The Greatest Gift

Ever since high school I’ve loved the idea of being a photographer, having one of those fancy camera’s with the removable lenses.  Day dreams of traveling the world while taking pictures of waterfalls and capturing something worth a thousand words peppered my thoughts throughout the years.

Finally, at the age of 43 fate has found favor on me and now I can take all the pictures I want.  Thanks to a co-workers wife who was willing to part with her first DSLR, a Nikon D5100.  She gave me a few tips and has been advising me on things I may need and what to look for as I embark into this new world of photography.

our first outing, we came along some wild turkeys

She suggested I get a 150-300 lens, because it’s the most used and versatile and good for a starter.  Work my way up? nah, that’s too logical, I wanted get the big zoom, the super-duper zoom. Thankfully she talked me out of getting an 800 mm manual, eeeeks, but I just couldn’t let go of getting that zoom… and Mitch my love helped me to achieve it! So now I have a 150-600 mm with auto focus and I don’t know what the heck I am doing. There is so much to learn, and it’s overwhelming, frustrating and intimidating. I know learning it will take time, but to be honest with you I’m impatient when it comes to the time it takes to learn this, I want to just know it, for it to miraculously happen, I mean can’t I just be a “natural” at it? So far, all the things I’ve read and watched are not sticking…nothing.. big fat blank brain. Ok, I exaggerate, I do know there’s ISO, aperture, ..and another one, but still I can’t understand what they do and I even watched a video about water being the light and the measurement of it. It just seems too science like, the text book world of stuff I just don’t get.

It brings me back to when I was a child and wanted to learn how to crochet from my mom. I only wanted to learn when I was sick and stuck on the couch, because I couldn’t go outside and play.  I would try, and try and after what seemed like forever, without any real success, I would  breakdown crying from frustration. The next time I wanted to learn was….yep, when I was sick and stuck on the couch. My mom finally taught me how to crochet when I was in my 20’s, her breast cancer had returned and we knew it was now or never. I stood behind her with a video camera, she crocheted with her left hand while I taped her teaching me and she got me a book for left handed people. Then it finally clicked.

Today, Christmas eve 2017,  Mitch took me with him to deliver some packages, and it was try number two with my new lens.  It was a beautiful freezing day and the hawks were out ready for me to capture some great pictures.

Maybe I should start with my tripod because capturing them in the sky, not as easy as it looks. Shoot, even when they’re sitting on the post, the pictures are a bit fuzzy.

So of course, I managed my frustration in all the child like ways I did when I was trying to learn how to crochet, I pouted, I complained, I had a little pity party for myself making a sad comment about how dreams are meant to stay that way because the reality of them sucks! and then of course I topped it off with tears. After my ten minute fit, I thanked Mitch for just listening, letting me vent and we decided to stop by the Veterans Cemetery to take a few pictures.

I swapped out the monster lens for a little fella and as we pulled up near where we had the service for Pops I felt a surge of sad.  I miss my dad, and it’s my first Christmas without him.  As I looked around at the sparkling beauty of the day, I realized that each of the headstones have a wreath.

What a special tribute to our veterans, the stoic uniformity of loved ones passed, adorned with a holiday remembrance. I felt compelled to capture that moment, so I took a few photos.

As I was walking back to the car, I looked at my last photo and instantly I knew my dad was saying,” hi baby girl, I love you!”

The one name that is legible right out front is “RAYMOND”  papa’s name!

What a great gift he gave me, to envelope me with the his unconditional love,  giving me a sign, just when I needed it most.  I thank the good Lord for always knowing my heart, and making sure I see what really matters in life.

Its Christmas time

 stuff is swell


God is GREAT !

Thank you for

your greatest gift,

your son!

Happy Birthday Jesus!



Jingle Bells and Whistles

We were blessed with a warmer than usual fall season, just going through our days thinking we wouldn’t have much snow for the winter and boom, it started SNOWING, and snowing and snowing!


Our white Christmas


Our Christmas tree!

Not exchanging gifts this year was a simple decision, especially since we spoiled ourselves a couple months ago and upgraded our phones.


We started a new Christmas tradition and waited until Christmas morning to open all the Christmas cards, passed them around while we drank our coffee and ate some delicious pumpkin bread from a wonderfully thoughtful customer from my Four Lakes Post Office.


My new job at Four Lakes has been great so far, the community’s been very welcoming and patient as I learn the ropes.


I decorated for the holiday’s at the office, they say it hasn’t been done for decades.


Looking outside the window                 of the post office


Being such a small post office and only working about 4 hours a day, I’ve been working at the Medical Lake Post Office for some of the mornings during the Christmas season.  To put the size difference into perspective… My little office got 50 packages in one day … Medical Lake got more than a 1,000 packages in one day, and Medical Lake isn’t that big of a town either!


Santa’s elves surrounded by towering packages waiting to be delivered from the Medical Lake Post Office.

The latest news on the house…we’ve started to make visible progress on the house.  Painting, putting up some trim,  it’s just a matter of having time and energy to get’er done.  Here’s the yeller feller at night, inside the kitchen through the sliding glass doors is my sweetie pie cutting some half round after he plugged in the Christmas lights that’ve been on Mac’s ol tree for all the years we’ve known him.




We did get the dogs Christmas hats, just so they could be a part of the celebrations.


The dogs stockings with their new hats


Merry Christmas Everyone!




We even had Turkey for dinner, thanks to Mitch winning one at Turkey Bingo last week!  BIG HINT about cooking the bird we learned last week,  after taking it out of the oven, let it rest for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it, that way it soaks up all the juices and won’t be dry!!



Now, onto me explaining how I came up with the title for this post.  It all began Tuesday the 22nd of December.  It had once again snowed, Mitch had already left for work and his morning of shoveling. I headed out to leave when I see that the darn snow plow blocked Fancy in.  It wasn’t the soft fluffy snow that first came down, it’d become packed, wet from freezing rain and solid as a rock.  I took a picture just to show my progress after moving half of it, thinking that I’d at least I got my hard knocks out of the way early in the day.


Fancy just waiting to get out

I decided to do a bit of maneuvering, pulling forward and turning a little, then pulling forward and turning a bit more until I could get out.  The odd thing was when I went to start fancy, the steering wheel was locked, and it wouldn’t start until I turned the wheel, which she’d never done before.  Finding it a bit odd, I think to myself, well that’s perplexing, hope that’s all my troubles for the day.


I say goodbye to our cute little house

hello to the big house across the street

hello to the big house across the street


and I’ll see you later, yeller feller as I pass it by, driving one block to Medical Lake Post Office

and I'll see you later, yeller feller

Why drive one block? I know! Normally I walk,  but I had stuff in the car to take to work.

After work I needed to make a couple stops, while pulling up to a stop sign, my check engine light came on, then some code came up and fancy began to sputter.  I decided to stop by the hardware store, maybe I just needed a little oil. Since it’s a VW it requires certain oil, I call my mechanic, tell him what was happening and he said,”Don’t even try and drive it, that could do a lot more damage”.  So thankfully I had AAA


Fancy’s off to the shop

The results, bad news! There’s no compression in the 3rd cylinder and the cost to repair it ranges from $2,000 to $5,000! Now I’ve already paid a good amount of money to get a few things fixed in the last year and half I’ve had her.  Still having to get to work that day, my friend Felicity gave me a ride.  I suggested we go a different route thinking it may be a little faster and I would  get there on time.  And then…..

A ten minute drive turned into a 40 minute wait

A ten minute drive turned into a 40 minute wait, A tow truck was loading a railroad plow.

Not only did it make me late for work, but it made her late for work as well. Tough day. Could’ve been worse. It could always be worse. Now what to do?  I got a second opinion, and decided based on the cost of all the repairs I’ve already done, how expensive it is to fix anything, let alone the price of just an oil change I am going to say goodbye to all the bells and whistles of fancy. So long sun roof, all wheel drive and my heated seats, but honestly I never could figure out the wipers, which way to push the switches, and the power.. seriously that girl could jump off a curb standing still.  I think it was just more car than I’m designed to have, hopefully her future home will be just right for someone. Future trade in here I come.  I already have one picked out, but I don’t sign papers till tomorrow so it’s not officially official.

It's a Nissan Versa

Everything happens for a reason, this is just a tough time season.  Our renters and friends across the street are planning to leave in the spring, we still don’t have anyone lined up for the yeller feller and just the other day I took a nap on the couch, charlie came over to give me some love, knocked my glasses on the ground with his big ol tail.  Not realizing it, I get up to go to the kitchen and crunch, I stepped on them and they broke.  So we say hello.. hello.. hello..from this valley we are experiencing in life, and know that someday we will be sharing our peaks.  That’s the great thing about life, can’t have peaks without valleys!


Pops has been more forgetful lately, the doctor says it from his mini strokes he had a couple years ago, and so when I went over to his place to get a plate for dinner I couldn’t help but laugh when this is what I found.  Yes, that is a piece of pumpkin pie that I gave him the night before, just sitting in the dishes drawer.

He hasn't forgotten how to laugh or love that's for sure

He hasn’t forgotten how to laugh or love that’s for sure. Pops wearing the ugly Christmas sweater Mitch won with at his work Christmas party.

Not gonna take the hard time, just gonna enjoy the times I have with family and friends

Not gonna wallow the hard times, just gonna enjoy all the times I have with family and friends


a YAWN is a silent scream for coffee!

Merry Christmas from Mitch, Shawna, and Papa!

Love, Give, Repeat

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We miss you Bay Hide Away! The love and connections we made with everyone last year in Mississippi at this time will forever be in our hearts.



Twinning’s Orange & Cinnamon Spice Tea with Cinnamon Stick, Delicious on cold winter days



Papa and his best buddy Charlie showing the love



Christmas Eve, getting ready to serve food to the homeless and needy at City Gate. What an honor to be on the front line serving food!




One feeling one idea, one phone call and here we are, giving back. We encourage you to do the same in the year to come!


To all our followers, Thank you for following us through our adventures and little everyday experiences.  May this next year be your best yet!