I’m a Rebel Lover

I’m giving thanks a few days early.

If you’ve been here a few times, you know how much I love my Sony Cybershot. I have three of these little gems.  One is usually in my back pocket or back pack with two in my purse (back up memory card and battery are also there).  And I have mentioned that I need to get a bigger, more advanced  …. “big girl” …. camera.

Two of my three Cybershots have malfunctioned. Oddly enough, the oldest one is the one that is still hanging with me. But, the two newer girls are on the blink. So, I’m down to one single camera. *gasps and trembles with apprehension*

With Thanksgiving on the way and a trip to visit friends and family on the horizon, I knew that I needed to get a credible back-up camera.  I have bought most of my cameras at Office Depot on clearance, including my last two. So, I headed into the store on Tuesday to see if they had any Cybershots marked down. While they had a hand full of electronic deals, a Cybershot was not offered …
but
a Canon EOS Rebel was for sale.

The camera generally sells for $599.00. It was marked down to $499.00 and then to $359.00 because it was a floor model.

Hundreds of dollars? I couldn’t just t.h.r.o.w  that down, so I used my “Call a friend” option and ended up texting two friends and talking to a third, all fellow Augusta Tech students who are good friends, who are all photographers and camera buffs. All three gave me “thumbs up” and said, “Get it! Do it!!”

I have been given some money as gifts specifically for a camera. I was anticipating spending between $150.00 – $200.00 for a Cybershot anyway …. so, I took this as a God-thing and made the leap.

This camera is not a higher end Canon 7d, but it’s a step up from my Cybershot. I’m accepting the challenge to learn more about photography
without being overwhelmed by a camera that has too many bells and whistles for me.

I’ve never liked plain …. uhm …. anything. So, I gave myself a day to think about what I wanted my camera strap to look like
and then decided on this super rich, gorgeous autumn tapestry to do the job.
It took me around twenty minutes to renovate the standard look and make it mine.  I L♥VE  it!!

Though, saddened that my oldest kids cannot join us
and will be staying behind with the farm animals and Dulcie the Wonderdog,
I’m excited that Joy and I are off on a Thanksgiving jaunt,
visiting friends of old and family that I love
and Stone and his wonderful boy, Jet.
I have so many reasons to give Thanks.
I hope your holiday week is filled
with *click click click* picture-perfect days.

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Typical

James has done this to me for years.
I try to take a photo of he and Glory
and he gives me one goofy face after another.
Usually I end up with 19 silly shots of James
and one awesome one.

And I guess, if I was honest,
I get 18 great shots of Glory
with James being goof-monster beside her.
THEN
when she finally does something weird –
like puts her hands over her face in frustration –
he flashes those beautiful pearly whites,
twinkles his eyes
and I snap.
The ONE good one of him
and SHE’S at the end of her rope.
I think he realizes what is happening
and THAT’S why I FINALLY get a good one of him.

But these two? Put them together
and the best I can get is
one silly face after another
and them *BAM!*
They’re done.
“Nope! No more, mom. That’s it. We’re done! Sorry!”

Glory worked a double shift so she wasn’t able to join us
for last night’s Montclair swim meet.
James came to cheer on Joy –
who sported sharpie under the eyes
to make her look “intimidating” like a football player.
It’s working, right??

So, this is what I got from
my oldest and my youngest …
the Comic Relief
and the Stage Queen.

They really make me belly laugh. hard.
and often.

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Macro Mode in Life

It moves me
stirs me
shakes me
turns me
when I actively see God’s hand in my life.
I get so excited.
I watch for it more closely
and see it more clearly,
often
and quickly
when it has happened recently
and my eye and heart are tuned in.

And I believe it happens much, MUCH more often than I recognize
not just to me … but to everyone.

I heard a line in a song that I may very well have heard wrong, but loved, just the same.
The line was … something like
I cannot receive
all that you give to me.

And this is God, isn’t it?

He pours Himself out for me
and to me
from a universe-sized pitcher
and I stand here with my little, pint-sized drinking glass
overflowing …
water streaming across my knuckles
and running down my arms …
dripping from my elbows
and puddling at my feet
soaking,
drenched
and sopping wet.

I ask Him time and again to show me Himself
because I cannot take in all that I see, hear and  experience.
And He is faithful,
but I spill … and puddle ….
I become distracted and look away ….
I miss out on that which is actually
an answer to my own prayers.

But, SOME.TIMES I see it.
Sometimes I see Him … and I know I haven’t missed it.

I couldn’t get my sweet little camera to focus a while back. I was taking photos and just decided that she must be dying.  She was near the end. Her little lens cover sticks sometimes.  I lose her LCD screen to a black emptiness at times.  She’s tired.

And then I remembered to check my macro setting. It was off.  Yay!  I turned it on and … then I could see clearly.
The photographs that I snapped were in clear, beautiful focus.

So, I kept snapping shots and later in the day found myself in a conversation with a young friend who I was mentoring a bit about photography.  She didn’t know about the “macro” button on her camera.  Not only could I explain what it does, I could SHOW her because I had macro shots that I had taken only HOURS before.

He goes before me, He walks with me, He follows behind.

On the left, the camera was not in “macro” mode. The camera automatically focused on the subject that was an average distance away …. in this case, the pine straw in the background. But, on the right, the camera focused on the petals of this hydrangea. The flower’s bloom was probably three to five inches away from the lens. “Macro mode” is not the mode that is used most often on a camera. So, when you want to focus on something up close, you must tell the camera to adjust its focal point.

But, macro mode comes natural for me. I want to move in close. I want to see the details.
I want to  see the pollen hanging like saddlebags on the knees of a bee.
I want more than an overview. I want the tiny, minute details.

Macro in economics means “the big picture” … or an overall view.
Ahhhhh … but in photography …. macro means “bigger than life.”
If you are discussing macro concepts in economics, you’re talking about the grand picture
like how our money system operates.
But, in photography, if you’re looking at a macro image,
you are looking at something small, photographed up close
so as to reveal all the tiny crevices, the texture, the detail … the nuances that you miss
in a natural shot, taken from farther away.
In a macro shot,
the drop of water
the shell of a snail
the head of a dandelion
fill the four by six print in your hand.
They are larger than life.And, yes, that is God, isn’t it? L.A.R.G.E.R than life itself.
More than we can fully take in, understand, comprehend.
He fills our little four by six frame
and yet, there is so much more than isn’t even in the shot.

I want to see more …
understand more.
I want to see the whole picture
but, oh, how I love macro mode.

Canon Investment

For years, people have been telling me, “You need to get a ‘real’ camera.”  I would clutch my little Sony tight, as if she might be offended, and tell them, “I love my camera.  She does everything I need her to do and I don’t WANT a bigger camera.” Then I’d rattle off all the reasons that my little pocket camera was what I wanted right now.

When I first got her, I only shot in auto mode.  But, as time went on, I played around with all the different settings and now I can jump from one place to another with ease.

But, I knew the time would come.

Lately, there are things I want to photograph that I can’t.  I want to take photos in lower light, or extremely far away. I want to be able to control my shutter speed … but I can’t.

The desire for a more complex camera has started to grow within.

While taking photos of some friends with my sweet, little pocket Cybershot, Anne said, “Ya know, you could just borrow my camera for a while. I used to use it, but now I use my pocket camera all the time.”

I didn’t hesitate to accept the offer as a gracious gift from Anne AND God.

My little camera does an amazing job … on certain photos. It takes amazing macro (up close) shots. It does well for snapshots. It takes excellent indoor shots with low light. But, It doesn’t catch action, close-to-dark or telephoto shots well at all.

For example, here’s a close to dark photo with my Cybershot from the camping trip.

Even in the deepest darkness, a Canon Rebel wouldn’t have created a grainy image like this if the camera was set on the right settings.

And so, I’m snapping and experimenting.  And I’m so excited to have the chance to play with a “big girl camera” for an extended period of time.

I’m praising God for giving me time to learn at my own pace … then providing me with a gift when I was ready.

My thoughts turn to the parallel between the spiritual and parallel worlds.  I’m so thankful that God doesn’t convict us of ALL of our sin at once. We would be completely overwhelmed and discouraged. We would never have the energy to put forth the effort to grow and purge our habits of sin. Even as we read the Bible, any particular verse might say one thing to us today …. and something different a few years later.  God doesn’t throw it all at us at once.  He gives us what we can handle- like a little pocket camera – when we are ready.  He teaches us all about the settings and ins-and-outs of operation. And then, when we fully grasp the concepts and administration of the smaller item, He gifts us with more (like a “big girl camera”).

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

In fact, Joy and I were talking yesterday about the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:13-30.  If you have been in church, you’ve probably heard this story several times.  The focus always seems to be on what the servants did with what they were given. Each of the three servants were given talents (coins).  One was given five, one two and one person was given one talent. The servants given five and two talents each invested their money and earned more. But, the one given one talent, hid it in the ground … because he was afraid of the master and he did not want to lose it. As we talked, I couldn’t help think about how gracious God is to give us what He knows we can wisely handle. He did not give five talents to the foolish man. He did not withhold from the wise servant and only allow him one talent.  He, the Master, who represents God in this parable,  gave according to the ability of His servant. So, even the servant who was only given one talent was given the opportunity to hear, upon the master’s return, “Well done my faithful servant! Enter into the joy of the Lord!!” … but he blew it. And he was instructed to give his single talent to one of the faithful servants.

I want to be a faithful servant. I want to take what I have been given and multiply it, that my Master will be pleased.

I’m thanking Anne for being so gracious to offer me such a valuable present. I will care for her well, gently and thoroughly.

And I will do my best to use my “talent” with a camera to be a blessing to my Lord. 

Make Me Happy : Snowflakes on Canvas

For several years, I’ve had this vision in my head
of a painting for our mantle.
Until this year, I wasn’t really even sure
how to go about STARTING it,
much less finishing it.

But, this year has certainly been an inspired year for me. Having already put brush to canvas recently, I dove in without fear.

I gave my canvas a basic base that would be the start for each snowflake. Then I googled snowflake images. I portioned off my screen so I could see the basic pattern that I needed to cut from my folded paper for each flake.

I created several snowflakes and then  simply tacked them down onto my  canvas.

Knowing exactly what I wanted my background to look like, I began with several earthy colors and a (new) bath sponge! The background fell into place quite easily.  Then I simply pulled up my snowflake templates.

The last snowflake had to be a little different. It was larger and I wanted it to have much more texture. So, I traced my flake onto brown paper then cut out the shapes.  I tacked these down and began to layer the textured white onto the canvas. Before the paint dried, I pulled up each relief.

Then, I added outlines, shadows, highlights and texture for dimension. I used silver paint for highlight, and black, as well …. there are paint splatters and even some fine glitter!  Each snowflake has a different personality so no one looks like the other.

After adding the words at the top, I finished my project.

The most absolutely wonderful thing about this project is that
it looks E.X.A.C.T.L.Y like envisioned it.

So, this morning, I can say that
Snowflakes Make Me Happy.

How ’bout you? What brings a smile to your face
this matchless Monday morning?

thanks giving thanks giving thanks

Rather than posting some blog about the perfect Thanksgiving,
with a beautiful table setting, a rich russet turkey smoked to delectable perfection,
fresh, warm bread, delicious deserts, and so forth ….
I thought I’d do another “be real” post and snap a few photos of my home
and what it looks like
today … right now.

Two years ago, I would have seen the yukky. Two years or so ago, I would have felt overwhelmed.  Two years or so ago, if we were home, I would have spent the entire week working to finish projects, cleaning the house, gathering and preparing for guests … or just our family …. almost completely by myself. I could have asked for help, but most of my family members work reluctantly. I LOVE to clean and prepare and do. I’m the minority in my home.

And so, today is not a Norman Rockwell representation of Thanksgiving.
But, it is SO much richer for me than any such sentiment.

Today, James is with our awesome friends in Marietta. He is probably surrounded by AT LEAST twenty-five people in the Baskin home that we affectionately call “The Tree House” – a multilevel home nestled in heavy woods by a creek. He is having a splendid time enriching one of his oldest friendships,  I know.
Joy is away visiting. And I miss her.
And Glory will join me for lunch at Golden Corral.  I will tell her again how much I love her.
We will enjoy the present of each others presence. And it will be grand.

But, rather than eating worms over being alone on Thanksgiving (my own personal choice, by the way) and the mess around my home, I dance and rejoice. Really!  My week has been SO nice. In Joy’s absence, I have worked hard on things here at the house. Last night, I completely finished sixteen of the outside panes of the bay window.  I have twenty-four to go and I’ll be finished.  It will be grand.  I didn’t know when I started what a tedious job this would be. None-the-less, it had to be done.

I’ve done scores of other little jobs that I have put off for ages.  Now they are listed on my Victory List! By the time I return to school on Monday, I hope to be ready for my last few weeks of Economics and have my project near ready for my last graphic design class.

So, with these photos, I am adding to my One Thousand Gifts list.

On this rich and beautiful Thanksgiving day, I am thankful for:
301. a deck absolutely covered in leaves to remind me that my yard is filled and my home is canopied with beautiful, tall, strong, sheltering trees
302. beautiful autumn colors that remind me that I have the ability to see a depth and breadth of color like no other living being. It is a gift given to the human eye from a Creator who wants us to enjoy the richness of all that He has made … including the absolutely countless number of colors and huesLeaves on my deck
303. plants that are beginning to wilt towards winter that remind me that it is time to be still and rest … to nap and warm by the fire … to nestle and snuggle and rejuvenate for the motion of long summer days
304. a certainty that comforts because I know that the sun will set, and rise, and set … the seasons will turn and life continues with a degree of certainty that is incredibly reassuring
305. a breezy, cozy screened porch for sitting and talking, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper. We can enjoy it for about nine months out of the year … when it is clean, of course.
306. a messy picnic table that reminds me that I have a creative, inventive son who can alter, modify or repair anything he sets his mind to.  He is currently working on a project of installing a new stereo system in his car … one that has required tremendous modification of his car including. But, he has worked on it and figured it out because he is gifted and imaginative
307. a son who has friends who love him enough to invite him into their home … to open their doors … to pull back a seat at their table … to open their arms and let him in.  They are sweet. They are dear. They are wonderful. And we are blessed to call them our friends.
308. a dining table that is covered with scrapbooking paper. The fact that it is now sorted can be added to my Victory List!  All I need to do now is put it into it’s shelving home. With it color sorted, it will certainly be more accessible for art projects. woot.
309. for plants that we bring into our home each fall to protect the tender shoots from the cold. In doing so, we bring in soothing life that somehow calms the spirit and soothes the soul. I don’t know how it happens … but I know that it is so.
310.  clean towels that need to be put into the party room bathroom. They were used by visitors a week ago. I’m so thankful for that space and that we have friends who come to visit!!
311.  free flowing sewage. The towels were used, in part, to sop up sewage (they were washed in HOT HOT water … with extra soap and dried with an extra bounce sheet for good measure)that covered the bathroom floor when our entire drainage system … neglected to drain for the second time in the past year


312. for a son who is wonderful and persistent enough to figure out how to take apart the pipes under the house and in the yard until he finds the source of the problem though he was never trained in how to do this job
313. a trash can that needs to be emptied which tells me that we have abundance that others do not have. I am blessed beyond measure … in ways that I can articulate and depths that I cannot fathom. And I am thankful.
314. a dishwasher that needs to be emptied which reminds me that we have water to wash dishes and food that dirties them in the first place
315. for four appliances that do not match. My fridge is dimpled white, my microwave is smooth white, my dishwasher almond and my stove gold … but all four work well. They work without complaint and are faithful reminders of how God provides for our every need and then some!
315. for the ability to again see the titmouse and the chickadee on the birdfeeder. The glass panes are now clean! Well … at least sixteen of them! Soon … they will all be reglazed, painted, and sanded. Soon the joints along the vinyl siding will be resealed. Soon, the bay window will be finished!! Yay!
316. for a guest bed that is covered with inspiration and construction work for painting and art projects that bless me. I have so many ideas and in the process of working on several.  Though this looks like a mess, I see it as inspiration spread out and a work in progress.  
317.  for paint!!  I trimmed out the hallway with a wonderful green paint … that I really didn’t like once I got it on the walls. SOOOOooo, I tried a spot with a mustard that was very pleasing … only to find that it looked different over the green than it did over the existing white.  I had to go back and paint the entire hall with a base white to be my starting point. I’m almost finished painting the base white and then will move on to the color.  I love the color and can’t wait to finish.  I’m thankful for “oops” paint.  I only buy from the 50% off shelves at Walmart/Lowes/Home Depot.
318. for a refreshing, renewed, positive perspective on life, myself, my God and those around me.

Somehow, some way … I am no longer bogged down the the dirt. I find beauty in the good, the bad and the ugly. I see through eyes that see hope, patience and loveliness. I don’t see the crusty, curmudgeon … I see a man who needs a hug. I don’t see a witchy woman … I see a soul who lives an empty life and takes out her sadness on others. I don’t see a bratty child … I see a little one who feels unsafe and unprotected because he’s never been given boundaries. It’s an absolutely wonderful thing.

And I am thankful.

May your day be blessed and filled with His holiness, His vision, His sight, mercy and grace.
Give Thanks
Search for Him …. relentlessly.
Never give up hope.
Give Thanks.

I couldn’t go

I spent the day wrestling.

Up and down … on and off the ladder … continuing to work on the
“Never-ending-re-glazing-the-windows” Project.
Smoothing. Scraping, Scrubbing. Painting. Sanding.
And wrestling.

Tonight is Michael’s visitation.
My understanding is that
last Sunday, things were normal … ordinary … they were common.
Last Monday, he was queasy.
Tuesday, he began to vomit.
Wednesday, they headed to a local hospital for fluids
… when he collapsed.
He was given blood transfusions and transported to MCG’s Children’s Hospital
where they specialize in the difficult. They excel in the extraordinary.
Thursday his enlarged spleen was removed.
And he was given more transfusions.
He was placed into a comatose state to keep him still
and allow his fragile body to rest.
His body was fighting and killing his red blood cells
as soon as he could make them
or they be given to his body.
Friday, he rested.
Until evening, when his pupils weren’t reacting normally.

They planned to do a CT scan to make sure he wasn’t bleeding in the brain.
I do not know if they even made it through … or to … that test.

Early Friday evening,
two parents,
five sisters
and one brother,

a school,
a neighborhood,
a church,
a camp in north Georgia,
a swim team,
a football team,
and countless others

lost Michael.

Fifteen years old.
Part of a family who is huge by today’s standards …
and loves huge by any standard.

I wanted to go tonight and take photographs.
I did it for George Dodgen’s family and I was pleased.

When a child dies suddenly, life spins. There has been such a whirlwind
that I know that it is all a blur.
I wanted to photograph the visitation … hugs … touches … smiles …

but I cannot bring myself to go.

I’ve come to realize that photography is intimate for me. I had a dinner party a few weeks ago, and we took no photos. The table was absolutely filled with people with “big boy” and “big girl” cameras, as I call them. I had all three of my little Sony’s close by. But, I couldn’t bring myself to snap a shot.
It felt like an intrusion
on a private, personal time.

Because photography is intimate for me.

I love macro photography.  I want to do more than take a photo … I want the details. I want the up close. I want the small, tiny thing that others don’t see. I want the crumbs under the table, the seeds on the ground, the whiskers on the cat. In most places – like economics – macro means the BIG overall picture. In photography, it means making the image being photographed
“larger than life.”
So, in photography, it means
the bees eyes, the snails house, the flowers pistils, the child’s tears, the dirty nails, the blonde curl,
…. LARGE.

When I put all of this together a few weeks ago, it helped me realize why
I do not like to take photos of babies
or most people.
It feels like an invasion of their personal bubble
… their personal space … because I like to get the details.

So, all day, I’ve mounted the ladder and climbed back down
as I’ve worked on my antique windows
and I’ve wrestled.

I finally realized that …
I just can.not go tonight.
Not a single person in the Cave family will leave the funeral home tonight and say,
“Hey! Mrs. Karen wasn’t there.”
Not one.

There will be dozens …. and, yes, probably hundreds of people,
walk through those double doors tonight
offering solace, comfort and prayers.

And if I am there, I feel as though I will be one more hand to shake,
one more neck to hug,
one more tear stained face to reflect a loss.
It just seems like
somehow
I will make it harder.
For, I am additional work.

So, I’m not going to go.
I will continue to pray.
I will continue to mourn.
But, I will stay home
with my camera
and not be a part of creating a macro image that will remain for decades.
Some things might be best to remain a blur.

You’re not a loser

Have you ever wondered?


Have you ever thought about angels? You know, with all the references to “sweet aroma” and incense in the Bible, surely smell means a lot to God.
And He gave us (or at least most of us) a keen sense of smell. The thought of apple pie or banana bread in the oven might make us think of fall. Burning wood, sweet memories of camping or bon fires. Pinesol makes me think of a clean house. And … well, the smell of vomit almost makes me get sick, as well.

As my blood has boiled and my anger gotten stronger in the last twenty-four hours, for some reason, I began to think that Satan must really stink.  I think his stench would be so overpowering and distinct that …. I would never forget it. ever.

There is a verse in Ephesians that says that the devil is “the prince of the power of the air.”  I’ve heard different ideas about what that verse may mean, but what I KNOW for sure is that our words travel through the air. And I know that the enemy takes what you say and twists it before it reaches my ears so that I hear something that you didn’t mean. And he takes my ideas and distorts them so that you read them in a different flavor than they were intended.

When we commune with God daily … all day …. He is able to filter these things for us and we can see the best in others EVEN when they mean evil.

But, for some reason, this is very, very difficult for us when we are dealing with ideas about ourselves.

If you say something to someone else that could misinterpreted as unkind, we would be quick to say to that person, “I bet they meant …… so and so” or “I don’t think that is what she meant.”  But, with ourselves, we allow this negative, nasty tape to run in our heads.  We take what was said and add to it.  We make it into more than it may have possibly even been intended.  WHY do we do this?

Do men do this, too? Or is it just a “woman” thing?

If I had a mic and could give a speech to the world, I would choose to speak only to the women.
And I would say,  “You are Beautiful.”

You are beautiful, as you are, where you are, through and through, inside and out. God made you unique. He made you lovely and He created you in His image. He made you special and gifted and unlike anyone else – and that’s a GOOD thing!!

Think of your own daughter …. (or imagine that you have one).  If a “friend” of hers said to her some of the things that YOU say to YOURSELF, wouldn’t you tell your daughter, “Honey, she’s not really your friend if she talks like that to you.”  What if her friend said,
“You can’t do anything right.
You never finish anything.
You’re so slow!!
You’re a klutz.
You’re stupid.
You’re a loser.
You’re fat.
You’re ugly.
You’re ___________ (you fill in the blank).

I would tell my daughter to love her where she is, only speak kindness back to her
…. but distance herself from that girl. That girl is NOT her real friend.

So, why, oh WHY, do we allow the same kind of talk that we would recognize as unhelpful and unkind in someone else ….. to spin like a broken record with the needle on the vinyl in our own heads?

Why the rant? Why the frustration and anger?

Because.
Because, a friend wrote me and poured out her soul and all I can hear is
self-condemnation. She actually said that sometimes she feels like a  “loser”.  And I hate it. It makes me sooooo sad!!!!  I hate the conversation she is having with herself in her head.  I can smell it from here.  It has a stench.  It’s not from God … it’s from our enemy.

AND the enemy has, at least in part, used this blog (and the many others like it)
to kindle the idea and fan the flames of those burning thoughts.
How?
Because like others, I crop my images to keep out the clutter and mess
(who wants to see THAT? I don’t!)
and I tell you the side of the story that I want you to hear
(because that is where I personally try to keep my own focus).
But, these habits cause life to look more beautiful for the viewer/reader
than they actually are in real life.
In other words, my “real life” (with cropped images)
looks cleaner and prettier than your “real life” (because you see behind the scenes).
But, in reality … my reality is no different from yours.

So, let’s go behind the scenes.

I am an artist. I am a photographer. I don’t just *snap* a photo. I position myself so the junk in the background is … not in the frame.  I move stuff (A friend used to tease me.  He’d say, “Oh, wait!  Let me move that tree,” as I put people into position to take a photo) In my home … there are messes everywhere.  And sometimes it takes creating a mess to clean things up.  So, if you ever read THIS blog and you think how I have it all together and you don’t
…. let me take you behind the scenes.

Tonight, I’m having a dinner party for ten. I went ahead and set the date because I’ve been putting it off for at least a month.  I keep waiting for “everything” to be presentable. Well, if I keep waiting … it never will be. So, I set a date.  In less than twelve hours, we will have guests. This is what my house looks like RIGHT NOW.

I’ve been reglazing my bay windows …. the little boy down the street came by to chat over the weekend.  He said, “So, you’re into month two, now, aren’t you?”   Why yes, Cody!! I am! Aren’t you observant? I knew it would be hard …. time consuming … and tedious – it’s MUCH more than I had imagined. MuCh!!This is a piece of art that I started about two weeks ago.
I WOULD be finished with it …

but ….   in order to finish it, I have to sift through this unsorted scrapbook paper.  My idea incorporates strips of paper and I haven’t made the time to choose my papers. So, the project sits …. and waits ….  

And here is my bed.  My bed is made …. but it’s covered with pants. One pair after another that is too tight because I have put weight BACK on. Nice. Right?

And let’s don’t mention the STILL unpainted bedroom walls. shhhhhhhh…..

Here’s the hall (that needs to be vacuumed). Those two boxes have been there for …. two weeks?  Oh. But they moved from MY bedroom floor BEFORE that.  They need to go into the attic, but I can’t reach the push-up door without a stool. And I haven’t taken the time to get the ladder and put these away.

And THIS is my beautiful screened porch. (Want to see the before?  Go HERE.)  It WAS lovely … until my man/child started a project on his car.  He’s installing a stereo that is requiring him to make all sorts of alterations to his door panels.  So, his mess is everywhere … since we have no garage or workshop, our screened porch is the only outdoor covered, working spot on our property.

Oh. And along with the OUTDOOR project of glazing the windows, I’m working on the INDOOR project of painting the walls.  So, this is what my den looked like yesterday afternoon at around 4pm.

Want to get really detailed?  I have a ziploc bag of leaves that I use for decorating for fall.  I thought I knew where the bag is stored, but I can’t find it.  It’s probably under the house in the fall decorations crate. I haven’t gone under there to search …. so even the candle arrangement on my dining table is unfinished.

But … I’ve gotten HUGE amounts done here in our home.  Most of the time, there is only one mess … or possibly two.  This is just a season. In fact, by tonight at 6pm, dinner will be on the table, the clothes will be put away,  the boxes will be in the attic, windows will be cleaned (I finished glazing last night), I’ll find that bag of leaves and complete my table decoration.  James is in charge of cleaning up his porch debris. Joy will vacuum. And I finished painting the bottom half of the den walls last night. I just need to put the furniture back in place.

And … if I can pull it off … I’m going to TRY to AT LEAST pick out the paper that I want to use on this project.

All this is just to say that …..
I have messes. I’m just like you. I stall. I put things off. I take on too much at once.
BUT,
I no longer beat myself up.
I do what I can. I try not to have too many projects going at once.

Most of all – I look for the good. I don’t see the pile of clothes I can’t wear; I see that I am blessed with food to eat. I don’t see messy windows; I see glass that keeps out the cold, when some people are homeless. I don’t see  boxes/clutter in my hall; I see boxes for new equipment for the love and creative gift that God has given me in photography. I don’t see a pile of papers; I see a stack of wonderful patterns to use to create and I thank God as most was from an exciting find at a yard sale.

Know that I am angry at the enemy on your behalf. Know that I’m asking God to REMIND ME over and over to pray for each of you. I will pray that God will use my words to you be aware of that stinky, stench of expectations that God doesn’t put upon you and self-talk that is unkind and NOT from Him. Know that there is no condemnation in Him. Don’t beat yourself. Do what you can. Change what you can … and change your attitude about the rest. Romans 12:2

My desire

I want to please him.
For years, I have wanted to please him.
I deeply desire that
he forgive me for the things I’ve done that hurt him…
I yearn for him to look at me with love…
longing….
desire.

I long for a tender, loving touch….
that he laugh at the things that I do …
that he find my quirks amusing …
rather than irritating
and my aging skin
still beautiful in his eyes.

I wish he had a longing in his eyes
that says he wants to be alone with me…
that he prefers my company
and my full attention.

Oh, that he would fancy me
find me striking
stunning
beautiful
charming
lovely
delightful
perfect to him
and perfect for him.

I want so much for him to be thankful
for the things I have done for him.
I want him to take notice
and appreciate.
It would take more than a simple “thank you”
in passing
to convey the depth of this deep a gratitude.

I long for him to grope for words
search for phrases
sift through thoughts
searching for a way to say thank you
for the hours
weeks
months
years of time
I have invested in his flesh,
his blood,
his children.

I want to be the one that he thinks about
day and night.
I want to be the one that he misses
when I step away.
I simply want to be wanted.

Of late,
I have come
to realize
that
I am…

not by him
but much more importantly
by Him.

There is this void
created by God
that can only be filled by God
and we try to fill it
with everything and everyone
except God.
I praise Him
for showing me this
in a new way.
May I truly allow Him
to be my all.