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About Me

Single tired mom of four. Lover of chocolate and coffee - not necessarily in that order. Lover of Jesus, photographer by trade, Photoshop junkie and crime TV watcher.


RSS Hallie Westcott Photography

A New Year’s Blog Evolution

December 25, 2009

New Years Evolution

As I sit here trying to muster up the makings of a new post, I can’t  help but wonder where this blog is going.  Much like a photograph, a blog should have a focal point and at some point, this blog’s focus was lost.

There was a time, which seems like an eternity ago, that I posted regularly and with total enthusiasm.  Always finding the humor in the midst of the mundane and a filled glass where most would see (ehem…excuse me,) only backwash.  Of course, that’s when life resembled something that looked more to me like normal…or whatever my perception of normal was.

At that time, I (we) were largely defined by the fact that we were homeschoolers.  I was a struggling single mother who had opened a bookstore to stay home and homeschool my children, while being the caretaker of a mom with an acquired brain injury.   I had spunk and durability, having withstood many an injury to my spirit, I maybe felt a little too good.

But things are different now. So much has happened since then, it would be really hard to nail it down in only one sentence, but since I have resolved to start the new year with transparency and authenticity, there is no time to start like the present.

The overview…I am still a single homeschooling mother, which may or may not be a surprise to those of you who have grown to know me online over the years.  I will not go into detail, but it has been an ugly year to say the least.  I am recovering from a serious burnout of sorts, I now help care for *two* ailing parents, I finally put my youngest in nursery school to give us some time to regroup; even put an end to a chapter in our lives that needed to come to a quick termination after the closing of the bookstore.   This of course is only scratching the surface; however, I will spare you the gory details and hold tight to the fact that we are the mend and only Jesus will bring us through this difficult season.

I have since started a photography business, out of necessity, spent loads of time getting to know my children, and taken more time to nurse my ailing soul, which needed a great deal of nourishment.  I have come to realize, when faith is put to the test, there are really only two possible endings.

My point is, I am no longer the same person I was when I started this blog.  And therefore, it cannot continue as it was.  I have struggled with this fact for sometime; not wanting to stop blogging, but not able to articulate the changes occurring in my life.

But I digress.  As time permits I will still continue posting, but my focus will be more about photography.  I will still enjoy and freely share more personal things, because first, I want to, and second, I feel that a measure of transparency is needed between a writer and a reader for a personal connection to be made.  However, I need to write with a purpose, or writing becomes a task and a burden and I have felt that for long enough.

So there it is…..and it only smarts a little.

Here’s to a joyful New Year.

Life Here and Now

September 12, 2008


I know I mentioned awhile back, change was on the horizon.  I wasn’t kidding. 

I don’t know exactly when it happened; really, it snuck up on me, but I eventually came to a point of total burnout and I couldn’t get past it.  If you know anything about burnout, which I didn’t, it changes your whole perspective on life. 

Usually, when lives become difficult, people can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  They know that at some point, things are going to change; life will get easier and more manageable.  The tide will turn and maybe just maybe, tomorrow will be a brighter day.  And that has always been the way life was for me.  I was the eternal optimist.  Never say die, never quit, never ever be depressed because there was always tomorrow.

Well… things changed.

There was still tomorrow, but I couldn’t face it.  I had no more strength.  Lifting a finger became too hard.  Walking the stairs to the bathroom was too hard.  Seriously hard.

I started to ask myself why this was happening to me.  After a year of self searching and six months of prayer and tearful begging for a way out,  I finally realized that life was not going to get any easier.  Things were not going to change.  In fact, things were only going to get worse.  I chided myself for living in this delusional world of expectancy of the easy.  I was not going to have time with God; my health would not improve; I would not have time for my children;  I would never get out from under this pile; my house would never be clean; I would never spend time writing to friends I have met over the years; I hadn’t read a book in three years and I may never again; I would never enjoy my backyard, or play in the sprinkler with my children; my mother would die without spending time with her only child; I would not live a life of serving those in need, but only be living each day to free myself from each pile and to-do-list.  I would never ever turn into the three or four people it would take to run this business.  Those were the facts and I was finally facing them.

I grew more cynical, I felt completely overwhelmed to the point of total exhaustion.   I began to feel as though even God had abandoned me.  After all, I needed to work, I couldn’t just give it all up.  How would I support myself? Why wasn’t He helping me.  I begged, I cried, I pleaded.  And then I walked into the world and put on a happy face because no one really wants to hear the truth.  I was dying beneath that face… that facade.

No one had a clue what I was going through and how could I ever expect them to.  After all, how many single women do you know who homeschool, run a store from home and take care of ailing parents?  Yeah, me either.  Even with my best explanations, no one could really understand my situation without living it.  And had they, they would’ve won an Olympic medal in the “Run from Ugly Things Race.”

Finally, things grew so bad, I seriously began to question my own sanity.  My memory had become so poor, that my eighty-five-year-old father admitted I was in worse shape than him.  I could explode at any second and I woke up terrified each day that there would be some small mishap that would cause our boat to sink.  I couldn’t physically or mentally carry another thing and yet, everyone kept giving me more responsibility.  When my mother came home with a feeding tube and needed care morning and night, I finally broke.  I begged people to understand I couldn’t do it.  They looked at me like I was some pariah who was refusing to help her own mother, but in my own mind, I was one step away from a nervous breakdown.  I knew I would crash.

But isn’t His burden easy and His yoke light Hallie?  Yes, but the orders still had to be sent out and the piles on the floor stepped over, children fed and schooled and that takes someone with skin on.  And that someone was me.

And that is when God took over and appointed my oldest to do the job of caretaker.  He had moved her right around the corner just a few weeks before and had she not lived here, she would have never been able to take care of my mother and free me from the burden. 

And He wasn’t done.  I woke up one morning and knew that it was time to close the business.  I was done.  And I was confident that God would provide.  Not a doubt entered my mind.  I was finally 100% sure that God did not intend me to live this way.  He does intend for me to have a full life, full of joy and expectancy of His blessings.  Not sorrow free, but not like this.  I knew then, if I had not gone through this trial, I would still be living a joyless life.  I would never come to a place of rest and confidence in His ability to provide for us.  He does not need me to run a business that takes over out entire lives, to take care of our financial needs.  But, He can still provide me with income and a job that allows me to stay home with my children. 

So if you’re wondering what I will do now, well… God only knows, but I have started the arduous task of closing Blue Thistle Books.  We have thousands of dollars in inventory that I must liquidate.  I feel sick when I think about it, but God will bring us through this too.  He will give me the strength to do that which He has asked.

And for all of you that have come here and faithfully encouraged me….thank you.  I haven’t had time to respond, (and I hate that fact,) but your words have lifted me up and given me the grace to move forward, burden free.  To my two closest friends…(you know who you are!) I love you both.  Thank you both for being my laughter, my Kleenex and my temporary escape from this burdensome world.  

Benny on a Jet

August 15, 2008


I am not a cat person.

At all.

So can someone tell me what I am doing with this?



Sucker I tell ya.

I am highly allergic to this little guy; sneezing, itching and small hives.   I was hoping my allergies had diminished over the years, but apparently not.

Oh and did I mention asthma?

So does anyone have any ideas for me, so I don’t have to break my kids hearts and get rid of little Benny?

Right Where I Belong

April 21, 2008

Project 365 – Day 67

There is really no place on earth I would rather be than in the garden. Of course if that garden just happened to be located in the south of France I highly doubt you would hear me complaining, but really any garden will do.

It’s a wonder I make it through the winter cooped up in the house. As soon as I feel frustration, or worry the garden is the place I go.  Looking at God’s beautiful creations has a way of making my issues seem quite trivial.

Cobalt Blue Beauty

April 19, 2008

Project 365 – Day 65

Thank you all for your comments about the fence.   You had some great suggestions.  I was particularly fond of the idea of planting Jasmine, but unfortunately, it is not in my zone.  I also loved the idea to paint it pink and hang allergy causing foliage, but I will try and restrain myself and exhaust all other efforts.  Like having Carrie have at ‘em with her Stunmaster 2000 that she has threatened to bring on the plane. 

I know she can take him.

Moving right along, I took Kimmie’s suggestion to try out the farmer’s market for some shrubbery.  We woke up this morning at 5:00 am, (kids and all) and went to the farmer’s market in Hartford CT. 

I must say, I MISS seeing the sunrise.  And I love being up early.  I am an early girl.  The earlier the better.  The peace, the quiet, the birds.  I love it all.  So this morning was quite a treat for me.

But the best part…..eeeee……I snagged some climbing hydrangeas for my fence from a wholesaler, so they cost me half the price.  They already have a few years growth, so they are very tall, which means, I will have covering sooner than later.  And did I mention they were hydrangeas?  They are one of my all time favorites and if you haven’t seen a climber, I found a picture to show you.

After my morning fun we spent the rest of the day outside planting, digging, grilling, swinging and many of the other ing’s you might be doing in your back yard on a sunny day.  It was a great day.


Bella got a bunch of dirt in her eye.  Not just a little, but chunks.  Stringy chunks.  Yes, I did say stringy chunks of dirt.

She wasn’t sitting still enough for me to get it out.  We tried to rinse her eye, but she was screaming with her eyes plastered shut.  So I did what I always do in these kind of situations…. prayed for immediate assistance.

Then I remembered the eye cup.  That beautiful vintage cobalt save-the-day piece of glass that sits in my mother’s cupboard.  Thank you Lord.

She let me put it right up to her eye and even found it a bit interesting. 

After a couple of rinses, the dirt collected right at the corner of her eye where I gently wiped it out.  Trauma over and forgotten.  For her anyway.  I have had a child scratch an eyeball at the age of two and it ain’t fun.

Then I thanked God and kissed the cup, which I will inherit some day.  If you only knew how many eyes it has saved.

Big Yellow Fence

April 18, 2008

Project 365 – Day 64

Our fence is finally done and although it is exactly what I needed to protect some of our privacy from the peeping neighbor next door,  I have lost my beautiful view in the process.  Suddenly I looked out my lovely kitchen widows to see…


A ghastly view from the inside, but from the outside it is almost tolerable.

Somehow in the midst of my fence hating moments, the fence has also become a friend, a little piece of security, that I had taken away from me many years ago when the peeping neighbor moved in.  I have never felt comfortable in my yard, always feeling the glaring eyes on my person as I gardened, or played with the children.  Now I feel just a wee bit empowered and strengthened that God gave me a little of my peace back.  The neighbor is still there, standing real close to the fence, hanging on every word he hears and letting you know of his presence, but I still feel better.  Hidden if you will.

Enough so that I have aptly named our yard The Compound.

I am somewhere between feeling like a prisoner and bird, free to fly as she chooses.  Maybe by next week I’ll be able to settle on one or the other.   Until then….no Waco jokes.  K?




Breathing in the New

April 5, 2008

Project 365 – Day 51

I had a pleasant surprise today when the rain left and the sun came out.  It was warm enough to cast off every care and rake ’till my little heart was content….or until my hands hurt a whole lot, which actually came first, but it was sunny so I barely noticed.

I have been preparing for the new fence that is going up in my side yard, to prevent (or inhibit) the pervert peeping neighbor from gawking at us through our windows.  It’s actually a whole lot worse than what I am describing, but I will spare you the ugly details.

Anyway, I managed to spend some time outdoors without my audience looking on.  And I must say, there is nary a place I would rather be than in the garden….well okay…maybe one or two.

So I leave you with the bottom of the birdbath.  Aren’t you lucky!  And quite frankly these pictures were just too interesting to leave alone.  I just had to mess with them a little. 

A little grungy for me, but I’m feeling a little wild today.