Thursday, November 24, 2016

Black Friday 2016!

First of all: Happy Thanksgiving!!
I truly hope you've had a warm and happy day filled with too much food, and plenty of love and warmth.

Second: We love shopping, we love giving, and we love a great deal.

So here's our Black Friday sale this year, and it starts right now:

Use code BF2016 to get 30% off everything at therustedchain.com! 
That's huge!

Third: Saturday is "Small Business Saturday." I'd like to strongly encourage you to support small businesses on this day. Whether it's online, in your hometown, down on Main street, or wherever. You'll be supporting small business owners, and you'll probably get a more unique product than any big box store can offer.

Fourth: Stay tuned for our Cyber Monday deal!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

October Barn Wedding

A few times a year I get the chance to photograph a wedding, which is one of my favorite things to do.

My recent bride and groom were so beautiful and fun to work with!
Easy, relaxed, and crazy in love.


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Megan & John, thank you for allowing me to work with you on the most important day of your lives. Thank you for trusting me in so many ways!
God bless your new life together. I am so happy for you!! Congratulations!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Finding Bliss

Something I easily forget is that problems are inevitable. Tough times will come because we're fallen people on a broken earth.

I tend to think that happiness & peace are just one step away... I'm so close... if I can only grasp it, troubles will melt away and bliss will begin.




But there will always be struggles... stress and drama and schedules and harsh words and uncertainty and hurt feelings and confusion and doubt. The bliss comes in knowing I'm loved through it all. It comes in wisdom and knowledge to handle the hardships. It comes in a life that reflects God and honors others. It comes in stretching and learning and growing. It comes in knowing there are greater things ahead than any we leave behind.

Find bliss in the moment you're in.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Do's and Don'ts to help a hurting loved one

Your dear friend or family member is hurting deeply, battered, bruised, life turned upside down.
What can you say or do? It feels awkward and uncomfortable.
You want to help but you're at a loss.

I asked a few people who have been through some tough times.

Here are a few collective thoughts.

DON'T:
- Tell your loved one to get over it. Don't tell them something like "it's for the best." Now is not the time for tough love.

- Say something like "God works in mysterious ways" along with a sing-songy voice. Yes, He does. But at this moment in their life, that's not helpful.

- Offer advice, unless they specifically ask you for it.

- Let judgment creep in. You may have opinions about them, their behavior, their choices, but now is the time to keep those things quiet. Your loved one needs LOVE, not woulda shoulda coulda's.

- Act awkward. They already feel it. You do too. Don't enhance the awkwardness. Also, don't go silent or avoid them.

- Minimize their situation. Their pain is very real and should be treated that way.

- Say "Let me know if you need anything." This is a tough one because that's our true thought. But the friend who's hurting is not likely to take you up on that offer.

DO:
- Send them random notes, text, or FB messages letting them know you're thinking of them.

- Offer food. Everyone has to eat. Rather than saying "let me know if you need anything" say, "I'd like to have food delivered to you one night this week. Which night would work best?" That is more helpful than leaving the ball in their court. Be specific without being forceful.

- Listen if they want to talk. Be strong if they want to cry. Laugh if they want to laugh. They may want to talk about their situation or they may want a mental break from it. Be alert and aware of what they need.

- Treat them as normal! If you're usually chatty with your loved one, be chatty with them! If you're usually sappy with them, be sappy with them. If your thing is to send each other inappropriate memes, send inappropriate memes! If you usually go on walks together, keep going for walks together.

The hard time in their life doesn't make them an alien. The hard time in their life isn't contagious to you.
What they need is a solid foundation. Someone stable and secure who will make them feel as normal as possible in this volatile time in their life.
They need a soft place to land.

And it can be you.

Do you have other thoughts or ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Friday, March 11, 2016

7 ways to Spice up your salad.

The weather is warming up and I'm in salad mode again lately. I actually love salad, but really dislike boring or bland salads.
I try to keep a big bowl of chopped greens in the fridge and have a small salad before meals, or sometimes a big salad as my meal.

Naturally they can get boring. But I'm cautious about adding too much junk that makes them full of calories.

Here are a few things to put on top to change things up and add big flavor.



1) rotisserie chicken. Buy one and pick off chunks to make your salad an entree. It'll last for several days.

2) salsa. It's practically no calories and adds a huge punch! (I do a little bit of light ranch with it.)

3) Doritos. Wait, what?! Yeah. Really. 4 or 5 crushed Doritos won't kill you and they add really great crunch and flavor to a salad. (Using the three mentioned so far: chicken, salsa, doritos, and a little ranch = you've got yourself a decent taco salad!)

4) Ken's lite Caesar. This salad dressing has super intense bold flavor so a little goes a long way. I love it.

5) bacon bits. Homemade would be better, but I usually keep just a bag of store bought ones in the fridge. Again, a little goes a long way to change up the flavor of your salad.

6) Parmesan cheese. Fresh grated would be best, but sometimes the canned stuff will do too. It adds a salty-ness and perks up a salad.

7) blue cheese. I'm kind of obsessed with blue cheese. It's funky, bold, and delicious.

A few other options would be hot sauce, lemon juice, salt & pepper.

What are your favorite salad toppings?