28 December 2009

Photos that are engaging...

We finally had some time on Christmas day to take some photos. I am glad that we took them in the early afternoon because I got so sick that evening. My Love took care of me while I was sick that night. He is so sweet and cared for me even when I was sicky. :^( But we got lots of good photos and some really cute ones to boot! I love the one where we are both throwing leaves up over our heads the best.

21 December 2009

Time for air

I have no idea when Heath and I are going to do engagement photos. Maybe Christmas. We need some nice photos that I can use in stuff. Of us. Together. I want some nice pictures of us maybe in some leaves or something. I want some photos to put up here of us so that ya'll have something to look at other than photos of my decor. By the way, the date is set for sure for February 20, 2010. We are so excited!!! Needless to say, I have been sleeping a little better these past few days. The invitations have been ordered, the photographer has been booked, and the cake supplies have been bought. My dress should be back from the cleaners this week (I am going to call today) and I should be getting in more of the decor elements this week as well. I also ordered my veil, YAY! I won't tell you about it here since Heath reads my blog too and I know he wants it to be a surprise. Maybe I should post the "secret stuff" on my other blog 'The "Other" Party Girl'. Hmmm. It's a thought. I also made the RSVP cards to go inside the invitations. By the way we will have a wedding website, but before I give ya'll the URL I wanted to try to finish our registries and add those nice pictures I was telling you about. We found a place to live and Heath just has to go in and sign the papers and pay the move-in fee and we will be able to move in February 1st. Not together obviously! I am going to work on packing this week as well. There is so much to do for a wedding. I had no idea. I am so excited about it though and am having fun with it. Heath and I just look at it as a big adventure. After all, our life together is going to be an adventure too!!! Look for those engagement photos soon!

15 December 2009

Wedding Loveliness

Alright, I am going to spill some beans. The wedding is a winter one, so I have decided to go with a fittingly wintry theme. I am loving light, icy blue and ivory as well as some silver and gold. I am going to post some inspiration photos so that you can get an idea of the elements that are going to be used in the decorations.

Heath and I love the outdoors and nature so I loved these snow and icy looking birch branches. Mmmm, yummy! These are going to be a big part of the decor since they are nice and tall (3-4 feet) and I can do lots with them. YAY!

I am also digging these vases, which I did happen to purchase. I love thinking of how I will be able to use the things from the wedding and reception in our home. You are starting to get a sense of the color palette now, right? I don't want to much of a blue since I don't want things to look corny. I want sophistication.

Well, that's all the hint you get for now. I am going crazy with wanting a nice set of white dishes. I can't wait to start cooking for my Honey Bee!

02 December 2009

Engaged! Ashley's side of the story...

I am engaged to Heath Higby! Here is my side of our engagement story...

It was normal, cool fall day after Thanksgiving. Heath asked if I wanted to go on a hike since he was off work and I had had a short day at the hospital. I was anxious to spend some time outside so of course I said yes. We agreed to go up to the Bronco Trailhead in the Tonto National Forest towards Seven Springs. On the way there, I convinced poor Heath that there was a cool canyon that we should try hiking only to find that it was choked with plants and was awful to hike in. It was a bad detour. After about 20 minutes of not going anywhere fast, we aborted the mission and headed back to the car and our original plan.

We got to Bronco Trailhead and started our hike in at about 2:30. We had loved hiking this trail before since it was nice, but not too pristine. It was just a plain and simple trail with lovely views and scenery. There are a couple of places where you can see the city way off to the south, some little desert meadows, and some valleys there that you would have never imaged being there. It is a beautiful hike.

The last time we hiked out here, we had come to a ridge that had been burned in the big fire a few years ago now and found an old burned up tree with a brach laying off to the side. We made ourselves a makeshift bench out of it and watched the sunset. We had returned here to enjoy another sunset and watch the cold front blow in.

Heath had his jet boil with him and made us some hot chocolate with the cute little marshmallows in it. I so appreciated it since it was starting to get coooler. It began to get darker and so I said that we should start hiking back soon since I didn't want dad to start worrying. He worrries more than mom. Heath looked a little disappointed, so I said that we could stay for a few more minutes but he considered me before himself and said that we really should go anyway.

On our way in and also on the way out, we had talked on and off about getting married. Heath had asked me about what I thought would be a cool way to be proposed to. I told him that I didn't really care ho he did it so long as it was a surprise. And I told him that he'd better have his camera! As it grew darker, the light of the moon grew brighter and added to the light that we shed on the trail with our headlamps.

As we got closer to the trailhead, we stopped to look at the city lights briefly and then continued on down the trail. All of a sudden, Heath stopped and pointed my attention to the sky. "Wow. Look at the moon," He said. I looked up and there was a giant ring around the moon. I didn't remember ever seeing anything like it before. I was amazed and stared at it for a couple of minutes before I looked back at Heath to see what he thought.

When I looked back to where he had been standing, I had to look down to find him. He had kneeled in the middle of the trail next to me and had a ring, glittering in the moonlight in his hand. I was so shocked. He asked me if I would marry him and through both tears of joy and laughter, I said yes. For the next twenty minutes I cried and then laughed and then cried and then laughed again. It had definitely been a surprise. And he remembered the camera. :^)

We took a picture of the two of us with the ring around us and the moon behind. Then we prayed together. We thanked God for bringing us together and for all that we have been blessed to learn and grow with each other in. We prayed for each other. We prayed for our kids and for our future. It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful moment in my life so far.

09 November 2009

A blink and a smile

Last night, Heath and I went to a prayer and worship night at church. It was amazing. One of the songs we sang was 'How He Loves', a song I hadn't heard really since I got back from camp. I must say that each time I have come back from being either a camper or staff at JH Ranch, there is one song that is like the theme song for my time there. This was the one from my time there on staff this summer.

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.

Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

I stood there beside Heath, among friends and our church family singing the words to the song that awaked my heart this summer. I was awakened to love, awaked to God, awakened to the hearts of others. Honestly, it hasn't been easy since camp. It is a battle every single day to always thank the Lord and be joyful and to talk to Him. I have never been a very confrontational person, and I usually keep my feelings to myself unless I am upset about something. But the Lord has been showing me that I don't have to be confrontational to be myself and to tell people how I feel. It has been a crazy journey, but a good one. My heart feels freer and freer every day that I trust in Him for my strength. And I am always failing. But the sweetest thing is falling down and knowing that He will still always pick me up in all my imperfection.

OK. So back to last night, there was a point in time where the worship leader, Ryan, asked everyone to break up into small groups of 3-5 and pray with and for each other. Heath and Nathan and Sarah and I had "adopted" each other since all of our families either weren't there or don't live here in town. So we broke away into a group all our own and each began to tell the others things on our hearts to pray for. The four of us have known each other for some time, not necessarily in the deepest sense, but we have spent a lot of time together. It was such a sweet time. We shared things that made us cry; things that have been on our hearts; things that we hope for and dream about. We prayed for each other. It was beautiful.

When everyone gathered back together again, we sang a few more songs and I don't know that I have experienced worship like that since I got back from camp. Heath was singing and I was singing and I felt so much joy right then and right there. We were one in heart, praising Jehovah Rophe. We didn't care what we sounded like, we just sang out hearts out and praised Him. Oh such a beautiful, wonderful night!

Afterwards, Sarah and I got to talking about books and the kids in our Sunday School classes and TV. I love Sarah. I don't know if I have met anyone sweeter than her who is so confident in herself and who she is in the Lord. I admire that so much about her. Heath and Nathan were talking too, but I was having too much fun visiting with Sarah to notice the subject of their conversation! Heath and I hadn't eaten anything before we went to the church since we weren't hungry, and by the time the thing ended, I still wasn't famished or anything. Sarah and I walked up to where he and Nathan were talking since they were kicking everyone out for the night and I asked him if he was hungry yet or not. His signature smirk glanced across his face and he blinked once. I knew that face. It was the 'are-you-really-asking-me-this-because-I-know-you-can-read-my-mind' kind of look. I never realized that it's just sort of a signature expression of his until last night. I said "No. Actually I don't even know why I asked that because I know that you are hungry." And we all just laughed.

A blink and a smile. That's all it took for me to know exactly what he was thinking. I love that. :^)

05 November 2009

I Hate Music Lessons

This little short was so cute! Mom and I watched "Bell, Book and Candle" with James Stewart in it and there was a trailer for "The Man from Laramie". There were credits of the characters and one of them was Baby Dumpling. Mom looked him up and we found this cute little clip from the 1941 film "Blondie Goes Latin." Larry Simms and Janet Burston sing "I Hate Music Lessons."I bet you'll have a hard time getting this little tune out of your head, just watch. :^)

New Layout

OK. I went ont he hunt for a new blog template and this is what I came up with. I just thought that I needed to give my blog a little facelift. I want all of you who read this to enjoy looking at it and for it to be a neat place to come. I also don't mind that I don't mind looking at it now. I need some excercise. I'll be back.

Time for change

I got fed up with sitting on my butt in front of my computer the other day. Just plain fed up. I decided that if I was ever going to make cool photographs that I wanted to make, I had to go out and actually make them. I grabbed my Leica. I also went digging in my old film stuff and grabbed a set of closeup filters. They were never super good on my old camera, but I figured that maybe the awesomeness of the Leica glass would make up for it a little bit. I went outside and felt a little blinded by the late afternoon sun. I started out really badly. My first ten pictures reminded me of the awful rolls of film I shot when I began photographing nine years ago. Bland. Uninteresting. Out of focus in uninteresting ways. Like I said, it was bad. But as I pushed on I really tried to think of how the camera was seeing my subject matter. I became more in tune with the relationship of my viewfinder to the lens and how that translated to the image. I began to see some images that I liked. Then I went and broke away from some habits that I have been addicted to like shooting things only in overcast/shady light. I am guilty of usually prefering to shoot things without dealing with harsh shadows. I must say, I think I am intimidated by shadows when shooting. I have no earthly idea why. Maybe it's just that they are such a strong visual element in a photograph and if you don't pay attention to them during composition, you can have some ghastly effects in the final product. I experienced this while doing some self portraits a while back. Sheer curtains have a strange tendency to look like prison bars when the sunlight shines through them onto a wall. Oops. So I jumped out of my own comfy photogging boundaries into the new and bold.

  • I shot with the light behind my subject
  • I took pictures with random bits of sky in them
  • I forgot to focus
  • I used my shutter speed dial - something I haven't done in about 7 years
  • And I liked the results

I was happy with the outcome of my latest shoot. It felt like the beginning of my photographic career, when all I had was an old Minolta with some closeup filters. The only thing different was that this time, I didn't have to cock the shutter and wind the film. :^)

01 November 2009


My face is officially off Facebook! If you need to find me, I'll be right here on my blog. :^)

22 October 2009

Inspired - garment series

Ok, after living away from home with a bunch of girls this summer, I decided that it was time for a wardrobe makeover. (p.s. I am still working on the shoe department though) I put together this little outfit Wednesday afternoon after a busy week at work with the relieving thought that I didn't have to get up early this morning (I slept until 8!). With the event on me romoving my face from Facebook on November 1st, I was a little sad and was missing all of the girls that I had been privileged to live with. A while back I had put up a little blurb on Facebook saying that my wardrobe was going through a serious makeover thanks to these girls and I figured that I should finally show some proof. So Ashley, this one is for you.

This outfit is:
Fun yet understated. It has a relaxed and casual sort of feel and I love it because I love to feel like I look nice and still be casual.

30 September 2009

Talking to my Heavenly Daddy

I realized something after talking to Heath. How hard it really must be for parents to let their children go. To let them grow up and go to college, to work somewhere, and to get married. So often I find myself reminiscing about my childhood. I remember so many things. He and I were talking and he mentioned how the first five or six years of our lives we don't worry about anything or think deeply about any kinds of problems. We have no cares because we know that our parents are there. We know that they keep us safe and provide for all of our needs. We are free to play and shovel water around the yard and to swirl around in our kiddie pool. How short a time it seems to have been since I was that way. I can remember every detail as if I was there just a moment ago. I can smell the slightly mildewy odor of the kiddie pool when Mom first took it out of the garage. I can feel the squish of wet St. Augustine grass under my bare feet and feel the soft warmness of the new Summer sun on my skin. If these things seemed to fly by for me, they must have seemed like mere seconds to my parents.

Now I did have another thought. Today as I was sitting here at home trying to get rid of this cold I picked up, I decided "to heck with picking up my room and making sure everything is tidy. I have been needed to take some time just to do something for myself." To do something that I love. I decided to create a piece of artwork. I relinquished all of the pressures of making it look good for anyone in particular. I quieted my inner critic and dove in. Somehow my thoughts turned to my current state of happiness. To be honest, I have felt quite cynical of myself lately. I began to think of when I was a child and how my feelings about my everyday life were different then. How I was joyful and played and danced and had innumerable ideas of things I could create. Where did that joy and love of life go? I wondered. I wanted it back.

That brings me back to the beginning of my story. As a child I depended on my parents and did not have to worry for anything. I was joyful and happy. As a grown person now, what keeps me from resting in my Heavenly Father in the same way? He has so much more power and ability to keep me fed and safe and content than the entire planet of parents combined! So where did I get to be an unhappy, cynical, griping adult with a too often negative outlook on life? Did I realize what was happening here?! I had bought a lie! The enemy has been doing his best to drag me down and make me believe that I am just an ordinary adult with an ordinary life that has responsibilities and could never possibly have the faith of a child. I have things much more important to hold onto like my job, my comforts, and even my family. I can grip everything so tightly that I choke God right out of it. Too often I don't let Him hold me, and I don't hold on to Him in return.

I am drawn inward again to think of my childhood. Back to the backyard in the floppy, vinyl kiddie pool my sister and I swam in. Back to the wet grass between my bare little feet. Back to the warm, summer sun on my skin and I remember something. I was at peace like only a child could be. I wasn't jaded by the "stuff" that happens in life yet. There were no bad experiences save fighting over a toy every now and then. I just waited to hear my Mom's voice calling me in for grilled cheese sandwiches or homemade pop-sickles and I trusted her with my whole heart. Just the way our heavenly Daddy wants us to trust Him. What a freeing thought!

I am reminded to let the Love of the Lord pour out in my life and to be who the Father created me to be. He made me creative, funny, thoughtful and inventive. So why keep all that inside? I need to be who the Lord created me to be to give Him the glory!

01 September 2009

Dress Hunting Warrior Princess

Ever since getting back from camp, I have been on the hunt for a dress fit for a maid of honor to wear to her sister's wedding. (Yes, my dream has come true. I am finally getting to be something other than a flower girl at a wedding.) Now, you may think that it wouldn't be that hard to find a nice formal dress that fits right and looks nice. Not so fast. This is no ordinary wedding! My sister Amy and her beloved fiancee Jeremiah set their precious hearts on a Celtic wedding. I was so excited! We found a really cool pattern for Amy's dress and mom had a seamstress make the dress from a fine linen and some really beautiful lace. I can't wait to have pictures to put up. After Amy left, I remembered that I too needed something to wear and set about looking at resale shops, on eBay, and at the mall for something that would work. I found a couple of candidates, but they were too drab and too short for the occasion. After some more digging on the internet, I ran across Pearson's Renaissance Shoppe. And let me tell you, as soon as I saw the Forest Princess dress, I knew that I had found my outfit! So I bagged that beast and soon it'll be hanging up in my closet. Thank goodness there isn't a taxidermy fee for dresses.... :^)

-No, the photo is not of me, but I was too excited to wait to put my own pictures up!-

26 August 2009

Summer of Love - Part I

"Arise, SHINE, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you." Isaiah 60:1

Hmmm. Where do I begin? I must say even before I being to tell the story of my summer, that the Lord is good. His mercies are new every day and His righteousness shines like the sun. He is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness. As I have learned to be faithful and wait on the Lord, He has been faithful to show up. Part of being in a right relationship with God is believing and trusting in Him and although I am a fallible human being, the Holy Spirit has the power to produce true righteousness in my life as a believer. I have encountered the love of God in such amazing ways this summer and am so excited to share it with you! I cannot help but want to write down everything that He has done and tell everyone about it.

I guess I should start by telling you about my feelings going into the summer. I was alone. And scared. And hungry. I knew that God was up there somewhere and that He said He loves me, but I wanted to feel it. I wanted to feel His love in my life. I wanted to have a personal experience and I was begging God for that. I saw a lot of the other summer staff at JH Ranch that had had encounters with God, and I could see it in them and on their faces and hear it in their voices. I have to admit that I was jealous and even angry about it sometimes. I didn't understand why God wouldn't just do something and show up.

That all began to change one night in the Big Top a few weeks into my time there. I sat in the back of the tent after listening to the dating talk and just broke down. I asked God to tell me that He loves me. I opened my Bible and the Lord immediately showed me Psalm 63. The verse (3) that says "because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you" just really got to me. I sat there reading it over and over again. My heavenly Father spoke so clearly to my heart that I could not deny His voice. He also told me that it was OK to be hungry and thirsty and to need help from Him, and He promised me that He would show up.

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my sould thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you in the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. They who seek to destroy my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced."
-Psalm 63

I realized that the love toward other people that Bruce had talked about was impossible without the Love of God. I came to the realization that I couldn't love others if I didn't let God love me. Oh, but it gets better! As I walked back to my girls staff house that night, I was so overcome by emotion. I had only sobbed like this maybe once or twice in my life! Truth be told, I was actually quite glad that I was alone on that walk home. There is a wooden one-lane bridge that I had to cross to get home and it marks the end of the long driveway into the ranch. As I crossed over it, still sobbing, something made me look up at the night sky between the trees. I saw millions of glittering stars. I looked back down and walked a little ways. Again something made me look up at the stars and I saw the majestic ribbon of the Milky Way clearer than I had ever seen it before and I laughed a little. As I kept walking and looking, the Father of all creation in His infinite love spoke to my heart and told me that He loved me. He wrote me a love note in the stars and said, "See all of these stars? They may seem small and insignificant, but I want you to know that I love you. And even though I may not have spoken to you through visions and angels like some, I am going to reveal my love to you ways that are special for just you and me."

Now, at this point I had reached the beginning of the driveway and was laughing and crying at the same time. I had heard Him! He was personal and gentle, yet His love was so powerful and strong. Eventually I went inside my house and began to read again and He showed me Psalm 45:11.
"The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." -Psalm 45:11

He was promising to show me His love in little ways that I would not expect, and even in big ways that would blow my expectations away.

-Look for Part II coming soon!-

29 June 2009

Matilda's Vintage Closet

Ladies, this is the neatest place ever to go find the best vintage clothing and accessories! I heard about Matilda's from Andie Miller, a girl who I met at the Element. http://www.theelementsite.com/ We decided to go down there on a Saturday. Matilda's is out in Old Glendale in the main street part of town. We tried on a bunch of hats including some vintage swim caps and all kinds of things from cloches to wide brimmed beauties. The way Matilda's new store is laid out, she has almost all of the hats on one wall in the front of the store. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I saw all of them. You see I am not much of a shoe girl, but put me in with some hats and I'm gone. All of the clothing in the store is arranged according to decade. She has a whole mess of vintage wedding stuff and also a men's section too. After Andie and I got tired of trying on hats, we tried on some clothes. Andie found a great mint green dress with little white polka-dots on it. It fit her perfectly! I tried on a vintage 40's Teena Paige dress and some other things. I also tried on a really amazing black velvet and fur Victor Costa. I just fell in love with it! So without drooling on and on about all of the wonderful stuff at Matilada's, I'll just show it to you!

Mmmmm. Yummy.

I officially know of the BEST deli in Scottsdale! It's called Chloe's Corner in Scottsdale Kierland. They have all kinds of stuff form sandwiches to salads and other deli delights. My friend Heath had gone in there to grab something before he came up to my house the other day. He talked to the owners and asked them what they would recommend. They told him to get the smoked turkey and the roast beef. No joke, these were the most awesome sandies I have ever eaten. We split them and each ate half. The turkey sandwich had cranberry sauce and just the right amount of turkey and bread (which also had cranberries in it) and whatever else they put on it. It was devine! Then we dove into the roast beef sandwich. By this time we had gotten into the little paper bags of pickles that they had thrown in. Once again, AMAZING. I'm not usually so keen on roast beef sandwiches, but this one had pickles, tomatoes, provologne cheese, some kind of dressing (but not too much) and lettuce and oh man, was it good. It was on the best bread ever. I am not sure what kind of bread it was, but I am seriously thinking about going in there and asking them. It looked kind of like a square ciabatta bread, but it tasted waaaaay better and was soft and just moist. It was foodie heaven. Now the best part about this joint is that they sell real cokes from Mexico. Yes, we are talking about the ones with sugar and not high-fructose corn syrup. If you haven't been into Chloe's Corner, you should go. It's a little higher on the price side for some since the sandwiches are around 6-7 dollars, but if you appreciate really good food, then it's worth it. So go check out Chloe's!

06 May 2009

Finally! Hike Pictures...

I finally had some time to do some editing the other day and started in on the Canyon Lake hike that Heath and I did last weekend. It was one of our favorite hikes so far, with a beautiful canyon stream at the end. We hiked about 9 miles total (me in my Chacos), and loved every mile of it. The photos are in order...

This is my favorite photo from the trip (below)

29 April 2009

Chuhuly Exhibit - Part III

This is the third installation of Chuhuly photos from the Botanical Gardens. I told Mom and Dad how many photos I had taken (over 700), and that it was taking some considerable time to sort through them all. So here are more of the glass installations...