Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saying 'Cheese' 14,000 Times

This weekend I received my 2007 Family Photo Album in the mail. For the past 4 years I've abandoned my previous passion of scrapbooking and have used Shutterfly Albums. They look like yearbooks. In less than a week I can finish an album and have it at my house in a few days. This sure beats the year-long scrapbooking process that I just don't have time for, not to mention the room the large books take up on the shelves. These tiny, neat little books fit perfectly!

I take too many pictures. Everyone will tell you that. I have 31.7 gig of pictures from 2007. My camera does take large pictures, but that is over 14,000 files! And, I have have to point out, these do not include my business pictures from weddings and portrait sittings. A hobby? A passion? An obsession?

I'm getting better, though. Although I will still, occasionally, take a series of 100 pictures of the same thing, I've learned to take one or two pictures per event right away. Doing that quickly frees me up to actually use my hands for something other than pushing a shutter button. I can go across the monkey bars, jump on the trampoline, and light the birthday candles.

I've also learned to take convenient group shots. Baby Shower? Get a picture of the whole group. Family outing? Set the timer. A few group shots help easily capture the moment in the scrapbook without necessitating the need for a family paparazzi.

I'm getting myself into the album! After being the one behind the camera and never in the pictures over the last few years, I decided to work harder at being pictured. That means I say, "Hey, can you take a picture of me doing this with so and so?" It worked! I actually exist in 2007.

I'm also teaching photography to my kids. I love the photos Katie captures. They are at her level, so I can see what a crowded restaurant table looks like when you barely make it above the ketchup. They got a kid tough digital camera for Christmas and are having fun running around the house with it. They've also caught quite a few non-flattering pictures of me, but thankfully I know where the delete button is.

I love it! I don't see myself giving up the hobby any time soon. So before we're together next, it might be wise to start practicing your "Cheese!"

QUIZ: Do you know where in Indianapolis I took the self-portrait above?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When I grew up...

I just got my new passport in the mail. I look so grown up, especially compared to my old one from when I was only 16 years old.

"Only" sixteen. At 16, I felt completely grown up. Confident. Independent. Not swayed by popular opinion.

At times I think I was more grown up at 16 than I am at 29.

I think I was the most grown up at 9 years old. I remember that year vividly. We moved from Chicago to Indiana, and I merged into the school very well. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Amos, and I quickly made a few best friends. I was comfortable talking to adults, I did well in school, and I was happy with my talents.


It's a nice place to be. It's a place to where we can never return.

Tonight, my 6 year old decided after watching American Idol that she's going to try out when she's sixteen. She then starts singing "Hallelujah" and asks if she can make it. Of course, I praise her and say she's amazing, and yes, she can sing that song on stage.

My mind instantly took me back to the age of nine when I would watch Star Search and practice my audition with some Amy Grant song. Visions of crowds, lights, cameras, and rolls of applause.


Of course I love my daughter and would never tell her that she was "pitchy" or her song choice was "horrid." I give her a hug, smile as she bats her eyes, but I know in my heart that her chance of making it on American Idol, if it is even still around in ten years, are one in a million.

Because that's what my parents did. They smiled, told me I was great, and let time just go on.

I guess I'm a little envious, seeing her as she grows in her very small world. Everyone is a new friend to meet. Jesus lives in her heart, and no one argues with her about it. Life is full of questions waiting to be answered (usually by me.) And her future is wide open, not yet written.

One day she wants to be a dog walker. Another day a singer. Another day a painter. Another day she says she never wants to grow up and wishes she could stay my little girl.

But unfortunately, she will keep growing, and I guess in a way I am happy for that. I just pray that the days take their sweet time, and that the world is gentle on her little heart.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Life's lessons continued

For me, 2007 was a year of waiting, as you can read from my blog series last year about, well, waiting. Without going into details, we were finally turning a corner and approaching a calm phase after the storm. Barely a month into 2008, we are now considering going to India for 6 months to a year with a business opportunity Lee is exploring.

There are a few opportunities I'd like to get involved in this summer, and when talking with a friend, I said, "But I can't make any decisions yet until I know if we're going." And she wisely replied, "You're in limbo again! You had two weeks out, and you're right back in!"

I laughed. She's right! Lee's heading out soon to India for a 12 day trip to check it out, and we won't be making any decisions until after he returns.

So limbo it is. You know, the limbo and waiting isn't as hard as it was last time. I guess I'm learning - slowly - that I can trust God with my future. It's ok not to know. He's omniscient and I am not. It's still hard, but it's getting a bit easier.

I love the words to this song by Chris Tomlin that we sang at a prayer service tonight. I especially love that it's almost as though the writer is declaring something he inspires to do, as though it will be hard but he is determining in his heart to do it:

Everlasting God

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God You reign forever
Our hope, Our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint, You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

God, You are everlasting

Monday, February 4, 2008

Leader of the Pack

I was upstairs playing with Nathan on his train set. He decided to be a mean motorcycle, knocking all the trains off the track. It was funny and he wasn't hurting anyone, so I let him explore the idea of being a bully. My trains ran from him, and though they sometimes resisted, he successfully became king of the train track.

Not long into the game, Lee came in. I left to dry my hair, and Lee took over. But did Dad let the mean motorcycle bully him around? No way! You can imagine the scene. Dad found a bigger, silver train that was easily able to stand up to the little biped.

I started laughing as I heard what was going on. As a mom, I was letting him act out his little scenario, exploring and playing and learning. But as the dad, he wasn't about to let him be king of the hill with out earning the spot on top!

I'm reading the Jungle Book to the girls (full version, kind of over their heads...), and we had just finished a chapter where the wolves were vying for their leadership position. I guess that's what guys do! And I'm still getting a good laugh out of it.