i have had this post in my head for quite a while.
there has been a lot going on in my life, and while most of it is incredibly amazing...
there are some things that have been just plain painful.
i never want my blog to just be a nice, feel good kind of place for you, my readers, to go and say...oh that's nice.
i want it to be real.
to be raw.
to be the kind of thing that you say - no way! she feels like that too? i thought it was just me!
with that being said.
my parents taught me an important rule many years ago.
never have a serious conversation after 10:00 at night.
emotions tend to kick in and you may end up saying something you regret.
so. for tonight.
i just wanted to warn you.
i am about to break open some major real-ness all up on this blog.
but it's not going to be tonight, because. well, ya know. it's after 10 and all. (refer to paragraph 3)
but...since i did peak your interest with my title, i will keep it a little real and tell you that my boys are still up. my living room is a disaster area. and i have had 4 cookies, a plate of nachos and am about to go and eat something else.
that's how i roll. and when i say roll, i mean i am literally going to start rolling with all this food i am eating. ha!
You might remember Maddie from her newborn session here.
She was a little princess then, and that has certainly not changed one bit in a year!
Her momma organized, planned and created an amazing French-inspired birthday party.
Every detail was perfection, and I am so excited to show you all the hard work Nicole did in making a perfect little one-year birthday party for a perfectly adorable little princess.
it was just one year ago this month, that i was up late at night, trying to decide if i should take my 10 year old to the emergency room, or tell him to shake it off.
i am normally the shake-it-off kind of mom, but this time was different.
(like the time i told my 2-year-old to shake it off when he had rolled out of bed and wouldn't stop crying! i mean, alright already! oh wait...what's that, doctor? he broke his collar bone? oh. ok then. carry on with your crying, riley!)
aj was in a lot of pain, and it was clear that he needed some medical attention.
you can read about him and his appendicitis here.
what happened after that was interesting.
first of all, one of his incisions became infected and he had to have a couple more procedures that were pretty painful. also, around the time that aj was in the hospital, a worker was arrested for infecting patients with hepatitis c through contaminated syringes.
you can imagine my reaction when i first got the letter in the mail saying that aj had to be tested!
we decided not to tell aj what was happening, and why he needed to get blood drawn months after his surgery! we didn't think it would really prove anything for him to worry!
his initial results came back negative, and it was a huge relief.
i then received a phone call telling me that since it had not been six months since the surgery they couldn't be sure that they would have been able to accurately determine if he had hep c or not.
back to the hospital for more blood work.
a couple days later...we found out that he tested negative.
and we were relieved again and thankful that it was finally over!
dealing with your own health issues is one thing.
dealing with potential health problems for your kids can be terrifying!
no one wants to see their child go through any pain!
it was a reminder to me of the fact that there are some things we have NO control over.
and while this may seem like the kind of thing that would make you worry and be fearful...
it actually does quite the opposite for me.
see...i have a God.
an amazingly loving, compassionate Father.
who created me. who knows what is best. and who directs my steps.
it was a reminder to me of the fact that trusting this amazing God?
is the best place i could ever be.
i think i will stay here in this place.
this place of worry-free, stress-free, peaceful living.
yep. it feels good to be here.
philippians 4:6 "don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done."
some mom's are totally against their kids playing with guns.
i don't really see the harm in it.
the way i see it -
the amount of time i am investing into making sure they know what God requires of them?
(to act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God)
will be everything they need to teach them how to handle a gun, a relationship, their money, and everything else they are ever going to need in life.
one of aj and riley's favorite parts of the new house is their "clubroom" which is like a little hard-to-explain room in between the bedrooms.
there is a little closet which riley has claimed as his gun cabinet.
i thought it was so cute to see him drilling screws into it so he could hang everything up.
he now has more stuff in there and i think it is so cute to watch him and aj playing with them.
so yes. my boys have guns.
yes. i let them play with them.
and no. i am not worried about it.
i first started my little bloggity in 2005.
i only wrote 19 posts, and the following 2 years i wrote a total of 3 big ones.
i mean come on though...i had 2 little boys. we had started and sold a business. we moved - 3 times, i think? we went on a few missions trips, and a few million other things.
so here i am now. i blog about many different things.
my every day life.
there are days that i have a blog post just screaming inside my head and i know i have to write it down.
there are other days when i just want to post about something lighthearted.
sometimes i am excited to showcase some awesome photo shoot i just had!
i can see that a lot of people read my posts (thanks to google analytics.)
and i can see what brings them there.
honestly? my goal with my blog is not to attract more clients for my business,
although it has sometimes done that.
it is to be able to be an approachable person who can share the love of Christ who affects my life in every way with YOU. my readers.
i want for you to see that the Bible is sufficient.
all you need. for all your life. forever.
and that is my goal.
sometimes i wonder if i bore people. or if i annoy people with the way i write.
but the good thing about computers, is you don't have to read this!
you can go right up to the top of the page and get rid of what is in front of you.
and i don't even have to know you did it!
so i will continue to write a little bit about deep stuff.
a little bit about totally random family things.
a little bit about my photography.
and just keep plugging away.
and for tonight. i was going to write about something really basic yet convicting that God taught me.
but you can rest easy. i'm not gonna go deep tonight.
i think i will leave that for another day.
so i will just give you a little me-and-adam story.
when we were in high school together, we would stop at mcdonalds a lot after soccer games.
i was kind of known for having a big appetite.
after one soccer game in concord, i remember ordering a big mac, mcchicken...or was it 2 mcchickens? a large fry and a soda. i just like to eat, people!
so last night. i was feeling kind of emotional. and just tired out.
i was so in the mood for mcdonalds. and trust me...that is really saying something.
we do NOT do this...like..ever.
if we stop at mcyd's i always get a grilled chicken wrap and a side salad.
but last night was different, and i wanted to relive my past.
so adam and i ordered....
yep. you got it.
judge if you want to. but i have got to say...i felt like i was 17 all over again.
it was amazing.
weird? yes...weird what food can do to you. how it can bring back all kinds of memories.
oh ya, and bring on some major weight gain too! ha!
well...sometimes you just gotta not be concerned with unimportant things like fat grams and calories. i mean. i wouldn't suggest doing this very often, but hey. it was fun.
and don't worry. we had diet coke.
i mean come on now! you didn't think we were going to totally blow it, did you?
there was this girl who didn't know she was missing anything. her life was going along fine.
and then she met these girls who were super sweet and nice.
they were pretty cool.
she didn't really know that these very girls were going to become some of her closest friends.
girls that would get her through some rough times.
girls that were exactly what God had known...in advance...that she would need.
exactly when she needed it.
i love that about God.
oh ya. and that girl was me.
and those other girls? are some of my pursuit 31 peeps,
and i got to hang out with some of them at my 1940's styled shoot at my very own house today!
that is pretty much what i was doing all day long!
so here are just a few from today's amazing shoot!
we had an amazing make up artist tina. you can check her out here
and some GORGEOUS models!
amazing day. so much fun to be a part of.
i am so honored to be a leader of this group of girls!
love them all so so much.
my kids are not perfect.
and i have never tried to paint the picture that they are.
i do, however, expect obedience from my boys all the time.
i just expect it.
there are 2 reasons i do.
the first reason, is because my believing and expecting them to do right gives them confidence to do so. if i am always showing them that a bad attitude or bad response is..well, what i see coming?
i think that they will start doubting their own actions and reactions.
the second reason is because i work really hard at preparing my boys.
how do i do that you ask?
thanks for asking!
well, i like the way this quote says it...
the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible!
i have started preparing my boys for this battleground called life since they started talking.
psalm 119:11 says it this way. i have stored up your WORD in my heart, that i might not sin against you.
we teach our boys to store up, or hide God's Word in their hearts!
they can tell me that children need to obey their parents.
they can tell me that they should be slow to speak and quick to listen.
they can tell me that a fool shows his annoyance at once.
they can tell me that bad company corrupts good manners.
they can tell me that a man who shows self control is better than the mighty.
and a lot of other things too.
can you see how these things are going to prepare them for life?
how these things are going to show them that obedience is expected of them...
not only from me and adam. but also from their teachers. their authorities. their bosses. and on and on it goes.
it also reminds them that God blesses obedience!
a couple of things that i do with my boys to help them memorize verses
*write down a verse on paper and cut it out into squares with 1 word for each square.
have them put the "puzzle" together.
*write down just the first letters of each word and have them try to say it that way.
*and sometimes i make up songs with the verses. sometimes i dance. sometimes i rap.
sometimes i like to make my kids laugh. haha!
i love watching my kids grow and learn.
i have loved watching them read their Bibles with the readings that all the adults at church are doing. most nights they ask me if they can stay up a little longer and read their Bibles!
the more they read. the more they know.
the more they know. the more they do.
and that is why i expect my boys to obey.
you should try it with your kids too!
when i was growing up, we always had music playing.
i hate to even say it, but it was sometimes with records! oh jeez...could i be any older?
i remember listening to the peterson sisters, bj thomas, and every maranatha singers cassette tape there was. i think there was like 9!
there were always truths being played in the background all day.
i remember dancing to it, singing into my spatula/microphone to it, vacuuming to it...i just remember it playing constantly.
i have to say it affected me so much.
sometimes we just need to get our minds off ourselves. our problems. our finances. our LIFE!
and focus on God. the giver of life.
i look back now at my mom...pastor's wife. mother of 4. living in a tiny home. with very little money. very few true friends. and yet she decided to have truth being played, sung, spoken into our lives from a very early age.
what a gift she gave us.
too many times, i allow the tv to be on instead of the music.
really. i confess it!
even as i think back to my day today...i should have had music playing way more.
i want my boys to be able to look back and remember hearing these truths...constantly.
music does affect you. don't even try to tell me otherwise.
it can affect your mood, your attitude and therefore your feelings and your actions.
when you are feeling down.
when you are feeling overwhelmed. ya know, at the fact that we woke up to this
it's ok! let God be the one who lifts up your head.
let your heart be just a little bit lighter when you understand that He will never leave you alone.
let that music fill your home and fill your heart.
but be warned...it will make you feel better!
you just never know what you're going to find! we literally found an entire room we did not even know existed until after we closed on the house! the boys are having so much fun exploring!
one of the rooms upstairs was covered in this really hideous wallpaper.
adam took on the project of scraping it off.
imagine his excitement when he found another layer of wallpaper underneath!
oh and just to keep things new and fun...another layer under that layer!
oh jeez! who does that?!?!
it actually reminded me of what we do in our own lives sometimes.
instead of taking the time to remove the wrong things we do, we kind of just cover over them. hoping that the new "wallpaper" will cover everything up and make people believe that there was never anything there in the first place! this may work for a while, but eventually the truth is going to come out, and our ugliness is going to show and need to be fixed anyways!
sometimes it does take a little bit longer to get rid of the ugly wallpaper in the first place, but it is worth it in the end when we see how good the whole room looks!
the same with our lives...it is always better to just keep everything current in our relationships with others, and our relationship with GOD. keep things up to date now, so we don't have to scrape everything off and start all over again later!
*we are still in the process of scraping, painting and cleaning. but i did want to give a quick before and after. the after is not quite decorated and finished, but i thought some of you (aunt tracy) would appreciate a picture :)
this is my library and i can not wait to have all of you over to come sit and have a cup of coffee!
and this is a picture of the entrance we use which leads into the kitchen.
this picture was the first picture i saw online which made me fall in love with it!
i have had several people ask about the possibility of offering a photography class, or one-on-one mentoring.
while i will probably offer that sometime soon, i thought i would give a quick tip to start with that can help you where you are now.
if you are one of those people who have just bought a nice, new, shiny dslr and just really don't know where to start. listen up!
first of all - congratulations!! i remember the day i got my first "good camera". i could not have been more excited... and i don't think my boys could have been more annoyed! haha! my new models were expected to pose all day and half the night!
but it is pretty exciting to get a new camera, and i know it can be a little bit overwhelming.
so just take it one step at a time.
one of the most important things to start doing is training your eyes to find good lighting!
so much of getting a good shot is getting good, natural light!
sometimes, you may be surprised where that light can be!
this weekend i shot a 1st birthday party (which i can not wait to share the pictures from!)
it was in a place where there was not a lot of natural light.
i was able to find a spot upstairs, in a very small space, where there was some pretty great natural light streaming in!
here is a pull back shot of what i started with...and then what the finished product looks like!
and this party was literally crawling with adorable little models...so here are a couple i took using this same set up.
so...the tip for today: i know it might seem really basic, but it can really make a big difference!
take a deep breath. and go look for some good lighting!