Wednesday, July 23, 2014

photography 101: lesson 1

One of my long term goals is to have a better comprehension of good photography so that I can use the camera as a tool of creativity.  A big belief of mine is that we are all creative, whether we choose to believe it or not.  If you doubt this, recall that we were made by the biggest, most amazing artist in all the universe.  And reminder:  He created us in His image.  So by default, we are creative.  Get over yourself if you think you're not.


Embrace it!  Celebrate it!  Deny it NO MORE!

I have a nice camera but I'm embarrassed to admit that I know hardly anything on the ins and outs of it.  So here we blogging it, (hopefully) I'll be more accountable about following through with learning it.

Lesson #1:
Aperture (f-settings):  one aspect that controls the amount of light that enters the camera when a picture is snapped.  The larger the aperture, the more light that will enter and vice versa.

Aperture settings on the camera are called F-stops.  Confusing part of the f-stops are the higher the number, the smaller the aperture (opening).
f22 = small opening
f1.4 = large opening

A maybe easier way of understanding is low number = large opening

The aperture selected can be because of the depth of field you are trying to achieve.

Very shallow depth of field = the main subject is in focus but the surroundings are blurry (low f number)
*The following 2 pictures have a low f-stop, and a shallow depth of field

Very larger depth of field = all ares of the photo are in focus (large f number)
*The following 2 pictures have a high f-stop, and a large depth of field

So go ahead, I dare ya, find the f-stop on your camera and go crazy!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

June Goals

For the sake of intentional living, I have committed to monthly goals and they really seem to boost me along.
Even if I don't complete them all, at least I'm making progress.  I have to be careful I'm finding that I do not allow achieving my goals an idol.  Goals are there to push me to live a life of worship.  I do not want to worship achievement.

My June goals were:

Scripture to memorize: You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.  ~Isaiah 26:3

Write 2 love letters to Jason

100 Pushups/week: I made it to 100 one week but the other weeks I averaged 85-90, still not bad. Oh and these were a combo of modified pushups and real pushups.

Run 1 morning/week

Read 1 Homeschool Book

Ask about mentoring: Will have to include on my July goals.


Complete The Ragamuffin Gospel

Begin A Thomas Jefferson Education

Begin Grace for the Good Girl

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

whole: mind body soul

Something I'm passionate about is having a holistically healthy mind, body and soul.  It saddens my heart to see so many Christians living unhealthy lives.  A lot of times, we can think that our bodies don't even matter.  We're going to heaven, right, so who cares if we die early.  I think that is wrong thinking.  I think we can potentially miss out on a whole lot of our calling if our bodies cannot keep up with our soul and what God is leading us to.  So I think it is right to care for the bodies God has blessed us with.  

I disagree with the obsession of our bodies.  I workout not to have a perfect body (because no one ever achieves that).  I workout so that I can do the things I need to do in my daily life.  Also I'm simply a happier, more focused person.   

Like I've said before I discovered Fit2B and I love it.  

Just yesterday I was reading a blog about another resource that centers their workouts around God.  I did one of their workouts this morning and I loved it.  I worked up a sweat all while having attention on God.  How awesome is that!  

Isn't that what we're supposed to do anyways?  

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~1 Corinthians 10:31

So check out this post that has some free workouts from Revelation Wellness.  And just move and thank God that you have a body that can!  I promise you'll be happier because of it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

don't hold back

I am a big fan of Dr. Ben Carson, not because he's in the spotlight lately but because he has been a childhood hero for me.  And when we heard him recently he reminded us to not be politically correct.  To say the things on your heart, from your heart.

A Facebook friend had recently shared her opinion on a controversial Supreme Court decision.  I disagreed with her because of core beliefs.  I struggled whether or not I should say anything.  But I decided to.  Because there are so many out there who generalize people.  Liberal vs conservative.  Christian vs non-Christian.  And honestly I am sick of it.

If we are going to get anywhere in this country, we have to stop getting on our sides and start reaching out to have true conversations.  Jesus sure didn't shy away from those who disagreed with him.

I follow that though with a heart of love.  We are going to get nowhere if we look at life as a competition.  We are all brothers and sisters because we are all made in God's image.  We have to stop separating ourselves from people who are different from us.

Speak out IN LOVE.

Friday, June 27, 2014

learning to focus

(in regards to the cartoon, I think crazy people have more fun in life anyways)

At the present moment, I have two bawling babies.  Your first thought is why the heck are you writing this post then?  Because yes, I am a bad mom.  The kids are not hurt, just whiny and needy.  (I just tended to their needs, does that make you feel better?)  :)

Been one of those needy mornings and as I was finding myself frustrated as we were trying to do our "school-time" I had a 3  year old running around being 3, and I had a very needy baby and I had a 5 year old trying to listen.  As much as I want to resist the circumstances of life, I try to remind myself that God is sovereign and these are the exact circumstances He has ordained for me.

Whether I want to accept them or not.

Instead of using my energy to fight back, I have to choose to accept and move forward.  I'd rather use my energy moving forward to use my energy to move a boulder that He does mean for me to move.

What I realized though as I was wishing things were easier and that Bella could have more peace around her, was that, this is real life.  When, in real life, are we given a task in which we have nothing else to think about?  Or when there are no distractions around?  Or that the rains never come.  Some days (praise God for a break) are easy, but for the most part we are going to have resistance.  And without resistance, our muscles will wither away.

And so today, I thank God that I have 3 healthy children that want to be around me even when they're bawling.

I thank God that they are learning real life focus when it's hard.

And I am too.  (And it's doggone annoying sometimes!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

move to inspire

In the morning, I focus on three things:  God, day-planning, exercise.

This morning when I was trying to plan my day I was unsure of what we should do with our day.  I was felling un-inspired.  Experience has proven that our days are so much more enjoyable when there is a plan in place.  Sure there are days where we just let ourselves fly to our whims, but for the most part, we all crave some sort of structure.

So I jotted a couple ideas down of our projects for the day and moved on to a workout.  And post-workout I had all kinds of ideas.  I know there is science behind all that, but sometimes the proof of it in my life is all I need to remind me how crucial movement and exercise are not only for my body, but my mind and soul.

I've also learned if I work my body too much, it has the opposite effect.  Taking a nap is not opportune when the kids have not even woken up for the day yet!  So there must be a balance...enough movement to energize, not too much to make you want to go back to bed.  Another reason I love Fit2B!  They are focused on fitness so that you can be a better you.  (I'm not getting paid to say this!)

So if you are feeling un-inspired, go for a walk.  Do some jumping jacks.  Dance with your kids.  And smile.  I promise you it will be worth it.

What's your favorite way to exercise?

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I'm reading Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel.  Eye opening, re-affirming, life changing.

I don't know what it is about the church or human culture that has convinced so many of us that faith is more about earning our way.  So many times I think if I do this and that, I'll be enough to earn my "ticket" to heaven.  Yet I forget about all the other things I do that counteract the "good" I did.  And I forget the things I didn't do that I should have.  So really I don't want God to make a list of my "goods" vs "bads".

I was watching Pastor Joseph Prince recently and he shared how in America, we have come to believe that if we do good, we get good.  "The American Dream"  And yet God showed that we do bad, and we get good.

Not because we deserve good, it's because He is good.  Because really we all fail.  Every single day.


It's really a mind-blowing concept to understand.  And I guess that just reveals that we don't have the capacity to understand our God.  But isn't that awesome?!

Bella has been in this phase where she asks me if I'll love her in different scenarios.  Will I love her when she's old?  Will I love her if she does something bad?  And my response is always yes.  I'm trying to get her to accept that there is nothing she could do that could make me not love her.

I wonder how much God wants us to understand that.

The story of the prodigal son.  The father didn't demand that the son apologize and pay his punishment before the father accepted him back.  The son returned and the father celebrated.  In fact the father ran to meet him.  And hug him.  The kid who threw away every gift the father gave him.

My prayer is that we could somehow grasp how much God loves us.

And that it would change EVERYTHING.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. ~Ephesians 3:18

Thursday, June 19, 2014


In honor of turning 36 though, I thought I'd try and recap me at 36.  :)

1.  For the past year and a half, I have committed to waking up early to have my time.  And it has been life changing.
2.  I start my day by making hot tea (red, green or white...mmm) and pull out homemade protein bars (this recipe).  I sit down to do bible study, then plan my day, then check out email and Facebook and then get a quick workout from this Fit2B  My days are so much better when they start this way.
3.  I am a horrible decision maker. It takes me FOREVER to make up my mind about something important.
4.  I am 36 but most days I feel like I'm about 12.  How can I be raising 3 children?!  How did this happen?  And how did I get grey hair! And is it gray or grey?
5.  I really don't mind my age...this might change someday but age is a number.  We are that much closer to heaven!!!  I feel great.  I am so blessed and so thankful.
6.  I would love to write a post on "What every Jesus follower/lover wants everyone else to know"
7.  I really don't use the term "Christian" much. There are so many who flippantly call themselves Christian.  To carry the label of "Christ" on anything is huge.
8.  I hate church denominations.  Yup, HATE.  There is one church.
9.  I kinda miss my silly self.  I feel like since becoming a mom I've become more serious.  How do I get myself back?  Seriously, for the 1 person reading this, I want to know.  :)
10.  I wish I could pay someone to style me.  I just don't like (have time) to shop.  But I feel so much better when I am put together.  I love this girl's style.
11.  Decluttering is a hobby of mine.  A simple life for me brings peace and joy.  A to the Men! In fact I get so excited to get an empty box because it's waiting to be filled with junk I no longer want in our home.  (Yes, I know I am weird.)
12.  I would love to try a more minimalist lifestyle.  But there's something that holds me back.
13.  The Office is one of the few shows that can make me laugh out loud.  I need to watch it more.  I'm way too serious!

14.  Yeah, what I said about church denominations...what I will say is that I'm thankful for different types of churches.  I think it's awesome that the church body can have the very conservative to the tattooed up rockers for members.  Jesus made us different and I think that is AWESOME!
15.  I discovered a meal planning system that I love.  It makes planning our meals so easy and it even compiles a grocery list.  LOVE.  Check it out here
16.  I want to run a marathon someday.  I can tackle 13.1 miles, but 26.2.  That is a long way, and I want to know that I can push myself beyond what I thought I could ever do.  This documentary The Spirit of the Marathon always motivates me!
17.  I have recently gotten into more goal setting.  I find that as I age, I really want to push myself.
18.  One Thousand Gifts was my favorite book of this past year.  Life changing.  I was even applying the practice today as I was lamenting about doing chores with my children.  Then I pondered, "What if I didn't get to do this? I am so blessed to do life with them."
19.  Favorite movie of this past year:  Ragamuffin Amazing. Watch it.  I think most people paint Jesus as this prim and proper slicked down hair man who was always quiet and submissive to the culture.  He was a rebel.  I love how John Eldredge called him The Beautiful Outlaw.  Rich Mullins (who Ragamuffin was based on) had similar qualities.
20.  I think it's interesting that a lot of women my age are getting nose piercings.  But then I read something like this about a 30-something losing her identity and coloring her hair green and think, "Well, you go for it!"
21.  I am still a naturalist.  It just makes sense to me.  In fact, it's hard to understand why anyone would not want to be.  To use what God gives us to keep us happy and healthy, why not?
22.  I recently tried a new thing (I know Jason always wonders what wacky idea I'll come up with scared, babe!) I used chamomile tea to highlight my hair.  You can learn more here.  I could see some lightening but more than that, it really softened my hair.  I would totally do it again.  Anything to weird out my husband.  ;)
23.  Speaking of being "weird" (in today's culture anyway), I love homebirth.  Going from what would've been a natural birth in a hospital that turned into an intervention filled c-section brought me to homebirth...something I never would've considered.
24.  With that said, I believe wholeheartedly that a woman should birth where she and her family feel most comfortable.
25.  With THAT said, I think most women would be amazed at how having a baby at home is just an INCREDIBLE  experience.
26.  I love being a mom of a little boy.  I never understood the mama/son bond until having Zech and I just love it.  I know, I know, someday he will only want to be with his daddy.  So I'm hanging on to every moment.
27.  We went to a homeschool convention in April.  I was surprised that my takeaway was not about teaching or discipline or even mothering.  It was that our marriage is first and we must live our marriage well for successful homeschooling.
28.  That convention completely flipped my mothering philosophy.  It was a bit much for my brain to take in and as I'm diving into a new philosophy (actually it's a very old philosophy that is being resurrected) I am finding so much freedom and joy and yes SIMPLICITY!
29.  I love house design.  I ponder being a realtor someday because I love it so much.  Or maybe be crazy and go into actual house design. Sarah Susanka is one of my favorite architects.  Check her out here.

30.  I am amazed how old my hands look!  Gosh, it seemed to happen overnight.  It's like BOOM, Whose hands are these?
31.  I'm shy.  I used to believe it was a personal flaw to be shy.  I hated it when people called me "shy" or "quiet".  I don't mind it anymore.  Maybe because I accept it and know it's ok to not be something different than I am.
32.  I still love living in a small town.  I love simplicity and small town life really makes it easy.  I like to visit the city, but I like to go home even more.   I don't know that I'll always be this way, but for this season of life, I couldn't be happier.
33.  With that said, I love the experience of living different places.  I've lived in the country, in cities, and now a small town.  I've never lived in a downtown city and I think that would be a fun experiment.  I truly believe though that I'd love that idea more in theory.  I'm always up for a new adventure though!  (But God, if you are listening, can we wait for that until the kids are grown?!)
34.  It's ironic to me that a lot of the "alternative" methods nowadays are actually very traditional, God-provided, not man-made.  Essential oils...using oils from God's earth can provide so much healing.  Using a clothes-line to dry clothes instead of a dryer that uses ton of energy (and $)! Drinking milk straight from a cow (blasphemy!)  Why do we think that man is more intelligent than God?

35.  I love minimalism and Costco.  Not sure how those 2 go together.  The dichotomy of me I guess.
36. I feel like I should end this on a more meaningful note, but well, to list 36 facts about me is a little daunting and this is all my sleep-deprived mind can find:  I love spontaneity.  But I hate unpredictable animals, insects.  I hate frogs, crickets, grasshoppers.  You just never know when they'll jump and it freaks me out.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

pro LIFE

I'm reading a book that is forcing me to look at myself, and sometimes the mirror reflects blemishes I'd rather not see.  Yet, I know in this honesty I can find true healing and restoration.  So, go ahead Lord, show me the ugly parts.

I seek liberty.


I was reading about the pro-life movement.  Of course, I agree that we should be pro-life.  But pro-life should involve all lives, not just the unborn.  We are all made in God's image.  To value one life over another is to somehow make a human decision of who matters more.  And really, is it our responsibility to make that decision?

We all fall away.  If we think we do not, we are liars.

Pro-life means loving:
unborn children
starving children
people living in slavery

It also means loving:
your spouse when they've wronged you
your children when they disobey
the neighbor who betrayed you
the leader you disagree with
the terrorist who killed hundreds of people

Because do you think Jesus does not love all these?

This is not to say that punishment is not necessary.  A heart of love, though, is necessary.  We have laws for purposes, good purposes.

Ultimately though we love because God loves.  Every life is a life, a person made in God's image.

And if we are not loving, this reveals a part of us that is not filled by God.