February 27, 2009

Prayer....is it tough for you too?

"I wish I had a better prayer life." I have said it dozens of times, most of the time I have said it to myself, although I have on many occasions owned up to it verbally, and in writing here. Through the last number of years that I have been involved with Women's Bible Study a recurring theme among the women is the same, they want a more meaningful prayer life. Sometimes when we pray we feel like our words hit the ceiling, sometimes we pray and we feel we are talking to ourselves, sometimes we feel like...God already knows this, why do I have to pray about it?

I had a blessed conversation with my son Derek today. He told me when Jack was diagnosed that he hated God, each time Jack's diagnosis would come back bleak, Derek said he would hate God more. He then went on to say that when Jack was healed that God mended his heart and he and God are the chain gang now, and he intertwined his fingers to look like a chain link. This discussion was brought about by a conversation that was going on in his bible class. One of the students asked the teachers why it is that he had been praying for something and it seemed like God wasn't answering his prayer. The teacher said he didn't know and made a joke out of it and said maybe that boy wasn't speaking loud enough. Derek raised his hand and said that God's timing could be that He is not ready to say yes to that prayer yet, like we prayed for Jack for 3 years to be healed and 3 years after we started praying he was. I talked with Derek about how we were blessed that Jack was healed, but that his heart would have mended even if Jack was not because God would have helped him through that time....but that's another story.

Praying seems to be so difficult for some. I took that Spiritual Formation class with Dr. Wray and it really helped me alot. It showed me different types of prayers, meditative, ancient, it reminded me that when we pray often times we only participate in our part, then we close down shop and move on before we give God a chance to speak to our hearts.

For me prayer is a journey, I think it is for all of us. As long as we don't stop the journey and we are seeking God in prayer then things are moving in the right direction. I heard the most wonderful sermon on prayer on the radio yesterday. It was by Jim Cymbala from the Brooklyn Church in New York. The lesson on prayer is amazing, and then he gives his own personal testimony of the power of prayer with his runaway daughter. This is another piece in the puzzle for me on how important prayer is in my life, and in the life of my church. Click the link below to take you to the site to listen or download it for free.

"If you can beat the enemy in prayer you will beat him on every level. "
Jim Cymbala

My House Shall Be a House of Prayer

Life is a journey for me, there is nothing more important than connecting with God as much as I can. Prayer is a major part of that, God give me the desire to be in prayer to you, give me an unquenchable desire to pray.

February 26, 2009

Tribes

I have not read Tribes yet, but it is on my list to read. Several of my friends have read it and referred to it on their blogs. Seth Godin the author of Tribes speaks to the value of helping others succeed. This is good stuff. I love his green glasses by the way.

February 25, 2009

Lent

What exactly is Lent?
"Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock....By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days."

Today is the beginning of Lent. When I was growing up I was in a town where most people were either Catholic or Mormon. I was one of 3 Church of Christers in my high school of 750. What I knew of Lent growing up was that was the day that the Catholics went to church and ashes were rubbed on their forehead. And I also knew that if you were Catholic you gave something up for Lent. Some people I knew would give up chocolate or sweets. Fast forward 20 years and I live in a town that is made up of Baptists, C of C, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholics... On Ash Wednesday today, I saw one young lady with ash on her forehead, and forgot for the moment that it was Ash Wednesday, thank goodness I held back the urge to tell her she had something on her forehead that needed washing off. It is just not as predominant here as it was where I grew up.

I learned in my spiritual formation class that the Christian Orthodoxy faith practices Lent, in fact on the website I have the link for in the first sentence, it says all churches with their roots extending before 1500 AD observe Lent. The Link also explains why some newer (like in the last 1000 years churches don't celebrate Lent).

On that same website there is a link to some information on fasting. Fasting is associated with Lent because people often will "fast" from chocolate or something else they would normally eat. And during that craving or thought for that food, one can think upon and pray to the Lord.

Why am I writing about this, I am not Catholic, I am not Christian Orthodox? Observing Lent is becoming more and more common among evangelical Christians. For years several members of my family have observed Lent by removing something, or adding something to their day in remembrance of the Lord. This year I decided I would observe Lent. Because...Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. I am sure that this will be a learning "Lent Season" for me. I will be adding and subracting. I will be adding daily prayer, ancient prayers, 3 times a day, and I will be subracting sugar sweets....yes, sugar sweets. The one thing that tempts me like no other. I will have a lot of time to think upon the Lord as I am turning away from sugar and eating an apple, or making some hot tea. Fasting has blessed me so much over the last couple of years. It has brought me face to face with my compelling desire to not want to withhold. It has brought the face of Jesus to mind when I am physically hungry but know that Jesus is my true Sustainer.

I know that with God's help and guidance this next 40 days will be a time of searching my soul, and finding my way closer to Him, it will be a time of blessing, a time of meditation and a renewal of my commitment to the Lord.

It can be for you too. If soul-searching, repentance, reflection and taking stock are appealing to you then take this opportunity to join with me in this pilgrimage.

February 24, 2009

Spaghetti Sandwiches

Loving this 90 degree weather in February. When I lived in Arizona, I used to say that I always had my first sunburn of the year by my birthday which is Feb. 10th. I love it so much because I know that we will have 50 degree weather by the weekend. It is a nice respit of heat between the cold.

I made spaghetti for dinner tonight not realizing that my kids had it at school for lunch. Bummer. Spaghetti is in my top 5 favorite foods. My boys eat their spaghetti by laying out a piece of bread and piling the spaghetti on top then folding the bread in half or putting a slice on top and eating it like a sandwich. Very odd.

I promise I will have something extremely interesting to write at some point this week. Until then I bid you adieu.

February 23, 2009

Oscars - So Fun, Next Book on Deck!

Monday night. Busy day on the puter. I ran some errands after I dropped off 2 of my kiddo's at their theatre/dance classes this afternoon, and ran by the mall to exchange a birthday gift. On my way out I saw two friends walking the mall, I desperately wanted to get a little exercise so I joined in for a 20 minute fast walk around the mall. It was fun joining in with them, and we got to discuss the Oscar movies from last night.

Speaking of Oscars. I just thoroughly enjoyed them last night. Hugh Jackman is highly talented and I loved the Frost/Nixon song with Anne Hathaway, what a voice she has. I also cried like a baby when Kate Winslet won best actress. I loved that she had her dad whistle out where he was, so she could find him and wave. She is one of my favorite actresses, like in the top 2, Meryl Streep is the other. I generally choose not to see R Rated movies, and unfortunately that seems to be what she is in most of the time, but I will continue to rewatch Titanic, Sense and Sensibility, Finding Neverland and on wonderful rare occasions see her in something new. I loved her dress and her "Old Hollywood" hair.

I thought the parity on Joaquin Phoenix by Ben Stiller was hysterical. If you haven't seen the interview with Joaquin on the David Letterman show, take the time to watch it on You Tube if you want to watch an extremely odd and slightly bewildering 10 minutes. Joaquin is one of my favorite actors, Gladiator is my most favorite movie ever, Walk The Line is right up there, so I am a bit bummed that Joaquin is stepping away from acting. I wish him well and pray that he can find his way.

And then my last commentary on the Oscars last night was that I totally loved the past icons presenting the supporting and best actor/actress roles. It was fun to see the past winners on stage together.

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Next book up to read - Jesus In The Margins (Finding God in the places we ignore) by Rick Mckinley.

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Just finished reading Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond, after reading the first couple of chapters I had to read a page in the last chapter to see how it ended. It was going to cause me too much stress while reading to not know how it ended. I rarely ever do that, but I do have to confess that that last book of Harry Potter I did the same thing. The Year of Fog, was a story about a child abduction and what happens in the year following that abduction in the lives of her father and father's fiance, who was the one with her when she was abducted. This book had some s*x in it, not hard core, but still more than what I want to read. I am not a prude, others might be able to read this kind of material and not have it stick in their head for days after, but that is not the way my brain works. I learned several years ago that it does not bless my soul to read questionable material. Maybe because my spirit is sensitive to this, maybe because God knows where I came from and He wants me to keep my mind on what is pure and wholesome. I told my friend yesterday that I wish I could read books and not be so convicted, but I guess I will let God do the convicting and I will follow as best I can.

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Time to go pick up the kids.
Have a great day.

February 19, 2009

Dry Bones...real questions, real answers.

I have occasionally written on here about one of my favorite ministries, Dry Bones in Denver, CO. I received their newsletter today on-line with a great Dry Bones Interview. This was a great piece to read, questions answered by the teens and young adults who live on the streets in Denver and who are served by this ministry.
Here are the questions....they are answered by several different people who live on the streets. Denver has the highest teenage rate of homeless population. Their answers are precious, truthful, and sometimes a bit tough to read, knowing that I am headed to a warm bed on a cold night. Click on the link above to read the full interview, and to find out what "Rice Christians" are.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY….
DESCRIBE WINTER ON THE STREETS IN A COUPLE OF WORDS…
WHERE’S THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU’VE EVER SLEPT?
DO YOU SEE OR EXPERIENCE GOD ON THE STREETS?
WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES YOU OPEN TO TALK ABOUT GOD TO SOME PEOPLE, BUT NOT OTHERS?
THIS IS GOING OUT TO PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT DRY BONES AND WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT GOES ON HERE IN DENVER. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY TO THE PEOPLE READING THIS INTERVIEW?

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I always believe that when I read the stories about Dry Bones, that there go I but for the grace of God. A couple tweaked circumstances in my life could have very easily landed me on the streets. Thankfully I had friends and family who had higher expectations given in love, than I had for myself.

So what are your answers to with the questions above? Not all fit my life, but I tweaked them a bit.

Describe your perfect day...waking up late with my husband in bed next to me. Eating a yummy breakfast, reading a book, going to a movie, having real conversations with my kids, finding God in the details of my life.

Winter on the streets....no idea.

Most interesting place you've ever slept? I have always had a bed to sleep in.

Do you see God or experience Him in the streets? I see God every day. I look for Him everywhere. He is in the beauty of nature, he is in the kindness of strangers, He is in the people around me who share His love. I find Him most clearly in His Word, in scripture. His words are like friends to me, who teach, discipline, love and give me hope.

What is it that makes you open to talk about God to some people, but not to others? (Going back to when I was coming back to the Lord.) If someone has an openness and kindness, if they are friendly, allow me to ask questions, and not make me feel stupid for not already knowing the answer to easy scriptural rights and wrongs.

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To keep up with the latest happenings with Dry Bones in Denver, click on their link above and sign up for their on line newsletter. This is an awesome ministry.

Do you blog?

Thursday afternoon.
Question Day.
1. Do you go to Southern Hills Church of Christ.
2. Do you have a blog?
3. Is it a blog that would be pleasant for others to read to keep up with you and your family, current events, a day in the life?
4. Will you link over to Sarah's blog so your blog can be added to the blog roll, please.


5. If you read this blog and have a blog but don't go to Southern Hills, leave your address in my comments section. I would love to keep up with you too!

February 18, 2009

Marriage Seminar


Several couples I know have signed up for this conference. One of my friends said, it seems like marriages are falling apart everywhere around us in our Sunday school class, our marriage is good right now, but we know we want to keep it strong. The best defense is really a good offense. Marriage is something that we can not take for granted, it might survive without extra effort if you are lucky and convicted, but to have a thriving and fulfilling marriage I have found in my marriage atleast that the more I put into it, the better it is.
The simulcast will show at Beltway Baptist on 707 here in Abilene. The cost is $69 per couple or $40 individually. There is childcare provided for a fee.
Click here for the link to Beltway for more info.

One of my favorite prayers.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is Hatred, let me sow Love.

Where there is Injury, Pardon.

Where there is Doubt, Faith.

Where there is Despair, Hope.

Where there is Darkness, Light,
and
 Where there is Sadness, Joy.

February 17, 2009

Checking In.

Tuesday morning. I thought I might wake up feeling totally better today, no such luck. I caught Jack's cold from last week. I wish I would have had this cold before he did, because I wasn't very sympathetic, he stayed home from school one day, but he never seemed THAT sick, just said that his head hurt and he had a stuffy nose. He does cry wolf a lot, so I have taken the route of encouraging him to just give school a try when he says he doesn't feel well. Most of the time it is a case of "I just don't want to go to school," but this cold is kicking my booty, so I am feeling a bit remorseful for not giving him the benefit of the doubt last week. My mother in law makes the best homemade chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles. She asked me if I wanted her to make me some tonight and I feel sure with one dosing of that I will be on the mend pretty soon.

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As I have been feeling like a mack truck is sitting squarely on my head for the past 48 hours I don't have much to say today. Finished a book yesterday, Secret Life of Bee's by Sue Monk Kid. It was very well written. I am sure most readers have already read it, and or seen the movie. One of my friends and clients loaned me her book last month and told me I would enjoy it. I did enjoy it and it was perfect to read on a sick day. A day that your head is throbbing is not a day to pick up Henri Nouwen, too much thinking to do. This was a light and easy read, with some sadness and laughter along the way.

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My cold is a consolation for one thing, I had really wanted to attend the WPPI this year in Las Vegas. It is the big daddy Wedding Photographers Conference. Takes place every year in Las Vegas, it is chock full of top of the line speakers, product booths and new tech stuff everywhere. I decided that I shouldn't spend the money this year on it, and have rethought that choice over and over. Up until last week was trying to talk myself into going, but timing just wasn't right for my budget. So I didn't go, and boy am I glad that I am not in Las Vegas with this horrible cold, glad I am at home and snuggled up in my bed. One very good reason to be thankful for my cold.

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Have a super ah, ah, ah, choo - less day I hope.

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's for 120 more minutes.

Still 2 hours left for Valentine's Day. 2 hours to hold a hand, 2 hours to nibble your spouses ear. So this post is a little late in the day, but it still counts. Happy Valentine's Day. Here are the Valentine's cards I made for Jack and Sophie to hand out in their classes for their parties. Derek has passed the age of Valentine parties, which is why there isn't one for him. These were a super rush job, no time to go all out, but they are still pretty cute.

February 12, 2009

Are You Worried? Rx below.

Thursday morning. Tonight is my "featured artist" night at Artwalk. I am always excited to have my work displayed and these images I call "Ash, Erwin and Art" are so much fun.


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Belief. I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief. Words I say to God every day. Words taken from scripture Mark 9:24. I asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was in the 7th grade. After studying and making the choice I asked my dad to baptize me in our swimming pool. That very day I had been saved, but it took me 20 years to make Him my Lord and Savior. What's the difference? By submitting myself under His Lordship I have been given a gift. A gift to trust Him to guide me where He wants me to go. For much of my late teenage life and early adulthood, I trusted no one, I was trying to check out of my life mentally and emotionally by using drugs and alcohol and searching for love in places where there is only darkness. God saw me through that time and called me to Him, gratefully I felt I had no other options left so I followed. Fast forward a couple of years, been living a Christian life, working in a church, doing all the 'right' things. But still not submitting all I am to Him, how do I know that? Because I allowed worry, anxiety, and need for control to be my lord, and I thought that was normal because it was everywhere I turned. Many people (not all) were worried themselves, worried about money and the lack of it, worried about health, worried about their kids, worried about their jobs...I fit right in. Did I really believe and have faith that God was in the details of my life? Did I just believe that He was to be worshipped on Sunday and then real life happened after that?

When I began in depth bible study a number of years ago my eyes opened a little to this lack of faith I was struggling with. I longed and still long for the faith of a champion of God. Although the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 show me people who had faith to be recognized by God, but many struggled to gain that faith through difficult circumstances and their faith was grown through those circumstances. God uses broken people, that is when His strength can be seen. Last week in bible study there was a quote, "God is drawn to weakness." Thanks be to God for that because I am weak, but God calls me to grow stronger in Him each day, to move from milk to meat, to move from a faith that is easily shaken to a faith that has been tested and can weather a storm that might have toppled it just last week. Growth.

The gift of trust and faith in God is the greatest earthly gift I can think of that I don't want to waste any longer here on earth. I think it is one of the traits that shine the light of Jesus through Christians. How does one get this faith? God grows faith, we just need to seek Him with all of our heart and He will increase it. The way I seek Him? Prayer, bible study, scripture...I take scriptures that stand against whatever I am struggling with and I quote them through the day. Keep them with me. Over and Over. There is the amazing example in scripture where the man cleans out his house of the 1 demon that is living there, but he leaves it empty, and the demon brings back friends who take up residence. What that means to me, I can push out the fear, worry or anxiety, but if I am not rewallpapering my mind with the promises and faithfulness of God and His scripture, then the fear and worry come back fourfold or debilitatingly more. God is with me, I am never foresaken. Does my life always look like I want it to? Hardly ever. Are there hardships? Absolutely. Those hardships are where the rubber meets the road, that is where I can shine for Jesus or whither like a lilly in a drought. Call on Him in the hardships and if you are willing He will give you peace and show you the way.

Our faith is refined by fire, the more fires we walk through the stronger our faith grows. Fire burns, but what it burns away is our pride, greed, selfishness, and what it leaves is a humbled servant of God ready to say "here I am Lord, I will go where you lead." To be content in our circumstances and trust God that we are part of His great plan are gifts that brings tears to my eyes. Thanks be to God.

I pray for the faith of Mary the mother of Jesus. When the angel Gabriel came to her and told her that through the Holy Spirit she would become pregnant with Jesus, she said "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."

Whatever my lot in life, may it be to me as You have said Lord. And may I be an encourager to others along with way, with a smile filled with love for You, and a smile and love for others that shine peace and contentment that can only come from you.

February 11, 2009

Sam the Koala update.



On my previous post I had some pictures featuring the horrible fires in Australia. One of the pictures was of a man feeding a koala water. It was precious. My sister Becky emailed me a

link to a follow up of Sam and his rescuer reunited on that story. Thanks Beck.

February 09, 2009

Australian Fires

My Aunty Eloise sent me some pics from Australia showing what is happening right now with the fires that are barrelling through towns and forest. I just saw on the news that the death toll is up to 170. I have family mostly on the East Side of Australia, in Queensland. Aunts, Uncles and more cousins than I can count ; )
Please pray for Australia and those who have been affected by this fire.

The picture of the fireman feeding the koala water is precious.




41, Me? Heck Ya!!

Today is the last day I will be 40. My good friend Denise just reminded me of that. She said I have definately hit and am well into my 40's now. I am all good with it. No tears here. I am not afraid to get old, I love to be around people who are happy to be in their own shoes. And that is my goal too. May 41 bring greater wisdom, love and appreciation...Rock On and Peace Out!!

February 07, 2009

Gladys, Sophie, Jason and a precious little girl named Ava

If you want to know more about I love Jesus, but I drink a little, Gladys Hardy. Just click on her name and it will take you to her personal website. I was talking with one of my friends today and she had heard that it was possibly the Greater Tuna actor who was the real Gladys Hardy. Neither of us really knew, so when I got home tonight I googled Gladys and found out that she is apparently who she says she is. If you have no idea who I am talking about....Gladys is a call in guest on Ellen's show. She is hysterically funny. Here is her on You Tube talking with Ellen on the phone. It is laugh out loud funny. I remember watching this episode when it first aired and I was crying I was laughing so hard.



This all became fresh again as it is now making it's rounds on Facebook. Funny Stuff!!

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Today we celebrated Sophie's 10th Birthday. She chose to take a couple friends to see Hotel For Dogs (same movie as Jack chose last week), then go to the park and play with her friends. It was a fun afternoon. Last week I had to leave Rob and the kids at the movie to get to a sitting, so I didn't get to see very much of it. I was glad to see it fully today. This was a sweet and fun movie. It doesn't take much to make me cry in a movie, and this one was no different. Cried like a baby at one point. But happy endings and a lot of laughs and dozens of cute dogs make this a very fun family movie.

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Music. I have been listening to Jason Mraz. I downloaded his album on Itunes and there are several songs on his album I love. A couple not so much, but overall it is a totally fun album. If you like Jack Johnson and Colbie Collait you will love his music. It is that fun kicking back on the beach kind of music. I am also loving my other latest downloads, Michael W. Smith - A New Hallelujah and an old Jack Johnson album In Between Dreams.

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Blogs. I click through blogs pretty quickly. There are my must go to sites that have to to with photography, there are my friends sites, and some inspirational sites I love. But there is a blog that has hooked me. A couple of weeks ago one of my photog blogs featured Sheye Rosemeyer. She is a wonderfully gifted photographer out of Australia. As inspirational as her images are that is not what hooked me. She is writing about her life and their families journey since her daughter, 3 year old Ava, passed away 2 years ago -Her post yesterday was called Seven Hundred and Thirty Days. The back story on Ava and her family...Ava was at her grandparents house playing, and then went home which was right next door, both homes are enclosed together within a large fence on the property, on her way to her house she must have decided to get something from her families car, which was in the sun that day, and as Sheye puts it, she could not find her way out. I assume both houses of family thought she was at the other and the heat got to little Ava. Here is a picture of precious Ava.

The words Sheye writes are beautiful, elequant and heart felt. Would you join me in praying for this family. Ava is in the arms of Jesus, but just to look at Ava's picture and know that life must go on without those precious eyes and lovely curls makes my heart hurt and I am a total stranger. God bless Ava's family.

February 06, 2009

A Humorous Look At Myself and Pork Chops

Saving money. My friends are stocking up pantries, the media is telling us how to tighten our belts, every where I turn people are talking about how to simplify. Well I love me some simplicity. But on the other hand I am not a very good planner. To simplify a food budget it seems to me that I need to do a little meal planning, ahead of time. I have been following some blogs lately that talk about this very thing. Problem is most of the recipes that are highlighted as bargains don't look very appetizing to me. I would pay someone $5 not to make me eat that under $5 meal. But nonetheless, I know I can do better by planning ahead. So I made a mental note, buy meat when on sale.

The typical way I buy meat is at about 3pm in the afternoon when I have decided what I will prepare for dinner that night. It is not real economical way to shop when I am basing it on my what sounds good today whim. I head to the grocery store and walk by what's on sale because I have already decided on something else. Back to my mental note. I went to the store today to buy some essentials and noticed that the pork chops are buy one get one free. Some people that are already privy to this type of sale shopping call that BOGO. So out of the blue I loaded up two mega sized packages of pork chops and put them on the very top of my shopping cart, you know the little shelf where you can lay your wallet, and proudly walked around the store. I looked like I was a real bargain shopper. I had a sudden vision of Will Ferrell pushing pork chops with that big goofy grin of his, I think that is the look I was eminating.

Then I came home and individually packaged the chops in freezer bags with a family serving in each. So I ended up with 5 family servings of pork chops for $17.

If that wasn't enough savings for one day, I read on my friend Sarah's blog that she just finished a good book. Year of Fog. We all know I love me a good book. My first instinct was to click on over to Amazon, and then I remembered about this paperback trading website...http://www.paperbackswap.com.
Well by golly, I signed myself up and logged on 10 paperback books that I had laying around my house which we are finished with and ordered me Year of Fog and it is already on it's way. Chu Ching.

Yay! for teaching an old dog new tricks. Anybody know how to cook pork chops? A recipe to help me out, as we will be eating them for..stinking...ever!!

Yay! for Esther, Michael disappoints

Friday morning. My weeks go by too quick. Never get enough done. I am looking forward to class #2 of Esther today with the Friday morning ladies. So excited to report that we have over 70 women taking part in this in depth study between the two classes. God has brought me excellent childcare for all the babies and toddlers of the young moms who are in the classes. So blessed.

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Michael Phelps, went from being known for his amazing gold medal record months ago to being on the outs of anyone who has kids who look up to him. So sad. Gone are the days that you can party with a couple close friends and think you are not going to get caught. Too many cell phones with picture capability out there. I am sure he is trying to figure out who his real friends are at this point.

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Celebrating my sweet daughter's 10th birthday tomorrow. Then we have our family party for all of them on Sunday. Fun stuff.

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I asked one of my friends last night about she and her husbands plan to go through the Foster to Adopt with Christian Homes. I am so excited for their family. What a blessing to open your home to a child that needs a permanent Forever Family. I pray God blesses their journey from beginning to end.

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There is more to say on this hodge podge post, but I must get ready for class. May you lift your eyes to Jesus today and rest in His love for you.

February 05, 2009

How I Became A Photographer.

Working at the computer. Waiting for a disc to burn so I headed over here to say a quick hello. All is good at our house. Jack is working on a school paper this week and the topic is "Who is my hero." It was so fun to read it, he chose his dad as his hero, he talked a lot about the responsibilities of Rob's new job and how he helps people. Sweet boy.

Cat asked me in the comments yesterday how I got started in photography.

I hear that question a lot. I got started in photography as a fluke. I always loved being behind the camera, looking at pictures always made my pulse quicken. I love photographs. It never even dawned on me that I would actually one day become a photographer. My journey started when I was pregnant with Derek. I knew that I didn't want to work outside the home, but knew I wanted to work. So I started praying that God would direct my paths and open a door for me so I could have a source of income and also have the ability to be at home with my children. I babysat a lot when my kids were little, and as kids have a tendency to do, they all looked absolutely adorable playing and so I pulled out my camera to take some cute pics to pass on to their parents. One of the mom's encouraged me to follow up on the picture taking thing as she thought the pictures were very good. Over the course of the following year I could feel God prompting me to step out on faith into the photography business. After a year I started officially as a Children's Photographer. I had come up with a little niche that wasn't being done in our small town, I shot only black and white film, then hand colored the images, touches of color, or the entire photograph. They were very fun and looked very old fashioned. To this day I prefer a hand colored image over a digitally manipulated image for touch of color. After a year of the black and white only I added color film.
Over the following years I added families, then seniors, and then weddings to my line up.

How did I learn my craft?

I asked questions and read every photography book I could buy. Those first couple of years I didn't charge hardly anything for my pictures, I was learning. As the years and experience grew, I felt more comfortable behind the camera, but I still hadn't found MY style. I was still shooting film, and was shooting for the 8x10 as photographer's say. I really liked the pictures that show personality, silly faces, movement, but would people generally buy those images...no. They bought the one where everyone was looking straight into the camera and smiling. I think there is a place for those images, but the images that made me happy were the photojournalistic style, life happening, not every hair was in place. I was trying to give people what I thought they wanted, by shooting like other traditional photographers. I came close to shutting down my business because of that mindset. I had shot what I thought was my last wedding, heading out one morning to register to go back to school. I was done feeling stagnant and boxed in. I logged onto my computer to check email right before I left the house and someone had sent me a slideshow of images.

I knew when I saw those pictures that the photography industry was where I belonged. But I also knew I had to make some changes. I called that day to my favorite camera store, B and H out of New York and bought my first digital camera and flash, then I ordered photoshop. The next 3 months I cried alot, learning my camera and photoshop at the same time was very difficult for this technically lacking mind. But I did it and because I am not being boxed in by the roll of film, and being digital afforded me the luxury of shooting more images, then showcasing those images on line for people to see all the fun and emotional shots, not just the 8x10 standard, gave me the avenue where I felt like my creativity was being developed not snuffed out. I also made a choice that I would shoot what felt right to me, not the way someone down the street shoots. Because of my website and blog and the way I proof in a coffee table album, people know my style, and I don't need to adjust my style to them. They like what they see and they call me. If they don't like my style then they call someone else. And that's just the way it should be.
I have made a commitment to continuing education, I try to attend a minimum of 2 but hopefully more seminars and conferences each year. Over the last year I have been blessed to attend conferences of photographers whose work inspires me. I am always looking to grow and develop my craft, never wanting it to get stale, it is important for me to continue to challenge myself and never quit learning, never quit pushing myself. The moment I do that I will grow bored with my job and there will be no inner reward for me and I will be done.

I have developed my business in baby steps. I waited till the next step felt right and I felt like God was leading and then I jumped with my eyes wide open trusting that I was making a positive choice and one that would bless God and bring glory to Him. I can't separate my job from my faith, because it is only because of the faith God has given me that I ever asked for my first $25 sitting fee. Without Him I would not be a photographer. Before every sitting I cover it in prayer, I ask for God to be with me and with those who I am photographing. He is there the whole time and I am calling upon His love to shine in my work. All praise to Him.

February 04, 2009

Gallery Show Around The Corner

Good Wednesday morning. So glad to say hello today. I started working early and have gotten a big "to do" marked off my list and it is only 8:36am.

I am off to the framers, I use Surroundings, and they do a great job. I received all my new images for my gallery show in last night, they need to be exchanged into the frames so they look lovely for the show. The images are SO fun and bright, I can't wait for Artwalk to get here. Just incase you haven't marked it on your calendar please head up to the 2nd floor of the Cockerell Building to see my show. Thursday, Febraury 12, 6-8pm.

I made a fun promotional bookmark that I will be handing out before and during the show.


February 03, 2009

My Friends That Make Me Laugh (and think)


Who is going to Denny's today for the free grand slam breakfast? I think it ends around lunchtime. I just read where my friends Vanessa and Nic went to Denny's this morning for their free breakfast and Nic stood up and had the whole restaurant applaud the staff ; ) He cracks me up. Another Nic story from Vanessa's blog which is private otherwise I would link you over. Nic graduated from ACU with his Masters Degree in Missions a couple of months ago. Not only did he graduate but he was the first mentioned by name during the speech made by Dr. Money the President of the school, for his excellence and journey from the peace corps to the mission field. He and Vanessa are moving to Hawaii as missionaries in a couple of months. Nic needed to find a job in the meantime. He decided to work on the campus where he graduated with his masters as part of the ground keeping crew. So he applied and got the job. He is learning a lot during his time as grounds keeper and knows that this knowledge will bless him and others when he moves. So, someone he knows saw him raking up some leaves and asked him, "Hey, didn't you just graduate with your masters?" and Nic's reply was "Yes, I did." and he held the rake up with a big goofy grin on his face. Nic loves to freak people out and walk the road less travelled. Vanessa graduated with her Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling and is currently working in a job where she works with addicts. Hawaii has a high level of addicts, so I know God has placed her there to prepare her for her mission. We will miss Nic and Vanessa SO much when they are gone. Hawaii is a place where people need authentic people who want to share Jesus. Nic and Vanessa will be used greatly for the Kingdom and I am excited for their transition to Hawaii. Anyone who has spent time in any "resort" type of place has seen what is behind all the pretty resorts and beaches, people who need Jesus. Nic and Vanessa will have a huge mission field, but with God leading them, they will bless His Kingdom.

February 02, 2009

At 12:21pm, 10 years ago....

Today is Jack and Sophie's 10th Birthdays. Saturday Jack invited 3 friends to join him to eat at China Star then on to the movies to go see Hotel For Dogs. Next weekend Sophie's party will be inviting friends to see the same movie because she loved it so much at Jack's party, then going to the park to play. My babies are growing up.

I took most of the day off the computer today. I am about to do a little work as the twins are at their acting and dance classes and Derek is quite content with playstation in the living room. Dinner is already cooked, a family favorite of Bar-B-Que Cups is already prepared and home made cake for dessert is baked and iced.

Well it is time to do work.

Happy Groundhog Day!!!