Think On These Things

My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.

Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.

For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.

Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil. 

~Proverbs 4:20–27

 

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At The Same Time

There are several things about doing the Bible reading challenge that I love. Firstly, there are rather large chunks of Scripture being read at a time and there is something about taking in that much of God’s word, something about stepping back and reading the big picture. And always, no matter how many times I may have read a passage, there is usually something that stands out to me.

I have read the story of Moses being given the Ten Commandments a hundred times in my life but for some reason the timing of it all just clicked in focus so sharply that I literally had to stop and go back to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. This blew my mind. Moses is on the mountain and God is giving him the law and explaining all the particulars about the Tabernacle and sacrifices and the garments for Aaron and his sons, and the sacrifices that were to be made on behalf of the people. God is literally declaring that He will be their God and they will be His people. He is laying out how they may come to Him and how Aaron will be their priest and what his duties will be.

And it’s not like God was talking to Moses with His backed turned to the people of Israel and didn’t know what they were doing. Do you know what they were doing at that exact same moment? During those days that Moses was before God, learning all about how God was making a people for Himself, and they were down there throwing gold into the fire and worshipping a golden cafe.

The two things happened simultaneously. At the same time God was declaring His faithfulness man was declaring his unfaithfulness. Like I said, I have read that story numerous times but for some reason the timing of it was such a stark contrast. It literally left me breathless.

Have you ever stopped and considered what was going on the same moment you are sinning? What we are declaring in the midst of our sin, at the same moment that Christ is declaring His faithfulness over us? His love. His forgiveness. His restoration. His reconciliation. Our unfaithfulness. Our willfulness. Our un-forgiveness. Our brokenness. He declares life even when we declare death. His sufficiency drowns out the voice of our insufficiency.

Doesn’t that simply blow your mind? His mercy and grace is so great that in spite of our sin yesterday, our sin today, and our sin tomorrow, He has not only called us out to be His people and He to be our God but He has created good works for us to walk in. All for our good and for His glory.

What an absolutely glorious thought to consider.

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Monday’s Musings

You know how sometimes you just have random thoughts bouncing around in your brain? Well, that’s one of the reasons I have a blog, because sometimes I need to make room by putting stuff somewhere.

One thing I am thinking about in particular since I am going to start up the photography business is exactly what services I will offer. Specifically, my niece is due any time now with her second baby and I am delighted to be on call to photograph the birth, a genre of photography that I absolutely love and want to do more of. But I have had more than a few moments of what-would-I do-if-she-goes-into-labor-while-I-am-doing-such-and-such and wonder how in the world you handle that if you do birth photography on a regular basis. (Total side note…all of the births I have photographed have been in the hospital. Would love love love to have the opportunity to do a home birth so if y’all know of anybody doing a home birth who’d be open to pictures hook a sister up.)

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Also, related to those thoughts I am doing a product shoot of sorts today that I am pretty excited about. A friend of mine makes these incredibly lovely hats and sells them in her Etsy shop. I have photographed some of her hats before but today we will be working with her model and I think it will be so much fun!

 

 

Sarah is also coming home today from a four day cruise to Cozumel. I can’t wait to hear all about it and hopefully see some pictures. She was seriously hoping to see sea turtles and sea horses. While she has been floating on a big boat with friends, Emily has been apartment/cat sitting. I can say without any hesitation that I am not ready for another child to move out and I am glad Em isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Also, can I just say that I am soooo over this summer heat. I have a friend living in Oregon and she got snow over the weekend, people. Snow. We had such a lovely spring and June was so mild but man, the heat showed up in July and has made itself way too comfortable. I’m just ready for a bit of cooler temperatures but that sounds a bit whiny, doesn’t it? Sorry about that.

All righty then, moving on.

So we watched Back To The Future with our kids over the weekend and all I can say is man, do we have selective memories! I think the story got caught up in the nostalgia of being part of our teenage years or something because I sure didn’t remember the language being so salty. Nor did I recall the thing with his mom being such a major theme in the story. Our children were properly appalled and took great delight in ribbing us for watching such a movie. They were also quite amused by the rather dated special effects and overly dramatic acting. Rob decided that if we want to share a movie from our childhood with our kids again we better watch it first.

Some parenting stuff I have been thinking about and piecing together starts in chapter 6 of Ephesians:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places and 2 Corinthians 10:3–4 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (Emphasis is mine.)

I also keep noodling on all the times in the OT that we were told so and so was a righteous king but he failed to tear down the high places, that is the worship places of the Canaanites.  And how our weapons of choice are prayer and worship. Intangible things that have a very concrete impact and literal affect in real time.

If we confess that our battle is not of flesh and blood, and we do, and if we confess that we fight with things that are not made of metal and stone, and we do, what does that mean about other intangible things in our lives? Our secret thoughts, hidden feelings, and tucked away sins?

I contend that those secret sins that take up that dusty dark corner of our heart will somehow manifest itself in our life in a way that is passed on to our children. We want our children to want the right things, to make the right decisions, to choose the right things, and for the most part we want the same thing for ourselves. Except for those little hidden things that no one knows about but God and we like to walk around as if they’re not there. I guess I am wondering how those insidious weeds in my own life spread their roots out to my children and others in my life.

May we have the courage to confront our high places, the desire to bring to light what we want to keep hidden and be humble enough to destroy them.

Lastly, something not quite as deep and heavy. We live in a world where words of affirmation are everywhere. Random vandalism tells us we’re beautiful. Graphic tee’s remind us to let nothing dull our sparkle. But this I saw and knew it to be the best of all encouragement ever.

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Have a great Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

Well That Was Easy And Doing Things Again

I have been blogging off and on for many many years. The blog before this one is the first one that I got really serious about and paid for the domain name and everything. It was for a season of my life though and when I took my two year hiatus I closed it down so it was no longer visible to people. When I wanted to start blogging again I created this blog but under a different name and I think I posted about 15 times in 2018. So, when I wanted to start blogging again again I wanted this to be my home…my online space.

What to do with the old blog? The one with hundreds of posts, some of which I am pretty fond of, hundreds of recipes, and pictures galore. I didn’t know so it has just been sitting there all tucked away. Until this morning. With the click of a button over 6000 posts, pages, and pictures were backed up to my computer and then magically exported here, to this place.

That’s right. If you are curious about what the children were up to in 2012 or what I was thinking about in 2014 all you have to do is click on the little archive button to the right, select the year and the month and bam! there it is in all my incorrect grammatical glory.  It’s a bit daunting like suddenly finding your old diaries in a box of old pictures. A wee bit embarrassing but full of bits and pieces of my life and lots of nostalgia.

Now, I guess I just keep going with this new place and it’s two extra rooms. I like the feel of all three spaces and I think I will keep She Feeds Her Family for all things food related as it’s own place. But that third room? Just A Glimpse may get a bit of an upgrade because I am going to start taking pictures again. Seriously, as an actual structured business.

I got started in photography because I loved it and also because I couldn’t afford the prices of real photographers. I wanted to take good pictures of my kids. I wanted to create something. I got good enough that people started asking me to take their pictures. And they were willing to pay me something for it. But I applied what I could and could not afford to the process of charging and it wasn’t long before I was plenty busy with not much to show for it except time spent away from my family and stress.

It happened over time though and I wasn’t even aware of how much joy in actual picture taking I had lost until one day I was editing a bunch of pictures with a bunch more to be edited ahead of me and I realized I just wanted to be done. I just didn’t care. So I finished up the projects I had and then set my camera down.

IMG_0015 (1)For almost two years I rarely picked up the camera and this was a big deal. For fifteen years it was a rare day that I didn’t pick up my camera and shoot something. Fifteen years to nothing.

And I haven’t regretted it at all. It was good for me.

Lately things have started shifting again. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot a few things and the love for photography has been stirring. But the time off has helped me learn some things. I am blessed in that my life is not dependent upon that income but it does make a contribution and at this point in our lives photography is a low impact way to supplement things.

However, what I learned from before is it is okay to let money be a part of it.  I can take what I love doing and what I am good at and let it be more than a hobby or a little side hustle. To that end I have been doing some research and I will be pricing my services competitively for our area and that means I will not be as cheap as I was before. And I am going to not feel bad about that. Well, I am working on not feeling bad or apologetic about that. Because I really do want you to have beautiful pictures of the people in your life that matter to you or a lovely reminder of a beautiful and special event in your life and I love being part of that. But I don’t want that desire for you to eat me alive like it did before.

I am getting good with realizing I do not have to shoot everything and everyone no matter how much I might love the people involved. But here is the other part of that. I’m not going to feel bad about charging a fair price for my time and skill and if you think it is more than you want to invest in pictures I’m not going to be mad at you. It’s okay for you to say no thank you too. Seriously.

Honestly, I have this fear that this venture is going to fall flat on its face, that I’m going to fall flat on my face. What if no one hires me? What if I am putting this effort into putting myself out there and nothing happens?

Well, I just have to be okay with that, don’t I? Because what I am learning, what I have learned as I stepped into the blog world again and now into photography, is that life cannot be lived mired in fear. I don’t want to live afraid to try things or do things I enjoy and love because I’m afraid of it not working out. Or worse, actually working out and now being responsible for something.

The way I see it my task is to keep my priorities straight, be wise about what I am doing, and do it to the glory of the One who gives me life and let Him bless it as He sees fit.

Practically speaking I still have some things to do like settle on a business name, solidify my pricing structure, overhaul that online space, and get back into the groove of shooting again, etc. To that last point I am going to be doing some Christmas mini sessions next month so watch for more information about that.

But also, pray for me. I want to do this and do it well and sometimes that is not easy because things can loom large or stuff begins to get busy and I can get panicky. Above all, I want to go forward being mindful of what is truly important, the people I love and the community I am a part of and knowing that these are just things I do but not who I am. I want to joyfully and fully image forth the Creator by living creatively.

And I would love to have you join me in this adventure.

 

 

 

Oh, Hey There

Well, it has been a while hasn’t it? The end of the school year and beginning of summer came together for the perfect no-time-to-blog quietness that we’ve had here on the old blog.

I hope that is about to change. I want to blog. I enjoy blogging.

I have things I want to talk about.

Pictures I want to show you.

I have recipes to share like homemade pretzel bites, mango pudding and key lime pound cake.

I think maybe, just possibly, we are settling into some sort of routine so, maybe things will get a little more regular.

To get the ball rolling I will go ahead and share one of the sweetest moments I’ve had recently with Claire.

Last Sunday Rob, who is preaching through the book of Romans, was reading the first twelve verses of chapter seven.

I saw Claire write down Romans 7:18 and underline it three times in her bulletin. (She is a prolific note taker and is always jotting down questions or words that she wants to talk about later.) A little later Rob reached that verse specifically and Claire nudged me and ran her finger under the words as he read it aloud and she looked up at me with such a serious expression.

I leaned over and whispered if she understood what that verse was saying and she adamantly shook her head yes, relieved I think, that I understood her. It was humbling for me to meet her on equal ground.

It brought home to me how vital it is that our children be in church with us…so that side by side…sister to sister…we both know that we each struggle the same…face the same enemy…and turn to the same victorious Savior to strengthen us.

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Sometimes

Parenting is hard and sometimes it can be really hard.

You have to make difficult decisions and then follow through with them. And sometimes you can explain the reasons behind your decision and then sometimes you can’t.

Everything we do should be done for the benefit of our children…for their good. Even when they don’t think it is.

Our goal with every decision, with every act and moment of discipline is to strengthen our children in their faith, in righteousness and obedience.

And sometimes we screw it up.

Sometimes you realize that all the correction hasn’t been a lifting up but rather putting down; oppressive instead of liberating.

Those are interesting words aren’t they? In relation to sin and correcting I mean. I haven’t thought about it that way, not really. But Scripture is full of the imagery of God lifting His people up, of raising them up out of the pit.

Our correcting, not just as parents but as brothers and sisters in Christ, should be done with that same idea in mind. We correct, not so that we can defeat the sin in our children’s hearts, but so that we can lift them up out of the pit of their sinfulness.

It is a battle to be sure and sin is the enemy and we do want to defeat it. But if we are so intent on defeating the foe, on waging war against the sin itself, it is quite easy to forget the personhood of the one that we seek to liberate.

I’m not saying that we should not correct ~ far from it actually. But our correcting needs to be focused on the redemptive work in the mind and soul and heart of our child and not just the big black ugly sin.

Why? Because we want to shape and form a heart that not only hears correction but loves it. Because sometimes we want obedience in little things because there will come a day when He will want obedience in big things.

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The Great Autumn Debate

It’s that time of year. Leaves are beginning to change colors and fall from their trees. Sweaters and fuzzy socks are closer to becoming the reality than sunscreen and swimsuits. The cooler weather brings about what I call the great Autumn debate and it isn’t whether you want a tall or venti pumpkin spice latte. In a few weeks there will be laughing and squealing children in all manner of attire running up and down the street knocking on doors and asking for candy.

That means it is also time for finger pointing and lines being drawn in the sand, pronouncements of self-righteousness and mission mindedness or heaps of condemnation thrown in for good measure.

Trick or treating.

Halloween.

Do we or don’t we?

A mockery of a defeated foe or a night belonging to the devil?

We’ve been on every side of the issue. We’ve just done it because that’s what we’ve always done. We’ve turned the lights out and pretended to not be home. We’ve only passed out candy. We’ve let the kids dress up but not as anything scary and headed to the local church “Hallelujah” night. We’ve dressed up and gone around our neighborhood like a Charles Dickens’ beggar.

Have I forgotten any position on the subject? We covered them all I think. And you know what I also think?

Who cares?

Now, I know there are people who say it is a big deal and that it should matter. That this is hill worth taking a stand on; one that possibly alienates people and breaks friendships over at worst or at the very least sets up some serious boundaries and restrictions on those relationships. I know others that say get over it already. It’s no big deal and harmless; let the kids have some fun and eat candy for crying out loud.

Want to know what else I think about all of this? If you’re still reading I am going to assume so and tell ya.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Say what?

If you do indeed feel that it is not right to participate in such festivities then please, by all means abstain. But know that there is a right way and a wrong way to abstain. Imagining that you are somehow more spiritual or holy because you disdain such nonsense certainly gives no glory to God. He is honored by your obedience that is faithful and humble.

If, however, you feel that there is nothing wrong with costumed panhandling for sweet confections then by all means knock on those neighborhood doors. But know that there is a right way and a wrong way to take part. Do not assume that you are somehow living a more enlightened missional calling because you’re dressed up like Glenda the Good Witch passing out Snicker bars. God is honored when you enjoy the simple and good things with thankfulness as coming from His hand.

In the above mentioned passage the Apostle Paul exhorts his readers to not seek their own good but that of their neighbor. I’m convinced that whether you abstain or take part you can be a blessing to those around you if you are choosing to abstain or take part for His glory and not your own.

As for our family?

We’ve chosen to see this time as an opportunity to practice some neighborhood hospitality. We invite any of

our church members to come and eat hots dogs and macaroni  & cheese with our family. Their children are welcome to dress up and meander up and down the street with our own, knocking on doors and getting candy.  While that’s happening I’m standing at a table at the end of my driveway passing out cups of hot cocoa and chocolate dipped jumbo marshmallows and chatting it up with people that normally I just wave to in passing. It’s what we have discovered through the years that works for us and we believe is a small way that we can display God’s great hospitality and generosity to us.

Blog Circle

Back in August of last year my very first post here was part of a blog circle with a group of amazing and talented wedding photographers. Also busy, amazing, and talented wedding photographers. See, the plan was to have a theme each month which was fine in September but then it just sort of fell off the radar I think. And then of course the holidays came and ain’t nobody got time for dat. But thanks to some industrious and organized people we have a list of themes for the new year so that we can work on each month at our own pace.

I’m excited about this because seriously, there is some amazing eye candy and story telling by this group of people. And they are pretty nice to those of us who are maybe not in the same skill level. It’s kind of like the great ball players who are really nice to the water boy 🙂

This month’s theme is black and white. When I first started shooting it was with film and I shot differently when using black and white film. I’d visualize differently because I was thinking in terms of monotones and blacks, whites and grays. When I started this theme I realized how much less I’ve done that since I’ve gone to digital. And, honestly, I’m not really happy about that. Sure you can click a button and move some sliders around in post processing to convert any image to black and white but there is something different I think about an image that has been conceived in the often dramatic and mysterious world of black and white, nurtured and created with that purpose. Not that some images aren’t converted from color to b/w with success…they are. I just realized how much I had actually limited myself by having the option to do it later rather than in camera. Of course it’s possible that this is just my weird perception too.

I’m actually going to show a mix of black and white images…some current and taken just for this theme and a few from back in the day. Hope you enjoy them!

One of the great things about black and white images is the way it can remove distracting elements and really allow you to see more of the story.

In portraits it can really focus all the attention on your subject.
Revealing vulnerability.
Or the soft newness and innocence of newborns and toddlers.

It can add a sense of timelessness to the ordinary. 

And be dramatic and moody.

Adding a touch of mystery to the commonplace.

My Mother doesn’t care for black and white photography. When I was shooting film she would always ask me if I had run out of the color kind. She likes bold color and that’s fine and good. Color has it’s place obviously. But this themed project has reminded me that I need to focus on black and white more as an art form itself rather than just a conversion option for some images.

For more about black and whites…and to see some beautiful examples…I invite you to visit photographer Lauren Kinde for some really interesting black and whites.