Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life Things

I had this dream that I had a blog. And I would write about our daily life and post pictures to tell a story. I would share the fun and the fearsome, the scary and the silly - all parts of what make our life...well...our life. I had friends who would read it and post comments - and I would smile and read their blogs too! And we understood each other. Our lives were connected. And every once in a while someone new would find it - and write how they could relate to our life - or were encouraged by my blog - and my heart would swell - for this blog is my life song. The words of my heart poured out for anyone to see - the prayers of my soul lifted up to my Father who gives me life. This life.
This complexly beautiful life.
And in my dream - there was nothing I wanted more than to keep reaching out - keep giving hope - keep making connections - keep sharing life.
And then I woke up.
And I realized it wasn't a dream after all.
I DO have a blog!

The question is do I still have any followers?! ;) lol.
I don't know if you feel the way I do - but I feel as if life has hidden my blog from me for a few weeks. I was one of those "every other day" bloggers once upon a time. Then a "few times a week" girl. Then maybe "once a week". And now...I don't even know. It may not have been as long as it feels. But on my list of priorities - the blog kept slipping down. Not that I didn't want to write - but I had other "things" to do. Two of those "things" are displayed on the right-hand side of this blog. One is Shea - I've continued my efforts to raise money for Shea through photography and even though our chipin button says "this event has ended" - Saving Shea is in no way over yet. :) Under the chipin button you will see a link to Shea's family blog - their chipin is still active so please visit their site to make your donations to Shea's adoption grant! They still need our help. They are getting so close! I received news from Liz that the hope to travel by late May and that would be fantastic! So please keep them and sweet Shea in your thoughts and prayers. He is almost home. What a beautiful day that will be.

The other is closely connected. With the success of Sessions for Shea and my growing love for photography - taking pictures has now become an even bigger part of my life.
I am starting my own photography business. :)

Eek! It is very exciting and slightly/very overwhelming at times. But I love photography. I love how it captures life.

I love how light and color and nature all come together to make something beautiful that I can look at over and over.

I love how I can freeze a moment in time and study it.

I love how I can see more through my lens than I ever have with just my eyes.

I love how the simple things can suddenly seem like art. The art of life.

I love how details can be brought to full attention and how all the little things around us are made suddenly clearer when finally focused upon.

To me, photography is more than a hobby or a business, it's how I cherish, reflect on, and remember each day. It makes me stop. It helps me see. It gives me perspective. It brings me joy.

And I hope I can use it in a way that will bless others the way it blesses me.

And to everyone still bless me too.

Stay tuned friends...we have a lot of catching up to do.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plan B

I consider myself a planner.
Not the "overly-planning" type really. In fact for the longest time I had difficulty making myself keep up with a planner or calendar. I do now. I have to! There is simply no way I can remember it all anymore. And I try to plan ahead. Stay organized. Make checklists. Cross off the days as they go by.
And boy... they go by so fast.
And I try my best stay realistic in my plans - not commit to too much - or have too lofty expectations that will only lead to my frustration.
And usually I feel like I succeed in this. It takes a village (of grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends) to keep my plans going sometimes. (And I'm so thankful I live in such a great village) :)
But in the end, I am a planner.
A creature of habit. A bit bossy at times. Too often stressed out by unforeseen conflicts with my plan. Too often under the illusion that my plan is "what it's all about."
Does this sound familiar to any of you? ;) I know I'm in good company.
We are all planners to a degree. We like to know what's going to happen ahead of time - and in order to get the result we want (and prevent a result we don't want) we take control - and we plan. We research. We observe others. We ask around. We plan.
We plan in the name of safety and with the intention of reducing stress. We plan with a goal of making life easier and happier. We plan for success. We plan for "worst-case" (as if that will somehow make it better - the fact that we "planned" for it). We plan vacations, weddings, and parties. We plan weekends and summers and holidays. We plan careers, relationships and families. We put it all out there - and go for it. And that's natural. It's all we know to do.
And what is the best possible plan called?
Plan A.
Plan A - for Awesome. It's the All Around best case scenario. Plan A is all about Attention to detail. Achieving the ideal. Absolute control over what happens. Plan A is All we want - everything we think we need. But all that is an illusion. Because deep down - Plan A - is just plain Arrogance. It's Assuming we know best. "Success According to Me." A is for Amateur.
And somewhere along the road we learn...Plan A so often fails. And then what are we left with?
Plan B.
Plan B - the Backup Plan. Such a negative connotation. The "oh Brother now what?" plan. The "Better than nothing" plan. B for Bad weather, dead Batteries, Bumps, Bruises and Broken hearts.
Plan B is a Bummer.
Or so it seems at the time.
All my life I wasn't a fan of Plan B. And sometimes I still find myself struggling when faced with an alternate plan to "My Perfect Plan A". But when I look back on my life...I start to notice something about Plan B...that I never understood before.
Plan B on my wedding day meant my outdoor wedding had been rained out and rearranged. I did NOT want that. Plan A was much better. Of course. We got Plan B.
But as the thunder rumbled and the lightening flashed over the gardens surrounding our chandelier-lit tent - the last thing I was thinking about was Plan A. I was getting married. I was holding hands with my best friend. I was giggling as David pulled out a bright orange handkerchief (War Eagle!) to wipe the heat of the evening off his forehead. Everyone I loved was there watching and smiling and crying. The music mixed with the sound of the rain through the trees was nothing short of magical. And I was reminded of God's power and beauty all at the same time. It was romantic. It was unforgettable.
It was beautiful.
And I couldn't have planned it that way if I'd tried.
Plan B surprised me.
A few years later we decided to start a family. I talked to my doctor, started taking more than the required prenatal vitamins (ahem...did I mention I like to be in control?), exercising, eating right, getting enough rest - the plan was to be as healthy as possible when we got pregnant. We planned on getting pregnant in June or July. And we did. We planned on having the baby in April (preferably over Spring Break) so that I could take the rest of year off of teaching and have the whole summer with my baby! The baby was due April 3d. I bought little Auburn booties and surprised David. We told our families the exciting news as soon as we could! We were elated. I had 6 friends who were all pregnant as well! Our babies would all be born just months apart. It was the most exciting time in my life. It was happening just how we wanted!
It the perfect plan.
Just a few days later. I miscarried.
I was shocked. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and would never catch my breath again. I couldn't believe this was happening. I had already planned it all. I struggled to do anything but cry for weeks. I was broken-hearted. I was confused. I was angry. Didn't God know I had a PLAN!?! Didn't He see how perfect it would have been!? I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that there could be a better plan out there than the one I had poured my heart into. But thankfully...the wisdom of the Lord surpasses our wisdom.
And He had a beautiful plan for me.
But I wasn't going to see it...just yet.
One month later I was cautiously making that same phone call to David...we are pregnant. No cute booties or calling up everyone we knew. I was still too scared. I never dreamed we'd get pregnant again so quickly. I was terrified of losing this baby like the first one. But as the weeks passed, we relaxed, and the excitement grew again. At 16 weeks we found out we were having a little boy! We saw his precious profile on the ultrasound machine and fell even more deeply in love. His heartbeat was strong. I was feeling good and my baby bump was getting more and more attention. It was the happiest I'd been - ever! I was going to be a mommy. He was going to be born in June. I started to see how this would be an even better plan - the baby coming in the Summer when David would be out of school as well. I would be able to finish out the school year with my class. And I was so in love with my little angel boy.
I felt whole again. I felt protected. I felt at peace.
This was a good plan.
Two weeks later I got the phone call from my doctor. The phone call that said my blood work wasn't quite normal and I should go in for an ultrasound with a specialist. The phone call that said "it may be nothing...or it may be neuro-tube defect". The phone call that led us to the doctor's office where we heard the words no parent wants to hear "incompatible with life". The words that left the even doctor speechless - and once again left me gasping for breath and clutching my heart that I was sure had simply stopped beating. The words that ripped our lives into pieces with no hope of putting them back together. This was nothing we could fix.
There was nothing left to plan.
There was nothing we could do.
A new development. A new chance at life. A new plan.
Did this plan look anything like Plan A? No. I had to put Plan A away a long time ago. But this new plan was the most Beautiful thing I had ever heard. Our little Baby was going to live. Yes he was going to be Born with SB, but we could see a Bright light at the end of the tunnel. My heart was Beating again. We started Breathing again. I started Believing again.
The days and months to follow were full of ups and downs. But my faith grew in ways I would never have dreamed. The desire to Be in control was easier to push Behind me.
I stopped thinking I knew Better, and started counting my Blessings.
And before I new it, Plan B... was the Best thing that had ever happened to me.
Plan B was Brilliant. Bountiful. Bigger than me.
Plan B was in fact God's give me my little Boy.
Now I won't lie and say I never shoot for Plan A anymore. It's still nice to try and make a plan that seems doable and good. But you know what they say about "the best laid plans..."
Let's face it - we all encounter roadblocks from time to time along our planned path. It's it's hard. And it's frustrating. And it's scary because we just don't know what's going to happen next, how we're going to do it, or when it's going to get easier.
But when Plan A fails, I try to remind myself not to be Angry or Afraid.
After all, we still have Plan B.
And when God is in control - Plan B is Better than Plan A any day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Catch a Leprechaun

If your outside on a sunny St. Patrick's Day...

And you catch a glimpse of something tiny dressed in green...

And the sun shining through his hair reflects glints of red...

(I'm not kidding. I didn't edit his hair color. He's not a red-head - but the sun totally turns it red.)

The chances are... could be a leprechaun.

Now you want to be smart - because you know what they say about leprechauns...
They are jokesters....

...always on the go...

And they are fast...

Very, very fast...

They are almost impossible to catch...

And sometimes when you think you've caught them...

They still manage to disappear...

But if you do manage to chase one into surrender...

Make sure you take a picture to show your friends...because they won't believe you unless you have proof.

You'll want to know where he's hidden his pot of gold.
But he won't tell you...'ll have to tickle him into telling you...

And when he can't take the torture - he'll say if you let him go, he'll show you were his gold is...

But don't trust him...

'Cause he's just going to try to run away again...

But if you catch him again and look closer...and you happen to notice that he doesn't have a beard like a leprechaun...

And come to think of it...he doesn't seem like the type who would want to trick you...

Then you might just come to realize...

...that he's nothing more than a little boy...

...trying to wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patty's Day
from our family to yours!

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