Capturing The Real Moments

Someone asked me when the last time we had a family photograph taken and I can honestly say over a decade ago.


A professional photography session is expensive for one thing, but the real answer is, I don’t want photos to see what we used to look like. I want real photos that bring back memories and capture who a person really is.

For example, in the picture above my son is getting a baseball signed. It makes me remember his smile when he caught the fly ball and how nervous he was to walk…

For three years now I’ve made one specific goal over and over again that I’ve failed miserably at. This year I asked myself why I kept doing it.

Seems a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it?

The answer is when you want something so badly sometimes it’s yourself that gets in your way. For me it boils down to fear.

My biggest fear is failure. I’ve known that and admitted it for years. Now, back to my goal.

The goal I keep failing at is to try something new every single month for a year. …

I’ve found myself running myself ragged, trying to accomplish everything on my list before the season gets away from me. I wake up on my days off, make a list and spend my entire day checking things off.

There’s a problem with this.

When you have a new project (for us it’s our property) the urge to go go go is huge. You want to get it done and complete. …

My mother’s diagnosis of early onset dementia was not a shock to us. It was something that we really had to push her to figure out what was going on. Once the diagnosis was given, it was almost a relief for us. We weren’t just imagining things; there actually was a problem.

Now, six years later, the struggles are increasing. My dad is stressed out, trying to take care of her and manage every aspect of their lives. The only time he gets a break to breathe and relax is when a family member comes to visit. …

Let me start by saying I love Spring. I really do. Watching new growth emerge and seeing the bare trees dotted with bright new green leaves fills me with wonder each and every year.

Every day, I walk around the yard, searching for new beginnings that I may have missed the day before becomes my routine. I constantly check on my berry bushes and fruit trees to see if they will rebound from the harsh winter weather we had.

But, unfortunately that’s not all that emerges.

I knew better.

I did.

Yet, I never seem to learn my lesson.


Financially, 2020 sucked for me and my family. It seemed as though every penny we made had to be spent on different things. Each week we would have to budget just to make sure we had money for gas and food and bills.

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. Since there was not a lot of money to spend, buying Christmas presents was almost out of the question which took away any Christmas spirit I had.

I was miserable.

If you look up different ways to save money, there are so many out there…

This last spring I threw down some sunflower seeds right outside my carport. All summer long, as soon as I stepped outside I was greeted by beautiful colorful flowers.

But what about winter?

When all the beautiful flowers die, and it’s cold outside, everything is drab and brown. As an outdoor person, winter can be hard to get through. There are days when it seems as though spring will never come.

My saving grace?

My Camelias.

We Miss Dead Gary.

I think growing up, everyone has that one mean old neighbor who gets pissed off at the littlest things.

For me, it was our next door neighbor. If you even stepped on his lawn he would threaten to call the cops. We used to do it on purpose just to piss him off and wave as we took that one step onto his lawn before laughing and running off.

Well, I think I’m turning into that neighbor.

We bought our property a little over a year ago. One of the things we love about it is how quiet the area…

Being Aware of All the Blessings

It’s strange how different this new year is from all the others for me.

As soon as I woke up and went outside, a sense of hope and gratefulness filled me as I sipped my coffee. It was so profound, that I wished that every day was started that way.

That’s when I realized, it could be, if I wanted it to. It’s all in the mindset.

That first day after spending time with the family, we gathered around the fire and sat silently, watching the dancing flames. …

My mother was diagnosed with early-onset dementia years ago. I first noticed when I talked to her one day, and the following day we had the exact same conversation word-for-word.

It’s heartbreaking watching the strong woman who lived for teaching and taking care of children to be so physically healthy, yet her brain slowly started dying off.

It was heartbreaking when her pride took a hit and she didn’t want anyone to know, including her own siblings. Even though we explained that it’s not something to be ashamed of, it was something that was kept a secret for a while.

Stefani Vader

Lover of reading and writing. Hater of retail work. Small fish in a big pond, learning as I go.

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