Friday, January 29, 2010


I am going to be taking a short sabbatical from Pandaleidoscope.

I want to focus on learning more about my photography, gain a style of my own, get my business website worthy of being "out there", learn Photoshop really well and focus on changing my lifetime horrible eating habits to The Eat-Clean way of eating. Nothing profound or new, but I like Tosca Reno's style. She also made the change at 40.

Since I am turning 40 in September of this year and pretty much have wasted away my good health (for the sake of some sugar and crap-filled foods that scream my name daily!!!) I am making some changes in the way I view food and health.

I can't spend the time I need to on all those things and live in The Blogosphere, too (and Face**Book!). So----something has to give: Pandaleidoscope.

I'll be back, but I just need some focus time.

Thanks--all ten of you readers!! LOL!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Learning to Learn Again

I have had so much fun this week along with some serious frustration, too while learning Photoshop. I know there are GOBS of people out there who have perfected working in the various forms of PS and it's been around awhile, but I am just now learning.

I'm finding that I haven't really made myself learn something new in a long while. And my blonde brain doesn't work as well as it did in college! LOL!! Of course, last year when I went back to working full time as a speech therapist after being gone from the field for ten years caused me to have to learn (or re-learn) some things, but it wasn't for fun....just a paycheck. Now that I am totally doing my photography kick and learning as much as possible before putting my website "out there" with my name on it I want to REALLY understand what I'm doing therefore I must learn new things. LOTS of new things.

I am so grateful for the time and opportunity to learn something that I have been passionate about for YEARS and now it's really coming to fruition.

This pic above is just one of my first little pride and joy experiments. I always have to have my friend write "pandaleidoscope" on my pics because I have not had the software nor knowledge of how to do it.


I can assure you there is more fun to come as I venture into Photoshopville!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some Happiness

Last night was my first night to cook for our dinner exchange group. There are four families and we rotate cooking/delivering every Tuesday and Thursday. I cook every other Tuesday. Last week was so awesome to have a clean kitchen and our meal delivered at 5:00 ready to eat for TWO different nights!! Then on Wednesdays, we eat at our church, so that's THREE days in a row off!! I love to cook and to be in my kitchen, but that was really fun!

I made a spicy King Ranch Chicken casserole, steamed sugar snap peas and homemade cake batter cookies. Seemed to be a hit even though I busted out with the Raviolios for my own little PandaGirl since it was TOO SPICY for her.

I figured I needed a happy brainless post after all the sappy, pity-party, all-about-our-troubles-posts that have plagued this blog so much in the last few weeks.

After I went to the World Vision button I have on my sidebar, reading all the horrid conditions for so many people around the world and getting the annual birthday card to send to the little girl we sponsor through WV who lives in Africa on our measly $35 a month, I just felt badly for moaning and groaning about me not getting my Haitian kid.

Who am I to keep on griping and whining about this?!!! GRRR! Makes me so made at myself! STOP the pendulum!

I am so blessed to have so much. Thank you, Lord Jehovah Jireh (My Provider).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet & Sour Deals


PandaPop and PandaGirl had fun working together making SOUR candy from the activity that her Aunt got her for Christmas. It was really SOUR and fun to try. PG ended up not liking the end results. She thought it tasted like something "out of the toilet".


I asked her how she exactly knew what something out of the toilet would taste like. She didn't really give a definitive answer.

Things in my heart have been SWEET & SOUR the past week with all the Haiti talk going around. I said in a previous post how we are affected by all that adoption/Haiti talk all in the same conversation. Weird. I go from being completely content with us three to thinking "what ifs" when more and more people question us about looking into the orphans flooding (or soon to be) from Haiti.

What to do....what to do?

If I believed in "luck" I might just get out this sweet little charm (my friend made it during our journey to adopt from Haiti even before the twin thing happened. It is PG's name in Chinese on top of a map of Haiti. Too cool, huh?) to help things along, then I just forget it and KNOW that God is in control. He really, really is.

I don't have to PUSH.

The only sweet and sour things I like are Chinese foods and the only bitter-sweet thing I like is dark chocolate chips. Don't really care so much for the sweet & sour, bitter-sweet kind of living we're forced to move through, but then again that's what makes grace, mercy and blessings all the better. Like honey on my lips.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My New Fun Thing!!

I am soooo pumped about this!!!

ShutterCal is the perfect way to document your days of a year. I started this year out trying to do the Project 365 thingy where you take a pic every day of the year. I forgot about it last week and got off track getting all my new photography business stuff lined up. Then today my friend's blog had this link and now I'm hooked and happy! I LOVE this calendar and can't wait to fill it up! Let me know if you do it's sooooooo super easy and free!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



Today was difficult.

I subbed for MOPS where I used to teach music twice a month back in the fall before all the adoption chaos happened. I thought everyone knew what happened.

Apparently not.

I had three different people today ask me how "my son" was doing and how we were adjusting to life with another child.

Wow. That hit me right out of nowhere.

With each person and with a forced smile, I explained briefly what happened and tried to make light of it so that the people didn't feel badly for asking such a piercing question. They had no idea anything went terribly wrong. They just hadn't seen me and were being nice to check up on us.

Then there's the whole Haiti issue at hand. How very devastating that whole catastrophe is down there. Death, destruction, mayhem, disease, chaos, pandemonium. They hardly had an infra-structure to begin with much less now when their capitol has been crumbled along with any sort of legal structure they touted as their own.

A little over a year ago our hearts and our money were lost there, too. Many people didn't even realize the deep heartbreak that we endured over that adoption process. Our hearts were hopeful over THREE different possible adoptions from Haiti.

Two different boys both named Emmanuel and then a set of twin baby boys. None worked out. That may seem weird to anyone reading, but the first was matched by another family that was paperwork-ready before us. The second was a little guy who tested positive for Hepatitis B after we'd already said we couldn't take a special need that severe and the third---the twins---that one is just bizarre. We were told we could be matched with twin baby boys as soon as their bloodwork came back from the clinic. The only problem is that the birth mother who was dropping them off due to poverty never brought the boys back to the orphanage. After that many losses PandaPop was so devastated that he was completely done trying. I guess I was just done with the losses. We lost thousands of dollars on that one.

So when Haiti and adoption are mentioned in the same sentence along with "why don't you adopt from Haiti now with all those orphaned kids?!!" heart hurts and I cringe hoping that I'm not hearing anything but white noise. It's not like just because there are orphans in Haiti that I can pick up the phone or shoot a quick email and pick up some kids next week.

I was so thankful that PP's office was down the hall a bit. I needed my husband to hold me. The one person who fully understands where we are and how those kinds of occurrences happen frequently to me. Him. I needed him and he was there for me.

I cried a bit and gathered my composure, asked God to help me get it together because I had to get back to work. I knew none of those people today meant nothing but good will towards me, but it was all just too much. Way too much.

I've been so elated over the whole photography prospect and the excitement that fills my soul when I'm doing it that I was just blind sided today by all the emotion.

Blind Side.

That's another thing to which I have to turn a deaf ear.

Everyone has oohed and ahhhed over that movie. We had every intention of seeing that movie when we saw the previews in August. We were even giddy about knowing that we, too were going to be a white family (well...and an Asian, too!) with a black boy for a our son. Little did we know that we'd have that picture for only six days. The movie came out immediately after we let our Little Guy go. I could hardly even stomach the commercials and the hype on the news stations about it. EVERYwhere I turned during Christmas people were raving about the movie and how we HAD to see it!! No one really understood how we couldn't see it. At least not for now. It hit too close to home and not in a good way.


Everywhere for always there will be reminders. Reminders that what I thought was to be, is not. I can't say it won't ever be because God can do anything He wants, but from my tiny spot in the universe it doesn't look promising on the adoption home-front.

Right now I am happy to be PandaFamily-3 and pursuing photography.

That's what I have and that's what I'm grateful for.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Through My Lens


Sorry that it's been awhile since a post!!

I've been busy learning new things about photography.

I have had a passion for taking pictures for many, many years and have indulged myself into the scrapbook world since 1997. I have longed to learn more about the craft of picture taking, but haven't really taken the time to actually do it.

Now I have time.

After several different random and requested photo shoots I find GREAT satisfaction through my lens and the editing process of a photograph. I really do believe it is my Sweet Spot as Max Lucado defined that "thing" in life that truly brings you joy and you'd do it even it you weren't paid.

It makes your heart pump faster and your eyes to light up just thinking about it.

That's what photography does to me.

I. Am. Passionate. About. It.

I have never taken the time to pursue it "for real".

After some healing time of the heart-breaking event of last fall and losing out on the last adoption attempt (click on the picture of the panda to the right if you don't know), I can't help but believe that the Lord truly is making my heart new again.

(You might not even remember that over a year ago our attempt to adopt from Haiti went right down the tubes as well along with thousands of dollars, but now as the catastrophic devastation unfolds in Haiti from the earthquake I can't help but be so grateful that our dreams didn't remain in that country because they certainly would have been demolished along with that horrible event).

Bless Him.

I can't even believe I'm typing these words, but I am finding that there is a hopefulness in just being a family of three. Like we are SUPPOSED to be just us three. How can I possibly say that? Miraculous mercy. God's goodness. His plan.

I have no idea.

I do know that for now, He is allowing me to pursue this dream of photography. I have a business name, logo, an ever-increasing portfolio, clients that I'm working with and many scheduled for the next couple of months. Very excited about the possibilities that lie ahead with this venture. I have a HUGE learning curve. Lots of hands-on knowledge to gather, funds needed to pursue the equipment and software I'll require and practice, practice, practice.

My mouth waters at getting my website up & running!

I'm so thankful for God and His mysterious, yet extremely life-changing ways.

"As painful as the process may be, that which shatters our superficiality also shatters the fetters of our fragility and frees us to walk with dignity
and might to our destinies."
---Beth Moore from her study on the Book of Esther

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jack Frost is Nipping!

Jan 7
For all of us HOT blooded Texans to walk outside and breathe in ice is just too much! Please, all my northern friends, don't laugh at our balmy 15 degrees when I know that some of you are below zero, but remember that our bodies can adjust to 110 degrees easier than anything below 32!!! LOL!

PandaGirl happened to have pajama day at school today (yes, she is thriving quite well and I am enjoying not having to prepare constantly for homeschool!) so I made sure that she went in layers.

This cold reminds me to be so very grateful for the blessings of heaters, blankets, gloves, coats, shoes, socks, several clothes to layer, food, shelter, clean water and a refuge from the bitter weather. Many don't have these things.

Have a blessed weekend! ; )

Jan 8

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's Current? Meme-#1

Saw this meme on my friend's blog and hadn't done one in a very long time. This one can updated anytime and I like that.

Outside My Window: it is dark and cold! About 8:00PM.

I am thinking: about my coffee and book waiting for me in the other room.

I am thankful for: being in a warm home with my family tonight.

From the kitchen: I smell the aroma of the BEST coffee blend I've ever found wafting through the air.

I'm wearing: pink fleece PJ bottoms with hot pink polka dots, lavender t-shirt, pink fluffy house-shoes and an old roughed up light pink fleece hooded jacket.

I'm creating: just started the Project 365 photo challenge this year. First time to do and am excited to come up with new pics everyday for one full year.

I'm going: to be very happy to drink my coffee and read in a few minutes!

I'm reading: Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (feels like I'm reading a screenplay for the movie instead of a great novel. I'm thinking the movie will do more justice to the story).

I'm hoping: to get on the treadmill in the morning since today got away without me exercising! YIKES!

I'm hearing: the music to The*Biggest*Loser from the living room where PandaPop is watching the season kick-off.

Around the house: PandaGirl is tucked into bed, got a new closet organizer today and the pantry is full of groceries from my trips to three different stores today.

One of my favorite things right now: that REALLY soft and fluffy blanket you'll see in the pic below.

A few plans for the week: continue getting organized with several areas of my life.

A picture to share:


Sunday, January 3, 2010

See?...A New Thing!


As we move into this new year, this new decade I can say that I have Hope, Excitement and Anticipation of what is to come. I couldn't say that over the past six weeks or so. God is so good in the way that He so lovingly restores our broken souls and heals the gaping wounds.

I can't explain why I feel so energetic. That can only come from the goodness of God.

I will be turning 40 years old this coming September. I have some goals. Some for weight loss, some financial, some spiritual, some relational, some emotional, some for recreation, some for family and home organization, some for....let's just say I have some goals. Hopefully, nothing so difficult that I give up without ever getting started. I typically am NOT a goal attainer. I make great lists and have wonderful aspirations, but my huge flame fizzles out quickly. Picture my bottom lip sticking out really far in self-pity.

This time, however, I really believe that I am motivated by that little "4" and little "0" coming around the corner. Is it some magic number? I don't know, but it is SCREAMING in my face to do something with myself that is different than before.

Set goals and attain them.


In the middle of the night the Holy Spirit put parts of this scripture on my mind and heart and I woke up trying to remember where I had read it. It is now my theme for the year:

Isaiah 43:18 & 19

"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and
streams in the wasteland."

Thank you, Abba Father for renewal and hope.