Friday, July 30, 2010

Smooth Skin

Watch and Learn Photoshop Smooth Skin Tutorial

We start today with a link to a video tutorial about how to smooth skin in Photoshop.  It is a great tool for making professional looking portraits.  This week, I received a new SLR camera and have been taking portrait style photos of the kids at work and editing them (cleaning noses, adjusting lighting, smoothing skin, etc.). It has been a lot of fun, but also, it is a lot of work and works a different side of my brain than I am used to.  I don't think of myself as an artsy person (not that there is anything wrong with it), I just haven't used that side of the brain much, so it has been fun to learn and see whats possible. 
I will post pictures when I get permission from parents.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Verse of the Week (July 28th)

Hebrews 12:1
 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

What is it in my life that holds me back from giving it my all?  How can I focus on the race marked out for me and stop getting sidetracked by all the little things in life?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

God and Poison Ivy

So the other day I was charged with the task of weed eating a path into the forest at my work.  There was a path last year, but over the winter and spring the plants grew in over it.  While I was out there, I noticed quite a bit of poison ivy.  I've known for a while that poison ivy grows near ferns that have the antidote for it.  Why does this happen?  I don't know, but I can't imagine the two plants really needing each other so close.  Maybe they just like the same soil and environment or its a coincidence.  Quickly my mind jumped to God though, and how it seems like someone planned for them to be near each other for us.  So that when we get a rash from poison ivy, we can quickly put it out.  It just appears too planned out for some other reason to make more sense.  I had to stop and thank God for thinking about us throughout the creation process.  Even though evil exists in this world, God has a plan that will thwart even the best that the devil has planned. 

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Amen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paulsbo Boat Trip

Awesome day today.  God is good, 80 or so degrees, nice water for a boat trip.  We started from Whidbey Island and headed south, we cut in behind Bainbridge Island at Agate pass and then wound our way down to Blake Island (which is just north of Vashon Island).  While we were winding our way through the nice calm water, I heard a loud V8 rumble, I slowed down and looked behind us, there were 4 ocean racers closing fast (I first heard them about a mile away over the sound of our own V8).  I'm not sure how fast this first group was going, but they were flying, just the propellers were in the water.  A minute or so later this guy (pic1) and one other boat started closing in on us, so I gunned our boat (which does 52mph) and the race was on...well, we got smoked pretty bad, they were doing 70 or so, just went cruising right by us.  A few minutes later we rounded the corner and were greeted with this great view of Mt. Rainier(pic2).  We then cruised around Blake Island and were going to stop at the marina there, but they didn't have room for us.  So we decided to go up to Paulsbo. It has been quite a few years since I have been to Paulsbo, and I have to say I was quite impressed, they at least have very good taste in cars (pic3).  We had some pizza at a wood fired pizza place on what appeared to be the main drag through town.  It was quite good I an would recommend it to others visiting Paulsbo.  Which itself, was quite a cool town, I really liked all the Scandinavian stuff and feel to the town.  Pretty much an awesome day.  We even got to see a few porpoises, but no pictures as they were off before we could really get set to take pictures.  Speaking of which, it is really hard to take a picture in a rocking boat.  Trying to compose the shot is nearly impossible.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Garlic Pizza Crust:
1 1/2 C warm water
1/4 oil
3-5 cloves garlic crushed
2 C Whole Wheat flour
2 C all purpose flour
1T sugar
1T brown sugar
1T honey
1t salt
1T yeast
+pizza seasonings
Pre-heat pizza stone in oven to 500 degrees for 1 hour (or so)
I put all of this in my bread maker on dough setting and an hour later I come back to really good smelling crust.  I then split it into 2 balls.  I roll each one out and then put on some tomato sauce and my toppings (Sausage, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, bacon, cheese).  I put it on my pizza stone and cook it at 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Let it cool and then enjoy.  Yummy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I get to do a portrait photo shoot soon at work (with children), I am super excited.  I was wondering if any body had some tips or hints on what to do to make it the most successful it can be.  I've been reading up online and will share some tips later.  Mostly I think I am worried about having enough different good poses.  We will be doing the shoot outside, so hopefully the sun cooperates.  I'm thinking of trying to keep most of the shots in the shade so the sun doesn't cast shadows on people or in the background, but I will be trying different things in the coming weeks as practice. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Picture of the Week (July 21st)

So this picture may not be a great photo from a technical standpoint, but I wanted to show off this Dahlia near my house  The photo doesn't make it look as big as it really is, but the flower is huge.  It is at least 10 inches in diameter.  I'm not quite sure how it is being held up.

Bible Verse (July 20th)

Luke 4:
 16He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
 18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
   to release the oppressed,
    19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

This was his ministry on Earth, if I am striving to be like him, shouldn't my life look similar?  In what ways can I make my life look more like his, and less of mine?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Flank Steak

This is the first blog that will be a recipe, there will be more to follow, but not a whole lot at this time, as I don't have the time to spend trying a lot of new recipes.  However, this is one of our favorite dinners and it is fairly inexpensive if you can get flank steak on sale. 

1.5-2lbs Flank Steak
Garlic powder
Honey (or Brown Sugar, they caramelize on the meat, and it adds a lot of flavor)
Johnny's Seasoning
Teriyaki Sauce

I lay the flank steak in a cake pan and sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder and johnny's seasoning on both sides.  Then I put a little bit of honey on each side (trying to get it all over).  Finally, I fill the pan (over the top of the meat) with Teriyaki Sauce.  I let it marinade for 12-24 Hours.
When I am ready to cook it, I heat my grill on high, till it is hot, and then cook for 5-8 minutes per side (depending on how well done you like

Maui Days

This is one of my favorite pictures we took while on our honeymoon last year in Maui.  It is of the view that we had out of our lanai.  Just sitting and looking at this pictures makes me feel the warm Hawaiian air.  We took this picture while staying at the Sands of Kahana, in the town of Kahana which is just north of Kaanapali.
Everyone told us that Hawaii is one of the best places in the world, and we had such high expectations when we got on the plane to fly there. And I must say that all of our expectations were blown out of the water.  What an amazing place God has created.  We almost got in an accident the first day because I was so distracted by all the beauty around.  So we had to stop and get out and play in the water for a little bit so I could refocus and continue the drive to our hotel.  We can't wait to go back someday (hopefully not too far off).  There will be more pictures of the week from Maui in the future, you can bet on that.
This photo has not been edited at all (except for the Copyright logo).

Quote of the Week (July 14th)

"Open your hearts to the love God instills in them. God loves you tenderly. What he gives you is not to be kept under lock and key, but to be shared. The more you save, the less you will be able to give. The less you have, the more you will know how to share. Let us ask God, when it comes time to ask him for something, to help us to be generous. " -Mother Teresa

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bible Verse of the Week (July 12th)

From the NIV Bible (Read the full story Luke 10:25-37):
Jesus asked the expert who was a neighbor to the man that was beaten and robbed:
37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
      Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Heard a good sermon on this topic this weekend at church titled something like, the consequences of love. As a society, I feel we have tried to make love be something that we do when its easy, and not when it is hard.  I think it is a message we all could hear a little more.  I'm sure the Samaritan had places to go, things to do (just like the Priest and the Levite), but he chose to stop, and help the man out.  How many times do I walk by, and ignore whatever is going on?
Applying this to the book I've been reading (When Helping Hurts).  The Samaritan saw the man and was able to address the needs the man had.  The man didn't need help with development (schooling, or a job), he needed relief.  That is what was given to him by the Samaritan. He took him to the inn, bandaged up his wounds, and paid the innkeeper to look after him.  This wasn't quick, it was costly, both in time and money.  The Samaritan was the hands and feet of Jesus to this man.  Now its our turn.
I am good at loving when it doesn't cost me anything, but is that really love?  When its hard to love someone or inconvenient, will I choose to love them, or walk by? Love so often asks more of me than I want to give.
How am I being a neighbor to those around me?  What are we the church called to do?  Who do I need to do a better job loving?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

4th of July

I know this is late, but I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July.  We had a great time with family and friends on Whidbey Island.  The picture here is of the firework show in Freeland, WA (on Whidbey Island).  It is a small town show, but it is still pretty good.  The best part of my 4th was being able to see and talk with my cousin who is serving in the Marines in Afghanistan.  Skype is pretty sweet for being able to connect people that are that far away with video and audio interaction.  It was cool because a bunch of people got to walk through the house and say hello and get a short conversation with her.  Afterward, they took the laptop outside and tried to show her the fireworks going on here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Photo of the Week (July 8th)

Here is our first Photo of the Week.  My wife took this picture a few weeks ago of my Grandma's Dahlia, it is a great photo.  I did some High Dynamic Range lighting to it and this is how it turned out.  On the right is the original.  I really like how it turned out.  It appears to me to be more of a drawing or painting then a photo.
So how did I do this?  Well, I opened my original file in Photoshop CS5 and did some simple levels adjustments (with layer adjustments).  Then I when I got those to look how I wanted, I did Image-Adjustments-HDR Toning (this is a new feature in CS5 for single images).  The menu comes up and I adjust the Detail slider to my liking (in this case I brought it almost all the way up).  I adjusted the Raidus and the strength (to make the edges stand out even more).
I really like playing with this feature, but a word of caution that it can get overdone and over used really easily. 
Let me know what you think in the comments...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What I'm Reading - When Helping Hurts

My book that I am reading right now is called When Helping Hurts - how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself.  It is a great book, I will post a review of it when I am done with it (2 chapters to go). I think it would best be read in a small group study where the people involved are looking for ways (or currently are) serving the poor in their community.  It is set up as a study, with questions before and after each chapter. 


Welcome to our new Blog, we are hoping to get it up and running with posts and all the features we want in the next few months. Enjoy.