cat prances after imaginary prey.

I sit up reading in the glow of the lamp. Listening for the crunch of tires on gravel, the flash of light illuminating off the barn, the turn of the door knob that tells me he is home.

He comes in quiet as a 15 year old boy possibly can.

I meet him by the kitchen table. He wraps his arms around me in a spontaneous hug.  My face gets buried in his chest. His chin on my head.  I lose my balance and take a step to the left.

“Where are you going, Mom?” he asks.

And then he’s leading.  He steps and I follow. We move in a circle, dancing.  It’s sweet bliss.  This boy who has never even slow danced in his life takes his mom for a turn around the floor.

It’s a rare, absolutely precious moment.

A 30 second dance that will last an eternity.

In the quiet, darkness with only the glow of the stove light, he talks. And the 30 second dance is accompanied by a 30 minute talk. Words flow easily as the sleep breathing from the bedrooms drones on.

I listen.

We laugh.

We pet the cat.

We connect.

In the deep of the night I see him change, mature, bloom.

He’s a young man.

My heart has always been his.

And through a sweet, impromptu dance that opens up our hearts, I glimpse that his heart is still mine.


I-hd-1-SycamoreLane Photography



Sixteen has come and claimed its rightful place.

Still I get to soak in your smile.

I treasure our bantering, picking, and jesting.

I love that you ask me to scratch your back.  Every. Single. Night.

What joy you bring to my heart when you share something you find interesting in your science, history, or Bible.

You’ve grown up right before my eyes.  From my curly headed, chubby cheeked, Bubby-  to a tall, curly headed, young man.


Keep giving your heart to the Lord.  He is calling you, His chosen child, to live for Him. 

He is your shield and strong tower in this great big world.  Cling to Him.

Live purely for Him.

Your mind, soul, heart, and body are precious to Him.  He does not want to see you harmed by things of this world. 

When life bares its teeth at you just remember He will never leave you or forsake you.  God is your banner and He goes before you into battle.

Call on His name.  He will rescue you, when life feels bigger than you can handle.

You were bought with a price.  Never forget!

Jesus, loves you beyond words.  He died for you.  What LOVE is that?!

You are His and He is yours.


As you live these days of your sixteenth year, may you be overwhelmed by who God is.  May your heart be filled to overflowing with the knowledge of who our Savior is. 

God Almighty, King of kings and Lord or lords, the beginning and the end, Lord and Master, Sovereign Lord.

Our God who heals, our Shepherd, our Banner, our Provider.



Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Scavenger Hunt~ 12/02

This Weeks Items: Missing, Numbers, Purple, Music, Bracelet


Missing (tooth)

Sledding portrait-1 SycamoreLane Photography




school-2-SycamoreLane Photography




Her “favoritest” color of all!

sis- sunglasses- SycamoreLane Photography




Music- SycamoreLane Photography





bracelets- SycamoreLane Photography



Linked up with Ashley:


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life in bullets



  • The boys have been busy…. very busy!

               ~ It’s been interesting to see the shift from Joel being the one bringing home all the deer, to him stepping aside, sitting with the the younger boys, and letting them take the shots.

  • The boys were very involved this year in the butchering.  Butchering 101 took place in the barn and the boys all dove right in.  The oldest two actually skinned a deer by themselves one afternoon while Joel was on a fire call.  We were all impressed at their ability and gumption.
  • Assembly line packaging cut down on the amount of time it took to process the deer.  Joel has definitely gotten it down to a science.
  • Our freezer is now full to the very top with venison… thank you Lord for Your provision!





  • Our days have been full to overflowing with learning.
  • There have  been many moments of life lessons.
  • Moments of relational lessons
  • Times of Spiritual lessons.
  • And many hours of school lessons.


  • We have been learning how to count money, add, subtract, and read.

school- SycamoreLane Photography

School-4-SycamoreLane Photography


  • Learning how to do fractions, Roman numerals,  converting, and percentages.


school-5-SycamoreLane Photography

school-2-SycamoreLane Photography

school-1-SycamoreLane Photography



  • Learning how to read bigger words with fluency.

school-8-SycamoreLane Photography

School-3-SycamoreLane Photography



  • Learning all about American History… while running a hot wheels car over your hair.  I’m sure there is some scientific reasoning behind this! If I asked him he would probably say something like this:  the friction from the tires cause the brain cells to accelerate into super cell mode and therefore enhances history learning capabilities.



school-6-SycamoreLane Photography



  • And most importantly we’re learning how to be who God has called us to be… a family who serves, loves, and works together.


Kids Christams photo shoot 2012-6-SycamoreLane Photography

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Truly Thankful

Sometimes words just can’t convey how deeply thankful I am.


foxtail-1-SycamoreLane Photography



autumn fog-2012-hd


Nouns, adjectives, and verbs cannot fully capture the beauty of what the Lord gifts to me daily.




L-2- SycamoreLane Photography


Words aren’t strong enough to express the gratefulness in my heart even for the difficult, heart wrenching event of this autumn. Because even in the ugly, even in the breaking, even in the emotionally gripping, HE IS GOOD!




He is provider.


harvest-2012-1 SycamoreLane Photography


eggs-SycamoreLane Photography




Vacation Sept 2012-Log Slide-w


autumn glory- SycamoreLane Photography


He is Lover and He is beyond mere words.


pictured rocks-1-hd

log slide-3

Vacation Sept 2012-sunset-1


For every bit, for each moment, for every breath, I am thankful.

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