Thursday, October 30, 2008

People will disapoint us!

I don't care who you are or what you do, there are always people who will disappoint you or hurt you in some way! The other day I went to an office to do some business and the woman behind the counter was rude and insensitive to my needs so when I left I was frustrated and hurt. I wanted to hurt her in any way possible. I called her boss and left a message that was never returned so I prepared a list of other higher ups to call to voice my concern about her lack of concern for others and I put it on my list of things to do, but I never did. I ran through our conversation over and over in my head until I was really mad and then suddenly I thought better of it all. Not to say that I was over it but I was ready to let it go and forget about it! Who knows? Maybe she had a bad morning, maybe her cat was sick or maybe she had just lost someone she loved. I really did not know this woman and she did not know me. It was at this point that I started practicing pre-forgiveness. I know how can you forgive someone for something they have not even done to you yet, but let me tell you, it can be done if you just remember that people can be kind of jerky! When they hurt you, and they will, just say to yourself "I forgive you because I don't want the rest of my day to be ruined and I don't want you to control my thought for the rest of the day". Sounds weird I know, but I am practicing it with my husband right now as I type at 11:25 PM ( I will spare you all the gory details)! Oh well, I feel better at any rate and I am going to bed with my mind free and clear.........God can sort the rest out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pay it forward!




I got this in an email today, it is long but worth the read!

Sack Lunch


I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought. Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. ' Chicago - to Great Lakes Base. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq ' After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached Chicago , and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time. As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to Chicago' His friend agreed. I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.' Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. 'This is your thanks.' After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars. Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seat belt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers. Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm. When we landed in Chicago I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars! Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.' Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check Made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.' That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it.' By the way..to all the vets who may be reading this.... Thank YOU!

I can relate to this kindness because I was an Army Wife whose family received countless gifts and kindnesses because of my husbands service in Iraq. There was one weekend in particular (2 weeks before my husband was to return to Iraq for a second tour) that we were attending a Wounded Warrior conference at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville and we were eating in one of the many restaurants in the Hotel. We were eating with another couple (friends of ours) who were also attending the conference and were nearing the end our meal when the check arrived. As we were chatting, a gentleman from the next table came over and took the check saying he would like to pay for our meals to thank Spencer and Shae for their service to our county and that he was honored to do it. This was a nice restaurant and the meal for the four of us was $175.00 but the gentleman never batted an eye at the cost. It still amazes me that people can be so generous especially to a total stranger! I think they call it paying it forward.


Remember that even if you do not agree with the reasoning behind our occupation of Iraq, the men and women there are just doing their job! They had no choice but to go where their boss sent them and they should not be held in contempt by the American people for doing what they get paid to do! I am no longer an Army Wife, but I do support our brave men and women who are just doing their job!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The power of words!







I was getting ready for bed about 9 PM the other evening when the phone rings and it is my mother-in-law, Linda. She just wanted to call and let me know that she thought my pictures were wonderful (check out the website http://www.pictureperfecttoo.com/) and she thought it was amazing that I had this hidden talent all along and just figured it out! After getting off the phone, I really got to thinking about what she had said and how it made my day, no my year to hear someone really praise my work. It made all the long hours worth it and gave me hope that I could do this for something more than a hobby.


Have you ever thought that just a kind word of praise could really lift someones spirits out of the gutter? It truly is amazing the power that our words have on others and how much influence what we say can have on a person. My new "thing" is to try to say something nice to all the people in my life when I see them or talk to them because I know just how uplifting it can be! life is what we make it!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Which one are you?

I got this in an email today and it really got me to thinking about how I have been reacting to my current situation. Please read:

Carrots, Eggs, & Coffee!
A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again. A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.' 'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?' Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. 'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you (I JUST DID); to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life. If you don't send it, you will just miss out on the opportunity to brighten someones day with this message! May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!!

I would love to tell you that I am the coffee bean, but alas, that is not who I am right now. I am the egg! I hate to admit it but that is what I have become during this tough time! On the outside I put on a good, strong front but on the inside my heart is hard. I am trying to change on a daily basis but it is a moment by moment decision and sometimes I choose the wrong path.

Who are you today? I pray that you are the coffee bean!

Lord, help us all to be more like the coffee bean!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Small Furry Creature Goes to Heaven

Yesterday I was editing photos that I had taken the previous day when my phone rings and on the other end is a sobbing teenager! I am not talking a light sob, I am talking sobbing so hard that I cannot understand him! I just knew that something terrible had happened. After several attempts I finally understand that Salt (his pet rat) has joined his friend Socks in rat heaven and Zach had a hand, well actually a foot in his death. Please try not to laugh but this is how it went down as I understand it: Zach and his BFF Bre were at the park with their pet rats and they were playing on the merry-go-round. Some how Salt ended up on the ground and Zach was horsing around with Bre and stepped on him! From Salt's perspective, I would have to imagine that this would be like seeing the foot of God coming at you since Zach has a size 14 foot! Zach was totally distraught that he had killed his rat and that if he had not been horsing around, it never would have happened! The boy has such a tender heart for small, furry creatures and he would never hurt one intentionally! He just doesn't understand that these things happen sometimes! Well, needless to say, after a trip to the pet store he is now the proud owner of two little girl rats. One is named Luna and I forget the other one. Welcome to the family girls! I hope you survive the year!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What does your carbon footprint look like?


I woke in a cold sweat about 3 am this morning. I was having a nightmare that my house had been part of a new are designated for a dump site and if I wanted to continue to live here I would have to deal with the garage! Wow, it was only a dream but one that started my mind spinning out of control, perhaps it was because I was going to Lincoln Log Cabin this morning (Saturday) to take pictures and witness the true beauty of fall or maybe it was because I know we need to recycle more so Sadie can still live on this planet when she is my age. Here are some of the things I am trying to do to improve the lifespan of our planet:


1. No more buying cases of bottled water!

2. Recycle aluminum cans.

3. Using rags to clean up messes instead of paper towels.

4. Potty training Sadie (no more diapers).

5. Using saved rain water to water my plants.


OK so my list is a short one, due in part to the fact that recycling is non-existent in Mattoon, Illinois. I wish I could sort all my plastics, glass and card boards but there is not a company here that will haul it away and no place to take it that is within reasonable distance. If we all did just a little bit, the planet might last a little longer!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Who is the REAL you?

Do you ever wonder if anyone knows the REAL you? This has been on my mind a lot as of late and I have to admit that it is really consuming my mind at this point! I know who I am but I know that people rarely see that part of me that I consider to be the real me. Most people know us by what we do, here is my list of what I think people see: wife, mother, photographer, singer, friend. This is what I am that people see on a daily basis but these are things I DO, NOT who I am! I realized all of this on Wednesday evening! Spencer and I had been in a meeting with Pastor Lou and I realized that we were both very reserved and quiet (not like me at all) when the meeting was over I had to immediately go to praise team practice and that is where it really hit me: I AM NOT QUIET AND RESERVED AT ALL! We were rockin' the praise and worship music and I was jumping around like a 16 year-old and having a wonderful time! I was being my fun loving, outgoing old self, someone that I had not seen for quite some time and I LOVED IT! I want to be that me all the time! I am not saying that I can't be reserved when needed because I know what is appropriate and what isn't, all I'm saying is, why should I hide the real me? I DON'T and I WON'T! Life is too short to pretend to be something we are not! I am not sorry for who I am and I am not sorry that the REAL me is going to reclaim her rightful place in my life! I don't mean to offend anyone but that quiet, shy person is not the REAL me and she is now gone forever!! Perhaps I need to spend a month or two with my older sister, Debbie! She is bold and outgoing, that is just who she is! Maybe a lesson or two is order for the real me to shine through!

LIFE IS SHORT! Have fun and enjoy it while you can but remember to do so within reason because God is ALWAYS watching! Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Day I Will Never Forget!




Everyone has one of those "days they will never forget", some have many days (JFK, 9/11) they will never forget and today just happen to be one of those days for me! Three years ago today, I was purchasing glasses for my then 13 year old son when my phone rang. The connection was bad and I told the caller to hang on so I could exit the mall and get better reception. When I was outside the caller was my friend Eric, a fire fighter from my hometown "I think you need to come home!" he said. I thought perhaps Mom had a fire and needed me to help sort things out and just be there for her but that was not the case. She was gone! In a blink of an eye, just like that she had flown from our lives so unexpectedly! I began to cry hysterically and then realized that I was alone! I was 400 miles from home and my husband had just left for a second tour of duty in Iraq only 15 days earlier and to top it all off I was not on post at Fort Campbell surrounded by friends, I was at a mall surrounded by strangers and lots of cars!! As I was sobbing, a young woman came up and asked if I needed assistance. At this point I was calling my friend Annie and a friend of Spencer's who had stayed behind, as luck would have it, both were on the same side of town at that moment in time. One in the mall and one across the street from the mall at an auto repair shop! WOW, God was looking out for me! The good Samaritan stayed with me until my friends got to me at the mall, I still do not know her name to this day!




This was the start of the most difficult week of my life especially since it was impossible to get Spencer out of Iraq in time for the funeral. So not only did I lose my Mom, I had to endure the pain without my best friend. He did get to call me everyday and that helped but not as much as if he had actually been there to hold me! My Mom used to tell me all the time, "That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger." Never were these words more true than at this moment!




I still miss her and I wish every day that she had the opportunity to meet my precious Sadie. I know, without a doubt, the she would have spoiled her rotten (OK more rotten). Please remember that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow so let people know how you feel about them today!




To my family: I love you all!! Deb - wish we lived closer! Tracy - we are close, let's get together!, Aunt Pat - I love it when you drop by! Shannon - I will always be here for you! Shane - I know we have not always seen eye-to-eye, but I love you! Keep your head down, those Taliban can be a bit hostile, lol ;)! Linda, Angel, Levi, & Larry - God blessed me when I married Spencer and became part of your family! I love you all! Bill, Ruth, Rick, Lyn, Britt and Brock - you are wonderful friends and I am glad that God has brought you all into our lives! You will never know how much you mean to us! And most important: Spencer, Zach and Sadie - You are my forever family and I would lay down my life for yours!

Monday, October 13, 2008

What is a soul mate?

I have been reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and I suggest that all women read it! I have found it very eye opening to say the least! Part of what I read today is as follows:

Elizabeth: "I am not laughing." I was actually crying. "And please don't laugh at me now, but I think the reason it's hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously thought David was my soul mate."

Richard: "He probably was. Your problem is you don't understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it."

Have you had a person in your life that you thought was your soul mate? Is that person still in your life or have they left you? Sometimes I wonder why God brings people into our lives and then I realize that people are like seasons, they come into our lives for a reason and then they are gone. I have several relationships that are just like that (both male and female). They were there at a point in my life when I needed them and then, subtly and without warning, they were gone (moved, died, just lost contact). I often wonder how we "lose" these friendships. Do they not care? Do I not care? No, I think we just change and drift apart! There really is no fault to be placed, it just happens! Will our paths cross again? Maybe so, God willing and then again maybe not!

Not in the Mood!

I am really in no mood to write, clean, take pictures or anything else that requires any effort so I am taking the easy way out today! To the left I have posted a video of my sister and her husband at a go-kart track having fun! This in not really the place I picture my sister hanging out but it was for work and I know she was "forced" to go!

You will notice some other changes to the blog, including some ads. I get paid to have these on my site so click on them and check them out (for me) ;)! I will also start blogging for money soon so you may see some reviews of books or products. Just thought I would give you a heads up so you are not surprised by some of the changes!

Enjoy the video!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Playing Catch Up!

OK, OK, I know I am getting behind again but there is a good reason, no a great reason! You see I have been fighting with my computer on a daily basis and I finally surrendered to the will of the great computer and purchased more RAM for it. I didn't want to but I had to! It seems like in order to make money you first have to spend money. It would not have been so urgent except for the fact that I have booked some photo shoots over the next few weeks and the computer is an important part of the end process! I will eventually have a super computer (no not quite like the one at the Department of Defense), but one that I can dedicate to my business only, one that does not have millions of songs and pictures on it, one that my son and my husband have NO access to and finally, one that will sufficiently run all the applications that I utilize while editing pictures (I want to make everyone look their absolute best). No it won't be cheap but I should be able to pay for it after a few million photo sessions! I just wanted to let you know what I was up to and why!

Tomorrow after church we will be decorating Sadie's pumpkin with face tattoos! She picked the pumpkin out herself and is very excited to decorate it and put it out with Mommy's mums! I will let you know how it all goes complete with pictures if possible!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I AM DONE!!!! WOO HOO!!!!

http://www.pictureperfecttoo.com/ This is what has been taking up so much of my time lately! I finally got the website done and published between funerals this week! Yeah for me!! It was a lot of hard work even with a copy of "Websites for Dummies" open on the desk next to me. It was also extremely hard because 19 month olds want to mimic what mommy is doing and, as of late, that has been lots of computer work! I would be diligently working away when all of a sudden I would have an extra hand or two tapping on the keys with me! She is fun but it can be very frustrating when you are working on a deadline (all be it self imposed)!

My house has been neglected and the laundry needs caught up and well..........there is just a lot that needs to be done that has been put on the back burner! Now I can get back to my regular work, ugh!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I didn't forget!!


I haven't forgotten that this page is floating out there in space waiting to be looked at by anxious (or not) readers but things have been a tad bit crazy around here! OK maybe a "tad bit" is underestimating what is really going on but I say it that way to keep myself from going insane! We have one more funeral to attend tomorrow and then we are done with that for now and to top it all off, my husband quit his job today because his boss threatened to shoot him (long story short). I know things will work out but it makes me very nervous. On top of it all my computer is acting up and it is really hard to have a digital photography business without a computer so I am looking to see what I can find.


I did get to take some more pictures of our friends and their kids the other night. I really like them! While I was taking pictures, Daddy and Sadie were playing in the park. I promise to get back to normal soon, if there is such a thing as normal!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Work and work and more work!

I feel like I have been sitting at this computer for years! OK, I'll admit that is stretching it quite a bit bit I have been at the computer for a couple of hours now and frankly, I am tired of it (the computer)! I am working on my web site for my photography business and it is quite time consuming! I am almost done and should have it out on the web on Monday (God willing)! I am taking some family photos of our friends tomorrow evening and will get them edited and uploaded so I can get them on the site in time for launch! Whew, I guess this means that I am really starting MY OWN business! It's kind of scary but really exciting at the same time! I even ordered a bigger lens for my camera, so if you need any PI work done I could probably do it for you (ha!ha!).

I am trying my hardest to get everything done because we have 2 funerals this week. Spencer lost an uncle and a great uncle (both yesterday)! One he was close to, the other he was not but we feel that we need to attend out of respect to the other family members. I also have a 2ND cousin, Cheryl, who is in the hospital in Springfield and it is touch and go at this point. Please keep her family in your prayers!

Friday, October 3, 2008

You've Been Mooned!


I am just worn out today! My energy level is zero! I seriously think I am getting whatever little "bug" Sadie has had for the past couple of days! My head hurts, my back hurts....Sorry, I won't continue because you get the picture or maybe you are right there with me! Since my fingers hurt too, I'll just give you something to laugh at and be on my merry way! Enjoy your day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Takin' a small break!


I love doing the blog, however, today I am taking a small break. Ok, I know you're thinking, but she is on here now why not just blog?! Good point, but I am just checking email, etc before my BFF from college arrives. Carrie and I live about an hour apart and have not seen each other in several years. If I'm not mistaken it was well before Spencer went into the Army in 2002. We have talked off and on through the years but have not been face to face in quite a while! I am so excited to see her and have her meet Sadie, who incidentally, shares Carrie's birthday! I will let you know how it goes tomorrow!!
PS The theme of the dance where this picture was taken was "Tacky Tourist". Hence the mismatched clothing!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Day!



Sadie cracks me up on a regular basis and today was no different! She goes with me to praise team practice every week. She loves to sing and dance and be happy! Lately we have been working on "Happy Day", you know the song from Sister Act and I have the song permanently embedded in my brain so that I could not forget it even if I wanted to (I am a lyric savant, kind of like an idiot savant but I only remember lyrics even if I've only heard them once). So I am cleaning the hardwood floors and singing to make the work seem like fun and I start to sing this song.




Me: Oh Happy day!


From Sadie in the other room: Happy Day!


Me: Oh Happy day!


Sadie: Happy day!


Me: When Jesus walked.


Sadie: Jesus walked.




You get the picture! She was singing the echo like she had heard the team do in practice so many times before! I laughed so hard, I was crying! I love to hear a child sing! It really is like a message straight from God to hear that little voice sing out so clear and pure and untainted by the world around them! Next time you are invited to a school or church function to hear a child sing; jump at the chance and I promise you will be blessed beyond words at what these little creatures can do! If you have a little one in your family, cultivate their creativity and watch them bloom like a beautiful flower and make sure to clap, they love that (at least Sadie does)!

Editing our lives.


I love to play with my photo editing software because it can do so much for those of us who are not perfect ;)! I can make you thin and tan, remove zits and whiten your teeth all with a stroke of the mouse. I can restore a photo from 1903 and make it look new again! I can turn your photo into a painting (as shown in the photo at the left of my lil angel)! Heck, I can even remove your ex-boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife from a photo and add your new love interest right in like he or she was there the day the photo was taken! Pretty cool, huh?
If only life were so easy! There have been many times I wish I could edit a portion of my life so it never existed to the naked eye! There are comments I have made and hurtful things that I have done to people I love in the heat of the moment that can never be edited out or cleaned up to look pretty. They just don't make software for that! What we do have, however, is the ability to admit that we are wrong and apologize for the wrong we have done or the hurt we have caused! I know what you are thinking, I can't do that! I will look bad in the eyes of others! I can't admit that I am wrong! I'm telling you that you can and you should! The weight that is lifted off your shoulders will make you feel 100 lbs. lighter! Your words can change someones life for the better or for the worst, it is up to you! Maybe we should just learn to edit what we say BEFORE it comes gushing out of our mouths like a great wall of water that once on the loose cannot be stopped before major damage is done! What a novel idea that would be!
The moral of today's lesson: think before you speak or act! It can make a difference in your life and the lives of those you come in contact with every day!

 

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