Friday, January 22, 2016

Zion National Park: January 2016

We decided this would be the year we visit more National Parks (might as well put good use to our year pass, right?).

So even though it was a quick trip we thought Zion was in order.

It was so great to see it snowy, rainy and gloomy. The rain made some things tricky but we set up a covering and made it work. The adventure and challenge was fun (especially for Charles).

The park was quiet which I loved. Plus, I like hiking way better in the cold than in hottt.
We made hot soup on a hike to a beautiful view, took lots of photos and enjoy the peacefulness.

We decided to squeeze in a trip to see Bryce Canyon for the first time. It wasn't totally successful but that'll be another post.

Where should we go next?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The enemy of being known.

What makes you come alive? 

I've been searching a lot for that this past year, really trying to not say yes to just anything or over commit myself. I've been trying to find my win and really align myself with my passions and the things that make me stoked.

We had a worship night at church last night. I really wasn't feeling it very much. That's actually been happening for a while. I have an ongoing fight but I really want to feel alive and close to Jesus. At the end of the service our pastor asked people to pick one of three things to pray for:
  1. To be closer to God 
  2. To help with heavy things in their life
  3. To be used in and make an impact with their life.
I got to be one of the people upfront to pray with people if they decided to come for prayer. During this my whole night shifted.

I got to pray with a variety of women and with each one a piece of my heart felt like it could relate and I was so honored to share in their journey. Most of all I really respected them for coming forward and honestly sharing their hardships. Most of them had never met me. One of them shared something she'd only told one other person that was very heavy in her life. A few of them were in junior high or high school and had really heavy things that they needed prayer for. I was so impressed that they were willing to share. I've spent many seasons acting like I had it all together and not wanting to let other people into my hurt or struggles. But those seasons weren't very full of life.

I know my heart is made to be connected to people. Paid role or not, I know my best win has people involved. While I don't always know what that looks like or how it will play out, I know that I really feel alive when I get to share in another person's story. But not just to hear about their life.

It is the moments when depth is shared, isolation ends and a space to be known takes place. 

I don't know what makes you come alive but I can guess what doesn't:
It is probably not isolation.
It is probably not bearing the weight of something heavy or hard, alone.
It is probably not thinking no one else can relate.
It is probably not stuffing pain down deeper.

I think God has given me an ability to relate and to empathize. He has given me a way to connect with others, even if I haven't shared their experience. He has given me a burden for those in isolation. He has given me words to encourage and support. And he has given me people who are willing do to the same for me, even when I am too prideful to ask for it.

Last night was a sweet reminder from God that while it might not be a salary role, being present in a way that can bring light, hope and known-ness (yes, I made that up), is much of what I am made for and I am confident God will use this desire. That sweet reminder was so humbling and brought much needed connection with God.

Without trying to sound like a crazy on the internet, if you are reading this and know you have something you need to share with someone, please do! Pick someone safe and be known in your hurt/struggle/doubt. Or, send me an email! We may not know each other (or maybe we do) but I would be happy to tell you, "You are not alone" and send encouragement your way.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Engaged: Kari & Luis: 9-4-2015

Kari & Luis are getting married!
I am so excited to capture their special day. 

I've known Kari for a long time. I did her hair for many high school dances. l also took her senior photos when she graduated from college (I think we did high school too!). 

It will be so fun and special to share in their day! The countdown to September 4th, 2016 is on. I am so happy for you both!

Here's a look into their engagement session:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What you think vs. How I feel.

Alright, it is officially late January and I've yet to blog in 2016. I'm going to sit down and roll with something that has been floating around the back of my mind.

I had this awesome light peachy/orange pullover sweatshirt that had california written in light blue cursive. It was from goodwill and so cozy and cool. I loved it. Until someone I worked with told me it was the ugliest (insert F word) sweatshirt he has seen. I put it away and didn't wear it for years until I realized I loved it and didn't care what he said!
Have you ever had that happen with a favorite item in your closet?
Have you ever felt called to something (say a career, a new hobby, going back to school) until someone tells you it wont work or isn't a good idea?
Have you ever wanted something but could only feel good about going for it if someone affirms the notion?
Have you ever been stoked on the used car you just bought until your friend gets a brand new one?

Big or small, maybe you've felt it.
Peer pressure - fear - insecurity - doubt. Call it what you want. It is out there.

I think of overalls. Seriously, I was wearing them in my High School Senior ID photo. They really weren't cool even anymore. But I guess I didn't care. But they are back (I guess) or were or something. And at first everyone is like "Gross, overalls, no way." Until someone really cool wear them, looks great and gets a bunch of positive feedback. And then opinions change. And all of sudden they are mainstream, again.

That is the power of influence.

I have gone through seasons of really not caring about what people think and then the opposite as well. I have prided myself on doing my own thing and not worrying about others. But deep down there is a twinge of concern about what others think. And in my life right now I think there is more than I'd like there to be.

I'd feel better if I could answer people with "I do ______ full time" or "I'm a ________"
instead of, "Well, I am partially ________, picking up _____ again and doing ______."
I'd actually enjoy the balance of my life more if I didn't feel less adequate.
I'd have less thoughts of, "Did I say too much? Was I too bold? Should I have been more_____?"
I'd think less of, "But am I good enough at _______ to really put that passion out there?"
I'd like my naturally curly hair more.

Is the weight of what others think (or culture as a whole) influencing what you do, how you live or how you feel? When you have that moment of pursuing a dream, rocking those new jeans or weighing how you feel, don't let the opinions of others (or how you think they would think) be the deciding factor about how you feel.

Of course we all need wisdom and the accountability from those around us is needed. However...

Be true to where God is calling you.
Be true to where you stand.
Be confident in what you have to offer.
Be content with what He has provided.

This post goes along with some things I have written before (comparison, etc.) but I guess I need to keep learning, and maybe you need to hear it too.

My husband told me he was surprised I bought these pants (since they are a little crazy) because I hate my thighs and don't like drawing attention to them. He has a point. But I wanted something fun to work out in to motivate me. (Bad thigh accentuating angle and all..)