Tuesday, June 19, 2012

91 Years

     It's catch up on blogging time, since my school quarter has ended. Also it's mostly quiet since 2 of kids are still in school, which would be stupid, IF the sun was out. But it's not, so, I guess I'm okay with them going in a week after every other school is done. I love snow days, when they come, but make-up snow days are ridiculous. Seriously, isn't snowman building - PE, sledding and momentum - science, and cleaning up melting snow and wet clothing - Home Economics?

     Anyhow, I had time to day to edit the pictures from my Papa's 91st Birthday. He's a pretty amazing guy, and was out chopping wood 5 years ago. You couldn't keep him in the house. He had a slight stroke 2 years ago, and then fell and broke his hip a few weeks later. His favorite thing to do, once house-bound, was read, and he read like crazy, until he lost his eyesight in February. My Great-Grandma, who lived till 96 used to say that the most difficult thing you ever do, is get old.

     Papa has 4 children, 12+ grandchildren (I can't remember how many step Grandchildren), and around 19 great grandchildren. He grew up in an orphanage with his sister, and later was a Marine in World War II, and served in the Guadalcanal Campaign (Info: GuadalCanal Campaign, August 1942).    
     After his service, he lived in several states before settling here in Washington with my Grandma. He worked in the Old Arlington Hospital as a lab technician. As a grandpa, he is top notch, and knew the perfect balance between love and discipline. We all ate things we would never have ate for our parents (nut bread, liver, peas), and did not complain. He took care of his second wife after her stroke, learned all her recipes, and baked the best goodies. After his second wife passed away, he also began to date and later remarried my Grandma, his first wife. They now live together, and still make each other crazy.

It takes a lot of stuff to get old.

So many fun thing to find at Papa's and Grandma's House

Papa gave this GIANT Magnolia tree to Grandma Some 50 years ago on Mother's day. Like their family, it has flourished.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Small Things

     Last summer my husband claimed faith in Jesus, as his savior. I, of course, became elated, and actually jumped for joy. I expected all our marriage troubles had ended. At first everything was great. Water tasted better, the sunshine was brighter and with my husband standing beside me at church, I thought I would never feel alone again.
     Apparently I had forgotten this warning  "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 and "In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil." Ephesians 6:16. 

     I was too happy to be alert, I was too confident to rely on faith, so when those flaming darts started hitting us, I ran. I didn't stand firm, I didn't hold up a shield, I cowered, I lost heart, and I became afraid. And here's the thing about fear, is that Satan loves fear. Fear is the opposite of faith, and if faith is the Shield we use to extinguish Satan's flaming arrows, then fear is the gasoline that spreads the fire.

     Fortunately, I am not alone in my spiritual walk, and beside me came many friends who held up their shields of faith, and built me up in truth.
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces;
    now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
    now he will bandage our wounds.
In just a short time he will restore us,
    so that we may live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
    Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
    or the coming of rains in early spring.”" Hosea 6:1-3

     Hmm, have you ever noticed how history repeats itself?? When the twelve disciples realized that Jesus truly was God, and that he was all powerful, they thought all their troubles had ended. They were standing next to the man who was calling the most powerful men vipers and claiming a Lordship that at the time only belonged to Ceasar. They were more worried about who would sit on each side of Jesus' throne.  Mark 10:35-41

     Even as Jesus tries to prepare them for the a future of suffering rather than honor, they are comfortable and complacent because Jesus is going to solve all their problems. He will take down the Roman government and put Israel back on the map. Then Jesus is killed, and that was not part of the plan. But it was, it was part of God's plan, the larger plan, the plan that was set out from the very beginning and they didn't have to understand it to be part of it.

     Jesus didn't ever say he would solve all of our problems, he said he was the answer to our problems, and it's amazing how when I truly look to him, to his work, and to giving him the glory how my problems seem to fade. Then the little works of God, like small sparks, begin to shine. The small things that I hadn't noticed because the flame of fear was blinding me. The small things that are only seeds, but are growing and will be strong enough to weather each storm as it comes.

 The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled;
    the hopes of the godly will be granted.
 When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away,
    but the Godly have a lasting foundation.
         Proverbs 10:24-25

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Super Heroes

    I am almost done with my 1st year of Photography classes at Everett Community College. Here is my final project. We were given an open ended assignment that could be anything, so long as it fit into one of 4 parameters. It had to use one technique we learned this quarter I went with a diptych.

This project was really a nice challenge as I had to consider what I really wanted to photograph when given absolutely no boundaries, and rather the opposite. The options of using a scanner, composite or a diptych made the possibility endless. I first decided to do a diptych because I loved the idea of it, and knew there were so many possibilities beyond a self portrait and I wanted to explore that.  Second I thought about my artist statement, and that if it were true, and I really did love photographing kids, that it would seem odd to take my endless possibilities and do something non-kid related. The thing about photographing kids, is that you don’t want to make an image “only the mother will love.” I want to photograph kids in a way that creates an image that goes beyond documenting what they looked like at a certain age.  My son Barrett truly believes, currently, that he is Superman, and so I thought I would use that as my inspiration.

         I thought about the location for a few days, and drove around Arlington looking for the perfect place where the city could be seen, and yet with a street that wasn’t too busy or dangerous. I had two shots in mind, and figured I’d just see how it went. When working with two five year olds, you can never plan ahead too much. I knew I wanted to get an image of them looking over the city, sort of watching for crime, and then the second image of them running to stop the crime. Both boys were pretty good sports, although quite silly, and not very heroic all the time. The shot was one of my favorites, and this was the first time the shots I had hoped to get, were the ones I actually captured and liked overall.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Who I am?

     I am currently back  in College and I'm finding that it makes you ponder who you are, and not in the "Should I study or get trashed tonight?" way, but rather, in a more reflective way. Teachers like to ask such questions as, "Why do you like this?" or "Why did you choose that?" They want you to think about the decisions you make, and thus, you begin to ask yourself "Why am I  making the decisions I make."

    Reflecting on what you do can take you down some difficult paths, and maybe make you ponder some things you haven't before. Answering "Why do I enjoy photography?" Isn't difficult, but answering, "What do I want to say with my photography?" or "Why is my photography important?" can be quite soul searching and honestly made me ponder if I was really making the right choose by going back to school. If I am only ordinary, then won't my photography be? Maybe I don't know how to make statements that effect people with my art. What if all I do is create images that nobody really cares about?

     We are often asked  these types of questions in high school, but I think they are asked so teens will go and seek the answers. So they will be inspired to search the world, and take all the possibility they have, and become something great. Then, as we continue to age, we quit being asked, and forget to ask them of ourselves. Then each day takes one a repetition with a life of it's own. So many tasks just so you can be ready to start the same tasks again tomorrow. It is so easy to forget that you once had a purpose, beyond making sure the laundry isn't overflowing, and there are clean dishes and food to be had for dinner.

     God made us to be spirited, gifted and individual. We are to aim to be like Jesus, but each of us is to do so in a different way.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV)
        4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

    My daily work should not look like yours, and I should not compare them. God even claims my weakness, in fact he desire them. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
     Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

    Who doesn't want the Power of Christ to work through them?? Fortunately I have plenty of weaknesses.

     So, now what does a small town girl, with a passel of kids, do with all this purpose and all these questions. Do I take my family to Africa and photograph orphans, mayby.... but unlikely. I'm not really sure yet. I guess I will aim to just seek God's will, and be ready for wherever that may lead me, and pray he will ready me for whatever comes. I don't have time for much else.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Words and Pictures

    For my Final project in photo 111, my teacher gave us the assignment of making 2 images and to capture the sense or feel of the two words she would give us. Both images had to be strong enough to stand on their own, and yet cohesive as a duo.

      The words were, of course, of opposing meanings so visual unity was not a simple accomplishment.
                                                   See if you can guess what the words were.

The words she gave us were Chaos and Tranquility.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jammin' and Cool Duds

     This morning I was thinking about how the world runs, and how it often feels so hard. In accordance with that feeling, I turned on this song, which I was thinking of and hoped it would bring me some joy...

.....and I  started cleaning up breakfast. When I came back into the living room I saw Liam had grabbed his keyboard and Barrett was putting batteries into his guitar. I, of course, grabbed my camera, and just enjoyed them and the music for a bit.

Frog wants to Jam as well.

Yep, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sense of Place

I was recently asked to consider how people do or do not impact the feeling of a place. Does the lack of people create the space, or the energy of the people within the space.

Corbin broke his arm and 2 days later, for his x-rays and casting at Children's Hospital in Seattle, I took my camera just in case a few places looked interesting. Here are my two favorite shots.


Friday, March 9, 2012

This Moment 3-09 2012

No More {this Moment} rules, since I have broken them every time,
and now, for my twins.....No More Training Wheels

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Calling

     Recently I was asked. What has God called you to do right now. Not your long term calling, or your life goals, not what you have to do tomorrow or even next week. But right this minute, what has God placed before you?
Although it seems obvious, I thought a list was appropriate.
1. I am married,
      so be a hardworking godly wife.
2. I have children,
      so to raise obedient children who love the Lord.
3. I am in school,
      so to be a focused, listening student.
4. I am part of a new church,
     so to support and encourage those involved.
5. I have family and friends,
     so I need to be in prayer for them.

     All of these things seem pretty general, and I'd like to think I've been doing most of the things I need to do, such as cooking food and washing the laundry.  But have I been doing them with joy, the joy of knowing they are my most important work? Have I really been looking forward to reading, each evening, with my older children, or have I been avoiding it? Why have I been making excuses on why we don't have time to read the bible before school each morning if it's #2 on my list of importance. Is sleeping in really creeping up on importance that I find I do that instead??? Have I been purposefully building my children up to be strong confident people, or just letting them mull and wander about hoping that my hugs and kisses will carry them through?

     I find that my life has flip-flopped from what I know it should be. Somehow School had become my number 1 and my husband mentioned feeling like number 5. If I do not wake each day with the knowledge that I must pursue my calling, then the pieces will continue to be rearranged without an ounce of care. Each days work will become a mash of chaos with the loudest need being moved to first at each given moment.

     This is no longer okay for me and my family. No longer will I haphazardly live life day by day. I know that I will fail, but I must still wake each day with a purpose, with a plan, knowing that this is my calling. This is my work and I claim for my own Joshua's declaration of "As For Me And My House, We Will Serve the Lord." ( Joshua 24:15)


Friday, January 27, 2012

This Moment 1-27

  {this moment} - A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

(I know I broke the rules again, by posting 2 moments, but that's just the way I am, I guess.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Moment

I've always wanted to do one of those 360 day photo challenges, where you post a picture everyday. But it totally overwhelms me. It's not the idea of taking a picture everyday, because that, actually doesn't overwhelm me, but the idea of processing and uploading it does. I have no problem being tied to my camera everyday, I have zero desire to be tied to my computer everyday. Then, today I saw what my awesome friend Kim @ http://www.themusicianswife.com/  did. She posts one awesome "moment" picture each Friday. Now that I can handle.
     So, if it wasn't obvious from the above, I totally stole this idea from her and I hope she doesn't mind, but I doubt she will, because she's cool about sharing her ideas.  I'm even going to steal the quote though, (which from the link in it, apparently was stolen by herself as well) which I hope she also doesn't mind about either. But I am giving them both the credit here, so I'm hoping  it's okay too.  

  {this moment} - A Soule Mama Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Our Church on Sunday was the snowy outdoors and our pew was a pair of sleds.
      OOOPS, I used words....oh well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

RIP Snowman

This is the snowman we built on Monday. As Andy and I were about to go to bed, we noticed mean kids had already kicked it down. All day long our little boys had been bragging about how big and strong they were to roll those big snowballs around. In the morning they were very sad, and woke us up early to tell us of the tragedy.
RIP Monday SnowMan and SnowDog.

This is our Tuesday Snowman and Snowdog. We built them closer to our house for their safety.  We thought that Monday SnowMan and SnowDog could wave to all the people that drove by. But Tuesday Snowman and SnowDog don't really have that ability, but they get to wave to us when we leave and arrive, so, it's  not a bad life.

Tuesday SnowMan and SnowDog were built with Monday's remaining snow clumps.
     Right before bed, on Tuesday night, Andy stepped outside,into the dark, to have a last cigarette before bed. A car and a truck full of people was nearing our house. Andy heard a voice shout, "HEY, they rebuilt the snowman." and the cars slowed to halt right in front of the house. We're not sure what would have happened next, because that was when they saw Andy and took off.

     Please parents, teach your young adults, that small CHILDREN build snowmen. Children Love their snowmen, and are sad when they get kicked over........well..... unless they do the kicking themselves.

The Math of Parenting

     Sometimes having practical mathematical knowledge isn't a good thing. Such as, it's hard to want to go for a walk when you know that a lone child will fall and get hurt around  25% of the time. And if you have 4 children, the odds of someone crying for part of the walk is, oh, 100%. Now add in the odds for someone falling in a puddle, say that happens around 10% of the time, but the odds of someone jumping into a puddle is more like 70%. That makes for an 80% chance that another child will be whining because they are cold and wet.
     Now figure that children are hungry 95% of the time. (the only non-hungry 5% is only when food that has been served to them must be completely UN-eatable because it may taste healthy or different.) They are also thirsty another 99% of the time, so, unless you take time to pack bribe treats or water bottles, the return trip WILL be super pleasant, as it is being made by loud, starving children who are going to die. If you do choose to pack bride treats, the odds of someone taking off or loosing their shoes is 35%, a lost coat is around 20%, and children fighting while waiting is 60%. If you walk away from the snack packing to disband the fight, the odds that you will now forget something is 40%.
       So, even though we live only 1/2  mile from the library, we only walk to the library about 25% of the time.  This 25% happens when Mommy amnesia has kicked in, and I actually think it will be different this time because my children are a whole 60 days older.
     On this note, we now have the Uno game. I love Uno. Awesome game, simple, fun, teaches children colors and numbers.  But, when you play Uno with 4 children only 25% of them can can win, and 75% of them will loose. If 50% of your children freak out when they do not win, you have a 100% chance the game will end in screaming and crying.

  Now I seem to have forgotten, but I thought playing games as a family is supposed to be fun????

Updated January 20,2011:
After receiving multiple  notes of encouragement, I wanted to add that I greatly enjoy playing games with my children. It's the endings I hate. But that is why we play right before bedtime. So I can just send them off to bed. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This lesson is not for them

     As the first real snow of the year has hit, I am noticing how different it is from the last snow of last year. This year all of my children can find (to some degree) their own gloves, snow pants, hats and boots and can, then, attire their bodies in this gear. They can also take off all of this gear know to place it carefully by the fire place. They finally realize that whining while walking home, through deep snow, does not make the walk any faster or the work any easier. They seem to understand that sharing a sled is more fun than hording one to themselves.
     Now, I want to clarify that my children have not been anywhere near 100% on these subjects, as many of you knowledgeable Mom's must have guessed. But, as silver linings go, this snow cloud has had more silver than grey and I'm going to enjoy it! Apparently having 4 children over the age of 4 = More fun for Momma!!
     Another noticeable difference is our relationship with our neighbors. During the snow last year, I was trying to not go crazy keeping my two 3 yr olds from getting too cold, too wet or too tired and Corbin and Sienna were feeling the crunch. After playing outside for a bit, the new neighbor kids joined us and they even brought a few extra sleds to share. When it was time for the twins to go indoors, they asked if Corbin and Sienna could stay outside and play with them, I was relieved, Corbin and Sienna were stoked!
     Since then our relationship has grown and the daughter often visits and even starting attending Awanas with us. She is 10 and I have often wondered why she enjoys visiting, since she often gets bombarded by the twin's questions or drug around by Sienna. But for some reason she does and I'm not complaining. She helps them do their chores, engages them in new games (is currently playing Hide & Seek with them), and in general helps them out. She is like a big sister that they weren't born with.
      Today she helped us build our snowman, went sledding, and after watching Despicalable Me, she helped Liam with his snow pants and found Barrett's hat so they could all go outside to play again. And as I was watching them all go outside, it occurred to me that things could be very different than they are today. That my actions, on one day in July could have changed everything.

     During the 4th of July, we had a few friends over and had bought a few boxes of fireworks. Our neighbors had an entire truck load of fireworks and enough people to light them. Since this was our first July as neighbors, I was wondering what their party would end like, but it ended up just being a pretty mellow night with a firework show that we didn't have to pay for. Not so shabby.
     Then the 5th happened. Consider the mess a few boxes of fireworks can make, now imagine a truck load worth all sitting in the street. It was everywhere. As I drove through it, I remember thinking, a bit self righteously, "I hope they plan on cleaning that up." Know this, I had not picked up our yard yet either. After swimming with the kids, we returned tired, grumpy and hungry, and not knowing that a large breeze had whipped up during our absence.
     That wind was now blowing all of the fourth of July shrapnel into my yard. My yard was covered. I was not happy. I ran inside and grabbed a few empty grocery bags and told each child I would feed them when the yards was clean. And we started cleaning. I thought, proudly, the awesome lesson I was teaching my children about "loving thy neighbor" as I asked them to clean up the yard to our left where an older Lady lives. I thought of how humbling it would be for the "mess makes" to get home from work and find the street all swept. I hoped they would pull in while I was sweeping. I thought of all the sweet things I could say when they thanked me, how to sound humble, yet irritated and wounded. How I was such a good example to my children while plotting the burning coals that would fall upon my neighbor's heads as they saw my good deeds.
     Then, my greatest hope happened and the Mom did get home right as I was about 3/4 of the way done. She got out of her car, looked at me and said humbly, "thanks, we were going to clean that up tonight." Then, it hit me, she had been at work all day, I hadn't. She was exhausted, I was a brat. I looked at her and said simply, "Well, we got to enjoy all your fireworks, so it's the least I could do." She went indoors and soon her kids came out, brooms in hand. We finished up together, I thanked them and went inside to feed my children. I felt as though someone whispered to me, "this lesson was not for them, it was for you."
     That neighborly lesson I thought I was teaching, was not for my kids, it was for me. All those righteous thoughts were just pride and anger. Had that day gone any differently, or even that one conversation, my children may not have a friend that lives just next door, a friend that can just come over and hang out any ol' time. A friend that seems to enjoy my smallest children as much as my older ones, and a friend that can actually makes my job a little bit easier because she is a little bit taller. And we have neighbors we can feel comfortable around.
     I'm so glad, now, that that day didn't go the way I had originally hoped it would. Oh, so very thankful!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dancing through December

     I don't really remember dance, but I have pictures to prove I did it. Apparently, I've heard, I was the smallest girl in my class. I do have a vague memory of watching the teacher as she led us from behind the curtain, and that my dress was scratchy. Well, in honor of such wonderful memories, I had to, of course, enroll my daughter into a dance class.
    From September through December we attended a dance and acrobatics class each friday night. I shared driving duties with my Sister-of-my-heart, whose daughter was also attending. The girls were adorable and loved showing off their new cartwheel skills, flirty hips and bendable bodies. For their recital, they did a routine to Mariah Carey's, "All I want for Christmas is you" and we learned about how difficult it is to apply and maintain makeup on children and how very carefully you must be to NOT loose or allow dirt to touch two white gloves. We truly had to bring our "A" game, but so did the girls and the efforts were well worth it.

Just a little bit nervous.