Search and Snap: Scavenger Hunts for the Digital Age

To call myself an amateur photographer is too much of a compliment.  I know a little bit about apertures and shutter speeds.  All I really know is that I like to take a lot of photos.  So in an effort to improve my photo taking skills I started following Digital Photography School and PhotoJojo.  I’ve gotten some really great inspiration from them over the past couple of years, and I would really recommend the budding photographer to check out their sites.

A while ago though, I was in a bit of a slump and wanting to take more photos so I started a group called Search and Snap with my friends.  This is a way for us to keep in touch despite the miles that separate us, and it’s been really fun learning new techniques together.  Search and Snap is a scavenger hunt for the digital age.  A list of items is posted, and then participants have of a set amount of time to take and submit their photographs.  My friends have even gotten their friends to play along, so we must be doing something right!

We’re nearing the end of our second year, and I thought that I would invite you to join us on this next assignment.  It starts tonight and lasts through the weekend.  This is probably the best assignment to start with because we’re putting our DSLRs aside, and we’re going to take photographs with nothing other than the camera found on our cell phones.

So please head over to and I hope that you will join us this weekend!


waiting and praying

Dear Friends,

As you know, we were approved by the adoption agency last month.  We were able to turn in our profile books and our online profile a few weeks ago.  Today I got the notice that our online profile has been published.  Hurray!

We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of our fellow church members.  I am blessed to be in fellowship with such loving, generous and gifted people.  Heather Neely took some AMAZING photos of us, and I am just going to go ahead and put in a full recommendation for her services to the Northern Virginia crowd.  Please make sure to check out her website.  (She’s got a great eye for stuff!)  Also, if it weren’t for our church’s worship director being so patient with us amateurs, we would never have gotten our music for the video recorded.  Caleb Green is so cool, he even has his own wikipedia entry.  (How cool is that?)  So, um, if you get elected President, make sure that you get him to sing at your inauguration, too.  And I especially can’t forget about the ladies who have been praying for us.  (Please don’t stop!)

Who knows how long we’ll be waiting and praying, and who knows how many of these “waiting and praying” posts I’m going to end up writing. So basically I guess I just wanted to write a quick a note to say we’re done with the hard part, and we’ve moved on to the harder part.



Adoption Book Review: Raising Adopted Children

While waiting for a book required by my adoption agency to come back to the library, I checked out a different book on the same subject by the same author: Raising Adopted Children by Lois Ruskai Melina.  I enjoyed this book, and I believe that this is a good introduction to adoption but not exhaustive (unlike the last book I reviewed). It seemed light on certain subjects, but it was an eye opener in other areas.  For example, Dr. Melina brought to light working with health care professionals that understand adoption and know how to be sensitive about it.

This book was written from the viewpoint of a woman unable to have her own biological children, and so I felt that I could relate to her. She discusses the grieving process that occurs.  She seems to write a bit from this point of view, so some people going through the adoption process for other reasons might have a hard time digesting that information.

Dr. Melina gave advice from her own experiences having adopted two international children from abroad, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone else planning to adopt internationally. She has insights that I would never have thought on my own.  Yet, she still offers plenty of advice to parents of all types of adoption.

I appreciated how she illustrated a child’s understanding of adoption at various ages.  She did a beautiful job sharing how we can explain adoption to our child in ways that he or she will grasp.  She also indicated developmentally why children will ask certain things at some points in their life and not others.

This book was the first one I read that opened my eyes to open adoption.  Although I’m not entirely swayed to do an open adoption, I think I learned how to have a more meaningful semi-open adoption for my (future) child.

I would definitely recommend this book to people in the beginning stages of adoption.

my first knitted sweater!!!

Sarah over at Long Tall Yarn shared this baby sweater pattern with me.  It’s supposed to be a five hour sweater.

More like ten.

It was very nice to knit though.  The pattern was very flexible in what yarns and needles could be used.

Very forgiving.

If I were to knit it again, though, I would add button holes.  Still, I’m happy to add it to my growing collection of items for the baby.

Thanks, Sarah!

pausing to reflect a nice moment in life

So I do not know where to start, possibly, because I’ve started so many other things.  I’ve just transferred some photos I took at my parents’ farm, Six Meadows, a few weeks ago, and I find myself distracted all over again.

I just love being home.  I love seeing my parents.  I love seeing my brother.  I love seeing their dog.  I love walking around the farm.

When we there, the apples and pears were nearing harvest.  My folks are going to have quite the bounty!

We tried to get a few good shots of our smart mutt.  Key word, tried.  Can you guess what is wrong with each picture?  Hahaha.

Take 1:

Take 2:

Take 3:

I think she came to see why we were laughing.  Surely it wasn’t at her.

Adoption Book Review: Successful Adoption

Okey and I have read a lot of books throughout the adoption process about adoption.  Since you may be curious about adoption yourselves, I am going to post my reviews of the books I’ve read. Most of these books were recommended by our adoption agency, but there were a few others we discovered from the library.  There are a lot of good resources out there, and I hope that these posts can be helpful to you.

I’m going to start with Successful Adoption by Natalie Nichols Gillespie.  The cover calls this “a guide for Christian families,” and it is about the adoption process.  Except for a few scriptural references and verses of encouragement, the material contained within was mostly secular.  I wish I had read this book first as it talks about the adoption process in detail, from choosing which agency to work with to financing the adoption itself.  By the time I read this book, a lot of the material was redundant to what Okey and I had read elsewhere or already spent a lot of time researching on our own.

Successful Adoption can be used as a step-by-step guide for families wanting to adopt domestically or even internationally.  Because the book covers every adoption angle, all of the material will not relate to everyone.  I felt that a majority of the book dealt with preparing for international adoption. The tips for international adoption seemed like sound advice, and there was a lot of it.

I liked how the book had check lists called “Red Light, Stop!” that you can use to determine if you are ready to advance to the next step in the process.  There were also action points called “Green Light, Go!” that could help a person stay organized.

For a “nuts and bolts” book about adoption, this book should have had an index for searching topics. The book is well organized, but the same topics appear in various locations.  With an index, the book would be easier to use as a reference.

Still, I would recommend this as a starter book for people considering adoption.

sneak peak

The weekend has started, and I won’t have time to continue sewing.  But before I run off on another adventure, I wanted to share what I’ve been working on.

I had discovered Spoonflower a few weeks ago.  Spoonflower is a textile manufacturer that imprints custom designs on fabrics.  Thankfully, I can also purchase fabric with designs made by people far more talented then me.  I just love SewPenelope‘s work, especially her elephants.

Alas, I cannot justify spending roughly $20 a yard on fabric, no matter how beautiful or perfect it would be for the room.  So I ran off to Jo-Ann’s a few weeks ago and found a delightful (and inexpensive) fabric that I can use for the baby’s room.  Here’s a sneak peak of the room:

I think the colors are going to be close enough to the other elephant prints that I might be able to buy a yard or so to use for accenting. <big grin>

Okey shared his opinion with me about the fabric, and I would like to know what your impression is of the fabric I bought.  I think nearly all of my readers are women, so this poll might be biased, but please go ahead and tell me what gender you think of with this fabric that I purchased.

PS Have a great weekend everyone.  See you next week!