If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Snapshot- Forbidden Gardens

Ni Hao Yall

You may have been to the Forbidden City, but you have probably never been to the Forbidden Gardens.


You have probably never even heard of the Forbidden Gardens.


It is not as big as the original...



But it is a great replica of the Forbidden City and Terra Cotta Warriors


If you think you might like to go and take your little Chinese princess, you better go soon.

Because they are tearing down this multi-million dollar exhibit to expand a road.



Yep, all of these artifacts are being auctioned off and the permanent structures are being bull dozed.


So if you live near the Houston area, I recommend that you head over and check it out before the end of February when they close their gates. 



We pulled Jack out of school on Friday and took a family field trip to check it out.  Jack kept saying that he was going to the Mulan Gardens.   


Ruthie loved all of the little replica houses that were all over the park.  It made me wonder where I might find an authentic Chinese palace doll house.


So as usual, I have lots of pictures left.  I figure in honor of Chinese New Year, I will post more over the next few days for those of you who might live a little too far from Houston to visit yourself.


You may have to put up with a few "pretty girl" moments.



And then we will get back to the history stuff.  This was Sam's favorite part- the weapons room.


And Jack loved the music room.



Ruthie loved the little houses.



Thanks for staying with me for all 19 pictures.  There is more to come...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

He Meets Us Where We Are

I heard a quote today from a lady who died from cancer this week.  This passing mother of a small child gave her testimony of how her illness had led her to Christ and she said, "I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to leave, but I am not afraid to die".  I thought that was such a powerful statement.  She grieved leaving her family but she knew where she would spend eternity and that did not scare her.   A relationship with Christ not only brought her eternal life but it also brought her peace at a time of uncertainty.  God met her in that time of uncertainty with the truth of what she needed most.

I remember when I started asking real heart questions about God.  I was about 15 years old and wondering if I would ever see my mother again.  I was a teenager who desperately needed a mother.  At that time, God kept putting people in my path who spoke of my mother's faith like I had never heard before.  The knowledge that my mother really trusted God as her Savior helped me to continue seeking Him beyond the Sunday morning obligatory visit to mass. He met me with answers to the deepest questions of my heart.

Skeptics would say that these 2 examples reflect someone's desperate attempt to find answers and thus believe whatever makes them feel better about their circumstance.  That view saddens me because once you know Christ as your Savior you understand that both of these stories reveal the heart of God ready to meet us and waiting to meet us at our time of need.  He knows your heart, He knows your deepest desires and questions, and He longs to answer them.  He is just that relational and He loves us that much.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Black and White Wednesday-SuperSAM

You might think he looks like Superman.


But he has informed us that he is not Superman.  He is SuperSAM!




Every good superhero needs a faithful sidekick

And a photographer mother


We love you SuperSAM and I love the fact that we are on day 4 of wearing your new pajamas

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunday Snapshot- Shutter Speed

Ni Hao Yall

I have been playing a lot with my new camera.  On Friday I decided to experiment with shutter priority (Tv) since I spend most of time normally in aperture priority (Av).   So I figured I would share with you how different shutter speeds affected my pictures.

This first set is Sam jumping from the stairs to our living room.

Shutter speed= 1/2000.  Notice how sharp Sam is with the faster shutters speed

Shutter speed- 1/4.  I love how you can barely see Sam who is moving here but Ruthie is still clear with this slower shutter speed.

After he jumped off the stairs, Sam ran in front of the camera a few times for me.  I kept the shutter speed slow in this one at 1/3.  Notice how only his foot is in focus.  Now we know how the special effects people make it look like there are ghosts in the room.

When I raised the shutter speed back to 1/2000 we can see my smiling Jedi a lot better.

Of course I had to let Ruthie participate.  Here she is twirling at 1/200.

And then at 1/4.  Like Sam's pictures we actually start to completely lose some of her body parts with the slower shutter speed but we can see some cool motion in her left arm.

Those of you who only shoot in automatic are probably wondering what's the purpose in all of this shutter speed stuff.  Well it allows people who are better photographers than me to create some pretty cool affects with their action shots that I hope I will be able to replicate with a little more practice.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Making Choices

We have some key phrases (that are all very similar) that we use in our family:

-"We do what you have to do so we can do what you want to do"

-"Sometimes you have to 'fill' the part before you 'feel' part"

-"Wherever you are, be all there"

Jack generally doesn't like school which I believe has its source at being jealous that Sam and Ruthie get to be at home more.  I have told him several times that he has a lot of school left and he is going to have to change his attitude about  it.   Well, when the Weather Channel came at Christmas several of them were telling him how they got where they are.  So the day before the end of winter break, Jack announced that he has decided to start liking school since he wants to be a meteorologist like Adam Berg.

I can say those motivational phrases over and over to him but it doesn't matter until the decision becomes his own.  I am so proud of him and I can say that he really hasn't complained about going to school since being back for a couple weeks.  In fact, this week he won the Caring Award at school that they give once a year to a boy and girl in each class.   I am so proud of him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black and White Wednesday- Stay Weather Ready

When we won the Guaranteed White Christmas, Jack got a few autographed pictures from local and national meteorologist.  When it was all over, he wanted to make his own to send back to them. So we did.
He signed all of these "Stay Weather Ready -Jack".  I told him we needed to come up with a line and he said "oh mom I already have one".  It was pretty cute.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Snapshot- Tea Party in the Field

Ni Hao Y'all


I have great neighbors who don't mind me calling them regularly for last minute photo shoots whenever I get a new toy or an idea.  Our girls have been a number of things including, but not limited to, fairies on the golf course, cowgirls in the hay field, princesses at the nail salon, and now participants at a tea party in the middle of a field.   These were all taken with my new Canon 5D mark ii.  I am going to love figuring this camera out.  I know it has a lot of potential that far exceeds my ability. :)











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