Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring (and my first attempt at shooting exlusively in manual mode)

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to a photography class. If you are in the market, Rocky Mountain School of Photography's weekend classes are incredible. I have been learning about my camera and trying to learn to shoot in manual...and failing. This class gave me push to try to again.

With the gorgeous weather we've been having I've been outside a lot. But my yard is just kind of icky for trying to get good pictures. It's small, the neighbors garages don't make awesome backdrops, yadda, yadda, yadda. So today we headed to the park for some play for the kids and practice for me. It's a win-win! All these are SOOC.

Oh, Man! When did my boy get so big. He spent most of the time watching the teens play on the super crowded basketball court. He was really wanting to play today. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to take him down to the less busy park near us. At least he chose a spot with interesting light. It was sort of a win- win that way, right?

See the crazy busy court behind her? She was so sweet hanging out with her the little sister on the slides. This was the only picture I got of her before she joined a game of tag. After that I wasn't even going to attempt manual shooting.
Girly-girl loved this little slide. She was ornery on it. She loves climbing up and playing queen of the slide. I thought this was the best exposure shot of the day.
Hey! Do I know you?
Okay, so not only was this the worst exposure of the day. (Backlit shots are hard! - at least for me.) But, while posing for the picture, notice what she's doing. That's right, fixing her hair. Guess how fast she went down that pole? My poor baby. She got back on the horse (or pole in this case) and managed to hold on tighter when she didn't have to think about smiling.
I love the light and her expression in this one. Overexposed for sure, but I still love it!

After Bree melted down at the park we headed to Chick-fil-@ for kids night. Talk about crazy! At least the kids got to enjoy their ice cream and I got to practice more. It's amazing how the slightest shift in light change the feel of the whole picture.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Observing Lent was not something I grew up with. It was rather strange to be in a church that talked of Ash Wednesday services, foot washing in connection to Maundy Thursday and  Good Friday services. Although the formality of the services was unaccustomed, the preparation of the heart was not. For as long as I can remember it's something my parents encouraged us to do. Often, they would read us books that would inspire deeper thought.

My papaw was a reader. A librarian as well as Latin and English teacher, he loved books and learning. When I interviewed him for a college paper, I learned that he was an special ed student. He wanted to be an elementary school teacher so he could help kids get off to a good start. In order to be an elementary teacher, you had to be able to sing. Singing- well- that was something Papaw never mastered. But he did overcome his learning difficulties enough to be a fabulous teacher. More importantly, he passed on his love of reading. To my dad, and to me (among many, many others!).

One of his favorite authors was Max Lucado. The newest book was a sure winner in the gift department for him. When we went through Papaw's things, each of the grandkids were given back whatever gifts we had given him. I honestly was not excited about the thought of getting back all those books, until I opened them again. Instead of pages that were neat and clean as I had expected of my librarian grandfather, Papaw had filled the pages with notes of insight. Underlined passages that spoke to him. Exclamation points, upward arrows and "Papaw-isms" filled the margins.

Almost every year since then, I've picked up one of those books, "He Chose the Nails", to read near Easter.

This year I picked up the book with a less than eager heart. Anxiety, hurt, frustration have been nagging at me. One blow has landed on top another blow and it just isn't seeming to stop. I wasn't really wanting to lay anything down at the foot of the cross.  It was so much easier to dig in and wait for it all to pass. Easier to back away from people and relationships than to remain open to what I know God was calling me to.

So tonight, while I was reading the words hit home.

"Until you leave something at the cross you have not embraced it."

Those words were coupled with a reminder of our pastor's words a few weeks ago.

"The choice isn't between self and God. That is a far easier choice. The choice is between self and the cross. 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' (Mark 8:34)  You cannot hold onto self and the cross at the same time." 

This message was followed by an invitation to literally leave something at the foot of the cross. Crosses had been placed at the front of the church with a basket to collect the slips of paper.  As I wrote on the blank sheet and refolded it, I was reminded that God knows my heart and my needs better than I do.

Tonight I am not only reminded of what I need to leave at the cross, but what I need to embrace.

"By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another" John 13:35

"Above all, love each other deeply for love covers a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8

"Therefore encourage each other and build each other up" I Thessalonians 5:11a

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" I Thessalnians 5:18

My prayer this season is has three parts: for Christ to increase and myself to decrease, that I might learn to love they way He has commanded, and I will give thanks more readily for all He has done.