Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Future Of My Blog

Here I am again with another gap (3 months) between my posts. Every time I wanted to sit and write, something else or someone else needed my attention more. Our lives got busy with school starting, my husband coaching soccer, and of course our five precious kids. Now that it is the middle of October, things have slowed down a bit, which I am thankful for. Soccer season is over for my husband and we are on our school routine. Routines are always great for us! We are looking forward to the holidays!

I could fill you in on every little detail in our lives that has happened within the past 3 months, but I won't do that. Suffice it to say, our kids are growing way to fast! Instead, I am going to fill you in on a personal venture that has been going on with me and the future of my blog.

Last year I started a photography business. Photography has been a hobby of mine since I was 14. I am 32. Yeah, I know kind of a long time to wait to finally turn it into a business. Mind you, my focus the last few years has been on my kids. Next school year, all 5 kids will be in school, pre-k through 4th! I will have more time to be able to run a business. I have written a little bit about my business on here, not much seeing as it didn't go with my niche. I will share a link to my Facebook site below.

The camera (Fujifilm) that I had broke at the beginning of August. I was devastated. It was one that I have had since February 2015. Thankfully I didn't lose any pictures because it takes an SD card. I have had the camera for a while and one thing you should know about me is I love cameras and I love taking pictures. I love being creative while editing in Photoshop. I enjoy capturing memories for people so that they have something to treasure for years to come. The feeling of devastation was valid.
My old camera.
I am was in the market for a new one anyway and it is was on my Christmas list. Little did I know, my husband already bought me a new camera (Nikon D3500) and was going to wait until Christmas to give it to me. He told me he had a huge plan for the present, too. He was sad that he had to give me my camera early. He gave it to me in the middle of August. I had some photo shoots scheduled and he knew I didn't want to disappoint my clients. I have been using my new camera basically non stop in all of my free time (instead of writing).
My new camera.
I am so excited that I have a new camera! With that said, what does this mean for my blog if I am going to be diving head first into photography? To put it simple, my blog won't get as much attention. When I do blog, I will be blogging more about my photography I will still write about my family, faith, hope, love, and friends (the roots of my blog), but I want to share more of my photography skills.  Readers, please be patient with me as I make some changes to my blog. I hope you will continue to support me and read my blog! Know this, no matter the changes to come, my blog will still be a place where I want light to shine in a dark world, where you can always find faith, hope, and love. 

My logo!
Check out some of the photos I have taken with my new camera (only sharing pictures of my kids)!
Link to my Facebook page is below!










www.facebook.com/jessical.martinphotography

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Where I Have Been - A Four Month Gap

You may have noticed that my blog has been silent for the past four months. Part of it is because I have been busy (a good busy) with my family. Another part of it is because once my desktop computer (where I do a lot of my writing) would connect to the internet, it would cause everything else connected to the our internet to stop working. My husband and I think we finally have it fixed. Yay! It took a lot of uninstalling some programs as well as updating my desktop and making sure it didn't have any computer bugs.

I last wrote a post at the end of February. A lot has happened, I will just give you all a bullet point list of what has happened. 
-We celebrated our first Easter, as well as some other minor holidays in our new home (remember we moved at the end of October).
Easter Sunday

-Our daughter turned 2 and I turned 32 in May.
Birth and 2 Years Old

-School ended for the 2018-2019 school year for my husband (he is a teacher) and our boys. Our four boys finished the school year very well. Landon, our second child, graduated Kindergarten! We have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, and two preschoolers (our 4 year old will be entering his last year of preschool for the 2019-2020 school year).
Logan, my husband, and Landon on the last day of school. 
Landon and I after his graduation. 
Top row is the first day of school of Logan and Landon. Bottom row is the last day of school of them. 
Liam on the first day of school (top left is the first day at his old school and bottom left is the first day at his new school) versus his last day of school. Can't believe he has one more year before Kindergarten!
Lucas on the first day of school on the left and the last day of school on the right. He will do 2 more years of preschool!
-I got my first tattoo! More to come on this in a different post. You may recognize the meaning of the tattoo from my blog title: Faith, Hope, and Love. 

-We became members of our new church. To tie into this point, we are making a lot of new friends in our new area. We are so happy to have a church family here, and new friends!

-We have already been on a summer vacation to see our friends and family from the area that we moved from. We also took a day trip to Columbus, Ohio to the COSI Museum (Again, more to come on that in a different post).

-I am continuing to work hard towards hobby turned business of photography (www.facebook.com/JessicaL.MartinPhotography). 
Landon lets me practice taking pictures. Sometimes our other 4 kids let me, but mostly Landon. 
A dandelion before it turned yellow. 
Two huge things happened since I last wrote.
-The first is that my husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary on June 27th! We got anniversary/family pictures done to celebrate. We also were able to get a date in while we were on vacation and had childcare for our kids. It has been an amazing 10 years with my husband. I cannot wait to see what else is ahead for us!



-The second biggest thing that has happened is that my husband has his teaching contract for next school year AND he was hired as the assistant soccer coach for the high school (where he teaches) boys soccer team. 

I want to center on the last bullet point for a moment. We went through a waiting period toward the end of the school year. We didn't know if my husband would get his contract for next school year. It made for a stressful few weeks before we knew anything for sure. I did my best not to worry, but I did have some weak moments where I worried. I worried about another job change for my husband. I worried about another move for our family. We just moved here at the end of October and we didn't want to move again. In those weeks, we had so many people praying for us and we just kept trusting God (like we always do with everything). Something that I firmly believed (and still do), that helped in the times when I would worry was that God would not have opened doors and allowed us to move here if He didn't want us in this area. God would not have opened doors and allowed for my husband to get the teaching job (high school history teacher) if God didn't want us in the area that we are in. I am so glad that everything worked out and that my husband and our family. Going forward, I pray that God will use my husband, myself, and our family to be a light in the area that we live in. We are coming up on the one year mark since my husband got this position as a teacher, and since our move. Even though we miss our friends and family, we love where we are. God is good! We are really blessed.


Now that my computer seems to be functioning properly, I am excited to be back to writing again. I hope my bullet points have caught my readers up to what is going on with our family. I hope my readers are having a wonderful summer. I know we are enjoying our summer. 

No matter what you are going through, keep faith, hope, and love the center of it all. 

*Answer these questions for my next blog post: Do you have a tattoo? If so, what it is and what was the inspiration to you getting it?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Watching The Sun Rise

I love sunrises and sunsets. They are a few of God's many beautiful creations that I love. We live in an area where I can easily watch the sunrise. This morning, I stood outside on our big porch and watched the sunrise. It was the first time I was able to do so since moving here four months ago. I went out around 6:45 a.m. and I took pictures as the sun rose up over the hill. If you haven't ever watched the sunrise or the sunset then I suggest you find a time when you can do so. There is something so relaxing about watching the sunrise or sunset. Not only are you in the fresh air, but you are watching something so amazing!

Let my pictures do the talking:
I am just so in awe at how beautiful God makes the sky in the morning and in the evening. As I was watching the sunrise this morning, I looked for Bible verses about the sun. Psalm 113:3 came up. It says, "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." I praised God for the beautiful sunrise. He spoke to me that I need to take more time to reflect and praise Him. I don't do it as often as I should. Every year my resolution is to grow closer to God. I reflected on what He has been doing in my life and I praised Him for all of it (the good and the bad). Take time to reflect on your life (the good and the bad). Be thankful for everything in your life. A great way to reflect is by watching something so amazing like a sunrise or sunset, or even looking at the stars at night.
I hope you enjoyed the picures of the sunrise. I hope you were encouraged by it in the same way I was. Take a moment and be in awe of the sunrise or sunset. Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you ever watched the sunrise or sunset?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sunbutter Sunflower Butter

*This post does contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

Sunbutter sunflower butter. What comes to mind when you see that phrase? I bet some of you may be thinking it is a makeup product or trend. I am sorry to disappoint, it is not a makeup product or trend. It is actually a food product.

Sunbutter sunflower butter is made from sunflower seeds that are grown in the United States. It is an all natural product that is free from the top 8 allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, wheat, fish, and crustacean shellfish. The reason we have added it to our list of products we love is because our daughter has a peanut and tree nut allergy.

Our daughter, Leliana, is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. We found this out on her 1st birthday in May of 2018. At her 1st birthday party we served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was the perfect kid friendly meal to serve to our friends and their kids. Leliana had her first PB&J sandwich at her party. About an hour later her body was covered in hives. We took her to our local urgent care where she was given a round of steroids and allergy medicine. They told us to be cautious and not to give her anything containing peanuts or tree nuts.
Right before Leliana broke out into hives.
In August of 2018 we saw an allergist. Leliana was given an allergy test. An allergy test consists of several shots in the back that contain a small amount of each allergen. Then you have to wait a certain period of time to see if there is a reaction. Leliana was a trooper with those shots! Sure enough Leliana reacted to peanuts and tree nuts. Thankfully, her allergy is not airbourne. We were given a prescription for two epi-pens (epinephrine autoinjector). So far, we haven't had to use either of the epi-pens.
How she felt about the allergy testing.
Back to the product, Sunbutter sunflower butter.  In October, I found Sunbutter sunflower butter at our local Kroger. I was so excited because everywhere else only had peanut alternatives, not peanut and tree nut alternatives. As soon as I got home, I had my daughter try it and she loved it. She still loves it! While her brothers eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, she eats sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches. I also have had sunflower butter. It tastes really good. It is sweet and more creamy than regular peanut butter. The texture is thinner than peanut butter, which I like because it isn't as heavy as peanut butter.


All of the types of sunflower butter. Picture courtesy of their Facebook page.
Sunbutter's Facebook page has several recipes that sunflower butter is used in. I have not tried any of them yet, but I definitely plan to. Below is a simple breakfast that I do with the sunflower butter for our daughter. It is toast with the sunflower butter spread on to it and a smiley face made from raisins. Leliana absolutely loves it! We also do the basic sunflower butter and jelly sandwich!
If you or someone you know has an allergy to the 8 common allergies then this product is for you! Share with anybody you know that has an allergy and is looking for something that is free from the 8 common allergies. Let me know in the comments if you plan to try this product. Do you have an allergy, if so comment and tell me more about it!