The First Line

Do you know that if you gather a group of photographers together and ask them who makes the worst clients that straight across the board, hands down they will all say family and friends. The advice is always do not work for them…they won’t appreciate you and they won’t value what you do.

But my friends.
My friends.
My friends turn that industry standard on it’s head. 
A few weeks ago I got asked several times about my camera being broken. I was puzzled by this because my camera wasn’t broken. Not broken broken anyway. I mean, sure it will freeze up on me in the middle of a session and I have to turn it off and back on to get it clicking again. 
But broken would be broken. Broken would be the same as being blind. Broken is the thought that makes my heart skip a beat and my breath catch in my throat. Rather than think of it being broken and wearing out I look at it has being quirky and temperamental when I have to remove and reinsert the battery so I can change the exposure some times. It’s character. 
Besides, a new camera is so far out of the realm of my reality as to be a day dream…a what if and a one day kind of thought. 
Until last night when some friends stopped by with a birthday gift.
And just like that, in their generosity the first line in the next chapter of my photography story was written.  I have the beginnings of a nest egg…a cache…a savings account…whatever you want to call it to actually get a new camera this year. 
Not just any camera either. But a full frame, handles low light like a dream, more camera than I have ever had in my life, boy, will I have a learning curve Canon 6D. Suddenly, my misty wouldn’t-it-be-amazing thought has some substance to it.
And I am grateful and humbled by my friends. Who appreciate me and value what I do to the point that they are willing to help make it happen.
To them I say a very heart felt thank you! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of capturing all your special moments, for giving me the honor of telling parts of your story. 
So bring on your babies and weddings and anniversary celebrations. Your birthdays, family gatherings and reunions. 
Because one day in the future a brown box is going to come in the mail. I will open it, take out a camera and start pushing buttons and turning dials and I am going to need something to photograph.

A Friday Funny and a Poem

Autism is nothing more than normal behavior carried out to the extreme nth degree possible. So, when we say Sam is punctual or that he likes to follow a routine what we are really staying is that Sam is punctual and likes to follow a routine.

In the beginning of the school year everyone is excited and pretty easy to wake up in the mornings. The girls are eager to get to school and see friends and move with what I call purpose in the mornings. We leave promptly no later than 7:10 in the morning during this purposed time.

But by now, half way into the year, sleep is more desirable than that extra few minutes chatting with friends before morning meeting begins. There is decidedly less purpose in getting up and more purpose directed towards refining the exactly how long can I stay in bed and still get to school without getting a tardy slip process.

For the girls that is. Because Sam is punctual and likes to follow routine. The routine that says arriving any later than 7:30 means we’re late. It doesn’t matter that school doesn’t start officially until 7:50.

He has taken to “helping” the girls in the morning by loading lunch boxes for them and loudly proclaiming the time every two minutes beginning at 7 a.m. “Pick it up people” is a common refrain he sing songs while careening around the house bumping into things and tripping over his own two huge feet.

He even makes cartoons to illustrate just exactly how he feels about the whole thing.

Apparently, he feels like getting his sisters out the door in the morning is like herding a bunch of snails.

Sam isn’t the only one willing to share his talent and creativity with the family and the poem I want to share with you today was written by Claire. She is our child who wants to be an artist. Actually no, she informs us that she is an artist. She is pretty creative and this year words and stories are coming alive for her in a way like never before. She’s always been a note writer but her skills are becoming more refined. For an eight year old anyway.

Family and friends I have
Do you?
I have friends to.
Do you old chap?
Yes I do!
Do you person?
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I do.
How long has this been going on?
 ~a poem by CEH

I love that she only signs with her initials 🙂

What We Wear Matters

It is quite the thing these days to choose a word for the year. I’ve never done it but I have enjoyed reading about the word choices of others and how it plays out in their lives through out the year.

Words are powerful.

Kingdoms have risen and fallen upon the words of good and evil men.

Fortunes have traded hands because of a well spoken deal or crafty conman.

As Christians we shouldn’t be surprised by the power of words. After all, the world and everything in it found it’s origin in the voice of God as He spoke it into being. As if that wasn’t enough He then crafted the most glorious tale of all time…one full of stories within the Greater Story. Beauty, love, intrigue, deception, betrayal, enemies and battles, death, triumphs and resurrection. We are people of story. It is woven into the very fabric of our lives.

I was at the library last week and randomly flipped open a book and saw this quote.

“Language is the dress of thought.” ~Samuel Johnson

What an amazing way to view words! It has stayed on my mind the whole week…this idea that language covers the nakedness of thought.

Our words can cover or reveal.

Sometimes my words rush out past my lips in nothing more than a diaper and a onesie.  My flash of angry or frustrated thought snatches the clothes of infancy for covering.

Harsh and unkind words are dressed with dirt stained overalls of one who has wallowed in the mud. Or as filthy as a dock worker or fishwife.

Words can be hard but life giving and their attire is that of a baker covered in flour who has labored in the kitchen to make nourishing bread.

Then there are times when my thoughts are guided by the Word and their expression is found in the soft gentleness of an afternoon tea dress that catches and flutters in the breeze.

Loving thoughts come in wedding finery, pure and brilliant.

Obviously clothing can be deceptive. (Spanks anyone?) The language we choose to use does not always truthfully reflect the reality of our thoughts so this analogy can only go so far. But Mr. Johnson went on to say this:

“…and as the noblest of men or the most graceful of action would be degraded and obscured by a garb appropriated to the gross employments of rustics or mechanics, so the most heroic sentiments will lose their efficacy, and the most splendid ideas drop their magnificence, if they are conveyed by words used commonly upon low and trivial occasions, debased by vulgar mouths, and contaminated by inelegant applications.”

The Bible tells us that “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 

If we are being obedient to that then the language of our thoughts will be winsome. Or as Solomon put it, like apples of gold in settings of silver. We won’t come to a barn raising for our neighbor garbed for a night out on the town and therefore unfit to offer help. We’ll choose the cloth of forgiveness over the bitter cheap material of the too small suit of a mafia hit man.

Our thoughts, and how we dress them, should be a reflection of the garments we have been given by the King. And why would we want to cover our garments of salvation and our robe of righteousness with ill fitting and unbecoming layers that cover their beauty and hide who has truly dressed us?

Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Murphy!

Exactly one month ago today on 12/13/14 they became husband and wife in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by family and friends.
It was truly a beautiful wedding with some of my favorite details to date. The flowers alone were just stunning.

The most beautiful thing about the wedding though was the love that cascaded between the bride and groom and washed over everyone there.

Such a beautiful family was created at that day!

At the risk of picture overload here are some lovely high lights from part of their day. More to come!

Walt and Casey, you have both remained steadfast and faithful, trusting God’s goodness to sustain you. God has surely blessed your obedience to Him. May your love for each other continue to grow and shine the light of Christ into the lives of everyone around you.

The One I Didn’t Choose

Whenever I am shooting something, either people or things, I take a lot of pictures. I’ll move around, closer or further back, from up high or a little lower. I’m working to see different perspectives and to find the right angle that reveals what I want to show or tells the story line I want to be heard.

Consequently I will end up with a bunch of images that don’t always reach the light of day so to speak. But sometimes the decision between one image or another is nothing more than which one strikes me the most and it can be so close that I end up choosing one over the other in an almost random dart throwing kind of way.

Why am I saying all this? Because last week I was doing the theme for a 52 week project I am part of and I’m happy with the option I posted to the fb group but I still love the one I didn’t choose. So I’m choosing to share it here.

Because, for me there is just something about it…the way a stem of the blooms is peeking from behind the banister and the little hint of the turquoise blue sky barely seen in the corner.

The First Week of January

The sun set on the evening of the first day of the new year and a beautiful sun set it was.  I liked that it wasn’t gloriously vibrant and spectacular. Sometimes we’re looking for that…for the BIG amazing moment. But for the start of the new year I liked that it was calm and sure of it’s promise that day’s end had arrived.

Pensacola, Pace/Milton, causeway, Hwy 90

The second day of the week found the Christmas tree untrimmed and out in the yard. Normally I leave it up until our 12 th day of Christmas but this year the new additions to our home were very exuberant in their enjoyment of the holiday bling. I gave up keeping bulbs on the bottom half of the tree but drew the line at restringing lights every day. Tom was quite curious as to where the tree went.

One of the things I love about our 12 days celebration is the traditions that have developed. One other family has joined us in celebrating Christmas this way so one of the days is spent together. We didn’t intend for it to be the same activity each year but that’s the way it’s worked out…dinner and a hockey game. Although I’m not sure our team appreciates the custom since they’ve lost the game both years. Coincidence?

Even though the tree had come down we still had other decorations out. I love the warmth and outdoorsiness of our decorations. I used to try a different theme in my decorating each year but now it’s settled into basically the same kind of thing with some minor tweaks each year.

The fifth day was hard. We were slipping back into our old routine of going to school and on top of that, Rob was leaving to go out of town for the week. Hats off to military families and women who deal without their spouses for long extended periods of time. I hate being apart from him. But this is a good annual conference that he really enjoys and it gives him the opportunity to spend some time visiting and learning from another pastor in ways that he normally wouldn’t.

The sixth day was fun! I am experimenting with some new ways with my photography and wanted to practice so Sarah agreed to be my subject and we spent some time with my Mother at the downtown library taking pictures. Man that place was busy! We ended up spending most of our time in the kids section which wasn’t nearly as crowded.

The year of the selfie…not! For me anyway but the kids will randomly grab my phone and take pictures of themselves alone or with each other. I never know what I am going to find. Which pretty much sums up the year ahead.

There were lots of unexpected things in 2014, some easy and then some not so much. But all good because they came from the hand of our Father. So even though I don’t know what lies ahead I trust that it will all be for His glory and our good.

Happy 2015!