Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photography Challenge: Week 3

This week's photos were definitely a new experience! I don't take pictures of people often for many different reasons. People tend to have high expectations, little patience, and forgiveness isn't the first thing on their mind when things don't go as expected. So, I prefer taking pictures of nature because I can rest assured that I will never hear a sunset say that I didn't catch it's "good side" or have a mountain tell me that the white balance was a little off. Better yet, if I mess up I know I can always go back and try again another day. People tend to be less forgiving and with something like a wedding or a newborn shoot you only get one chance to get it right. But last week, when a friend of mine (Stacy) had her fourth baby, I offered to take some pictures of her precious baby boy.

I couldn't promise her that they'd turn out or that I'd even have one that was "frameable" but I could promise that I'd try. We had such a good time goofing around with props and this little guy that I completely forgot how nervous I was about messing up. We were even able to laugh about how I almost backed out at the last minute because I felt so much pressure. But I'm so glad I didn't! Stacy was incredibly patient and I loved that she was pretty much up for anything. Newborn photo shoots can be very unpredictable and involve a lot of crying, bodily fluids, and overprotective parents which are probably the worst of the three. Little Cyrus wasn't thrilled about all the new poses but after thirty minutes (and a meal) he calmed down and I got some decent pictures. His 2yo sister helped me test the lighting and different "studio" spots, so I got some cute ones of her too.

It wasn't perfect but I had a great time, learned so much, and was blessed with some good photos! And Stacy made a great point that will definitely stick with me as I continue growing in my photography. She said something along the lines of: 

Your goal is to get that "perfect photo" that can be put in a portfolio and be representative of your skills as a photographer but all want is for you to capture some pictures of my family. So whether or not you think the photos are artistically sound and worthy of a frame, I'll love them. It doesn't matter if the pictures are "quality" or not because my kids are in them and because of that I can guarantee you that I'll think they're great!

*And with this post I'm officially caught up on my Photography Challenge

Happy Brithday Cryus Allen Frude

I loved his little ears, feet, and hands! I guess I just forgot how tiny newborns are!

Proof that being born in Wyoming means you're automatically a Cowboys fan

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Photography Challenge: Week 1

I said my next post would be about the actual photography challenge so here it is... My goal is to take and post some pictures every week. That's it, plain as that!

 It sounds pretty simple but with my weird schedule and Wyoming winters, it's already proved difficult. I look forward to the challenge both artistically and spiritually and I pray that God shows me exactly what I'm supposed to be learning from all of this. With that said, I'm going to start this first post off with a prayer and follow it with last week's pictures.

Heavenly Father,
I thank you that all things are made new in you... Time and time again I fall at your feet, wondering if you'll take me back and, Father, every time I am surprised that you do. I know that there is nothing I can do to deserve the love that you have for me and yet I work as if my salvation were dependent on my accomplishments. Lord, you know the lies that distance me from you and I ask that you guide me towards your truth instead, reminding me that my performance has never been a condition of your love nor will it ever be.

I pray that as I take these pictures week by week I will grow not only in my abilities but in my relationship with you. Father, teach me more than photography in these next few weeks. Teach me to trust your timing and direct me so that my eyes never look anywhere but up. Lord, use my photos and this project to further your kingdom while protecting me from pride and even the feelings of inadequacy, as neither are glorifying to you. I pray for perseverance as I begin this project and, lastly, I thank you for the clear direction you have given me with it.

WEEK ONE: Last week, I finally got the opportunity to meet my 3 month old nephew for the first time. These are some of the pictures I snapped of him and my brother's growing family while staying out in North Carolina! Enjoy.

Forgot the watermark on this one but please don't steal it :)

All Things New

Man, life is good!!! I couldn't be more pleased with the direction my life is taking. I'm learning, serving, and loving in a whole new way and though I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard, it is the most rewarding thing I've ever experienced! I know blogging has been pushed to the back burner these past few months but hopefully I can get that pot boiling again in the coming weeks with some new ideas and challenges that I'm taking on. So here's to all things new!

 I'm not much into New Year's Resolutions because I think growth and its direction shouldn't be determined at the beginning of a year and then occasionally reexamined throughout it. I believe it should be constantly reexamined through God's lenses and as God's will becomes more clear to us, our direction will be obvious and our growth will be positive. In any other order we are not guaranteed upward growth nor are we guaranteed that our directions or choices are in His will.

With all that said, everyone likes new things (just think: newborn babies, puppies, or even clothes, electronics, and jobs) and everyone likes the idea of a fresh start, right?... I am definitely included in that "everyone"but what I hope to gain from the starting over/ 2nd chance/ new beginning/ resolution inducing feelings of New Years, is the reminder that being a Christian means I get to have all of this "newness" as often as I need! I can wake up everyday knowing I am enough even though I will always fall short. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." We can rest assured that He makes us complete, worthy, AND NEW.

Success and failure, based on a purely secular view, will never satisfy us or Him. Therefore, the only way resolutions can truly be successful, satisfying, and pleasing in the Lord's eyes are if they are rooted in His will for our lives. Meaning, each goal or resolution (whatever you want to call your new "to-dos" or "not to-dos") should be prayerfully considered, relying on God to expose areas of your life that need change. His change.

I don't have New Year's Resolutions, in the normal sort of way, but I do have a few things God has laid on my heart to work through in this season of my life. These are matters that deserve more attention than I've been giving them and I'm prayerfully going to be focusing on these areas as I let God direct the changes that are to come. So...I'm going to share one of my "resolutions", why this area of my life needs attention, and a plan of action that I hope will not only lead to behavior modification but to great spiritual growth as well.

Fear of Failure and Judgement:
Because I don't want people to view me as inadequate or as a failure, I simply give up (or don't even start) things that I perceive may result in failure. I live in my comfort zone without risking my reputation knowing that new situations could expose inadequacies that others may deem unacceptable. But I AM CALLED TO LIVE FOR GOD! I was not created to serve, worship, or be appraised by anyone other than my creator. I am not even qualified to serve, worship, or appraise myself, so why would other people be qualified to do so? Here are a few verses that speak of who we are supposed to be serving and why:

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
  • We either serve Christ OR man, not both.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 
  • Who tests our hearts? Answer: God, not man.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
  • No comfort or satisfaction will come from living for men.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
  • Not only do we NOT serve other people but we no longer serve ourselves either.
So thinking along these lines: I've realized that stepping out into challenging territory and possibly exposing my short comings, could very well be God's way of directing my focus to Him! It is fact that I am horribly inadequate (Romans 3:23) but only if I'm relying on my own wisdom and strength to find satisfaction and success. However, God's nature is revealed in that we, as flawed as we are, become fully acceptable in Christ's eyes because he bridges the gap between failure and true success (no matter how big that gap is). So when I see my failures as a way to show off his greatness, power, and redeeming qualities, my "failures" no longer appear to be crippling.

NOW I'M GOING TO START SOMETHING and there is a definitely a possibility of failure but I know he will use my perceived success or failure for His good! I'm starting a photography challenge to be more specific (I'll explain the actual challenge in my next post)!... I'm terrified that I won't see it through. I'm terrified that I may be bad at something so simple as taking pictures. I'm terrified that people will judge my photos. I'm terrified that photography will become a chore. And I'm terrified that I may fail... But I'm even more terrified that I'll spend the rest of my life struggling to trust my God because I'm scared of failure and inadequacy. My hope is that the photography will become a tangible example of how he grows and changes us into better and more beautiful people.

This challenge may sound like a simplified, childish solution to a complicated set of problems but I feel confident that the benefits will be nothing short of miraculous. And when I prayed for direction in regards to new years resolutions I had no idea that God would put ALL OF THIS on my heart! But I was especially shocked by the idea of a photography challenge. I even prayed for God to lay a more "significant" resolution on my heart because I couldn't see how taking weekly pictures could be his way of molding me. This challenge will push me to trust in His plans and promises as my pictures will be open for compliments as well as criticism. It will take every ounce of me to find my value in Christ and not the good or bad reviews that my photos receive. But I've come to the conclusion that our comfort zone is not where he ever intended us to live.

Since, photography has always been a unique way for me to experience the beauty of God's creation, I'm excited (and a bit nervous) to explore what it means to be "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) and consider myself a part of His beautiful creation.

Vedauwoo, WY Fall 2012