Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Have Come To Realize...

Wed at 6:01am
1. I've come to realize that my chest-size... has gone from a 44EE to a 36C

2. I've come to realize that my job... comes LAST after caring for my home, husband and children.

3. I've come to realize that when I'm driving... people should be very afraid!!!

4. I've come to realize that I need... someone to be a true friend to me once in awhile...

5. I've come to realize that I have lost... many people I thought were true friends, and many loved ones to death.

6. I've come to realize that I hate it when... we ignore others, then become bitter and closed, rather than being open, honest and truthful in working through things that have been hurtful.

7. I've come to realize that money... should never be more important than God's plan for our lives.

8. I've come to realize that certain people... will despise and mistreat those who truly care for them, and who want to truly see them flourish in Christ. Then they will embrace the toxic people in their lives who point them to the world, rather than pointing them to their loving Savior.

9. I've come to realize that I'll always... get my heart stomped on pretty regularly, but I will survive and take it to Jesus.

10. I've come to realize that my sibling(s)... live too far away. :(

11. I've come to realize that my mom and dad... my mom did the best she could, and my dad is in heaven.

12. I've come to realize that my cell phone... is something I need to lose, and never find again.

13. I've come to realize that when I woke up this morning... it was dark-O-thirty!

14. I've come to realize that right now I am thinking... I should be doing my morning devotional.

15. I've come to realize that today... someone is grieving and needs comfort. I need to be the love of Christ to that someone.

16. I've come to realize that I really want... to do what God has called me to do, and quit putting it off by getting distracted in other areas.

17. I've come to realize that the person who is most likely to respond to this is... whoever wants to. No pressure!

18. I've come to realize that life... is not about me, but about everyone who comes in contact with my life.

19. I've realized the best music to listen to when I am upset... is something uplifting, with lyrics that point me to the Lord.

20. I've come to realize that my friends... will let me down...a lot! And I will let them down too. But if we can truly learn what forgiveness means, God can restore and reconcile any and all brokenness. Like anything else worthwhile in our lives, it takes continual conscience effort from each person involved.

21. I've come to realize that this year... has been one of the most difficult ones that I have experienced as a mother. Seeing my daughter go through what she did was rough, to say the least!

22. I've come to realize that my ex... ??? 's all live in Texas??!!! lol, just kidding, I have no ex!!

23. I've come to realize that maybe I should... walk away when people make it clear that they could give two craps about me. Yet, nothing in the Bible tells me to react this way. So, I choose to stay, and learn more about what that word "forgiveness" means...

24. I've come to realize that I love... to see healing! Whether emotional or physical, or within relationships, it is a blessing to see restoration and rebuilding of lives! To God be the Glory!!!

25. I've come to realize that I don't understand... why people want to run from the truth, and keep making excuse for their sins.

26. I've come to realize my past... is part of what made me who I am today. ALL things work together...Rom 8:28. The sinful parts of it (whether created by me, or put upon me) must be admitted, dealt with, and released to Jesus, or it will infect every other part of my life; including my relationship with my husband, children, family and friends.

27. I've come to realize that I'm totally terrified... of losing my husband and children to death.

28. I've come to realize that my life... is a tapestry, frayed and flawed on the inside, but beautiful, colorful and ornate when I allow GOD to use it.

Jennography 365-35

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Beautiful Friend; Canvas On Demand

I have this sweet dear friend from back home. We can go months without talking or seeing each other, and it is like we have never been apart. She is always cheerful, even when she is going through tremendous struggles herself. Not to mention, the most GIVING person I know!!...A beautiful person inside and outside!

This weekend she is here visiting family. Her name is Beth. (what a wonderful sister in FL; her name is Beth Anne so I am fond of that name Beth to begin with)

Beth came to visit her family here in our area. Her brother's wife is battling sickness, so she came to visit with them. She decided to stay with us, and we are happy to have her here!! :)

Last night, our friends from church Chris and Elizabeth stopped by. They came to pick up a canvas that they had ordered from me. The canvas came from Canvas On Demand and it turned out absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! I'll most likely use this company for future canvas orders!

Here is the pose they chose for the canvas:


This is one of their engagement photos from the shoot that Lindsay assisted me with. Aren't they a beautiful couple?!!

They both had a chance to meet Beth, and we all had a great time together laughing and sharing stories. :)

Today Beth is spending a day at the beach with her family, and then will return sometime this evening. We are looking forward to sharing more time with her. Our family loves her to pieces! We all had such a blast last night giggling and being silly together!

I'm going to catch up some laundry, and then try to rest some this afternoon. :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful, and very blessed weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Every Day New! A little pray-er; Pride

I so love that God's mercies are new with EACH day. What a loving God!

I've been thinking today about how much God loves us, and how His thoughts toward us are so many more than the grains of sand. Wow, that cannot be fathomed!

I'm reading this book called "The Shack". You can read it HERE. It is a tough read for me personally, but also a very touching read. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet.

Friday, our neighbor knocked on our door to show us a praying mantis, which was hanging out on the outer bushes outside of her apartment. It stayed very still as we all observed this interesting creature. From time to time the head would turn, but that is about all the movement we caught.

Here is a snapshot of it. When we have seen them, they are usually green. This one was brownish. :) (One of those moments where I was wishing I had a macro lens! lol)


The praying mantis reminded me to spend more time in God's word...reading the Bible...fasting and praying. Thank you to my friend who took the time to share this wonder of God's creation with our family. :)

Still no "definite" word on a job for David. God has it all figured out. Just when we think we have it figured out, God shows us differently. We learn to live flexible, to trust, and to remember what faith live out our faith!

Last week at dinner, we broke bread with new friends. They have a plaque on their wall that says something like, "Faith isn't believing that God can do it, It is believing God will do it". I think that it is...(correct me if I am wrong) Either way, it basically says that Faith is knowing God will do it and it is already done. So I'm resting in the promise that God has it under control.

Here are a few more of my faves from my last shoot. Looking forward to some upcoming shoots this week. God is good!






What a sweet family!!

So...onto the next thing...

I've been studying about pride lately...which I'm learning ranks up there with murdering, lying...WOW, such a subtle sin that can creep into our lives. I'm reading scripture in the Old and New Testament that deals with pride. One thing I'm gleaning, it appears to be a condition of the heart.

Many times I have read this verse below, but never focused on pride being there. We always tend to focus on the worst (or what we think is worst), more obvious sins like blasphemy, adultery, etc. Pride is just as bad, and is said to defile man.

Mark 7:21-23
21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Doing much heart searching, asking God to forgive me of my pride, and to pull out all of the roots of pride in my life that would cause my heart to be hard.

Psalm 51:9-11
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Testing something new; Resting for a few

This week has been incredibly hectic. Some folks would probably look at my schedule and think to themselves, "what is her problem, why can't she handle it?" Those folks aren't walking in my shows. Even if they are struggling with similar things as I am, they are not me and I am not them.

My husband graduated from his Chaplain Residency program yesterday. I'm so proud of him! He has worked hard and now can focus on finding a position where he can grow and serve as a chaplain. We are praying for God to lead us to the right place. He still has 2000 hrs to serve as a hospital chaplain or within a hospice. These are the only places he can work on his clinical hrs.

Right now he has a huge decision. There is a job possibility in our area, but the hours will not count at all toward his clinical hours. We still do not have a sure answer from the Lord as to which direction we should go in. We've not heard anything definite from anyone. We are seeking God, and trusting His word, promises, and living them out in faith with much prayer!

We are so thankful for praying friends and family who are true, and who love the Lord; Who encourage us and pray for us...that we will step with God and not with our own thinking.

I've been gearing up for the next school year of home-schooling. We pretty much school year round; during the summer the children continue with math, reading and language/grammar. We are getting together their curriculum for all other subjects that we do during the regular school months. Jordan is excited about doing Science/Chemistry, and learning about NC History. Josh is excited as well! He will be doing a 6th grade Science program. We are using the Apologia Science program. :)

So far here is our schedule:
Arithmetic - "Singapore Math"
Language/Grammar - "Learning Language through Literature" (they will read several books within this program which will include the following:
Reading materials:
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
The Eagle
The Story of a Bad Boy
The Bronze Bow
Prince Caspian
King of the Wild
The Wheel on the School
Jest 'Fore Christmas
The Swiss Family Robinson
Swallows and Amazons
Big Red
Robinson Crusoe
The Wind in the Willows
Caddie Woodlawn
Where the Fern Grows
The Railway Children
The Horse and his Boy
The Crow and the Pitcher
Little Women
Invincible Louisa
Studies of the Bible in Psalm and Matthew
The Gettysburg Address

There are few books from Learning Language from Literature that they have already read...such as Little House in the Big Woods, and Anne of Green Gables. :) They will also have writing skills taught.

I will continue with...
Vocabulary - "Vocabulary Workshop"/ Sadlier-Oxford
History - The study of History of NC (Thanks to Laura for the curriculum)
Science - Apologia Science (Thanks to our friend Kathy for sharing her curriculum)
Health - Abeka Health and also more intense study of anatomy
Foreign Language -we will continue studying Latin

I'm so thankful for the help toward their curriculum. It can get expensive!

Oh, my testing of something new: I think I mentioned before that I am using a new product. I've been using it for several weeks now, and getting ready to write a review on it soon. It has been a GREAT help with editing photos!!! I'm not sure how I could live without it now! I'm sure I could; however it has made editing a whole lot easier on my hands!

My current wish list of photography items:
Canon Speedlite Flash
Gary Fong diffuser kit
A 5-in one Reflector with stand
Canon 16-35mm 2.8 Lens
An extra camera "body only" used Canon 5d

This is my wish list, not items I think I must have to be a good photographer. Yet, in some indoor low light situations, and some outdoor low light situations...these items would sure be nice to have on hand!

I've been so blessed to photograph families lately who just make the process fun! Here are a few from my latest shoot. It was a joy being with them, and I have more edits to come!






Here is where the rest part comes in. Due to my condition, I have learned that if I do not pace myself properly, I end up in a mess with fibro flare. For folks who do not go through this; you have no idea. The symptoms are unique to each person, and there is no way to compare pain. With that being said, this is my day of rest. After this blog, I'm logging off to rest through the flare, which can last for one day or days or weeks. I'm praying this will only last a day or two. I pretty well know my body, and how to manage the pain. I know lack of sleep and stress aggravate the condition (insomnia is also PART of the condition) So, prayers are helpful...advise is nice, as long as it is given in a way that is suggestive and helpful, rather than condescending and judgmental...not as being the authority when you are not me. :) Sorry to be so blunt, but that is just the way it is. :)

Believe me YES I get on the defense about it; I get it from all sides, and quite frankly some things said will do more harm than good.

So, quit trying to "figure out" and "fix" everything wrong with me/others around you, work on YOU. If this applies to "you" then allow God to work in you...(I am in that YOU spot at times!)

In the process of this life journey, let's pray for one another to become more like Christ. ;) One day you might be in a bad situation that you cannot explain (believe me I've put myself in these situations or found myself in them-so I speak from experience). It is best to have mercy, compassion, encouragement, and pray for others who have struggles, issues, sin, whatever we want to label it; you may find yourself in a bad spot someday where you need mercy and compassion. In my opinion, compassion is one characteristic that is so lacking within the christian community today.

Like I said, I'm pointing fingers at myself here as well. Jesus was MOVED to compassion, yet we christians who are to be christ-like; live life saying or insinuating to folks to "just get over it".

A dear friend of mine put on her FB something about living in a drama free zone. THAT would be nice. As long as we are living in this world...we will have drama either created by others around us, or even ourselves. This must be one of the many reasons why the Bible tells us "In this world we will have troubles"...we WILL have it until Jesus returns! My new motto is, "live with compassion". The days are short, let's show a little compassion toward one another.

On that note, I'll close on something more positive...(whomever is taking the time to read this) Look for the review to come soon, I'm so excited about it! And thankful for the opportunity. :))

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In The Waiting...

This morning I woke up and found myself in a flare. A flare is the term used when you are in pain with flu-like symptoms, muscles and joints in tremendous pain...sometimes numbness of face and limbs. If the heat is not too extreme today, I think I'll consider going to the pool for a swim. When I am in a flare, being in the water is helpful and does not cause more pain/inflammation.

Last night I took two Tylenol PM, and prayed myself to sleep. I slept well through the night, so this will help that I had a full night of sleep. Most of the time when in a flare, rest is in order. Swimming seems to help as well. It can be so frustrating at times, but then I am thankful to God that it is not a life threatening syndrome. So many people are facing far worse.

We have about 1 week left before husband graduates from the Chaplain Residency Program. We are down to the wire with no job secured as of today. Of course, this can change within a moment! He does have a few interviews lined up (two were scheduled yesterday, and one we are waiting on for the definite interview time from a call the day before). God amazes we can go from one day or moment of having nothing lined up, to the next day or next two days having 3 interviews. :)

Isn't this how God words so often? I mean, His time table is way different than ours. This is something that husband and I have a challenge with. Mainly, because we have folks asking us if we have anything lined up, (AND the bills will not stop coming in either) We are getting questions that we are not qualified to answer at this moment, because we are waiting on God for the answers. :)

From a world's perspective, we should already have a job secured and plans laid out. From a God-centered perspective it is all about the unknown, faith and trusting in Him completely.

Trusting in God completely means...not worrying about tomorrow. Worry is a huge sin in my life that I desire to be rid of! I know God is able, and that it takes a choice on my part as to if I am going to keep on worrying about these things and frantically trying to fix it, or if I am going to do all I can do, and "stand"...enter in with God's plan. He is ready and willing to take these burdens, and to lead us on the path we should go.

Matthew 6:24-29 (New Living Translation)

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

1 Peter 5:8-10 (New Living Translation)

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

Does anyone else struggle with truly "letting go" of situations or concerns, and truly giving them over to God to handle?

I'm not saying to sit back and do nothing. We can seek the Lord on it by reading the Bible, praying, searching for the job...applying everywhere possible (believe me, husband has applied to HUNDREDS; ever day he is on the computer, in the newspaper, talking with other folks about leads), making calls, and checking every possible lead. We've lost count after all of these months of searching for a job!!

However from our experience with it...most of our plans are usually fruitless. Often times what we think to be God's plan, is actually not His plan at all.

Most of the jobs or ministry situations we have been a part of, were not part of "our" plans. Heck, they weren't even in places he had ever thought about. They were opportunities that came to us right at the last minute, in places we had never thought about going...places we couldn't even remember applying to...or opportunity brought to us from a totally different avenue.

God is so amazing. He holds the answers, and as I type this I am reminded of how much lack of trust I have in the Lord when I worry over something.

The children are doing well, but a little anxious about where we may be living. They are hoping we stay here, because we are beginning to meet new friends. However, they understand, and are flexible to the fact that we could very well be moving away.

I love this song. It is from the movie, "Fireproof". A great moving!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gosh! Long time, No Blog; Stepping back, Slowing Down

Feel so bad that I haven't been such an avid blogger these days! :) I'm going to try to work on this!!

I've been spending lots of time with my little family here, new friends, building relationships, learning more about photography...and now preparing lesson plans for J and J!

On photography: I have been doing a lot of praying about my long term goals for photography. I so enjoy the creative side to it, as well as the ministry aspect. My main goal was to slowly grow into this, be at a place where I am making a part time income, and also minister through it...with especially the goal to eventually volunteer to serve in the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep program.

There is a lot to learn about building a small business, and I want to be sure I am doing everything the right way before stepping into it with both feet!

People in my life (caring family and friends) from time to time apply a little pressure on me. They say to me, "You are not charging enough...should be charging people what you are worth...and it is a lot more than you are charging!", and so forth.

I do understand where they are coming from, and realize they say these things because they care. However, the way I see it...everything belongs to the Lord. All that I have and all that I am. He is the giver, and when I have given of my time and talents, He has always blessed me over and abundantly!! Sometimes these blessings are in ways that others do not know of or see, but He does bless.

What I have been doing up to this point has been portfolio building. It doesn't matter what the profession, you have to put in your time. Start small and work up!

Lately, I've been pushing this whole thing way too much. It has caused a lot of stress on me and my family to force things too quickly. For now, I am stepping back, and truly giving careful and prayerful consideration to what I am doing. I don't want this to become all/or only about the money, and I can see how easy it is to slip into that push for more and more money making ideas. I don't want to lose the passion of it.

Don't get me wrong, I would like to make money in the process of doing what I love. What I am saying is, I need to constantly re-evaluate and ask myself the question, "What is my focus?...Is it God, the people, and what He desires for this? Or, is it ONLY about the money?" I can see how this can easily get out of focus for me. The enemy is so subtle, and before one knows it, it becomes all about self and the money.

I'd like for my vision to be clear from the Lord, every step of the way.

With that being said, I feel it is so important to be educated in any field of expertise. I may have the natural eye for photography, but I do feel that I need some advanced classes in photography. Also, I should take a course in running small businesses. (Been on the websites of .gov reading a lot on small businesses, talked with my accountant friend, photographer friend, and a friend who works in a law office, and received lots of good information and good advise from them)

I've pretty much self studied on my own for the past couple of yrs using sources such as the internet, and public library. Yet, there are GREAT resources here in our area for attending some advanced classes...there is a Community College, University, as well as a photography studio that offers advanced classes.

As soon as we know if we are staying in this area, and as soon as I have the extra financial means, I'd love to take a few advanced courses on photography. Other's think I am a pro already, but I was to take it slow and I do have a lot to learn still!

Photography is more technical than one thinks...if you don't believe me...for those who have never studied photography or taken photos in manual mode; switch your camera to manual "M" if you have it on your camera, and give it a try to see what you come up with. It isn't as easy as it appears to be. ;)

Also, I need to build my equipment. I do have a great camera (it is a 4 yrs old model, and I'm just praying the shutter life will hold out), but it has limitations. There are a few more accessories that are musts for low lighting situations: Canon 5d (eventually I will need a second will actually be my first and the one I have now will become my backup), Canon Speedlite flash, diffuser, reflector, and a nice Canon zoom lens with at least f/2.8. The only lens I have currently is a 50mm lens. While it is a nice portrait lens, in a lot of ways it is not very fast for moving objects, nor does it have much room for distance situations or tight close ups. It is a bit limiting in low light situations. I'm fully aware. It is nice for natural light, and very controlled lighting situations.

I've decided to limit my shoots to 1-2 per week, and no more. This is only temporary as I focus on our children, and continue to pray about all of this. I'm hoping we can stay here in this area, so I can take these classes that I've been so wanting to take! Yet, it may not be what God has for me. Therefore I pray, and do what I can do for now.

First things first...husband needs a job!!! He is the head of our household. God knows where and what that job is for him, and He will show us when He is ready for us to know. Meanwhile, he is certainly praying for direction, applying daily, getting out there and interviewing, making calls and visits...has been for several months now. The right one is out there for him, and for our family! Also, our children; their schedule and needs come next. I'm trying to keep myself in balance with God, husband, our children, then others. It is so easy to get off track and out of balance...