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Changes

April 12th, 2022

I have been thinking for quite a while on making this announcement. It has been a hard decision, but sometimes you are shown which way to go. I believe that this is one of those moments.

I will no longer be photographing high school senior sessions as I have been at Portraits by Michelle. Those who have family members yet to graduate and I have photographed their older siblings or families will be grandfathered into having the option of still having their senior sessions photographed here.

As you know, I have been working diligently at creating my Fine Art Painterly Portraits these last couple of years. This art has wildly taken off and I am so excited and blessed to create these magnificent images that honestly take my own breath away!

I have struggled with back issues since I was in junior high. And as you might imagine, they have only gotten worse over the years. The cause? Honestly I think it’s just genetics. Both my dad and mom have had significant back problems.

If you have witnessed me shooting a senior session, you are aware of just how much energy I have put into creating such images. I am steaming backgrounds in advance, there is multiple clothing changes and every time an outfit is changed, so is the background. I’m up on a ladder, I’m down on the floor. I have multiple lighting set-ups to move about. On location is another story – we have many different locations, assembling, disassembling, and moving/carrying of lightboxes. We will walk literal miles to get to various locations. These sessions have taken anywhere from 4-6 hours.

My back issues have finally caught up with me. I have an appointment coming up with a neurosurgeon as I now have constant pains that go into my legs. I am not sure what his recommendation will be. But considering that I also found out I have a tear in my hip labrum, I feel some decisions are being made for me.

Does this mean I will no longer shoot seniors? Far from! I can still create amazing sports images for you with edgy lighting patterns that are so cool! I can still create fabulous montages for you that I shoot in the my studio. I am still available to create that one beautiful wall portrait that you really wanted to commemorate this special time, including gorgeous painterly portraits! I just can’t do all of this at the same time in the same session anymore. It’s too hard on my body.

Life evolves. Please do not feel badly for me. Everyone has something and I will be fine! I just need to make some modifications!

As always I strive, as with everything I do, to create the most amazing images for you!

Our Fine Art Studio Montage
Fine Art Painterly Portrait
Sports Image

My Calling

February 14th, 2022


My love of photography came from an early age. When I was young I loved to sit and look through family photo albums, over and over. When I went to school, I carefully saved each person’s school picture in my own photo album. Photographs amazed me, each was a little piece of history frozen in time on a piece of paper! They were magical! I received my first camera as a Christmas gift when I was in 6th grade, a long, skinny Kodak Ektra film camera. I can still vividly remember the first time I opened the royal blue and yellow box with my newly prized possession.

In the past, when asked about my photography career, I have referred to my first memories of taking pictures as a child and how that love turned into a hobby. When my daughter was in kindergarten, I took two beginning photography classes in Fort Dodge at the community college – beginning photography followed by beginning photoshop. My memberships with Professional Photographers of America and Professional Photographers of Iowa and the education opportunities in these associations led me to where I am today.

But there is more to the story. Today, on a day of love, I wanted to share my transition from hobby to career. I have been reluctant in the past to share because this is such a personal story. But after discussing my story with her niece and her sister, I am ready to share…

I came to know Lisa when we first moved to Algona in 1996. At that time, I sold Longaberger baskets and pottery and she had been to a couple of my shows. I knew Lisa, but not well, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt a bond with her, however, as I was a cancer survivor myself. When we came to town, I had just been diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma when I delivered our 35-week old son. I had gone through 7 months of chemotherapy. I knew a little bit about the pain she was going through with her own treatment and having two little girls.

So, every now and then, I would stop by her house with a little gift, something I enjoyed when I was going through treatment – a soft, new nightshirt, some lotions…

When Lisa was done with her treatments, all looked well! She was as beautiful as ever and moved forward with her life, caring for her children and her family.

Then one day, I heard the news. Lisa’s cancer had returned. I was so sad for her and her family.

I was getting ready in my bathroom one morning and trying to think of some way I could do something for her when I literally heard a voice say to me, “Maybe you could take some pictures for her.”

When my children were young, I loved photographing them with my 35 mm film camera. I captured many wonderful moments! I never had any kind of class, but I knew that I could take a good snapshot.

I didn’t know what to do with the words that I heard. I would happily take pictures for her, but would it be weird? Did I know her well enough to ask?

I asked a mutual friend, Dede, who was Lisa’s neighbor across the street. Dede thought pictures was a great idea and when she presented the idea to Lisa, Lisa was also thrilled!

So Lisa and her family got dressed up one day and I came over with my camera with little knowledge about photography, but a genuine to desire to do my very best at creating some images that she would love. We took pictures of her family, of her girls, of her, of her with her girls, and I remember taking a picture of her with her God-daughter, Chloe, who at that time we never would have dreamed would now be working for my husband. Our families have become intertwined in unexpected ways since then.

I had the film developed with double prints and gifted them along with the negatives to Lisa. Both Lisa and I found so much joy in this experience together. And I treasure the wonderful day we took pictures in my heart.

Then Lisa became more ill. My heart broke when she passed away. I went to the funeral visitation by myself. When I entered the church, with each picture board that I passed, I saw another image we captured on that fun day together. And with each image, I cried a little harder than the one I saw before. When I got to the front of the church, I saw a larger picture from that day, where she looked off to the side and each of her little girls was kissing her cheek. I went to my car and I sobbed as hard as I have ever sobbed. I am still breathless when I think about that moment.

When her sister, Linda, went to look for a picture to put on Lisa’s stone, she knew what image they wanted to use, but how on earth could she find it amongst so many pictures? She opened a box, and the picture she wanted, this picture, with the negative was right on top.

The truth is, I believe Lisa and our experience together led me to photography. I give credit to her for my career decision now. Because with her, I saw that taking pictures could make a difference in people’s lives. I already had a bit of an artistic ability. I just needed to learn more and with these passing years, I have learned.

My photography is more than a job for me. It was a calling from God. And with each session I pray to do my very best and make a difference in the lives of others.

Thank you, Lisa! I can’t wait until we can talk about this more some day!

Grateful

December 2nd, 2021

It’s December 1st. Is it too late to express my thanks?

I am no different that anyone else. We have all experienced stress, anxiety and trauma in the last couple of years. Recent occurrences have brought me back to a habit I had forgotten to implement in quite a while – embracing my gratitude.

I had this beautiful journal that I purchased several months ago and was just sitting on my desk. It was begging to be used.

I have found that journaling the things that I am thankful for each morning sets an intention for my day. I am grateful for hope in the future. I am thankful for my family, my husband and my children. I rejoice when I hear the jingle of our dog, Riley’s, collar or hear her crunching her food. I am thankful for my body that can move and also for my health. Many things that I am thankful for may be unexpected – beautiful shapes, colors, and textures, the smell of seasonal candles, the feeling of warmth in my home when I get up in the morning, the artistic gifts that God has provided for me….

When I consciously thank God for all of these things and so much more, I am reminded over and over of my blessings throughout the day as I live my life.

Sometimes I forget in the morning, I figure better late than never and take a few moments to journal. But if I make the effort in the morning, I find my day just goes much better for some reason.

I also give thanks for all of you who are reading this. I am thankful that you are somehow involved in my little artistic world!

Thank you! Have a wonderful holiday season!

Our Family Picture

November 20th, 2021

It’s been a few years…. Time for a new family picture. Truly, if you want to see me at my most stressed, it’s taking my own family picture. And I am not sure why… Is it because the perfectionist in me wants a great image? Is it because of pressure, because I realize that it is representational of my profession? Have I just held onto the stress of when I took pictures when our kids were young? Those times also involved dressing them, curling hair, and parenting while trying to capture an amazing memory of our life at that time. But these images truly display a real family.  You will see the beautiful, final images soon!  But this is what our lives, everyone’s lives are all about!

My New Specialty

August 16th, 2021

Today in my Facebook memories, I came across this picture that I shared a year ago. This was when I was in the middle of perfecting a new fine art style and I decided to practice on myself.

It all started in January of 2020. I happened to be on Instagram and came across some images captured by another artist from the United Kingdom. I was completely captivated by her work! Was I looking at a photograph or a painting?….

Upon further investigation, I discovered that she was coming to the United States to conduct upcoming workshops. Almost all of her workshops were very far away, in other countries, and they were all sold out. There was 3 openings left in San Antonio for her class taking place in March 2020. After a discussion with my husband, I signed up for this workshop. The following morning after completing my registration, the San Antonio workshop was also sold out! I felt I was divinely led to sign up for this class!

So, March 3rd I took off to learn! I was in San Antonio just long enough to be there for my one-day class. When I came back, we experienced the shut-down. This time has enabled me to work on skills needed for my new portraiture specialty – Fine Art Painterly Portraits!

I am officially now sharing my new-found love with all of you! It took my 15 years of experience to be ready to master this kind of portraiture.

These portraits take me hours of time. This is a style that is found more in Europe that in the United States. Each one is truly a one-of-a-kind commissioned work of art! I am printing these on an amazing, thick-textured canvas that truly gives each portrait a vintage, timeless feel and resembles fine art paintings!

My studio is nearly complete redecorating featuring these new portraits as well as new decor! I am thrilled to be sharing these images with all of you and creating true art, meant to be handed down, for you and your family!

Renewed…

August 12th, 2021

It’s been a year… for all of us.

This time has given me a chance to reflect on all of the things that mean the most to me. And these things are more precious than anything else the world can throw my way.

My husband. He and I were meant to experience this amazing adventure together! He loves me like no other could and I love him with all of my heart! Our adventures together continue and I know God has put us on the perfect plan!

My children. How on earth I was ever so blessed with these souls in my life, I will never know! I am not worthy, but am so very grateful! They have blessed me with laughter and pride and love beyond measure!

My dog. Riley is absolutely our 3rd child! We were actually supposed to get another dog from the breeder. It didn’t work out and he offered us this dog. God meant for her to be in our lives! She has provided comfort and laughter! She communicates with us so well!

My family. My parents and siblings and all of my relatives that surrounded me as I was growing up created me to be the person I am today. I love them all very much and I am thankful!

My relationship with my dad. It continues to this day. He passed away 5 years ago. He has sent me very distinct signs to reassure me that he is around and is well! Lately, a cardinal has flown by my window frequently throughout the day, no matter where I am located in our home. Last winter, I asked him a question, and if the answer was “yes,” I asked for the sign of a coin that I would notice in the middle of something – a carpet, a rug, anything… A few months later, I was in my car and glanced down. I got my answer.

Lamplight. Is that silly? I love illuminating photos and things that I love in my home with lamplight. And as I turn on my lamps each morning, I feel happiness and warmth and thankful for all of the things they illuminate – pictures of my family, vacation mementos, my home… And each night as I turn off my lamps, I once again thank God for my blessings!

Family traditions. One simple memory is every time I see a shiny penny, I think of my Grandpa Christensen and his love for collecting coins. Every Christmas, he would give each of us a shiny, new penny. When I walk into Dollar General, there is a smell that reminds me of shopping with my Grandma. When I bake, which is rare, I remember Mom always handing us a beater to lick.

All of these things and more are the very most important things to me! My photography adds joy to my life, but when I count my blessings, I actually think of all of these things first!

My greatest blessing and privilege in my life is my relationship with God and my Lord, Jesus Christ! His love for me is my reason for my everything, all of my blessings! I am blessed beyond measure that he chose me as His child! The journey He provided for us continues!

Trees…. we have had a heck of a time with trees growing in our yard. It’s so heartbreaking because it takes so long for them to grow. In the 24 years we have lived here, we have lost a full-grown maple tree, a weeping willow, 3 ash trees (one of which, came up by the root ball and hit our house during a rain storm), a second weeping willow never took off and literally blew over during a wind storm, another newly planted tree never took off because it was injured by the weed eater (we still have it, but it will never grow), we have had problems with grafted, ornamental trees, and we cut down two oversize pine trees (not a fan.) Currently, we found out our birch trees will need to be treated every year if we want to save the two. One has already suffered some death from tree borers. But fortunately, we now know that we can save them by treating them each year – TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Tree #1

Right now I wanted to focus on 3 different trees in our yard. Tree #1 is actually a lilac bush.

Tree #1 was planted by our son when he was in the third grade through a program at school called “Trees for Threes.” Each third grader receives a lilac bush to plant.

This “tree” actually arrived as a thin, little stick. Our son had such high hopes for his tree. Every day, he religiously went out to water his tree with a cup of water.

When we dug the basement to our house that currently serves as my photography studio, he totally freaked out when he saw excavators take over our yard. “My Tree!!!” We instructed all workers to avoid this area and had like literally 7 flags surrounding the stick.

The tree made it, and began to flourish. Then one year, the leaves withered and it didn’t bloom. We were sad. Was his tree dying after all of his love and care? One person who stopped by said, “I’ve seen trees come out of this before…” So we hoped, and we waited, and the next year, the tree was healthy again. It now boasts many beautiful blooms each year.

Three years later, our daughter was in third grade and came home one day proudly displaying her new lilac bush, Tree #2.

“Hey!” Our son yelled in jealousy. Her tree was about 4-5 times bigger than the tree with which he started. “Not fair!”

She watered her tree, but honestly probably did not tend to it as much as her brother because the tree was already so well established when she received it.

The tree was getting bigger and even had some blooms much earlier than her brother’s lilac bloomed.

Then one day, my husband was mowing around our weeping willow (one of our trees that died), when one of the weeping branches brushed against his eye and he mowed the WHOLE BUSH TO THE GROUND! (How? It was taller than waist-high on me.)

My daughter and I went out to survey the damage and stared in disbelief after he told us about the accident. We were both crushed. “These are the things that make a house a home!” (No guilt…) I was googling any and every way to try to save Tree #2. I stuck some of the remains back in the ground. Maybe they would just “take” and grow…. One article said a lilac may come back if the root structure was mature and established.

The next year, we saw signs of life. Tree #2 grew a little more each year. My daughter will be starting her 3rd year of college. Her tree is not anywhere near her brother’s is in size and it has not bloomed again, yet. But from the looks of it, it will. I am hopeful for next year.

Tree #3

Tree #3 was planted just before our son’s high school graduation party 5 years ago. After our ash tree literally blew over in the night, my husband said, “I think you are getting your patio.” We built a lovely space and planted some lovely plants, including this birch tree. Each year, it grew taller and more beautiful. Last year, it boasted some shade for this beautiful, but toasty area of the yard.

This spring, I was walking past Tree #3, and noticed there were no leaves, no buds, nothing…

In the back of my head, I recalled the advice I heard back during Tree #1, “Sometimes trees come out of these things…”

I had hope.

Then a trusted friend walked past. “This tree looks dead.” I thought, “Oh, please! Don’t let it be!”

This week, we found out, yes, our birch tree is dead. Very dead. Invaded by tree borers that were probably in the tree when it was planted.

I can’t stand to look at something when I know there is no chance of recovery. It’s coming down as soon as possible. We are now “tree shopping” once again. It’s time to work towards new growth.

I haven’t blogged for many months. I have felt stunned and scared and just incapable of writing anything. I am hoping in my writing today, I am on a path to some healing.

Life has felt so heavy right now. I have had a hard time at night, internally feeling the weight of the world. I often feel like I am having trouble breathing. Where are we? It feels like we have been plowed over. (Tree #2) Even dead at times. (Tree #3) I pray for growth and hope and new life (Tree #1)

Politics are not in my soul. I dislike anything that divides people. My heart is centered around loving and doing the right thing, treating others the way I would want to be treated, with kindness. I ask that no one makes political statements on my page.

I don’t know why, but I keep going through the fate of these 3 trees over and over in my mind and thinking of the current state of the world. I know that nothing compares to such circumstances. I wonder, is there any coming back? Will we see new growth? Will there be any change? I hope that we are resilient like our lilac bushes that were planted by our children with love. It’s my prayer.

This summer has flown by!  Our daughter is back in college and our son leaves in a week.

 

This time last year was honestly very tough on me.  The concept of Empty Nest is very, VERY real.  When I was a little younger, the term conjured up visions of a happy, carefree time, much like those many years before we had children.  Then as the time came closer, I experienced a deep sadness.  I felt not needed.  I felt like I wasn’t “Mom” anymore.  For a person like me, who stayed home to take care of my children, I felt like I was completely losing my identity.  I told someone today, that there really ought to be classes or projects or arts and crafts activities or SOMETHING designed for a parent to weather this passage of time.  It is a rough transition going from the crazy schedule of sports, activities, dances… to an abrupt stop in the schedule as you knew it.

 

But here we are now.  We made it!  🙂  Our family had a wonderful summer together and I saw and experienced so many blessings on a daily basis.  We have entered a new phase.  For the first time, I felt a distinct shift in my relationships with my children, the wonderful privilege of having adult children.  We have had many wonderful bonding moments throughout the years, but this time the dynamic was different.  It involved a new maturity, trust, and sharing with each other.  And I am so excited about the future and the many experiences we will continue to share together!

 

Last month, while witnessing this….

 

 

I remembered this….

 

 

And this…

 

 

And this…

 

 

And this…

 

 

And this…

 

 

And this…

 

 

How blessed have I been?!  I look back on all of these images and I am no longer sad.  I am encouraged knowing I will have so many future pictures I will be able to fill into my precious memories.  My mom days are not over!  I am so looking forward to the future!

Vacation Lessons Learned

July 7th, 2019

A month ago today, we leisurely spent our last day on family vacation in Florence.  Our kids wanted to spend some time reading that day and take in the outdoor atmosphere of a forum area where politicians once sat and debated.  My husband and I spent some time in a nearby bookstore.  We did some last minute shopping, had a lovely last meal, gathered our things, weighed our suitcases, and prepared to go home after our adventure.

 

We had a few vacations in the past when our kids were young – South Dakota/Mt. Rushmore, Disney World, and St. Louis.  As our kids grew older it became very hard for us to take time to go anywhere due to busy year-round athletic schedules.  Our last family vacation took place in New York at Christmas time in 2013.  This ensured that no basketball practices would be missed.   At that time, our son was in his junior year of high school and our daughter was in 8th grade.  We stayed a block away from Times Square.  We saw beautiful Christmas lights, took in a couple of Broadway shows, had some amazing food…  It was a lovely time!

 

This was the first summer we have had as a family in a long time that did not involve softball.  After all of these years, we decided it was time to get away.  We had many discussions on where to go.  Many were met with some degree of protest.

 

Washington D.C.?   “That feels like homework.”

Boston?                      “Nah…”

Denmark?                  “DENmark?  What’s in DENmark?!”   (By the way, almost my entire heritage, we WILL be going to Denmark.)

 

Al and I had been on a photography trip to Tuscany in 2011.  We absolutely loved Florence and nearby towns!  We had planned on taking our kids there someday.  I guess we never really considered when that some day might be.  Five years with no vacation?  And me, now a two-time cancer survivor?  Maybe it was time…  The choice of Italy was met with great enthusiasm!

 

Eleven days is a lot of time for togetherness…  I can’t ever think of a time ever in our lives that we had 11 days with JUST each other.  Let’s also add turning off our cellular data, which actually, I am thankful for.  This meant much more time that all of us were out of our phones and could concentrate on our travels and each other.  A couple of times it proved inconvenient and one of us, including me,  would exclaim, “Can we just turn on our data for a minute?!”  But after a friend at U.S. Cellular notified me that someone came back from overseas with a $10,000 bill from roaming charges, for the most part, I was pretty diligent at reminding our kids to keep their data OFF.

 

This last month has given me time to really reflect on our trip and things I learned along the way.

 

#1  A son who is 23 (he had his birthday while in Florence) and a daughter who is 19 should not have to share the same bed.

 

Actually, I knew that when I booked our hotel room.  In the past, when the kids were little, they always slept in the same bed.  It’s just wrong now.  During our last vacation in New York, once again, I made them share a bed.  I knew I was really pushing it at that time and that decision was met with a LOT of arguing.  But dang it!  Vacation in New York is expensive and I did not want to get a second room.  And don’t even think about a roll-away bed. (“It’s against fire code.”)

 

This time, by luck, we found a hotel that provided a “family room,” which had 2 twin beds and a king.  Finally, a perfect sleeping situation!

 

 

#2  Four adults with one bathroom is not ideal.

 

We made it work of course, but when preparing to get ready, it would have been nice to have 2 bathrooms.  Especially when your son accidentally breaks off the shower head.  After being left with a hose hanging from the pipe in the wall with a hand-held shower head for a couple of days, (Emma-“I just have to say, I have never been so irritated with Bo…”), we were very happy when we got a “real” shower head back.  (Although, the first shower head was SO much better… )

 

 

#3  Family vacation and photography excursion are two entirely different trips.

 

I thought I could do both, photograph family vacation and capture competition-worthy images.  While the photos that I took are priceless and capture my precious family and some beautiful scenes, I just couldn’t quite put the same kind of concentration in that I do when shooting for competition.  Two different kinds of photography require two different kinds of trips, at least I found that to be true for me.  My kids have shared many of their pictures on their social media.  I will eventually.  I haven’t even looked at my images or downloaded them since we returned.  I will share some in the future!

 

 

#4  A carriage ride for 4 adults is just not worth it.

 

Doesn’t a carriage ride sound fun?  To enjoy the atmosphere of your destination with the clip clop of the horses hooves against the cobblestone?  We went on a carriage ride in St. Louis and I remember having fun at that time.  I am sure that there must be different sized carriages…  But our carriage in Florence, equipped with seats facing each other, containing 4 adults was too cozy.  Our legs were uncomfortably intertwined.  Then add to it, a driver who barely spoke English.  We were hot, uncomfortable, straining to hear, and thankfully for the horse, the ride was short.  As we stepped down after our ride, Al mumbled, “Did you really like that?  Was that worth 50 Euros?”  The answer was obviously no.

 

 

#5  Seeing things is great, but sometimes you just need moments of rest.

 

My husband and I love to see things.  When we have been on past trips, just the two of us, we have often explored nearby areas.  We have easily put 8-10 miles on foot/day.  It’s fun to see places you don’t see everyday and may never see again.

 

So, much of the trip I had planned for us involved tours, having a driver take us to nearby towns, lots of walking and exploring…  I thought I had scheduled enough “down time.”   One day, after climbing the Duomo and it’s 463 steps to get to the top, Al and Bo decided to also tackle the Bell Tower, an additional 414 steps.  My daughter’s  attitude was like “H__L No!”  and I was fine sitting with her and enjoying watching the artists located in the street and listening to music.  While enjoying a little wine (drinking age is 18 there) and a little food, I discovered my daughter’s idea of vacation.  “I’m the kind of girl who goes to the beach with her book and sits.  That’s vacation to me.”  I really took this in.  I wanted my kids to see some amazing things, but vacation should also be vacation.  From that point on, we made a little more leisure time.  We still saw many things, but we took the pace down a bit.  In fact on the last day that I had scheduled our driver to drive us to two more towns, we canceled that particular outing completely and hung around Florence.  I am much more aware about actually scheduling time to relax on future trips.

 

 

#6  Anything involving food is the best!

 

When I was scheduling our trip, I talked to my dear photographer friend, Amy.  She is one of my talented friends who captured senior images of Emma in Des Moines a couple of summers ago.  She excitedly said to me, “Are you going on a food tour?!  You will love it!  You sample different foods from the region, learn how to prepare them, and get some history.  You HAVE to go on a food tour!”  So, we looked into it.  There was just the 4 of us walking around Florence and sampling wine, meat, bread, olive oil, truffles, gelato, biscotti, and chocolate.  This was very fun and relaxing!  There are food tours available all over the world.  We will definitely be looking into this again in the future.

 

On another day, we decided to just go to one Tuscan town instead of the 2 we had planned.  Our driver asked if we might want to sample some wine at a small vineyard.  His suggestion was greatly appreciated and we had so much fun!  We had 9 generous samplings of wine with different courses of food.  The view was spectacular and the food and wine was wonderful!  We had several bottles delivered home to share with friends.  I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone!

 

 

#7  Making the time to travel or spend meaningful time with your loved ones is something to do NOW.

 

It was so hard to make the time for travel before now.  Bo’s and Emma’s sports and their teams were very important to them and to Al and me.  We wanted them to do their best and excel.  I grew up thinking that the time to travel was after retirement.   I have had health issues and back problems.  I am guessing that these won’t get better over time.  However, I work on taking the very best care I can of myself every day.  Al is doing the same.  By the time we retire, we might not be able to go out and experience the world.  Now that our children have a bit of unscheduled time and we don’t have extended family, yet, we intend to make the most of these years.  This trip was extensive.  Our future travels will be in the United States, at least for a few years.  Next summer is my daughter’s dream vacation to Colorado.  We intend to keep making future travel plans for as long as we can.

 

 

#8  Time spent together creates an amazing bond!

 

I did not know it was possible to love my family any more than I already did, but I do!  After spending many days together and relying on only each other, I have to say that the bonds we already had are stronger than ever.  We are finding ourselves hanging out together even more and spending more time visiting and laughing together.  I know that if I were stranded anywhere in the world and only had these three amazing spirits around me, my life would be complete.  It would be filled with wit and laughter (Emma), determination and sensitivity (Bo), intellect and love (Al).  And even though he truly doesn’t want to be a doctor at home, I’d have healthcare. 🙂

 

I am thankful for this vacation time with my family and I am ready for upcoming adventures!

 

 

 

 

I’d done it many times before, just not recently. But on Thursday night, I really screwed up.

 

My computer has Microsoft Office Suite including Outlook, which has been the means by which I access my email for years.  Because I was going to be out of the office in the near future, I thought it would be a good time to look up how to access my email directly from our server.

 

Did I remember the password?  Nope.

 

Found it!

 

My server has always fed my email straight into Outlook.  If there was mail in the server site, it was about to be dumped into Outlook.

 

I noticed that there seemed to be quite a few emails on the server site that night.  But recently, as I have checked my email on Outlook, I have had ridiculous amounts of email.  Many of my attempts to unsubscribe had seemed to fail.  I was getting 200+ emails/day.  So I didn’t think much about it as I quickly scanned the first emails, checked “select all” and emptied the folder.  I hate having a number sitting by my trash box.  I have regularly emptied my email trash in Outlook – actually every day, at least once if not more.  I hate having too much “stuff” sitting around my house that I don’t need.  The items in my trash folder were no different.  So, next, I emptied the trash on my server.  Then I exited, went to my Outlook, and I was stunned.  All of my inbox was GONE!  EVERYTHING!  Vendor price lists, warranties, and other important emails.  I mean, they HAD to be important, right?  After all, I had never rid of them.  I very well might need to access this information some day!

 

I gulped, I felt flush, I panicked!  These 2 accounts had never been linked before.  How did this happen?!

 

I contacted a friend and told her about what I had done.  How could I have been this stupid?!

 

Her response?  “If you were a criminal, they would be able to recover your email.  It’s on a server out there somewhere.”

 

She’s right!!!

 

The next morning I contacted our local utility company, our email server.  They told me to contact Microsoft.  Seriously?  I’ll never get a person to explain what I did….  After many attempts and many big breaths, I reached a person.  He explained how he would see what he could do by uninstalling my software and re-installing it.  “This will take up to 15 minutes, you can put me on speaker phone while I work on your computer.”  As soon as I heard the words “speaker phone,” I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.  But, I did as he said.  And after about 5 minutes, I heard a “click, buzzzzzz” on my phone.  We had been disconnected!  And my Office Suite including Outlook was completely gone!

 

I was in complete panic as I attempted to get another person at Microsoft and explain not only what I had done, but what their other employee had done.  I could barely make sense.  After some time, he restored my Outlook and my other programs.  He explained that because I had initially made my deletions from my server, they would have to be the ones to recover any emails.

 

Yep, that makes sense…

 

I placed another call to our utility company and made contact with customer service.    If I had know specifically what I had deleted, they could search for it.  “I deleted everything at 9:30 p.m.  Does that help?”  No.  As horrible as it was to lose my inbox, it would have been worse if they had been able to recover all of my email.  I took a big breath, had an adult beverage with my dinner that night, and accepted the fact that these emails were gone for good.

 

Even as I write this, I feel my body tensing up all over again.

 

I had a couple of “saves.”  I tend to print and file a lot of important information.  I also tend to respond to many emails.  My sent box was still in tact.

 

One girl told me yesterday, she was a little jealous of my deleted emails.  She currently had thousands in her inbox.  I’m glad I don’t have that, but I somehow wish I could have looked over those emails one last time before I deleted them.

 

Now, I am left with just trust,  trusting the universe to provide for me any  information that I might need.

 

I think it’s going to be okay….

 

 

 

 

 

 


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