Sunday, October 26, 2014

still waters

Sometimes I get the itch to write. It comes on suddenly I can't do anything until I scratch it. My mind starts forming thoughts into words and they must be spilled out onto a page in order for them all to make sense.
If you're wondering if there's been progress on the marriage front, (because I would be too if I were you) there hasn't. At least in human terms. It feels like a stalemate. It feels like a stagnant pond that's starting to dry up. But I believe that under those still waters, there is a current I cannot feel or see with my human senses. I choose to believe that there is a battle, not of flesh and blood, but on a spiritual level for our marriage. (Eph 6:12) I can feel the enemy fighting hard for my heart, whispering lies, so many lies. That it's hopeless. That it's too far gone. That there's nothing left. That you'll be happier if you cut your losses and move on. So many people have done it too, it's not the end of the world.

And some days I feel myself believing those lies.

Tears come easily. Sleep does not. I haven't known a sadness like this. I haven't known suffering like this. It is hard and heavy and the ache sometimes recedes but it does not go away. The housework as a single mom threatens to bury me alive and the loneliness feels like it will engulf me at times. But most days I stop. I speak the name of my Jesus. The restorer of broken things. The redeemer of our ugly pasts. The gentle Savior who scoops me up out of my self-dug pit of pity time and time again. He whispers. Because He's so close to me, He doesn't have to shout. He whispers that He's not done. That those still waters run deep. And knowing that the God of the Universe is fighting for me, helps me walk, limp, drag my bruised and broken spirit forward another day, eyes wide open to see the blessings sprinkled along the way. There is always manna, enough for each day, a wise friend reminded me, as long as we're not too busy grumbling and complaining to see it. He provides cool streams in the middle of my desert.

My friend, Shannan, posted some incredible words the other day (well, she posts some incredible words almost every day but these were extra incredible this day) that applied so well to my circumstances. She heard these God breathed words during her own marriage impasse:

"See how hard the enemy is fighting to destroy you two? Just imagine what he's scared of. Just imagine the good you'll do with me, together."

And this is the part Shannan wrote that I feel like I'm just beginning to grasp:

God defies gravity, friends.He laughs at our foolish "logic" and our made-up psychobabble. He holds our world at a scary-sharp angle and says it's level.What feels real to us often isn't, and only when we take a hard look at His unbending love for us, His endless mercy for us, only when we're so desperate that we actually listen, can we begin to see straight.

There's not a lot that makes sense in my life right now. It feels like I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up at a dead end far from Easy Street, where I was supposed to be cruising along. But I muster up enough trust somehow to believe that God has me here for a purpose far greater than my eyes can see. And that it's not a dead end after all but a road that's just covered in fog and as long as I keep my eyes on the Light, I'll make it out just fine in the end and with far more blessings than one could ever hope to collect on Easy Street.

If you're reading here for the first time, you can click here to read more of my story: Kelli & Vanessa- My Everyday Moms or you can also click the label at the bottom of this post.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Trial and Error

Sorry for the silence around here. I'm using up every last ounce of my resources these days. So come 9pm, I am in a vegetative state. I've had the opportunity to do several photo sessions the last couple of weeks so for lack of a better blog post, I'll post some of my work. It's been an incredible blessing and somewhat of a lifeline for me. Getting out of the house alone, for an hour and a half or so, to do something creative breathes so much life into my days. The learning curve is so so high with this and some shoots have gone MUCH better than others. I kinda wish I could just shoot family sessions with my iPhone but I'm pretty sure no one would pay for that. So I keep fumbling around and doing my best and thankfully my friends are all very patient with me.
This first one is my very favorite shoot I've done. The lighting was perfect (which I actually stumbled upon by accident. I had two shoots back to back and I thought the second shoot would have better lighting. It didn't. I learned a lot on this particular night.) and it was also easy because they were older kids who would stay in one spot and smile on command!
My favorite shot of the night. The slightest tweaks in body posture make for such better photos but its hard to get people to feel relaxed in front of the camera:
This was the shoot I did right afterwards and I wasn't very happy with it. I made a lot of mistakes, with the light and composition. I love shooting these boys though. They're just like my own. Ornery as heck. ;) 
 I did still get a few shots that I love, I just wasn't very successful with the whole family.
 Little boys just want to run.
Shoots like these make it clear why many photographers use an assistant. It was nearly impossible to get all of these boys looking at the camera and smiling and making sure I had a good shot lined up! I should get a pet monkey that will sit on my head or something. 
This was the third year I've shot this next family, a dear friend of mine. Her oldest son brought me a little note this time that made my day. 
Isn't that the sweetest?? Sheesh, I like this job. 

Their youngest was the most serious little boy I've ever tried to photograph. He would just stare at the camera completely deadpan. I was pulling out every single trick I had to get him to crack a smile, short of the monkey on my head. But I really like hanging out with this crew.

 I cheered after I got this shot:

I was bummed we didn't have any sunshine for this shoot. I also had a harder time editing it because of the bright orange shirt. Photographers, do you ever tell clients not to wear bright orange or red? Just curious.

You can see the difference having the sunlight makes on this next shoot. This was one of the easiest shoots I've done. They wanted it quick and their kids were super calm so we were in and out and got some great shots because of the gorgeous light. 
I love these natural shots but it's so funny how unnatural it feels for people to not look at the camera and smile!
Another four boy mama! And twins, no less. Tough as nails, this woman. And hello, most gorgeous little boys. This was another tough one, but that probably goes without saying ;) 
 They were so proud of their wacky socks. I love a little added flair.
I'm finally getting a new lens tomorrow! I'm excited to give it a try. Perfect timing too since I showed up to a shoot today and my old one is busted. I would have cried if I wasn't already planning on getting a new one, so I was thanking God for that perfect timing!