Friday, December 30, 2011

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Saw this posted on Facebook (thanks Mollie!) and just think it's the cutest collaboration!  Who knew they had these amazing voices?!  Love them both!
Again, Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy New Year!

Okay, so it's not quite 2012 yet, but I, along with many, I am sure, am taking advantage of the post-holiday quiet to re-group, and to get into the spirit of ringing in a New Year!  

As I begin to put away our Christmas decorations, for yet another year, I get a little sentimental, a little reflective, about the year coming to a close.  This one was a busy one...with lots of new people in our lives, lots of travel opportunities - to familiar spots and plenty of new territories too! 

We rang in 2011 in the Tetons, one of our favorite, right in our own backyard, places!  We traveled throughout the year, several times, to Oregon, another of our favorite spots; for Allison's graduation from Oregon State University, for Allison & Stephen's beautiful wedding and all of those related festivities, and we spent a lot of time in one of my very favorite places, the Oregon Coast!  We got to go to Alaskaaaa, as part of a great adventure that began this Spring with mine and Ashley's incredible trip to Thailand and Burma!  And finally, we got to spend Thanksgiving with the Ryan family all together...and then enjoyed a nice, quiet Christmas with our beautiful (and pregnant!) daughter, Ashley!  (So looking forward to meeting our grand-daughter in 2012!!!!)

It was an exciting year!  And I am so grateful for all that we have been able to do and see...and all of the wonderful people in our lives.

I don't really "do" resolutions.  I find that as soon as I commit to a New Year's resolution, it becomes my goal, instead of keeping it, to break it, as quickly as possible, so I can let it go and relax!  Instead, I hope that I live my life as a be an authentic, open person.  I hope that I have been true to myself...I hope that I have shown, by my actions and my words, and by my photography too, who I am and what matters most to me.  Time passes by so quickly.  It really does!  Even those days that seem to drag on forever are really just the blink of an eye!  So I hope, in 2012, I can continue to appreciate my life, continue to explore and to be open to new possibilities and new experiences...and that we all treasure every moment we are given and let the people in our lives know how much we cherish them.

To all my friends and family...Happy New Year...I love you!  Thank you for being a part of my life!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's not just the gorgeous sunsets...

I have always loved the Oregon Coast.  Well, almost any coastline, actually, but the Oregon Coast has been a special place for me since the first time I visited, when I was 12 years old. 
My parents and I, and I got to bring along my friend Lori, drove, the summer of '76, from Michigan to Oregon, camping along the way.  When we arrived at the Oregon Coast, Lori and I got to pitch our tent right on the beach (can't do that anymore in most places) and sleep with the roar of the ocean literally right out our screen door!  It was incredible!  I think we stayed up all night, just watching the waves!  And I was hooked.
The next year our family moved to Eastern Oregon and we visited the coast often, usually ending up near the quaint town of Cannon Beach.  Mike and I spent our first 'vacation' together there, on the coast, in a really sketchy, cheap hotel in Seaside with Mark & Kelly (remember the slanted shower and the broken chair?!)!   Once we were married and had returned to the Northwest, we began a tradition of taking our girls there every summer for a week.  One of our fondest memories is the vacation to Yachats, Oregon where everything seemingly went with the stomach flu, pulling up to our hotel to fire trucks putting out a fire, a flat tire...and one of the best trips ever, just the 4 of us, hanging out at the beach.
So, there is certainly something nostalgic that draws me back to the Oregon the home I grew up in, in a way.  But then there is the obvious...the beauty!  People think of the beach and it is bikinis and sand castles and miles of crowded sandy beaches...and I love that too, sometimes...but the Oregon Coast is different.  It is usually chillier than you expect for "the beach", no matter what time of year...and rugged...and fairly uncrowded, in places...and, well, relentlessly beautiful. 
There is an artist/writer, Mary Anne Radmacher, who resides on the coast who wrote "I come to the sea to breathe"...and I think it's true.  I feel more at ease there than almost anywhere else...something about the constant hum of the ocean...

Anyway, we just returned from a great family Thanksgiving in Prosser, Washington...had a really good time catching up with everyone and just hanging out with a great family...and we had a fun baby shower for Ashley while we were there (only 3 more months to go!)!  Then we headed farther west to the beach for the week...took Mike's parents with us for a few days to enjoy some sunshine, dune-climbing (and, yes, at 74-years young, Mike's dad ran down the dunes with us!), puzzle-making and surfer-watching!  Then, picked up Allison towards the end of the week and, well, we loved the chance to hang out with her. 
So these are a few images I took with my iPhone (thankful for that little gadget in my life!)...on a particularly beautiful evening.

Now it's time to start thinking about Christmas!  Getting the tree up this week, and the house decorated, gifts wrapped, goodies baking...and settling in for a homey holiday! 

Thankful for all the friends and family we have in our lives...and all the blessings we enjoy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

If there was ever...

...a more lovely pregnant woman, I cannot imagine it.

This is my beautiful daughter, Ashley...and my soon-to-be granddaughter!  I love them both so much it brings tears to my eyes. 
"I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Arms wide open.

I love him.  Okay, well why wouldn't I, right?!   He's very sweet, smart, funny, silly, curious, energetic, happy...oh, and just look at those baby blue eyes! 

But the thing is, he's already taken...  He's got a girl in his life who loves him even more than I possibly could.  And in this picture he is telling me (showing me) how much he loves her. 

"This much" he said, as he looked up at her.  Yep, that's a lot of love, Max. 

Well, he should love her that much...she is a pretty incredible lady...and Max, well, he calls her mommy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A walk in the park.

One of the nicest compliments I can get upon finishing up a photo shoot is this one..."Oh, we're done?!  Okay, that was easy!  It felt like we just went on a walk together!" 
Taking a walk in the park is exactly what I got to do a little while ago, with these two...some of my very favorite two people!  And our little walk together resulted in some of my very favorite images. 
Of course, how can I go wrong...look at that sweet face!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


September was kind of a busy month for us!  I can always tell, in retrospect, when we've been busy, because it takes me awhile to download my memory cards, and then even longer to post them here, or on our websites...but when I finally get a chance to sit down for a few minutes to look at them, it's like Christmas morning, re-discovering pictures I've sort of forgotten about momentarily!  This one jumped out at me, well, it actually kind of beckons me, to return...! 

A beautiful sunset at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon...  Just wanted to share this one while I scan through the rest of these September images!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A voice for them.

Mike & I just returned from a long, fun weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska!  Among other highlights, my favorite one...we got to see Allison & Stephen (yaaaay!)!  And we got to hang out with some really fun people; our hosts, the Wall family (including it's newest member, handsome little Triston!), the Barney's, the Sanders' (including sweet baby Emmett), the Martin's and all the workings of Friends Community Church!  What nice people, all of them!  I got to fly in a two-seater Cub over the Alaskan countryside at sunset with a great pilot, thanks Jeff!  We also drove a swamp-buggy!  And, we sat in on an impressively energetic UAF Economics lecture thanks to professor Sherri!

But, the primary purpose of our trip to Fairbanks was to help raise money and awareness to the Friends of Partners cause.  If you have followed my blog at all, you will know that I recently went to Thailand and Burma with Partners, an organization whose mission is "free, full lives for the children of Burma."  If you are interested, here is my talk from Friday night's yummy banquet.  (I was the brief "opening act" for the impressively well-spoken, motivational, and lovely Oddny Gumaer!)

My name is Kris Ryan and I thought I would take a few minutes to explain to you how it is that I came to be here, in front of you, in Fairbanks, Alaska and how it is that I came to take those images you saw displayed so beautifully as you came through here today.
I am a photographer and I live in Pocatello, Idaho.  Several years ago, when both of my beautiful daughters were in high school, I went back to school, to Idaho State University, to study the very lucrative subject of Philosophy!  I took a class entitled the Anthropology of SE Asia from a professor who has been doing research in Burma over the last decade and a half and has close connections to the Burmese people.  It was an eye-opening, compelling class that made me aware of a country I was not aware of, a culture I had not ever studied before, and a decades long conflict I couldn’t possibly begin to understand.  I began searching out news on Burma, of which there is very little.  I read books about the Burmese people, of which there are very few. 
A few semesters later, my daughter, Ashley, was in college and I recommended the class to her…and she loved it as well.  We began to care about people we had no immediate knowledge of, save that they were oppressed, abused and that it was heartbreaking. 
And then one day my daughter, Allison, starting dating this guy, Stephen Wall.  I noticed on Stephen's Facebook page that he "liked" an organization called "Free Burma Rangers."  So one day he told me about Fairbanks' connection to the Burmese people and their struggle.  He told me about Partners, and Steve (his namesake) and Oddny Gumaer and their dedication to helping the people of Burma.   For my birthday, a few months later, Stephen sent me the most wonderful, thoughtful gift…a book that Oddny had written about the people she had been working with and meeting and helping.  (The book is entitled "Displaced Reflections" and can be purchased through Partners' website.)
I loved the book, both the imagery and the stories.  And now I had this pulling connection to get involved.  I contacted Maureen, the U.S. Director for Partners, interested in hearing more about the art program that Partners had been doing with refugee children.  I wasn't able to make the trip that Maureen was planning, but I became fully invested in becoming involved…and through a series of phone calls and Skype conversations, to Terry & Jocelyn, here in Fairbanks, to Jeff Wall, to my agreeable and gracious husband who rarely says no to any of my crazy ideas, and lastly to Steve Gumaer…my daughter Ashley and I found ourselves, just a couple of months later, exhausted from a long trip, standing in the Chiang Mai, Thailand airport, at midnight, meeting Oddny Gumaer. 
We didn't know for sure what we had gotten ourselves into, it just felt like we had to go, that we needed to be a witness ourselves to the lives of these people we had come to care about.  So we went on an adventure, and the images in the foyer reflect some of the people we met along the way. 
I'd like to share with you just a couple of stories from our trip, and I am hoping that you will be able to find yourself there with us…as one of the most profound moments, for each of us, on our trip, was when we found "ourselves"  there, in the hills of Burma, in a hide site or a refugee camp… 
For Ashley, it was meeting and talking with one of the Karen soldiers who was with us on our trip…  We were all sitting together in one of the huts one evening; two American women, a Norwegian woman, Karen women and their children, and a few Karen soldiers…and we were talking about our home in Idaho when Ashley realized she had, in her backpack, her iPod, with a few images stored on it and enough of a battery left to turn it on and share them.  One of the soldiers, who had been silent our whole trip, was really curious and he came and sat next to her as she swiped through them…a couple of her wedding pictures, pictures of her friends being silly, pictures of her family…and he sat, mesmerized, and smiling…  He asked her, in English, "those your friends?  that your husband?  that your sister?  this your mom?" and smiled, as we all do when we look at a new friends pictures, or discover a new friends Facebook album!  "That America?" he asked.  And that is when it really struck her…he could be my friend if he lived in the states.  He was just one year older than she…  He could be my neighbor, my co-worker, my brother…she thought.  But here he is instead…this handsome, courteous, sweet young man, living his life running from an enemy…and it is all he has ever known.
For me, similarly, while sitting in a very surreal setting, still trying to grasp that I was actually in Burma, sitting in a bamboo hut, we listened as two women recounted their lives to us…running, fleeing death, starving, trying to create a life for their families, trying to survive…  And, oddly, unexpectedly, I began to recognize "myself" in one of the women  She was close to my age (okay, I am a few years older, but who's counting!)…she had children whom she obviously adored, as do I…she liked to sew, she made the beautiful and intricate top she was wearing, and she liked to make things for her family.  She laughed when she admitted, through a translator, that she had never been this close to a white woman!  I laughed in return and said well, I've never been this close to a Karen woman!  She looked to me like a movie star, the incredibly strong, beautiful heroine in a great epic adventure…and she had similar thoughts, saying she had only seen a white woman on a movie screen when she was little.  Her name is Naw Mu Wah, her picture is featured in the front of the foyer with her little girl…and though I saw myself in her that day, it was clear to me that she was so much stronger than I, so much braver than I could ever be…and she is in my thoughts every single day.
I asked one of our guides why these women had trekked alone through the jungle for so many days, at such great risk, just to come and talk with us…and she replied…"they just want to be heard"…they just want to know that someone cares about them…that "they haven't been forgotten."  So, I am grateful for the experiences of our trip to meet the Karen people of Burma…and grateful that I can be a voice for them, so that they can be heard, cared about, and not forgotten.
I thank Oddny, for sharing this amazing experience with my daughter, Ashley, and I.  I thank Stephen, my new son-in-law, who linked my heart with these amazing people I was fortunate enough to meet.  Thank you to the Wall family, my daughter Allison's new second family, for their hearts and their hospitality.  And I thank you all for your hearts tonight…thank you for coming to hear their stories.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Image by Ashley!
Alas!  I have finally managed to update both of our websites, Mike & Kris Ryan Photo and Heart & Soul Images, with a gallery of images from our trip to visit Burmese refugees.  Any and all of the images are available as prints, traditional or canvas (they look especially nice on canvas), as well as press-printed greeting cards.  All proceeds from any print sales will go directly to Partners to help them continue their amazing work with the Burmese people.  Please let me know if you'd like to purchase, or donate!
We are headed up to Fairbanks, Alaska this week, to attend their annual fundraiser for Partners, where Oddny will be speaking!  It will be good to see her again, this time absent the frizzy hair and mosquito netting!  And, we are excited to get to see Allison & Stephen (our daughter and son-in-law) too, along with much of the Wall family!
Then, I will actually be home for a bit, catching up with clients, trying to beat the winter weather that is surely going to find us soon!  Looking forward to a BSU tailgater with the Ryan clan next month, a grand-baby ultrasound (yay!), another trip to the beach, and getting ready for the holidays?!  Life is good and I am more and more grateful every day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Haystack Rock.

This is Haystack Rock.  No, not the one in Cannon Beach, Oregon, which is the only one I knew of until this year.  This is the one in Pacific City, Oregon, near Cape Kiwanda, and it is the world's fourth largest seastack!  It stands 327 feet tall (for comparison, the Haystack in Cannon Beach is 235 feet tall and is "intertidal", which means it can be reached by land) and I am determined to get a closer look one of these days, perhaps from a dory boat, or my kayak!  (I keep hearing the theme from Jaws in my head when I imagine myself paddling out there, but I am going to do it!)

In the meantime, I have enjoyed almost a week here in Pacific City with this monolith in the background...listening to the endless cycles of waves, enjoying the last bits of summer on the beach.  There are surfers here all the time, families, runners, lots of dog walkers, and even a few naked beach goers (pretty sure they were European)!  I have been carefully considering the talents of the stand-up paddleboarders who come and go from time to time...another thing on my to-do list.

It's lovely and I am so lucky to have such luxuries as down time in this incredible place. 

I've been working, a little bit (really hard with these distractions), on my Burma images...going to be auctioning some beautiful canvases in Fairbanks, Alaska at a Partners fund raiser at the end of this month.  And I am getting ready to launch a gallery on our webpages of the beautiful faces of the Karen people we met on our trip this past Spring, so stay tuned for that (something about Flash Player not working on a 64-bit IE format...?  Ugh, I have a love-hate relationship with technology, to be sure!)  All of the proceeds from any of my canvases, prints or cards will be sent directly to Partners to enable them to continue their amazing work with the people of Burma.  Perhaps you want to help?

I hope you are enjoying the last bits of your summer, wherever that may for me, the beach is beckoning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Those of you who know me know that I raised girls...two beautiful, sweet girls.  So, I don't have first hand knowledge of raising boys.  I know it's different.  More physical.  And probably dirtier.  :)

I see this little guy a few times a year (call me for information on a "watching them grow" package) and I can tell you, he is a real sweetheart!  He is getting more and more independent and talking up a's so fun to see!  And wow, what a charmer with those big brown eyes! 

Thanks Tor & Tiden for a fun evening!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fun little guy!

Enjoyed a warm evening with this little guy and his beautiful mom...  Typical little boy, I suppose; he was eagerly distracted by cows in the field, and playing in puddles, and the opportunity to jump off a platform into mom's arms, again and again...giggling his contagious laugh the whole time.  He also had a contemplative side, as this picture suggests...what a sweetheart! 

More pictures to come, this is just a teaser...!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One of the things I love about photography... that no matter what you point your lens at, in that instant, you are seeing the world in a unique way. You shut everything out, outside of the borders of the frame, and you decide, in a moment, what is important to the image and what is not. It doesn't matter if you are photographing people, or flowers, or mountain ranges, or grizzly bears, or fast cars...when you frame up an image, in your camera's eye, you instantly, and sometimes without really consciously thinking, choose, in that particular moment, in that particular frame, what is significant and what is not. What is relevant to the image you are creating, what is relevant to your story or your mood or your surroundings. And there are no rights and wrongs, just choices, just you and the lens and the moment.

So maybe, then, our choices are a reflection of who we are, at least in any given moment.

In this moment, when I clicked the shutter for this image, I was enjoying a really quiet weekend in the mountains. It was the kind of rare, unencumbered weekend when I actually got to start and finish a book! And take a nap in a hammock. And take a walk in the woods. So this image is pure and simple, and quiet...a reflection of who I was this past weekend…who I like to be, often.

What do your images say about you?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Dad!

Hard for me to imagine, but my Dad would be 72 years old today!  He died of cancer over 17 years ago, and, those who have lost loved ones will relate, I have missed him every day. 
Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that he was playing in a tent in the yard with his granddaughters, who called him Papa.  Or taking one of them out on an early morning trip for pancakes...or chasing one of them around the dining room in their Pittsburgh home.  And there are days when I realize how much he has missed...watching them grow, go to school, date, graduate from high school and become young adults.  He would have been so proud to watch Allison graduate from college.  And of course I thought of him on both of their wedding days, how much he would have loved seeing the beautiful women they have become.
I didn't write this post to be a I sit here in tears!  I do, however, want to remind everyone to cherish every single day you have with the people you love on this Earth.  It is so important, in our busy, list-filled, chore-driven lives, to cherish, to love and appreciate...and celebrate your life!
Happy Birthday Dad!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Okay, sure, I am a little bit biased, because she is my niece,!  She's gorgeous!  Oh...and she is really sweet, and funny and smart and athletic and...well, yep, she is the total package!  I had a great time doing some senior shots for her!  Love her, and love her family!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dory boats in Pacific City, Oregon

So, we ended up in Pacific City as we wandered along the Oregon coastline on our vacation.  We had been here before, about 23 years ago!  Happy to say that some things had changed; a great brewery, a yummy deli, a few little shops, but other things had remained the same...the town's quaintness and its reverence for its unique history. 

We happened to be there for Dory Days, a big celebration of the Dory fishing fleets that have called Pacific City home for decades.  We caught the parade on Saturday morning and it felt a little like a step back in dory boats, old fishermen, high school bands...and they still throw candy!  We ate fish tacos, three times, they were so yummy, and extended our stay a couple of nights because we fell in love with the place.

I could've watched these Dory boats come in onto the beach and push out into the surf all day, except that there were dunes to explore, tidepools to investigate, rocks to climb and beaches to wander!  I was committed to getting my kayak out into the water, one of these days, just like these dorymen, until I read about the great white sharks that loom near the Haystack Rock...pretty sure seeing one of those I would likely end up in a panic in the water! 

But, if you are ever looking for a quiet place to spend some time on the Oregon Coast...

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I've been out of touch lately...just got home, late last night, from our extended wedding/vacation trip to Oregon! 

On July 11th (7-11, such an important date, and number), we celebrated the marriage of our beautiful daughter, Allison, to this handsome (and sweet) man, Stephen!  Anyone familiar with the weather in the Willamette Valley will know that rain is almost always in the forecast, so when we woke up that morning to thick, looming clouds, we all sort of took a deep breath that this outdoor wedding would be dry!  Not only was it dry (until late into the evening when the party was in full TECHNO dance mode), but it was really, really BEAUTIFUL!  She was, of course, GORGEOUS...and they both were SMILING, all night long...that truly warm and fuzzy "love you" smile that makes the corners of the eyes light up!

The INCREDIBLE photography was done by Aaron Courter, who is not only professional and thorough, but quite sweet as well!  We also had the lovely and talented Ashley Forrette help with the photography, and she set up a photobooth for us, which was SO much fun!  Please take a look at both of their pages and book them for your next event in the Portland/Willamette Valley area!  You won't be disappointed! 

Thanks to everyone who helped make this day and evening so remarkably fun and memorable. 

My favorite moment...during the ceremony, when Stephen was so overcome with emotion after hearing Allison's vows that he leaned in to kiss her, and she said "Oh, no! You can't kiss me, yet!" 

For forever and a day.  I love you both.  Mom

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dandelion puffs!

I don't know the botanical name for these, I have just always known them as dandelion puffs!  You remember, as a kid, blowing on them, making a wish, trying to get them all off in one breath, and then watching all the little parachutes float away in all directions?  (All the while parents everywhere were cringing that you were spreading dandelion seeds all over the yard?!) 

Well, this was just a fun, quick experiment with focus points...the first, I focused on the interior (for those of you photogs, my aperture was 9.0), and the second, (same aperture, same exposure) just a second later, a focus on the exterior. 

We spent a beautiful couple of days camping in the Teton Canyon, on the West side of the Teton Range.  Now, home and enjoying a quiet weekend, getting ready for our youngest daughter's WEDDING, and a trip to the Oregon Coast!  It seems like just yesterday we were packing the girls up to head to the beach for a summer vacation... 

Maybe if I make a wish on a dandelion puff I can turn back time...and spend one more summer with little sand buckets and "banana suits" and kite-flying little girls?

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I remember my parents taking a "Sunday drive" every so often...and while I am certain it was their way of getting away from us teenagers for awhile, it was also their way of exploring, wandering, finding quiet hidden gems in the areas where we lived. 
My husband and I wandered a bit last Sunday, on our way home from a beautiful wedding on the North Fork of the Salmon River (Congratulations to Ryan and Ashleigh!).  We wandered, in fact, so much that we took the same road several times, up and back...not because we were lost (*ahem*) or because our GPS didn't know where the heck we were (*ahem*) but mostly because we were just wandering...!  We saw a part of our state we'd never really explored before; incredibly desolate and unusually beautiful country in North Central Idaho.  And we met some nice people who own and operate a great little gem of a hotel/cafe/store/gas station in North Fork, Idaho called the Village at North Fork.  Incidentally, they also catered the wedding and it was so yummy!
Here's hoping we all have time to wander in our lives, to discover roads less traveled, meet new people...and that we always return safely home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I love these faces.  They make me happy.  And sad.  All at once.
I am planning to host a gallery of Images from Burma this Fall at the Art Walk...stay tuned!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Summer, in my heart anyway...

...and we have some pretty exciting things going on around here!  I love summer, and it seems like it might actually be arriving afterall!  I especially love all the opportunities we get to travel, see people and places, and play outdoors!

We recently just returned from a quick trip to Corvallis, Oregon, home of the Oregon State Beavers, where we sat proudly in the stands of Reser Stadium to witness our daughter's college graduation!  Yay Allison!!!  We were/are so proud...a bit emotional...and overwhelmingly happy!

We followed graduation with a fun wedding shower for Stephen & Allison and then followed that with a group dinner and then a rowdy bachelorette party!  I am getting way too old for long days like that, but nevertheless, we all had a great time!  I am so entirely thankful that there is so much to celebrate, and so many great family members and friends to help us celebrate!

As a result of the crazy, busy, fun, chaotic summer ahead I have decided not to take on any NEW portrait clients for the summer months, to allow me a little breathing room, a little more play time...and a chance to catch up our fine art photography!  I finally updated my Heart & Soul Images webpage, but it's been almost a year since I've updated our Mike & Kris Ryan Photography website and we have some really great work to share!  So, stay tuned!

As for me, I have some packing to do...let the summer fun begin!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Looking for a suitable caption for this silly photo...

"The guy down the street has really let his place go..."
"For rent, a cheap fixer-upper..."
"Our neighbor is a real animal..."

Mike and I wandered a bit last weekend, and came across this little shack of an abandoned house that I thought might be fun to photograph...and then this little guy came out the front door...  Actually, there were several calves inside...and their moms standing outside hollering at them to quit goofing around!  It was a funny scene.  Only in Idaho!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Just words this time.

Nothing is so strong
as gentleness.
Nothing is so gentle
as real strength.

- Frances de Sales

I read this the other day, in a book that mostly collects dust on my bookshelf as I never seem to have time to read...why is it, by the way, that reading is such a guilty pleasure...? Why can't I curl up with a good book without feeling like there is something else I should be doing?! The never ending to do list looming somewhere on the kitchen counter...! And yes, I have even tried to outsmart that guilt by putting "reading" on the list, but alas, I am not fooled!

I digress...I loved this quote!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oregon Coast!

A spur-of-the-moment trip to the beach this past weekend proved to be the perfect way to celebrate Memorial Day. Remembering lives past and honoring the future always seems more relevant to me when surrounded by the sound of crashing waves and the sight of those dramatic coastal horizons. The chance to reflect is never more accessible than when you are walking, a little bit aimlessly, eyes down towards the sand, wind at your back, the sound of waves a constant rumble...

I love the Oregon Coast.

(...and I love my new iPhone, with the cool photography apps I've found too! This picture was taken with ShakeItPhoto and then collaged with Diptic. So fun!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I had a restless night last night, listening to the winds howl and the rain collide against the bedroom windows. I keep checking the calendar, to see if it really is almost June...and yet there is snow in the forecast? Yikes!

And then I began thinking about the days and nights we spent with the Karen people. We were fortunate to be there in very mild weather. No rain. No winds. It was warm and mostly sunny, and our only concern was overheating a little bit on our short walks through the jungle. Even the nights were lovely. Cool, but calm and relatively quiet.

That isn't how it always is there for the people trying to live their lives there. They, too, have to deal with nights like last night, where the winds are whipping and the rains are beating down...only they do it in their modest huts, on their dirt hillsides... And I am certain they do it with the same admirable grace and humility that they manage in their everyday lives.

We brought a few little gifts along on our trip, mostly for the children; books and crayons, dolls and small toys…and we spent most of a day sitting with these two young girls, sisters, in their family's home. They sat quietly with us, all day, drawing pictures, getting their nails painted, and playing with a few little toys, all the while listening to all the talk around them about the enemy that threatens their very existence. How do those girls sleep at night? I stayed up last night, worried that my new planter wasn't going to survive the storm…and then worrying that these beautiful young girls won't survive the storm that surrounds them…

I am going to update our website soon, I promise…and I am going to include a gallery of images from our trip with Partners. All proceeds from any print orders in that gallery will go toward their goal of "free, full lives for the children of Burma."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

iPhone obsession!

My daughter says I am kind of obsessed with my new iPhone...(maybe that has something to do with all the photos of her cat I've been sending her!)  I say, "well, yea, I am!"  I love it!  One of the things I love most about it is all the amazing photography apps...many of them FREE!  In a world where we sometimes obsessively concern ourselves with the "reality" of digital photography, me included, it is really fun to be able to let go a little and play with these ingenious, creative tools. 
I took this photo with my iPhone using an app called Hipstamatic, which I love.  It features different "films", including that old school grainy look, and different lenses and flash capabilities too.  And then, after my dog walk, sitting on my stoop, I tweaked it a little more with a free app called Instagram, which adds to that vintage feel. 
It's fun to play and to be creative, whatever your tools!  (...I am feeling the need for a fresh box of crayons...wanna color, Allison?!)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring in the Tetons?!

The interior roads opened up in the Tetons a couple of weekends ago so we thought we'd take full advantage and spend a couple of nights in our mobile "Yurt."  Ya know, Springtime...  We had visions of baby animals out in abundance, Spring flowers in bloom, warm days and cool nights...  Well, we might have been just a few weekends early, as it snowed.  Not only did it snow, but there was a lot of snow, particularly in the North end of the park.
We did catch sight of some of the park's notorious creatures; bison, elk, coyotes, moose...and lots of birds, like these, trying to shake off winter!
Looking forward to our next trip up to the Tetons...surely the flowers will be blooming...?!

Idaho's State bird...the Mountain Bluebird, and...

...a Western Meadowlark.

Friday, May 13, 2011

If you are in the market for a great photographer....

 ...and you live anywhere in the vicinity of the Portland, Oregon area...check out Aaron Courter's website and blog!  Okay, so I am a little bit biased because this is my beautiful daughter and my handsome future son-in-law, but really, Aaron did an amazing job!  Not only did he create great, fun images, but he also captured a bit of their personalities, which is so important in a really great photographer!  (And, they said, he was a lot of fun and easy to work with too!)  He is shooting their upcoming July wedding too...I can't wait! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother Nature.

It was so nice of Mother Nature to provide my favorite color in the sky on Mother's Day (kind of a purple-y haze)!  Okay, so I probably would've prefer it not to be in the form of a crazy, blowing snow storm, but was pretty cool nonetheless!  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, and other thoughts...

Some people prefer not to think about sad things, ever...and while I certainly see that as a valid perspective, desirable even, I have never entirely been able to manage it for myself.  I have had sadness in my life, as most have.  And once in awhile, when the sadness creeps in, uninvited, I am required to acknowledge it, and to allow it to linger awhile in my heart…because, after all, sadness is usually a result of loss…and feeling loss is a result of loving…and love...well, you can't beat love, can you?

And so today, I am honoring the memory of my beautiful Mom, on Mother's Day weekend...and the memory of my Dad as well, who was always there for me.  It is a beautiful Spring day and I wish you both were here!  Actually, I wish we were all at the beach, with a campfire in the sand, and cold beers...frolicking...but that is another story!

Honor your Moms this weekend, wherever they are!  In doing so, you are honoring LOVE!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yellowstone in early Spring.

Some of the roads opened up in Yellowstone this past weekend, so we took the opportunity to get away from our computers and to-do lists and headed up and into the park to see what, if anything, was waking up from winter!  Hard to tell, in some sections of the park, if there were any critters roaming about as the snow level is still really high in fact, in those areas, it was a bit like driving in a snow tunnel!  But, we saw plenty of bison, deer and elk, several coyotes and even a few wolves.  We also spotted a good sized grizzly heading out along a foothill (sorry Travis, that we couldn't find one for you in the Tetons)!

The best part was trying out our new rig, which we call the "Yurt".  It's our new home away from home, and I kind of fear our retirement digs...!  It's a really cool conversion van...called a Sportsmobile, with most of the creature comforts of home!  If you see us around, be sure and say hi!