Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Wordless-ish Photo Dump

I've got all these photos to share and no logical way to share them.

So I'm dumping them on you. Enjoy.

My boy loves him some bubbles.

Gotta get that last drop.

Goofing off with dada.

How much can a little guy carry? We don't play with toys these days. We carry them around. And sometimes drop them in the toilet.

Baby gate fun.

Independent play. I love watching him become creative.

Sloppy Joe night. The boy was in Heaven.

 then, she {snapped}NapTime MomTog


And now it's time for an edit.

This week's photo is brought to us by Linda from Coach House Crafting, and can I just say, Linda, next time you go to this place, take me with you. Please? I will love you forever. That place is beautiful.

Here's the image SOOC:

And here's my edit:

I brightened up the image and sharpened it up. I added some contrast and increased the saturation. Then I cloned out the little boats on the right and the funky looking clouds in the top right-hand corner. And voila.

Here's a comparison:

Whatcha think?
Edit Me

The Joy Thief

Sometimes, when things don't go the way I think they should, I step out of faith and into a place of self-sufficiency. I take the power away from God, where it belongs, and wrestle with it on my own.

It never works out for me. I end up defeated, exhausted, and humbled, giving the control back to God, back to the only One who has the wisdom and love and understanding to manage my life.

You'd think I'd know by now. Scratch that, you'd think I'd understand by know. Because I do know. The moment I begin to dwell on how it should be, I know I'm stepping in quicksand. But I do it anyway: I doubt, I whine, I compare myself to others and to the world. And I begin to sink.

When I look back on my life, and especially on those times when things weren't going my way and I had to trust that the Lord was working, I never think, "I could have planned that out better." Why, then, is it so difficult to employ that same mindset on current struggles? Why is it so hard to trust the One who knows the way through the wilderness? Why do I insist on fumbling my own way through?

Real faith in God requires me to trust His hand 100% of the time, not just when He is doing things they way I would. Real faith in God requires me to understand that God is good even when I don't get what I want. To accept that sometimes I will feel pain, sometimes I will cry, sometimes my heart will hurt and things will look pretty dismal. It's during that time when I need to pry my eyes off the world and focus squarely on my Lord.

He is my Joy. And He can never be lessened.

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.

Philippians 4: 4-9

Monday, January 30, 2012

Project 366, Week 4

Well, that week flew by.

It was good. It was exhausting. It was lived to the fullest.

Monday -- Baby was with Grandma, so the dog had to model.
Tuesday -- Fun day at the mall.
Wednesday -- Baby eats the cereal, Mama eats the marshmallows. Totally fair.
Thursday -- Happy boy at an empty park.
Friday -- Let's find Yo Gabba Gabba.
Saturday -- Clean up your toys!
Sunday -- Not feelin' bath time.

Naptime Momtog

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fix It Friday

Working on another edit today. This time it's a senior portrait from Andrea Riley Photography.

Here's the image SOOC:

And here's my edit:

I rotated the image to the right to give more of an angle and to hide her armpit. Because I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of armpits. Not my own. Not anyone else's. Then I increased the exposure a bit and added a cross processing effect. I love what the cross processing did to this girl's eyes and her skin. Gorgeous. Then I softened the background to blur the grass a bit. Ta da! So fun, and what a beautiful senior portrait. So fresh and ready for summer.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1000 gifts, week IV

Week 4 of the Joy Dare. Today I will be picking up where I left off last week.

Thankful for:

63. Bible studies meant just for me
64. giant chocolate chip cookies that the boy and I couldn't finish

65. and big messy smiles as a result

66. long naps that ease away aches and pains
67. fun with Turbo Tax
68. "Grace and Mercy" found only in Christ
69. a baby still sleeping at 8:30 AM
70. watching him discover

71. breakfast for dinner ... and then for breakfast the next day
72. the ability to trust in God's plan
73. "Not right now and not that way" as an answer to my prayers
74. a new Bible
75. a smart kid who only eats in the high chair

76. lunch dates with my mom
77. grandparents who spoil the boy
78. a student who teaches me about grace
79. mild days on an empty playground

80. smiles reserved only for me
81. lazy days

82. receiving kisses from the boy when I ask for them
83. re-institution of date nights (oh, how I missed them!)
84. messes that are fun to make and easy to clean up (and dogs that are willing to do the dirty work sometimes)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for this week? You can post in the comment section below if you don't have a blog to post to!
Linking up with Candra and Women Taking a Stand for Thankful Thursday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Beauty of God's Plan (and an edit)

Three years ago, I'd walk by the little play yard positioned smack dab in the center of the mall and shudder.

Two years ago, I'd walk by the same play yard and feel so empty and broken. I felt so hopeless. Why couldn't I just have a baby?

Last year, I walked past the play yard and squeezed my tiny baby closer to my chest. It would be forever before my little squeakbox would be old enough to play there.

Today, Cohen squealed with delight as we aproached that same play yard. He walked right in and got down to the business of playing.

And I had to just take a minute and thank God for His plan. I haven't understood it most of the time. I haven't liked it some of the time. But it has been perfect and good for me all of the time

I smile when I think about what this play yard will mean to me next year.

God is good, y'all. He provides exactly what I need exactly when I need it. Cohen's passenger in the picture below? That little boy and his mama are proof. During a time when I needed a friend, God provided in abundance. And maybe I'm just in a mushy mood today, but I am thankful and feel very blessed.

I mean, how can your heart not turn to mush when you've got this in your life?

 then, she {snapped}NapTime MomTog


And for this week's Edit Me Challenge, one of my favorite photographers is the contributer and judge (eeek! So nervous!).

Here's the image SOOC:

And here's my edit:

And now you're going to want to know what I did, aren't you? Of course you are. I really need to get in the habit of recording my steps because, frankly, I don't really remember what I did.

I cropped the image slightly to make the bottom of the photo a little cleaner. Then I increased the clarity and sharpened the image a tad. Next I increased the exposure a little and turned the photo black and white, playing with the levels until I found what I liked. Finally, I softened the image to create a hazy feel (looks like that's the theme in my edits. Apparently, I like things to be hazy.).

And here's the side-by-side comparision:

Edit Me

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

just one of the guys

It is 10,000% true what they say. Babies are the best imitators. They learn by observing their envoirnment. Unfortunately, I think our enviornment may be a little too canine for my taste...

and let me just tell you, I am so very relieved that I deep cleaned and sanitized that dog bed in my nifty new washing machine this weekend. Go ahead, kid. Play away.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Project 366, Week 3

Another week down! Here's what it looked like:

1. On Monday, the boy and I visited some fun animals.
2. Tuesday was too chilly for the boy, but the dog enjoyed his outside time.
3. Got my new Lightscoop in the mail on Wednesday!
4. I spent most of Thursday making Cohen model for me.
5. We spent Friday night at the grandparents' house. Cohen walked on the treadmill.
6. Saturday -- rain, rain go away!
7. Nothing better than pizza on a Sunday afternoon (especially when your mom brings it!)

Naptime Momtog

Friday, January 20, 2012

This Momtographer Is Back in the Game!


So here's the deal. I've been a lazy momtographer lately. Now that we've got some legitimate cold weather, the boy and I are usually cooped up inside the house for most of the day. And while inside keeps us nice and cozy, it also keeps me from snapping some good pictures.

You know the drill ... I open every blind in the house, set my camera to settings that may, hopefully, allow enough light in the camera, and dial down the shutter speed in attempts to get proper exposure.

And all I get are grainy pictures of blurs. Not the crisp, bright pictures I love.

And use the flash? Never. I hate the shadows. They literally make my blood pressure rise.

So you can imagine my joy when Mr. Mailman delivered my new prized possession this week: a lightscoop. How did I ever live without this thing? I now have the power to take decent pictures indoors. With no natural light. And they look pretty good, too.

As an added and unintended bonus, it completely captivates my kid. Hello, eye contact!

Cohen has discovered the self-portrait. he loves climbing into my lap and will sit so still and patient while I snap the picture. Of course, he demands to see the picture immediately and likes to press the buttons on the camera.

I can take pictures of dinnertime again! At 6:30 PM when it's pitch black outside. And no more blurs, because the shutter speed is set to 200!

Nighttime play? No problem. I can get all the action with no threat of blur. It's a wonderful thing, this lightscoop.

Want a lightscoop of your own? You can buy it here. I had a gift card, so I only ended up paying $3 for it.

I am one happy mama.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1000 Gifts, Part III

This week I am continuing the Joy Dare.

 Here's where I left off last week.

This week, I am thankful for:

43. relaxing during nap times

44. free kids meals (and not having to share my own)
45. finished projects
46. trials that strengthen character
47. the privilege to minister to others
48. Friday afternoons designed specifically for Daddy/son time

49. little boy giggles
50. the warm coat I wore and the many we gave away
51. James 1:20
52. bubbles in the bathtub
53. smiles delivered in the mail

54. a peaceful heart; a quieted spirit
55. $5 pizza on a busy night
56. beautiful skies that distract me when I'm driving
57. a daredevil baby
58. being needed and being wanted
59. supportive friendships
60. animal entertainers

61. camera accessories that make my life so much easier
62. justice for a young, innocent girl

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for this week? You can post in the comment section below if you don't have a blog to post to!
Linking up with Candra and Women Taking a Stand for Thankful Thursday.