Thursday, August 23, 2012

Express Yourself.

So I have been editing lots of photos of my boys lately. I have come to the conclusion that while my Matthew is just a tiny clone of my husband allllllll the way, he has my ridiculous facial expressions. He has amazing control of his eyebrows. Anyone who's ever gotten the stank eye from me can tell you he comes by it naturally. He is also extremely loud. We've often joked that he doesn't really have a volume control, and I can't tell you how often I have to ask him to use his "inside voice." Everything he does is just crazy expressive. And I LOVE it. Actually, it's one of my favorite things about him.

This got me thinking. What's so bad about being expressive?! Why are people so afraid to be seen and heard? I love that my boys aren't afraid to be different. I love it because just like anything else, outside of a relationship with Jesus, it could be crippling in life. But with Father breathing His plan all over Matthew's little life, it can only bring blessing. As for me, I'm raising three boys that are wildly expressive. They will no doubt be leaving massive impressions on the world as they grow. I hope you will too :)

these taken over a dinner at Chilis, never a dull moment :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

listen closely.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Highschool was full of all sorts of craziness, but mostly all my memories are wrapped up in my best friend, Robbi. She was like another sister to me. We spent lots of time together, went on summer vacations, had frequent sleepovers- the usual girly stuff. It was pretty awesome. We were crazy impressionable and changed ourselves to stay in with current culture. This made for some super awkward phases- grunge, preppy, hippie... we tried it all. One such phase was when she obsessed over dolphins and I obsessed over manatees. Our rooms were clad with posters and stuffed animals. We sported WWF (world wildlife fund, not wrestling) t-shirts and I even had a manatee charm that I wore around my neck. It's sort of comical when I think of it now, but even still I've got a soft spot for those gentle giants being maliciously ate up by the props of boats infringing on their shallow waters.
It was during this time that I learned a valuable life lesson... stay tuned. This is where it gets juicy.

I have always had this thing for tuna fish. It's like a weird comfort food for me. I guess it's from the old campbell's tuna casserole days, I don't know. But even in highschool I loved it. Robbi on the other hand, did not. She would always cringe. And one day, she scolded me with all the reasons why tuna fishing was bad for dolphins. She included details of dolphins stuck in nets and all sorts of horror stories- to which I quickly argued that they had totally fixed that with dolphin-friendly legislation. She wasn't buying it, though. She innocently asked me "What do you think that grey is in the can?!" I was horrified. Was I eating helpless wounded dolphins mixed into my tuna???? I never questioned her, not out right anyway. After all, she said it with such conviction that is had to be true. I didn't eat tuna for months. Until...(dun,dun,dun) until my mom laughed out loud at my disgust and said "Bekah, tuna skin is grey." Cue blushing embarrassment. I hadn't considered that, not for a second. How silly. For the record, Robbi is still one of my most treasured friends, and I've said many many more "cool" things to her than this. We are now much older and wiser than our highschool selves.

The moral of this story? You can't always believe what you hear, even when especially when, it's coming from someone you love immensely. When people we love to pieces tell us things with intense conviction behind their words, it's so easy to swallow the pill without reading the label. Society is getting wild. And people are saying all sorts of things. Make sure you take it all to Jesus and see how He weighs in. You might be surprised at how laughable some of it is.

Hope this finds you checking your sources... Happy Wednesday :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Today was a special day in our house. My Justin is 32 today. He is 2 months younger than me, and he never lets me forget it :) I could write about how cute the kids were last night begging me to wake them up early so they could make breakfast. Or how adorable Jere's little scribbles were on their homemade banner. But I want to say more than that. Today, I want to say thank you. Thank you, Jesus, for partnering me with this incredible guy. Thank you, Justin, for being such a happy place for me.

You may not want to hear all of the great things I have to say about my hubbs. But if you're going to understand me, and this journey, and how I'm handling it, then you have to understand my relationship with my very best friend in the whole world. I thought today would be a great day to let you in on US.

Justin is hilarious. He breaks out into wild fits of laughter over the silliest things. I love to laugh. He is so fun and corny and full of puns. I mean, FULL, I've never known anyone to be so quick with them. It stands to be one of his best and worst qualities, as it seems to be pretty constant, even when I want to be serious. He is so predictable, but never boring. He has sort of a 'why-mess-with-a-good-thing?' attitude about most things. He buys the same shirt in 5 colors, wears one cut of jeans, and will prefer vanilla icecream with chocolate sauce till the day he dies. But he is always on a mission to surprise me, with gifts that blow my mind, things that I'd never expect. It goes to his predictability because I know he will always go above and beyond. In contrast, unless I make it myself, I'm awful at giving gifts. Just awful. When it comes to stress, he is stellar. He has an uncanny ability to walk out of his work environment and sink right into family life without letting it bleed over. It's a trait I've always been envious of, and more and more I am crazy thankful for it. My only fault with his stress handling tendencies is that he is so protective of me, to the point of keeping me in the dark of things sometimes. It's awesome, and not awesome- equal parts. He is a fantastic dad- modeling too much greatness for my boys for me to even list it here. But I can say without hesitation that I'd love for all three of them to be just like him when they grow up. In so many ways we are exact opposites, but just in all the right ways. He is firm where I'm soft and gentle where I'm harsh. He nudges when I need to be pushed, and is always able to reel me back in when I've gotten off track. My favorite thing: he always tells me what I need to hear, and rarely, I mean RARELY goes for what I want to hear. That is priceless and amazing in a partner. There are people who come into your life and change everything. They love you, in spite of you, and that changes you. Justin is such a sweet expression of Father's love for me. He is literally re-presenting Jesus to me on a daily basis. It doesn't get more real than that. I will love him till I die.

 Happy Birthday, Jus. You are my very favorite. My best friend forever.

Monday, August 20, 2012

just Us. Me and Jesus.

I have been so swallowed up lately. And I'll be honest, I have neglected this blog so much. Between birthday parties and cakes and weddings and school prep, I've just put this on the back burner. My heart is full of good things, and hard things too, that I've been anxious to share. But in truth, the longer I waited to post, the easier it was to put it off. And before I knew it I was staring at a massive snowball of blank "pages." A month's worth to be exact :/ My heart is heavy today, and has been for the last week. And so I've been reluctant to dive in with a Debbie-Downer attitude. I'm not depressed or anything like that. I'm just saddened, grieved in the deepest parts of my heart for the things that I'm anxious to see happen in our midst. I am still struggling to find the balance between staying content in a different environment without adopting the culture and forgetting where I came from. I'm not talking about Texas life. In talking about Kingdom life. There is so much to be learned in a community of people that walk in worshipful discipleship. There's also much to be learned alone- in the quiet of God's presence. That *has* to be enough for me.

My kids bring a lot of joy. And simplicity to my life. My Matthew is a constant reminder of what childhood should be- imagination, and wonder, and fun. At 7 years old, he cries if the day doesn't include enough "playing." Last week I took him to get a new pair of shoes, and he picked out the yellow ones. I knew my husband would cringe when he saw them, but I had to let him be his own person. He isn't his brother, he's different, and it's awesome. He was so proud of those shoes and begged me to photograph them. His grin says it all.

Sometimes, in my grown up over-analytical outlook, there's a part of me that's screaming for simpler times. Like when new kicks was all it took to make the world right again...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hokus Pokus Focus

So. I haven't written in a while. I've been sort of stuck in a busy bubble, and haven't been coping with it very well. I recently encountered a photography crisis, and it pretty much had me close to tears for a straight week. I guess it's because once you get bitten with the camera bug, it becomes an extension of your artistic expression. I felt like I'd lost a limb- as I was convinced that there was something terribly wrong with my camera. Not so. Operator error. What you're about to read is my humble confession about all of my blurry out of focus photos. Eek. So embarrassing. Here it goes...

Focus Points. Yes, so very simple and super elementary in the realm of learning your camera's functions. Well, I totally neglected it. I would half-press the shutter button and wait until my subject came into focus and snap a picture. By some amazing coincidence this led to more good photos than bad ones. At least until a couple of weeks ago :/ I'm assuming that as I am forming a style, I'm getting more deliberate with my framing and such. The result was entire batches of super weird pics. I was baffled. I scoured blogs and forums for answers to why my camera had completely flaked out. Today, yes... today I found the answer. There are a given number of focus points on your camera model. My D3100 has eleven. I completely ignored the tiny red highlight on the focus point being used. Basically, the camera could be focusing on someone's hand an I'd be trying to get it to focus on their eyes and I'd end up all frustrated. Or, even worse, I'd be fooled by what looked like a great shot on my LCD only to find that on the computer it was out of focus. And I was completely in control of which focus point was being used, I just didnt know it! Today, since learning this- I have taken non-stop tack sharp photos with my 35mm 1.8, and I'm freaking OUT. In a good way. It was that simple.

Ever find yourself in a blur? Life gets so crazy sometimes- we start to feel like nothing is going right and we tend to blame Jesus for not properly equipping us. Maybe it's not that at all. Maybe you have just the right equipment, and it's YOU who needs adjusting. Maybe it's as simple as re-evaluating your focus points. I hate to be a burster of happy self-centered bubbles (actually I quite like it) but if you're focusing on how things are affecting you then you're missing it completely. And it's no wonder that things are so fuzzy. I am hearing this, deep in my heart today. Thanks, Jesus.

I hope this finds you honing your focus, seeing life through the mind and heart of Jesus, and with clarity.
Happy Tuesday :)