Friday, November 27, 2009

Onward and upward and into the night,
The dreams I create rise from within my soul.
A flash of darkness, I dodge and drown,
But the reality lifts me on wings so high.
How can they know without understanding?
Does it matter, in the end, if they see my path?
All I know is who abides there, who is in control,
And the peace, and the love...oh, and the love.
There is power in this surrender,
And a passion which still waits to be fully released.
All is well, in this space, for it is His.
Photograph: Antioxidants

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thoughts for the day:

1. Don't force His will. I am not in control.

2. Don't punish myself for my short comings. He will give me everything I need to fulfill His plan.

3. Don't boast on my gifts. He has given me every tool I have for His purpose.

4. Love myself. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

5. Love others. Jesus teaches this above all else.

6. Don't worry about whether or not I'm doing enough for Him. He will call me in His time.

7. Do not be concerned whether others approve of this philosophy. Jesus is my friend and my counsellor and will heal and fill my heart.

8. Relax, be at peace with who I am, who I was made to be and who I am becoming. Succumb to Him in all things, consult Him in all things and seek Him in all things. He is the answer.

Photograph: Feeling Blue

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Most of my people don't understand me.

Sometimes being yourself can be a very lonely place. I'm finding that while wrestling to find their own selves, people often inflect those thoughts and ideas onto those around them. I don't think it's a conscience decision to judge another, I think it's more the notion that it's okay to be yourself and have those thoughts and feelings if others around you think and feel the same.

So, what happens if they're not? What if they are growing in a totally different direction? If someone you meet is already very different, you either choose to keep your distance or to accept them as they are. But, what if someone you've grown close to changes? What if, for good or bad, their life starts taking different turns? We try to pull them back. We seem almost frightened at the idea of losing that bond and so, we continue to search for the common ground and tweak back the differences. We begin stating our case, making assumptions, transmitting our own feelings about consequences of those changes. This may not support the person in their growth, but may leave them feeling judged and drive in a wedge. Quite often we continue to love the person, but mourn the loss of the relationship as it was. But then again, maybe this role as an antagonist is all part of the lesson.

God has a journey for all of us. If we follow Him, He will lead us there. The hardest lessons come with the hardest experiences and trying to protect those we love by holding ourselves back is usually detrimental.

And I will follow...I will choose that path. Despite the intangibility of a physical presence, I know Jesus is there with me. I feel it in my very being. I may feel lonely at times, but I feel awesome, to become myself, accept myself, for what I am and also, for what I am not. I pray that I can love others equally, for what they are, and what they are not, for what they become, and what they do not. I feel more changes are on their way...and they are HUGE. I may not be ready, but I am being prepared, and I am willing...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Flash and a Shell

So, I've had a Nikon SB26 for close to 15 years now, and received a snazzy new SB800 last Christmas. Both of these flash units have driven me crazy. I have been trying repeatedly to get them to work correctly, and also to give pleasing results, which I know they have a full capability of. After chatting with a friend (thanks Vince!), and my wonderful hubby, and doing some more research, I finally took the time, again, to work with these units today. A super simple subject on an even simpler background.

So, finally I get the units where they are exposing correctly, but my light quality and results are far less than blech:

After tweaking a few more settings, I'm finally getting a bit of drama:

An attempt at backlighting and now I'm getting some texture:

Throw in the second unit and my results are getting more desirable:

I think I'm finally starting to figure out how to work these things. My technique definitely needs some finessing, but I am at least hopeful!

Now that I've figured some of the technical stuff, I can finally play a bit. Get out the gels!

Next on my list is to try and get some good portraits out of them, but I'm thinking I still need a lot of work. Regardless, my subjects are definitely worth it!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I don't get it

In today's society, it seems, that success is measured by your "stuff". House, car, entertainment equipment, the vacations you take, the kind of computer you's all your "stuff". This is no new concept, right? He who has the most stuff wins, or something like that.

Even biblically speaking, God "blessed" certain people with great wealth. Take Abraham, for example. He had oodles of "stuff". Job, got stuff, it was taken away, but he got more...thus...God blessed Him through his faithfulness.

But here's something. We have to take care of our "stuff", yeah? Because God gave it to us, so we must now care for that which He has trusted us with. So, you buy more stuff that you need to take care of the stuff. Ride on lawn mower, storage boxes, the latest cleaning equipment guaranteed to make your life simpler, freezer dinners microwaveable in 5 minutes flat so you'll have time to enjoy your "stuff". At some point you realize that you are now a slave to your "stuff". You work all day to afford it and keep it, you arrange your time to enjoy it, you spend your money and energy maintaining it. When, then, do you serve the Lord? "Sorry, I can't help with this ministry because my car needs washing/house needs cleaning/ipod needs uploading/blog needs updating, plus I just don't have the extra cash."

Stuff can be a burden, my friends. And we're encouraging our children by filling their lives with "stuff" too. If we get rid of our stuff, we feel like we're refusing a blessing. Or maybe we know it's not really a blessing, but a choice we made and now we feel we can't go back. Some of us may even live very frugally and simply, but still feel unable to find time for the work of the Lord, or even for a relationship with God. Could stuff be a false God? Oh yeah. Do we manage to convince ourselves that we're being wise by storing stuff? You bet.

The next time I walk into some Super-Mega-Store and am tempted by all the stuff I just have to have, I want to be reminded of the chaos of my home and the clutter that is now my life, and of the opportunities I have missed to help others because I was too busy with my "stuff". How many Target receipts must I collect before the wisdom of what really matters to God seeps into my brain. Because it sure as heck ain't gonna hit me through a new and improved Swiffer or the latest Blackberry model.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I've had a few phrases strike me strongly recently:

Don't be a thermometer, be a thermostat (Joel Osteen)

If God is for a person, who can stand against them? (rough interpretation)

The GPS solution when waiting for God: Gratitude for His past faithfulness, Persistence in prayer, Surrender to His will (from Northpoint Ministries podcast).

Image: Always Half Full

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lots of fun with Photography!

So, yesterday I got dressed up like this and photographed myself for the current Dgrin challenge. It was a great learning experience with light, and the makeup part was fun too! Thanks to Lana and Debbie for being extra hands! I also took some shots of their girls in their ballet outfits, and (once I get my house in order to some degree!) I get to do some product shots. I can't wait for that one! It's for some AWESOME handmade soaps from Full Earth, and I've got all kinds of fun props planned! house is a wreck from reorganizing, plus the mess I made with the shoot yesterday, so damage control must be done first!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's been a loonnnggg time...

After more than a year, I am finally able to jump back into the Dgrin challenges. I just had so much fun shooting again, that I don't even care if I get in the judges' selections. I just know it's great to be getting creative with it again!

Image title: My Cup Runneth Over Challenge theme: Saturated

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Work in progress

Okay, so it doesn't look like much at this point, but it's a start. This is my butterfly and bird garden, or at least the start of it. It was just a small grassy hill that covers the root cellar/storm shelter thingy. I moved all the block in this past weekend and although it's not quite finished, the hardest parts are done. This weekend I hope to finish the hardscaping and maybe get some bulbs in. I can't wait to get the whole thing growing. The birds already love the feeders being there, which I can see from my kitchen window, and the whole area is an unused part of the property that is immediately behind our sunroom. It should make for some spectacular summertime viewing!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Apple Blossoms

This crazy weather, I tell ya. I never thought I would be out in almost freezing weather putting sheets and newspapers over plants, yet here I am. My 2 compact apple trees are actually now in the ground and looking good, just getting ready to get pretty, and tonight is supposed to be in the 20s. We had 80 degree weather this past weekend, and this coming weekend will be in the 70s, yet today we are having snow flurries. It's just not the way it's supposed to be (according to all the seasons books we read!)

I'm heading off to physical therapy in an hour or so. I actually kind of enjoy it. I think it's helping, but I didn't do myself any favors holding toddlers in the nursery yesterday at CHAT. I loved being able to calm some of them down, but my back is paying for it today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This our awesome new puppy! He is such a sweet boy. He came from the Atlanta Humane Society and we picked him up yesterday. He loves to be cuddled and is very gentle.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Facebook is a blog killer.

Blogs are email killers.
Emails are phone killers.
Phones are personal visit killers.
Makes you wonder what's next.

Actually, due to facebook I'm in much better contact with my extended family than I've ever been before and I am very thankful for that. It's is an amazing world that we live in. In my lifetime I've seen dial phones to cell phones, coin operated TVs to HDTV Wall Mounted Flat Panels, manual typewriters to computers that get bigger (or smaller), better, faster, more every day. Environmental awareness has been around all of my lifetime, but I still see an astounding amount of waste. Makes me more than a little afraid for the future of the planet we have been entrusted with.

I just finished listening to a 6 part sermon series by Andy Stanley called Balanced. It was fascinating to me. It's all about money, how we think about it and how we handle it, and how that affects our relationship with God. I've never much cared for churches talking about money, but I eagerly looked forward to each new week of this series. I have to say I don't think any other sermon has ever affected my life so profoundly. I feel like I've been shown a path that will lead to increased peace in my life - and I totally plan to take it.

Photo: Kyle O'Neal, Worship Leader at Church at The Well

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I got to spend about 3 hours out shooting yesterday, trying to capture some images for a slideshow at Church at the Well. They wanted to play them while Kyle sings God Of This City. I left the girls with their grandparents (as I didn't think having them run around on the train tracks was a good idea) and I had fun, but man was it COLD! I spent many hours last night and today post processing them and I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. I've run out of space on my computer though, so my next big project is to set up my photo filing system and free up some hard drive space.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Christmas Wedding and a little too much holiday cheer.

So, I'm definitely managing to cut back on outside jobs/projects and really focusing on my family. It's a super nice feeling to be able to keep the house clean, provide good meals, homeschool well, study the bible, take care of my pets and spend quality time with my husband and children. On the same token, however, I seem tired a lot and am totally over-eating (a weight gain of 10+ lbs - yikes!). I guess the first thing I'll be adding into my schedule is a diet and exercise routine. :(

I did get the photos Todd and I took at Kyle and Melissa's wedding processed up. I think these are my favorites from the bunch.