December 9, 2014

This & That


  • We officially have tickets booked for Los Angeles so that I can meet with a neurotologist and neurosurgeon at UCLA who specialize in SCDS. We'll be meeting with them on January 15th, with some likely additional testing done on the 16th. That happens to be Martin Luther King holiday weekend, so we figured we'd probably stay an extra day or two and explore! If we're going all the way out there, we might as well enjoy ourselves for part of the time, right?! I haven't been to L.A. or souther California in over 10 years! We'll have about 2 days to do a little sight seeing and possibilities are overwhelming to me...stay somewhere on the beach in Santa Barbara? Go see a taping of The Price Is Right? Day trip to Channel Islands? Drive the Pacific Coast Hwy? Disneyland?!? Ha! If you have any "must see" recommendations, I'd love to hear them!
  • My birthday was on Thanksgiving this year! We hosted at our house this year and had a big turnout of 11 people. That might sound small to some people, but it was huge for us! We had a great day of football, turkey and birthday cake. I got some pretty sweeeet gifts too. I got really spoiled this year. David got me an amazing Patagonia jacket that I've been drooling over. I got a pair of cute Sorel snow boots from my mom and a lot of cute clothes from my sister.  And my in-laws generously got me a new tripod so that I can continue pursuing my attempts at landscape photography. What a lucky girl I am to have such generous gift givers in my life!

New leggings, J.Crew flannel and my new boots!
  • This weekend, David and I went snowshoeing. This year, I've probably hiked 30 times for a total of at least 200 miles. Go figure, my last hike of 2014 turns out to be my worst hike! We opted for Flattop Mountain in RMNP, which is a hike I've never done before. It's 8.5 miles and about 3,000 feet of elevation gain, so not exactly an easy hike. Right off the bat, I pulled a hip flexor muscle. The pain just got worse and worse as we continued up the mountain. By mile 3 I was in tears and we decided to call it a day. I was really disheartened that we couldn't finish or break treeline. I was really disheartened that a year full of awesome hiking ended in tears (and falling on a patch of ice at the very end, just icing on the cake!). But we managed to enjoy what we could, which included beautiful views, peace and quiet, a yummy lunch, a few shots with my new tripod and watching the winter sun sink low in the western sky through the pine trees. 
 Check out that sweet new jacket. It kept me warm all day long!
  • I'm in love with my new tripod! In my 8 years as a photographer, I have never owned a tripod. I guess I've just never had a need for one. At weddings I'm constantly running around, I don't have the time or need to utilize a tripod. But with landscape photos, the need arose. The more time I spend trying my hand and landscape photography, the more I realized a tripod needed to be a part of my equipment. Especially with night photography, it's virtually impossible to take a shot at night without the steadiness of a tripod. After lots of research and deliberation, I eventually settled on the MeFoto Roadtrip. I love it because it's light, sturdy, easy to set-up and it packs down to only 13 inches long, so I could practically carry it in my purse. 
These are the first 3 night shots I've ever taken and been happy with. I still have a looooooong way to go in the technical arena, but at least I'm making some steps in the right direction. I think this first shot below is kinda creepy. I sure hope the rest of my shots aren't as erie looking :)

  • My Saturday morning Bible study started a new study by Priscilla Shrirer called Breathe. I'm already in love with it. Saying no to unnecessary things in order to make more room for God and peace and stability in my life? Yes please! That's been the theme of my life this year, I'm so excited to dig more into this and incorporate some more Sabbath margin in my life. 
  • Can I share my newest favorite recipe with you? It's a crock-pot cream cheese chicken chili and it's to. die. for. Like so so so good. Too good to not share, so I'm sharing! Rather than type it out, I'll just share the link: http://completerecipes.com/Crock-pot-cream-cheese-chicken-chile.html We have had it over rice and had it in tortillas so far, pretty much any way you service it is going to be stellar!
  • Just being real, I'm in a weird place. Wrestling with a lot of emotions and battles in my mind and with God lately. It's not serious, nothing to be worried about. But it's still significant. I find myself thinking a lot about things like healing, God's will, the long-term effects of infertility, what true joy looks like, theology of suffering, character change, the purpose of adversity and the relationship between faith and answered prayers. Heavy stuff. Maybe I'll write a longer post about that.
  • David's work Christmas party was last night. Since he works for a government entity, they have to keep things classy and family friendly, unlike many Christmas parties you hear about haha! We had a great night! I got to meet some of his coworkers and the food was outstanding. They had a photobooth, bluegrass band, cookie buffet, s'mores bar, carriage rides and they even had reindeer. Yes! Reindeer! Comet and Cupid came for a visit. So cute! It made me exponentially more grateful for his new job. God is so good :)

December 4, 2014

Puppynado

Let's have a little story, about that one time we almost adopted a crazy puppy. 

One day I was driving down I-25 on my way to Denver for class.  It was a beautiful morning, I had finished photographing the sunrise and I was looking forward to the day ahead. I had just stopped for a hot cup of coffee, of which I was about to take my first sip.

Up ahead, something catches my eye. What is that? Is that....no, it couldn't be...surely...is that a puppy on the side of the highway?!? I slam on my brakes (carefully preserving my hot coffee) and pull over onto the shoulder of the interstate. Yes indeed, a sweet little puppy is running around. Barely 5 feet from traffic, he was confused, alone and not quite sure which way to turn. I get out of my car, careful to not get run over myself. I run over to him and I quickly distract him away from the semi-trucks that are headed his way. 

I asked him what he was doing on the side of I-25 all by himself. He responded by licking my face. I asked him how he got there. He responded by chasing a bunny down an embankment. I decide we should probably go for a walk and see if maybe he just escaped out of his home. Surely his owners must be frantic and looking for him, right?! We walk away from the highway towards all the pretty farms. We walk all over, looking for his family. We knock on doors, we wake people up, we explore driveways and backyards and we come up empty handed. 

As the morning goes on and I realize this puppy and I were going to be together for a while, I decide he needed a name. I name him Puppynado because he is a tornado of fur and slobber and joy. He loves our adventure so much and especially loved chasing all the bunnies. Puppynado was happy as a clam walking through horse property and country roads with me. Note: I got the pink leash after banging on a poor woman's door for 15 minutes at 6:45am. In her sleepy stupor, she gave me the leash so that I would leave her alone and let her go back to sleep :)
We keep walking, exploring, searching for his owners. Surely, someone is missing Puppynado at this very moment, right? Well, if they were looking for him, we never saw them. After a long time of looking around, watching the passing cars drive down the dirt roads and feeling a bit defeating,  we head back to my car, careful to avoid the semi-trucks. Puppynado happily gets in the backseat, ready for our next adventure.
 At this point, I'm not quite sure what to do with Puppynado. I know one thing for sure...he's ridiculously cute and he's slobbering all over my jacket with his big pink puppy tongue. I know that I want to give him the best shot at reuniting with his owners, wherever they might be so I met up with Boulder Animal Control. Puppynado greeted them with the same enthusiastic kisses and he greeted me with. They determine he is 8 months old and not microchipped (seriously people, microchip your pets!). They told me they would help him get entered into the Lost Dog program. He would get a bath, a fancy photoshoot and an online profile where people can search for him. Sounds good! Surely, someone will claim him in no time. I say goodbye to Puppynado, pat his head, rub his velvety ears and wish him luck. He never even turned around to thank me, he was too preoccupied with his new animal control friends and watching a squirrel.

Because I'm obsessive, I check Puppynado's online Lost Dog profily approximately 28 times that day. No one has claimed him. I check the next day and the next and the next. Still, no one has claimed this sweet little tornado of fur. Eventually, almost a week passes and Puppynado graduates from a Lost Dog, to an Adoptable Dog. That's when my heart starts twisting in knots.

I want this dog. I love this dog. I helped save his life. But I have several problems facing me, the least of which are my 2 spoiled kitties who would not take kindly to having a furry hurricane chase them around the house. Followed by a very logical husband who knows the last thing we need right now is a puppy. 

I pray. I agonize. I cry and ask God what I should do. I talk ad nauseam with David about it. And I never have peace about the decision. I do have peace about visiting him again though. So off to the shelter I go that we can play together.
See why I named him Puppynado? He's a tornado.

After just 12 hours as an Adoptable Dog, someone places a hold on him. My heart sinks a little bit knowing that in all likelihood, he would be going home very soon with someone who wasn't me. Regardless, I brought David over to visit him. I wanted him to meet this little guy who wiggled his way into my heart. 

I'd be lying if there wasn't a little piece of me that wished David had formed an impenetrable bond with Puppynado. A bond that took away all of his logical objections to adopting a crazy puppy. A bond that was so strong that he would say "Beck, we have to get this dog. Wild horses couldn't keep me from adopting him. Perhaps we should just keep walking him all the way home." That didn't happen, but it didn't stop us from having lots of fun with him :)


 David felt that a more appropriate name for him was Puppy CrayCray :)

We get home and I agonize/pray/cry/obsess some more. But only long enough to realize that Puppy CrayCray aka Puppynado had adopted by someone else. I'm not sure who, but I hope they're kind and loving. I hope they feed him steak every day and have a big backyard full of bunnies and an 8 foot fence. 

And that is the story of how we almost adopted a puppy, but not really. The end. :)

November 17, 2014

Desert Escape

How about a fun little post with lots of pretty pictures? I certainly could use a little happy distraction. Before I jump in and overload you with sandstone pictures, just a quick little health update in bullet-point fashion:
  • I've been seeing a neurotologist for the last 4ish weeks here in CO.
  • The jury is still out as to whether or not I like him/trust his opinion
  • If nothing else, it's just good to get all the testing stuff done now so I have a complete set of tests and records to hand over to the real experts
  • Speaking of testing...it's no fun! ENGs are the worst and 2-hour MRIs are in a close 2nd place
  • Still keeping my UCLA appointment in January and crossing my fingers I get in a bit sooner
  • The end!
David and I decided a few weeks ago that it was high time we get outta dodge. We love to travel as it is, but whenever life gets hard, travel is just more appealing. Something about escaping. Something about getting out in nature, spending some time alone. God's creation is cathartic.

We literally planned nothing for this trip. We didn't even know what town we'd be in or if we'd be camping or staying in a hotel. We just threw some bags in the car, loaded up our tent and hit the road. The only 2 things we wanted to do was enter the lottery system for The Wave (if you don't know what it is, just look at some Google images of it. Killer!) and Antelope Canyon, both of which were down in Arizona. Our trip down was absolutely beautiful!
We found ourselves in Kanab, UT-home of the walk-in lottery system for The Wave, which allows 10 hikers in per day. We thought we'd try our chances. Umm, there were 86(!!!) people who showed up for the lottery. Needless to say, we didn't win a spot. So, we found a trailhead on a map that looked promising and headed towards Buckskin Gulch. We were not disappointed!





After our beautiful 6 mile hike, we headed towards Page, AZ. We caught the sunset over Horseshoe Bend, which is a really phenomenal place. It's maybe a mile hike to the cliffs overlooking the Colorado River. 



Not pictured: the several busloads full of elderly tourists who were quite unstable on their feet, yet continued to inch closer and closer to the ledge. I could barely watch. It absolutely terrified me watching them!
I posted this photo on Instagram and I will probably be one of my all-time favorites forever and ever. As David and I were swarmed by crazy elderly tourists, I looked over and spotted this photographer set up on a ledge, probably 1/2 a mile away from where we were. He clearly knew that in order to experience this place and all it had to offer and to get a unique angle, you had to get away from the madness of everyone else. A highly valuable lesson for aspiring landscape photographers such as myself! I also like this photo because it kind of looks like a painting...something about taking it in low light made it look so different.  
We stayed in Page, AZ that night after the sunset. The next morning we headed out to Antelope Canyon. We opted for lower Antelope Canyon because it seemed less busy. It's located on Navajo land and you can only go in with a guided trip. So we signed up and headed in! This place was unreal. I can't even really describe it and the pictures don't do it justice either. It's incredible!





After exploring Antelope Canyon we made our trek back towards Colorado. The first snowstorm of the year had moved in over the mountains, which made us reroute our trip. We didn't mind though, sometimes the slowest way home is also the best! We roamed Monument Valley for a bit
 Stopped at Gooseneck State Park

 Wound up at the 4 Corners, which was hiliarious

We grabbed dinner in Durango and eventually settled on Pagosa Springs for the night. On that note, I've decided that I want to retire in Pagosa Springs. It's the cutest little mountain town. It's got a lot in it, but it's not so big that it attracts too many tourists. Plus, it would make us that much closer to Utah and Arizona if we need a little warm weather escape in the winter! Our drive home was uneventful, despite driving through snow for 6 hours or so.


See? Tell me you wouldn't love to retire here :)

October 16, 2014

Update

I've spent more on co-pays lately than groceries (no really, I have). From CT scans to weird hearing tests, to meetings with audiologists and my ENT, I feel like I've been living in their office. The good news is that it's not a brain tumor and there are no blockages in my arteries or veins. So yay for that! The bad news is...well, it's complicated.

The official diagnosis is something called Superior Semi-Circular Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS for short). Essentially, there is a piece of bone in my skull, which has either broken off or has simply worn away, causing a gap between my ear and brain. My CT scan results showed a pretty clear difference between my right and left side, and some subsequent testing I've had done has confirmed it.  My doctor has recommended I move forward with surgery to fix the broken bone. ::Deep breaths:: It's not a simple or easy surgery and there are only 3-5ish specialists in the country who do this type of surgery, the best ones being at UCLA and Johns Hopkins.

There is a surgeon in Colorado who has some experience with this surgery (how much, I'm not sure yet). So I have an appointment with him on Monday to just ask questions and get a feel for his confidence. I also have a consultation set for January 15th (I'll go in sooner if I can!) at UCLA with a neurosurgeon and neurotologist. Then we'll figure out when to schedule surgery. That's about all I know at this point.

I'm doing pretty well all things considered. Last week was a hard week. Really hard. I felt like fear and discouragement were suffocating me.  But this week has been better! And it certainly doesn't hurt when your sweet husband brings home flowers and candy and takes you out on dates every other day. He is the best!

I'm trying to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. I've been praying a lot for God's peace and comfort. He is so quick to come to our rescue when we are troubled! He's been so faithful to me up to this point. He has brought me through so much, I know He'll continue to strengthen me and support me through this too!

October 1, 2014

This & That

It's been a while since I did one of these bad boys...here we go!


  • I'm still struggling to adjust to life after Cayman ("awww poor baby" I can hear you all say). It's getting better, but I just still feel disoriented every now and then. Getting back into the routine of work and life has been no fun. I find myself asking very existential questions like....why do I need to work? Why can't we all just lay on beaches and play in the ocean? What's the point of laundry? 
  • My mom, sister and I took a quick little trip to Telluride when I got back from Cayman, making my transition into reality even harder. Going from one paradise to another....it makes reality very unappealing. Telluride was amazing! We hiked, 4-wheeled, ate good food and stayed in an awesome condo. Telluride will always hold a special place in my heart after David and I went there after we lost our baby. There's something about that place...it's good for my soul.

     Pretty little sister!
     Jenny and I dragged my poor mom up a pretty steep hike that she wasn't exactly loving. I kept saying "just a 1/4 mile left to go! Just around this corner! Just over this ridge!" She did all 8 miles, we were all so proud! Way to go mom!
  • I've developed a weird little health problem. I can hear my heartbeat in my ear. Yes, you read that correctly. I can hear my heartbeat in my right ear. It's a like a whooshing noise that never goes away. It's been going on for about 8 weeks now. My optimistic husband said "well, at least it's audible confirmation that you're alive!" (thanks babe!), but in reality, it's no fun. I started seeing a specialist who is having me go through a series of tests to try and figure out what's going on. I had a CT scan yesterday and an MRI is on the horizon. I don't like to get ahead of myself, but it's kind of hard to ignore your doctor when he says "we need to rule out the possibility of a brain tumor and/or obstructions in your arteries and vascular system." Awesome. So there's that....
  • We bought another car! Before you go making judgements on our rock-n-roll lifestyle (2 cars and like 18 vacations in one year?! These people must be loaded!), you must first know that we are maybe the most frugal people that ever lived and we squirrel money away like it's our job. Not that I have to explain ourselves, but our actions this year have been a little....out of the ordinary and people are starting to wonder....I've already had one person ask if we won the lottery ;)  Annnnyways, my little Corolla has been creeping slowly up towards 200,000 miles and we both knew it was time to trade it in before it bit the dust one of these days. Plus, I really wanted a car with All-Wheel Drive so that I feel a bit more in control when it snows. I drive an average of 30,000 miles/year, so being safe is super important! Eventually we settled on a Subaru Legacy. It's perfect for me! It gets great gas mileage (up to 36 mpg), it's full of air bags (9 of them, if I remember correctly) and it has full-time AWD so I'll feel better in the snow. I don't actually have the car yet, it's on backorder because they're selling so well, but I should have it in a few weeks. Weeeee!
  • While we're on the topic of buying new things.....David and I are talking about moving (keyword: talking). Eeeek! I know, it feels like we just built this house. Although it's been almost 4 years, it feels like we haven't been here long. But, we think it's time to probably sell and buy somewhere closer to his job. Poor David's commute to work is getting a little out of hand. What should be a 20 minute drive has turned into 35-90 minutes each way due to the amount of stupid new people moving to our area and crowding the roads with their stupid cars  growth our area is experiencing. As much as we love our home, it's slowly becoming impractical to live here. David will likely spontaneously combust if he has to keep this commute. Thankfully, our area is pretty popular and home values have gone waaaaay up, so we should make enough on the sale of this house to fund a move further north. We're not 100% sure where or when we're moving, we just know we have to get closer to his work. We probably won't do anything until after the new year, but we've definitely started researching and exploring! It's fun to dream and scheme....
  • I did decide to sign up for a fall class at Denver Seminary. I settled on Ecclesiology & Eschatology, taught by an amazingly gifted professor. So far, I'm way over my head. I'm one of 3 women in the class, surrounded by 5th year M.Div students. It's all quite complex and overwhelming, which just makes me grateful that I'm auditing and not taking it for credit :)
  • Fall! Fall is here my friends!!! Colorado has been pretty out of control in terms of fall beauty this year. Goodness, it's been magical!

     David and I took a little fall hike this weekend. One of our favorite traditions is taking a fall drive, combine with a little hike through the aspen trees. We used to go to Rocky Mountain National Park each year, but the crowds have gotten beyond what we can bear on the weekends, so we opted for a less popular area. Still beautiful, just less tourists. Yes!!

    We saw less than 10 people on the trail during our hike. There was a cold front that had settled in on our state, so we had crisp fall air to hike in. It was cool. It was quiet. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. It was perfection! Happy fall! :)

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Hi friends, my name is Becky and this is my journey through running a photography business, being a loving wife, 4+ years infertility, traveling and adventuring with my dear husband, following hard after Jesus and seeking out joy in every area of my life. I'm glad you're here!

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