Monday, December 31, 2012

"Slovakia" - Landscape Painting and the Beginning of a New Story as the New Year Unfolds

I recently stumbled across an amazing website called "The Virtual Paintout" and it's simply an ingenious idea created by a man named Bill Guffey. I strongly urge you to check it out - it won't disappoint! The premise is that each month Bill chooses a country or region to paint from and using images from Google maps streetview (which was approved by Google itself, so long as you only use the images from the street view and none from the little blue dots, which are all copyrighted) you choose a spot and set up your paints and well, do a virtual paintout. It kinda explains itself, right? Lol.

So for this month, the country was Slovakia, and after much perusing of Google maps and then having to re-peruse because the images I wanted to do were from the blue dots, which I found out was a big no-no, this is what I came up with. I changed the image considerably, substituting a concrete road with a wide dirt path and taking out a building that I wasn't a huge fan of, to name a few, and overall I like it much better this way. Perhaps it would have looked nice how the image was originally straight off of Google, but I liked adding my own artistic license to it - after all, it makes it feel a bit more like my own creation, straight from the heart.

"Slovakia"     4 x 5     Acrylic on Canvas Board

I've been feeling quite a bit better the last few days - no longer needing my cane or walker very often anymore unless I'm having a particularly bad day or am just plain exhausted, though I'm still using a walker or wheelchair when we go out. It's been kinda nice not having to feel like a 95 year old all the time anymore, especially since I'm just 28, even if I do still feel around 89 instead. But still, an improvement is an improvement and I'll take it!!! =0)

So because of this I've had the chance to get ahead for my other newest challenge which is painting 30 paintings in 30 days. I signed up to do this through Leslie Saeta's blog (she's an amazingly famous and gifted painter, and I couldn't be more excited to be doing this!!!) and will try to keep it going for the rest of the year, or as long as I'm able. The plus side about these two new "finds" as I would call them is that I can use my painting for the virtual paintout for the 30 day challenge, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

Honestly, I really desperately want to become a daily painter this year. It's my big, giant & honestly quite daunting dream right now, but I want it so bad that I think 2013 is the year! I wanted to get on or in a gallery before I turn 30, and time is ticking away all too quickly. And most importantly, I really, REALLY want to start selling my work this year, so I've decided that I'm going to take one more giant step towards these goals, giving myself slack when I fail and picking myself up again when I fall flat on my face, and of course celebrating like crazy whenever I reach any one of my goals. It will mean I'll be working smaller than normal for most of the time, though I'll still going to do some larger paintings when I'm actually ahead for the week, if that ever happens! Lol. I'm guessing most of the time I'm going to be having to do multiple paintings a day just to catch up, but I've been wanting to try this for so many years now and even though medically speaking things look extremely bleak, I need something fun for myself that I can do so I can be the type of mommy, wife and friend I want to be. And for me, that something is this. So wish me luck in this new endeavor, because I sure am gonna need it! Feel free to share any of your New Years Resolutions here if you want - it's always fun to hear from you all! I hope you're having a fantastic New Years Eve and will see you all in the New Year!!! =D

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Doe Eyes" - Painting of a Deer by Melissa Adams

"Doe Eyes"     16 x 20     Acrylic on Canvas
Detail from "Doe Eyes"
I've been wanting to post this painting for over a week now, but life just seemed to get in the way (which is to say, it's been nearly unbearable over here), and in the midst of it all, we lost Tyler's grandpa too. He was such a great man; a man who was deeply loved by oh so many and who loved the Lord with all his heart. He was a faithful servant to the end.

So even though things have been going almost comically, tragically bad in our house of late, at least I can take some joy in the fact that through it all God has provided me with some amazing family and friends who are "being" Jesus to me - who are sacrificing their own precious time and energy to help us get through this miserableness we call life right now, and who are just straight up loving on us more than we even deserve. I hope you know who you are, because I thank God for all of you every day, and without you I'm not sure we'd make it much longer - or that I'd even be here today if not for you. God has blessed us abundantly with His love through you, and it's pulling us through, even if only by a thread.

Anyways, today I am just glad to see "her" here up on my blog, even if I'm not quite sure why this painting is a she to me in the first place. Whatever. Don't judge. You know you name your cars that way too, so I'm not THAT weird... Right? Ooh, I hope not! Lol. Okay, ANYWAYS, I love the fact that I can actually feel her tender eyes staring gently back at me whenever I walk through our playroom where it's displayed, for it's bringing some sense of comfort in this time of hectic need for us. Her eyes are so soft and comforting, and it's nice having her hanging out around our home. I've always wanted to make art that comforted others, and it brings me joy that at least I've made some art that comforts me and brings joy and light into my own home.

You may remember this painting back when it was a work in progress, (Part 1 & Part 2) when it was called "Caught Like A Deer" but that name was just not befitting the personality of this work, and so it was renamed after I painted in her eyes. They just were so gentle that I felt the name no longer worked for her. It's funny how paintings can actually have a personality in and of themselves. I guess it's really just because they capture the essence of the artist and their emotions and feelings at the time they were created, but it still astounds me just how much you can see how an artist feels through their work. It's almost a wonder to me that this painting is so calm after all considering all the storms we've had to face in the last few months. But hey, by the grace of God and with the help of some very extraordinary people, we're still hanging in here and haven't lost ALL hope, though I must admit it's waning of late. It actually makes me wonder if perhaps the reason for the calm I feel woven into this work is that our hope comes not from the things on earth, but from Our God above. For when I paint I find refuge in my God, and there is no greater place for me to be than in His everlasting arms. I love to create with Him, for in so doing I'm spending precious time with my Creator, whose art is far greater than anything I could ever dream or imagine here on this earth.

Well, without further ado (or should I say without further complaining?), I present to you "Doe Eyes," perhaps my new favorite painting up to date. She was a deer we met in Yosemite, so timid and afraid, yet gentle and pure. Nature at it's best. I hope she brings a smile and a light into your home today, as God has allowed her to do in ours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

To Be Set Free - A Poem In Memory of Grandpa Cully — We Will Miss You!

 To Be Set Free

Can you imagine how it must be
To see your Savior, to be set free,
From all the worries of this world
To win your prize and earn your gold?
To look your Savior in the face
And have Him say you won the race,
For which you fought for all your life
Through all the trouble and all the strife?
Can you imagine how it must feel
To touch His face and grasp His heal
Twas scarred for you to set you free
To live a life of victory?
Can you imagine what you would see
Having your God in front of thee,
To see Him staring face to face
To be wrapped in His sweet Embrace?
When my life ends, is far and gone
My hope is that He'll say, "Well done,
For you My dear have made Me proud,
You spoke My truth with love, out loud.
You lived your life for Me, My love,
That made Me smile from up above.
I couldn't wait to have you here,
Because it's you I love, My dear.
Because, it's you I love, My dear."

~Melissa Adams

Great Grandpa Cully loving on Levi - July 17th, 2010
In memory of Grandpa Cully Olson, who lived a life of love for God and praised him to his final breath. May you rejoice in the arms of our Savior. I truly wish I could have known you more, but even in the short time I knew you, you were a light for the Lord, and a true pleasure to be around. We love you and you will be sorely missed, but we know that you are in the arms of your Savior and there is no place you'd rather be. Enjoy your rewards, Grandpa Cully, and thank you for being a humble and faithful servant all these years.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Pair of Jellies" - An Animal Painting

"Pair of Jellies"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

I've always loved jellyfish and sea-life, as you all can tell by now I'm sure! I painted this for our powder room, and I love how it turned out so much that I am planning some day to make a MUCH much larger painting for our wall (or eventually if I can part with it, for someone else's) filled with a great amount of these beautiful creatures, all tangled up alongside each another. But for now, this little painting will have to do, and since it makes me smile every time I see it, I'd say it's doing it's job quite well. After all, the vibrant colors used within it really liven up our space, giving it a bright and cheery feel!

Friday, December 14, 2012

How Do You Save a Fish From Drowning - A poem by Melissa Adams

How Do You Save a Fish From Drowning?

Can I be me, the me I used to be,
Without having this dark inside of me?
With mind still stuck back deep inside my past,
Can this salvation I call mine yet last?

I've tried so hard to right the rights I've wronged,
But here I sit, still staring, lists too long,
For any person here on earth to fix,
I've nothing left back in my bag of tricks.

Why give me so much grief for me to bear?
I cry out "Why, God? WHY!!!" but You aren't there.
So in the silence deep within my soul,
I die inside cause You don't care at all.

"How do I do this right?" I ask aloud,
Not knowing where to turn,  nor what's allowed,
For me to save myself, to save my soul,
Without losing what was me, my true heart's goal.

A hole too deep, too wide, for me to brave,
Life destined for destruction, for the grave.
Holding onto threads, it's all I've got,
The love I shared now breaking from this lot.

Twas cast on me, no choice of mine was had,
Situations growing worse, then going bad.
Drowning deep and deeper every day,
If only God would make for us a way.

A way for us to take that's clearly marked,
His intentions plain, our faith thus sparked,
Into a flame so deep no one can see,
The doubts that once took root inside of me.


On Sunday, Levi accidentally pushed our iron fireplace grate onto me as I was stoking the fire, and it crashed upon me so suddenly and roughly my brain barely even had time to process it. I had been getting better and was actually doing the best I had been in months, but then this happened. I just fell into a heap on the floor and sobbed, not so much from the pain raging in my body, but more for the fact that in my heart of hearts I knew it was all starting over again. We were back at square one. My flare would return full force and the last two months of working at getting better were wasted in a matter of seconds. I went upstairs slowly and sobbed for half an hour as Tyler sat in the living room with his stomach in his throat because he knew it too.

The next morning I was in massive pain, but still proceeded to go to our staff dinner, masking my symptoms because we just needed to be able to get away from this thing we call our life. We're really just surviving, because neither of us feels much alive right now. The next morning was awful and it's been awful ever since. My flare is back as if it never was on it's way out, and the light we had seen at the end of the tunnel feels as if it's been snuffed out. I know in my heart God has a purpose and a plan for all of this,  but right now it's just a little hard to keep my eyes on the goal. I feel like I'm losing my hope right now, my husband feels like he's losing me, and we both feel like we're losing each other. It's not good.

But still,  we have determined to " with perseverance the race marked out for us." For God calls us to "2 ...fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.. " (Hebrews 12  1-3) I have felt so close to losing heart these last few days since my world crashed around me last Sunday, but I am determined to not lose faith because my Lord is bigger than anything this world can throw at me and he doesn't give us more than we can bear, even though sometimes it may feel like that.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Musings on the Upcoming New Year

You may remember the very first post on my blog of one of my best friends ever, Shannon, and her maternity shoot. She was so gracious to me in letting me take so many pictures of her and in trusting me with it even when I was so inexperienced, and I am so grateful for that. And lucky for her, my dear friend Stephanie, who is my all-time favorite portrait photographer, who also recently "retired" as it were from doing shoots (though I'm not sure if she was planning on that being a permanent thing) gave me some wonderful tips on how to take better pictures. My work improved dramatically because of her, and I am so thankful for that! One of these days I really want to do an interview of her on here if she's up for that.

Here is one picture that never quite made it to that post because it was actually done in a separate shoot, in the field outside her in-laws house on the day of her baby shower, and was edited much later as well. I just love this shot - it's one of my all time favorite photographs, and I think you'll love it too!

 And here are some more from that day that I just adore...

You know Shannon, you couldn't just stop at being a great artist could you? You had to be freakin' gorgeous as well! Sheesh, some people just get all the breaks, huh? Haha, I love you Shannon!

So I've been thinking a lot lately since having to put my life on hold during this horrible flare up of mine, and I've learned how important it is to really work towards your desires in life - to truly try to pursue the things you feel God has called you to do. What irks me is my utter inability right now to follow through on anything physically right now, so I spend my time instead working on plans of where I want to be in the near future. First off, I think it's really important for everyone to have someone in their life who sees your talent and pushes and encourages you to cultivate it, who inspires you to do more, and yes, someone who you for some reason can't help but compete with because they're pretty stinkin' good themselves! Just try not to get too competitive mind you! Haha, oh how I wish I wasn't so darn competitive! But when you can turn it to do good, when you can channel it to not try to outdo that other person but instead to help you better yourself just so that you're better than the you that you started out with, that's when you can really start to see some progress as an artist or in whatever field you may be in. It takes time and a lot of self control and hard work, but I've learned over the last few years that what really helps you grow the most is keeping track of your own growth and not comparing yourself to others. Because, as my mother always said, there will ALWAYS be someone better than you. But, and this is a big BUT, that doesn't mean you should give up trying. It just means that you should surround yourself with people who love you and will spur you on to do your very best, and that you should look back often at all the strides you've made and constantly make new goals and keep focused on where you want to be. You have to pick yourself back up again when you hit a wall and never give up, though you may need a short break from time to time to get yourself fresh and motivated again.

I'm learning so much about myself lately and about what is important to me in life, and what's important to me as an artist. I'm trying to figure out my short term and long term goals because I really do strongly desire to be "discovered" as an artist. To really make it out there in the world, and not just be another one of those people who's paintings never leave their studio but only end up being sold at a garage sale for a measly five bucks. I just don't want that for myself. 

My goal for next year, starting hopefully in January, is to get my business license, get my website up and running (I bought a domain name already - YAY ME!!!) and to start selling my work. I so desperately want to get accepted on and to get into a wonderful gallery, but I know there are more things I need to accomplish before I can even try to do that. I'm a little scared to even put my paintings up for sale to be perfectly honest with you, but I feel like it's finally time to start putting myself out there, even if it means rejection in the end. But in the very least I have to try, because it's come to that point where I can't hide behind the fact that I'm so afraid to try selling my work out of fear that people won't actually like it enough to buy it. It's one thing to say a work of art is pretty, and an entirely different thing to say it's pretty enough to spend your hard earned money on. So in light of the upcoming end of this year and the beauty and wonder and possibility that all lie in the start of another year, have you started thinking of the goals you have for yourself? Have you really thought about where you want to be in a year? In five years? In ten? Let's do this together! Let's make a plan to get our lives on track and to make real and tangible goals. Are you with me?!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two More Pictures of the Doyles. Plus, How Do You Like to De-Stress?

I just wanted to post one or two little pictures from my previous shoot with Kelsey, Jeremy and Nolan. I was putting together the little CD of pics for their family the other night that I never really got around to finishing up before, and I just thought these were pretty darn cute and had to put them up here. The top one's my absolute favorite - such a tender moment! There are so many more pictures I wish I could edit, but for now, I think this will be it for a while. To see the other ones I did of their family, click here. I haven't even had time to edit our own pictures of my shoots of Owen and Levi, and there are some real gems in there! I can't wait to get to those someday too! =0)

I guess I just haven't really been feeling up to editing pictures lately. I think I worry so much about whether the people I took them for will like them that it stresses me out more than it relaxes me. All my efforts have been going towards getting better for my family (Oh, did I forget to mention on here that I got a positive diagnosis of Fibromyalgia?! Silly me, I must have forgotten! Lol. I know those of you with it can laugh along with me at that one!), so I've really only been painting instead since I find that to be more therapeutic for me. My world has felt like it's been turned upside down and nobody really quite knows how to cope right now, not even my strong and steady husband who has always seemed so immovable to me. It's been a rough couple of weeks, let me tell ya! If you don't mind, we could sure use some prayer right now, that's for sure!

One of my friends asked me lately what I do to de-stress. PAINT!!! (Are you surprised at that one? Haha!) My other go to's are bubble baths, reading and of course, watching the good ole TV. So, what about you? What are your favorite ways to de-stress? And if you have kids, can you let me into the little known secret of how to de-stress with them around (if it even exists in the first place)? Everywhere I look, in each book and each doctor I talk to, everything is telling me the most important thing for me to do right now is to get rid of any stress in my life. HA!!! I get a good laugh at that one. In fact, I actually laughed at my doctor when she said that. Oops! I have a very needy, curious and active 8 mo. old and a very hyper, intelligent 2 year old... A stress-free environment isn't really an option right now. So if you've got any tips that work for you, let me know. Please feel free to comment here, I'd love to hear your suggestions of what works best for you so I can maybe steal some for myself... ;)
Hope you have a wonderful, no, even better - a quiet and relaxing day.  =)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"El Capitan" - A Yosemite Expressionist Painting

As I sit here tonight, struggling in my pain and stiffness to find that elusive thing called sleep, I'm hoping that life is finding you well, and that in your own struggles, now matter how big or how small, you know that there is a God who loves you and is there for you always, all you have to do is ask. Sometimes it seems so very easy to believe the lie that your pain isn't really THAT bad, especially compared to someone else's, that your struggles aren't as hard because you haven't had to deal with something huge like others seem to have to do. That even if what you struggle with may be small in other people's eyes, that it may feel small compared to "what's his face who has to deal with whatever THAT is", that for you, your hardest struggles are indeed HARD, and they are yours and you have every right to feel overwhelmed by them. Please don't ever compare yourself with others in a way that hurts you rather than encourages you to try harder (I say this even while I am working on this myself) because it will only make things worse. It is okay to feel like what you're going through is hard. Like I said, I'm learning that myself right now. What I'm struggling with might be nothing compared with someone else, and yet to me, it's unbearably hard. But there is a God who gives us hope and strength and courage, and it is promised in His word, "Come near to God and He will come near to you." (James 4:8a - which is, by the way, MY FAVORITE VERSE OF ALL TIME!!!) Let him carry your burden for you, as I, and my family with me, are learning to let Him carry ours. "'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'" (Matt. 11:28-30) God bless!

Here's a picture from our trip last year to Yosemite with my amazing mother and our awesome family. I loved that trip! It was such a sweet time to grow together as a family - to watch Levi lose himself in nature, because boy oh boy does that little man ever love to be outside!!! And to see my beautiful nieces and my sister and brother-in-law (who is really more like a brother to me than anything else) in the element that brings out the best in all of us. We are such a camping family. I think we were all born for the mountains, but for now, our little yearly trips will have to suffice.  =)

Ahhh, Yosemite. There is something so magical about that place. Maybe it's the way the mist hits your face and drenches your body as you stare mystified at the power of the waterfalls before you. Or the beauty in even the simple little wonders there, like the rocks and ferns and, well, in everything around you. And for me, it might even just be my momma. I mean, when we go there, it's like I see her caught perfectly back in time as a young girl, just barely out of her teens, and I see life through her eyes so clearly. She used to work in that park, and I love every story she has to share about it. I eat them up like crazy... Like the time a bear came knocking on her cabin door while she was all alone, and then proceeded climb up on her roof and stick around for awhile, scaring the living daylights out of her. Or the fact that she knows so much about the park, so much more than most people could ever possibly know without having lived there themselves. It's magical to me, and I love it! I hope I captured even a hint of that in this simple painting - even a hint of the immense beauty and majesty that God so lovingly poured out in abundance over that land. I have so, so many more paintings to come from there and from all of our other special haunts - so many more expressions of the joy I feel in spending time in God's great wonderlands with my momma and the rest of my family, and with our mighty Creator Himself - and I can't wait for the chance to make them and share them with you!

"El Capitan"     8 x 10     Acrylic on Canvas
By the way, momma, you totally inspired this painting (you know, just in case you couldn't tell by what I wrote)! I love you and want to thank you for giving me such a love for the beautiful wilderness that God created!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Update and a New Abstract Painting of My Journey Thus Far, Entiltled "For He Was My Light in Times of Trouble"

I got some answers at my Physical Therapy appt. yesterday that really helped ease at least some of my frustration. It seems that my hip and spine were twisted up pretty badly and all out of sorts from something I did at the girls conference - my hip joints weren't matching up in the back. So when I got home and got my cortisone shot to fix a different problem, it just set everything on fire. The Dr. took one look at my hip and back and said "I am so, so sorry! You must be in agony!" Thank the Lord for a compassionate Dr., who prayed for me and for wisdom in how to treat me, since I know how rare that is. She is amazing. I'm in incredible pain today - when she was done with me she asked me what type of meds I had at home and told me to take my strongest for the next day or so, but I am so glad to have some answers as to why this flare was so bad and what caused it. Now I'm just hoping that the next few weeks of recovery help fix this all, and that I can get back the feeling of normal, since I can't even remember what it feels like to not be in pain anymore.

On a sad note, I asked her what she thought about the prospect that I might have fibromyalgia, since every time she hits a tender spot (by gently pressing mind you) it makes me catch my breath in pain, and she is fairly positive that I do. Just about as positive as she could be. She said I really need to go get checked out by my physician, but told me not to lose hope, because it's not a death sentence. She must have seen the disappointment on my face. So now we'll be looking into that as we move forward, so if you have the chance, please pray for me that I get a compassionate and wise Dr. who can help figure all this out. I love you guys - thanks for listening to all my... well... baggage, I guess.

This painting today was what I pictured in my mind when the other day I posted "It Was Enough." As I was praying I felt God prompting me to try to get out how I'm feeling on canvas: all the darkness and despair, all the tears and pain and anger, the little glimmers of hope, but most of all, the fact that through all of it, no matter how hopeless or desperate or agonizingly painful things became, God's light and presence has always shown so brightly through it all, giving me hope and sustaining me. He is bigger than any problem I have and will ever face and his light will ALWAYS guide me through.

"For He Was My Light In Times of Trouble"     16 x 20     Acrylic on Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Side view of painted, wrapped sides

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"It Was Enough" - Probably My Most Important Post Ever

This perhaps may be the most difficult post I will ever have to write, or at least it is the most difficult one so far. I've had so many reservations about writing this over the last few months because it's so personal, but today God overwhelmed me with an urgency to do so, so here I am. Please don't misunderstand the words that follow - I am not looking for sympathy or anything else, I just need to say this in hopes that it may help someone else. This is very raw, and from the heart, and if you can't handle truth and honesty, then don't read this.

The last three years have been the most difficult of my life. It all started in January of 2010, while I was 6 months pregnant with Levi (by the 10 month standard), when I suffered what I later found out was a gall-bladder attack, the first of many that would culminate into the worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life on the night Levi was born. In February, during a routine prenatal visit, I was sent to L&D (labor and delivery) because my BP (blood pressure) was ridiculously high. Hours later it stabilized and they sent me home with a BP monitor and partial bedrest. Not much later, I was put on full bedrest (well, other than bathroom privileges) and a prescription as it were for bi-weekly NSTs (non-stress tests to make sure baby was alright). I kept suffering gall-bladder attacks (which had still been undiagnosed at this point) until one fateful Wednesday when the pain was so severe it had me throwing up and sobbing in a ball on the floor of my bathroom. I barely made it to the phone to call Tyler, and he rushed home and brought me to L&D. They admitted me and gave me morphine, which made the pain exponentially worse, and then sent me in for an ultrasound. That's when they found the gallstones and decided to keep me overnight until they could manage my pain. It seemed like nothing worked. They took two blood tests, one right away and another in the morning, which is why by the grace of God they discovered I had HELLP syndrome, a very rare disorder involving your blood and liver requiring almost instant removal of your baby in order to save your life.

They sent me by ambulance to Walnut Creek, where we delivered Levi two months early after three days of no food, barely any sleep, and the most intense pain ever. Labor pain was nothing compared to my gall bladder pain. Nothing. Seriously, I fell asleep between each contraction because I was so extremely exhausted, but the contractions felt good compared to the excrutiating pain that followed each one as my gall bladder flared.

Levi was alright, though not great, and had to be kept on an artificial breathing machine for over a week just to stay alive. I hemorrhaged and almost died - it was so bad that the nurse I had following delivery told me that she couldn't sleep all night she was so worried about me and honestly was surprised I made it. But by God's great goodness I did, and though I required a two-unit blood transfusion to make up for all the blood that I had lost and another half a week in the hospital to recover, I'm still here. =)

We stayed in the NICU for nearly two months, two of the emotionally worst months of both Tyler and my life, but we did come home with a sweet, healthy baby boy in the end, so praise God for that! I will never be the same after all that.

Fast forward a year and a half, and I got an overwhelming urge to get pregnant again. And this was after a "scare" a few months earlier that brought me to my knees in fear that we might have gotten pregnant, because I just didn't think I could do it again. But God changes hearts, and with much prayer and deep consideration we decided to try again. I think after that, Tyler sneezed on me and I got pregnant, because it was seriously the very first try that worked. I know how blessed I am in this, please understand this, because I have so many friends who aren't so lucky.

We were excited and a bit scared when we found out we were pregnant, as you must imagine one would be after everything we went through with our first, but we found comfort in our God and the fact that He so immediately answered our prayers for another child. By the time I hit 16 weeks things started going downhill, and by 19 weeks I was miserable. My BP was out of control, and my Dr. was extremely worried - so much so that he couldn't hide it from his face. He sent me to L&D and the Dr. there was less than comforting - she told us to get prepared to lose our little one, because it just did not look good and they might force us to make a choice to save my life by aborting our child. There is no way on earth we would have done that, and thank God we weren't forced to make that choice! I was so terrified for our son - I couldn't handle losing him! I was so worried that things were going to go even worse than they had with Levi, and in a way they did.

I suffered infection after infection during my pregnancy with Owen, ones that caused such extreme pain and discomfort that Tyler was forced to work from home to take care of me and to top it off, the antibiotics would only work for a week or so before the infection would come back. My blood pressure was soaring, but labile (meaning it would get extremely high but then after a few hours would stabilize) so I was put on medicine, partial bedrest and twice weekly NST's again, and all at the early stage of 26 weeks. The nurses said I was one of the very, very few patients that they had ever had come so early to them, and trust me, it wasn't much fun going to the Drs. so often, but what can you do?

It was during this time that I decided Isaac would be Owen's middle name. I was so afraid he wouldn't make it, that I wouldn't make it, and that I would never hear his laughter that I thought the name meaning "He laughs" would be my prayer request to God. Plus, it reminded me to try to find the joy in the situation, to try to be like Job who in his anger and his misery did not sin against the Lord by charging him with wrong doing.

I was miserable! Honestly, more miserable than I had ever been during my pregnancy with Levi, and I had almost died with him. I couldn't understand why God was putting me through this. Why He was putting our family through this. I was in constant pain, so much so I could hardly walk, and by the time I hit 26 weeks I was praying God would put me into labor just to get the baby out of me. And I've been in the NICU... I know what I was asking for. I cried myself to sleep night after night, and by 32 weeks I started getting braxton hicks. I was elated. They continued off and on, getting stonger and stronger until they were strong enough to bring us to the hospital. By 33 weeks I was dilated 2 cm, and by 34 I was dilated 3 cm. I couldn't wait to go into labor. But the contractions kept coming harder and harder without dilating me any more, and my blood pressure kept rising higher and higher, and my Dr. kept sending me in to be induced with L&D just sending me home 4 to 6 hours later that I finally broke down. I became so angry with God that I honestly, and this is where I am going to get really raw, I honestly debated taking my own life. It was that bad. Every time I went in to get induced and then got sent home still as pregnant and in as much agony as before broke me down farther and farther until I couldn't take it anymore.

I was so angry with God. Why would he do this to me? Why torture me with the hope of these contractions and then have them amount to nothing? How was any of this pain, any of this agony and discomfort and inability to take care of my family working for my good? Doesn't God say he will work all things for the good of those who love him? This wasn't love. This wasn't for my good. I was so bitter and angry I could hardly stand it.

Finally, finally, my Dr. got angry with L&D after one more failed attempt on his part to send me in to be induced and he told them that they needed to get it done. What were they waiting for, he asked, for me to get HELLP and die before they induced me? So at barely 36 weeks, they finally brought me in and admitted me to be induced. Praise the Lord! I was induced at 4 pm that day, they broke my water at 8, and I immediately began intense labor after that. As a side note, Fentanol is a joke. They gave that to me to ease my pain, and it would work for about 15 minutes, but then nothing. Then you had to wait another hour and 15 before your next joke. It was worthless.

I was in so much pain, but hey, that's labor, right? About 15 minutes towards the end, they lost Owen's heartbeat. The Drs. and nurses really started freaking out - you could see it written all over their faces. They brought in the NICU doctors and a host of other nurses, it was just as crowded as when Levi was born. We kept asking if our baby was okay. I pulled a nurse to me - "Is he alright? Is he going to make it?" Deliberate silence on her part. No one would answer us. They told me to push. They told me to push harder. "We have to get him out. We have to get him out NOW! You need to push!" But no matter how hard I pushed he wasn't coming out fast enough for him. We were terrified. He was clearly in distress and both Tyler and I just wanted to sob, but we had to focus. They brought out the vacuum extractor, attached it, lost suction, attached it again. They started making leeway on him, unwrapped the cord from around his neck and finally, finally got him out. He cried. Oh, how he cried. I don't know if I've ever felt more relief than what I felt in that moment, but atleast he cried. They whisked him away to make sure he was okay, and indeed he was. He was two days short of premature, but weighed a very healthy 6 lbs. 13 oz. and was in great condition. God is so good!

But in the process of the pregnancy, the infections and the vacuum extractions they damaged me. Or rather, my muscles damaged me. I've been in so much pain ever since. I've been to physical therapy for months, on Vicodin on and off (mostly on) since he was born, started postpartum depression meds a few months ago to help deal with the pain and anxiety from it (which have helped a ton, might I add, so if you've been debating them and still haven't tried them, I really would give them a shot) and now... We've spent hundreds upon hundreds on medical visits and prescriptions. Now I've had two cortisone shots. The first one was great (I mean aside from the blood curdling scream at getting it done), but this last one, oh man. I haven't been the same since. I honestly feel like I'm dying. Sorry if I sound over-dramatic. Trust me, I'm not. It's just been awful, that's all. It's the worst pain I've ever felt, save for labor and gallstones. I can hardly walk. My whole body feels like it's on fire. My hip and back hurt tremendously, enough to send me to the ER. The pain is stabbing, throbbing, raw, on fire, dull and really every other sensation of pain I've ever felt all rolled into one. It hurts all over. I think only my head doesn't hurt, aside from a negligible headache. Even Dilaudid doesn't get rid of the pain. Valium helps a ton, but I can still feel it and it still hurts more than it should, not to mention it basically makes me a worthless person who can't move, it relaxes my muscles so much. But I can tell it's helping, because it seems to make it a bit better each day I'm on it, since my muscles are finally able to relax after a year of being in constant strain and pain. Once again, Tyler is staying home taking care of me. Once again I'm struggling with feelings of anger, bitterness, helplessness and hopelessness towards God. Oh, and to top it off, what we thought was an answer to prayer, the chance to refinance, that we were so thankful for and praising God mightily for, fell through. Now what? That would have helped offset the cost of my treatments, but clearly God has other plans in mind.

I'm trying so hard to suck it up and just get over it - to push through the pain because what if this is how I'm going to feel for the rest of my life? After all, it's already been over a year and a half of constant pain, save for a few good days, so at some point I just have to learn to live with this and not allow it to control my life. I have to put on a happy face and pretend that I'm not crying inside and pretend that I don't want to just curl up in a ball and sob. I have to find joy and go out and enjoy my family and friends because we only get one shot at this life and I don't want to waste it.

But... Why? Why is He allowing this? I know He has the power to heal me, so why doesn't He? If I could only touch the hem of His robe...! Today, in a crumpled, sobbing heap of misery and despair I cried out to God. "Why are You doing this?! Why have you given me beautiful children, a wonderful husband, a beautiful house and amazing family and friends and are not allowing me to enjoy them or be the person you want me to be to them - a helper? Why give me talent and a desire to use it for you, a desire to serve you, and then take away my ability to do so? God, where is Your love? Where is Your faithfulness and compassion? I don't want to serve a God like You, if You aren't a God of love. If You have no love for me, then you aren't worthy to be served. I feel like I'm losing faith in You Lord! I can't do this any longer. I know these feelings are sinful, that You don't deserve me talking to You this way, but I'm not Job, I'm not without sin and I JUST CAN'T DO THIS! I'm so sorry for speaking to You this way. I'm so sorry and yet I'm just so done with all of this. What am I supposed to do? How are You possibly going to use this? God, I just can't take this anymore. Take this cup from me, it's more than I can bear. Why are You not a God of love? Why are You not acting out of love for me? Why, God, why?"

And you know what? In all my accusations, my bitterness, my disgusting words to a God who is worthy of all honor and glory and praise, amidst all that I said, the sin and the hate and the pain, I heard Him say in a still, small voice, "It's okay. I love you."

And it was enough. =)

Deut. 31:8 "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." I find this to be every bit as true for us today as it was for the Israelites back then. I will trust in the Lord with all my heart and all my strength and all my soul, for He alone can get me through this, to the praise of His glory and strength.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Tower Falls" Expressionist Style Yellowstone Waterfall Painting

I've been having fun lately trying out a much looser style of painting in hopes of 1) being more painterly in my strokes and expressive of my emotions, 2) learning more about color mixing and combinations 3) being capable of finishing a painting in one sitting (because boy does that feel exceptionally good and with little ones, it's nearly impossible to find time to paint!), and 4) eventually getting accepted onto my favorite painting blog of all time, Getting on that blog has been one of my major life goals the last few years, as I absolutely love that website! My other major life goal that I've had for a few years now is getting into the Marcus Ashley Fine Art Gallery in Tahoe. I absolutely love that gallery, not only because of the type of art they exhibit, which is absolutely gorgeous, but because of the feeling of the gallery itself and the way that the staff is so willing to walk around with you and talk about the art and the artists who make it. If you are ever in that area, you have to check it out - it will not disappoint you! And if not, they have a fantastic website as well - definitely worth your time to visit! (I provided the link above)

So as I said before, this particular painting was very exciting to paint, and I thoroughly enjoyed using large strokes and partially mixed colors. It's not a style I would do exclusively, because I really find my identity as an artist in the style that I do for "The Secret Lives of Animals" series as well as my more even more whimsical paintings like "If I Could Give You the Moon," but I do absolutely love how it makes me feel to paint this way, and I am sure you will be seeing many more like this one in the weeks to come. =)

"Tower Falls"     8 x 10      Acrylic on Canvas Board

Friday, October 12, 2012

Work In Progress: "The Oyster Thief" - Part 2

I've added another layer to the rocks, basically just by painting in the darks and defining the edges of each one. I still need to add further definition to them and then add in the sand speckles, as well as to make some look as if they are in the shadows, but it's coming along nicely so far. I'm also still debating if I want to put in my little pink anemone things or the two shrimp I had planned to add onto the large rocks. I don't want to clutter this painting up too much, and I'm worried it might. Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Work In Progress: "The Oyster Thief" - Part 1

Here's my newest addition to "The Secret Lives of Animals" Series. It's actually kinda funny - I started this painting on a camping trip years ago, as a realistic portrayal of an octopus, but after finding it again, I realized not only was it all wrong drawing-wise,  but the octopus was way too off center to be on his own. So I've re-purposed this painting, by just repainting the whole thing, and now I love it! I obviously have a very long way to go on it, seeing as it's only really got the first layer of underpainting done, but I'm excited to see this one progress and can't wait to see it finished!

Basic Underpainting

I've added in the first layer of rocks here

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Work In Progress: "Caught Like A Deer" - Pt. 2

Last night I had my mind set on painting, and luckily everyone else decided to go to bed early. So I started on this again, laying in the first layer of background, and having started on the trees earlier in the day. I plan on blurring the edges of the tree in the middle, in order to push it back and to draw less attention to it. So far I'm loving the quality of light I'm getting (sorry the image is so bad, it's from my phone which has a horrible camera on it) and am hoping I can keep the painterly quality of the background as I go along. I'm really striving to create dappled light as it comes through the trees, and have been dry brushing glazes of greens and yellows and buttercream (I barely ever use pure white anymore) in circular motions in order to achieve that goal.

I would have tried to finish the first layer of the background completely, but Owen had his mind set on other things and I was interrupted about 15 minutes into my work to nurse him back to sleep. It takes me so long to get into the groove and actually start painting that I was unable to get back into it, but on the plus side I did get my studio mostly clean, so YAY! When it's completely clean I'll post a few pics of it, because I'm always curious how other people organize their spaces, and I've had a few friends that have asked to see it.

My first layer of the actual background with light coming through the trees

I'm not sure if I'll be able to work on this today or not, though I really would love to. I am trying to get more painting in because I really want to start selling my work, and I'm thinking, on the advice of my husband and my friend Shannon, that I probably need about 10 - 15 pieces ready before I can do that. I need to figure out how many I have now, but I think it's only 2 (YIKES!). I sure have a long way to go! Well, I better get crackin'! Have a great day!

Oh, and if you want to see my first post on this painting, click here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Look at the Doyle Family Sessions

I've finally gotten the chance to work on the images from my first session with the Doyles a few months ago, and boy am I glad I didn't rush it! I had that moment of panic after our shoot when it seemed like I didn't get anything good, and I felt so uninspired. In the first place the shoot itself was majorly rushed, lasting all but about 15 minutes, and the location, though meaningful because it is their church, made it difficult because to me it seemed so "pedestrian" (I don't really know what you'd call it, but it felt like the pictures were just taken at a picnic, not an official photo shoot). But then after some time passed, and after finding some major inspiration from one of my new favorite photographers, Jessica Drossin, I came back to these pictures and set to work. Now I am loving the shots I got, probably because they really weren't bad in the first place, (after all, my models were gorgeous, dontcha think?) I had just panicked.

I learned a few things from this process, the first of which is that sometimes it is much better not to rush things just to get them done, but that it can be okay to sit on things for a minute, so long as it's not just an excuse to procrastinate. I honestly didn't even have any time to get to these anyways, so rushing them wasn't really an option after all, but I am really glad I didn't try to squeeze them in. Also, it taught me that taking risks can pay off greatly! I've always loved the grungy look and decided after weeks of perusing Drossin's blog (who's work is absolutely gorgeous!) that I wanted to incorporate that into my own art more than I have in the past, and I feel like it's paid off here. Even Tyler was impressed, because he had agreed with me in the beginning that it looked like I hadn't gotten any images that were professional looking, (I was so worried I asked them to do another shoot with me just in case!) and now we are both in love with these pictures!  

Kelsey and Jeremy (and little Nolan too!), I love you all and am so thankful you've trusted me with taking your family pictures. It really means a lot to me. I hope you like them! Here's what I have so far, and I will be sure to post more as I finish them. =)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Work in Progress: "Caught Like a Deer..." - Pt. 1

I started on a new painting yesterday, one that I'm quite excited about for some odd reason. I have three different paintings going on right now, and all I want to do is work on this one. Here's what I have done so far:

First pass at my underpainting - this is the scariest part for me!
Second pass at underpainting - all my lights and darks on the deer are blocked in. Now on to the fun part!

I'm trying this out - showing my work in progress that is. I have some reservations about doing so, such as being afraid that showing my work too soon will kill whatever momentum I have going on. But when I think about my favorite blogs, they are the ones that show what is so hard for us artists - our incomplete work! Well, maybe I'm just speaking for myself, but it seems so hard to me to want to open myself up for criticism before I'm ready. I'm hoping to push past this though, and bear my soul for all to see - flaws and all. Maybe this will help my blog and my artwork, and maybe it will hurt. Time will tell. But until then, I invite you on this journey with me, and hope that it will be fun for both of us!  =0)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Custom Painted Wedding Board

I had a blast painting this one! For some reason I really enjoy painting fonts - it must be the graphic designer in me. =) A friend of mine approached me about making these signs (there were two that were exactly the same) for her ring bearers to carry around their necks as they were wheeled down the aisle in a wagon. Such a cute idea!

This is something I love to do, so if anyone ever wants to order a custom sign for their home or an event, let me know. My email is so if you want to order one just email me or contact me on facebook through my page Melissa Adams Art, and we can work out a price depending on what you want. I'm going to make some with scripture for around our house, per Tyler's request. I love it when he wants me to make things for our house - it makes me feel so very special. Now we just have to pick out a few of our favorite verses...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Quiet Foreboding" Landscape Painting

I've been wanting to paint this picture for some time now, and today ended up being the perfect day to do so. My inspiration comes from a picture I snapped in the car while driving down to SoCal for a wonderful trip to Disneyland with my hunny for our five year anniversary, sans kids. It was the first time either of us had ever gone without a group of people, and it was a blast! We ran around the park like crazy, just living it up and going on any and every ride our hearts desired. It was fantastic!

On the way down the sky was absolutely gorgeous, for there was quite a terrible storm brewing in the hills. Sure made for some gorgeous pictures!

Anyways, one of my kiddos is being rather difficult today (cough, cough... Levi!), and so their naps could not have come soon enough! Having been left in a rather bad mood, I thought that painting would most likely help, and what better to paint than a quick landscape that reflects my emotions right now? So, that is exactly what I did, and I must say I feel way, way better now. Ahhhh.... =)

"Quiet Foreboding"     Acrylic on Canvas Board     8 x 10

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vintage Storybook Canvases

I made these for Jess's shower back in June from a legitimately vintage storybook called "Little Miss Muppet and Other Nursery Rhymes" that I found at an antique store in Monterey on our anniversary trip. I loved how they turned out, and found it quite funny that I spent almost an hour on painting the peach colored one, and then in a rush I painted the rest in about 15 minutes or so, and I actually liked how those ones turned out better! It's weird how that worked out...

My goal was to make the background look shabby-chic and worn down, in order to imbue a more vintage look to them, and I did this by underpainting them with burnt sienna and then dry brushing them with a single color and with both white and buttermilk in varying degrees, while letting the background show through in certain places. I like the sea green one so much that I want to make something similar for my own house, though I'm stumped as to what. I just refinished them a few weeks ago, by applying several coats of Modge-Podge to them, and I love how they look now. I believe Jess was going to use them in her nursery since it fit her theme, which makes me feel majorly loved! After all, I love seeing my art in other people's homes!!! (Haha, no pressure, Jess, no pressure!)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Willow's Blue and White "Willow Ware" Henna Cake

This weekend I was truly blessed to be able to make the cake for my niece's 13th birthday party. My sister put together the most beautiful tea party for her, and invited all of her close friends and relatives as well as the women who had a big spiritual impact on her life. It was phenomenal and I had such a blast!

It was a tea party, and my sister gave me full reign over what to design the cake like. She told me however that Willow loved butterflies and flowers on cakes, and that I could do any color that was pastel or vintage, in order to fit in with all the tea sets. She also told me about Willow's "Willow Ware China" that she used to play with as a small girl. I imagine you've probably seen it before - it's quite striking and has traditional Asian designs made of royal blue on white porcelain. So I decided to try to incorporate everything she said, minus the pastel.

I have been dying to try white henna designs on a white cake, and so I decided that the sides of this one would be completely covered with free hand paisleys, butterflies and flowers, with dots of various sizes to fill up the spaces between. This ended up working beautifully, since I ended up having a four hour long battle with my fondant that just did not end pretty. It was my fault - I tried adding all the shortening at once instead of just as I needed it, and the result was a crumbly, cracking mess that had absolutely zero elasticity. I saved it by adding more melted marshmallows and powdered sugar, but it was still cracked all over and I had to roll it extra thick, which I really don't like to do. Lesson learned! But at least all the white designs covered up the cracks, so you really could not tell in the end.

As for the top, I wanted to paint on the legit "Willow Ware" design, so the design itself is not original. As a side note, I would not have done that if I had been making a cake for sale, because I strongly feel that it would have been a copyright violation, and I am so extremely against that, but since it was a gift for family, I knew it wouldn't matter in this case. The way I made it was by painting with food coloring watered down with water and then outlining it with buttercream. I am rather proud of how it turned out, since I was really worried I wouldn't be able to pull it off. And I think I found my signature stacking border - ripples of buttercream topped with edible pearls. I just love the impact that makes and the elegance it lends to the cake.

Well, my dear Willow, I love you so very, very much and it has been such a joy watching you grow into a beautiful young lady, both inside and out. I absolutely love spending time with you and think you are just the bees knees! Seriously though, I love you sweetie pie and I am so very proud of you! Happy birthday girlie!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Coral Colored Henna Cake

Here's my most recent cake I just finished this Saturday for a dear friend of mine, Joslyn. Her sweet little sister is getting married (which I must add is just crazy to me, because I remember when she was just a teeny little middle-schooler - where has all the time gone!?!), and so for her bridal shower I was asked to make this cake. They wanted a henna style cake with white and coral colors and this two-tiered design is what I came up with. The cake itself was made of lemon with lemon frosting on the bottom, and yellow cake with buttercream and strawberry filling on the top. I got the recipe for the strawberry filling from Wilton's website, and oh man, does it ever taste amazing! Super easy to make, too. We used the leftover filling as an ice-cream topping, and it tasted just like the stuff from Dairy Queen. Oh yum-yum! =D

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Peach Colored Ruffle Cake & a Vintage Storybook Shower

Back in June, my friends Jaime, Angie and I had the pleasure of throwing a baby shower for a dear friend of ours, Jessica. I can't believe her little girl is already here! Little Winnie was born just this last week, on Wednesday in fact, and she is absolutely perfect! I seriously can't wait to meet her in person!

When I first found out what the theme of her nursery was going to be, I absolutely fell in love with it and just had to base the shower off of it. "Vintage storybook" is what she called it, and it was just such a sweet idea. I had sooo much help from my friends Jaime and Angie, from my own momma Cindi, and of course Jessica's momma Julie, who catered it with the most amazing food from Piazza Catering. My mother-in-law Karla and even my sister and my other mother-in-law Deolinda (or rather my sister's mother-in-law who I've kinda adopted as my own too) helped with the decorations as well. I seriously could not have done it without any of them! Thank you all so, sooo much!

I had thrown around the idea of making a literal storybook cake for the shower, and was going to paint a picture on it with food coloring, but realized that this was WAY too ambitious considering everything else I needed to get done, so about a week before the shower I decided to change it up and make a ruffle cake instead. I felt that a stacked cake would be more elegant than a single layered cake would have been, and though I'd never made one like that before, I decided to try it out. I figured if it didn't work I could just do two cakes or something anyways. But for the most part it worked great, though there definitely was a good side to the cake! And I learned I really need to buy some supports if I'm going to be doing that again, just so it is a little stronger when it's moved and so the top layer doesn't crush the layer below it. It was quite yummy, though, and fit what I wanted perfectly, so I am really quite proud of how it turned out. Here's my peach colored vintage ruffle cake, made of devil's food and buttercream on the bottom and strawberry with strawberry and buttercream icings on top:

As for the rest of the shower, here are some of the other little details that we put together:

So Jaime came up with the idea of having bookmarks as our favors, which I loved because it was both practical and made perfect sense for our theme. And they turned out amazing! Jaime, you did such a great job on them! I really loved the fabric backing and am going to have to steal that idea for sure! We played a "Guess the Price" game which I found an idea for on Pinterest, though ours looked entirely different. We also made a bunch of toothpick "flags" using vintage storybook images and I borrowed as many authentic vintage items as I could, to complete the feel. Oh, and my personal favorite thing to make - the Vintage Storybook Lanterns! I found the idea on Pottery Barn Kids and just had to make them. And with my mom's circle cutter they were a cinch! I'm thinking of printing off a bunch of Seahawks logos and finding some blue and green gingham paper to make some for the boys room... I really wish I had gotten some pictures of the amazing garland Julie made with a string of lights and scraps of vintage fabrics. It was just beautiful! That is most definitely going on my to-do list for Christmas decorations, let me tell ya!

We had such a blast putting this shower together, and I have to be honest, I've really missed my late night crafting moments with Angie and Jaime! Congratulations again, miss Jessica, your little girl is beautiful! Well, I'm sure I've babbled on for far too long now, so I'll let you go. Have a blessed day!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Back in March, I got to do a session of this gorgeous little girl along with my sister-in-law Kimie, who was really the one in charge of the shoot. We've been playing around with the idea of going into business together, but I think I was really just there for emotional support for her more than anything else! =) Haha, anywho, this little doll's name is Emma, and she is one gorgeous little girl! If I ever do decide to brave getting pregnant again, and IF we actually had a girl the next time, I would most definitely dress her just like this. I love, love, LOVE all the ruffles!

I had such a fun time trying this out with Kimie, and got to see just how nice it is having someone to work with! No driving by yourself, no worrying that you didn't get any shots, and most of all, MUCH less stress and a lot more fun! The only hard parts were trying not to get in each others way and making sure that each of us got the shots we wanted. Oh, and trying not to compare yourself with one another. I'm so bad at that!

All in all, we both had a blast together and just absolutely loved taking Emma's pictures. We only wished we had more time with her - she's just so stinkin' cute! And I definitely look forward to working with Kimie again, that's for sure! After all, we've been joking about creating "The Adams Family Art Gallery" for years now, with Kimie's photography, Kelsey's paintings and ceramic wonders and my art as well. What do ya think? It's good to dream, right? Okay, well I've talked enough for one post, so I'll let you go, but after you're done here, why not hop on over to Kimie's new blog to see her take on Emma. Hope you enjoy! Oh, and of course... Happy First Birthday Miss Emma!!!

Oh Wow! God, You Amaze Me!!!

So about a week or so ago I lost my mouthguard (yes, I'm so hot I get to wear a mouthguard at night!). And by lost, I mean LOST! It was nowhere. We pulled out the dressers, checked up and downstairs, rummaged through the trash. Nada. I mean, I even checked my bible, as random as that is, just in case it got closed in it or something. But nope, no matter how hard we looked, it was nowhere to be found. So I made an appointment for last Friday to get another one made, because I just can't live without it (it keeps me from getting blinding migraines because I clench my teeth at night). Well, Friday morning came around and as my alarm went off, I turned to Tyler and asked him what I should do, because I just didn't have peace about going to the appointment without trying one last good look. After all, the silly thing cost $300 - yikes! We decided to reschedule and look some more, but after looking that day, we still couldn't find it. Then Saturday night rolls around, and after looking a bit more just to make myself feel better, I give up and pray out to God, "Please Lord, I don't care if it was me that lost it or if it was Levi who threw it away or hid it, but God, please just work a little miracle here and bring it back to me. I really don't want to buy a new one." And with that, I grabbed my bible as I slipped into bed. Upon grabbing it, I felt something funny underneath the cover, so I open it up, and lo and behold, there is my nightguard, just sitting in there, as if it were a little gift from God! I was floored! I mean, FLOORED! How cool is that?! This isn't the first time this has happened, after all. Remember back when we couldn't find Levi's medical card anywhere, and it fell out of my bible randomly the week I needed it? And remember the fact that I had already thoroughly checked my bible earlier in the week? God is so cool!!! Thank you Lord, for all the amazing little miracles that just make me love and trust you even more! I love the fact that You are a God who can move mountains and set the stars into motion, and yet You also love me so much that You do wonderful little things like this that just mean the world to me! You are such an Awesome God!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Meet My Nephew, Nolan

Oh man, this little guy sure is a cutie-pie! He actually reminds me a lot of my own little babies, aside from the fact that he got his daddy's nose... And maybe his chin too... Okay, so maybe he doesn't look as much like them as I thought, but I definitely see both his parents in him, that's for sure! He's so sweet and little, and it was a pleasure to get to meet and hold him! I sure wish they didn't live so far away, because it's going to be hard seeing him look so different every time. But I will treasure the times we do have with him, because he is, well, a treasure! I love you so much already, little Nolan! And congratulations Kelsey and Jeremy! You guys did an amazing job bringing this little man into the world and I know you will raise him to be a man after God's own heart! =)

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