Beautiful Moments: Born In Rain



There was something about the rain in Scotland that sent a primitive, magical like, energy into my poncho draped body as the lone bag piper stood perching over a stoop atop Edinburgh Castle. The piercing sound of the pipes from a far distance was somehow accompanied by a stillness and quietness. The rain infused with years of history, culture, victory and loss pattered across the cobblestones in reflection of time passed.

When people ask me about the favorite part of my trip to Scotland its too hard to process, but often I’ll remember that moment just mentioned above and smile to myself knowing I could never fully explain it or do it justice with words. Scotland felt like a dream. A dream where I had returned to somewhere I felt I belonged. I jokingly state that if it wasn’t for my husband and daughter I would have never come back to the States. So yes, I’d say that I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to it’s fullest intent.


It would take ages to recount to you the memories made and the adventures taken. Therefore, I’ll hope you’ll settle for a few highlights instead.

Highlight #1: Military Tattoo


This spectacular event holds place every year in the stadium attached to Edinburgh Castle every August. Different branches of military from a variety of countries come to perform several different tunes iconic to their region (Scotland of course being the highlight). This remains my favorite highlight and I’m sure this will not be my last Tattoo event. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Highlight #2: The Culloden Battlefield


This was incredibly special as I had been brushing up on Scottish history prior to my trip. Not to mention, HUGE fan of Outlander book series here (historical fiction). This battle was fought in the most beautiful field scattered with masses of wild heather and foxglove among the grasses. This was the last stand for Scotlands clansmen in the Jacobite rising. Unfortunately, the red coats utterly slaughtered them in droves. Therefore, the disbanding of the clans. To walk on History is always a privilege and it gives the mind room to imagine all kinds of things the more you discover the surrounding environment.


Highlight #3: Edinburgh Castle, Blair Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, & Stirling Castle. IMG_6848


The historian in me was near feint getting to openly explore these four beautiful castles.   Two of the most monumental figures in Scottish history, Mary Queen of Scotts and her son James, lived in Edinburgh castle. Mary gave birth to her son in a small room in this castle who would later grow up to change the fate of nations and unite both (Catholic) Scotland and (Protestant) England under one crown! It was also by his consent that his mother Mary Queen of Scotts be beheaded. Talk about your family issues.

Blair Castle was removed from society way up in the Highlands. The heather clads hilltops created the most serene backdrop I have ever seen in my life. It reminded me of scene in The Sound of Music when Maria is on her way back to the Abbey late for mass.

In my personal opinion, Eilean Donan Castle was by far the most breathtaking sight I have ever seen. This was a castle dead center in a body of water with a gorgeously crafted stone bridge with several arches that gave it a remote and secluded feel. Likewise, the mountain ranges behind it made it appear cinematic to the eye. Fun fact by my sister: This castle has been featured in several movies but the most known being Made of Honor starring Patrick Dempsey.

Last but not least, Stirling Castle. One of the most important castles in Scotland. Several Kings and Queens, including Mary Queen of Scotts, were crowned in this very castle! In the War for Scottish Independence, Bonnie Prince Charlie tried to seize the castle. This too, like Culloden, was unsuccessful. However, not everyone that tried to advance the castle failed. William Wallace lead many Scottish men to victory in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. I guess you could say He’s kind of a BIG deal in Scottish history. Haha! Braveheart will never be the same for me now (in a good way).


To experience culture on this level is such a blessing and a gift. To reflect on ages past and how they shaped the present for both visiting country and home country is eye opening and brilliant! I hope your path crosses with Scotland and if it doesn’t then make it happen!

This post was sponsored by: Carter Clan Grandparents of whom I am most grateful to for allowing me to accompany them on this trip along with several other lovely family members. I will never forget this memory we all made together on foreign soil.



All Is Grace,

The Mrs.




Ankeny Centennial Senior Session



I was over the moon to shoot my first Ankeny senior session since moving to Iowa and re-rooting DDP. This strapping young gentleman is a senior at Ankeny Centennial and a member of the football team. I was delighted to be contacted by his mother via our neighborhood website where I had dropped a line to my fellow neighbors about the services I provide. It’s always great to connect with someone in your own hood and both Riley and his mom made the experience shooting in the bitter cold a heartwarming experience!


Riley is the Senior every photographer covets because he was willing to try anything, understood posing instructions, implemented his own creative posing and image ideas, and was absolutely natural in front of the camera! It was fun seeing his own vision for his photos reveal itself through humorous banter with his mother. He mentioned why he selected certain articles of clothing to give off that authentic Iowan country boy aesthetic “Not redneck though…” he elaborated.


The first thing that came to my mind through his description of the look he was going for just blared “Smallville” in my mind. For those of you who aren’t up to speed with awesome superhero tv shows, Smallville depicts a high-school aged, football playing, farm boy, Clark Kent. The All- American guy vibe. This was especially a treat for DDP because most of our senior session clientele leans heavily on the female side. I enjoyed the simplicity of this session and hope to do more like it in the future.


What really gets my goat is that Riley’s mom mentioned that he was seeming apathetic about getting senior portraits done in general, but come his session date, he was like a professionally polished senior rep. model with so many ideas and such a cheerful and jovial spirit! That is something I so greatly appreciate during any session because it’s something to feed off of and the energy is infectious. We certainly rolled with the punches for location options. The original Ankeny field for actual game play is located at what is now the middle school and Riley’s mom requested the gate be left unlocked for his senior session. Unfortunately, the location of choice ended up being locked out, but they both kept an amazingly good attitude about it and used the Ankeny practice field instead. It’s not often that location issues pop up, but when they do, we make dew.


Some things just become blessings in disguise. I wouldn’t have been able to capture Riley’s alma mater in the background for some of his images (An awesome request of him) if we hadn’t been locked out of the game field across town. Those shots made my top ten for the client gallery. Another interesting gamble was the weather which turned out in our favor. Some of the more dynamic images I’ve captured come from a rather mundane colored sky. It worked wonderfully for the shot that Riley was wanting because I believe it pushed attention on the two subjects I wanted the spotlight on. First a foremost, my senior. Secondly, his school building. I’m sure a blue sky with puffy white clouds would have been nice also, but the feel would also be different. I wasn’t too worried about a gray sky as much I was about possible rain. A muted sky usually makes for very soft lighting and easier to edit if need be in my humble opinion. Although, in the back of my mind I thought if a torrential downpour occurred, some of the field shots would have an amped up drama to them.


All in all, I was very proud of my senior and very delighted with the outcome of his session images. I’m greatly looking forward to capturing more images of local Ankeny high school seniors! Till next post.

All is grace,

~The Mrs.



Something Old Something New



By the title, you are probably assuming this is a wedding related post….fooled you! After now having my feet placed back under me by the Lord, I have decided to commit myself to one of my hobbies in addition to being a substitute teacher. I’ve decided to reopen myself to photography. I’ve always loved it and loved making people happy with my style of shooting and editing. I’ve gone through a kind of metamorphous with business names through those noncommittal years. You might remember my first one being “Kellyphotographics”. I wanted to sound “cool” and “techy”…embarrassing.  Eventually that name died away because I felt it didn’t represent or mesh well with my style of images. Then came the nice thing that almost everyone does now (which is NOT bad and I’m NOT putting down those who do it because it makes things brand specific) which is the first and middle name of yours truly, “Kelly Christina Photography.” I really liked this but to be honest, I just copied the smarter people who did it before me. I thought to myself, “Well, I am behind the camera taking the shots and they are MY images. So it makes sense and it sounds better….copycat. I just did it because everyone else was doing it.


After taking a good look into my motives, I thought to myself “What drives me? I want that to be incorporated into my brand name.” The answer was so simple and as soon as I thought of it I performed a well deserved face-palm. Delightfully Downin Photography. My motive is my family pictured perfectly right above. They keep me going. They make me want to capture moments and they are the reason I want to pursue this again. The name just seemed right after thinking about it. To me our new brand name says, “We are simply who we are and we love to capture it.”  Having the blog already set up was just the icing on top of the cake.  Those old names are long gone and the new name is here to stay permanently!


However, I’m still currently in the process of designing our website. It’s not ready to be released yet but it will be soon! It’s just a bit hard to design your own site when your newborn’s needs are so many and so frequent. I’ve allowed myself a month to finish and to finish it authentically and not just something spun together last minute because I’m rushed with Kimber. This blog will remain the window into our personal lives but with some added professional life posts.


So keep your eyes peeled for the big website reveal! I’ll be tugging at social media once It’s ready so there’s no way to miss it! I hope you have a most blessed Thursday! Remember to thank God for something/anything today. One way we do this is through our family thankfulness jar & journal. We write something down when we think of it and either put it in the jar or in the journal. At the end of the year, we’ll look back at all the things we gave thanks for!


All Is Grace,

~The Mrs.


Lewes 2016



Few things in life heal me more than the view you see above. To some its very pretty; Your standard beach sand and fencing. To me and members of my family, it means we arrived at a place we’ve be journeying to long before I was born! So many memories to the right, left, and forward direction of this picture. For me, I got to experience my grandparent’s beautiful Lewes, Delaware beach house for my last summer as a….non-parent? Is their a word that seems less generic and strange for those who haven’t completely transitioned to parenthood yet? Maybe my pregnancy brain is cutting off all my good word usage. Anyways, the Mr. was hard at work and couldn’t attend without taking away time from the next big event in September. He thought it best that he have time in September for when our girl arrives as opposed to vacation for himself. Though I was initially disappointed at this, I came to thank God for a husband who thinks ahead to attend to the greatest need.


I’d rather not talk about how the trip was to get there. Haha! All you need to know is that I will never travel while 30 weeks pregnant again and never take United for as long as I live. Alas, after arriving with my mom in the wee hours of the morning, we were finally in our “hilariously blue” beach house as everyone was deeming it after my cousin so eloquently stated it. I was finally able to cross an item off my bucket list by residing in the “Bay-view” room (Upper left house corner with the balcony) for the first time! My mom was so gracious to allow me the whole bed and eventually the whole room (Hopefully not because of my snoring…lovely pregnancy symptom). Waking up to the view of the Bay was like waking up on a cruise ship. From the tip of your toes looking past the bed, all you can see is Bay and horizon with the rock wall creeping out from the right. Every morning I would look out from the balcony and take in the blast of sea air.


One of the most wonderful things about vacationing in this area is the sheer amount of activities you can dive into. Not only does our slot on the Bay allow us great access to all water sport craft, but a 10 minute bike ride from the beach house will take you straight into Cape Henlopen State Park. This park is drenched with World War history and every bike trail permeates pine scented delight. Another wonderful destination within a five minute biking distance from the beach house is the ferry terminal!


The ferry has enchanted me since my childhood and has added an element of nostalgia every time I hear its bellowing arrival horn travel on the breeze heard by all nearby neighborhoods. I only remember riding the ferry once when I was very little. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a full trip to Cape May where its route comes from, but it was still one of the greatest joys of my life! I’m sure my other family members and I can tell you we’ve lost count of how many ferries we’ve seen come in go in our lifetime. You can usually catch one coming in around sunset when the sun is about to kiss the rock wall behind it.


The optimal place to view the coming ferry or the sunset is right from the deck with every family member. There is something unspoken about gathering at sunset on the deck. It never has to be coordinated and no-one ever has to speak a word. It’s like the warmth of the moment draws us together to witness the end of an amazing day with yet another one of God’s masterpiece sunset canvas’. Not one is the same as the other.


My favorite morning activity at the beach house is getting out on that beach and walking, walking, walking. I admit, pregnancy put limits on my distance. I felt my feet ache to go back when my will was aching to move forward. It was hard to strike the right balance, but I eventually got a grip on my bodily limits. Occasionally, I would have a pack of lovely walking companions with me that kept my spirits high and distracted me from the ache in my feet.


When I really felt like going the extra mile by myself, the pier was my destination of choice. I’ve fished off this pier since I was a tiny thing. I remember my Grandpap teaching me how to tell the difference between a Blue Crab nibbling on my line as a opposed to curious fish checking out the bait. It was on this pier that my baby brother caught a 26″ flounder that looked half as big as he was at the time. Grandpap also taught us how to descale fish (Don’t knock it till you try it!).We learned so much just from fishing on the pier. Sadly, the fishing hasn’t been as rich in plunder as in years past, but just walking the pier itself is satisfaction enough.


When the wind is just right, the Bay will start to entice out the sailing crowd. I absolutely love watching others sail! However, I was never a huge fan of being on our sailboat at the beach house. I will usually only go with the seasoned sailors of our family if I go at all. I consider my mom to be one of those seasoned sailors. She seems to have a natural knack for feeling the wind and predicting the best course of action. Mike and my mom go sailing just about every time they’re there at the beach together. If I’m in the mood, I usually pull out my favorite beige kayak and chase the sailboat for pictures out on the water. Nothing beats watching the boat from the middle of the Bay!


Another gem located well within biking distance of the beach house is the quaint downtown area filled with good eats and vintage shops. One of my/our long standing traditions while visiting Lewes is to acquire the bounty of good food that seems to congregate at the downtown epicenter and all around it. For years my family has brought home ginormous sticky buns from the Lewes bake shop for breakfast. You can smell the cinnamon and caramel wafting through the kitchen as family members get them warm and gooey in the microwave again. This year, Grandpap did the honors off crossing off that item from my beach trip bucket list! Many thanks Grandpap! Another one of my favorite joints to eat at near the downtown area for a savory bite is Irish Eyes.


I believe that it was with my dear cousin Joy that we discovered an appetizer at Irish Eyes that we always make a point of getting whenever we visit. The crab dip is phenomenal here! No need to even purchase a meal alongside of it because it really does hold its own. Chunks and chunks of crab meat and cream sauce with melted cheese served in a hollowed out bread bowl alongside crisp tortillas seasoned with Old Bay. It literally makes you want to jump in the Bay to eat it! I was able to share this tradition with my mom and brother seeing as they had not ordered it before and it was well received.


After a hearty sea savory meal, it’s always a good idea to walk the historic streets of downtown to burn off the food and prevent scurvy….okay maybe a little dramatic, but walking is good so we did a bit of poking about and ended up at one of my favorite antique shops in the area. You can always tell a good antique shop from the way it smells when you walk in. Aged items and collections have a very distinct smell. If you walk in the door and don’t smell the age in every nook and cranny, it’s safe to say that you’re not amongst the real deal. Luckily for us, the comforting scent of years gone by blasted us into a state of reflection and curiosity.


As your adventures at Lewes have you popping in and out of the beach house, you might catch a glimpse of the tide completely high or completely low. I’ve always been a fan of low tide especially in the mornings. There is something about the unseen coming to light that peeks my curiosity and I find myself becoming a Bay bottom detective when the water recedes back to unveil another mystery for me to solve. “So this is what I stepped on yesterday”, I think to myself. I pull up a large brick and walk it over to our ever growing brick pile. You might be thinking, “Bricks in the Bay?….Explain.” The beach you now see had a very rich history in the fishing trade and looked a bit more like this…

Lewes at height of mehaden fishing

(Lewes, Delaware in its big fishing days. Cape Henlopen visible at the top)

My Grandparents could tell you a bunch about the old factory and how incredibly rich the Bay was with a fish called Menhaden. The fishing industry placed here reached its beaming brilliance from the 1950’s-1960’s. In 1964, it was reported that the Menhaden catch was at its most bountiful. However, the bounty didn’t last very long and soon the Menhaden fishing industry had collapsed all along the East Coast. As you can see, there were many buildings that had to be torn down after the collapse and not everything made it to the dumpster. I distinctly remember one year that one of my cousins actually found a doorknob while walking alongside the Bay. Some find it a bit unsettling to walk the Bay bottom not knowing what they’ll step on. I on the other hand, consider it like a treasure hunt. Although the Menhaden aren’t around these waters anymore, I still bump into an occasional fish friend.


No, I do not take pictures of dead fish. This little guy was actually alive! On one of my sandbar walks in the morning, I discovered this fish thinking it was dead. As I neared to get a closer look, this fish with its belly to the sky started swimming away from me on its back! I had never seen his before. I thought I’d try to help him out and turn him over after snapping a quick picture of his big black eye and metallic scales.


I quickly returned him to the water belly side down and waited for him to take off. He reluctantly rolled back over on his back and swam slowly against the tide away from me. It might be safe to assume that this was a bait fish on a hook somewhere that either got free or was released and because of whatever scenario he experienced, became disoriented or his equilibrium no longer functioned. Not the most thrilling of fish stories I’ve ever told but it still counts! Good luck little fish…most likely you’ve been eaten by now.


Soon its the end of another day. As the sun provides is last bright gleam on the water, you might see the occasional kayaker, sailboat, or paddle boarder drawn to sit in the middle of the gleam. What better way to share the last light of day than with your furry friend on the Bay. It’s the perfect ending for a fun packed day tomorrow.


(A Beach House Breakfast by Grandpap)


After fueling up on a well rounded breakfast, considering the weather, temperature, and other such important things, it’s time to prepare for one of my favorite water craft activities. It’s time for a boat ride on the Bay with my Grandparents! Not every boat ride is the same and not every boat ride beginning is “smooth sailing”. I cannot pride myself in being mechanically savvy like most people in my family. Handy? oh yes. I’m a DIY veteran and love construction. However, Jerry-Rigging the wiring under a boat console in 90 degree heat is not my strong suit. Knowing this makes me appreciate my Grandpap even more! Grandma and I stood over him hoping to give him some shade as he cut and rewired things under there but that’s as much as I believe we felt able to do in this circumstance. After diagnosing the problem, Grandpap was able to get the engine started and away we went!


A tour of the Bay is the perfect outing for a shutterbug like me. I love documenting things with my camera, but there is something really special about documenting the same boat route taken each time I’ve visited Lewes. Each year that I get to spend time at the beach house, I get to take pictures of the same objects over time and compare them to my past images and see history unfold. Even the slightest change is noticeable. I will never tire of taking pictures of the same thing. Our beautiful beach house and it’s chipper coat of paint, the boats tied up along the canal ready for their next adventure, and the people I get to share all of this with. The one item I will always be breath taken by is my favorite lighthouse.


Grandpap hardly has to ask anymore if he should get closer for a good picture because I ALWAYS want to photograph this lighthouse. The colors are so rich and the tattered rock wall adds a beautiful base to this gorgeous piece of architecture. I often imagine myself on the dock below photographing the lighthouse from my back with my lens straight up to the sky. I would walk up the stairs and capture the sea blast from past storms eating the paint. Then I would make my way to the top and circle around the light fixture capturing every single angle possible. It would be a an absolute dream!


My thankfulness journal has been poured into everyday from this trip and many things since. Gifts such as, “The Bay Breeze”, “Boardwalk Ski-ball Tradition”, “One-on-One time with Grandparents”, “Old Stories Told”, “Grandpap’s Jokes”, “Eating Every Meal Together”, “Reminders of Grace”, and so much more fill the pages of my little pink journal. I’m so glad that I took this 10 thousand gifts challenge before my trip to Lewes. It made my experience there SO MUCH RICHER. It has made my life upon returning so much better. Looking for these little moments and recognizing them as the true gifts they are from God really does change your perspective resulting in fulness of life. It makes the gift of giving His Son, grace, new daily mercies, and forgiveness (not earned or deserved by any means) more incredibly unfathomable and it shreds up the attitude of taking it for granted in the first place. It all starts with gratitude.


Thank you Grandpap and Grandma for hosting me and giving this summer 2016 rich memories to last me a lifetime! To my other blog readers, I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my trip in Lewes and hope you remember to look for the little gifts God gives you daily and praise Him for it! My next post will be sometime in the beginning of August when the nursery has been photographed completely to share on our Delightfully Downin Blog! Many Blessings!

All Is Grace,

The Mrs.


Travel & Renewal



(Bok Tower Gardens Lake Wales, Florida)

     Quite some time has passed between the last Delightfully Downin post and this one. Too much information has transpired to keep you engaged so I’ll keep my darting down bunny trails of memory and thought to a minimum. Late May I resigned my position at DMCS’s Early Education Center to acquire some much needed TLC and rest. I knew that this would put some financial strain on us as a family unit, but the Mr. also agreed that it would be good for me to “get out” so to speak and focus on our baby girl and visiting family before she arrives in September. The first adventure I planned for myself was returning to Fort Myers to spend some quality time with my family members and finally meet my little niece Ainsley Rose for the first time since her birth in December!


     The day I arrived at my old Floridian homestead was just like Christmas without all the decorations and presents. My family trickled in within 5 minutes apart from each other. First, the Weirich girls showed up and I got to hold “little A” and make her laugh as much as I possibly could while catching up with my sister on just about everything we could scrape out of our minds at the moment. Next, my brother arrived and in typical Mike fashion, worked on his laptop in the Great Room with us occasionally adding to our winding conversation as Maddy circled profusely looking for a spot to plop her enormous rear-end.


     One of the most incredible moments I encountered during our group piling on the floor of the Great Room was how much my niece Emma had grown! I remember seeing her walk through the door and feeling a ping of disbelief. I suppose living so far away and not seeing her as frequently makes the times we are together a bit shocking at first. I was amazed with her beauty and despite many claiming that she looks 100% Jonathan, for some reason I see so much of my sister in her both appearance and spirit. It was such a treasure learning about what she does in preschool and coaxing her to tell me who her friends are and what she does. It was also a treasure seeing how my brother in law handled her “3 year old tendencies” as I call them with so much patience, calmness, and gentleness! I had to tell my sister how impressed I was because it is NOT EASY. I’m not even at parent level yet and still had moments with my 3’s preschool class where I knew my tone crossed the line. I’m so excited to see how wonderful my nieces are going to grow up to be with such loving parents!


     As if things couldn’t get lovelier any quicker, Amanda soon strode in visiting me before her departure to Latvia on a missions trip with her husband and other members of their church. It started to feel like a family reunion and that we should start pulling out albums or pictures. Low and behold this feeling was satisfied as Amanda whipped out a bridal album that her mother in law put together for her from her wedding day! We all gathered around on the floor (Minus Mike) and started plowing through several pages remembering funny inside jokes, pointing out fake smiles, and reliving one of my most favorite events to date. Before we knew it, Mom strode in fresh off the work wagon and started plowing through the pictures herself adding her own perspective on being a guest there. I took a moment to visually encapsulate this moment before we all dispersed back into the grain of life. My heart was full.


     Speaking of fullness of heart, the next day was the occurrence of another event that will fill my heart eery time I remember it. My friend from high school, Justin Perry, was getting married! Justin is one of those people that I can honestly not remember knowing how or the exact moment we became friends and I love situations like that! He has a personality that is automatically friendly and you feel like you’ve known him for years because he is so graciously transparent and down to earth. I’ve only met Jessica a handful of times, but from those precious few times I saw such a radiant spirit! She has a gravitational pull and you find yourself so pleased to be in her presence. Seeing them together long before they were engaged you just KNEW it was special. Unfortunately, the Mr. could not accompany me to their wedding. However, this gave my mom and I the opportunity to road trip together and catch up a ton and spend some one on one time together. I was also so grateful to find out that I’d be sitting with people that feel like family who I also went to high school with. Thanks for that Perry’s!


     The ceremony was one of the most God glorifying events I had ever been to. Everything reflected back to God’s goodness, faithfulness, devotion, and power. When I get to attend weddings that God is the center of it’s almost like going to church! The spirit is there and you feel it heavily in the best way imaginable. Truth is spoken and conviction reverberates those who cling to the truth. Praise is given and worship from many grateful hearts ascends into the Heavens. Love covenants are made reminding us about how much more the Lord loves us than we could ever love each other; even our spouses. Seeing Jessica and her family so strong after losing her father was a testament of faith in Christ. It was so powerful that I’m sure if any stranger off the street walked in attended the ceremony that person would come out wanting to know God more.


     On a more superficial level, the wedding venue was decked out to the nines! Crystal everywhere your eye could see accented and reflected purple hues through billows of airy draped fabrics and added an element of romance and intimacy throughout the entire room. The food was FANTASTIC and the cake was spot on! Another special treat was watching and listening to the speeches from three of the bride and groom’s closest friends  and family. My favorite was Robbie’s speech (Yes, I’m probably biased because it’s my best friend’s husband). It wasn’t stuffed with fluff or overly gushing from the seams. It was simple, genuine, and had great touches of humor. You did great Robbie! Shakes and all. Even as a guest, this event seemed to happen all too fast and I was soon back in tow with my mom to a nearby hotel to crash for the night. We had big plans on our road trip back to Fort Myers to stop off at Bok Tower Gardens (The engagement site of my sister).


     I had never been to the Bok Tower Gardens before. It was such a nice detour and great exercise walking around the grounds and enjoying some of God’s prettiest creations. We weren’t the only ones who had the same idea. There was somewhat of an massively enormous family group (100-150 persons) from India touring the grounds around the same time my mom and I were poking about. Thankfully the waiting time for our tour of the mansion wasn’t too bad, but just the sheer amount of people and children running around both with customary Indian clothes and some very “Americanized”taking pictures and chatting was enough to make it a funny memory for both my mom and I. Here are some of the pictures we captured that day on the grounds!

     Soon we were back on the road again searching for a place to eat. That in itself is a story all it’s own! Haha! One story you can probably ask my mom next time you see her. Anyways, it was back to Fort Myers to get prepared for my Floridian baby shower! My mom and my sister put so much effort into making it amazing and it certainly was! The food alone was superb! If you’ve never had my mom’s pulled pork and mozzarella pasta salad then you have not truly discovered what it means to have a happy tummy. It was so nice running into old friends and meeting a new one of my mom’s. Fellowship with people in general is something I greatly enjoy! Katy did an amazing job coming up with fun games to keep us on our toes and stretch some of us to get creative and out of our comfort zones. I just wanted to thank all of you ladies who came to bless my little one because in turn, you ended up blessing me all the more! Here are some moments my sister captured from the shower!




     Good times have come and gone but this is one I will hold dear to my heart. Lastly, on my list of things I felt I needed to hit on within this post, is a word found in it’s title; Renewal. This is where the crap hits the fan so to speak and I get real transparent about my/our current state of life. Way back when we first discovered I was pregnant and that first trimester did a horrible number on my health, we decided to leave Summitcreek church where we had helped serve and get the church launched. We firmly believed the Lord was taking us to another church within our area and we knew it by name. Long story short, It is not to be our home church. Heavily disappointed with not being able to find our church home, we stopped searching and started streaming from our previous home church First Assembly in Fort Myers, Florida. We know it’s just not the same as going and serving and fellowshipping with other believers and building accountability partners.


    Speaking only for myself, I personally started to feel disconnected from the Lord to the point where the streaming sermons stopped altogether and life went on without anything challenging, positive, and life altering going in. This started to effect my “joy”. I simply couldn’t find it and skirted around the real solution (Making God the center of my life again). I started trying to fill it up with things and material possessions trying to satiate the hunger for true joy. It was through my worldly discontentment and ingratitude that I become a bad steward of my finances and no longer trusted the Lord in providing in that faction of my life. This leads me to my point. As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, I resigned my job for the summer and this has put even more financial strain on us than I had initially anticipated. I planned on doing nanny jobs/babysitting/pet sitting to help out but apparently if you are competing with someone who isn’t pregnant for the same job, I guess a pregnant lady isn’t your first choice. Something I foolishly never took into account. LOTS of rejection and lots of guilt for not being able to help my husband provide transpired. I panicked and I panicked bad. What if scenarios swirled in my head and I believed every. single. one. My walk with God was so weak that I was being viciously attacked by the enemy on a consistent basis. It wasn’t until I returned from my Florida visit that my mother “laid it out for me” over the phone.  God wants me to learn something so badly and I keep running away. It was so bad that I didn’t even realize where the root of my problem started and I needed to do some serious work to get back to holding God’s hand.


     It’s funny where the Lord will find you sometimes. He found me recently in a Toyota of Des Moines service waiting room holding a book I received from my dear friend Manders and I finally cracked it open to reveal the answer I had been seeking about where the root of my issues began. The one word the rang through the author’s mind hit me like a ton of bricks. “Eucharisteo”. The Greek word for “Thanksgiving”. There were so many simply profound statements in this book that I could feel the words piercing my heart every time something God wanted to show me was read. I hope these encourage and challenge you as much as they have pierced me.

  • “The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God -even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer, and crucifixion-this prepares the way for God to show us his FULLEST salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from ALL sin that estranges us from Him.”
  • “We enter into fullness of life if our faith gives THANKS.”
  • “Jesus counts THANKSGIVING as integral in a faith that saves.”
  • ” Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks…in EVERYTHING.”
  • “All those years thinking I was saved and had said my yes to God, but was really living the no. Was it because I had never fully experienced the whole of my salvation? Had never lived out the fullest expression of my salvation in Christ? Because I wasn’t taking everything in my life and returning to Jesus, falling at His feet and thanking Him?…This is why I sat all those years in church but my soul holes had never fully healed.”
  • “If we are dying of thirst, passively reading books about water quenches little; the only way to quench the parched mouth is to close the book and dip the hand into water and bring it to the lips. If we thirst we have to drink. We must DO something.”
  • “A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” Erasmus said that, contemporary and admirer of Martin Luther.”
  • “Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.”
  • “Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life-even the hard- is made up of minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the WHOLE. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.

What I found so interesting in this author’s study of Eucharisteo is that it ALWAYS precedes the miracle. She gives several references in her book. The last principle that really hits home for me is that Eucharisteo has to be LEARNED. Paul said it himself in the Bible when he wrote to the Philippians (4:11). He said, “I have LEARNED to be content with whatever I have.” We all know that in order to LEARN we need to PRACTICE and PRACTICE is the hardest part of LEARNING! Living the change out by hammering in new habits to drive out the old ones just as Martin Luther stated.

The author was able to start the “hammering” process by taking on a challenge of naming one thousand gifts she was grateful for and writing them down daily. This slowly began to change her heart and transition her into fullness of life with her walk in Christ and gave her the ability to walk through extremely terrifying and disappointing circumstances with TRUE JOY.

I believe that my ingratitude and discontentment in life came from not reflecting Eucharisteo back to my Lord and Savior. I am taking the challenge as of this post publishing. Because Eucharisteo directly links to faith in the Lord,  I am firmly believing that my faith will renew as a result of attacking the old behaviors with new ones. I shared this with you to encourage you and also to put my imperfection out in the open as a means to empower others to speak up about their struggles and seek wisdom and counsel. Just because someone doesn’t air their dirty laundry doesn’t mean it’s not there stinking up the closet and needing to be dealt with. Haha! We all fall short. Remember that. May God help us with our disbelief. Please keep your Delightfully Downin family in your prayers as we seek out our home church and refocus our center! Thank you!

What lies ahead for me this week is a visit to my Grandparents at their beach house in Lewes, Delaware! It’s my last travel adventure for quite some time. I will keep you posted on baby girl Downin and look forward to sharing her nursery sneak peek with you all in early August on the blog. We love you all and Thank you for all your prayer support and encouragement!

Until Then,

~ The Mrs.


The Great Ankeny Transition


IMG_0531The great Midwest has embraced the Downin three into its abundance of adventure, soft grass, and promise of opportunity! God blessed us with safe travels up to our new hometown and with our family who are housing us as we search for a place that we can call home. The adjustment phase to living in Iowa has been a pleasant one. IMG_0440

IMG_0443Diesel has jumped in head first and now has a new buddy to play with. Our friends, the Schreiers, adopted a sweet puppy named Marvin who Diesel loves to play with! It hasn’t been easy finding a dog that could match Diesels endless energy, but Marvin definitely gives Diesel a run for his money. They had their first play date recently and ran each other ragged!


When Diesel isn’t busy draining his energy with Marvin, you can find him running around the yard with our darling nice Jade who has taken the biggest liking to her furriest new house guest. It has been so wonderful watching how much Jade has grown up. My heart glows with warmth just thinking about the amazing woman she will become and the specific plan God has for her. For now, it’s just fun watching her deeply enjoy childhood and live carefree.

IMG_0468 IMG_0481As for my amazing parents in law, I have been enjoying every minute I get to spend with them and my other Iowan family members. Its been so helpful to have their support during our transition back to Iowa. With my mother in law’s help , I’ve been learning all the good shopping places for clothes, groceries, and home décor. She also drove me all the way to my interview and waited in the car for an hour and a half till it was over. I’m so grateful that she did because after that interview I needed some extra emotional support!

IMG_0462IMG_0450If you’re wondering readers, the interview with Des Moines Christian School was pretty intense. Good, but super nerve-wracking. Everyone at the school was just wonderful! They made me feel at ease as soon as I came in. The anxiety from the interview came from being asked questions in front of a panel. All the teachers and specialists I met were so kind and even prayed for me before we began the questioning process, but I stumbled to find the words I was looking for and paused frequently. As a perfectionists , this was clearly not okay with me and I was determined to show them I was capable of teaching through the mini-lesson in math they asked me to come up with. schoolI set up for my math mini-lesson in the same conference room that I just had my interview in. I decided to do a lesson on parts of a whole for a third grade position in the school. I had a word problem up on the board that read, “Mrs. Downin wants to share her Hershey bar with all of her students. What fraction of the Hershey bar will each student receive?” On each section of the conference table where the students sat, I put a bag filled with a cup of play dough, an unwrapped Hershey bar, and a toothpick. As five selected third graders made their way into the room, one of the boys remarked, “This doesn’t look like a math lesson.” I was very happy to hear that because I like to incorporate different modes of learning and manipulatives into all the subject areas. As I went through the word problem with them I had them take out their  candy bar and use it as a manipulative to solve the problem. However, the pace at which the students understood was through the roof because in only two short days they would be out for the summer and therefore have learned every concept. I struggled until the activity section where the students rolled a fraction dice and whatever fraction the dice landed on was what they needed to show me by rolling out their play dough into a pancake shape and cutting into it by using a toothpick. All I know is that it’s in the Lord’s hands. Whatever the outcome, God is still faithful.IMG_0453Speaking of, Thomas has been doing exceptionally well in his new position at Bankers Trust and is continually encouraged in his day to day training and absorption of new employee material. The Mr. is one hard working man and I know that if I were to walk into a bank I’d want hubby as my teller. God is using his jovial spirit and dedicated work ethic to bring glory to His name. We are so grateful for the position that he’s been placed in. In terms of being “placed”, Thomas and I have fallen in love with an Ankeny Ranch House and are in the process of trying to make an offer on it.Screenshot (68)Not only is this ranch house of our dreams located to all of our loved ones in Ankeny, but it’s also close to Thomas’ workplace and several surrounding elementary schools! We believe we could live in this home for years and years and grow into it as we establish a family. It is a three bedroom three bathroom home with a beautifully open floor plan.Screenshot (71)Right from the moment you walk in through the entry way, you can see straight to the backyard past the kitchen and living room with a cozy fireplace (Diesels favorite Midwest napping spot). The high ceilings and beautiful wood flooring add a charm and sophistication that we greatly enjoy.

Screenshot (69)Then there’s the kitchen. Beautifully hung white cabinetry adorn the walls with updated appliances and a sturdy granite countertop. Kohler faucets and sinks come standard throughout the home and have actually gotten me excited to do the dishes! However, our friends gave us some pretty good advice about becoming too attached before making an offer. It’s not uncommon to have a house snatched beneath your feet in this market. It was very hard to hear, but needed to keep things in perspective. For now, we pray that the Lord will continue helping us get our foot in the door, but if the outcome turns out to be something different we will live in a place all the better for us according to the Lord’s plan. IMG_0586In other news, our Downin family of three was recently reunited with the Downs family in a surprise visit to announce our permanent stay in the state of Iowa! For those of you who don’t know the Downs family, Pastor Jon, the father of this family, married Thomas and I and two of my sisters in law when they were married! Tyler, the second oldest son, has been Thomas’ friend since they were wee little twerpy boys and was in our bridal party at our wedding. They are basically our second family and we love them all so dearly. After introducing our furbaby,  Diesel became the focal point of all the Downs children’s affections and as you can tell from the picture above Diesel is being completely neglected 😉IMG_0548Hours of playing ensued. Diesel had a blast fetching multiple frisbees thrown into the tall Alfalfa grass and hopping around trying to find his way out. Not only did Diesel make friends with the Downs children, but he also made friends on the Downs’ farm.IMG_0578The cows are Diesel’s new favorite animal to play with. He would run around the fence that they were enclosed in and try to get them to chase him. One of the cows understood this and pranced around following Diesel wherever he dashed along the fence. Another favorite new friend Diesel made was Gunner, one of two farm dogs on the property.IMG_0563IMG_0560Gunner is a Hungarian breed of dog and one of the biggest sweethearts I have ever met! It was fun to see these two play around. It got me thinking how well Diesel would do with the other farm dog juggernaut. IMG_0581After seeing the immense size of this dog, we all agreed that Diesel would probably be a bite sized snack for Juggernaut and it would be safer not to introduce them.

IMG_0596After an emotionally draining week (In the best way possible), it was so refreshing to get out with the family and enjoy the beautiful Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines! The Guzmans were also able to join us and it was so much fun watching my nieces and nephew feed goats and llamas rediscover their favorite animals.IMG_0608 IMG_0610 IMG_0621 IMG_0628 IMG_0632 IMG_0633 IMG_0634 IMG_0636Anyways, it’s been quite a journey so far and we look forward to updating you all on the developments with the house situation and outcome of the interview in the near future! In the meantime, please continue to keep us in your prayers. Till next time!

~The Mrs.IMG_0465& The Mr. & DieselIMG_0304

Zucchini Lovers Unite (Snack Recipe)



Zucchini lovers and French fry lovers unite! Taste another masterfully healthy recipe from the Skinnytaste cookbook! If you are a woman like me, then you must have a serious potato problem…addiction. I can never say no to a French fry and if I do, I immediately regret it. A healthy alternative is needed to combat my nutritional Achilles heal. Luckily for us my fellow blogger, Gina Homolka, has come out with her very own cookbook which I use 75% of the time to make any meal. The nutritional benefits from her ingredients help keep the Mr. and I healthy, but deliver on texture and flavor just the same. This recipe is relatively quick and a wonderful way to stop the munchies. Let’s begin!


* 3-4 Zucchinis (yields about 4 servings)

* 3 Egg-whites

* 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

* Cooking spray

* Freshly ground black pepper

* 1 cup Seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs

* 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

*1/4 tsp. garlic powder

IMG_2256Step One: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and spray 2 baking sheets with oil.



Step Two: Cut each zucchini into sticks. I use a tool from The Pampered Chef deemed the “French fry cutter”. However, if you don’t own a tool like this, the Skinnytaste cookbook says to cut each zucchini into 16 sticks about 4 inches long and 1/2 and inch thick.

IMG_2253Step Three: Place the sticks unto a sheet of paper towel to blot excess moisture.



Step Four: In a small bowl, season the egg whites with the salt and black pepper to taste and beat well.  To separate my egg whites, I use a special tool from The Pampered chef called the egg white separator. However, this is not a necessary tool and you’ll be fine without one.

IMG_2260Step Five: In a shallow medium sized bowl, (I use a pie dish) combine the breadcrumbs, Romano cheese, and garlic powder.



Step Six: Dip the sticks into the egg white mixture, and then into the bread crumbs, turning to coat evenly.

IMG_2264Step Seven: In a single layer, place the breaded sticks on the prepared baking sheet and spray the tops with oil.



Step Eight: Bake until golden brown and tender in the center. This will be about 23-25 minutes. Serve with marinara dipping sauce and enjoy! We sure did!

~The Mrs.