Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pure Joy {Photos by B}

This evening as I was cooking dinner I noticed the sun streaming down outside the kitchen window. It has been raining for days here. I shouted to my little family, the sun is out...let's go outside! Sunshine is so good for the soul & I didn't want to miss it.

Of course, B was the first to run to the front door. I grabbed the camera while daddy took over dinner & we headed out across the street, through the neighbor's yard, and to the field behind their house.

There are lots of things I wish I could change about our house. Mostly are all cosmetic and in the big scheme of things (life) really don't matter. And right now in this season, they are things that aren't a priority.

Staying home with B takes priority over shiny new counter tops and the like. My mama always said, no one will remember what kind of car you drove, but they'll always remember what kind of kids you had (raised).

Yet, I often find myself counting down the days until a new season comes. The season of school, going back to work, and doing more things. It's no secret staying home as been tough for me, but worth it. it's the refiner's fire, if you will. We often have to say no to things now because I don't work. But as time goes on, I realize things mean nothing. We can't take them with us and they only satisfy us for a short while.


Today I was reminded that this season right here, at home spending each day with a strong-willed, full of life almost 4 year old will soon come to an end and I will miss it more than I ever can imagine. And I will miss his sweet little toddler face and the wonder that comes with it.

Honestly, I can't believe I've been home now for almost 4 years with my sweet boy. It has gone by in a blink of an eye. & it is precious, precious time I will never get back.

There is no amount of money or things or shiny, new counter tops that can bring the kind of joy I experienced today. Joy like this is only through a God who graciously gives us more than any thing could ever give us. When I think of storing up treasures, this is what I think of.

As we went out into the field, our neighbor came out and greeted us. We talked for awhile and Brady kept interrupting her. He couldn't wait to tell her about his dad, and his tractors, and how he can climb a fence really good....as he climbed the fence to the top.

He talked and walked around then came back and talked some more. He even noticed his shadow and followed it around, going up & down the run-off ditch. We laughed & she commented on how she can't believe how big he's gotten (she sees him just about everyday) and how she can't believe he will be 4 years old in December.



She told me about how when her kids were at home she would put them to bed at 7PM so she could have "her time." I told her I understood that - ha!

Afterwards, Brady and I walked around snapping pictures. I had to bribe him so he would let me take his picture. Like most kids, he wants to be doing whatever it is we are doing. He loves to help in the kitchen, working on any & everything. He is a busy body and loves a good project.

So I told him let me take your picture and then I'll let you take mine. Yeah, sometimes I don't think things all the way through before speaking. Haha!!

The sun was absolutely beautiful!

It was his turn to use the camera and so I showed him how to hold it and what button to push. Well, he just kept on snapping and snapping and snapping.

He would say, "oh you did so good!" "oh you look so great mommy!" "okay now look at me!" "okay now look pretty like a princess!" "oh good job mommy!" and the words of affirmation just went on & on. I told him you're going to make mommy cry!

I said okay, now let's see how you did! Y'all I about burst with joy.
Not because these photos are perfect but because they are treasures for me and my soul. Yet, they are perfect because of what they represent. The joy that comes with being this sweet boys mom. 
Raising and shaping his tender sweet heart and soul is my priority. God picked me over every other girl out there, to be his mom. Even when it at times it seems so mundane at times, I know this season will be over before I know it and all I'll have left are the memories. And photographs.

So often I am the one behind the camera taking his picture. He always looks adorable, cute, and perfect. So photogenic.

While I see myself as not so perfect, or cute, or skinny enough - that boy sees me as absolutely perfect. He loves me through every single flaw. Just last week, I had on a skirt with a green Army type vest and maroon chucks and he said when I picked him up from school, "mom, you look awesome! I really like your outfit."

After he took the pictures, I let him look at the pictures he took. He was so proud of his handiwork! And so was I. I really was surprised at how well he did, like a pro (for a 3 year old). We even took a selfie to document our teamwork :)




But more than that, I am so thankful for the light that shines on through my sweet boy. And for the joy that comes with it. I know there is no greater joy than being his mom.

And today, this evening I loved my home more than ever because of those whom I share it with. I was humbled by the sheer fact that it's the light that draws us out in life. We are the light.

So I cherish my humble abode and the kitchen window where I catch the sun streaming over the field across the street. And the outdated counter tops because it's where a certain boy loves to climb up to help me cook or bake. And it's where our heart is- molding, shaping, and teaching a boy that love is more important than things. That joy comes where the light shines. And that no matter how dark this world may get or be, we are the light shining for all to see so shine bright sweet boy! I hope you spark joy all the days of your life!

Today was a beautiful reminder of God's faithfulness and goodness. And one day we'll look back on these photos and be reminded of just how good God has and continues to be to us. And the joy that a simple evening of taking pictures brought. Pure, unspeakable joy.



Mommy photo session by Brady, age 3 years old.










"Life is all about which lens you chose to see through...joy is the viewfinder of God's lens."



The funny thing was before bed tonight I heard him talking to daddy, asking about this week (if daddy had to work tomorrow, what school he was going to tomorrow, etc) and he asks, "when are we going to have a dad's day?" AB said, "well today was a daddy day!" He said, "no, a day without mommy." :) 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

IF:Calallen

I recently shared on social media that I had a secret and some exciting news in the horizon. 

Over the last year or more I've praying about hosting a ladies retreat or conference. So I've prayed and seeked and prayed some more. I've started planning on 2 different occasions and each attempt failed.

In August, I started leading a group of ladies on Mondays in a bible study. They have blessed me more than they know & if I had to pick the heartbeat of ministry for myself- it would be women's ministry. 

I truly believe that our ministry will come out of our pain. It will be the very thing that we long to share with others because while it's part of our story, it's part of His story.

It is the molding & shaping of our lives, in the crucible of the fire He lifts up our faces and lavishes His love on us. In ways we never could imagine.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a history. Everyone longs for something.

To be loved.
To be known.
To be heard.
To be noticed.
To be understood.
To be accepted.
To belong.

Community can be an amazingly beautiful thing when used to encourage and equip. To support the very being of who we are. Not a person who we think we should be, or who others perceive us to be.

Just to be.

Living in freedom of who we are in Christ. He's called each of us to this place - to walk in love with one another.

Which is why I am beyond excited to announce that I will be hosting an IF:Local this coming February.  

That's right...



IF:Calallen will be a two day event where women will gather across denominations, generations, cultures, and backgrounds to celebrate in the name of Jesus. Below is taken from the IF:Gathering page explaining what IF: is all about.

The world around us feels like it is crumbling and almost nothing seems certain, until we look to Jesus and see that our Hope is very clear and certain. He didn’t just give us salvation—Jesus is our salvation and the example of what it means to live in the fullness of grace and truth. What the world needs is His redemption, the very redemption and hope that lives inside of us. Rather than shrink back, it is time to love like Jesus loved, serve like Jesus served, pray like Jesus prayed, and pursue holiness like Jesus pursued it. This February 5-6, join this global gathering of women across denominations, generations, and cultures as we come together in the name of Jesus.

I feel so honored to be able to host this event. My prayer is God will move in our area in ways like never before. To bring woman to a place where they can live in freedom to whatever God has called them too. I am also thankful God answered my prayers about this being more than just a church event, but about community. Which is why I've teamed up with other local churches to help plan, pray, and host this event.

So I hope you'll join us & even invite a friend! You can find out more information by clicking HERE and you can register to attend the event HERE.


video

Friday, October 9, 2015

Studio 6:33 & a BIG announcement

Sometimes in life, we are asked to step out of our comfort zone and serve. In our lives, we can serve in a multitude of ways. We serve in our homes, out of our homes, in our workplaces, in our churches, and in our communities.

About two years ago, Allen had a vision of starting Studio 6:33. I've always loved photography. In high school, I was in photo journalism and even was the editor of my senior yearbook.  But believe it or not, I am an introvert and too many voicemails in my "mailbox" makes me sweaty and nervous. 

I had already been a small business owner and it was tough managing between home life and work life. Yet, Allen wasn't convinced that I/we should say no to this endeavor. After much thought and prayer, we decided to pursue a photography gig.

So why Studio 6:33?

As a family, we firmly believe in whatever we do in this life, we are to seek His Kingdom first. In searching for a name Allen found Matthew 6:33 and said, that's it. 


And just like that Studio 6:33 was born.

Last year, we hit the ground running and then life took an expected turn and we kind of put photography on hold. In August 2014, my mom was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. This past year I have spent the majority of my time traveling back and forth to Houston and spending time with family. Thankfully, we serve a mighty God and now that she's stable, we decided to start taking on sessions again. 

But that's not all of the story...we started this for a purpose. Yes, to capture beautiful moments and families make our hearts smile. We love being able to meet others and give them a treasure that will last a lifetime.

We also want to use this as a way to give back. To bring the Kingdom of God to earth, in a tangible way. A way that extends beyond us, while allowing you to journey beside us.

With that said, we have a BIG announcement!  We are expanding our family through adoption!! And this photography gig will help us fund our international adoption.

More than your business, we'd ask that you cover us with your prayers as we begin this process. We can't thank our past clients for planting this seed for us!