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  • Family photo from the day of our hike and my revelation!
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Drive By Shooting in Illinois (With Camera, to Be Exact!)

It will five years in September since I picked up my first DSLR and began this wonderful world of photography for more than just snap shots. 

I’ve had a camera in my hand since childhood, but this is different.

Yet, then again…I still take snap shots – as you will see in this post.

Many miles have been traveled in a vehicle in the last five years, with camera in tow. Most of the time, my Sweet Hubby is behind the wheel and I’m hanging out the passenger window to “get the shot.”

On our recent trip to Chicago, nothing was different.

He drove, I shot. 

I decided on that trip to start a Collection of Galleries on my photography website, appropriately called Drive By Shootings.

It will take a while to get the past ones organized, but we all have to start somewhere, right? So, why not start with the most recent.

If you are interested in seeing my gallery, Drive By Shooting in Illinois, click on the image below:

Sainte Genevieve, Missouri

On our way home from Chicago last month, we stayed a night in St. Genevieve, MO. We arrived around 5pm and discovered that the small town (even on a Saturday) shuts down at 5. That was just fine, because all we needed to do was grab a bite to eat and then do a quick walk-through to satisfy my desire to grab some photos of the interesting and very old buildings.

There is quite a bit of history in this place and the building show it!

Here are just a few tidbits of info on Sainte Genevieve:

  • It was founded in 1735.
  • Is the oldest permanent European settlement in the state of Missouri.
  • Was founded by French Canadians.
  • It contains 29 types of architecture.
  • Three of the five surviving poteaux en terre (posts-in-the-ground) houses in the nation are in Ste. Genevieve.
  • The Old Brick House is currently a restaurant (where we had dinner) and is the oldest brick building west of the Mississippi River.

You can visit the town and see the gallery of images I took while on our photo walk here: 

 (Click on the image to view the gallery.)
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In Every Small Town

What do I mean by the title of this post? I’ll tell you.

In every small town, I think of my dad. Isn’t that sweet?

I can’t help it. I always look for the old train depot.

While passing through Arcola, IL on our recent vacation, it wasn’t hard to find the old train depot. It is the Visitor’s Information Center and houses the world’s largest broom collection (Arcola is known as the Broom Corn Capitol of the World) and an extensive Raggedy Ann and Andy collection (the birthplace of the creator of the two siblings.)

As we were walking around the old depot, lo and behold we heard a train. Although the trains no longer stop there, they do pass by and rather quickly!

Dad, this is for you…

 

 

To see the complete photo gallery of the train depot, the Raggedy Ann and Andy collection, the broom corn collection as well as Arcola Amish, go HERE.

 

Polar Bear Plays

While visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo on our recent Chicago adventure, I fell in love. 

With this bear! 

He was so entertaining that we watched him for several minutes. I could have watched him all day.

To see him in action, click the right arrow below rather quickly. 

When you do, you will see how the polar bear plays! 

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Sweet as Honey

On our trip to Chicago, we stayed in the lovely coach house of a very lovely couple. It was our own little retreat in the midst of the Garden of Eden. This precious couple makes their own honey – with the help of their bees.

One morning we woke up and headed out for the day and saw this yummy sight in the garden.

Sweet as honey!

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How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 NKJV

What Love Will Do

Love will make you do things you don’t necessarily want to. Here is proof…

We just returned from a trip to Chicago to visit Son, meet his girl and see the sights. What a wonderful week we had!

Son doesn’t typically like to have his picture taken. OK, so that is an understatement!

Up until a year ago, most of the photos I would take of him consisted of his hand in front of his face, his foot in front of his face, his head turned at the last-minute and the occasional shot with the look of disgust on his face.

This time was different. When I asked to get his and his girl’s photo together, he didn’t object

…too much.

He started to resist:

He then gave in and smiled:

While mumbling under his breath:

With the occasional “cutting up” photo:

But when all is said and done, love will make you do things you don’t necessarily want to…and enjoy it! 

Coming Out of the Closet

No, not what you think based on today’s translation of that phrase.

I’m coming out to share something I’ve not been ready to put out to the public and it’s something very personal. So why am I sharing it now? With the hope that someone else can benefit from what I have to tell.

Three months ago a very special friend had a divine appointment with a very special man who I’ve heard of for many years but had not met. He is an educated nutritionist and trainer. That appointment was not intended, yet it was not an accident – thus a DIVINE intervention of God. My friend happened to have been in the same boat as me…disgusted with having gained weight, feeling miserable due to the extra pounds, no energy, feeling blah and ready to do something about it – and happened to be in the presence of this man for a few hours. After hearing about the changes she would need to make, she knew it was time! And then she shared it with me – and for that I’m eternally grateful.

We decided to make the changes together and as an added bonus, our husbands did, too! Sweet Hubby and I as a couple along with all four of us as a team, helps tremendously to make the efforts and changes more fun, rewarding and practical. This change is a lifestyle change and one that I have no doubt will continue with us for a lifetime. It’s not a diet. Everyone tries to categorize it, put a label on it and file it under the latest fad. But no, this is a plan that is easy to follow because it is the way we should eat.

I will not go into all of the details right now, but know it means eating clean. We aim for about 80% organic produce, grass-fed beef, free range and organic poultry, etc. We consume NO processed foods, no starches of any kind (which means no grains, rice, potatoes and limited beans) and no added sugars. Instead we consume a great amount of vegetables, some fruit, dairy, good and healthy fats and plenty of meat. We are so satisfied with our meals and with the addition of exercise, we have seen great results.

Instead of going into all of the details, I want to focus on what my inspiration was to make a change and to share a quite embarrassing photo and story. (See photo below and for the record, I was heavier than that just three months ago. Like I said, embarrassing!)

On the trail to Balanced Rock

Last summer when Son was home after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, we made a trip to Big Bend National Park (you can read about it here.) On that trip in the middle of the hottest time of the year to visit the desert, we decided to hike to a natural monument called Balanced Rock. I had planned our route to and from Big Bend and then I asked the men to decide what we would do for the days we were visiting the park. One of the first things they said was to hike to Balanced Rock. That was the day that I had a revelation and was the beginning of a change.

The revelation I had: if I didn’t make changes now, I would not be able to do the fun things with my family in the future. I was so out of shape, so overweight and absolutely miserable doing something that should have been a joy and fun. It was 100 plus degrees out on the trail and carrying around so much extra weight made it almost unbearable. I came close to not reaching the top. It was a short hike but then a very steep climb. We had just reached the start of the incline and I stopped with heart racing, sweat dripping and breathing very heavy to announce that I could not go on. After encouragement (and patience) from both of my men, I made the attempt – and made it. At the top of that peak I vowed that I would come home and make changes to better my health and life. The three of us had not been to this park is twenty-something years and I wanted to come back again with them even if it wasn’t for another twenty-something years!

Family photo from the day of our hike and my revelation!

Family photo from the day of our hike and my revelation!

As soon as we returned, I joined the gym and began making minor adjustments in my diet. I lost a little weight, but shortly after something happened that I had NEVER experienced before in my life. I slipped into somewhat of a funk. It’s the closest thing I had ever experienced to what could be considered depression. For the next several months I didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere – just stay in the comfort of my home. I would go to the gym on occasion, but my eating habits slipped back. I, to this day, don’t know what happened except that it was NOT of God! My son had moved away 1000 miles to attend grad school, we had the coldest winter in years with many days of ice, reality had hit with the fact of my 50th birthday approaching (even after years of confessing my age as 24 – ha!) That funk continued even after the holidays which consisted of consuming yummy, fattening foods.

Late February I recall telling my friend,“I am so wishy-washy! Some days I am so determined to change my eating habits and lifestyle and other days I just don’t care!” A couple of weeks later, my wishy-washyness was gone! Changes have been made and again, I’m so thankful!

I’ve preached for years the three keys to success in anything: commitment, consistency and perseverance. That is so very true! I am committed like never before. I’ve been 100% consistent in making right choices and have not splurged (or what some call, “cheat”) not even once. Perseverance just happens to fall in line, too, although there’s been no challenge or struggle. I’m completely satisfied and do not miss any of the things I’m not eating. That alone is a miracle, let me tell you!

What began last summer with the revelation of much-needed change, is coming to fruition this summer. My point? Make up your mind and do it! If I can, so can you! If you don’t start now, where will you be in three months?

I began on March 7th and today is June 7th. In exactly three months I’ve lost exactly 40 pounds (as of this morning) by consuming foods that contain 100% nutrients and exercising on a regular basis.

I still have a little more than 20 to reach my goal and at that time will share an “after” photo. I expect to be there by the 1st of August. And then my plan? To continue with the new lifestyle for the rest of my life. It will be no problem because I’m so satisfied and enjoy the foods we eat. I can honestly say for the first time in my 50 years (wait! I mean 24!!) that I KNOW and UNDERSTAND what it means to “Eating to Live instead of Living to Eat.”

If you are in the same boat I was in (knowing you NEED to make changes, but having a hard time getting started), let me encourage you with this…start with the three keys to success:

Commitment: Make the commitment to yourself and share it with someone to help support you and hold you accountable.

Consistency: Remain consistent in what you are committed to doing. Develop patterns and habits of change that will become your new way of life.

Perseverance: When temptations come to fall back to old habits, your commitment to the new needs to be stronger than the temptation. When you persevere in each step, you will feel accomplished and that alone can motivate you for more.

To help you with your commitment I’d suggest that you create a list of Weight Loss Whys. This list should consist of the reasons you want and need to make changes. If you know the WHY, then doing the WHAT will come much easier.

I can’t express how thankful I am to my friend for sharing with me what she was about to begin three months ago and how thankful I am to the very special man who has so graciously poured himself into helping us succeed in creating this new lifestyle. My thankfulness to God for giving me strength can’t go unspoken either.

So, yes, it’s time!

I’m coming out of the closet and thankful that new, smaller clothes will now be going in! 

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock
…that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

An Old Recipe with a New Twist of Love

I have mentioned before my new love for cauliflower. Well, another new love is spaghetti squash.

The love of my life has a favorite recipe that I’ve made for him since our dating days.

It’s called Spaghetti Pie

It was one of those recipe cards that arrived in the mail, back before internet was created. It came from a company who was trying to get me to join their recipe card club. I took the sample and have made it for many, many years.

Recently, we’ve changed the way we eat and in doing so have been looking for recipes that contain alternative ingredients. Last night as I was cooking spaghetti squash to have ready for today’s lunch when we returned home from church, the vision of that recipe card flashed in my mind. Hmmm, I wonder…could I? Should I?

I should.

And I did! 

I recreated the recipe to make it our-eating-plan-friendly and let me tell you, it was delish! Sweet Hubby had the same look of satisfaction on his face after lunch as he did when I made the original recipe.

There is one thing I would do different the next time I make it, however. I would squeeze the squash to get the liquid out like I do when I make cauliflower pizza, flats or shells. It didn’t cut like pie as the original recipe did. Well, it did cut but when it came time to scoop it out, it didn’t hold up. Maybe by squeezing the liquid out prior, it would.

Regardless the flavor was superb 

Here is the recipe. (I’ve included it with the “squeezing” part although I have not tried it that way yet. And trust me, even without squeezing, the taste is wonderful!)

Spaghetti Squash Pie, D Robertson

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Guess what Sweet Hubby wants for dinner? Yep, more Spaghetti Squash Pie!

My Third Trip to Ennis…This Month

After my last post, I’ve been to Ennis two more times. The second was to do a photo shoot for a friend and perhaps I’ll post a few of those photos later. The last trip to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trail was with my family…Sweet Hubby, Mom and Dad. We had a great time and of course, many pictures were taken.

Here are just a few:

(The speck in the road is my dad…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bluebonnets of Ennis

This past week, a group of my photog-friends all loaded up and headed east…to Ennis!

We had a great time and although the bluebonnets had not yet peaked, we saw many beautiful fields.

Here are a few images as a result of our trip to see the bluebonnets of Ennis:

 

Squash Flats

As a result of my last post, I experimented and created another recipe that I like even more than the last. 

It’s perfect for me! Simple ingredients, very easy and completely delicious.

These Squash Flats are perfect for a little snack, to use with hummus or dips, as a sandwich wrap, soft taco shells or anytime you want something grain free.

So easy!

So delish!

Here we go…

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I’m in Love

…with cauliflower! 

In my new eating lifestyle (which I LOVE by the way) I’ve developed a relationship with a vegetable that I’ve never really cared much for before. 

That big, white head of smelly stuff. I’ve eaten plenty of it in my life, but not like lately.

My Foodie-Friend, Lisa, recently sent me a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust. She and her hubby just raved about how wonderful it is. So we tried it and they were absolutely right! I honestly don’t care if I ever have regular pizza crust again! Yes, it was that good!

Then today she sent me a link for another recipe using the white stuff to make wraps. It is a wonderful recipe that can be found here.

I had some leftover cooked ground turkey from last night’s dinner and had thought about making tacos for tonight (using lettuce as shells.) When I saw the wraps, I went looking for a recipe for cauliflower taco shells. I didn’t dig too deep, but what I discovered for most of the recipes I DID find, they were very similar to the wraps. So I decided to go ahead and give them a try. Here is where my recipe takes on a twist and produced my new favorite taco shells.

(Please be kind. I am not typically a blogger who posts recipes so I have no step by step photos. AND even though I am a photographer, my photos are snapshots with my iPhone. Again, be kind.) 

I created the recipe (for the most part) like Lauren’s of Empowered Sustenance

I used: 

  • 4 cups of riced cauliflower (cauliflower that has been processed or grated to the consistency of rice)
  • Steam the riced cauli in about ¼ c of water until good and tender.
  • After done, allow to cool a bit then dump into a strainer covered by a towel (such as flour sack type). Then twist the towel around the cauli and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze to get all of the water out. You will notice you have a small ball when done. (reduces the mixture to about 3 cups of cooked riced cauli.)
  • Put the ball of cauli in a bowl and add two eggs and season with whatever seasonings you’d like.
  • Now, here’s the main difference: take a small yellow squash and grate it with a fine grater. Put that clump of squash in the towel and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze again. Now add it to the bowl of cauli and eggs.
  • Mix it with a fork to get it blended well.
  • Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets and spray lightly with olive oil.
  • Put a large spoonful (or two) of batter on the sheets to make a round. (I could get three on one sheet and two on another – makes a total of five rounds). Then take a smaller piece of paper and use it to flatten the batter to about ⅛” in thickness and 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Use the spoon to push the edges to make a circle.

Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 375º oven. Then take out of the oven and using another piece of parchment paper, cover the rounds. Using a cooling rack or another cookie sheet, flip them over and then put then back in the oven for about 5 more minutes.

Once a slight golden color, check to make sure they can be lifted off the paper and place onto cooling racks.

I made these earlier in the day and wrapped in plastic wrap until dinner time. I then lightly sprayed my skillet and heated them, flipping a couple of times to give a little more color to them. With this method, I’m convinced they can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge or even frozen.

The little bit of squash in the batter gave them a slight corn flavor, which makes it perfect for me as taco shells.

Best tacos ever! 

Here are my snapshots from our dinner tonight:

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(Note: These are about the texture of pita bread and the squash makes them quite sturdy. They would be great as a bread substitute for sandwiches or burgers. Yum!)

Lena Pope’s 35th Fiesta de Oro is Coming Up Soon!

Several weeks ago, my wonderful and talented photog-friend, Lola Hardisty of Lavender Pathways, invited me to accompany her to a photo shoot she was doing for the Lena Pope Home.

She encouraged me to shoot along side of her to give the graphic artist more photos to choose from for the invite they were creating. It was to be used for the 35th Fiesta de Oro that will be coming up on April 22nd at Joe T Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth. We had a beautiful model and dancer, Katy Alvarado, with the Ballet Folklorico Azteca. This event raises money to help the Home with many different needs.

Much to my surprise, they selected one of my photos for the invite. I’m quite honored and humbled, as I was only along to accompany and assist Lola.

This is the photo they selected: 

 

Please consider attending the event. You will find your personal invitation and ticket sales here

 

 

Contrast

As I was scanning today, I came across another old photo. It’s one that quickly reminded me of a photos I posted the other day. It’s another brotherly – sisterly love photo.

Last week I shared this one of my mom and her brother:

 

And here is the one I found today of me and my little brother:

Do you see the contrast? 

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad’s birthday. 

This is my dad (yes, and mom.)

He was my first male love. 

He has always taken very good care of me.

I’m blessed! 

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HAPPY 36th BIRTHDAY DAY!  (wink)

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