Saturday, December 6, 2014

DIY - Up-cycled/Recycled Outdoor Christmas Tree Topiary

One of the great things about Christmas is finding that perfect, fresh-cut tree to put in your home. Invariably, every year we have to cut a few branches off of the lowest part of the tree in order to fit it in the tree stand, and this year as I looked at these discarded branches, I had an "ah-ha" moment. 

I didn't want to put them to waste and I had a wire tomato cage lying around...

The result is a DIY, up-cycled, recycled Christmas topiary!  The process was entirely too simple. I used zip-ties to attach the branches to the tomato cage (which is up-side down) and aside from making the ribbon from some leftover burlap (awesome tutorial here), that is all I did. 

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DIY - Easter Centerpiece

Easter is around the corner and here in Southern Oregon, the spring flowers are in full bloom! With all the daffodils and tulips displaying their finest colors, I felt inspired to create an Easter centerpiece.

Take a narrow clear vase and put it inside of a taller and wider cylindrical candle holder/vase. I then bought some of the small chocolate Easter egg candies and poured them in-between the two vases. (I would totally recommend putting the candy in BEFORE you put water in your smaller vase, otherwise you have some water-logged chocolate and a difficult time getting the candy out!)

Last, but not least, add and arrangement of fresh-cut spring flowers!

A word of warning, the earlier you put out your arrangement, the more likely you'll be buying some more chocolate eggs before Easter!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Riding out the Storm

Sometimes, I feel like following God is like walking into a 100 mph headwind with driving rain and dense fog. 

Sometimes I can't see where I am going. 

Sometimes I feel like I am losing my grip.

Yet He is always right there, a lighthouse on the shore, a beacon of hope and a firm foundation fit to outlast any storm.

Matthew 8:24-27

Sunday, March 9, 2014

You Have Been Called by God

An actor plays a role in a movie, the critics proclaim that they were "born to play the role." I'm sure you've heard that comment a time or two.

The statement begs a question; 
are you playing the "role" that you were born to play? 

It sounds like a task of monumental proportions doesn't it?

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says something that is so simple, yet so profound. It's undoubtedly one of the most thought-provoking verses that I have read in the Bible lately. The book of Ephesians is a letter to a group of believers who had been following Jesus Christ for eight years, but among them, many wandered back to their sinful ways.

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 

How 'bout them apples?
(FYI - it's a line from Good Will Hunting. Definitely a role that Matt Damon was born to play.)

Cheesy movie lines aside, this verse floors me. CALLED BY GOD. How often are we guilty of deciding for ourselves what it is that we think we should be doing with our lives? It starts so young. In elementary school, teachers ask their students what they want to be when they grow up. From there, life begins to center around that topic. Kids start preparing to get into college when they are in junior high for crying out loud! They go to college under the assumption that by going they will answer the long asked question of what they are going to be when they grow up. 

Show of hands. How many adults still have no idea what they are going to be when they grow up?!

If you had asked me in elementary school what I wanted to be, I would have said a teacher. (Which, but they way, I have been told several times, may not be my strong suit.) By the time I was in high school, it was a photographer for a magazine, I even have a degree in photojournalism. However, I am not a photojournalist. Instead, I got a plain-old normal job straight out of college to pay the bills, married my college sweetheart, had two kids and now I am a stay-at-home mom with a photography business on the side. 

Somewhere in the course of life, I decided that I didn't want to live the nomadic lifestyle which was surely going to accompany the life of a photojournalist, I wanted to settle down and have a family. Though I look back at my previous working life and realize how God used that experience to get me where I am now, those eight years felt like the very essence of going through the motions so to speak.

Through the epiphany that became Any Occasion Photography, I have held onto the notion that the role I was born to play was that of a photographer. Now I'm going to be really honest, my business is not hugely successful by worldly standards. I don't make a lot of money, I don't sell a lot of products and I'm OK with that. 

After reading Ephesians 4:1, I've come to the conclusion that one of two things are to be credited for my lack of success in this endeavor. 1) Plain and simple, it's not God's calling for my life, or 2) I need to trust in God's timing and eventually, His calling through my photography will be fulfilled.

The point is that we are not in charge of what we do in this life. Stop ignoring God's calls, texts, voicemails, e-mails, tweets or his posts on your Facebook wall. I believe that the answer to discovering God's calling for your life is simple and scary. This I know for sure, 

Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. 

He just wants you to do amazing things, because he already knows that you can, he already knows what they are and he's not going to stop bothering you until you respond to him. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Those of us who have toddlers know that it's sometimes hard to keep them on their feet. They are so independent, want to do EVERYTHING on their own, and most of us like to give them those independent moments, make them feel like they are BIG.

When it comes to walking, this can be a bit of a challenge. You wait and wait for them to start walking, eagerly anticipate capturing it on your camera and it happens, everyone claps and cheers - and then they stop walking. They run. Everywhere. Then they fall, again and again.

How many times have you been holding your little one's hand, walking side by side when their legs suddenly go out from beneath them? There they are, dangling from your steady hand until they plant their feet on the ground once more.

I've caught myself telling my almost 2-year-old, "It's a good thing mommy has your hand!" on more than a few occasions.

This is a relatively mundane topic, but while reading in the Psalms today, I stumbled (pun intended) onto this passage:

The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. 

Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)

Ponder that for a little while. How wonderful is it that we serve a God who is ALWAYS holding our hand? We are all sinners. We will stumble time and again, but He will never leave our side, and most definitely, He will not let us fall. 

You are not defined by your mistakes. When you do make a mistake, look up at the hand that is holding you and you will certainly find your way back onto your feet again. 

"It's a good thing I have your hand," He will say. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

God Loves You

Regardless of what Valentine's Day holds for you, remember this: God loves you. 

Unconditionally. Forever. 

Remember this today and everyday because, God is Love. 1 John 4:8

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Save 10% on purchases of $20 or more at Use coupon code HOLIDAY10 at checkout. See 1st comment for a link to my Etsy shop. (Expires 12/31/13; excludes custom orders.)