Little Things Thursday

If you follow on Instagram, you saw that we had to put our pug, Gigi, down yesterday. Gigi was to turn 11 this September, which is pretty old for pugs. Her health was beginning to deteriorate as well as her overall happiness. So, we made that hard call.

We bought Gigi at a little pet shop in Bangkok in 2005. We had talked about getting a family pet prior to the day, and we happened upon this shop the day they had two baby pugs. Gigi was the smallest of the two, and most likely the runt of the litter. She was just so cute, so we brought her home. We named her after our home state of Georgia, but decided to call her Gigi.

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Gigi was a rambunctious puppy with a strong mind of her own. She was funny and playful until about year three when she began having clusters of seizures every 6 months or so for almost 8 years. She was never fully the same after her first episodes and each cluster most likely brought about some damage to her body. She became less and less playful and more prone to just lounge the days away. She was a sweet companion, even so.

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Her favorite winter lounging place was by the fire.

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She was the ever hopeful dog for whatever morsels of food she could find, or beg for though. She guarded her food like nothing else. “Treat” was her favorite word.

Gigi wants a treat

Summer Days

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Thank you to those who left sweet words on my Instagram feed yesterday. That means so much! We are sorrowful over the loss of our Geege, but happy that she is no longer feeling the effects of age and health issues. She was a good friend to us for 10+ years. We are heading out today to take in some sweet time of fun and rest in Florida with family before the school year crazy begins.

We will miss you Gigi…


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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday! I finally was able to transfer some of my photos from my laptop to my regular desktop PC. Thanks to Gina for reminding me that I could just use a USB drive! I was over-complicating the situation, which I’m prone to do when tired.

So, today I’m sharing just a few more of the cute faces of Cherokee from our trip.

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Until next year little friends…

So, how’s your little portion of the world this week?


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Summer Vibes

I’m trying to absorb as much summer as I can right now. I just looked at the calendar and we have 3 weeks and 6 days until the first day of school.

I’m kind of hitting that end of summer panic mode, the one where I realize I’m just not ready to get back into the swing of a school schedule. I’ve ordered curriculum, we’ve been supply shopping, and we’ve started cleaning up the school room. But, I’m holding on to summer as long as I can.

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I’ve been peaching. Trying new coffee houses. Scoring new colorful pens. Enjoying snow cones by the pool.

I’ve climbed more stairs than ever before at Tallulah Gorge in North Georgia. There was over 1000 steps (as in stair steps) involved to see these breath-taking views. Jasper was ready for a rest. My legs are still aching. We rewarded ourselves with fresh strawberry-peach ice cream on the way home as we stopped once again at a nearby farmer’s market.

We aren’t closing out summer just yet. We’ve a little more fun and relaxation on the schedule before school begins in earnest once again.

Linking up with Random-osity!

 

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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday this week! If you missed yesterday’s post, I mentioned that we took an unintended week of due to very poor internet in the Qualla Boundary. I had hoped to prepare a post and that just wasn’t going to post. So…impromptu vacation!

I’m still trying to figure out getting all the images off this craptop to my good PC in my office so that I can use some of the tools afforded on my computer there. Like my saved collage templates for my vertical shots! Gotta find the right cable to make it happen, somewhere.

For now, one of my favorite images from our time in Cherokee.

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My middle one just loves little kids and they love him. Aidan was such a good friend to this sweet little Cherokee girl. We all fell in love with her. I saw Aidan playing with her and making her laugh, so I ran over to capture it. I certainly could have taken a step back to prevent cutting him off at the bottom, but I am so glad I got there in time to catch this. Behind me there was so much going on like the parachute games, football throwing, other kids on swings, that I could have easily missed this.

How’s you last two weeks been? Show us what you’ve been capturing!


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Cherokee

I didn’t mean to disappear for over a week. You may remember that my kids and I traveled to Cherokee, NC to participate in a trip to serve the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina. The internet was bad, very bad. So, I was not able to blog or check in. In fact, I pretty much used up our monthly data just to check in briefly on my phone.

However, our trip was good, very good.

I’m not sure how to talk about it here. I want to be careful to keep the dignity of others in tact. I’m not sure how much you may know about the lives of the people of Cherokee, but I want to speak of those concerns with grace. I’m still figuring that out a bit. I’ll share more this week.

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Cherokee is in The Great Smokey Mountains. Aptly named.

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There is a good deal of touristy type things along some stretches of roads, but there are also some great museums that tell the story of the Cherokee. I wish I could have visited those. I hear the Cherokee have a drama that is really well done and tells their story.

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We stayed on the “reservation” and I was in awe of the beauty of the land. With the exception of a few areas of shopping and tourism, the land is just gorgeous this time of year.

The Cherokee reside in the Qualla Boundary which is roughly 82.6 sq miles and is not truly a reservation, but a land trust governed by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Our church has served the people here for 18 years of summer trips. There are generational connections and relationship that have been built in those 18 years and both sides greatly look forward to the week spent together. It was so good to go and photograph the trip and just be a learner.

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We spent the week with babies, kids, teens, young mothers, and older mothers who have brought their kids in those very first years, and are now bringing their grandkids. It was such a sweet time.

The Cherokee kids love painting rocks, and the day began this way every day. What a joy it was to spend a week with new friends.

More on that later…

Linking up with Randomosity!

 

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Little Things Thursday

I’m sliding into to Little Things Thursday today, completely exhausted. But for all good reasons!

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I’ve had a lot going on, as we all do. We are currently preparing to head up to Cherokee, NC this Saturday morning for a week long traveling VBS (Vacation Bible School) for some sweet kiddos that live in Cherokee. Our church has participated in this ministry for going on the 19th year and this trip is greatly looked forward to every year by the youth and adult volunteers. My 3 kiddos are going to help run the VBS and love on some kids, while I document the trip for the team.

I’ve been trying to get my photography type things ready to travel, which means setting up a laptop with all my editing software. I’m a desktop editor, so this is no quick task to get myself ready to edit on the go. Currently, I’m wringing my hands trying to figure out getting my new laptop color managed, because, of course my calibrator is not compatible with Windows 10. Sad face.

Not sure what I’m going to do with that because I just can’t with this uncalibrated monstrosity of screen color management.

In addition, I’m working round the clock to get all my clients prints and products out for order before leaving. So basically, I’ve been glued to screens. I’m now accepting shoulder rubs, meals, and pep talks. I’m working on a few other fun things that I’ll wait to share. It’s just all happening at once!

The kids and I are trying to pack in between all of these things and I know we will get it all checked off the list at some point. Right?

So, let’s see all your peaceful summer photos so I can live vicariously.


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Little Things Thursday

What a week for us all here in the U.S. of A. I’m sure many of you are as heavy- hearted and discouraged as I am this week with all the tragedies unfolding out of Orlando this week. Perhaps more than ever we need our Little Things this week to remind us that even in an ugly world, there are still good things to be found. Grace is still keeping us. We really need to put on our grace googles going forward, I think. It is so easy to get bogged down in this broken world, but I think we need to do a better job of lighting the way through the darkness for others.

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To that end, a few nice things this week.

  1. Rain. Though this caused a session reschedule, we really needed a good soaking rain.
  2. Making memories for families. The gift of portraits is so important and I love that I am able to design some beautiful memories for others.
  3. Good food. Summer is such a wonderful time to enjoy the fresh bounties of the earth. God is good.
  4. My first Erin Condren planner arrived. The search for a great tool for staying on top of life is quite a feat. I’m excited to try out this planner for the rest of this year and all of next. So far, in my few hours of exploring it, I am enjoying the fun design, colors, and functionality. I can reduce the number of sticky notes floating around my office, though I still love those, too. Interested in trying your own EC Planner? You can get a $10 discount with my referral code. You get $10 and I get $10!

 

What’s your little thing this week?


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Little Things Thursday

Welcome to Little Things Thursday, the linky where we share the little things that are making us currently happy through images and words.

This week has been busy with getting the kids back and forth to VBS. They are enjoying their week, while I am enjoying a little time to work on a few things.

Some things I am currently enjoying this week are:

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I’m only halfway through, but I’m learning a couple of fun ways of approaching the topic of happiness. Gretchen Rubin is a podcaster that I have recently been introduced to and her thoughts on the tendencies of people are intriguing. I really love the topic of personality. So, I decided to pick up a couple of her books for summer reading. Rubin essentially selected 12 things she desired to improve in her life to work on over the course of a year. She breaks each of those topics down to tell how she approached the changes. The biggest take away that I’ve learned so far is to “act the way you want to feel”. Yes. I think this is such great advice. You know?¬†

Speaking of podcasts…

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I found another fun one called Sorta Awesome. You can find it in iTunes. Megan Tietz used to write for the blog Sorta Crunchy, and has now developed to a full-time podcaster. I’ve added this to my exercise podcast-listening rotation. If you like podcasts, check this one out.

Finally, my three kiddos and I are preparing to head out on June 25th to Cherokee, NC. to assist with hosting a VBS program with kids living in the Cherokee nation. My daughter has participated twice, and this will be my boys’ first trip, of many, I’m sure. I will be helping with the documentation of the week, while our kids serve the kids from the reservation. Everyone is looking forward to the time. Oh and yeah…the little one here has a busted forehead after a run in with an exercise band. He is all glued up and on the mend. This kid…

How’s your summer going? What’s making you happy this week?


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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday! I think we are starting to settle in to our summer groove. I usually take a full week between school’s end and really delving in to summer to get my life straight. This year it was all about decluttering, a sort of refresher for the home after a year of being on the go. It feels so great to have aired out the home, so to speak.

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And we brought some life back to our backyard. Memorial Day weekend had the whole family out weeding, mulching, and potting flowers. I love bringing some life back to our dull post winter yard each year. We have several tomato plants in the ground and that, besides our berry bushes, will be the only vegetables we plant this year. They are pretty much the only veggie with any sort of success rate around here. And by here, I mean with us. We are a bit brown and green with the thumbs. You just never know…

How was your Memorial Day weekend?


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Kondo-ed…an update.

It’s been a week since I began my decluttering process the KonMari way. You may remember my mentioning it last week on Little Things Thursday and I promised you an update after reading the entire book and applying what I learned. I found the whole thing life changing in terms of how I view things.

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Last week there were mixed reactions to the book. Most people who left comments were fairly on board with simplifying while a few others were thinking that decluttering was the last thing on their to do lists. There is no judgement either way because the real purpose of the book is not to force you to discard items you really love, but to help you make sure that you are surrounding yourself with things that “spark joy”.

Personally, I was not as joyful with my surroundings as I could be. I knew that we had some excess baggage that felt more like an anchor than a bolster of joy. In an effort to give us space to pursue our true passions, I needed to spend less time managing items. If we can’t steward and store things well, then they must be superfluous to our lives. Storage is just a bandage to the bigger problem of excess.

I spent a full week purging every single room and closet. I took a serious look at each item, as the method suggests, and asked myself if the items “sparked joy”. I did feel a little foolish verbalizing the question, but it was so helpful. Marie suggests starting with categories, not rooms. You begin with clothing, move to books, papers, misc. items, and then on to nostalgia. Never start with nostalgia if you want to make it through the discarding process. You end with it because by the time you get to your nostalgia, you’ve honed the skill of knowing what brings you joy. Nostalgia is the most guilt inducing category, so you want to have your brave pants on before tackling it. This works! The only item I disagree with tossing in this department is photographs, obviously. I mean there may be some you could let go of, if you don’t even know what they are. However, we do need to be better about taking hundreds of nothing shots. And we do need to be better about giving our photographs that spark joy places of honor by displaying them. That’s my high horse.

I also love how Marie gives you permission to just let go of anything you have buyer’s remorse over. So often we hang on to things simply because we feel guilty about wasting money on it, even though we know we secretly hate it and will never use it. Or maybe we just have ambivalence about it and store it simply because it’s not that bad and maybe we will use it “someday”. She redeems those poorly purchased items buy telling us that we were taught that we don’t like shirts with patterns, or plaid doesn’t look good on us. We learned what not to buy next time! Or maybe we can let go of something because it’s purpose was already fulfilled by bringing us joy in the past, so we can let it go now because we are no longer gaining joy from it.

I discarded about 10-15 bags of garbage items and made a couple Goodwill donation trips. Remember, I’ve never been a pack rat. Still, I had that much miscellaneous garbage and unused items stuffed in drawers, closets, and spaces. It has been so freeing to give it up. Some things I just decided I could live without. We weren’t using them and there was no reason to keep them. We reached the place of “enough” and “joyful”. Everything has a designated home. If you discard thoroughly and put everything you keep away, you will stay decluttered. As the theory goes… So far so good in our home.

The tip on folding clothing has been revolutionary. I never knew I had that much available drawer space until I folded the KonMari way. Try it…it’s amazing. If this is all you gain from the book, you won’t be sorry.

Lastly, I truly believe this method will stay with me if I simply ask myself when purchasing, “does this spark joy?” I think I will know immediately if the items are needed, bring me joy, or if I am seeking to soothe some fleeting emotion inside instead. I will teach my kids to ask the same question, even if I gave them the items. No guilt. I don’t want them navigating their adult lives feeling bound to stuff. Sometimes I think we all just need permission to throw stuff away and to have less. It is a bit counter-cultural to think this way. We have to learn to carry memories and experiences without all the tchotchkes. Unless they really spark joy! I have a few items from Thailand that are joyful for me like my Celadon tea set from Chiang Mai. I prefer to buy one really great thing over a 100 little nothings.

If you took a look around my home today, you would not see sparse minimalism. You would see essentialism. Though, I can get on board with both and be happy. The bottom line for me is having freedom to follow passions without the anchor of stuff.  Beautiful essentials are all I need. I love that take away from reading the book.

One thing I am not addressing here are the chapters that touch on some of the Japanese spiritual philosophies regarding things as living beings. This is briefly mentioned and from the perspective of a Japanese author. This subject is beyond the point of the book, in my opinion. If you want to ask me about those from my Christian perspective, I’m happy to share my thoughts with you.

Grab this book if you are serious about decluttering and simplifying your space. You can find the book on Amazon. Link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through this link do bring a few pennies my way and support this blog. Thank you.

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