Month: February 2016

Spring Reflections

Just a post with some joyful, springy verses that have been running through my head as winter says its goodbyes. If you have a minute, take some time and just read slowly through each one . . . they’re full of hope and promise for hearts this spring. IMG_2313~2

the first leaves of the year, transparent against the sun.

 

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 ESV

“For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around Him? O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as You are, O LORD, with all Your faithfulness around You? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.” Psalm 89:5-9

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crab apple blossoms, pink and perfect.

 

“The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees! Say to the cowardly: ‘Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; He will save you.'” Isaiah 35:1-4 HCSB

“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in You!” Psalm 84:10-12 ESV

“Then I saw heaven open, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” Revelation 19:11 ESV

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a chlorophyll-infused budding leaf.

 

“How great are His signs, how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endures from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:3 ESV

“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14 ESV

“Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted His people; He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Isaiah 52:2-10 ESV

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a daisy from an Easter bouquet.

 

“The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.” Psalm 145:14 NLT

“Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24 ESV

“This God – His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” 2 Samuel 22:31 ESV

Elijah's 2-Year Photo Shoot

Not unlike last year’s attempt at one-year photos for Elijah, I am very late this year for his pics! Elijah, now two years old, has changed so much! The photos turned out pretty darn cute, so I decided to share them.

New Things

My poor little blog has been poorly left out of many wonderful things that have happened to me in the last week! Last time I checked in, we were making s’mores, I finished the track season, and did my first senior photo shoot! Those are all great things, but it’s time to do an update.

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First order of business, I finished the painting I was working on! I love how it turned out, and almost didn’t want to give it to the church lol. However, since I didn’t have any place to put it and would probably eventually get sick of it, to the church it went and I’m super glad I was able to have this opportunity. It took me approximately seven hours to do this painting! Of course, it was spread out over about a 10-day period, so it’s not actually that much time when you think about it. Try and find your name on it!

Second: I don’t have any photo to represent this, but I got my learner’s permit this week! I was eligible for it in March, but since here in Ohio it’s sometimes still snowing even in April (*shakes head sadly*), I wanted to wait to get my permit until the weather was guaranteed to be good! Also, Sarah and I needed state ID’s for what is my third thing, which is that we’ve been hired for our first job!!! Sarah and I are only 17 months apart, and since the grocery store we’ll be working at hires at 14, both she and I qualified, which worked out perfectly! Our job will be icing/decorating pre-baked cupcakes! I’m super excited about this.

Last, but certainly not least . . .

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. . . I got my DSLR!!!!! It’s actually a funny story . . . if you’ve been reading my blog long, you’ll recall that I’ve been saving since Novemberish for a DSLR (digital single lens reflex . . . essentially a big camera with removable lenses). I didn’t think I would have enough money until September, but just last week I looked at the factory refurbished version of my camera. To my surprise, I found the camera I wanted sold with TWO lenses (rather than just one that would come with the kit I had previously looked at) for $300 less than the package normally was. It was a big sale, and I presented the idea of getting it to my parents. Though it was a great deal, I still was about $50 short. That didn’t settle right to me. I didn’t want to rush into this while going into debt just because I was deceived into thinking it was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. My dad said that his gut was saying to wait on buying this camera, because I had the whole summer ahead of me, plus a job with a steady income.

Little did I know that when we had this conversation, he had already planned on ordering the camera and was testing my reaction to the idea of “waiting”. To be sure, I was disappointed to not get the camera right away, but throughout the whole thing I had been praying a lot. I journaled a lot of pages of prayers/feelings/thoughts about things the whole time, admitting to God my desire but ultimately asking Him to help me surrender my attitude about this to Him. By His grace, my parents were impressed by my reaction, and they decided to go ahead with the camera, covering the extra cost. Part of their decision was influenced by the fact that I am not going to summer camp this year (I’m too old for this particular camp), while three of my siblings are. So, my dad figured that in the place of camp – and for only a portion of the money that camp costs – he would work things out for my summer to be more special than I’d originally planned 😉 Here are a few of the pictures I’ve taken on it as I close . . .

Elijah with a new haircut. :P His hair almost looks red here!
Elijah with a new haircut. 😛 His hair almost looks red here!
Kenan had a close call with a pair of pliers the other day! His finger has a big bandage on it that he's quite enamored with.
Kenan had a close call with a pair of pliers the other day! His finger has a big bandage on it that he’s quite enamored with.
A campfire at an event we went to the other night.
A campfire at an event we went to the other night.
Caleb . . . growing up way too fast.
Caleb . . . growing up way too fast.
Adon, through my telephoto lens.
Adon, through my telephoto lens.
Nothing quite like sitting out in the woods reading in perfect sunlight. I love my 18-55mm lens for closeup stuff.
Nothing quite like sitting out in the woods reading in perfect sunlight. I love my 18-55mm lens for closeup stuff.
Weights at an exercise class my mom does. :)
Weights at an exercise class my mom does. 🙂
This is the last photo I've got for now! I'm thanking God for His grace to an undeserving me. It's teaching me to live more and more with open hands.
This is the last photo I’ve got for now! I’m thanking God for His grace to an undeserving me. It’s teaching me to live more and more with open hands.

Fun Times

This week, my mom’s sister, Cory, was in town with her two kiddos. We had a lot of fun with them, whether it was watching Finding Dory (go see it! Waaaay too heart-throbbingly cute. Movie review possibly coming soon!) or going to a salon to get our nails done. In addition to having family in, three of my siblings were away at summer camp this week. I missed them all a lot, especially my sister, Sarah. Working by myself this week has been hard. I’m so much slower without her! With half the workers, the job takes twice as long, which is a pain. However, I got a lot of hours in this week, so next week’s paycheck should be at least a little rewarding. 😉

 

High Tea & “New” Cameras

Last Saturday, my sister had a tea party to celebrate her fourteenth birthday. I was so glad to be able to come and enjoy all of the fun, what with the fancy food, beautiful weather, and pretty dresses.

The party was to be held at my grandma’s quiet, peaceful house, an opposite of our own house at times. As I mentioned in this post, she’s actually getting ready to sell it, so the house doesn’t have a lot of furniture in it right now, but we didn’t mind due to the wonderful weather. I was super excited the week leading up to the party about the photography side of this, and wrote my approach to the portraits (i.e. ideas for posing, locations, etc.) on a couple of notebook paper sheets, only to forget them the day of. 😛 It wasn’t until the day before that I remembered something my grandma had told me when she was here a few weeks ago: there was a really expensive and nice video camera somewhere in her house that she had purchased for her homeschool reading company (the best of the best, in my humble opinion 😉 ) but never used. She wanted me to learn how to use it so we could possibly refilm some of the videos in her curriculum. I’d only actually seen the camera once, but I knew it was big, and had a really nice lens. In the back of my mind, I knew it would probably take pictures just like it took videos. So, I set out to find the camera and figure out how to use it a little for the party photos.

Eyewitnesses will say that I was more than a little excited to find the camera after a long search, which involved a damp, cold basement and dusty pantries. But then there was the struggle of learning how to turn it on. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had brought our regular, wonderful camera that I was more than happy to use. But the prospect of trying out a new device was pretty overpowering and so most of the day’s photos were on the video camera once I figured out how to turn it on (which I did, after finding a charger cord).

Things I’ve learned about the camera and about photography in general through this experience:

  • every camera has pros and cons. Our regular high end point-and-shoot is capable of taking the same kinds of photos that the video camera did, but it takes more time and practice to accomplish it. The video camera takes beautiful photos (as you’ll soon learn), but sometimes will fail to capture the details like our normal camera does, because it’s just not made solely for photos.
  • I don’t know everything about cameras, photography, or technology. It’s as simple as that! It took me a decent fifteen minutes to figure out how to make the viewfinder work. After finding the (very obvious) “pull” letters on top of it, I was all set. My skills in finding the obvious proved themselves rather insufficient.
  • You can never be too careful with an expensive (or even inexpensive) camera. I’m sorry. I give my friends a hard time about wearing their neckbands and wristbands and whatnot because I’ve been severely traumatized by dropping a much beloved camera. It never worked again, and thank goodness I was shown mercy from my parents, who easily could’ve shown a lot more anger than they did. It’s still a pretty high honor to know that they trust me with another camera! And with this new video camera, I was seriously scared to even hold it because I knew how deep the trouble would be should I drop it and *shudders* break it. But I eventually did (duh) and I’m learning to live up to the privilege of even using the camera in the first place.

Anyways. Enough rambling and on to the party photos!

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This is the new camera, through a very dirty mirror. 😉

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The table, set for high tea.

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I love how this photo of the lilies turned out. Fun fact: lilies are my favorite flower!

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The birthday girl! There’s a semi funny story behind this shot. I had one shot of Sarah’s forehead and down, and then another shot of her chin and up. I wanted a full face and shoulders shot, so I layered the two over each other. You can’t tell where one starts and the other ends. I’ve now begun to consider myself something of a plastic surgeon. 😉

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My little brothers and sisters hung around the party a bit, too. Kenan’s eyes in this picture are so precious!

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Petra! Yep, she was at the party, much to my delight! I loved shooting with her and will feature a few of her photos here as well. 🙂 I love how this shot is backlit, yet it captures the soft light shining on her face. I love yellow, sunshiny days.

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Miss Grace. I love this picture of her! She has such a sweet spirit and loves to sing praises to Jesus. She’s also an extraordinary writer and has a great sense of humor. I love knowing Grace!

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Alice! I’ve known Alice for . . . wow, going on three years now? She has grown up so much (and so have I!) and I have loved every minute of knowing her. She has a heart that lives to please God and she’s so gentle in her mannerisms, not proud or angry ever. Thanks for coming to the party, Alice!

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Ahhhhhh Elijah!!! He’s almost 2 now! He doesn’t like strangers – at all – and would give the girls this awful pouting look . . .

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. . . like this!! I laugh so hard every time I see this photo – full photo credit to Petra.

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My reflection through Petra’s camera lens.

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The whole group! Left to right: Abbie, Grace, Ally, Sarah, Ella, Alice, and Makiah. This picture does not include me and Petra ‘cuz we were preoccupied lol.

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Miss Makiah. She made me laugh so many times on Saturday, because she has a true spirit of JOY. I love being around this little blessing and hearing her perspective on the world. This photo represents perfectly her beautiful personality. 🙂

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Ally! I am so glad she could make it to the party, even though it was a long drive for her! Her sweet smile and joyful spirit really uplifted me at the party, and I know Sarah has been really impacted by her friendship. 🙂 Photo creds Petra!

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Ella! One of our dear friends from cross country, sister to Petra and Makiah. I love how this picture grabbed a sunshiny smile and the light curls framing her face. She is so sweet and thoughtful. One time, she wrote me the most beautiful note and I about cried. My sisters are eyewitnesses to this. I loved having her unselfish spirit around at this party. 🙂

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Miss Abigail. She’s my 9-going-on-19-year-old sister who keeps me on my toes in the best way. I see so much of myself in her, and often that can be aggravating, but I look at her and I also see a personality different from my own with potential to bloom and grow in different ways than I have/will. This beautiful girl has a beautiful heart and I pray she’ll continue to seek God as she grows more so. Photo creds Petra!

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Another shot by Petra (duh). I like how this one turned out and I love my fancy earrings dearly. 🙂

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Sisters! (does anyone else think of the White Christmas song when they read that?!) I love Sarah so much and can’t believe she’s already 14 and I’m almost ready to drive! Through every season, we’ve been together and we’ve been best friends. That doesn’t mean we always like each other. But we’re here for each other. And “God help the [person] who comes between me and my sister!” Photo creds Petra!

All in all, it was a great party. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, a better place to host, or better guests. 🙂 Thanks, everyone who came, and thanks, Petra, for letting me share some of your good shots 😉