Stuck {Day 56}

I never really thought I was stuck until today. In some ways, maybe, but I thought I pretty much had it all figured out. I realize though, that just because I’ve turned it over to God, and I have faith and trust in Him, and I’m pretty happy, that doesn’t mean I’m not stuck in other ways. Given my current situation, I realize that in a way I am still stuck in my life.

I went to church this morning instead of last night due to Founder’s activities. Willow teaching pastor Darren Whitehead was speaking from John chapter 5.

5:1 Afterwards there was a Jewish feast, and Jesus went to Jerusalem. 5:2 By the sheep gate in Jerusalem there is a pool which is called in Hebrew “Bethesda”, having five porches. 5:3 In these lay a large number of people who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed. 5:5 One man had been sick for thirty-eight years. 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” 5:7 The sick man answered, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get in, someone else gets in before me.” 5:8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk.” 5:9 Immediately, the man was healed, and picked up his mat and walked.

See, this is why I enjoy going to church. Instead of just reading the Bible, and seeing how Jesus healed this broken man, the teaching helps me understand how this story applies to now. My life. The blind are not just those that literally can’t see, but maybe those, like myself, that need to see their vision, their dreams for life. The lame are not just those that are physically ill, but those that are feeling other pain, like myself, due to circumstance. The paralyzed are not just those that have no feeling in their limbs and can’t move them, but those that are numb in other areas of their body and life, like myself. I realize all of these people are within me. I still don’t know exactly what my calling, my dream in life is. I have dreams for myself, but I don’t know if that’s what He wants for me. I feel a lot better about myself, I’m not unhappy all the time, but even when I’m happy I still feel a lot of pain. And I think the reason I don’t feel pain sometimes, and why I seem to be strong, is because I’m just numb, paralyzed, within. Sometimes things are just too much to bear, and I become numb to it all.

I know God has a plan. He has a way for me to get through. I trust in Him. But I still have a lot of unanswered questions. I often feel like I’m just fumbling through. Do I really have a grasp on everything that I think I do? Or am I just being blind? What IS my vision? Am I really in tune with my feelings? Or am I just burying them to appear strong and together? I know there’s a lot of pain within me. That I DO know. I recognize it, and I remind myself to turn it over to Him. I can’t remove the pain, there’s too much that hurts. But God can take it from me. I know that. Perhaps I need to stop second guessing myself. I tend to do that a lot. Have faith in MYSELF, and confidence! I know I’m in control of ME. As for the pain and questions and all that is within? God has control of that, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get some answers soon. And healing.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28

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Calm Before the Storm {Day 55}

I’ve made it through the week, with just one busy weekend remaining before my big day Monday. And I’m feeling good! No anxiety takeovers, and that’s the way it’ll stay!

Yesterday, I had orientation for my new job, I start officially on Wednesday. It’s kind of nerve wracking, to have to get another job. But I’m going forward with a positive attitude. I have to do what I have to do. And this will hopefully give me the push I need to really pursue my dreams, to make myself what I want to be in the career world! I also had my afternoon pick-me-up. Always puts a smile on my face! For some reason though, it affected me somewhat negatively. I think because of Monday, and I wanted to say something that I knew I couldn’t. That always hurts.

With all my running yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to take any photos. Well, I was going to take some of the band last night. They were nice enough to put the stage so we can actually see it from our back yard! Usually it’s faced away from the house, so we see the backside. Mighty nice of them to give us a show to go with the music! 😀 Anyway, I didn’t get one because I didn’t want the port-a-potties, too! So here’s some photos I took this morning… The calm before the storm… parade at 11!

You, as much as anyone in the universe, deserve your love and respect. ~Buddha

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{Day 54}

I’m so glad yesterday is over! And I’m glad I didn’t let any anxiety over yesterday’s appointment get to me. It was nothing to get worked up about! And had I allowed those feelings to take over, I would have been terribly disappointed that I worried for nothing! See, it pays to trust and have faith in yourself, too!

Yesterday was the official start of the Founders events. As luck had it, our appointment was earlier than I thought it was going to be, and shorter than I anticipated, so I was able to go watch some of the cardboard boat building and the race. I didn’t think I was going to get any of these photos to share, but glad I did. Boy, was it muggy and nasty out tho!

Fear of others will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. ~Proverbs 29:25

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Random {Day 53}

Today should be a bit of a nerve-wracking day. But it isn’t. No, I’m not exactly looking forward to the appointment that awaits this afternoon, but I’m not letting it bother me either. I do what I can, and I can only jump through so many hoops. I pray that everything goes well, and that they will see me for what and who I really am. I’m not going to disguise that person. Anxiety never does anyone any good.

I forgot to mention something yesterday. If you are in the photography industry, you probably know that there are many blogs of those in the industry that are constantly sponsoring giveaways. All the time! Well, I used to enter them frequently, but I kind of stopped. It can be so time consuming just doing everything they want to enter your chance to win. And I never win anyway. Until this week! I actually won something! Last week, Paperie Boutique, one of my favorite blogs was sponsoring a birthday celebration giveaway, with LOTS of prizes. I decided, what the heck. I’ll go ahead and enter these… lots of goodies I could really use! And I won! I think this is a sign… God is providing for me in many ways, and this is just one small way that He is helping me grow my business. Now if I could just figure everything else out! 😀

Photos today are not going to be from Founder’s. I will probably take some from this afternoons activities, provided it doesn’t rain, and will post those tomorrow. True to my title, these are just random.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard

Moving On {Day 52}

I think I’m officially, finally starting to feel like a normal human again! I have another big day coming up next Monday. And unlike the last one, I’m not dwelling on it. I’m not allowing the thoughts to take control of my life. I can’t let the thoughts of what might come bring me down. It is what it is. I can’t control the outcome. And I can’t change what happened last week or last month. I have to focus on what I’m doing now, for today and for my tomorrows. I’ll be ok with whatever happens, whatever comes of the day. I’ve already moved past it.

This weekend brings the big Founder’s Days festival. Because we live right in the heart of all the action, we can’t help but be a part of it every year. {Ok, I just had the biggest deja vu as I was typing this! Like this has happened before. What is going on in my life, right during the Founder’s festival, only a little different! That was weird!} Anyway, the official start is tomorrow afternoon. With the next several days, my photos will probably be all related to the events. Today, I walked over to the park and took a few photos of them setting up. I think they are actually behind schedule this year, probably due to all the storms and rain. Anyway, here’s a couple, one of the park area where the grandstand and food vendors will be, and the other I just like of the carnival area, shot through the trees as you walk up.

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. ~Nora Roberts

Laughter {Day 51}

What a wonderful day! Yesterday, after my wonderful start to the day, I went to drop my son off at my brother’s for their annual White Sox evening. As I’m about to get on the tollway, I realized I had NO money! Nothing but a handful of pennies for the tolls! Thankfully, I wasn’t yet ON the tollway, so was able to stop at the bank. After that, things started getting better.

As I was telling my counselor, I can’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I can’t let everything get to me. You know what? Life’s too short to be bothered and angered by every last little detail. And seriously… it’s all little stuff anymore. Well mostly anyway. When your faced with really, truly big stuff, you realize how little everything else is.

So I got to spend some time last night with friends. I had to wait up so I could retrieve my son after the game anyway, and a friend had invited a group of us out for some socialization. So I went and visited for a while. Or shall I say laughed! And did we ever have some good laughs! But it was just what the doctor ordered! Laughter sure can be some darn good medicine. Seems like no matter what I’m going through, or how I’m feeling, a good laugh makes it all better. I needed that laughter to help me move on from my weekend. To remind me how important it is to have fun, and just laugh!

I had another little session this morning, with a cutie patootie that I’ve been taking photos of since he was in his Mama’s belly! He’s gotten so big since I saw him last, and he’s smiling and talking up a storm! How quickly we forget how fast our children grow. Which is one of the reasons I love photography so much, and wanted to share that with others. I’ve always felt strongly about capturing life on camera, but even more so now. Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to slow down and enjoy it! Hopefully, by photographing families, I can share the importance of taking the time to slow down and capture those things on film that we all too soon seem to forget about. So if you haven’t had any professional photos taken of your family or children in a while {or at all!} I urge you to do so! Even if you just get out the camera for snapshots, it’s better than nothing. You never know what life will throw your way. Take it from me! {Off my soap box now! :D}

Maybe we’re not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we’re thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we’re thankful for the things we’ll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

Monday {Day 50}

It’s been one of those Mondays! I was up early this morning to take my son to Summer school… his last week. YAY! Got back home and decided to take care of some business while enjoying my coffee, since I had a photo session at 9. Proceeded to dump my entire cup all over my desk and the floor! Happy Monday! LOL 🙂

This weekend was a bit rough. I can’t really go into details, but of course it has to do with what’s going on in my life right now. I just remind myself that I’m not in control of the situation. What I do control is myself. I’ve made decisions, choices. Are they the right ones? I don’t know, but I can’t question myself. I’m sticking to them. I’ve thought everything through, I’ve processed what I can right now, and I’m doing what I need to do.

Hopefully my morning coffee dump was the end of my string! At least I could kind of laugh about it, I didn’t get angry. That says a lot about my state of mind right now! Today’s photo is one from my session this morning. Such a cutie, with the most beautiful brown eyes! I know his mom from the school I work at, and she contacted me about getting some family photos. This little one had a one track mind though, and wanted the water! He didn’t offer up many smiles, and had such a serious face on. And bribing him for a family photo? Well, there’s no such thing with a one year old toddler! At least I got a couple some good shots, and maybe we’ll try again at a location with no rivers, creeks, ponds, you get the idea!

Life is about choice. You can choose to be a victim or anything else you like to be.

The Land Between {Day 49}

I was so excited to go to church last night. Lee Strobel, a former Willow pastor, was scheduled to be the guest speaker. I was looking forward to hearing him speak. When they announced that he was unable to make it, I admit, I had a bit of a let down. Instead, they played a recording of a message from Jeff Manion, Senior Pastor at Ada Bible Church in Michigan.

And let me just say… WOW!! Not only is he a phenomenal speaker, but his message really hit home! I know I’ve said this before, but I just can’t believe how every message I’ve heard since starting to attend at the end of May has truly moved me. I feel like each time, it’s prepared just for me, as they all seem to apply to my life situation. His message was about the land between. You know, that desert that we sometimes find ourselves in. Where we think how maybe life before wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t so bad. And now we’re stuck waiting to see what’s on the other side. Yeah, I’m there! The passage of reference from the Bible was from Numbers chapter 11, as Moses is in the desert with the Israelites. I’m not going to quote it here, as it’s quite long, but it’s a good read! It reinforces the power of God, and if we just trust in Him, He will see us through our desert. I so needed to hear that! As I was saying the other day, I do have trust and faith, but it’s still hard. Am I perfect? No. I know I’ll still have days where I struggle more than others. I just have to remind myself that he WILL get me through, no matter how hard it is.

Today’s photo is a cute little pepper from our garden. All of our plants now bear fruit. As we didn’t tend to the garden well enough in the first month, many of our plants are small. Hopefully, now that the garden is cleared, and has been sufficiently watered, they will thrive!

Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. ~Psalm 37:3-5, 7a

Roller Coasters {Day 48}

Yesterday was definitely a bit of a roller coaster for me. From the frustration of the morning, to the highest high of the afternoon. I had my Friday afternoon pick-me-up, such a wonderful time! I look forward to it every week, and yet it’s so second-nature to me, that I tend to forget that Friday’s are off limits for anything else. I know, that doesn’t make sense, but it’s just how my brain works! I also saw some friends Friday evening, which always helps! Thankfully, I’m still feeling good. Hopefully I stay at the top for a while!

So, any other Algonquin peeps having flashbacks to last year’s Founder’s weekend? Thankfully, this year it is not until next weekend. However, I wonder what all this rain will do for set-up? Hopefully it dries up enough and not much more rain falls by Monday. As with all things, guess time will tell!

You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~A.A. Milne

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Frustration and Perfection {Day 47}

There’s a nice storm going on outside right now. Kinda how I feel inside too, in fact. Every time I think I have a grasp on my emotions and feelings, I have another burst of anger, upset, frustration. Sometimes an hour or two. Sometimes a day. Sometimes days. Yes, I know I can’t control anything but myself. And I think I’m doing all the right things. But I get questioned. Constantly. And I begin to wonder if I AM doing all the right things. What am I doing wrong?

It’s so hard to have constant, 100% faith in God. Yes, I know He’s there. He’ll see me through. I do believe that and trust in Him. But that doesn’t make it easy. I still question myself every step of the way. I know I’m not perfect, and I’m going to make mistakes. The thing is, I feel like I can’t afford to make any. There’s too much at stake. I feel like I have to be perfect.

I just went upstairs, where it is now 82 degrees in the house, that’s 12 degrees cooler than yesterday evening! See, there IS a God! Just as I was down here dwelling on the storms outside and the one I was feeling inside, he was cooling me off. We need storms, for many reasons. And I guess I needed both. I sure do feel blessed as He always provides for me what I need when I really need it! I feel better already! 🙂

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. ~Isaiah 41:13