Monday, April 27, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Reflection

I ♥ Faces theme this week is "Reflection" as in the mirror image kind. I thought this could be an easy, fun challenge. I was wrong! I struggled with this theme more than I thought I would. I decided to do something little different this week. Typically my photos turn out bright and cheery, but this one is somewhat dark and somber. I thought maybe it would be interesting to mix things up a little and try to think "outside the box."

This shot reflects my oldest son, Daylor's serious side very well. I chose to use an empty picture frame with a black background for his reflection. It amazed me how well the reflection actually came out.

Head on over to I ♥ Faces to see other's rendition of this theme and be brave and enter your own!

Short and Sweets

Sitting down at dinner, we were discussing that they were showing the movie "Enchanted" at the doctors office yesterday when I took in Duglin. Our family is slightly obsessed with this movie. We LOVE it! Especially, you guessed it, Perri. We are constantly quoting one liners from this movie. Anyway, if you have ever seen the movie you would be familiar with the term, "True Love's Kiss." It's pretty much the theme phrase of the movie.

Here is how the conversation went:

Perri - "Mommy did you know that True Love's Kiss is not real?"

Me - "It's not?"

Daylor, with his most disgusted voice - "Unfortunately, Perri, it is. People actually do that."


Go kiss your True Love today!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

3 Things I Learned This Weekend...

1. It is so much, MUCH more fun to shop at garage sales than it is to be having one.

Right after Christmas we did a major clean out of our upstairs room as well as the rest of the house and decided that there was so much stuff we should have a garage sale. When I say we, that means I, because Da Hubby wasn't quite as excited about it as I was. We've been doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University thing and was inspired to try to make a little money. I thought to myself what a great way to make a little extra cash-ola!

We stored all the crap, uhh, I mean treasures, in the garage for four months and finally had the sale this weekend. Can we say WASTE.O.TIME? So after weeks of hard work, pricing & storing, hours of sitting in the sun (which was the best part), and a profit of only $61.00 we decided this was officially the first and last garage sale the Balentine household would ever have. 5 truck loads of Goodwill donations later we will have a place to park the cars again.

2. Being sick, while having a child who is recovering from a sinus infection, another child with laryngitis, and yet another with a double ear infection and strep throat all while hosting an unsuccessful garage sale makes for a VERY long weekend.

3. I have incredibly sweet children.

I had to take Duglin this morning to the doctor. Yes, it's Sunday, but that's one advantage of having a Jewish pediatrician. They are open Sunday mornings for emergency cases. Duglin has been running a 104 temperature since Friday morning that doesn't want to break. So I carted the poor baby off to the doctor first thing this morning to find out he has two "mega" ear infections that have caused a temporary loss of hearing in both ears AND a severe case of strep throat. I feel so bad for my little man.

Anyway, after his examination, the doctors let the kids raid a little drawer built into the examination table that is full on plastic animals and doo-dads. Duglin began to choose one to take home and the comical doctor "whispered" to Duglin to take on of the plastic lizards and put it on his mama's pillow tonight to see what she would do. Hearing full well what the doctor had said, I played dumb and asked Duglin what the doctor said. Duglin laughed and motioned for the doctor to come near so he could whisper back. I could hear him tell the doctor no, I love my mom too much to do that. AW! What a precious boy! I might possibly need to eat him!

The doctor was so shocked at his response that his eyes welled up with tears. He looked at me and said he had been a doctor for 30 years and that he has told his other patients the same thing hundreds and hundreds of times. Never once has a child ever responded that way. We both were teary-eyed. He looked back at Duglin and shook Duglin's hand. He told Duglin that it was worth coming to work on a Sunday to be able to meet him and to be able to hear that. He proceeded to walk out of the room and bring all the nurses in to meet my little guy.

Seriously! What more can a proud mama say? Remember this post? Perhaps it's safe to say that he still loves his mommy best!

Get well, sweet boy! I love you, too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Short and Sweets

Perri enjoys watching DVDs that have any kind of music on them, especially anything that relates to tiaras and castles. Regularly she makes up her own, umm, "choreography" with them. The other morning while the boys were doing school, Perri was occupying herself by dancing around the den to one of her Disney Princess movies.

Daylor, who happens to adore his sister, but finds her extremely feminine attributes a little over the top and annoying, looked over at her and grinned. He looked back at me and said, "Mom, she is so cute! I am so glad you guys decided to adopt her." (Side note for those who don't know my family - Perri is not adopted.)

Gotta love when they develop a sense of humor at an early age. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Heart Faces - Self-Portrait

Yikers!! This week's challenge on I Heart Faces was a toughy!! Definitely an exercise in humility. I used my 50mm lens for this and it certainly is not forgiving when it comes to those fines lines and blemishes. (Thank goodness for spot healing brushes, blur masks, and other fabulous technological wonders!)

I hate having my picture taken to begin with, but having to take my own portrait and having to make sure I am not making some obnoxious face at the same time, nearing impossible!!! so here's my best shot.

Head on our to the nice folks at I Heart Faces to see what other brave people did in their own self-portraits.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

He's Mine...Hands off!

Just want to share something going on around my neck-o-the-woods. Lately, I been noticing a slight change in his behavior. I guess I should have seen it coming, after all, he has such a loving and funny personality. He naturally attracts people. Recently, I caught him at church watching her. When he saw me following his gaze to her, he looked embarrassed and kept walking.

I'm hurt and devastated I'm no longer his only one. I mean, I guess with those beautiful, blue eyes he was going to be hard to keep as exclusively mine. sigh.....

Yes, there's another woman...a girlfriend.

What does he see in her? OK, sure, she's naturally blond, smaller than me, but I definitely have her in the height and cooking capabilities areas.

Oh, and then there's the age thing. Apparently, he likes the "younger" models. Friends have warned me about this, but really I just didn't this one coming.

And the saddest thing of all is he actually admitted to me that he likes her!!! In fact, he even goes as far as to say that she is his "girlfriend". Seriously!!?!? And apparently, she likes him, too. Doesn't she know that he belongs to me!?!

OK, I know that they have a tendency to get eyes for other women, but seriously! He's 7! He's only supposed to love his mommy!!! The nerve!

So now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go pack my bags now and head for the Land of Denial.

He's mine, Mine, MINE! And she can't have him! Well, at least until he's 35.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Journey to Worship

I remember the exact moment I decided what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was sitting in the backseat of my parents green, 70 's Ford LTD (Saaaawwweeett!). I was seven, going on eight, and my mom, brother, and I were waiting in the car for my dad to pay the bill at the little cafeteria in our neighborhood we frequented. I remember I was singing along to a tape mom had going and was staring out the window. After the song was over, mom looked back at me and said, "Honey, you sang that song really nicely. You have a great voice!"

It's amazing the power of a parents words. Those words changed my life from that moment and gave me a vision for my future. I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to sing. And not just sing, but be really good at it. A couple months later I began voice lessons. I worked really hard and practiced every day. I continued taking lessons from various people up until high school.

Then, the real training began.

I began taking lessons from Tommy through high school and college. I was beginning to lose confidence in my vocal capabilities as my voice was unpredictable and inconsistent as a teenager. Tommy was one of those people who encouraged me to do my best despite my teen aged, squeaky voice. He wouldn't put up with my pathetic self-pity and pushed me to do what he knew I capable of. I am grateful for the training I had with him. I learned how to really sing.

One of the things that Tommy taught me has stuck with me over the years and was this: God gives the gift of musicality. How great it is to take this gift and improve upon it. Not only does this advance our talent, but it honors God by acknowledging and doing our part to refine the gift. I LOVE that!

After college and getting married, I knew I wanted to do something with my singing and I also knew I wanted to use my voice for God in some way, but honestly, I really didn't have a clue what direction I should take. Da Hubby and I decided to join a church near our home and both became part of the worship team there. A couple of years later the church hired a new worship leader by the name of Sparrow.

God used Sparrow to change my whole perception of singing about Him. In fact, he changed my whole concept of what worship is and how I needed to incorporate that into my life. Singing from that moment on became a side issue and worship came to the front and center of my life.

Sparrow helped me focus first, on my own daily walk with Christ. Living worship as a"lifestyle." Then, draw others to Christ through worship leading, ultimately helping to establish and/or grow other's relationship with Jesus.

I now use my voice to worship and praise my awesome God. Not just sing about Him, but to and for Him alone. Vocalizing my adoration of Him spills over from my desire to worship Him in ALL aspects of my life, not just when I am holding a microphone or listening to music.

I know why God led my mom to make that comment almost 30 years ago that first peeked my interest to be a singer. I see why I went through all the years of training with Tommy and others to be able to sing properly and effectively. I look back and understand why Sparrow was in my life to mentor me and prepare my heart to be a leader. I needed all of those things because my heart craves and hungers to worship an Almighty God who loves me more than I can imagine. Using my voice as a tool, a vehicle, I worship Him, not because He forces me to, but because I want to. I really want to. I hope those who hear me sing don't see some chick who has a voice, but a face that reflects gratitude to and amazement of my Heavenly Father.

All those things that have led me to this point, have sent me on journey to worship my Saviour. Along the way, God used and is using certain people to align my footsteps to the right paths to take to get to my destination. I am still traveling and all the while on the way I will continue to commune with my God. I am grateful for the privilege to openly live my life for Him.

I love Him, I love Him, I love Him.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the resurrection of our loving and LIVING King!

Happy Easter to you and yours!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Heart Faces - HELP ME!

What a great opportunity that I Heart Faces is giving to help answer some questions about a particular photo that needs "something." And if I can hurry I will be the 50th and last person to get the opportunity to get some "constructive feedback!!"

This photo was taken at sunset in Florida with an Olympus E500 camera using a 40-150mm lens. (Yes, I know it's not the best lens to have, but at the time it was all I had.) I shot in Aperture Priority mode with a f3.5, ISO of 640, sorry, don't know what the exposure timing was.

I love the thought of how great this photo could have been. Love the expression, love the sunset in the background. I was afraid to shoot with a flash because I thought that it would wash out the sunset. So, I guess my question would be how I get a portrait shot but still have a great background such as this without out the flash washing out the colors in background? Granted my editing sucks, too, but when I tried to brighten the subject, she turned out a funky color. When I tried to fix that, the whole picture just looked odd.

Any other suggestions and comments are totally welcome!!!! Thanks so much I Heart Faces!!

Here is the unedited version if anyone else wants to give it a shot! Thanks so much!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Short and Sweets

Evidence that Perri may be watching a little too much Strawberry Shortcake...

Perri - "Daylor! Duglin! Come look out the window!!!"

Daylor - "What?"

- "Come look!!!"

- "I don't see anything."

- "Me, neither."

- "You don't see them!?!?"

, getting annoyed - "See, WHAT, Perri?"

- "The yard! It's covered in "wishberries!!!!"

and Duglin - (eyes rolling)

I didn't have the heart to tell her, her daddy just Weed-B-Gone-d the "wishberries" soon to be "deadberries." Oh, well. Bye, bye "wishberries!" Hello, Bermuda!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Martha Mondays

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy doing crafts? I used to do them obsessively before the kidos came to be, but found I had little time for do them when babies arrived. Or maybe it was I just didn't want to fight the hands that wanted to "help." hmmm... Either way, I put my crafting cravings away for awhile to raise some youngin's.

Now that my little ones are a bit older, I have joined up with a Monday night group with other fabulous moms who strangely enough all have kids 2 years and younger (I don't know how they do it!) to form a crafting circle. We have some amazingly crafty and creative people in the group. I love to craft, but I am definitely a copy cat! These ladies are down-right Crafting Queens! They inspire me and make me laugh!
I have made some really fun a kewl stuff in our circle like this

and this

and most recently this.

Jennifer and Maribeth in the group came up with a the great idea of having a crafting blog where we share the projects birthed from our circle. We also give instructions on how they were done, give ya lots of pictures, and lists of what cha' need and where to get it! Fun!!

So, go check out the craftiness at Martha Mondays , our new blog!! Keep checking back for some awesome ideas and feel free to leave comments, ask questions, or whatever!!! Hope you enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Getcha Motors Runnin'!

***B.L.O.P. Alert! (Boat Load-O-Photos)***

Take a big breathe in and smell that? It's the fragrance of spring in full bloom. I love this time of year, even if we all sneeze and itch and sniffle (that's what Zyrtec is for.)

My fab. in-laws asked us awhile back if it was OK if they bought a motorized scooter for the kids to ride on their 2 acre lot. After debating back and forth whether or not we were up to several visits to the E.R., we decided it wouldn't be to bad to use our sucky insurance now and then and agreed to let them purchase it. We took the kids over to let them try out the "Red Dart," as named by the kids. To my relief, I found out it only goes a few miles an hour and we have restricted it's use to the lot and and grass areas of their grandparents house.

Da Hubby, of course, had to "try it out" to make sure it was safe for the kids to ride. (Yeah, that's what he was doing.)

He's such a little boy when he wants to be! Poppin' wheelie's on a scooter. (Eyes rolling.) I love that about him.

Daylor took immediately to it and had a ball zipping around the backyard.

Then there was my Duglin, poor little dude could hardly put his feet down on the ground and well, had a few spills. Papaw and Da Hubby took a few tumbles with him. I needed a defibrillator to start my heart back a few times, but other than that everyone was OK. He got right back up and hopped back on. He's no quitter! Da Hubby rode with him after that at my nagging, um, request.

Duglin's bumped cheeky. It got lots of kisses.

Perri had little to no interest in the scooter and just did her Perri thing, skipping around the back yard picking all the pink flowers.

I have to admit it is pretty fun! How do I know? Hmmm...

It is these sweet, precious moment with our families that I pray my little ones remember. The fragrance of spring always reminds me of being at my grandparents house with all their azaleas in full bloom. Our kids are blessed to have both sets of grandparents to enjoy and be with. Such wonderful memories to cherish forever...

Look at those lips!! No Botox here, baby!!!!