Black and White

My daughter and I were at a counseling session recently, talking about life. She sees everything as very black and white. I never realized this about her in the past. My son, yes, he’s always been very logical and concrete. But my daughter, she was more of a dreamer, a creative.

She brought up math. She says that’s why she loves math, it’s black and white, either you’re right or you’re wrong. There’s no maybe, no gray area. But as our counselor explained, it CAN be very grey. She’s very good with analogies. For example, in math, you have a definite problem, and a definite end, but everything in between can be very grey. You can get to the end many different ways sometimes. And that’s what happens in life. We have problems, and we have end goals (which may not always be so concrete as in math), but everything in between is very grey. Many ways to reach our goals. How we go about it, is what determines our path in life.

And I realized, this is why I, too, always loved math. It was always my favorite subject. I usually enjoyed the problem solving process, but I especially loved the fact that answers were either right or wrong. I was never a fan of having to make choices, or give opinions. I wanted everything to be black and white.

But I’ve also realized that, along with the preference for black and white, comes the need for expression. For something that allows you to be free from the concrete. Life can’t always be black and white. It isn’t. And we all need some outlet to allow us to feel the grey. For me, that’s why I love photography. I was never an art person. Hated it in school. I always said I wasn’t creative enough. And I couldn’t draw to save my life! But not all art has to involve pencils, or chalk, or paint. I chose photography as a way to express that creative side. That grey area. When I first started really getting into taking pictures, it was merely a means to capture the moments of my children’s lives. I wanted to remember their youth. But it quickly became more than just the people in the pictures. It was about creating art. Yes, using the subject, be it people, animals, or other “things”, but also experimenting with what you can do with the rest of what’s in the photo. Learning to really make a photo appealing, and draw others in to experience the expression of the art.

I posted a photo not too long ago on facebook that was black and white. A friend of mine commented about how she loves black and white photos, because it allows her to create the rest of the photo in her mind. I never really thought of black and white that way before. But it’s kind of a reminder, that even with black and white, there’s always room for interpretation, that grey area.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

Reminders

I often have people asking me how I’m doing. What’s going on. And I know for every one of those, there’s probably two people that are afraid to ask. That don’t want to pry. I was talking to a friend last Summer. Questions were asked, and then an apology for asking. I said I didn’t mind… I’m an open book at this point. Or am I?

I really don’t have anything to hide. Anything that I’m not proud of just shows I’m human. I make mistakes, but I’ll own them. But I’ve realized recently, that there’s a lot that I really haven’t talked about. I think part of me just gets tired of talking about it all. I don’t care that people know. And part of me thinks everyone is probably tired of hearing my woes anyway! And honestly, it’s hard to stay positive when you’re talking about what’s not working right now!

I have daily reminders of the past year. Scars, some would say. But I prefer to call them reminders. Yes, there’s no shortage of emotional reminders. Every day. Multiple times. Every time I walk through my hallway. Every day I go to work. Every time I get in the van. But I choose to use them as positive reminders, not negative. Reminders of the smart, beautiful, thoughtful children I have. That I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for.

And then there’s the physical reminders. The two surgical scars I see every day. Reminders of the pain of the past year. But also reminders of the lessons I’ve learned. Of the thankfulness that what was there is now gone. To release fear for faith. To appreciate every day. And perhaps most importantly, to not put off until tomorrow what can (and should) be done today.

So for all my friends out there that are probably wondering… please know that I’m just trying to remain positive. To be thankful for that which I do have. And to not focus on what I don’t. I just want to return to some normalcy in my life. You know, the one that moves on. Yes, there’s a lot going on. There probably will be for some time. But I know things will be alright eventually. That’s my faith. That’s what gets me through.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

Thirty-One

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
~Proverbs 31:10-31

Wow! That’s a long verse! I don’t usually post verses that are that long, but I couldn’t pull out just a snippet of that one.

A little history… last Summer I was invited to a purse party. I had been looking for a new purse for myself, and I saw a friends and loved it. She told me she was having a party, and I asked for an invite. I fell in love with the products, bought my purse, and I love it! Fast forward to Fall, and I was invited to another party from a different friend. I had considered signing up to sell as an independent consultant, but found out she signed up as well, so I decided against it.

A few weeks ago, she had posted something on her facebook wall about the company. That same weekend, I ran into someone, a stranger, that was asking about my purse. I totally felt like a sales person at that point! And I thought, if only I sold the stuff myself! So I met with my new consultant friend, and discussed the possibility. She gave me some information, and I came home and read all about it on the website. I found out that the woman that started the company, came up with the name from this passage in the bible. The virtuous woman. The company is all about empowering and encouraging women and girls. To be this person that God wants. To be all we were meant to be and are capable of being. And I realized… maybe THIS is the company for me! I’ve tried direct sales before. But didn’t put my whole heart into it. But this time, my circumstances are different, I’m a different person. I love the products, and I love what the company stands for.

So with that, I decided to take the plunge. An independent consultant. I may not be all that verse wants me to be, but I’m going to try. And I’m going to empower myself. To do what I need to do. Both for myself, and my family.

A New Year

It’s a new year, and that can mean only one thing. Change. I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution kind of person. Sure, I’d set a resolution, only to fail within a week, maybe two. But I know I never stuck with it because I didn’t really WANT to change whatever it was. What’s the point in making a resolution for change, unless you are really ready for it in your heart and soul? Yes, a new year is a good time to make those changes, if you truly ARE ready. And that’s where I’m at.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. The biggest ones in the last year. I own them. I know I’m not perfect. And I know nothing will change if I blame everyone else for everything going on in my life. Yes, I contributed to the trials of the past year. But I’ve learned from it, and I’ve grown. True change can only come with acceptance. I accept myself for all that I am. The loving, kind person, that has faults and imperfections. A work in progress.

New Year’s Day I had this idea. How about I make a top 10 list. A top 10 list of lessons I’ve learned in the past year. It just flowed, without much thought. I was going to post it then, but my internet hadn’t been working at home for over a month. I’ve been going to the library almost daily, but my time there has been consumed with trying to find a job. But last week, my smart, kind son fixed it for me! So, here’s my list.

Top 10 Lessons of 2011

  1. Accept help from wherever it comes. Don’t be too proud. Sometimes help can come from the most unexpected people.
  2. Along those lines, don’t be afraid to ASK for help. If you need something, you know who you can count on, ask! After all, friends and family aren’t going to know how you’re feeling and what you may need to get you through, but you know they’ll be there for you if you just ask.
  3. Never act out of reaction. Take the time to think things through. And taking a week to ponder how you will act wisely, is much different than taking a week to plot your revenge!
  4. The most painful life events require some leaps of faith for growth. If you don’t leap, you’ll stay where you are. And that obviously wasn’t working for you.
  5. Truly moving on requires letting go. Moving on does no good if you’re still holding onto what was. The biggest move you can make, is learning to accept what is.
  6. Everything happens for a reason. We won’t understand those reasons all the time, but in time it’ll all make sense. Truly believing in this one statement will really put your heart and soul in a calm, peaceful state that probably won’t make sense.
  7. Believe. In something. In someone. Believe in God. Believe in the power of the universe. Whatever you feel in your heart, just believe. But most importantly, believe in YOURSELF! If you believe, you can achieve!
  8. Being a parent is the most difficult job there is. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions, doing what we think is best, no matter the pain we cause. We can only hope the pain is temporary, and some day they’ll understand. Thankfully, the rewards are more than worth it!
  9. True happiness can only be found within. Relying on others to make you happy will only make you miserable.
  10. Be thankful for everything, and every one, in your life. For you’ll never know what the future holds, and what you may lose. Nothing is permanent.

Obviously, it’s been a while since I blogged, and a lot has happened. Holidays and both kids’ birthdays, which were a great reminder to me to be truly thankful for everything. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, we have to live each moment to the fullest, appreciating what we have today. There’s this part of me that wishes 2011 would never have happened. But if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have 2012. Yes, it was the most painful year of my life, but it also provided the most awakening, most importantly within myself. I’ve learned so much this past year, and can never wish that away. Here’s to an amazing 2012! For all of us!

On to my photos…. here it is, January 14th. And only two days ago did we receive the first real snowfall of the year! Not just the year 2012, but for the winter season! I don’t think I ever remember a year where we had NO snow until January! Sure, it would fall, then melt, but nothing! So I decided to take a walk this morning, and I took some pictures of the white that abounds. Not as pretty as it would have been had I taken them on Thursday, but late is better than nothing, right?

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. ~2 Corinthians 5:17

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