They start as whispers sometimes. Or sometimes they just come in like hell on wheels skipping the polite smiling introductions and cutting straight to the chase. Lately, I've just turned the music up or gotten lost in other things to tune them out. Hoping they would eventually Just. Go. Away. No such luck. I get lost in the inner conversations sometimes. Battling. Very in my head and desperately dialoging my way out day by day. Clinging to what I know to be true, and right, and promised. I learned a couple years ago they are often the devils lies. The things he would love for me to believe are true about myself. Not just as thoughts, but more like concrete cinder blocks I step into that take me straight to the deep end of not so shallow of water. Damn him. He's a trickster you know. And he repeats himself over, and over, and OVER. Like a toddler, on the worst day ever. *Bad mom* *Bad wife* *Bad friend* *Bad Christian* *Bad example* *Bad driver* *Irresponsible* *Bad daughter* What's extra special is he even comes with friends. People and circumstances that surround you and put a megaphone up to those whispers, making them scream, "SEE! THAT'S PROOF RIGHT THERE SISTER. YOU SUCK." But here's the cool thing. God's always there. Taking notes. Waiting until just the right moment to call bullshit for what it is, step in, and remind me of a few things. And last I knew He is still a super hero, with super powers that crush megaphones, who doesn't lie, and ALWAYS knows the truth about me and the core of who I am. Regardless of what others are thinking or saying. Regardless of the tricksters lies. I made an appointment with HIM Tuesday morning. With my cinder blocks on. And this is what He had lined up for me read:
I speak to you from the depths of your being. Hear ME saying soothing words of Peace, assuring you of My Love. DO NOT LISTEN TO VOICES OF ACCUSATION, for they are not from Me. I speak to you in love tones, lifting you up. Let the Spirit take charge of your mind, combing out tangles of deception. ~Sarah Young~
I also know through a little mentor of mine, Beth Moore: God is who He says He is God can do what He says He can do I am who God says I am I can do all things through Christ God's word is alive and active in me (I'M BELIEVING GOD)
I have sucky moments, but I'm a good mom. I make mistakes, but I'm a good wife. I'm not perfect, but I'm a good friend. My walk with Christ is real, it's personal, it's deep. My journey is my own, and I am an example of imperfect grace. I drive well loved cars, and we'll just leave it at that. I run late, keep a pathetically scattered schedule, forget things all the time, and accept help from others. If that means I'm a bit irresponsible IT'S OK. And if I raise a daughter to be just like me, regardless of how that's defined, I will LOVE her. No matter what. Because bad daughter is NEVER a category I will adopt in my vocabulary for my precious girl. I will practice not using it on myself.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
And by that I mean HAPPY. As in, see ya September. You had me in lock down but I'm bustin' out with a spiced cider in hand. And a new pumpkin orange Eddie Bauer sweater. That's enough October armor for a brand new month, and a reclaiming of myself.
North Carolina Mountain State Fair
I love it. It brings back memories of my childhood. I can remember going to the Fair as a kid with my older cousin and riding The Zipper. Thank you Mr. Commentator for the engineering analysis of this killer ride. All I know is it was crazy, and good. And as a punk kid four years younger than my worshiped cousin, I could hang on any ride with her and all her teenage friends. Those cage spinning skills Mr. Commentator talks about? I had them. Me in all of my 80 pounds of coolness could throw my weight around in there like nobody's business. Cage spinners. Zipper queens.
I grabbed a cup o' joe and joined the white hairs in line at the gate, and the hippie crew still setting up first thing opening morning. The weather delivered, the bright colors matched my memories, and the smells? Tried and true. I entered some of my pictures again this year for fun. No expectations. Just for the hell of it to keep my photography mind moving.
And would you look what happened.
National Quartet Convention
"NQC", to those who aren't too cool to admit they are 42 years old and love it. I crawled out of my September bed and rolled solo to Louisville, Kentucky knowing I wouldn't be disappointed. The Expo Center there is called "Freedom Hall". Crimeny if walking up that long sidewalk toward my NQC weekend and seeing that on the side of the building doesn't get me every time. It may as well be a runway really. With flashing lights and a loud megaphone hailing loudly, Hey Mamma in the blue jeans looking a little COOKED. We got you. Come on in. Take a mental load off . It's FREEDOM HALL, and boy do we have a healthy dose of Jesus for you." I always leave renewed. With new focus and new hope.
The cherry on top came with a little old lady out front, scared to death she would be busted for trying to sell her ticket. God love her. I saw it in her eyes.
"Are you selling tickets?"
"Can I ask what section they are in?"
.....I'm real nervous because I think they are watching
"Oh, right. Ok, let's just sit over here under the tree and talk."
"So. This is better. What tickets are you trying to sell."
....I have three tickets for the next three nights. Well, ....fidget....I mean one seat for three nights. ....Fidget, fidget, fidget.....Unfortunately I have to fly home. They're on the second row. (Holy Moses....this cannot be happening) *SMILE* "I'll take them."
That my friends, is close enough to Jesus to almost touch him. Holy Spirit ooze. I was covered in it.
I won't bore you with too many random favorites that you don't know. But I would be cheating you if I didn't include HER.... She is everything I would represent in Gospel Music.
You go girl. Square peg on a round stage, and I LOVED her.
Freedom Hall. Second Row.
It was amazing in every single way possible. My weekend seat mate, Betty Jo, hugged me good bye and said, "If I don't see you next year, see you in Glory."
Nashville, Tenessee. And Family
Long weekend away with the hubster. Sans children.
I know. What on earth could I possibly have done to deserve all this craziness. It was a continuing education weekend for the Mr. And a keep the hubby company in the off hours weekend for the Mrs. With a little side of Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
No, I didn't carry my tripod with me. Let's not talk about it.
It's Vegas meets the South. MASSIVE. And gardens. Gardens everywhere. Wellhellhell.....we all know that's my IV of happiness.
To top the weekend, was family. My Grandma. Love this woman. She's frail, and battling cancer. Well, actually she's not battling it. She's just living it for whatever amount of time God gives her. So every single time I see her my mind whispers~ memorize her love her soak her in soak her in because this might be the last time
TELL HER HOW MUCH YOU LOVE HER.
Tell me she's not beautiful. My Aunt and I tried to get her to have her very first pedi with us over the weekend. She would have NONE of that. People would see her feet. And her toes. And her nails.
Right. No pedi.
That's ok Grandma. I'm channeling all kinds of mani pedi for the both of us.
And then there was this little booger. Miracle baby 2011.
Hello little miracle. So adorable and delicious I could hardly stand it. I prayed and prayed for her before she was born, and had yet to hold her.
I held her, smelled her, and smooched on her till I thought my heart would pop. She's everything I prayed for in a busy little wiggle package. I told her she was awesome, and precious, and beautiful. And then we shopped Hobby Lobby, touching everything that sparkled and caught our eye. Tell me that's not instant heart connection.
Will someone paaaalease give me an award for patience. I hung in strong for her arrival and now she's mine. And she was worth it. I'll admit, saying farewell to my 3Gs and all her elderly glory was a moment. Like betraying a friend or something. Phone friendship. But the nice little Verizon lady told me she would be donated to a women's shelter to someone that needed her. Or at least that's the move she used to get me to get over myself in pathetic loyalty, and move on with the account proceedings. I quickly reminded my self the "G" stood for GRANNY. For real.
I'm over it. And I L O V E my upgrade. Good bye covered wagon. Hello train of tomorrow.
Happy Fall. Don a sweater and bake an apple somethin' somethin' to share with your family. And cheers to those who made it out of the bed with me.
If you're still there, it's ok. Open a Fall window and snuggle in. I'm here when you're ready with red hots and cider.
My bloggy heart has been missing this. Avoiding this. The outlet of putting thoughts into words. Lacing them into sentences. And storing them here. Moments and memories that I want to remember.
I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately. Through the reflecting I've been reading the blogs I normally follow, and have stumbled on some new ones. What's ironic is there seems to be a reflective kind of bloggy theme going around. Measuring life's changes and challenges. It's ups vs. it's downs and all the stomach drops in between. The ebb and flow. Sometimes you're riding the wave. And sometimes the undertow pulls at your ankles, eroding the sandy foundation under you.
Through the reading, it hit me.
Quit avoiding it. Just write it.
So the truth is, I've been depressed. Not the call ahead and reserve the inpatient bed, depressed. But, the go back to bed, pull the covers up tight, and set the alarm for school pick up time, depressed. There is great shame that takes place hiding under those covers. Shame that I'm not being the mom I am capable of. Shame that I'm not being the wife I'm capable of. Shame that I'm hiding. From everything. And everyone.
There has been a lot of transition in our lives over the summer. Some expected. And some I didn't see coming. But you know, in unexpected and painful changes there is opportunity for growth. Even if growth comes through hiding under a big, white, down comforter.
COMFORTER. Excuse me while I have my epiphany moment..... I'm clawing my way back. Because it's what I do. Survivor. Type that in pretty script and tattoo it somewhere on this freckled frame. Because the glass IS half full. Of chocolate milk mind you. Because at the moment I'm a little strung out on coffee.
For now, this I know:
I know it's important to allow yourself to feel pain. To let it out in tears until the tears change from running hot over your cheeks, to cool and cleansing. To talk it out. To let it go. Repeating as necessary.
I know that sometimes we put too much faith in people. Often it's only through loss that we are actually pulled back to center and what matters most. And who matters most.
I know that I have an amazing circle of friends that love me beyond measure. Even when I'm hiding under the big, white, down comforter.
I know that sometimes that circle changes. And that's ok.
I know that I have a husband that loves me from the inside out. That listens. That gets it. ALL of it.
I know I have very forgiving children, that I would give my life for.
I know that God is here. Always.
He gets it.
ALL OF IT.
He comforts better than any damn comforter I've found.
Never, ever, E V E R did I think I would want to take a break from shooting.
I mean life gets in the way sometimes and things get put on hold for a minute. But somewhere in the review, edit, and upload process of over 400 Mexico photos to a new blog friendly photo site, I'm afraid I short circuited. I really didn't care if I picked up my camera anytime soon, much less to upload pictures and deal with them anywhere. I lost my motivation and inspiration.
Until some Kansas love rolled into town March 28th.....
I picked up the camera, and I picked up my friend, and just like that the three of us fell into sync like breathing. Kris inspires me. Both in life, and in photography. Six fantastic days of sunshine. Laughter. Bonding. Sharing thoughts and dreams. Road trips. Riverside lunches, reflective silence, and an easiness that can't even be explained.
6 days. 900 pictures.
Because balance in life is so overrated.....
The timing was perfect, since spring has busted out like a technicolor rainbow in NC.
Hello inspiration on crack.
When I die, will you please just burry me here:
We picked up right where we had left off, without missing a beat really. There's just something that happens in my mind when I set out with no other focus than capturing the beauty surrounding me. These opportunities don't come often. In fact, they tend to come like some kind of magic fairy dust packed in the suitcase of those I love that visit. That excuse maybe, that allows your mind the full freedom to let go of all responsibilities and those evil little "I should be doing..." thoughts that try to ruin an otherwise amazing moment. But when someone is here? To visit? To see and experience a little piece of your world?
I read inside the cover of a much anticipated book that was published this week, a quote that I will translate for just such an occasion:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your ONE wild and precious OPPORTUNITY?" ~ Mary Oliver
We had a wild and precious opportunity all right. Two mom's cut lose by their amazing and supportive husbands. So I planned a quick trip to Charleston as a surprise.
Guaranteed inspiration. Guaranteed beauty begging to be captured. Guaranteed memories.
Fairy Dust. Everywhere we turned.
We rolled up our pant legs, tromped through the rivers and creeks. Put quality blisters on our feet, and laughed in the rain. And not for one moment did we forget the unbelievable beauty we were basking in. Collecting it like our very breath depended on it. Capturing the details through those long black lens's so the memories will never be forgotten. There were so many moments we talked about how lucky we were to just BE, together, in those spots, sharing those experiences.
ONE wild and precious OPPORTUNITY
Not taken for granted.
And flowing with new inspiration.