Photography Friday Week 8 - A Pretty Place

Welcome to week 8 of Photography Friday. Photography Friday is a 20 week challenge to help improve our photography skills. There is a weekly prompt / theme for each week that you can be as creative with it as you'd like. This week's theme is a pretty place and next week's theme is from a low angle. For further information please click here

A Pretty Place

After you see my pictures you might be wondering why in the heck I picked pictures of fields as a 'pretty place' - you aren't alone. Let me do a little explaining. From the age of 9 until my mid 20's people I lived in Kansas. People who moved to Kansas would always say "It isn't very pretty here". I thought that was the lamest thing I had ever heard of. I know - Kansas doesn't have mountains or beaches, but there is still something breathtaking about the prairies, the wheat fields, the sunsets and the wide open skies.  

If those people thought Wichita was bad they better double count their blessings that they didn't move to Western Oklahoma where I am. Western Oklahoma is dry. There aren't rolling green hills, there aren't beaches, and a lot of other things. However, there are plenty of pretty places here in Oklahoma - you just have to choose to see it. I've learned to appreciate the 'dry' landscape and the beauty that is in it. I also know if I live somewhere like this I better choose to like something about it because well, I live there, and I don't want to be miserable.  

The first picture I took is a field located a 1/2 mile from my apartment. For some reason it's simplicity is what struck me as beautiful. I always drive by this field on my way home from Walmart. I pulled my car over on the side of the road to snap some pictures and I had an old man in a truck stop wondering if everything was ok. He had the weirdest look when I told him I was there taking pictures. 

 ISO 100   f/5.6   SS1/800

The next pictures are from the walking trails near my apartment. What I love are the contrasting colors. I love the blue sky and the brown trees. Sometimes when the sun is setting it has a magical glow. I think that's what photographers call the 'golden hour'. 

ISO 800 f/18 SS160

ISO 100    f/5.6    SS1/200

Where is a pretty place you love to go? 

Sunshine to the Square Inch


Busan Tower - Korea

It's still the month of Valentine's Day and today I'm gonna share one of the cheesiest things I ever suckered my husband into doing. =)

During my year abroad in Korea, Dave came to visit. There was a group of us that went to Taiwan (worst vacation I've ever had...) and then Dave and I only had 1-2 days in Korea because there was a typhoon in Taiwan that delayed us. I had so much I wanted for Dave to see but not enough time in the world to do it. Before I took him to the airport we thought we would make a quick stop at the Busan tower. If you are in Korea I highly recommend visiting. 

// via //

The sights at the top of the tower were beautiful. I loved seeing the 360 view of the city. Busan Tower not only offers breathtaking views of but they also offer various cultural things at the bottom of the tower as well. Next door hey had a museum of musical instruments and they even let you play a lot of them. 

Busan Tower

But what really got me excited to the zillionth level was these little tile hearts they had. You could purchase a heart tile, write a message on it and then glue it to the wall at the top of the tower. I was all about this! Dave, although it was cheesy, joined in. How could we not though? I mean, our little love tile will be there forever. 

Somewhere in our dating relationship Dave told me the saying "Love always believes the best is yet to come". We now say "With Jesus our best is yet to come". It's a saying that has stayed in our marriage and I really believe it's true. It's also a good reminder for reasons I could go on and on about.

This picture pretty much sums up each of our feelings for the love tile. 

What's the cheesiest love thing you have ever done? Would you do something like this? 

Linking up today with Bonnie RoseMelanie and Tina for Travel Tuesday.


Edible Cookie Dough, Fitted Sheets and some more randomness

Happy Monday Friends!  I have some of the most random things to share and I don't know exactly why I feel like sharing them but I'm going to.

My New Year's resolution to cut back on cookies by only baking them once per quarter was before my discovery of edible cookie dough. Have you heard of edible cookie dough? I saw it on the TV show Shark Tank and had to get some. The pint I bought has 1 bite left - one. 

February is the month of birthdays. My nephew turned one and my Dad and sister had a birthday too. It was so much fun celebrating all three of them. 

I've managed to keep a plant alive for almost a year, which is a huge deal. If I had a 'gardner's thumb' it would be black or possibly non-existent. The plant almost died but, thanks to my husband (who has a green thumb), helped me save it. It actually grew so big it is now two plants. It's about to bloom and I'm so excited. 

Isn't that little welcome home sign so nice and thoughtful? Dave and I traveled separately over Valentine's Day and when I got home he had that waiting for me. I'm saving it forever. 
Today is the first day of my 1/2 marathon training. I ran 4 miles and then went and got slaughtered at crossfit. I'm definitely a social runner and am a bit bummed all my close running friends don't live here. However the link-up, Runners Tell All, has been a huge encouragement to me with my running. I'm also thankful I have friends who I can e-mail and check in with my running progress. 

Have you tried out the app Waterlogue? I love it and I've had to refrain from posting a zillion pictures on Instagram that I've turned into water pictures.  

The fitted sheets - well I don't have a picture but the other night I was in bed and Dave tried to get under the covers. He accused me of hogging all of the sheets and just couldn't get in the bed. Well, I looked over and somehow he had gotten the fitted sheet and was trying to wedge himself between the mattress and the fitted sheet. It struck me as ridiculously funny and I couldn't quit laughing. Married life is entertaining. 

If you look to the left you'll see a button for Shea Paper Co. You really should check out Crystal's beautiful cards. Right now she is offering some discounts for her Facebook fans. To see her FB page please click here 

How was your Monday? What's a fun random thing from your life that has happened lately? Are you training for a race? How is that going?


Runners Tell All // How and Why I Started Running

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to the first link-up of Runner’s Tell All! I’m beyond excited you are here and I can’t wait to read everyone’s stories. Just organizing this link-up and knowing people are excited about it has inspired me to run more – a big thanks to you!  

Runners Tell All is a monthly linkup, hosted by myself and Amanda, that occurs on the 21st of every month. Our goal is to build a community where we can encourage and inspire each other on our running journeys. Each month we offer two co-host options. This allows for us to connect with you, advertise your blog and it also helps fund the monthly giveaways. February's prompt is how and or why you started running in 250 words or less. Next month's theme is your favorite running gear / product. For more details or if you want to be a sponsor please click here

                                           How & Why I Started Running                                         

I started running for two mains reasons...

My oldest sister, while I was away at college, had picked up running. She lost a whole whopping 40 #’s from running and eating healthier. I was amazed! When I moved back home from college she introduced me to running. She helped me learn the basics and would go on some runs with me. Bless my sister because I was a grouchy bear sometimes. Being a new runner is hard!

I mentioned I was ‘away’ for college. I went to a Bible school in Florida where I lived on campus and ate cafeteria food. I had no idea about eating healthy and I was rather ignorant on the subject. People warned me about the ‘freshman 15’ but … no one warned me about the ‘freshman 30’! Seriously! Before I left for college I had been sick and my weight had got down to 120 (I’m normally in the 130 range). In about 1-2 months I went from 120#’s to 150#’s! Did I mention I ate a cafeteria diet? A guy friend at college told me “if girls were a blow up/inflatable raft, college is the rip cord that blows her up”. Gees - Thanks, pal! It wasn’t said in a mean context but I remember thinking “that’s true”. So, when I moved home I started running, I started losing weight, I got a runner’s high and then I got hooked! And that’s how I started running.

Here is my ‘freshman 30’ picture

Here I am in October of 2013 running a ½ marathon with my husband 

                                        Runner's Tell All - February Sponsors                                 

Lacy has a wonderful little blog all about running. In my book, she is awesome because she manages to be a Mom and a runner at the same time. She has a lot of races planned for 2014 including two 1/2 marathons and one full marathon. She recently wrote a great article sharing various workouts to keep you active for when there is too much snow out. If you need some new running songs - she has you covered too! 

Straight up Z - what a fun blog name! Z recently went to skyzone in Boston and it looked amazing! I'm pretty sure that jumping on adult size trampolines counts as excellent cross-training. Z has a great little post where she talks about spotlight syndrome from running on treadmills. If you want to learn more about how she started running as well as some good running tips start here

A big huge thankyou to Lacy and Z for jumping on board and being our first sponsors! Want to sponsor Runner's Tell All? We would love to have you. Please e-mail me at sunshine2thesquareinch@gmail.com 


Everyone' needs some fun running gear and we have got you covered. Enter below for your chance to win an 'I Run this Body' shirt. You will get to pick your color and size of shirt. To see more of I Run This Body gear check them out here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I'm saying it again ... I'm so excited to read your stories! Link-up, visit some other blogs and have fun! 
Sunshine to the Square Inch


Photography Friday Week 7 // Pets or Nature

Welcome to week 6 of Photography Friday. Photography Friday is a 20 week challenge to help improve our photography skills. There is a weekly prompt / theme for each week that you can be as creative with it as you'd like. This week's theme is pets or nature and next week's theme is a pretty place. For further information please click here

Ah! This is a good Photography Friday, friends! pets and/or nature. I'm choosing pets because I have a cat. Meet Milo...

1. Milo lived at my parent’s house but when Dave asked to marry me my Dad said the cat was part of the package deal. Dave totally got tricked... you know it Dad! =)

2. While at my parent’s house my cat loved to go outside. He was the bully cat who got into fights, and didn’t let other cats around our house. So protective (and mean).

3. Milo now lives in a second story apartment with Dave and I. He is no longer a brave guy. He is petrified of anything outdoors and sleeps probably 20 hours a day. 

4. My Mom has the patience of Job and taught my cat to shake, give high fives and ‘up high’ for treats. It’s pretty amazing and fun. 

5. My cat’s favorite treat is … tape. Yes, you read that correctly. If I am opening a box he comes running and tries to eat the tape. He has also chewed up some stickers I have left out. Weird. Weird.

6. My cat has an obesity problem. Seriously! I only feed him about 1 – 2 tbsp in the morning and at night and he still weights about 18#. 

7. My cat likes to be the 'only' cat. I won't even tell you some of the naughty things he has done because of #9 listed below but I will tell you this one little tid bit ... my Mom brought home another cat once and Milo took revenge by peeing on my head at 6am in the morning. He literally got beat! It really isn't funny but yet it is funny. I'm happy to report that the smell did NOT stay in my hair. My family still laughs and laughs at me about that incident. 

8. Although my cat is a bit weird and terrible (see above)… I still love him because he is my cat and he has been good company for me during this past year while I live in Woodward.

9. I might have to give my cat away in June when we move. I'm praying we find someone who can take him. I think he would do well on a farm where he could still be fed but run around freely. 

Got tape?
"I'd never pee on my Master's head. Look how nice and cute I am"

Do you have pets? If so, what kind of pets? Has your pet ever done something really terrible but funny? 

Sunshine to the Square Inch


My Korean Year in Review

This post was originally as a guest post for my sweet friend, Chelsea, over at Lost in Travels. As you know, in the month of February I'm highlighting some of my time in Korea. This post is a review of my time there. I hope you enjoy it. I had a lot of fun writing this and now reading it again.

I decided to move to Korea for several reasons. Mainly I needed a change from my non-stop busy American life and I wanted a year away to refocus and re-prioritize my life. My friend Alisha mentioned that she was thinking about teaching in Korea and I asked her if I could join. We got all our paper work, stuffed and stuffed 4 suitcases and 2 very oversized large carry ons and off to Korea we went and WOW what a year it was. Alisha and I say it was the best year and the hardest year of our life.

Our friend lent us some traditional Korean clothes called 'Hanboks'. When we wore them to school our kids told us we looked like 'grannys'. Apparently they are an outdated version. 

Our teaching job was real interesting. Honestly, when I left for Korea I forgot I was going to go teach. However, that didn't last long because when we arrived in Korea around 9pm and our school had us work the next morning. Hello jet lag! School was the "hardest" part of my year. Our school owners had us work from 9am - 6pm and that's a lot of teaching and wore me out. Ironically school was also one of the "best" things in Korea. I taught the beginners students who knew no English. It took a few months but I absolutely fell in love with those kids. Getting to know them personally, see them grow and develop is something I will always treasure. Another best part about school was that I got to tell the kids about Jesus. Some had never heard of anything Bible related and they were so curious.

All the kindys at our school

Another best part of Korea was my church. I attended Okpo Foreigners Church. It's an English speaking church, has about 30 members and has approximately 23 different languages / cultures represented. They were my family for a year and I met so many people from other countries but our common bond was our faith in Christ. I still cherish my time at OFC so much.

Our international church in Korea - OFC

Korea also is filled with wonderful people. I absolutely loved building relationships through sign language, charades and broken English/Hangul. I learned that kindness and a smile goes a long ways.

Pictured below is a sweet lady name DaiChu (Pronounced 'dye' as in hair 'dye' and chu as in I'm chugging a glass of water...hope that helps). DaiChu owned a teeny tiny cozy coffee house. We got to know her through sign language and severely broken English and Korean. However, one of the sweetest friendships was formed.

Ever heard of long distance dating? Yep, I did that in Korea too. My boyfriend, Dave, was kind enough to let me leave for a year to learn and grow. During our time apart we wrote over 600+ emails, filled up 6 journals, had countless of hours of Skype, traveled together to Taiwan for a week and I flew home for Christmas. Was distance hard? You bet! Was it worth it? Yes! I got home February 6th and married Dave on March 24th: and I'm so glad I did!

Coming back to America was major. reverse. culture. shock. I can't fully explain why but leaving the slower paced land of rice and kimchi to the fast paced land of pizza and burgers took some readjusting. Korea taught me that I could live without Walmart, that I could eat smaller portions, that I could walk and not drive and I enjoyed it all. I left America as one girl and came back as another and I couldn't be more grateful.

So, that my friends, is a Korean review in summary. Do you have any questions about Korea? Questions about my time abroad? Let me know and I'll be happy to answer them.

Linking up with Nicole from Treasure Tromp


Couve // Collard Greens

Have I ever told you that while I was in Korea I met Brazilians? It began when two Brazilian kids were placed in my class. Although it brought more kids in my room I'm glad they were there because there wasn't anyone else that could understand their little Portuguese cries of "Eu quero a minha mãe" (I want my Mom!!!). Well, I ended up having three Brazilian students on and off through the year. The last little Brazilian boy, well, me and his Mom 'clicked'. She ended up being one of my dearest friends during my time in Korea and I so enjoyed getting to spend time with her and her family. I'm secretly hoping Dave and I go to Rio some day (sooner than later) to visit them. 

Sweet Pedro 
Pedro's last day at school. He hugged everyone and then would lift them up. 

One Sunday afternoon my Brazilian friends had me over for a Brazilian dinner (heaven while in Korea). They had filet mignon, rice, beans and some type of 'green'. My friend kept telling me this is 'couve' and I would say 'what is that'? For the life of us, we couldn't figure out what the translation was. I even googled it and it didn't help me. 

Well, a few weeks ago I happened to come across this little recipe on Pinterest and walaaa it was right there. 'Couve' translated means collard greens. Now - before you x out of this blog post you gotta hear me out. These greens are AMAZING. They are tossed with garlic, olive oil and lime. Oh the lime. It's what does the trick. Also, these are super healthy. And did I mention the lime is really amazing in it? You gotta try it. 

Here is the original recipe in an amazing picture format. 

Here is a picture of mine. You can eat the greens by themselves or eat it with beans, rice and meat. 

Have you ever eaten collard greens? Do you enjoy greens? If so, what's your favorite?


Devotions by Dave // 1

Hi friends! Welcome to my first post / series of 'Devotions by Dave'. I want to give you a little background of how all of this came about. There are a couple of reasons. First, as Dave and I dated long distance for a year, we journaled (a full post is coming on that soon). Dave and I didn't just write mushy gushy stuff but we would write what we learned in our devotions. I loved that because I could see what God was teaching him. Dave also preaches at his church on occasion when we go home to visit. I knew prepping for a sermon was work but seeing your husband work all day and then spend his evenings studying was eye opening to me how much work actually goes into sermons. So, after reading journals and hearing Dave preach I thought it would be great to share some of what God has taught him on my blog. 

The first two posts come from one of his sermons that he preached on Joel. I didn't know this what he was going to give me to blog about but it couldn't have been better. The verses he talks about where verses that I clung to during a time in my life when I was very broken. It's neat to see how God works like that. Not the broken part (that was my own doing) but to see how he ties verses together with the stories of our lives.  

Also - I was thinking what picture of Dave I needed for this and I knew it had to be one of him 'stepping off the edge'. He takes pictures like this all the time. I always thought these pictures were fun until I got married that is. Now, when he gets close to the edge I'm far away with a camera saying "Dave! You better not get too close to that edge. You are married now"! =)


In all your life have you ever seen a day like today?

This was the Prophet Joel’s question to Israel after facing one of the most devastating natural disasters in the countries history. A locust plague. Now most of us have never faced a locust plague but what about you? Have you ever faced a day in your personal life quite like today? Have you ever faced a challenge like the challenge you are facing today? Have you ever been through a difficulty like the problem in front of you now? Do you feel like your past and your mistakes have ruined your future?

Joel 1:4 describes the problem with these locusts.
  • Palmerworm – meaning to gnaw or chew
  • Locusts – swarm - many
  • Cankerworm – creeping locust to lick off
  • Caterpillar – devour or consume – rasping teeth. 

We today face issues which correlate to the locust plague:
  • Gnawing - continual bother (not a major problem)
  • Swarming - overwhelming problem
  • Creeping - lingering effects of the swarm, after the shock and surprise of that overwhelming trouble has come and gone - some of it remains and creeps into your heart and mind and trouble you incessantly. 
  • Stripping - devouring brings total devastation - seems to take what little good is left. Not just ruins your today but seems to destroy any possibility in your future. 

Maybe you feel like one  or all of those locust has got to you and you’ve missed out because of your sins and your mistakes. Maybe your past was dismal, maybe in your present the situation is messed up too.

Joel 2:25-26 
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 

Restore the lost years
You can't get your time back, you can’t undo things or change some of the consequences you’re suffering, but you can get back many of the blessings you missed and God can give you a better future than you’ve ever imagined.  A future that takes those past failures and those mistakes and redeems them to where you aren’t troubled by them or held back because of them but find joy in what Christ has given you now. God can use talents and your success, but  He can also use your failures, mistakes, even your messed up past. He doesn’t endorse or embrace your sin but when you come around he is able to use it. Moses murdered an Egyptian, David committed adultery, Rahab was a harlot  - God didn’t say 'you messed up so now you’re done'. Instead through those situations he used them.

Whatever you’ve lost, for whatever reason - a friend, your job, finances, your time, your purity, your reputation – God can restore it.  He has no limits and he can let you live a life without limits.
Even better one day he will make all things new. And that will more than make up for the insignificant things that “the locust” cost you here on earth.

Linking up with Simple Moments Stick for Faith and Fellowship


Photography Friday - Week 6 // Anything Valentine Related

Welcome to week 6 of Photography Friday. Photography Friday is a 20 week challenge to help improve our photography skills. There is a weekly prompt / theme for each week that you can be as creative with it as you'd like. This week's theme is anything Valentine's Day related and next week's theme is your pets or nature. For further information please click here

First off I just gotta say HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!! I hope each of you have a special day. 

Today I'm in Idaho celebrating my nephew's 1st birthday (who was born on Valentine's Day) and Dave is in New Mexico with his good friend skiing. Since we are apart for our first married Valentine's Day we celebrated last weekend. Normally we would have traveled but we were snowed in and couldn't really leave Woodward. We first went to Walmart together to pick out some flowers for me. Poor Dave, he tried super hard to get me flowers but he never could make it in time to the flower shop because of the snow. I assured him Walmart flowers were just fine. Personally I think they are just as pretty and I enjoy picking them out together. After the flowers we ate dinner at a local steak house. It's always odd because I order a big fat 10 oz. steak and Dave orders chicken. When the waitress brings out the food she always goes "Here is your steak sir" ... Then I pipe up "Oh, that's actually mine". It's always a bit awkward and I'm sad to say this isn't the first time that has happened either ... oh well. I gotta replenish after crossfit, what can I say? 
Here is the actual part of this post about photography. First, thanks to all you lovely readers for your suggestions and comments. I took those suggestions and implemented them. It was recommended to me that I move what I am photographing to a window to get natural light and to put props / decorate around the subject I am photographing. So that's what I did peeps and your suggestions worked great. Thanks a bunch! 

For starters - here is my 'photography box'. I was asked about it and said I'd share the picture of it. I made it from 3 thick poster boards. I cut one of them in half and then duct taped it all together. Easy! The L photo is in the dining room lighting and the R photo is natural lighting. 

In these next two pictures I can tell a huge difference from the dining room lighting versus the window lighting. We also had snow so that brought much more light in as well. The flowers photographed are the flowers Dave bought me. I thought it would be a good way to capture them in memory of Valentine's Day. 

ISO 6400    f/11  SS60
ISO 3200  f/10  SS 1/160

ISO 6400  f/10 SS1/160

ISO 800    f/2.2   SS1/1000

ISO 800  f/2.8  SS1/640

ISO 1600   f/2.8   SS1/640

This one is just for kicks (pun intended). First off, aren't those socks cute? They are from my granny and she is the best. Secondly, I was standing on my table, in my second story apartment, right by the window. I'm sure on-lookers thought I was crazy but I really tried to get some good pictures. I told my husband if the neighbors saw me they probably thought I was crazy and he said he thought I was crazy. Welcome to marriage, Dave! ;) Anyone else do crazy things to get pictures? 

What are your thoughts on these pictures? They are my favorite ones so far. I think the lighting turned out really great and flowers are just fun to photograph. I think I could have focused some of them more but overall I'm super happy with them. 

What are your Valentine Day plans? I'd love to know! <3

Sunshine to the Square Inch

PS - 50% off all my ads today and tomorrow with the code VALENTINE =)