Missions Conference Barbecue

I spent my morning taking Preschool Graduation portraits at Over the Rainbow Preschool.  I made small talk, with soon to be big kid Kindergarteners.  They shared their excitement for a new school and riding the bus for the first time.  I photographed them in their cap and gowns and pondered in my heart the fact that the next time they would don such decor, they would be graduating from high school.

It was a full morning.

I love capturing life moments.  I love capturing life, as it’s happening around me.  I love that photography, for me, is a job and a passion.


It’s something that I carry with me, wherever I go.


Tonight, I carried my passion and my camera to capture some special moments at our Missions Conference Barbecue.



It was chilly.




But warmth came from the good food and fellowship of our amazing youth group and church family.



A few young, brave souls opted for the outdoors seating.  Thankfully, there was a fire to help keep them warm.  Most everyone else opted to enjoy their delicious meal indoors.



A huge thanks to the wonderful crew that cooked our delicious meal!



After dinner, we gathered together inside the sanctuary.



As I mentioned before, it was awesome having our youth group mixed in between a great group of our church family.



And in addition to them, we are so, so blessed to have quite a few beautiful missionary families joining us for the rest of the week.



We spent time in worship.



It was beautiful.



We praised God with families from all around the world.






I love our Missions Conference Week.



Tonight, we heard the amazing testimony of our dear friend Eric Mango.



It was powerful, heart warming and heart breaking at times.  We were so blessed to hear the story of this extraordinary man and the ways that God had worked and continues to work through his willingness.  Everyone was touched by his testimony.



It was a beautiful evening and we are looking forward to spending more time with our church family and our visiting missionaries on Saturday.  A huge thanks to everyone who participated in this wonderful night!


Mary Kay Memories

About seven years ago, a woman walked up to me in Target and convinced me that I should sell Mary Kay Cosmetics.  She was good, and I’m pretty sure she was one of the ones with a pink Cadillac sitting in her garage.  To this day though, I am bewildered as to what drew her to me.  I was pregnant, chasing around a toddler, and for the record, I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t wearing a single ounce of makeup.  Anyhow, I totally bought in to it, and ended up creating a little Mary Kay business for myself.  My main clients were dear friends who somehow felt called to be super supportive to me in my new venture.  I learned a lot about makeup and skin care and personally really enjoyed the products, especially the cleansers and lotions.

However, seeing as which I still don’t really wear much makeup, and I was adjusting to my new role as Mama to two, my Mary Kay career didn’t last very long.  It was a good life experience and I’m thankful for the lessons learned in those six months.  Thankfully, after another much loved small career as a Preschool Teacher, it was right about that time that God opened up the door to my photography business, which I’m absolutely loving these days.

Fast forward to the present.  Yesterday, my past and present working worlds collided.  My amazing beautiful and dear friend Cindy set up a session for a few professional shots for her Mary Kay business.


Cindy is amazing.  And she knows how to perfectly apply and wear her beautiful Mary Kay makeup.


We had a great mini session at her home, and got some great shots that she will be able to use for her business cards and website.


It was a great session.  And it was fun to reminisce about my Mary Kay days as I photographed a beautifully talented and current Mary Kay consultant.  I’m so excited for Cindy and her business and if you need a great Mary Kay consultant, message me and I’ll send her your way.


It’s going to be a great week for photography.  I will be at Over the Rainbow Preschool capturing the most adorable preschool graduation pictures tomorrow (technically today since I’m writing this post at 12:37am… what can I say, we are totally night owls).  I cannot wait to see the kids and catch up with their amazing teachers.  Then on Saturday, I have a Communion session and on Sunday a First Birthday session.  I’ll sprinkle in a few more sessions next week before we leave.  After a long, cold couple of months, I’m so excited to be back doing what I love.  I can’t wait to share some peeks from those sessions in the days to come!

It was amazing…

Today we hit 79 degrees and it was amazing.  The sun was shining, and I’m pretty sure that everyone I saw today was a bit happier because of it.  I had a quick photography session this morning with a dear friend that went really well.  Jer and I drove out to Riverhead for lunch at Applebees and then came home and took a quick scooter ride out to East Quogue.  It was warm and we had a great time.

On Tuesdays our kids attend a Bible Club after school, at their school.  They have a snack, play games and listen to a story.  They love it and we are so thankful that they are able to attend each week.  After Bible Club today, I picked up the kids and we headed out to our dentist’s office, Bella Smiles.  Christian had a cavity that needed to be filled.  Dr. Sal was absolutely amazing with him and he did a great job fixing Christian’s tooth.  We are so thankful for Dr. Sal.

Tonight, we had a Ladies Tea at church as a part of our Missions Conference Week.  It was wonderful to get together with so many of the amazing women from our church for great food, conversations and prayer.


Two of the beautiful missionaries that are with us this week took time tonight to share their hearts.  Kaylah Fostnot is a missionary candidate to Puerto Rico.  She is so amazing and it was awesome to hear her story and her heart.  She was certainly a blessing to my heart tonight.


Darcy Molina also shared.  She is incredible and it was a blessing to hear her share encouragement for when life does a 180 turn.  Her encouragements of, Pause, Pass and Praise will definitely stick with me when life gets crazy.  All in all, it was a wonderful night with some pretty amazing women.  We had some wonderful snacks afterwards and everyone had a fun time.


Side Note:  A big thanks to our church and the work that our Missions Committee put into this week!

Good Morning!

Good Morning!  We are enjoying some pretty amazing weather out here on Long Island and we are absolutely loving it.  Today’s high will reach around 70 degrees, a much welcomed warmth after a pretty cold spring.


Christian and Ellee took advantage of the beautiful morning with a little swing time before school today.  I have to say, having our kids get along so well is one of the best things a Mom could hope for.  And for the most part, these two do a beautiful job of that.


Yesterday was also pretty nice and it was the first day that Jer got his scooter up and running.


Goodness we love this scooter.  I remember the first time I rode a scooter with Jer.  We were in the Bahamas and I was pretty sure I was going to die.  Thankfully that feeling only lasted the first hour or so.  Once I realized we were probably going to be okay, it became much more enjoyable.  Fast forward a few years.  With God’s blessings we were able to purchase this beautiful scooter and have enjoyed many hours of riding together on it.


Oh, and it’s a double blessing that Jer’s ankle has healed up just in time for scooter riding weather.  I should note that this picture is mostly of his left ankle, which was fine all along, but it’s symbolic and you get it, right?


The ride was beautiful, but still a bit chilly.


We rode into Westhampton to check out our favorite beach.  It was a bit sad to see the lack of beach grass due most likely to last year’s hurricane.  I have high hopes that it will return again though and look forward to summer days that will be spent here.


All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.  For me, there is something so beautiful and hopeful about warm weather days, especially after a long, cold winter.  Here’s hoping that you enjoy this awesome day as well!


Michigan is on Fire!

Today was pretty awesome.  Jer and I hit up Chipotle, because it’s just what we love to do on his days off.  I’ve perfected the art of the Chicken Bowl (rice, peppers, a little chicken, mild salsa, corn and sour cream) and it did not disappoint.  Afterwards, we took our first scooter ride of the year.  I took pictures, but will post more about that later.  It was a bit chilly, but so worth it.

After school, we had an impromptu play date with friends.  We soaked up the sunshine and it was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.

I met up with a friend at Spin tonight, which made it even more fun than usual.  It was such a great class.  It was sweaty and cleansing and just what I needed.

I’m currently sitting with my amazing husband, and we are watching the National Championship game together.  Michigan is on fire, but Louisville is playing incredibly tough as well.  It’s been an incredible game.  And that being said, I’m going to finish up the post so I can be fully present for the rest of the game.

Have a great night!  And Go Michigan!

Missions Conference 2013

Today we kicked off our annual Missions Conference at Eastport Bible Church.  It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.  Throughout this next week our church family will have a variety of opportunities to interact with the many missionaries who are visiting.


It was especially exciting to hear from Jonathan Tuttle, one of our own.  He shared a bit about his missions experience in South America during this morning’s service and will be sharing again this evening.


He also shared with the kids during Sunday School.  Christian and Ellee had a great time listening and learning and even came home with a special coin that Jonathan gave to each of the kids.


Missions Week is a great week for individuals and families alike.  It’s always exciting to hear of the great things that God is doing all over the world through our missionaries.  I love hearing their stories and listening as they share their hearts.  I am certainly looking forward to our Missions Conference and all of the great events that we will go to this week.


Side Note:  Zack Skarka and his sweet girlfriend Lexy were visiting today and I was able to get the chance to meet her and take  a few cute pictures of them before they headed back to college after church.


It’s just so awesome to see him so happy and doing so well.  Jer got to spend yesterday with them both at a Mets game and we are super thankful for God’s work in both of their lives.


Savers Success

Even though today doesn’t necessarily feel like Spring (it’s about 40 degrees out) it does kind of look like Spring.  So, I did a little Spring Cleaning and filled up about 8 bags of toys and clothing to take to my favorite thrift store, Savers.  Because I donated so much, I was given a 30% off coupon to use and was able to score the following finds:

First off, this cute pair of Clarks Unstructured Women’s Un.Loop Slip-ons.  They are incredibly comfortable, in great condition and look fantastic with a pair of jeans.  I was delighted when I realized that they go for $120 online, and I only had to pay $5.00 for them.


I also picked up an adorable denim jacket from New York and Company (retails around $50) and a cute and comfy Ann Taylor Loft ruffled t-shirt (retails around $30).  I paid $5.60 and $3.50 respectively.


Next up was the most adorable Hanna Anderson dress for Ellee.  It looks brand new!  The tank version retails for $42 but I only paid $7.00.  It was a bit higher than I usually prefer, but it’s cuteness made it all worthwhile.


Ellee found this pair of “fancy” shoes for herself.  A similar pair retailed for $39.99 online at Kohls, but I paid $2.10.


I also picked out a cute white skirt.  I’m not sure what it retails for, but it was fun and made me super excited for summer.  I paid $7.00 and will be excited to wear it as the weather warms up.



These four Ikea cups were only $2.10.  I found that I prefer glass drinking cups these days, as opposed to plastic and Savers is always a great place to find good glass cups.


Usually when I go to Savers and I take the kids, I let them each pick out a toy.  Christian was so excited to get a game of Stratego in perfect shape.  He and Ellee have played a few rounds this afternoon and it was well worth the $1.40 that we paid for it.


And finally, Ellee girl was absolutely delighted to find a small set of plastic jewelry for $1.40.  She excitedly pulled out and put on all of the pieces in the car.  Unfortunately, they also all pretty much broke by the time we got home as well.



All in all, it was a pretty successful Savers trip.  I love saving money in all venues of life, as evidenced by my excited couponing posts.  The retail value of everything that I picked up today was around $325.  I was happy to pay $37.55.  Granted, I would have never ever paid the retail value for what I bought, but I’m incredibly thankful to have gotten some great finds for great prices this afternoon.

Friday’s Letters

Tonight I present my first “Friday’s Letters.”  It’s something that I found by reading other blogs and thought I’d try it out tonight.


Dear America’s Funniest Home Videos,

You were a television staple of my 90s childhood.  Many laughs were had at the witty narration of Bob Saget and the well documented antics of Americans everywhere.  Thanks to Netflix, you’ve made a much loved comeback in our home and are currently prompting hearty laughs from Christian and Ellee.  Bob is gone, but Tom does a great job at keeping the audience laughing.  Thanks for staying funny and for somehow making it into your 23rd season on air.


Dear Milk Duds,

You are delicious.  Your packaging could be more appealing, but that is your only downfall.  You are a perfect mix of caramel and chocolate.  Even though you are technically one of the Easter treats that I bought for Jer, I’m secretly thankful that he’s been focusing more on the Twizzlers and less on you.


Dear Weight Watchers Smart Ones,

Thank you for being on sale at Target this week.  Using coupons I was able to get 14 of you for around $14.  I personally think that you taste pretty good even though my Mom and husband think you are gross.


Dear Tide,

You are by far my favorite detergent, but you are also super expensive.  At Rite Aid you normally cost $9.99 for a 50 oz bottle.  However, thanks to sales, coupons and rewards, this week I was able to get five of you for $1.00 each.  Yup, I was pretty excited about that one.


Dear PopSugar Must Have Box for April,

I’ll be honest, I was super disappointed with this month’s box.  It just wasn’t that great.  However, I decided to put the Kai Perfume Oil I received up on Ebay (and have a bid already 🙂 and will use the money I get from selling it to offset the cost of this month’s box.  Please be better next month.


Dear April,

Thanks for being warmer today.  After a pretty cold March, the nice weather today has given me high hopes that Spring is actually coming soon.  Can’t wait!


Dear Beautiful Island,

Today, Jer and I had fun looking for a good hotel to stay at when we visit you at the beginning of next month.  You are wonderful and fascinating and I cannot wait to see you soon!


And there you have it.  A few fun Friday letters.  Hope you all have a wonderful night!

The Anatomy of a Youth Group Game

We have been so incredibly blessed to have served almost ten years in youth ministry at Eastport Bible Church.  And throughout the years, I’ve realized that there is definitely important components that need to come together for successful youth group games.  Here is a quick video to show you what we’ve learned about the anatomy of a great youth group game.


Stockade Shape and Race Derby

If you or someone you know has ever participated in the Stockade Boys Program at Eastport Bible Church, then chances are, you have been where we were last night.


This is Christian’s first year of Stockade.  It has been incredible.  He has learned so much and had lots of fun along the way.  Last night was a significant night, because it was the annual Shape and Race Derby Night.


A few weeks ago, each boy was given a block of wood similar to the one shown here.  They picked their design, spent quite a bit of time sanding everything and finished up with a sleek paint job and high hopes of their car being the winner.


It was fun to be a part of the derby.


Ellee was absolutely delighted to be there to cheer on her big brother.


Each car raced a total of 8 times, two on each of the four tracks.  I don’t know who was more into the races, the boys


Or their leaders?


The anticipation was exciting


And there were definitely some close calls.


Jer was there, excited to root for Christian and especially excited to be able to cheer for him on two good ankles.  A few days ago, he got the clearance to go ahead and walk without the walking boot.  He put on his brand new pair of New Balances and has been doing great ever since.  Praise God for continued healing and rehabilitation!


As the night went on


It was exciting to see the reactions of the boys as they cheered on their cars.


I’m proud to share that Christian got a few first places with his stealth black car.


And at the end of the night, he won second place for overall appearance.


He was pretty proud as well.


We had a wonderful night surrounded by wonderful friends.


Celebrating our sons is something that is so important and so special.  I’m so thankful to Nathan Tuttle, the Stockade leaders and the program that Christian and so many attended this year.  Training our boys to love God and do good things is one of the most important investments that we can make and I’m so thankful for programs that help out with this!