Friday, December 10, 2010

Cheetohs from a New Perspective

Oh yes!!! I CANNOT WAIT to share this one!!!!!  Look at these:

A tempting plate of Cheetohs. Yum.

Until R decides to share his insight on this usually tasty, cheesy snack:

"Did you ever notice how they make Cheetohs the same shape as poop? It's like we're eating orange, cheese flavored mini poop!"

Ugh! Craving cured! I will never look at a Cheetoh in the same way again. Will you?

R, however, proceeds to pop one in his mouth and declared "Yum! Orange Mini Poop!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Letting Go of A Dream

Too often, life doesn't go the way we planned.  It is a hard reality to accept. My kids balk "It's NOT FAIR!!" And I want to scream it, too. Though, I know it will do no good.

I don't even know why I am writing this post other than it is, once again, therapeutic. My heart is so heavy right now, it hurts. But that sounds so silly. Nobody died this time. Except my dream.

Oh, I sound sooo dramatic! I'm sorry! But let me explain.

For months I have been planning a Private Portrait Session with Santa. It turned into a great, big fun event at The @ Arts at West Cobb. Miss LaLa had planned an entire Holiday Party to break in the Holidays with, and the excitement was real! She had crafts, games, music, food and even a Magic Show planned! All that while we would be taking unique custom portraits with Santa during 15 minute private sessions. As the date neared (which was today, November 20) I got more and more excited, and nervous as well. But I had ideas just exploding out of me, and I literally could not wait. 

There were a few hurdles to jump. First, the decorations I had secured were lost. The home decor store who was going to supply them backed out 10 days before the event! I quickly found decorations, thanks to my wonderful church Burnt Hickory Baptist Church. But then, we HAD to find a Santa Chair!!! I called dozens of places. They all were either out of stock of the right kind of chair, or waaaay too expensive and unwilling to help with their price.  However, just 3 days before the event, as always, God comes through!  The company I have worked for, wow, for over 8 years, allowed me to use a chair in their front lobby! It was perfect! A burgundy wing-back chair with gold stud accents. Thank you Freedom Electronics!!

Since it all came together so perfectly, and God seemed to be ushering it all in, I thought, this was really it!! My big kick-off event!!! The opportunity I've been waiting for to get my photography business up and running. 

See, I was overwhelmed and truly honored by the response I received after I shot several maternity sessions and a newborn sessions over the summer. The momentum was really starting to pick up. Then, pregnancy nausea hit me like a ton of bricks and literally knocked me off my feet. I had to cancel, put off, and reschedule so many sessions. Oh, it was so hard. But I had to put baby first. After last year's miscarriage, I could not risk pushing myself for my own gain. 

Then, Thursday (November 18) was my birthday. And I woke up SICK. Sooooo sick. Actually, it started the night before, I had an almost 102 degree fever. I called my doctor right away and she said "TO BED!! I'll call you in a prescription, drink gobs of fluids, and take Tylenol around the clock until your fever breaks. Until it does, STAY IN BED!!"  By Thursday I was worse, had to cancel my fun, once-a-year birthday dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. But, I thought, if I rest, hopefully I will be better by the weekend. 


By Friday I was worse. The doctor almost threatened to send me to the hospital for IVs. Luckily they decided not to yet. To let the meds run their course and see what happens then. 

But, it was clear by Friday evening that I was NOT going to be in any condition to take portraits of babies and children with Santa the next day. Oh, how my heart broke at the thought. But I realized, I needed to call a photographer I could trust to be my replacement. My sister couldn't do it. So then I called a friend from my last church whom I knew would understand. Robin Thackston Photography. She was unable to take it over as well, but she called her daughter, and she WAS available!!! Not only was she available, she had a shoot at 9AM literally 3 minutes from the even Saturday morning! I hated to admit it, but it's like God had it all taken care of, still. That was too perfect. So, Rachael Thackston Photography took over the event, and I hear it was a huge success. Yes, it just ended a couple hours ago. But I had to send someone to go pick up my church decorations, work chair, and backdrop. My dad went for me, and he came back raving, telling me they told him they were busy all day, and had tons of newborns. 

Oh, that hurt. Well, I was thrilled too, of course. But I couldn't help thinking, that was supposed to be MINE!!  I totally sound like a temper-tantrum throwing 2 year old. But I am just being honest. However, Rachael kept reminding me the importance of doing the best thing for my baby. And clearly, I needed to stay home, in bed. My fever finally did break around 12 this afternoon. Thankfully. But I couldn't have gone and risked my baby, and everyone else's baby for my own gain.

She also said that to give my dream over to God for my baby is the most important thing I could do. I knew she was right.  So I did.  I let go of my dream for the health of my baby.

However, the question begs to be answered: WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING? 

Honestly, I am wondering if God is trying to send me a message. Am I NOT supposed to be in photography? He CLEARLY had today's event all planned out, and excluding me! I don't know.  I guess I'll have to pray through it and try to hear what He is saying. I am sorry if I sound like a whiner. It's not sympathy that I want, just answers from the only One who can give them to me. And writing it out helps me vent. It's just so hard to walk while trying to trust Him, and you think He is guiding your steps and encouraging you in a particular direction. But then, the door slams shut and you're left totally dazed and confused. I am sure I am not the only one who has experienced this. I just hope to learn from it and be able to hear what He wants from me next. I have no idea what to do next.

In the mean time, I thank Santa Clause, Miss LaLa, and Rachael Thackston for all your hard work! Thank you for your flexibility and understanding Santa and Miss LaLa! I am very sorry I couldn't be there. But thank you for rescuing the day, Rachael!

I am TRULY so glad it turned out to be such a great event!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Accepting Baby Steps

Whew!! What a crazy few months it's been!  In the past several months we have moved, had 2 birthday parties, started a new job (hubby), gone on a way-overdue vacation and survived morning sickness with baby #4! Its almost gone, I can feel it! Or maybe I'm just being optimistic because I am soooo ready to get back to shooting!

This is a shot I was so excited to capture! The Lego Statues at Downtown Disney
fascinated me! And apparently the squirrels too!

The lighting on it was tricky though, because I was actually standing under an awning, and the
sun was on the other side of the statue. The first time I shot it, you couldn't see the squirrels at
all for the blow out of light around them. After adjusting for that using all that
I've learned so far ;) I shot this one. Seriously, if I can do it, SO CAN YOU!
In effort to shoot as many new pictures as I can (the more I shoot, the more I learn!) I have decided to create a new goal for myself: From now on, ALL the illustrations on my blog will be using MY OWN pictures! I hope to get creative and shoot some really artistic photos to use for this purpose :) I think my baby sister can help with this too, and it will be great fun working with her on it! Since I not only use this blog to showcase my portrait photography and blog about those stories as well as stories about my own life, I want to tie it all together with the one over-arching theme that seems to cross over into everything I do: Art. I love ALL Art: from paintings to photographs, music, dance, and theatre - it all fascinates me. It always has. This seems to be a common bond for many of us on a universal level. So this will be the common thread I hope you see throughout all the posts, both the professional and personal ones :)

On that note, I am getting really excited, and honestly humbled, by the direction my photography is taking. In December last year I wrote a post about desperately trying to hear God, and what He's calling me to do in life. I felt unfulfilled because I had not found that yet, and I was aching to be in the middle of His will. Some of you may relate to this, others may not. But I think all of us, regardless of beliefs, desire to feel a sense of accomplishment. When we do something we love, we feel it with our entire being, and we effect others in a positive way. When we don't, we dread every second of it and effect others in a negative way.

So I began searching for what my calling might be. I felt so lost because my passions lead in so many different directions. However, little did I realize that God was going to lead me there! It was just going to take a series of tiny little baby steps.  Now, as I look back at just the past 10 months, I can see God's fingerprints on everything that has happened! Which only makes me SOOOO excited about the steps to come. But let me back up and explain:

  • The update on that post mentions about how in the short months between the original post and the updates, I met so many photographers willing and excited to help me and I had learned so much it was overwhelming (in a very good way!)
    • One of those photographers took me on as a mentor and walked me through so much! She even invited me to help her on a newborn shoot.
    • One of the other photographers, a great friend from high-school I was able to reconnect with, has been an endless source of information, patiently answering all my questions and offering all the advice she can think of. Then SHE invited me to a family portrait session with her! It was such a great learning experience!!
  • Then I started practicing on family and friends, and their response was greater than I ever expected coming from my first few "professional" shoots. (I've been shooting since I was 13, but never under the intention of doing it professionally until now.)
  • Suddenly I had people asking me to book session after session! All in a matter of 8 or so months!! I honestly never dreamed of it going so well. The only thing I can say is that God has been behind it all. There is no other explanation. 
  • Then I had the idea (out of "nowhere" ... ahem... so like God) to join forces with my good friend Santa Claus for a special portrait event. I was unsure if he would be able to attend though, seeing as he gets incredibly busy this time of year! However, he loved the idea and was willing to make room in his schedule to come down and join us! All I had to do was find a location to host us...
  • Then, tada! It the idea for the perfect place to host Santa for portraits falls into my lap: Miss LaLa's Treehouse, now called The Arts @ West Cobb! They are all about ALL THE ARTS!!! How fitting!!! 
When I called them, they loved the idea! And so now, I have a great opportunity to join forces with a company who is not only willing to host us for Christmas but would also like to host us for a Halloween/Fall portrait session and see why else our paths might have Purposely crossed! I meet with her tomorrow so I will be sure to let you know the details we work out. But all I can say is that I could never have imagined all these baby steps were even possible, let alone that I would be walking them.

Why am I sharing all this with you??

We all have dreams. Some of you dream about photography like me! (I hope to "pay it forward" and help you as others have helped me! Email me for more info!) The rest of you long after a myriad of other dreams. One of my goals with this blog is to inspire you to dream them, and do whatever it takes to follow them. Even if it takes itty bitty almost invisible baby steps. You never know where you will be a year from now if you do. But if you never try, you'll never reach it. God plants those dreams in our hearts! He wants SO MUCH MORE FOR US than we can ever imagine! 

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Inspirations

There they are. My inspirations. R, my creative thinker, K my passionate sensitive one, and C, the Princess. 

They inspire me for everything!!!  To live life to the fullest, to cherish the little moments in life, and to believe when there is no reason to. 

They are also the reason I fell in love with photography. You can read that how that journey unfolded here

Mostly, they inspire me to love. I love how unconditionally they love. I want to be like them when I grow up ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Sad Birthday

Today is my due date. Or, it would have been my due date if I had carried to term. And it is hitting me harder than I thought it would.

This is an unexpected turn of events for me. I thought I had dealt with the pain, and received a beautiful gift of peace and assurance.  
Coping with miscarriage is never easy, but I believe I grew closer to my God and family through it. Then I thought I was done. Finished with the grief, at peace with the loss and ready to move on.

But the date June 19, 2010 loomed ahead, yet I was sure I would remain un-phased.

Now, here it is and I am feeling surprisingly shaky. I still know my baby Camryn is with God, waiting to be joined by the rest of us when our time comes. I know we will meet one day. I know it is not my fault. And I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. My head knows all of this. Still, my heart yearns for my baby.

I don't know why  I am writing about this. It is awful and painful and yucky. Still, I felt the need to share it with you. Maybe one day a hurting mother-to-have-been will stumble across it and find hope in the grief. It is a process, I am learning. One that we have to go through or we will never heal. It is OK to grieve.  Actually, it is healthier to grieve. But do so with hope.

Also, I really needed to acknowledge to the world that I have a baby in heaven, and that baby hasn't been forgotten. Though we miss having her here with us physically, the rest of the world has forgotten we had a 4th because they can't see her amongst our other children. But I always will. Especially on June 19th. So, today we will celebrate the brief time we got to share with her, and focus on the hope we have that we will meet her one day.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Baby Camryn!!! We Love You 
and can't wait to meet you.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Random thoughts =)

I think too much. I really do! That is part of why it takes me so long to edit pictures. Or really, why it takes me so long to do anything! I over-think everything! That, and I'm a perfectionist.

I spoke with a friend recently who is so not like this and she told me "just don't do it!"

Hmm, I wish it was that easy. But even attempting not to is to fight agains the very core of my being! How does one overcome that?

No clue.

Just a random thought.

If you have any insight on this, please share!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cutting Grass and Conquering Fears

My youngest son, JP, loves to help. His favorite thing to help with is cutting the grass. One of the first phrases he said when he started talking was "Pawpaw cut grass?" He would say it as soon as he saw Pawpaw put on his straw hat... his grass-cutting hat! Then he would run and get his little lawn mower to help. He has continued this fascination now for almost 2 years!

So I was really excited when he sat still enough for me to shoot this picture! It truly captures a memorable moment. This is a shot I got one day when he was "taking a break" from helping Pawpaw. I loved how he was just looking out at the overgrown grass in the backyard. What was running through his little mind? He got quiet & pensive and just stared!  (Which if you know JP, you know is RARE! The boy is hardly ever still!) But we attribute that to his passion. The boy is incredibly passionate, and he has no fear! He actually inspires me to act more on my passions.

For example, photography has long been a passion of mine, but fear has kept me from pursuing it. Fear also kept me from trying out for my high school musical and the school of music in college, but yay! Here I am years later finally pursuing a passion. Better late then never, huh?!  Yet, even now fear threatens to stop me: I had my first maternity portraits shoot this past Tuesday and boy was I ever nervous. My friend who was modeling was so patient and encouraging though so I was able to make it through the shoot. However, when I got home and viewed the pictures, I was disappointed in myself and the results I got.  They just didn't look how I pictured them in my head. I found myself thinking that maybe I should just stick to photographing my own kids and ditch this whole becoming-a-photographer thing.

But something has changed inside me... I want to keep going! A large part of that is the incredible amount of encouragement I am receiving from my sweet hubby and several great friends (one of whom IS a photographer!!). Another reason is that I see the whole world before my kids and I truly believe they can do anything God calls them to do, and would be heartbroken if they let fear stand in their way.  But how can I encourage them to conquer their fears & pursue their God-given passions if I don't do the same? So here I go... pushing through the fear. I promise to post those maternity pics if you want to see them.

They are done! Click here if you'd like to see some of those maternity shots!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Time in a Bottle

When I was a little girl, my mom and I had two songs we called "our songs."  One of them was "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor and the other was "Time In A Bottle" by Jim Croce. To this day when I hear those songs I get swept away to those moments in time. 

There are two vivid memories that stand out to me regarding these songs; these are the ones that especially come flooding back upon the first few notes of either song:

The first was right after we moved and I started a new school for 1st grade. I felt so alone and scared; I was painfully shy. It was recess and I remember sitting on top of the monkey bars alone, crying and singing the words to "You've Got A Friend" to myself, willing my mami to hear them and come rescue me:

"When your down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again...."
This song reminded me that she wanted to rescue me, even when I knew she couldn't. Just remembering that would make me feel better.

The other memory is when I was trying on her clothes and modeling them around the house, she got tears in her eyes and said
"if only I could save time in a bottle," and started singing that song to me:

"If I could save time in a bottle       
The first thing that Id like to do       
Is to save every day       
Till eternity passes away       
Just to spend them with you..."       

       Of course, when you're little you take everything literally, so I asked her what she meant by "saving time in a bottle" and how can someone possibly do that? If she could tell me how, I'd do it for her since she wanted it so bad!

Oh if I only knew how quickly time would pass, and what she meant by that. Now I find myself saying the same thing to my three little ones, and wishing I could find a way to keep time in a bottle. Maybe that's why I love photography so much, it is a way to freeze time and keep it forever. I try to take mental "snapshots" every day of those fleeting moments, but am always so thrilled when I capture them on film. This is what drives me, and why has become one of my biggest passions. But I know I owe it to my mom for making so very aware that nothing lasts forever. I think most kids (& grown-ups!) don't understand that until it is too late.

So Mami, thank you for teaching me to savor the little moments, even when I didn't understand.

And to all my mommy friends... remember everything your child does is a phase- the good ones and the not-so-good ones too- and they will (all too soon) pass, so try not to rush any of them. Focus on moments: just get through the tough ones and look forward to that inevitable yet fleeting next good one, and when it arrives, freeze it.
Then, save that moment in time in a bottle. ♥
(or a frame, LOL!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It Matters to This One...

"A little boy was walking along the shore picking up starfish and throwing them back into the sea. A man walks up to him and asks him why he is even bothering, he can never save them all, so it doesn't really matter. And the little boy replies 'It matters to this one' and tosses one more back into the ocean."

Just had to share :)

The church is a whore, and she is my mother.

aThat is a quote from St. Augustine.

Before I offend, allow me to explain:

"The church IS the unfaithful bride of Christ, failing to live up to the marriage vows of Christ. But she is also my mother- I wouldn't be a christian today, and I would'nt know about Jesus and I wouldn't have the Bible if it wasn't for this thing called the church. It has carried the truth for all of its shortcomings" - Tony Campalo

This statement and its explanation have been in my head since I watched the documentary 
"Lord,  Save us from Your Followers" by Dan Merchant. Though it sounds harsh, it is so true and could be so healing, I believe, if everyone would acknowledge it - both Christians and non-Christians. So I had to post it, in hopes of Starting a Conversation. 

Basically yes, the church is very imperfect, but also very valuable.

Like it points out in the documentary, Bill Maher says he believes Jesus is a great person, a wonderful role model, if only Christians lived like He did! (Rough summary.) But it's true: so many people refrain from believing in Christ because of the hurtful interactions they have had with Christians. "They're hypocrites" they say.

Hence: The church is the unfaithful bride of Christ, a whore. We fail to live up to His standards. YES, we do. (Um, but I think that's the point, He loves us - and them- anyway!)

However, the latter part is just as true. Without the church we wouldn't have the Bible, and I wouldn't have my precious, thirst-quenching, peace-giving relationship with Christ. It is because of the church I met Jesus, which is why I am who I am today, so, yes, the church is also my mother.

This is one of my most heartbreaking struggles; it is something over which I cry myself to sleep at night on a regular basis.  I KNOW the peace I have experienced, where it came from, and the difference it made in my life before Christ and after. But I am not going to force it down anyone's throat. NO, it is something they have to decide for themselves; just as God gave me the free will to choose, He gave it to them as well. Does that mean I don't like them? Or love them? NOT AT ALL, in fact I love them tremendously! So I try to live in a way that hopefully, they will see I am not thirsty and ask for a drink of my water. 

Yet, they don't. Why? They never ask, and I never offer.

In fact, instead, they think I judge them. I condemn them. I don't love them at all. 
And we never discuss it to clear up the confusion.

Dan's entire point is that we need to converse.  We need to lovingly converse with each other about everything: our differences in opinions, our likes & dislikes, our joy & our anger, our offenses and defenses.

So, why is the gospel of love dividing America?..........
..........They're not feeling the love.

 With all that I am, after watching this movie, I want to try to converse more with everyone and share the love.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Why do we wear masks?

This question has haunted me forever. No, seriously, my entire life! I noticed the masks grown-ups would wear early on in childhood, and it baffled me. I also realized that sometimes, grown-ups would wear their masks so long or so well they forgot who they really were and/or who they used to be. I swore I would never be like that.

Except, now, I am.

Why do we do it? Is there anyway to overcome it? Since I discovered my grown-up mask I have been keenly looking around. I see a depth behind a stranger's eyes when I ask "How are you" but I get the usual reply  "Fine, how are you?" Then suddenly I hear the words "Fine thank you" come out of my mouth. Really? That's all I have to say about How I Am today? Rarely am I really fine. Usually I am overjoyed with something one of my kids just said or did. Sometimes I am heartbroken by the same. Other times I am grateful, happy, angry, jealous, surprised, confused, etc. Rarely am I just fine. But why is that always my answer? Why is it yours?

How can we get past that? What if we had the power to break the cycle and get past the mask to the real person behind it? Would we be friendlier? Less selfish? More peaceful?

I don't have the answers today. I  merely notices the phenomena and wanted to bring it to light. I hope to find a way of removing my mask and being more real in an effort to get past the masks of people I know, as well as those I don't. My first step... removing my mask online. From now on, I will not sugar coat my feelings when writing a post. Furthermore, I challenge myself to write more raw, honest posts.  I want to be real with you. It will be an experiment worth trying.

To be continued...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

WOW! A Grasshopper!

I love when my kids yell "Look mom!" to show me something that has completely captured their attention. They are in awe and suddenly, everything else in the world can wait while they revel in their new discovery. Today it was a new trick they learned, (balancing and jumping off the couch just right) and I wished I had the video camera with me because the look on their faces was PRICELESS and I want to remember it forever. They were so proud, so excited, and just so content. Nothing else mattered!

It reminded me of this picture I took when we got home from Colombia this summer:

This grasshopper was waiting for us on our van and rode home with us most of the way! The boys were fascinated! And I caught it on camera! 

Man, I need to keep my cameras closer to me so I can capture more of these "wondrous" moments because eventually they stop. I wish they lasted forever, but unfortunately, we seem to lose that wonder of childhood somewhere along the way of growing up.

As adults we seem to just "push through" life and moments pass in a blur. Why is that?

I think we should try to allow ourselves some more "Look!" moments to just stop and stare in awe at an amazing sight or accomplishment. Maybe then life can start to become less hectic and blurry and more laid back and memorable.

Monday, February 8, 2010


HAHA! That sounds DANGEROUS! But when we REALLY understand what he meant by that, it makes perfect sense!

This is another one of those radio sermons I listened to that just blew me away. In Part 4 of his series called "Adding to your Faith", Pastor Mike Fabarez talks about self-control. He says all we have to do to maintain self-control is to keep one thing in mind: what we really want is to Feed Our Core Desire. The thing is, until we've come to know who we Really Are, we can't know what we Really Want.

You see, initially, we all read that statement and immediately think of things our flesh would desire: food, money, sex, material possessions, relationships, etc. etc. However, that's not who we Really Are.

So, you ask, WHO ARE WE then, REALLY? 

We are Children of God!!!

Now I know not everybody who may read this blog believes that. But there is proof inside your heart. The Creator made us all that way, to yearn for His presence, and His love. I know so many people who "have it all" by normal standards, yet the are incredibly unhappy. This is because they are NOT feeding their CORE DESIRE as they think they are. All the money, boyfriends/girlfriends, and stuff they have do nothing to quell the hunger deep inside. THIS IS HOW WE WERE DESIGNED!! 

So, how do you feed your core desire? First you accept who you really are. Click here to hear about it.

Once you accept that you are a child of God, saved by grace through faith because of the sacrifice of our sweet savior Jesus Christ, you have to begin to feed your true core desires. 

Colossians 3 says we are to put away our old earthly ways and put on our new self, which is being renewed in the image of our Creator! So the things our flesh desires are our old earthly ways, but your core desires are what your SOUL desires: to be made in the likeness of God! 

OK, that sounds great, but how do we APPLY it? Next time you are faced with temptation, ask yourself, is this really what I want?!" Think about it.... is it what YOU want or what your flesh wants?

EX: I struggle daily to exercise. (Among other things! I also struggle daily with reading my Bible, cleaning, and practicing my photography and cello. But for this example we'll stick with the exercising.) When it comes time to put on my sneakers and start my work-out, the couch starts calling me! As do the Doritos and Twix bars. Ohhhhh what a tough battle! But when I think about my core desire, I can tell my flesh NO! I DO NOT WANT TO SIT ON THE COUCH I WANT TO WORK-OUT!

But, remember: your flesh will ALWAYS be one moment away from giving in to its desires. So your flesh is only one moment away from adultery, gluttony, materialism, etc. BE THE BOSS! It won't be easy. Like everything else, you must take it one step at a time. Moment by moment, make that conscience decision to be the boss and tell your flesh no, because you want to be more like Christ.

And parents, when your kids argue: Don't you trust me?! You can answer them "NO! Because though you have been made new in Christ, you still reside in a sinful world, in a body of flesh that desires the things of this world! We cannot ever give it an opportunity." (That's good advice for us parents too.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Getting It Together

Whew! What a relief! 

I thought I was alone in this world as the only female who just could not get it together. (And yes, by “it” I mean anything and everything that we do or “should be” doing!) I was sure I was missing some essential genetic material that was causing me to fail miserably at all my feminine responsibilities.  But a simple poll on facebook today showed me maybe I am NOT alone! So for all the ladies who also just can’t seem to get it all together, let’s chat…

I’ll start with a confession: I’m a recovering Messy.  Admission is supposed to be the first step to healing, but it doesn’t feel like it so far.

Allow me to clarify: I don’t know how to clean. I don’t know how to organize. I don’t even know how to cook! But that’s an entirely different problem. However, they all contribute to my feeling like a complete failure as a wife and mom.  This has been a problem for me my entire life, but recently, say the past 3 years, it has really started to eat away at my self-confidence. 

So, I started to research “how-to’s” and was soooo excited by what I found! A WEALTH of information at my fingertips!! The Daily 7 to keeping your house clean, 365 Slow-cooker recipes, 45 Days to a clean house, Potty Training in 1 day!, 3 days to a well-behaved kid, and so on and so on. “I’ll have it together in no time!” I thought.  

Boy was I wrong!

And the more I failed, the worse I felt. Don't get me wrong, I am not depressed, in fact I am quite happy. I love my life and am grateful for all I have. But I feel like I am not being a good steward of all I've been given, ie, I am not properly caring for my family, my home, my friends, let alone myself. So I want to MAKE IMPROVEMENTS.

            = )                                                            And now I know, I AM NOT ALONE!

Therefore, I decided to turn my blog into a completely, 100% book wide-open journal of my journey from "getting it together" to "totally together". This is based on a GREAT blog I found, which is appropriately titled "Totally Together Journal" and the lady behind it has some wonderful tips and ideas for how we can start getting it together. But the more I read on her blog, the more I felt like a complete loser. In fact, all the blogs I found were by women who already had it all together or were well on their way. I did not find any books or blogs or notes or anything by any female who seemed to lack that essential genetic material I lack ;) Or else no one was writing about it. So here are some things I am going to start doing differently on by blog in the effort to be more candid about my journey and hopefully grow more effectively:
  1. I will blog about about BOTH my ups and DOWNS. (Not just my ups!)
  2. I will welcome comments, both positive and negative. (In the past I'd delete not-so-positive remarks because they hurt my feelings. Instead of realizing they can help me grow.)
  3. I will try new things and keep what works and chunk was fails. (Instead of doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results. Um... isn't that the definition of insanity?)
  4. I will go back and read old posts and relish in what I've learned from both my accomplishments and my mistakes! I will look back one day and see how far I've come!
  5. Most importantly, I will encourage ALL OF YOU to walk this journey with me. Let's not be stagnant! Let's make improvements and enjoy the ride! There's no need for perfection! Just motivation! And what P-O-W-E-R there is in kind words of encouragement and constructive criticism from friends! I  hope as we start this dialogue of posts and comments that we will all learn and grow with each other. So please feel free to comment or send me ideas for posts or even entire posts to share.
This is not going to be easy. In fact, I've written this post and deleted 3 times already. I really would rather not share this with the world, as it is quite embarrassing. But I cannot ignore the voice telling me to do it anymore.

To start off on the right foot, one of the "new" things I will be trying is to illustrate my blog with my own photos. Usually I Google a keyword to find a cool picture to go along with my post. But since I am whole-heartedly pursing my photography passion, why not try to use my own? As if I could shoot cool enough pics! But I will try ;) It is a work in progress...

Anyway, above, you see a picture of my stack of tubs. I purchased these over a month ago with the idea of organizing in mind. Yet, there they sit. Unused. Taking up space. Ugh. But we'll get there! Hopefully sharing that picture of my unused tubs with you will help motivate me to put them to use, so I can repost their picture showing them in all their well-organized glory!

So, let me know what you think. We'll hash out what works and what doesn't. We'll make mistakes and learn from them. We'll cover anything and everything, laughing and crying in between.

We'll relish in the fact that we are perfectly imperfect! lol

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Choosing Between Better or Best (Elegir Entre Bastante Bien o Lo Mejor)

Do you prefer good enough or the best?

Prefieres lo bueno o lo mejor? (Para leer esto en español haga clic aquí)

I'm cracking up at the thought of what I'm about to tell you because I really can’t believe it myself: recently I started to listen to sermons online!  It cracks me up because I remember my Grandma Lee listening to sermons on the radio or on tape and thinking to myself “why does she do that? She goes to church every Sunday, and she still wants to hear more preaching!?” I totally didn’t get it, but I did know it was because she loved the Lord, that much was obvious. I loved going to her house, it had a different feeling about it. She had a different way about her. But I did not understand her desire to read the Bible so much and listen to “extra” sermons all the time!

But OH! What God has revealed to me this week has completely blown me away! The more I listened, the more I wanted to hear! The more I learn, the less I realized I know and the more I wanted to study! Now, I must confess, I am nowhere near my Grandma Lee yet, but I am so excited to finally understand her!! I hope to one day be as good as she is at reading the Bible regularly and emanating the love of Christ as she does. 

I am so excited about this that I decided to begin blogging about what God’s teaching me to share with you these amazing sermons and see if we can all grow closer to Him together.

The first one I want to share with you is from Pastor Mike Fabarez from and his series called “Adding to your faith”. They are available on their website if you want to listen to it yourself (HIGHLY recommend you do! It’s amazing! You can find the series here.)

He focused on the word “goodness” in 2 Peter 1:5, which says:  “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness…”

The word for goodness Peter used here was “agathosune” which meant more than just our word for good; it meant noble, moral, and excellent.

So God’s standard  for us is excellence- but we often think of our Christian walk as just a choice between good and bad. For example, if we don't kill anybody that means we are good!

But here we see that is not what God intended! He wants us to choose between better and BEST!

For example, when I wake up in the morning, I don't think to myself “Should I love my husband today or hate him?” But God wants me to take it further than that...

Pastor Mike goes on to show how this standard of excellence should affect our thoughts and our words:
  1. Excellent Thoughts: Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    So if God demands we have excellent thoughts, then we have to do better than believing we are doing good because we don’t think about stealing when we go in a store. No, God wants excellence in our thoughts, so we have to be careful what we put in our head that guides our thoughts. Like that movie playing at the theatre. We don’t go see “bad” movies, but that’s not the choice! Are the movies we are watching excellent? What about the TV shows? Are they excellent? Preaching to the choir here because I know my favorite show probably would not fall into the excellent category.

  2.  Excellent Words: Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

    WOW!  So not only does God want us to avoid unwholesome talk, but He wants us to use ONLY words that will build others up according to their needs (which may not always be necessarily easy to hear) AND to benefit the other people listening as well!! That’s a lot to think about before choosing our words!!

I wanted to share this because these words from Pastor Mike Fabarez really challenged me. I have blogged about how I feel God calling me to do MORE with my faith, my life. Hearing this message really felt like God was speaking right to my heart, challenging me to add to my faith.

Why should we want to add to our faith? That will be my next post. Please come back and read it; the answer to that question shook the foundations of my comfy life. I’ll leave you with a quote from Pastor Mike:

“In Real Estate, buyers often want to buy the nicest house at the cheapest possible price. Well we Christians do the same: we want all the best blessings of a good Christian life the cheapest possible price.”