Do You ALWAYS Give Your Best?

This thought has been bouncing around in my brain a lot lately.  I’m not really sure where the general idea came from at first.  The idea that God is calling on all of us to always give our best at everything we do no matter what. I remember once listening to a podcast by Andy Stanley, Pastor at North Point Church where he claimed that no matter what you are doing, no matter what cruddy job you have, no matter what kind of spouse you are married to, no matter what hardships you have or will face, you should live every bit of your life like you are working for God himself.

This idea resurfaced for me this weekend while watching the movie Facing the Giants.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it is the fictional story of a high school coach and his football team that overcome impossible odds to go from the worst team to the championship team.  A common theme in the movie is giving your best.  The coach repeatedly says “Leave nothing out on that field, do not walk away from here tonight without giving your absolute best! Your absolute best!”  It is when his players begin to realize that they  have more in them than they think and they do start giving their true absolute best not only on the field but in school and life that they start to turn the season around.

What about me?  I am blessed to have an extremely full and rewarding life.  I am married to the kind of caliber of man that words cannot describe.  I have three amazing, beautiful and smart children.  We are homeschooling family.  We are dedicated and very active in church and ministry.  I have a wonderful network of friends that I adore and enjoy very much.  My husband has a thriving career he deeply enjoys.  And oh… I run my own photography business.  If you’ve ever run a business you know that in order for it to thrive and grow you have to dedicate dubious amounts of time and attention.

The question I am asking myself right now is do I do my ABSOLUTE BEST in every single area of my life?  Do I ever leave anything out on the field?  Do I do everything I am called to do the best way that I can?  Talk to me!  What are your thoughts on this?  And how do you give your best in everything without feeling like my photo all the time?


Happy Birthday!

First birthdays are so bitter sweet.  It is a grand milestone but it can make a mommy’s heart ache as my little baby isn’t really a little baby any more.  Today I pause and reflect at the year.  My Eliza is sunshine and rainbows. She lights up the room!  She has her Daddy’s heart TOTALLY wrapped around her little finger.  Her brothers and sister think she hung the moon… they may be right.

 

Happy Birthday Eliza!

 

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Motivate Your Child Book PreOrder special — $150 in parenting resources FREE!

I am excited to share with you about a new book I’m reading this month — Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Isn’t that what you want for your kids?  I have to tell you that I’ve only just begun to dig into this and it is leading me to make changes in my home already!

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God’s Word gives us a better way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live. Motivate Your Child is a practical book that explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.

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You can Pre-Order the book now from any retailer, and then follow the instructions below.

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Disclaimer

Imagine!

Trying to be creative… with my camera, with my paper crafts, with my digital art… with ANYTHING takes imagination. You have to imagine a possibility and take a road to get there. Usually my imagination road is sort of windy and I don’t often end up at the destination I had originally imagined. I like to think I end up some place even better. Sometimes that true. Its the journey that I enjoy though. The creative process as they say. It can be messy. Lots of photos, or torn paper, or whatever. I like to be messy. I like to circle around my concept and see where I can end up.

But my Noah…. he’s six. If I want to see what true imagination is really like I just have to hang out with him for about five seconds! It only takes that long before he says… “Hey Mommy, Guess What…..!” And before I know it I’m enveloped in tail of glory. It might be about police chases and bad guys, or maybe the biblical town of Jericho and battles, usually it has something to do with Legos… sometimes it’s Thomas the Tank Engine. No matter what it’s about I never really know where I’ll end up when Noah is imagining. I need to record one of his trips one day. It’d be awesome to have when he’s all grown up and the world gets in the way of his imagining.

 

 

Belly Laughs!

I think sometimes I forget to laugh.  No really!  I’m not trying to be all melancholy but I think it happens.  I’m rushing through my day.  Math papers, reading books, laundry, vacuum cleaners, diapers and bibs.  My marriage too!  Time with God.  My business, my creative needs, my writing.  Karate, basketball, prayer services.  Field trips, lunches to pack, play dates to keep.  Friends to remember, prayers to be said, books to read.  It all gets jumbled up.  It all gets jammed together.  When do I laugh?  Not enough.  I love my life. It is certainly not that I lack for moments of joy!  I have so very much to delight in.  But when was the last time I had a good gut busting belly laugh.

My Banana Cakes has it right.  She knows how to laugh.  I think I want to be more like her.  Her brother too.  Ezra has had the VERY best belly laugh ever since the day he was born.  I need to bottle that up!  I need to drink it up!  I need to soak it up!  I need to make it a part of me!

Going back to where it all started….

When you run a business, a creative business like photography, sometimes you forget to be… well… creative!  I know that sounds insane!  But it is true!  When I’m out on a shoot I am working for a client.  A client who has hired me to get what they want… not necessarily what I want.  Time is usually short so I must get the standard stuff before I try to get stuff just for me.  But honestly, by then… patience is lost, light is low, or the wind has kicked up and everyone is cold. It can be a bit frustrating to say the least.

So this year I’m going to try and find the time to get back to that creativity that started it all.  I’m participating in an iphone photography class.  I’ve signed up for challenges galore.  And I’m trying my hand at some personal projects.  I plan to share it all here on my blog. I fear what might happen is I end up trying a lot of stuff that just won’t work out!  Ok, wait… that isn’t a fear, it’s a fact.  It’s going to happen.  I’m going to throw a lot of stuff at the proverbial wall and I’m going to hope some of it sticks.  So watch out, you might get hit by flying poo.  Let’s see if I can learn a little something along way.

There is so much yumminess out on the internet!  I’m soaking up a ton of inspiration!  Up first… a photo challenge from www.evokingyou.com. We were challenged to photograph a mirror in some way.  This was my result. A twist on the self-portrait.

Happy Thursday!  Oh, and scroll down and skip around to check out other fabulous mirror images from the evoking you photographers!

 

Oh Christmas!

This might just be my very most favorite photo from our Christmas festivities. I just adore these hats! And I love how my brother-in-law Steve hopped into the photo too. I’m sure this is one we’ll all look back on with a smile! So there you have it! My silly holiday photo! I hope it brought a smile to your face, even for just a moment.

 

Friends for Life!

Anyone who visits my blog even just occasionally is well acquainted with my crew of 3 amazing kids.  They consume most of my life so it is only natural that I speak of them often.  Like any Momma I am just as proud as anything over most anything they do.  I’m blessed to be able to homeschool them and as a result we share just about every moment of life together.  It is a pretty incredible life.

What everyone might not realize is that I was raised pretty much as an only child.  I’ve had a number of step-sisters, some of whom are no longer in my life, but none of which that I ever had the pleasure of living with full time.  It was mostly always just me, myself, and I.  I can’t really complain as my Mom did absolutely everything possible for me.  My mother’s choice to have just one was probably one of her most wise decisions given the hand life dealt her.  We did pretty well together, a team of sorts.  I wouldn’t change it for the world as my childhood made me who I am today.

But I have a different vision for my own children.  I live a life that allows for us to have many children.  (3 is many in relative context to being raised as an only child)  Since I can give it to them, I want them to have the experience of being a part of a larger family complete with brothers or sisters.  So that is just what I have done.  Two boys and a girl! Are we done? I don’t know.  I can’t say either way.  The door certainly isn’t closed but at the same time, I am immensely enjoying the family we have right now.  Time will tell.

One of my biggest hopes for my children is that they develop a friendship and a closeness between them that will last forever.  I know friends will come and go.  Siblings are forever.  So far so good!  They ADORE each other.  So much so that it is, occasionally…. a bit annoying!  The boys are hardly ever separated and are generally not happy when they are.  The two of the fawn over Joyanna like crazy!  Sometimes I just have to send them away so the poor girl can BREATH!  They laugh and they play together pretty much all day every day.  They share triumphs and defeats.  They cheer each other on and pat each other the back when the inevitable bumps of life knock them down.  And…. they fight!  Yes indeed they do!  We have our fair share of yelling and screaming and he said she said he did she did I don’t want him to…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  But it never lasts more than a few minutes.

Friends for life!  I hope and pray that will be true!

 

The Life of a Wedding Photographer!

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor and privilege of assisting Lisa Cour of Dayspring Photography on a couple of her weddings.  Talk about fun! This gal has some seriously awesome clients.  She and I met at a workshop back in March and hit it off pretty well.  Our paths have crossed a couple of times since and I always enjoy seeing her.  I jumped at the chance to lend her a helping hand.  I will be blogging images soon!  In the meantime I thought it might be fun to take a tiny sneak peak of what a wedding day looks like from behind the scenes.  With the aide of my iPhone camera I set to work!

Tops on my priority list is my stomach!  Typically I begin work on a wedding day hours upon hours before the ceremony.  Photographers are  documenting every detail as the bride has her hair and makeup done.  We capture fabulous photos of her dress, her shoes, her jewelry.  We artistically gather images of her mother and father as they watch their baby girl become a woman.  Many times we also take similar photos of the groom.  Of course there isn’t much to his hair (or makeup – usually) but we do like to capture his story too.  Getting dressed, hanging with his buds, sweating it as someone teases him that “their is still time to change your mind you know!”

This means we often begin working 6 or 8 hours before dinner is served, well before lunch, and we work straight through often skipping pretty much every meal of the day.  Even dinner is forgotten as we prepare a slide show or capture cake details or… whatever!  So this means we eat on the go.  What does eating on the go look like?  For me?  A cliff bar in the car while driving like a maniac to keep up with the limo in front of me so that I can be right with the bride the entire day and not miss a moment. Sound yummy?  Oh, and of course chug a lugging water from that fancy cooler you see on the floor in the background.

 

Comfort and style on the day of a wedding are paramount.  I need to be comfortable so I can last on my feet in extreme circumstances sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.  However, I want to look as professional as possible.  No one wants to hire a photographer they’d be embarrassed to have as guest correct?  Some female photographers wear healed shoes.  I just can’t imagine.  Then again I haven’t worn a pair of real heals since my own wedding 10 years ago.  They just aren’t me.  So I go all out in high class with these fake crocs that I bought at Payless shoes for $1.49.  I know, so classy.  But they do match my branding!  Cute huh?

Before I became a wedding photographer I thought the job was rather glamorous.  After all, wedding photographers work in swanky hotels, resorts, and other locations… right?  I mean, to get beautiful photos you have to go to beautiful places!  Yeah, not so much.  On this particular day I risked life and limb on a set of railroad tracks.

I enjoyed the pleasant aroma of a garbage dumpster.

And I graced the grounds of an old mental hospital… a place that is noted for being one of the most haunted in the country.

Oh, and did I mention that all of this took place on a day the will go down in the record books because of the extensive heat?  100+ degrees and higher with the heat index.  Yes, you could ring my shirt out before the day was done!  How did I get through it you ask?  Well, I stopped off on my way home and bought myself one very big iced coffee.  ahhhh…..

You know what? I wouldn’t trade one moment of it for the world!  I love what I do.  I love being there documenting the story of a very special day.  I love getting to know my clients.  I love the hugs they give me as we part after many many hours together.  I get to see people at their best (and once in great while at their worst).  I get to tell a story.  A story about love.  What could be better than that?

Oh and one more thing.  I get to see really really cool things like this killer limo! Now isn’t it totally worth it?

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

Alphabet Madness!

This week’s MCP Blog photo challenge is a letter of the alphabet. I chose to take a photo with LOTS of letters from the alphabet. This is a creation by my oldest son Noah! It is the space shuttle sitting on the launch pad ready for take off. I loved how he used such basic blocks for his creation. He has access to lots of blocks of all shapes and sizes and yet he gravitated to these very simple ones.

 

Have a fantastic Tuesday!

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