Thursday, June 23, 2011

With a Tripod and a Timer

Practicing photography is a tricky thing. Some of the greatest photographers I know can take some of the cutest pictures in the “ugliest” settings.  Anyways, my children although do enjoy having their picture taken as well as taking pictures they aren’t much for the letting Mom practice on them.

I really enjoy reading and looking at the photography of this talented mom’s blog. She inspired me to try taking some shots of myself.

Let’s just say things turned out better in my mind. :) Not that these are bad but it was quite challenging and I didn't get a lot of shots I had dreamed up in my mind.  
How do you decide how to pose yourself? It feels so awkward.

Why, yes, yes I do stand in front of short doorways with my arm stretched to the top of the door frame and think about...stuff. Like the fact that touching the top of a door frame with such ease normally doesn't happen for me. :)

As the timer counts down I assume the position of beauty....until the buzzing wasp make a bee line toward my head! Then I just look like a dork. Which is a much more natural look for me. :P

The above "dodge the wasp" picture is unedited which brings me to another subject. I was a bit bummed at how dark all of the pictures were. Yes, I do know of some settings I could have changed while actually taking the photo but on my little screen they looked better than this. It's hard to tell when you are outside. Sometimes I can't see my screen at all, other times the shots look good until I get them on the computer. Yay for editing programs. Currently I edit in lightroom.

Anybody have any good websites or books to read about editing photos? I have a hard time making them look right when I do a "natural" color.

There were two I tried to do a colored edit on but, when I did the exact same edit one of the pictures made my skin look very red. I shall keep learning-trial and error style...heavy on the error. I need to find my groove. This was my favorite color edit.
Well, it was a fun practice session anyways. And my best at documenting week 24 of my little man. Time is going by so quickly and I am more motivated to get stuff done! I set up the crib yesterday. Little man's room is almost ready! All I lack is finishing!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Psalm 139:13&14
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Hayden Reese Small

Is photography something that everyone can learn? I believe all of the technical side of it could be obtained by anyone who truly want to learn. Although I would say it comes easier to some than others. A friend posted a picture on her blog the other day of a t-shirt that read "Owning a camera doesn't make you a makes you a camera owner." So true. Many people, including myself own good "big" cameras and would like to be a bit more than that "point and shoot" photographer. I have decided for me the best way to learn is to practice. I don't think photography comes extremely natural to me. I figure the more I practice, hopefully, I will learn more about the technical side of things as well as the creative side of picture taking. The pictures above were a little practice of my sweet niece Hayden.
Editing is a whole nother realm of photography that I am not supurb at...yet. Currently my motto is - When in doubt...go black and white! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

He Restores My Soul!

Just thirty miles east of the hustle and bustle of the city was my oasis growing up.  I even enjoyed the drive to get there; a drive that some city dwellers might consider annoying. As a child the drive wasn’t made as much but as I got older it became almost a daily trek to a job, or extracurricular activity. Of course, as the business of life increased so did my love for my oasis. The drive helped me unwind and as I stepped out of my car I would allow a deep breath to fill my lungs, let my eyes rest on the beauty set before me and the world slowed down a little bit.  

As a young child, in the wintertime especially, my imagination was allowed to run wild as the dense vine covered woods became my fortress. I explored the depths of the secrets that those “uncharted lands” held. It was never dull.
I still enjoy my ventures into those woods and my walks alone or with loved ones on the quiet country road. The drive still gives me time to unwind and the view still helps me take a deep breath, slow down, and thank a Creator that is so much greater than I but yet still chooses to include me in what He is doing. Wow. 

 (Picture taken at the river just a short walk from the home where I grew up in Tuterville. AKA Mcloud, Oklahoma)

You know truly it isn’t the creation that restores my soul- it’s the Creator.

May you choose to let Jesus Christ fill you today no matter where you find yourself!

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.         
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the LORD

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh, Taste and See that IT IS GOOD!!!

Growing up I was always a fruits and veggies kind of girl. Not that I didn’t like all of the greasy and sugary things too but as a general rule I enjoyed almost all the fruits and veggies I was served. One of the veggies that didn’t make the cut for some reason was avocado. I didn’t like it on sandwiches or mashed up in guacamole. I didn’t completely despise the avocado I just didn’t care for it. Maybe it was a texture thing; I could never quite put my finger on it.

Anyways, Brandon’s taste buds have seemed to expand recently and as they do I am always trying to support that with new healthful yummy meals. He asked me if I could learn to make guacamole. My family liked guacamole growing up and so I had seen it made several times but wasn’t sure of the correct formula for guacamole perfection. I told him I should be able to figure it out and would give it my best shot.

Time out. Back up several months. In February, only a few weeks into this pregnancy, I was at my nieces birthday party. My sister had made some guacamole that looked very appealing. For some reason I had the urge to try guacamole, yet again. To my surprise it wasn’t too bad. I couldn’t stand over the bowl and eat a bunch but I went in for a second taste and maybe even a third. The flavor wasn’t bad. Texture, I could handle it. Still it seemed to be a bit rich.

Ok, back to present day. On Mother’s day we were at my parent’s house and the ingredients were all present to make guacamole for Brandon. My mom is a great cook, among other things, and so I knew she could teach me the winning recipe. Making the guacamole was even easier than I thought. The hardest part was knowing if it actually tasted good since it is a food I don’t like. (I also have this problem with seafood. It is one of Brandon’s FAVORITES but I don’t have the slightest idea how to make it or if it tastes good or is even done or still raw when I make it. Please send helpful tips my way.) After Brandon gave it a taste test he gave his stamp of approval. It looked yummy and I felt as though maybe if I tasted it I could memorize the flavor so in the future I would know if it was good. You know, making guacamole is a delicate balance of salt and lime. It took me several chips worth of guacamole to “memorize” the flavor and Brandon was right. It was quite good.

And then it happened. A couple days later early in the afternoon I had a thought. Guacamole. It sounded rather good at the moment. Maybe I could make up a batch to have with dinner, which was in no way guacamole related. I had all the ingredients…but the cilantro. Oh, well it wasn’t that big of a deal anyways and I would just make some next time I had cilantro on hand. The problem was that the craving intensified. When the girls nap ended I made the decision to run to the nearest store and get that cilantro.  After the decision was made I was toast. My mouth began to water; the guacamole was to be mine. YUM! Problem is this store was out of cilantro. OUT!!!! That was bad news for everyone. I called Brandon and got his voice mail at which time I informed him I was in crisis. This momma wanted guacamole and I wanted it now! I enlightened him to the seriousness of the situation by telling him if he couldn’t come home with cilantro in hand than he might as well not come home at all! It was an intense moment.  Just as I was about to pull into our driveway Brandon returned my call- it was bad news. He was already at our house when he got the message. Not cool! He said “Sorry” and acted like the world could go on. I SAID I WANT GUACAMOLE!!!!! My visions of guacamole had been torn to smeetherens all because 1.) the store was out of cilantro 2.) Brandon hadn’t answered his phone 3.) At $3.75/gallon of gas Brandon wasn’t willing to go get me some.

Ok, correction. He said I could go get some and after I pouted about it he said he would go get some. But I told him no. I could be mature about the situation. It was, after all, only a food we were dealing with. Certainly the craving would subside.

As I began to prepare the evening meal Brandon commented about how good dinner smelled. “yeah, whatever.” I quietly replied. “Doesn’t matter” I added sarcastically in a dreary voice.  Shortly thereafter I decided to invite over one of our friends who was in the city and out and about. She could come join us for dinner…if she brought cilantro. And she did just that.

And I was very happy.

And my mouth finally was at peace.

And I ate almost the whole batch of guacamole by myself.

And it was delightful.

And now we have guacamole on a regular basis.

And I am still loving it.
I have high hopes our relationship will last far into the future.
Now, if you will excuse me…the avocados are calling my name.
Not included in this picture is a roma tomato. An imortant factor in making MY guacamole!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Because Yesterday was Dad's Birthday and I wanted You to Know

(Picture taken 2010)

As a child I wrote an essay. Not as an assignment for school or as a punishment but rather because I wanted to remember. I wanted to remember the people in my life who made a difference for me, those who impacted my life in a significant way, and those whom I watched even when they didn’t know I was watching. I saw character - true character come out. My findings were that those people who profoundly influenced my life were human. At times, though not often, I saw them react wrongly to situations. But again I grew to love and admire them all the more because I saw them correct their wrongs in right ways. What an encouragement to a young impressionable teenage girl! God was first in each of their lives. It was evident and I longed to mirror their example.

The first paragraph of this paper was about Greg and Kim Werner. At first I was only going to write it about Greg but then as I thought on the matter I knew Kim was such a huge part and success of who Greg was. And let’s face the facts, as great of a guy as Greg was/is it takes a special someone to be his wife. God knew what he was doing there for sure and Kim does the job very well! I’m sure dad agrees. J
Why did I write about them? How did they “make the cut” for this not required paper? Was it because we were great friends with their family and their oldest son had a crush on me? No, remember this paper was written out of my own initiative and was meant for nobodies eyes but my own.
Most people who read this blog know who Greg Werner is. As I grew up he was THE get-things-done guy. And he could infact get almost anything done. Even if it was a “womens” task like cleaning a house to serve a family he could get it done faster than any woman could because he would recruit 10 women to clean the house and he was only there to delegate, encourage, keep things moving, and of course, but our lunch afterwards. :) Things just always got done. But that was what most people saw in Greg Werner. I saw something more; something that’s still is so engraved into my memory that I couldn’t let it go if I tried.
Prayer. I loved to hear Greg pray. Not from the pulpit or in some other large public setting. I loved to hear his prayers at his house. Mostly during home church when it was just a quaint gathering of friends. I wish I could describe it to you. This get-it-done macho man melted in the presence of a Holy God. When there were not words he simply had tears or groanings and I have no doubt the interceding still took place.
He was quick to prayer. Even over the “small” things he would pray. If I had a headache it was common for him to pray for me right there wherever we were and ask the Great Physician for healing. As needs arose no matter how small, we stopped and went to the Great Provider. It was natural for him, second nature. It wasn't just show. He led his family to do the same with or without company there.
I loved that he always pointed me to Christ; not only through his council but also through his actions.
I saw that he was a man of purpose; advancing the Kingdom of Christ. It was his sole purpose and it was evident. It fueled a fire in me to do the same. I am confident that he could not and would not repent of that call. He witnessed to many of his co-workers on many occasions. I watched him work many, many hours serving the church before he was even on staff. In fact he had a full time job. In case you can’t do the math that equals lots of extra work with only eternal reward. (Again where Kim comes into the picture as an amazing person of Godly character.)

I also admired the way he led his family. Yes, there was an attraction between his older son and I. But that has nothing to do with what I am talking about here. Time and time again I saw Greg stop the family to point out a way that God had done an amazing thing. How he had provided, healed, or moved in some other way. It was often that he pointed out to those around him “The blessing of the Lord is a person’s greatest asset.” A quote that remains one of my favorites to this day.
And yes, I watched his oldest son. Growing in the ways of the Lord that I saw no other young man doing. I knew he had long, long, talks with his dad about subjects both practical and spiritual that helped him grow into a man. I saw Greg trying to impart Christ into Brandon, not Greg. If it were God’s will for Brandon and me to marry I wanted to know God would be first in training our children as well as our bases for each decision. Obviously this came to pass and I am more grateful than ever for the spiritual values Brandon embraced through that training time in his life and continues to impart to others.

I could continue on about the character and service I saw from Greg Werner but the list is too great. The incidences will be forever memories I hold in my heart as a person changed by the actions and life of Greg Werner.
But I would consider it a loss to you if I didn’t also point out that Greg can cook a seriously good omelet, pull a water skier like a machine, can be fun and crazy, sing like a real man, and makes a pretty darn good Papa too!

I guess what it boils down to is this. Even though when I wrote that paper as a teenager I didn’t know what the future held. I am grateful to call Greg Werner my father-in-love. I’m glad that writing Greg in all the above places felt weird because I get to call him Dad. And if my last name had never changed to Werner, this I know, I would still be a forever changed person because of who Greg is. And I would still be grateful.

On April 10th 2010 life changed for dad and our family in many ways. But you know what hasn’t changed? Dad’s legacy. No, his legacy will continue on. His Godly heritage only grows. His mission continues.  I love that this Greg Werner still loves God and is willing to follow Him even in the hardships. (Again, may I point out Mom’s example here!)I love that God still hears the prayers of this Greg Werner. I love that this Greg Werner is still doing what he can to invest in others, even if at times that looks differently than it did. Trust me, it still makes a difference. Just ask my kids!

I love you Dad! Thank you for loving the Lord! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A friend is someone who always stands beside you!

Something I have never had to deal with is people in my life moving away. Almost all, and I mean ALL my family is here is the great state of Oklahoma. And I have a HUGE family. Some of Brandon’s family lives out of town but the majority of them is here too.

There is this girl; not related by blood but a kindred spirit. She kind of means a lot to me. We met at church and have been “best friends” since her tenth birthday. 

We told each other secrets. Had a billion sleepovers. Laughed about stupid things until we cried. Cried about stupid things until we laughed. Got each other into and out of trouble. She was there when I got my drivers permit, I was there when she got hers. Went to Africa together more than once. We walked the graduation isle together. Worked at the same job. We were bridesmaids in each other’s wedding.  (She tripped in my wedding and I was glad because that is who she is.) We both married men in the ministry.  She witnessed the birth of my first born and was there just seconds after my second born. I witnessed the birth of her first born. The list could go one for miles.

We just get each other.

Yes, this is Brandon, Alisha, Lauren, and myself. :) Oh, the good old days! I have many more old pictures but they are not on my computer. Maybe I will dig them out and post them on Alisha's birthday. :)


After I got married we didn’t get to hang out as often as we had in the past. The phone calls stopped coming like they did when we were kids. But regardless of how often we talked we made an effort to get together every now and then to catch up. It was never awkward when we got together. We simply picked up right where we left off.

Do you understand the kind of friend I am talking about here? A rare treasure.  

My friend is leaving; her family it moving out of state. It’s not that I saw her even once a week while they were here. But it is merely the fact that I can’t see her even if I wanted to that makes it so difficult.

We spent some time together at the zoo this past week before she left.
It was weird to say good-bye. How do you bid someone farewell who is actually moving for good?

Because I feel in my heart this is a rather dramatic matter I shall quote Anne of Green Gables as she speaks to Diana after she has been forbidden to see her dear friend.

“Farewell, my beloved friend. Henceforth, we must be strangers living side by side... but my heart will be ever faithful to thee.”  

This card pretty much sums up our friendship in the most perfect way.

I have nothing more to add to the beauty of our friendship.

Someone get me a tissue.

 Love you Alisha!