Monday, January 30, 2012


Has it really been since the 19th since I posted?!! Sorry for the delay, just in case you lay awake at night wondering when I'll post again.

I have booked THREE weddings to photograph this May, June & July with two waiting in the wings this fall. The funny thing about the two in the fall is that PandaPop will be officiating the ceremony while I'm doing the photos. Great team.

From a couple of the deposits I was able to upgrade and purchase my beloved Canon 7D!!! Yay!! I've done all my work so far on the little, bitty Canon Rebel XSi. Great camera, but the lowest on the low end of good cameras. I can't wait to see what comes out of the 7D! I got it for a smashing price from a friend who's daily camera and lens is in the range of about $10,000. Yes, you read that correctly.  $10,000. I thought I would just start clicking away on my new baby, but alas, I have to go through a crash course on DVD to help me learn it. It's a whole new ball game with this little baby! I also will be trying to learn the ropes of flash photography and the entirely different animal of wedding photography. OH!!!!! and I am so TICKED that Google decided to close Picnik photo editing. Heartbroken!!! I used it DAILY and now have to learn REAL hard-core editing software. Bleh.

I have a love/hate relationship with weddings and wedding photos. Those super close to me know the in's & out's of why, but since I'm private I can at least say that my wedding photos are one of the sorest spots in my life. Heartbreaking photos. Yucky, awful, no good, rotten wedding photos. That's what I have from our wedding. Well, besides a God-graced, fabulous marriage and best friend husband. ♥

So, it took many, many years for me to be able to sit through a wedding of someone else without crying and lamenting the loss I felt over my own.  Now, I feel this tearing between myself of longing to have my photos be something other than gross and blessing someone else with fab photography.  I know I can do it, but I just have to do it. Ya know? A wee bit nervous, but I have until May to practice and hone my skills. We'll see.

As you can see from the pic above that finding a home for my Rebel wasn't hard and didn't take long. PP has a great love for photography, too and can't wait to start clicking away at whatever tickles his fancy. So funny how Rookie looks as if he's posing for PP.  He wasn't a very good first model for PP, but I'm sure those two will work out a system over time.

Have you heard of Momastery yet? If not, you will. It's a blog from a woman named Glennon who writes beautifully, raw, real, loving, funny and poignant posts about her life as a recovering addict to alcohol, food, bad relationships, etc.  You will be moved by her writing. She has spread like wild-fire recently and is now in the works of having a book published of her writings.  She moves me.

I'm not ready yet to divulge more about me on this blog. I'm still raw myself. Healing takes time. Healing takes God-dependence.

Last week I sat with a dear friend who found another cluster of something weird in her breast. That's always scary to have to go see doctors and wait and wait and wait to find out if you need a biopsy and when to schedule and what is the result and more waiting and waiting and wondering and trying to not borrow trouble from tomorrow and waiting and trying to act as if nothing is wrong and trying to show faith in action and waiting.  Those are such grown-up things to do. Yucky. I love my friend and am praying for God's grace on her.

I also discovered something very seemingly frivolous this past week, but in it's's glue to a relationship. My three college BFFs that I've talked about in the past year a few times and I have started this group texting thing on our iPhones.  I only say iPhones because if we didn't all four have iPhones this little party we've created wouldn't be the same. We all loaded an app that has cute little emotion icons to add in the text messages.  We have been having the time of our life by all texting at the same time for about 15 minutes at a shot going back & forth, back & forth, over-lapping each other's words, laughing hysterically over words that were mis-spelled or auto-corrected for us and basically gettin' all up in each other's business. What a ride!!! It's a rush and I love it. We all live apart from each other and this is a fun and fast way to keep connected. It's so private. So we think. It's just us 4 bonding even more than we already have. I adore them so. Since not all of us can always be on the phone at the same time or might be driving or something like that then we just talk for them which makes it even funnier. Soul sisters.

Another soul sister wrote with a desperate email to pray for her son.  She couldn't explain at the moment, but wanted prayer coverage because he was being attacked.  Knowing this family so well, I realize that attack means a spiritual one.  I prayed. I hurt for her.

We are already at the end of January 2012. Sounds so futuristic. Tomorrow is Jana Day. Did you know that? If you know me well then you know that 20 years ago when PP asked me to marry him on Jan. 23rd....he also created Jana Day a few days later. I guess he was so enamored by my stunning beauty and charisma...ahem....that he wanted to keep the celebration going. We've celebrated it every year on January 31st. Jana Day.  Thursday is PandaGirl's Gotcha Day.  Next week is PandaJOY's Gotcha Day. Whew!! Lot's of celebrating going on around here.  OH...and Super Bowl Sunday, too? Honestly, I have zero idea who's even playing in the bowl this year. Still fun to be a part of the hype, though.

Wow, so much to say, yet still don't feel right about writing it all out in print.  Hang around. I'll get there someday.

Have a blessed Monday, friends!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Right Now

It's been awhile since this blog has seen a good ol' meme so here goes one I liked from another blogger who posted it today:

Currently I am.....

...loving - the gentle, but firm way I'm parenting. I set some boundaries in my own life (private blog being one of them) which allows me to parent better and from a healthy place as well as be a better wife. Everyday life is just better without the ugly forces that hurt me by relentlessly pounding on my psyche.

...reading - Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow. It takes me awhile to read a book. I love to read, especially if it really captures my attention, but I run out of time and then at the end of the day I'm just too tired to read.  I end up falling asleep. So, I read when I can.

...waiting for - THE CRAZY ADOPTION TO COME TO COMPLETION!!!!!!!!!!!

...excited about - the plans we just made to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this summer in Utah at a beautiful and FREE condo AND get our family portraits done by my favorite photographer I've been following for a couple of years!!!

...missing - my sweet college peeps. My souls longs for them.

...trying - to continue to like my coffee black with splenda.  I am discovering that the cream just added calories and fat.  A bit of a taste difference, but with flavored coffee that's sweetened.....I can fare just fine and be happy with it.

...working at - getting and staying organized instead of cluttered and junky.

...enjoying - my lovely new pedicure I splurged on this morning. I think the last one I had was this past summer. My feet were looking dragon-like.  Now they sparkle with a nice deep crimsony-coral. And no ugly calluses.

...snacking on - Simply Naked baked pita chips with sea salt. Too yum.

...using - my iPhone* for great entertainment when being delayed for ANYthing.  Just got it before Christmas and it's still a fun toy for me.

...wearing - the same old black yoga pants and comfy black fleece jacket and one of my many hats. Default outfit. Secure.

...planning - my spring schedule and ideas for photo shoots. I'll be going through an intense 12 week class on really building my business in March, but am starting now with what spring shoots to do.

...singing - Upside Down by Jack Johnson. Stuck in my head from listening to it at lunch while getting PJ's food ready. I do AH-dore me some Jack Johnson.

...needing - to workout today since we just paid for another month and I've only been once this week.

...learning - to live out the truths God put in the Bible just for me. He tells me that it is for freedom that Jesus set me free. I'm trying daily to see that and live it.

...listening to - everything. I adore music and switch often, but I've been on a 70's kick for about a week. BeeGees, Doobie Brothers, Boston, Eagles, John Denver.

...wishing - I didn't have food issues and that the weight would just fall off.

...doing - jobs to help PP get ready for our preteen retreat this weekend!! Crazy sock theme!!

...praying for - several hurting people. One girl lost her husband while he was sleeping just two months after getting married.  That shouldn't be.

...dreaming of - the day my little family isn't involved with the foster system anymore.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This weekend I had the awesome chance to spend some much needed soul sister time with my college BFFs, minus one. That was sad because we don't like to do things unless all four of us are able to participate.  It's just not the same when one is missing. The other one chose to stay home and take care of her 18 year old daughter who had her tonsils out. Good mommy, she is. We had plans for another 4-Girls Weekend like we did last year when we celebrated our 40th birthdays together, but we had to nix them for the sake of the one to take care of her family. Now THAT was one of the best weekends of my life. Too good for words.

Since only three of us could make it this year we opted for dinner out and some great laughs.  So, so good for my soul. Love these girls dearly.  They know me like no one else.

As if my heart wasn't full enough, I also got to spend a couple of hours with another close-to-my-heart BFF who shares a similar story with her daughter from China.  We bonded through our precious playgroup of darling little Chinese girls for a couple of years when we served at our last church. We live far away from each other, but with a quick click on FB or texting we are always just a moment away from each other. Yes, we did a photo booth like jr. high girls. Loved it.

Below is a pic of my two girlies.  Today, being MLK day I thought I  post a pic of my brown-skinned beauties. I mostly forget they are different races and skin tones than me and PandaPop. They are just who they are. I don't even think about racism much, but it really is real and there are still people who think of them as less than who God created them to be. I love them so. I've been entrusted with them!!! We are blessed to be a family of four......almost. We are getting closer to seeing light at the end of this insane tunnel.  Thanks for your continued prayers.

Had the awesome and humbling opportunity to hear Captain Scotty Smiley give his testimony at a church we visited yesterday while PandaPop helped lead a youth retreat. MOVING!!!!!! He is precious and his words are so beautiful.  He is a true hero for our USA and for our faith in Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

OH--I Missed My Mind

So did you enjoy that confession from the last post? Pretty blunt, huh?  I noticed only two of my peeps left comments.


There are several of you others out there.

Where are the comments?

Just reading for pleasure?

Maybe this will make you smile.

PandaJoy has a darling repertoire of vocabulary she uses on a daily basis like any three year old finding her way in the world of lingo.  I do think I fall down on the floor every single time she says, "Oh. I missed my mind."

She means that she has since changed her mind from whatever jibber-jabber she had previously mumble out just moments before or even days before.  If I offer her a choice between applesauce or a cheese stick she might choose the cheese stick. Upon completion of the cheese stick she announces that she "missed her mind" and now has decided that she wants applesauce instead.

She's already chosen and eaten the cheese stick.


Yeah, um...PandaMom, do you want to eat the fattening food at the pizza buffet or be a size 6?

I want to eat the buffet at Pizza Inn along with the chocolate chip cookie pizza dessert platter.


Oh, wait.

I missed my mind.

I want to be a size 6.

Sorry. Too late. You already chose the pizza.


Since I have no real means of discipling this child in any manner of which I'm accustomed I've had to come up with real sweet, creative ways of handling her.  They are probably the more healthy, sane ways that would have worked on me when I was growing up rather than the fear induced do-what-the-hell-I-say-or-else type of nurturing I got.

And there's another post for that.  Now that I'm private.

Anyway, one of my leveraging devices is to make the Little Bitty clean up her room before I will read a book to her at night.  This has caused many a melt-down right at bed time when I am tired of the day....and her. I do love that child, but she has Though you can't tell from the blubber on my buttocks.

Today I told her in order to watch ANOTHER Dora on Netflix she had to clean her room.  Really? Poor child....having to clean her room multiple times a day must be a witch on her psyche, but remember, it's all I got.

Of course, being three she tends to forget what her task at hand is and starts playing.  I'm not mean.  I give some leeway.  After an appropriate amount of time I ask her if she's done cleaning and she says, "yes".

I ask her the series of simplified questions that I always ask so that I don't walk all the way up Mt. Everest  just to see crap strewn all over her floor which in turn sends me into a mental breakdown and I want to bite nails.  You'll see I have issues.  I've gone private.  There's more to me than the Pandaleidoscope Pollyanna.

I give her another chance to "clean" her room, but this time I start making my way up the stairs to see for myself because I'm getting tired of waiting. As I round the corner fully expecting to see a cleared floor since she so desperately wants to see Doot-doot-doot-doot-Dora I find the room completely crapped out in a mess.  She hadn't done a blessed thing except play.....more. Which is totally fine, because who wants to clean up her room in the middle of the stinkin' day just to get it all back out again after the great movie is done? I don't blame her.

As she heard my footsteps approaching she yelled, "I'm cleaning!!!"

Yeah, right and I'm a size 6.

I look at the top of her shelves and see that size 6 Barbie must have missed her mind, too. She did have clothes on the last time I saw her.  She'd rather relax than clean.  Moving chairs off the bed was just way too much.

We go through the whole meltdown, talking gently to her, working through the trauma, going potty, getting back up stairs, getting on the bed for a nap and is still dirty.

She missed her mind.

She decided to play instead of clean.

I'm like that, too.

I'd way rather play than fold clothes, mop, do the dishes, take the dog out, work on business stuff or pretty much anything.

I start out with a great plan and a list and all the gumption in the world.  Then reality sets in.

I miss my mind.  A lot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Do You See?

When you see this raw cookie dough, what do you see?

Raw cookie dough?

Warm cookies coming straight out of the oven?

Cookies on a plate with a cold glass of milk beside it?

Death by The White Poison, aka....sugar?

A small treat in the day?

A cheat?

A splurge?

Does it bring up a rush of YAY!!! feelings or nothing at all?

At this moment, I see some raw cookie dough.  Period.

At some other moments I can visualize myself swallowing every single piece and still wanting more. Gorging on it. Hoping for all that is right and good for the taste of that rich, smooth, chunky, raw dough to take away the sting of whatever I'm feeling at the time.

That mentality is what packed 20 extra pounds on my body from April to December of last year.  I already needed to lose a ton of weight, but somewhere in all the stress of getting PandaJoy, dealing with that crazy deaf dog, working through the issues with PandaGirl, being 40 years old and especially dealing with issues with my own parents.......I went crazy. There was no amount of food that was enough for me.  Food might as well have been heroine to me. Crack.

I've always used food as comfort, healing, boredom, anger-reliever, celebration, emotion-enhancer....whatever.....I used food to be the other side of me.  But the past several months it turned into a monster that was  I was sick!

PandaPop and I went on a super calorie restricted diet on December 31st. I didn't indulge in ANYthing or New Year's. Nothing. I've lost eleven pounds so far, but they haven't come off without pain.  One can't be addicted to something, go off of it cold turkey and expect to come away unscathed.

When someone hurt me badly, again, with their words....I couldn't turn to food during this diet beginning.  What in this world could I turn to? I cried.  Can you believe it? I cried because I couldn't run to food to fix my emotions.  Crying over food? I felt like a crack addict going through withdrawals. I'm not making light of that at all.  I'm dead serious.  When your drug of choice is taken away, what else do you use?  I was at a new place and I needed help.....quick.

You know, the funny thing about going private with a blog is that when I'm writing.....I'm writing directly to people instead of just out there in cyberspace somewhere.  Weird.  Makes me not want to write anything and write everything that I've been so sacredly holding to my chest all at the same time.

Since I know y'all are reading, then I expect more comments from now on.  No lurking.  I know you're there. ; )

I just might divulge why I'm spilling my guts about all this addiction stuff soon.  Maybe.  It's tough being vulnerable.

What's your vice.....if you're willing to expose it?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why Private?

Y'all let me know if you're able to log in and if these posts are even being read!! ; )

Very long story that will not go on here.   Just trust me and know that I am taking care of my family with some boundaries. This has nothing to do with our adoption, our church or anything in our normal sphere of influence.  An external force that continues to hurt me is not allowed to be a part of this fun area of my life.  I enjoy blogging and want to share it with people who also enjoy it and me.

Isn't this a GREAT pic of PandaPop?!!! I always love snapping quick pics of him, PandaGirl and PandaJoy and just seeing what I come up with.  Yesterday I snapped these two after we took our dear friend Kerry Mackey out to one of my favorite spots for shoots to do some head shots for his ministries that he has going on. He is the founder of Chaplain to the Outdoorsmen and several other things.  We've know Kerry for 15 years through ministry.  PP was in his wedding and they are dear, dear friends.  I do adore him!! He spoke at our church last night to the men having a huge wild game feast.  Kerry is passionate about Jesus and has a very fun, charismatic personality!  Loved doing his photo shoot!

The pics below PG are just a taste of the shoot. The rest can be seen at then click on The Collection to get to the galleries. 

Oh....about PandaJoy?  Well, we got a message Friday that all is good to go. Except...........nothing can go forward until the court issues a mandate saying all is done.  That could take up to 90-flippin'-days!!!!!!!!! In that 90 days......there can be allowed more interruptions & challenges.  You read that right.  Sickening.

More posts to come later!! Thanks for hanging around!

Funderstorm: Mackey said to tell you guys HELLOOOOOOOO!!! ; )

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Me & Him

This journey is so much better with him by my side.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Word for 2012: step

The mind of a man plans his way, 
but the LORD directs his steps. 
Proverbs 16:9

Two years ago the word I claimed for the year was JOY.  If you followed long enough on this journey you know the story behind it and why it was so significant and actually started in December of 2009 after I felt joy-less when walking through the pain of choosing to let Little Guy go.  All of 2010 was about JOY.  Living in a true joyous spirit that can only come from God and not through circumstances.

Then for 2011 I claimed the word ENTRUSTED.  I had a revelation of how much God had entrusted to us with our daughter and the one that we thought was soon to follow.  PandaPop and I have a huge responsibility with the children's ministry & those little hearts at our church. What were His plans? We have been entrusted with the Holy Spirit, too.  What were we to do with all the lavish gifts with which He'd entrusted us? Many times I failed miserably in the stewardship that was entrusted to me in all areas. Many times I was victorious.  If there is anything....anything good in me that people see from this past was all God and nothing else.  He carried me through 2011.

The word for 2012 came to me yesterday sitting in church listening to my beloved pastor speak Truth from the living Word.  He spoke on taking one step.  One step.  It spurred me to think of Bob Wiley in What About Bob? which is my all-time favorite dark comedy and how he was going to make baby-steps to reach his goal of losing all his phobias. We have journeyed far along this adoption road for PandaJOY.  I did not expect to be still stuck in the foster system this long.  But we are.  We have learned so much patience in the wait. Everything being out of our control forced us to be patient, but we mostly chose to be joyful and not lamenting through the whole thing. We have taken each small step as it's come.

This year in 2012 we are continuing our baby steps for getting financially balanced.  We made huge strides and might actually see some payoffs for keeping in our budget this year.  Last year's money spent on repairing things just about did me in!!

We started last week on teeny-tiny baby-steps to get our health and physical bodies in check.  I've got so much weight to lose and even more so the emotional addiction to food that the task is just overwhelming.  Baby steps to the goal.  Each and every step counts.  Even the ones that go backwards.  Hopefully, I can learn from the backward steps and then move on.  Keep moving forward. Yes.  Keep moving forward!! I as type those words I am reminded that keep moving forward was part of our healing back in 2009! It's from Meet the Robinson's and is very much a part of our lives! I am giddy just remembering it now! Oh how it fits in perfectly with my word for the year: step.

Keep every single one of my 
moving forward!!! 

Do you have a word for the year? Have you ever had a word for the year? If not, try it and just see how many times it creeps up in your daily life and how God will use to make you better. I'd love to know your word!!!