NEW Panoramic Photo Books by Mpix

Mpix contacted us recently to tell us about their brand-new Panoramic Photo Books. Well, I couldn’t wait to begin designing my very own luscious 8×8 book pictured here with my personal photos.

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You may choose between glossy pages or matte. Choose soft or hard for your cover in a list of color choices. Pictured here is Summer Breeze with a tweed like material. Dust covers are optional with various designs as are the choices on how to layout out each of your pages.

 

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I think this book took me less than an hour to create. The best part? I placed my order on Wednesday and by Thursday FedEx delivered my book to my front door! I have always been a huge fan of Mpix for my own photos and use their Pro System. However, you do not have to be a professional photographer to print with Mpix. Many of my professional photographer friends recommend Mpix to their clients when printing out their session photos.

 

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To learn more and begin your own panoramic book by Mpix click here. 

 

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Friday Favorite #HeavenThruMyLens & #Momazine

Here is this week’s Friday Favorite for our Momazine #HeavenThruMyLens hashtag. To be considered for this series you must hashtag photos that stir your soul. Moments that can’t be forgotten. Move us. Inspire us. Get tagging.

Note-     NOT BIG Camera photos, these were taken with smart phones.

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@jennygildeaphotography

Jenny Gildea Photography

 

 

 

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@ohtobehannah

www.allofmydayswithyou.com

 

 

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@shelbywalter

www.itsalwayssonny.com

 

 

 

 

 

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@ninaphotographs

 

 

Friday Favorites for the #Momazine Hashtag series. To be considered for this hashtag please tag your photos #Momazine for photos that show us Life, Your journey, Love and the Pursuit of Motherhood.

 

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@heatherstockett

www.hcsphotography.com

 

 

 

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@andrea_murry

www.andreamurry.com

 

 

 

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@callred25

 

 

 

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@mommymmsankey

 

#HeavenThruMyLens

Show us Heaven. Show us movement. Evoke emotion. We want to see what Heaven looks like to you. This is our hashtag series on Instagram that began with our Winter Issue and will continue. These are just a few samples from the talented ladies that shot Heaven Thru their Lens  with their BIG cameras for us recently.

Each Friday we will select our favorites from the week for either our #HeavenThruMyLens hashtag or for those everyday moments tagged to our #Momazine hashtag. We will post those favorites here each week as well as in our Instagram Feed.

 

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Mary Soler of Evie and Jr Photography

 

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Jenny Gildea of Jenny Gildea Photography

 

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Megan Hill of Megan Hill Photography

 

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Brittany Wood of Brittany Wood Photography 

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Shaylee Burr of Shaylee Burr Photography 

 

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Amy Teague of Happily Situated Photography

 

 

Ineffable

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It’s a story I’ve probably only told a handful of times. When the words pour out, they do something to me internally. I can liken it only somewhat to how it felt physically  starting my first 5K. The music blared in my headphones drowning out any noise,  & my heart beat so fast in anticipation of the start, that my breathing almost couldn’t catch up. My arms cover in goose bumps and I feel like there is a fire burning inside around the center of my heart as I approach the end of this testimony I’m about to share.

In the past I have shared this story only a handful of times, and I  purposely leave certain details out. This time I am sharing it all.

My friends would probably describe me as strong when they watched me deal with her death, yet they didn’t know that I was not. Near the end, I was the exact opposite. I was broken. The two days prior to her departure, I would sit in her room and play a song on repeat as I found it helped me so much with sending her off to Heaven. If you have ever heard Ceilo by Phil Wickam then you can most definitely visualize Heaven, in all its glory. This, I played over and over again as I stared at her. Just stared.

“I’m walking through the bright white gates,

breathing in and out Your grace.

All around me memories rise,

that echo with a joy inside,

so I start to sing…

But I can’t sing loud enough,  I can’t sing loud enough with I’m singing for You my God.”

On this particular day, there at the end of her bed with my chair against the wall,  I would sit. I didn’t even want to touch her hand. In fact, I did not want to be anywhere near her. I was frightened of her.  I literally did not know what to do with myself. So, there I sat watching others comfort her and hold her hand, as I should have been doing.
My mother looked like those I had seen before her. Shallow breathing heaved her chest as she exhaled a  terrifying rattling noise. Sunken cheeks and a shriveled mouth completely changed her appearance. She was death. All her Hospice nurses knew exactly what she would look like and for a few moments upon seeing her this way,  I was so angry with them.  I just never believed it would happen to her. I visited her every single day of her time in Hospice care over a 6+ week stay (in addition to her Hospice time at home).  Each time I would pass rooms on my way to her  I would see those that were so fragile & close to death. I knew she would never look that way. So, when she did, I was mad. It felt like a cruel joke had been played on me. They all knew she would look this way. They cared for her just the same as they had when she smiled and laughed with them. I, however, couldn’t even bring myself to touch her nor hold her hand to comfort her when she needed me more than ever.

In came her CNA named Sharon. My mother adored her and we are forever grateful for how well she cared for my mom. Sharon rubbed yummy smelling lotion on her after baths and made her feel so loved. Sharon sang to her happily as she cared for her and took the shame out of being nursed by someone else. My mother was the caretaker to us all. She never liked putting anybody out.

Now it is so clear to me as I type this. At the time however, I didn’t know why, but Sharon decided to try & wake her for me. My mother was now in those deep sleeps signaling her time drawing nearer. Sharon had to get so close to her ear and yell in it to wake her.

“Lois, Lois, your daughter is here.”

I didn’t want Sharon to wake her. For you see, she didn’t look like my mom. I couldn’t stand for her to be awake one single minute and notice that she couldn’t breathe. Would she suffocate? I was so incredibly worried that she would gasp for air right in front of me. I distinctly remember wanting to run from her room. Thoughts flooded my mind as fear suffocated my heart. In that emotional state I was in, within my own trepidations, I was paralyzed. In my mind, at that moment, if I never talked to her again, that would have been ok. Can you imagine?

When she finally awoke, she stared at me. Our friend Julie was holding her hand. My mother began to speak. Her jaw was so stiff that she whispered and words came out slowly and almost unrecognizable. Words that hung in the air as a whisper. If you were not paying such close attention to her words you would miss them all.  She looked directly at me and said to me in a faint whisper as they propped her up,

“My angel.”

I immediately spoke and told her that it was ok to go. We felt as if she was hanging on for my father. I told her That my dad (who she was worrying about most) would be ok because he had Christian and Colin. I was eight months pregnant with Colin. She said to me in that barely audible whisper,

“Oh, that is what you are naming him.”

She said it like she had just been thinking of him in her sleep.
Then, as perfect,  as audible,  and as clear as she always had been, she said to me,

Do you believe?”

I was shocked. In one breath she had become completely normal in speaking, but only for that moment. It was not a whisper. Although it was in the form of a question she said it as a demand. Immediately after she uttered these three words perfectly and clear,  she went to sleep in seconds, and I never spoke with her again.
The Holy Spirit was there within my mother & in that moment she gave me a gift that is so incredible I cannot even describe it to you. Ineffable : too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.

My faith at times may waver in what I see fit for God to do, and what I want from
Him. There are times I am angry with Him because I am not seeing the outcome in my human and selfish timeframe. Yet one thing is certain,
I will always believe in Him. I witnessed a miracle. One that is so clear to me now, that I can see it happening again as I tell it. If I were to tell it to you in my own voice, my arms would cover in goose bumps & my heart would beat so fast that my breathing would almost leave me winded.  A culmination of a life shaped by Faith transpired in a moment shaking my soul to its core.

My dear mother, who was the most faithful woman to Christ I have ever known, gave me this ineffable gift. It occurred to me just the other day that this gift of Faith was given to me long ago. It was always in her actions that speak to me now, so loudly. Her continuous outreach to help others through her many charitable acts that I can so fondly remember. Her belief was always that it was going to be well  because God was with her.  No one went hungry in her presence. Every one left her happier than when they came.

From the words to another one of my favorite songs, “Far be it for me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see,”  reminds me each time I hear it that  my mother gave me a gift. I will never doubt His existence even when my eyes can’t see because for once I did see. Even if only for a second, it will last for my entire lifetime.

 

Thank you so much to my dearest friend Kristie Griggs of Pure Joy Photography for capturing my mothers hands on my pregnant belly. It was her idea to do this and these pictures mean more to me than anything.

Find Joy

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I think it was a recent trip to visit my sister that inspired this life change for me. That, and the start of a new year. Time to begin anew and fresh. Sort of like a clean slate? When visiting my sister, just after the holidays, my boys and I did a lot of lounging around. This is rare for us. We watched a lot of TV together and just hung out. Life is not like that very often for us and I realized I was so much happier and way more patient with them, having had this opportunity to just take a break. So, it got to me to thinking on what to do when life went back to its busy pace of school, work, and schedules.

I saw a post on Instagram by Hello Happiness Card Company in which she shared 9 things that make her happy. Well, of course that got me to thinking! We can’t just lay around and watch TV. In fact, there is no TV watching for my kiddos during school nights in the week. There is also no such thing as video games or iPad playing during the week either. I needed to be prepared! Life was going to come at me so fast again with bill paying, work, chores, laundry, and responsibility galore. I need to be happy so that my boys see that in me. Back to the card company, her post went something like this: make time to snuggle with her family, put her feet in grass (no matter the temperature), read 10 pages from a book of her choosing, and a few other wonderful and delightful things. This was her daily goal.

I was so inspired, I went right outside and put my feet in the grass. It actually felt really really good. Now I try to read 10 pages from a book daily. Another thing I have instituted in my life since I’m waking before dawn each day is to go to bed at 8:30 and no later than 9:00. Can I tell you how much of a difference this has made for me? I co-own my own business and so I was working insane hours when the boys went to bed. I was staying up really really late working on the computer for Momazine. I also found myself working with them at home for more hours than I could count. That has stopped too. Momazine gets my attention in the morning on days I do not volunteer and then I reserve an hour or two at the very most in the evenings after they have had my undivided attention. I actually give myself a time frame to work within when evening comes so that I’m not just endlessly thinking about work and working whenever (that resulted in more hours of me not engaged with my family) So, emails have waited. People have had to wait for my responses and they are still there. I was jumping at answering everyone within minutes of receiving their emails. Now, I wait until my next work day for the time I have allotted. Now granted, I’m going to go over these hours when deadlines loom as Lauryn and I both do but I am working super hard to keep things structured at non deadline times. One more really BIG way that I am finding Joy with my family is to become completely technology free on Sundays. I do not even turn my phone on during my day on Sunday. It is just too tempting for me when it is on and I find myself completely engrossed with my phone. No more! I do not use a computer or look through my phone until they are asleep, and in bed. It has really helped me tremendously!

Our little family bubble has gotten a lot happier with even more structure in place. Happy structure is what I call it. We have made a fairy garden together and that has given me a real feeling of happiness since I get to surprise them with glitter on occasion and little things the fairy leaves them when they are not home. Plus, we have mint for our water growing in our garden and a fox tail fern! It is an absolute pleasure to see them run to it every morning.

Next on my list to help improve things is more time spent in prayer. We are touching upon this topic and Faith in our next Spring Issue of Momazine Magazine. I cannot wait to share! So tell me, what do you try to do daily to create more happiness for your family?