Thursday, January 18, 2018

New 2018 Series Introduction

I'm excited to share with you a new blog series I'll be beginning this year called the Embrace Series.  As I worked on what I wanted this series to be about, I loved that word, embrace, so much.  I felt like it landed in just the place I want to be.

Embracing something, whether it's new to us or something we have had in our lives for a while, isn't always easy.  In fact, sometimes it's so difficult that we spend more time finding explanations (or excuses) for why we can't embrace something different, than looking for ways to change our behaviors.  The most common one seems to be that we just need more time to get "there".  And certainly, there is some truth in that.  Change is often challenging, and it is true that we need time to get to the point of change.  It can also come at a cost we are not yet ready to buy into, and we avoid it because we know that.  Even more than that, though, is something I believe is an equally simple and deeply rooted reason that holds us back from embracing something new.  We have too many things we are holding onto.  Read that again.  Think about it for a second and really let it sink in.  We struggle to embrace something new - hold it close & accept it - because there is something else in our way that we are holding onto too tight.

This year, I want to share with you why I have learned to better embrace life as God reveals it to me.  It was difficult at first.  I am a controller at heart.  I have struggled over the years (and still do at times) with anger when things don't go the way I want.  And I really hate surprises.  But to embrace life the way God designed it means that it is full of things out of my control, things that don't go my way, and, yes, certainly surprises.  After all, I am not the ultimate designer of my life - no matter how much I try to act like it.  As I have learned to embrace life as it unfolds though, it's those out-of-my-control, not-my-way surprises that I have seen some of the most beautiful things of my life - if I choose to let them be.  Even things like failure, sickness, uncertainty, and loss are often used by God to bring beautiful things into our lives and ultimately bring us closer to Him.

What would a photography blog be without pictures?  Some moments this year where we embraced the sadness, sickness, and of course, joy, in our lives.

If you have been following me on this journey, then I have to believe that there is something in you, deep inside, that wishes you could embrace life better too, you just aren't sure how.  In this series, I'm going to be talking about how embracing the beauty of life through documentary photography has made me discover a new appreciation for the simplicity and quiet beauty of the life God created for me.  I'll talk about how God has used it to help me discover a deeper love for the way He has made me and those around me.  I'll also talk about the slow ways that God has shown me new ways of seeing different situations.  Of course, I'm still human, so I'll talk about how I struggle with that embrace like anyone else.  Just like embracing real life, I have open plans for this series.  While I have beautiful aspirations, I have no idea where it will take me or if the hopes I have for it will pan out.  Certainly if God has some completely different path to take me on and asks me to take a sharp left, I have learned to be open to it.  I know in the midst of it, He will certainly show me beauty, so I hope you'll be excited to join me and maybe even start your own journey of learning to embrace life as it unfolds.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 6, 2018

2017 Reflections

Many years ago, when I was still teaching, I learned that I am a reflective thinker.  In some ways, it is a great benefit.  I find myself looking back into my days, weeks, and even years thinking about all the things and sometimes randomly checking back in on friends' struggles.  In other ways, it is terribly difficult.  When things end, the reflective thinker in me just keeps looking back.  2017 was a tough year, and although moving forward means moving away from that tough stuff, sometimes, it's not that easy.  Some things, no matter how hard they were to go through, are difficult to simply let go of.  To admit that they are over.  Especially things you didn't want to end.  So, in my reflecting, I am working on creating one large collage for our wall, in hopes of creating a new one each year - a way to remember it all (and no surprise that this is what draws me to documentary photography).  Here are some of my favorite reflective moments of 2017.

As I look into 2018, I am hopeful.  I am hopeful that our losses are less and that we are reminded of our many blessings in the midst of wherever God takes our journey.  I pray that you are as well.

Until next time,