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ephiphanie ginger camera bag for sale

© Tina Vega Photography

In an effort to ‘lighten’ my current carry load during sessions, I have purchased a new camera bag.  Which means I no longer need my beloved Ephiphanie bag.:(

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

The lowest price you will find for this bag new online is $143.41 (click HERE for details).  I’m selling my bag for $60 – I’ll even throw in a super cute, matching My Funky Camera strap for an additional $20 (originally $44) if you’re interested.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

The bag is padded and lined in teal fabric.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Has tons of pockets and storage and a removable shoulder strap.

© Tina Vega Photography

Other than a small amount of edge wear, the bag is in perfect condition.  I purchased it because it looked like a purse, prompting more everyday use.  There is also plenty of room for extras – like lenses, snacks, or even diapers!

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

If you are interested in purchasing the bag, let me know.  [I will be posting it to Craig’s List after the holidays unless it sells here first!]

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make time {for rest}

I know it might seem really easy for me to talk about how important it is to “make time for rest” while recovering from surgery.  But resting has never come easy for me.  In fact, I used to tell myself and others that being busy was my rest.  Sure, I would go through my calendar periodically and create intentional gaps of space (“margin“).  But I struggled with downtime.  I didn’t know how to rest.

make time

And I suspect I am not the only one who has trouble in this area.  If you (like me) find yourself saying “being busy is my rest” we should probably take a look at the definition of rest:

1. to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
2. to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.

1.  an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
2.  an object that is used to support something.

To truly rest means ceasing activity.  To stop.  HALT.  [Hmmmm, where have I heard that before?]  Rest is a means of reducing stress and recovering strength.

Sounds pretty important, doesn’t it?

I have talked this over with like-busy friends before and somehow our busy-ness always ends up being rationalized, justified, or both.  While I never believed it was God’s intention for us to fill every second with activity, it was never as clear to me as it is now – after being forced to stop.  In my stillness not only can I hear myself more, but God as well.  Which I suppose is why the bible has so much to say about rest:

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him.  Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.  Psalm 37:7 (MSG)

Teach me, and I will keep quiet.  Show me what I have done wrong.  Job 6:24 (NLT)

The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat. Mark 6:31 (MSG)

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

As much as I tried to rationalize or justify my busy-ness, it is clearly not part of God’s plan for my body or life.  As the surgical pain recedes and my body becomes stronger each day, I am working hard to be still and listen.  I want to hear God’s small voice when he says, “Stop, that’s enough.”  Instead of overriding/ignoring my body’s need for rest, I am slowing the pace and relishing in the moment – focusing on the task, instead of the task list.

And it’s not easy, not at all.  But I am learning.  And in the stillness I have come to realize that my worth is not tied up in productivity, that delegating is a good thing, and that most things can wait.

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2015 december weekend crafting/cookie baking/relaxing retreat

© Tina Vega Photography

A few days ago I shared a dream that had been sitting in limbo for some time.


About wanting to host a Christmas-inspired weekend crafting/cookie baking/relaxing retreat at Lake Superior Barn.  And every single one of you [who took the survey] were on board with the idea as well. :D


I let everyone know on FB/Instagram that I bit the bullet and booked the weekend of December 3, 2015-December 6, 2015 at Lake Superior Barn in Maple, Wisconsin.  And within moments, I began receiving hold requests for spots.

At this point, ONLY THREE SPOTS REMAIN!!!  If you are interested in attending, let me know ASAP.  A deposit of $100 (due 2/1/2015) will secure the spot with the remaining balance of $95 due 7/1/2015.

© Tina Vega Photography

I am working on a list of crafting/baking/gift-making sessions that will be open to attendees.  Registration will be required for those wanting to take part and supply lists will be provided.  [There is no extra cost to attend these sessions outside of bringing your own supplies!]  Too, attendees will be assigned in pairs to provide one meal to share with the group.  I’ll make some type of sign-up sheet available so we are not eating the same thing all weekend!  [Once I receive final payment from everyone in July, confirmations (along with details regarding the crafting/baking/gift-making sessions) will be sent out.]

There will be also a super special dinner Friday night that I will provide.

© Tina Vega Photography

The plan at this point is Lake Superior Barn in 2015 and Green Haven Retreat in 2016.  I will keep you posted as I know more!  [As a side note, I pulled out my real camera for the first time in SIX WEEKS yesterday and played out back in the Winter Wonderland.  SO.MUCH.FUN.]

Jodie - December 11, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Tina, please hold a spot for me if one is still available. Thanks! Jodie 12/11 at 4:28

Tina - December 11, 2014 - 7:03 pm

The last spot is yours, Jodie!

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when inspiration hits, roll with it


The weekend was filled with laughter and inspiration.  I woke early Friday morning, grabbed a cup of coffee and spent the next couple of hours reflecting on our last 10 years of scrapbooking retreats at Memory Lane.  Life happened here.  We have celebrated the joy of new life several times over, shared recipes and favorite products, swapped stories of motherhood and marriage, laughed and cried together – we have even have grieved the loss of a dear scrapbooking friend.  Faces have changed over the years but one thing is certain:  when you bring a group of women together, magic happens.

When stories and struggles are shared, friendships are born.  Souls are nutured.


And I am so honored to have a place among these ladies.


As I spent time in my journal over the weekend, a dream came to life.  An idea I have been flirting with for the last two years.  I bounced it off the ladies this weekend and decided to make it REAL by bouncing it off all of you.  So here it goes…

WHAT:  A 3-day weekend that includes crafting, baking, and relaxing with a group of 15 women.  There would be several Christmas-themed project sessions available – creating holiday decorations such as wreaths or garland, for example, baking cookies in the gourmet kitchen, creating one-of-a-kind gifts, giftwrap, and more!  Downtime could be spent reading, storytelling, knitting, paper crafting, dreaming, snowshoeing, or otherwise enjoying time with friends old and new.

WHERE:  Lake Superior Barn (pictured below) located 30 minutes east of Duluth, Minnesota.  Click HERE for details, just be sure to watch the video to get a full view of the place inside and out!


WHEN:  December 3-6, 2015 (or a similar weekend in 2016)

COST:  The cost for a 2015 weekend would be $195 (a 2016 weekend would likely see a rate increase); for those participating in the Christmas-themed project sessions, a supply list would be sent out in advance of the retreat.  You would be responsible for bringing your own supplies.  Teams of two would be assigned to provide/prepare one meal for the group over the weekend and I would provide one very special meal.

It’s possible this Lake Superior thing could be a one-time event, I’m not sure.  After all, I’m simply chasing a dream at this point!  There are a lot of “what-ifs” and changes to consider:

- What if we wanted to return to Memory Lane the following year and our old spot was no longer available?  [I would like to find an affordable location, relatively close to the Twin Cities area, that could accommodate a larger group of women (Memory Lane is limited to nine).  One spot I have in mind is Green Haven Retreat in Eau Claire, Wisconsin – everything is located on one floor (no more STEPS!) and Green Haven was designed for a group of sixteen.  It also sits adjacent to one of Wisconsin’s largest independent scrapbooking/stamping stores (click HERE for details).]

- While the place boasts a lot of amenities it appears there is no WiFi, telephone, satellite or cable television.  Is this true?!!  [Yes.  We would be able to stream movies on the big screen television from an iDevice but would otherwise be unplugged for the weekend.  It would be a time of rest, renewal, and reflection.]

- What if I want to scrapbook that weekend, where will I be able to work?  [Lake Superior Barn is a 4,250 square foot vacation home on Lake Superior; while it boasts a great deal of space, this location is not a designated craft destination.  It would recommend planning ahead, bringing only what you need for a specific project or two.  There might also be room to add a few small lightweight folding tables like THIS or THIS or THIS.]

- Do I have to be a crafter to attend?  [No!  You just need to be a woman looking for a time of rest, renewal, and reflection.]

There would be no magic, however, if not for YOU!!!  The December Weekend Scrapbooking Retreat is incredibly important and any changes I plan to make, will not be made without first giving everyone an opportunity to weigh in.  I want to hear your thoughts so I have created a short survey to give you a voice.  Click HERE for details.  (Please respond ASAP as a decision needs to be made this week to guarantee availability.)

We have had an incredible 10 years at Memory Lane!  As I look ahead to the future, I am looking for ways to ‘lighten’ my current workload.  Hauling heavy equipment up and down the steps at Memory Lane?  Time to let it go.  Hauling groceries and cooking most of the meals?  Time to let it go.  My recent surgery brought with it some long-term physical limitations and that’s okay.  This just means that it’s time to simply, to hone in on the things that matter most.


And as I mentioned above, the December Weekend Retreat matters a great deal.  I want it to continue to remain affordable, to always feel special, and to stay in place as long as there is breath in me!  I want to provide a place for scrapbooking, bill paying, knitting, meal sharing, cardmaking, hot beverage sipping, stitching, journaling, lesson planning, crocheting, reading, gab sessions, and everything else that has made these last 10 years so special.


Are you in?

cindy starbuck - December 8, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Have always loved the December get away. Would love to be included moving forward. I know my mom and sisters feel the same!

Lynn Peterson - December 8, 2014 - 2:55 pm

It was so wonderful to be a part of this time honored tradition! Thanks to Crystal for giving me the weekend as a gift. And thanks to Tina! It was my first Memory Lane Retreat and you made me feel at home. It was great FUN, ladies!! Looking forward to hanging out together again sometime.

Sandy Downs - December 8, 2014 - 7:17 pm

Thank you, Tina, for making the retreat what it is: relaxing, fun, and very special. Thank you to everyone else who attended–loved spending the weekend with you!

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this holiday season


I am hiding in my room at the moment while my husband tackles the tree and other Christmas decorations.  Hiding because the old Tina overcomes me when faced with familiar tasks.  Without even a thought to the surgical repair, I squatted (a huge no-no) while helping my husband look for lights. I have also been sort of bossy – clearly time to step away.

I am my own worst enemy, I swear.

Hiding in my room is sort of like a timeout, forcing me to regroup.  If I want to avoid future surgeries, I must change my behavior.  When the old Tina rears her busybody little head, I am often blind to it (until the painful consequence).


It is going to take a whole lotta prayer for me to change.  A ton.  In the meantime, we came up with “an alert word” to shake things up when I get out of line:


And I hear it often in one day.:) My prayer is that I will no longer need to rely on others to tell me when I have overstepped my bounds.  That God will help me to recognize what I am doing well in advance of any painful consequences.  That I can change.

xmas collage4

This holiday season we plan to keep things simple.  We talked about what traditions mattered most to us as a family and what ones could be shelved. I must admit, I am finding the shelving part difficult.


Perhaps all of these limitations are a giant HALT from above.  Setting aside much of what I love to gain a healthy perspective.  To restore balance.  To appreciate even the smallest things (like sitting, for starters!) and to help me focus on the details that matter most.

Have you stopped long enough to ask yourself why you do all of the things you do during the holiday season? Have you sat down and written out why you want to celebrate Christmas? Have you asked yourself what you believe about this season and what is really important to you?  All great questions to ponder.

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