Monday, September 20, 2010

Oatmeal Bars

So there are these oatmeal bars that my mom made for me when I was a kid that I love to make for my family. I modified them to make them a little healthier (whole wheat flour, less sugar) and didn't think they were anything too special until I started getting requests for the recipe. Just about every time I take them to share at a get-together someone asks me for it. They are now a play-group staple and just the other day a friend gave me the idea to substitute the sugar for Agave nectar - which is how I made them today.

Knowing that I was going to be taking them to my Bible study group tomorrow (Mom's Class) I figured I might as well put the recipe on here just in case...

Oatmeal Cookie Bars

1 c. oil (or substitute 1 1/4 c. apple sauce for a fat free variation which is how I make them)
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. water
2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
6 c. oats
1 c. walnuts (optional...unless you live at our house)

Combine the first set of ingredients, oil through vanilla, in large bowl. Combine second set of ingredients, flour through baking powder, in another bowl. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mix well, and then add oats and walnuts. Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (or until top is beginning to brown and center isn't mushy when you lightly press down). Do not over bake.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Inspiration comes in every shape and color - it all depends on who you are. I've wondered over the past few years what inspires me, what makes me come alive? In different seasons it has been different things: fabulous fiction books, an art appreciation class, a new recipe I tried and just can't wait to make myself, beautiful sunset walks with my could go on and on.

Lately I've stumbled on something new that strikes a chord in me - pictures of newborns. I didn't know how much I would adore pouring over newborn photos or, for that matter, taking them until I did my first newborn photo session a year ago. I was so incredibly nervous and, for all the reading and preparation I had done, still felt like I had no idea if I would walk away with anything resembling the work I had seen from other photographers. 800 pictures and 2.5 hours later I was in love with working with babies (it certainly helped that this precious little 4 day old girl was an absolute angel!).

This week I had the opportunity to shoot another baby photo session with a dear friend's 2 month old sweet boy. Again I felt that stir of exhilaration as we documented his little life and captured this fleeting moment of time when he's still so tiny and new in the world. Their family was precious to be with and I adored working with all of them (their 4 year old had an instant smile every time I picked up my camera - something I am not used to!).

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I would have never dreamed that photography, much less itty bitty tiny ones, would capture me like it has. What inspires you in life? Was it something that took you by surprise, like me, or has it just always been there?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rain Rain Come Again

Being from the desert my whole life, any day that rains is a good day. Somehow, at 2.5 years old, my little guy has already caught on to this.

It was slightly drizzling out a few days ago and as my youngest ran past me (I'll enjoy saying that for 6 more months until our next little one arrives) I scooped him up to look out the window to see how gorgeous it was outside. Not content to just watch, he had to be out there to really check it out.

I recently read that one of the ways to get a great picture of kids and direct them into a pose (like catch rain drops) is to subtly suggest an action. For example: instead of saying "why don't you sit here" say "Do you think that chair would feel like sitting in Papa Bear's chair or Baby Bear's chair in Goldilocks?" and wait to see what they do. The action they take in response will result in a natural looking pose that they've initiated, thus revealing more than them just sitting in a chair. It gives their individuality and personality an opportunity to shine through. I love it! I can't wait to play with this approach more!

A year and a half ago I wanted a camera because I was tired of canned studio pictures of my kids from department stores - but it has become so much more to me than that. Photography has challenged me to see things in a different way, to enjoy the simple moments that I so easily overlooked before, and an absolute joy as I preserve the memory of a gorgeous rainy day with my little one that I would have otherwise forgotten years from now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sense of Belonging

I'm so incredibly excited! Next Tuesday will be my 5th year. It was here I found a place where I belonged. Where, you might ask? At the Mom's class. Let me back up a bit. Almost five years ago my life forever changed with the birth of our first child. I had no idea how much things could change with one event, no matter how much others tried to tell me. It was absolutely wonderful having this precious one join our lives...and incredibly stretching...and exhausting...and I felt a little lost(fortunately, my hubby and I have wonderful, supportive family in town that smoothed the transition for us and were there all the time...literally). We were the first of our friends to start having kids which didn't seem like anything big, at first. By the time our little guy was 6 months old I was immersed in this world of parenting where everything I read had something to do with babies, and had lost track of how many times I had changed a diaper, and was on call 24/7. I felt kind of alone . I needed friends I could relate with emotionally, practically, and spiritually in this new season I had entered.

One of my dearest friends who I had been getting together with weekly was just getting ready to go on the mission field. As she sat across from me at one of our last get togethers she said, "You need to go to this class I've heard about. You need friends!" So I listened. And I found the Mom's class. I found Barb Tompkins, teacher of the Mom's class for 30 years now, who has become so dear to my heart. I found friends and mentors, women that are ahead of me on their journey and have so much wisdom to share. Mom's class is all about being encouraged and equipped for the journey of motherhood with the Bible and a personal relationship with God as the ultimate foundation. I found a place where I could be real and share my personal struggles as I grow into more of the woman that I know I've been created to be. I've found a place where I am known and belong.

Do you have a place where you feel connected and supported in the season of life you're in? I'd love to know how you found it - do share!

(some of the women in my small group on our last day of Mom's class, 2010...I love my small group!)