Freelensing Alaska

In June my husband and I went to Alaska for a week to visit his sister and her fiancé Lacey who live in Anchorage. On this particular hike near Alyeska resort, I pulled out my rubber band and began freelensing and I always ask myself why I didn’t do it sooner. Freelensing is magic, Alaska is magic too.



DSC_0932DSC_1096DSC_1090DSC_1087DSC_1071DSC_0943DSC_0940DSC_0939Follow the blog circle around until you get back here, next up is the beautiful work of Gwendolyn Athman!


One Foggy Day

Welcome to this freelensing blog circle! I’m excited to share my first post with this fabulous group of freelensing photographers.

We don’t get fog around here very much, so when we do we have to go out and play in it. When you’re done here, be sure to go see the gorgeous work of Gwendolyn Athman! DSC_6781


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Next in line in the blog circle is Gwendolyn Athman. be sure to follow the circle around until you get back here.

Solar Eclipse 2017

The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 passed just north of us. Our city got 99% of it, but we wanted to get into the zone of totality. We drove an hour north and camped for two days prior on a lot belonging to some long time friends where they are building a cabin. It sits right on the river in a beautiful mountain valley. My mom’s birthday was on the 21st so we made it into a mini family reunion as well, although we didn’t have everybody. Knowing that the sun and moon would align to celebrate her day was something we did not want to miss!


{The first night I woke up to the worst sound I’ve ever heard, the sound of a child vomiting in the tent. That was fun. Although I don’t want this post to be about that, I want it to be about the eclipse, but yeah, ewwwww.. }

I heard on a clip from The Today Show an astronomer and eclipse chaser say that to see the eclipse at 99% is about a 4 out of 10, but to see an eclipse at totality is like 1 million  out of 10. He also said that it was the most spiritual experience he’s ever had. “Which is saying something,” he said, “coming from a scientist.” So I just had to go see what this spiritual experience was all about.

I feel like the camping built our excitement and anticipation leading up to the eclipse and really added to the experience. We sacrificed to see it, not just going out our front door. We packed and prepared and got there in advance to be ready.

As the day arrived we had a big breakfast combined with all the families that were camping on the lot. The glasses were pulled out, the chairs set in perfect viewing position. As the moon started to cross our eagerness grew. We watched the shadows turn crescent shaped across the dirt, a spectacle we were watching for but was still extremely exhilarating to see with our own eyes. The light was getting eerily dimmer. It is hard to describe the light, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Our sweet host said it really was amazing to experience this with all of the senses. The light changing, the temperature dropping, the crickets coming out to chirp, the horizon acting as if the sun was setting, the shadows dancing, the colors fading. It was an all encompassing experience that pictures cannot do justice.

As the moon got closer and closer to eclipsing the sun it seemed to speed up, our eyes were glued to that thin line of the sun that became thinner and smaller. My heart began to race and the anticipation compounded in a way that surprised me, it was just the sun, I’ve seen the sun every day of my life, right? Cheers and whoops turned to screams and shouts throughout the group, a chorus of celebration at how shockingly miraculous this sight was. The moon finally covered the sun and burst into a ring of spectacular flares, like delicate wings fluttering out from a crown of glory. The surrounding ambient light suddenly disappeared. Up until full eclipse it was still somewhat light out, and then as if a flip was switched it turned as dark as just after dusk, the stars came out, Mercury and Venus were visible. The deep blue of the sky was a velvet curtain giving the star performer its due show. Tears streamed down my cheeks and my heart swelled as I stared at what is the most spectacular sight I’ve ever beheld, we hugged, I snapped a couple shots but really just wanted to soak it in and stare rather than fiddle with my camera. Planes were flying overhead and someone nearby set of fireworks, or gunshots, I couldn’t tell which. The air was rich with excitement.


We should be used to seeing the miracles of God’s creations around us, but maybe that’s the problem, we’re too used to it. To see something out of the ordinary really shows us how amazing God’s power really is. I not only saw His power but I felt it, I felt him reach into my soul and tell me that everything is going to be ok and to trust Him. I felt that all of the earth, universe and heavens are in His hands, and if that’s true, why would I not trust Him? Why is it so hard sometimes? Why does it feel that He is too far away to care or isn’t listening? But in that moment, I knew that He is closer than we know, He knows our hearts and our dearest longings, our fears and our doubts. He loves us completely and we cannot fathom the worth of His creations, the sun, moon, stars, earth. As awe-inspiring as these creations were that day, though, they are made for us, His greatest creations, to provide the possibility of life on the earth. Each and every one of His children is eternally just as miraculous and more so than this eclipse. Astronomers can do the calculations and tell us when these events are going to happen, they may say it’s all math and physics that creates this wonder. But it is God who created each of these elements and placed them in their orbits, determining their size and their distance from each other. How likely is it that the moon that is so much smaller than the sun is at the exact distance away from it and the earth to line up perfectly with the sun to eclipse it just right?

The fact that all three, sun, moon and stars came together and were visible at the same time is symbolic of the glory of God and the eternal glory that awaits us if we stay true to Him, staying on the path that leads back to Him. As we stay in this path, this “path of totality” by turning our hearts over to Him and being willing to submit our will to His, we put ourselves where the greatest blessings await us. The sun, moon and stars have also been used symbolically to represent the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And just as at Christ’s baptism, all three were present in that moment. God’s hand of power was revealed, Christ’s crown of glory was depicted in that fiery ring and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost was poured out, filling the hearts of all those watching and prepared for that moment, united in the same cause. The veil to the other side felt thin, heaven felt near.

The only other experience I can compare this one to is giving birth to my child who is now 8. I had a scheduled c-section which I was disappointed about, but was able to find peace as I focused on his health and safety. I now feel blessed that I was able to lay on the table and think on spiritual things and on my overwhelming excitement to be a mother. The building anticipation as his birth neared, the overpowering emotion as I saw his face for the first time, the solid foundation of knowledge that God had not left me, the sensitive feeling that the veil was thin and that my ancestors had escorted him to earth and were there celebrating with us. The outpouring of joy, peace, love, all the goodness of the world wrapped up and stuffed in one room. The rush of adrenaline that is addicting, making me feel on that day that I could not wait to do it over and over again. The confirmation that I was where I needed to be, doing what I needed to be doing. These feelings found me again on the day of eclipse and I can’t wait to see it again.

In these turbulent times across the world, with all of the differences, hate, violence, wars that are happening, it seemed as if this eclipse was a sign. A sign of love, a sign of hope, a white flag of peace. A sign that the Captain is at the helm, He is in charge and will lead us home.

Spring Break

Day 1 of spring break: We traveled to Utah and stayed with family in the Salt Lake Area. On our way there we stopped at Antelope Island because we had never seen it before although we’ve been to Utah hundreds of times. I had in mind pictures on the lakeshore beaches there like I often see on social media. However, upon learning that there was a historical site to see, that was where my husband wanted to go. We didn’t have long to spend, so that was the one place we visited. It’s the site of the original ranch there. Next time I’ll be sure to get there at sunset and get those pictures on the beach and make it totally what’s in my mind.

Jace was swatting at bugs in the light and I just loved all the colors I was seeing, especially the yellow wheelbarrow. And funny enough, we saw a yellow wheelbarrow at a garage sale last week, although a lot more rusty, and I though of this image and I bought it! Now to paint my house white and lean it up against it.

DSC_8310Mark is a dairyman at heart. His dad and grandpa were dairymen, and he lived on the dairy until he was 8 years old when his dad changed careers and they moved. He loved talking to the kids about the workings of farm life. Plus he has a degree in History education, so of course the history of the land and ranch appealed to him too.DSC_8277

We had plans to meet up with my cousin at the Museum of Natural Curiosity in Lehi, Utah. So we hurried to meet her there and it was pretty amazing, there were some really awesome interactive exhibits for the kids.


Dad sent Jacen and Kyler a message on the billboard. The kids created a play for us in the theater room that I got on video.

DSC_8414That’s Jace up there in the airplane. The kids played the longest in the water section where they could learn about pressure and irrigation.

DSC_8468DSC_8422Day 2, we drove down to Moab, Utah and spent a few hours in Arches National Park. It was fun taking the kids at an age where they could hike and play. We took the trail to Delicate Arch and it was fabulous. I love climbing and hiking on smooth red rock. I spent a lot of my childhood hiking around here when we would go to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles and lots of cousins. My dad grew up farming in Monticello, Utah just an hour south of Moab.


DSC_8565DSC_8584DSC_8589DSC_8590DSC_8594DSC_8596Little Boy BlueDSC_8606Successful sunflare ring I’ve been trying for with my 24mm Sigma Art, taken out the window of the passenger seat.DSC_8624DSC_8633DSC_8640DSC_8647Day 3, we visited another discovery center, this one in Monticello. Kyler created this design with glow sticks.

That afternoon my parents and niece arrived in town to vacation with us. We did a late afternoon hike over Posey’s trail, a Native American trail down Comb Ridge, a 30 mile long impassable cliff, besides this trail and the road that was made by blasting part of the wall away. Posey was a Native American who escaped from local police by using this trail. It’s impossible to see until you are right there by the trail and it zig zags down the cliff in tight switchbacks and narrow paths.

The passing storm and setting sun showed us purple clouds! My dad gets so excited to take his grandkids on hikes in the stomping grounds of his youth. He loves to tell them the stories of the area’s history plus the stories of his dad, my grandfather. He was an incredible man who farmed wheat, raised cattle, hiked Southern Utah his whole life and knew the area in depth. He and his brother were local legends for their experience and knowledge. Their first home was a cabin out on the farm. To think of the changes he saw in technology in his lifetime is astounding! They were still using horse and plow back then and he went from that to using huge John Deer combines.

If you can’t tell, I like to stop and document the details.

I made this panorama with four pictures. The view was incredible!


Mark and I held the boy’s hands most of the way. It was a pretty steep drop off the edge.

We hiked this trail six years ago. Kyler was a little nervous this time.

We met my mom and aunt at the bottom, they had driven the cars around to meet us. Looking back up the ridge it’s hard to image being able to come down that!

Day 4, we visited my uncle’s farm where the kids got to ride in the tractor, press pennies and get hoisted up the lift on chains.

That afternoon we visited the Hole in the Rock Visitor’s Center in Bluff, Utah, where the pioneers that crossed the Hole in the Rock ended their journey. They started in St. George, Utah and came over the Lake Powell area. If  you’ve ever been to Lake Powell, just try to image coming over all those red rocks and cliffs in a wagon. They found a narrow crack in a canyon wall to lower the wagons down through. I’m proud to say that one of the leaders of this expedition was my great great great grandfather, Lemuel Hardison Redd Sr. A one room cabin for each family in the company was constructed in replication of their first settlement. The cabins were built with volunteer labor from the descendants of each family, and were furnished by the families too. Here’s the cabin of my ancestor. I felt a profound connection to my heritage while on this trip. I am proud of my roots and love this land and it’s history.

Details from a couple of the other cabins.

Day 5. Our last day ended with a big family breakfast in my Aunt’s cozy kitchen with all the family that could come. As much as I love her place, I really missed being able to walk to Grandma’s house around the corner. I miss the smells there, the cactus garden on the porch, the welcome hug and the food she made. You never know how much those little things are a part of you until they are gone. Trying to explain it to the children seemed surreal, as if it was a dream.
DSC_8958We returned to Arches on the way out of town since our pass lasted for five days.


Me and the kids, we’re so small!

DSC_8994There’s me! The hubby took these pictures.DSC_8987   DSC_8990





Thanks for seeing this post through to the end! It was a long one!


60/365DSC_689361/365 “Mama, I made you a marshmallow man.”DSC_6900-Edit62/365 Does my identity always have to be defined by smudges on the mirror?DSC_692063/365 yellow vase yellow tableDSC_693564/365bed65/365

DSC_7055DSC_7063DSC_7070DSC_707566/365DSC_708667/365 Missed a day, whoops!

68/365 After school hugs, those moments when I realize they actually like each other.DSC_710569/365 Some days I take a lot of pictures…







DSC_751574/365 The view I see a hundred times a day.DSC_7581 DSC_752175/365 The view I woke up to the day before St. Patty’s day.DSC_760176/365

DSC_762377/365 Sometimes it’s a last minute snap shot for my pic for the day..DSC_785678/365 Missed another day! I’m not doing so good here..

79/365 Cooking dinner and watching the light change on the shrimp.DSC_7874

80/365 Dutch oven in the flower beds, a family tradition to make dutch oven ribs, and fruit pizza for birthdays.

81/365 A photo shoot I did with some girls at our church that I do youth group with.

And the daughter of my partner, she’s such doll!

82/365 pollenating


84/365 Missed a day… not worrying about perfection here, it may be the 350 project by the end instead of the 365 project. Oh well!

85/365 Late night rain storms..DSC_821186/365

March’s green month!


I have a few days left to share for the month but I will be sharing in a spring break blog post during which we went to Southern Utah. Here’s a sneak peak.



Day 32/365


33/365 I missed a day! Whoops, but I think I took one on my phone.

34/365 My little reader!! This is such an exciting milestone to see him putting sounds together to make words. It makes this mama so happy. These images are freelensed.DSC_5583DSC_557835/365




39/365 Another iPhone day. My hubby surprised me with this camera strap after stalking my Pinterest boards and figuring out what I wanted and ordered it straight from the pinned link. What a sweetie, huh?FullSizeRender 40/365DSC_5775







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Mighty Man holding up his bed, hehe. 🙂

DSC_6105 DSC_6130 DSC_612546/365 My first fridge photos, and my new 24mm Sigma Art! I was unsure at first, it is so much wider than I’m used to, but I’ve been having a lot of fun with it!

42/365 Trying out the new 24 mm, I can’t believe I can stand at my back door and get both sides of the covered patio. This is going to be fun!

Forbidden fruit, lol.


I always love the evening light in my bedroom, we call it the Sunset Room, since we can watch the sunset there every night.





49/365 When in doubt at the end of the day, if I haven’t taken a picture yet, I photograph my kids sleeping. It may just be a mom shot, but it’s a memory I want to treasure as they grow. This is what’s great about the 365 project, there’s always another day for a masterpiece, but today’s picture will be about memories.DSC_635350/365

DSC_636251/365 Elevator selfies, and I don’t know why Jace has to sit every chance he gets. Should I be concerned?DSC_6381Doctor’s visit, and Kyler had double ear infections, I thought they both had them, but Jace was perfectly fine.

DSC_639152/365 I love the light in his room in the morning, we call his room the Sunrise Room, where we can watch the sunrise any  morning we want.

DSC_639853/365 Dinner prep

54/365 Hugs all around. Jace is so affectionate, and Kyler can hardly stand receiving it, at least from his brother. Dad felt left out so he swooped right in, can you see two boys in that hug?

DSC_643955/365DSC_6485 DSC_647456/365 Aunt Kelly and Uncle Tyler’s farm. Can you see the grazing sheep? This is in the Portland area in February, can you image how green it is later in the spring? This scene always amazes me. There’s a lot of peace and joy to be found at this place.DSC_6557-Pano


My sister and niece, aren’t they cute?

My sis and her boyfriend on his birthday, out to eat at this cool restaurant.

Me and my sis at the top of the elevator overlooking the river.

57/365 At the DQ on the way home. They had the best windows! I had to run back out to the car for the camera when I saw these windows.

DSC_670258/365 He started to read beginner books! He’s so excited he’s been carrying it around reading it to everybody.



DSC_6758 We recently moved out of this condo that my parents own and they put it up for sale by owner and luckily got a buyer rather quickly. Here are some pictures I took of it to show the remodel work done. I don’t know where a before picture is, it has been done in stages over several years. My grandma lived here first and then my sister for 5 years. When she was there the cabinets were painted, when I moved in I painted the walls and exchanged the vertical blinds for curtains and my parents put in the laminate wood flooring in the kitchen. After we moved out the carpets and countertops were replaced. It looks so amazing and I’m a little nostalgic over it. It was definitely too small for us and I love where we’re at, but this little place will always hold a spot in my heart. It’s where all of my 100 days of summer pictures were taken.

I started a monthly color challenge and February was red! Here’s my collage, next month is green. I’m excited for this year of color that lies