Saturday, February 9, 2019

Focus


In the 7th grade, I had an English teacher who had the word "FOCUS" printed in giant letters posted high up on a wall in her classroom. 


Being 7th graders, most students would make fun of it, but she regularly would refer to it and point at it when teaching one of her lessons standing at the podium in front of our class. 



I still remember this class vividly and staring at the words every time I'd walk into first period. She placed the words there as a reminder to focus on our own work that we were doing. So many years later and those words and the memory of it still remain in my mind.



I find that today more than anything it's really hard to focus on our own path. There are so many distractions everywhere... that it makes it a real challenge to not veer off in the wrong direction. 


Social Media, entertainment, the news, and the list goes on and on. I was driving to work the other day and lately I've been feeling a bit confused, sad... and just not right.

Honesty time. I kept thinking, "God, it's hard. How am I supposed to be focused on my own path, when everyone else's successes seem to be on display like a billboard all the time?"


I know I'm not the only one that feels this way. And I've realized that I have a problem with focusing on the road that God has for me.

Truth is, it's hard not to look at other people. Considering we live in a time when everyone invites you to peek into their lives.



I met up with a friend the other night, and we talked about God, life and our businesses as we sipped on raspberry sweet tea and I slurped down my favorite bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Panera's.


Talking to someone in person lets you realize we're all in similar boats out on the big vast ocean, just trying to keep on paddling.



Some people have little boats, some speedboats, some yachts, and some fishing boats. But we're all in the same waters, under the same sky... subject to storms at some point in life.


There was a part in John 21:21 when Peter is walking with Jesus and asks him, "... Lord, and what shall this man do?" meaning how is John's life going to turn out, what cool things is he going to do for you?


And this is what Jesus replies: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." John 21:22


Jesus pretty much told Peter that it was no concern of his what He was going to do in John's life.


Ouch. The truth hurts.  



Which brings me to this. No matter what, we need to remember people will always put the best things in life on display. I mean no one likes to throw a parade on the bad stuff right?



But no one is perfect and behind it all everyone has their own load of hurt and things they're going through.


When people run in a marathon, they don't look behind them, to the sides, or to the person wearing red who's running way ahead. Instead, they stay focused on their path and time to make sure they finish.


I want to be devoted to the season I'm in, with the people and job that was given to me right now.


I can only run forward. 

Let's do the little things, for they amount to much. Wherever you are, be all there and focus on the road that God has uniquely placed you on. 


You matter not because you're super fast or overly qualified... but because you are IN the race... now let's finish it with grace.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Lifestyle Portraits | Benjamin


I was so excited to get to spend some time with my sweet friend from college and her adorable son Benjamin. What I love about being a photographer is being able to be present with people and capture the moments through time with them. I love the emotions and reactions from the actual session and then when they receive the photographs. Here is this sweet birthday boy who turned one, and had a super messy but fun time gobbling up his cupcake.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: The Year of Grace


Well, here we are. It seems the end of the year arrives way too quickly, and I find myself sitting in front of my laptop again in my dining room, with a blank look. 

I'm waiting for the right words to come to mind, that could somehow summarize all of the events that have happened in the entirety of 365 days. 

While many try to only highlight the most amazing things and erase the not so good that has happened... I'm choosing to see how the not so good things played a really important role in how it has strengthened me and my relationship with God. 
 
Truthfully, 2018 you were a year full of leaps and really hard trials. 

And as a result of those leaps and trials, many tears--- both of joy and sadness were shed.

Now that I think about it, there's one thing that I kept praying to God. I told Him, 'God I'm choosing to trust You, whatever comes... let it be what You want, for my good and Your glory.' 

// And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. // Romans 8:28

When I couldn't wrap my brain around why certain situations were happening in my life, why things were going a certain way... I remembered what I had said.

Through my tears of confusion...  the enemy was always there to remind me that if God loved me, this wouldn't have happened. 

And that's when I reminded him, that God's grace is sufficient for me. That when I vowed to follow Jesus for the rest of my life, I vowed that whatever may come my way and that God would allow... I would stick by Him no matter what. 

// But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. // 2 Corinthians 12:9

I reminded him that I knew, even if I didn't understand it right now, what he had intended to break me... God would use even that for my good. 

// But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. // Genesis 50:20

I was baptized this year and finally let go of that fear of proclaiming I will follow Jesus for the rest of my life. 

We began a girls bible study group: The Truth Tribe, and I have continued to grow in God's Word. Our friendship and honest talks with one another continues to lift me up. It reminds me how much we need each other and that we're never alone.    

I got to be part of one of my childhood friend's wedding. It was a reminder of how beautiful it is to grow together in life's many seasons. 

I've had the opportunity to meet and photograph beautiful people and their families. 

And I've learned that it takes real grit to stand up for what you believe in in this life... even when it means that most of the world is running the opposite direction.

But the most valuable thing I can say I've learned is this: Forgive

It's really hard to understand why people (including ourselves) do the things we do... but we need to learn to forgive and let go in spite of it all. 

We need to love when it's really hard to love. 

We need to pray when the feeling isn't there. Because we truly underestimate the power of prayer. God has shown me that this year. 

Prayer and love cuts through the hardest of hearts. 

We need to remember we're not each other's enemies. When we can truly learn to forgive, that's when things will begin to change in our lives. I believe more than anything God can do that for anyone that has a willing heart. 

I'm so grateful for the friendships I've made this year, the people that continue to love me and lift me up, the clients who continue to entrust me with their beautiful memories, and for the opportunities of growth I've had. 

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read these words. I pray they bring you hope and more than anything point you to Jesus, the One who continues to love us more than we deserve. 

In 2019, may we be braver than we think we are. 

May we speak for the Truth. 

May we have the courage to follow what's right, and may we love and forgive more than we'd ever thought we were capable of.

Here's to another year full of joy, overcoming, grit, grace, surprises, love, and moments that help us realize we are here for a purpose. 

Happy New Year!!!