Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Year of Photos

I've been taking pictures of Jadyn since she was still in the belly. I'm currently working through her one year photos but decided to take a look back to the beginning...

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3 months
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6 months
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9 months
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1 year!
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And to think that someone gave Jadyn's mom the gift of photos for a year!!!
Super generous and best gift EVER!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Heart Surgery

So I was sitting at Panera tonight getting some Panerapy. It was needed. I sat there reading my Bible but all it felt like was that I was just reading. Nothing was sinking into my heart. I felt like I was searching for something but nothing was clicking. I ended up flipping to my go-to favorite book of the Bible... James. And I just began reading in chapter 1, verse 1 and read until something hit me in the heart.

So we start with verses 2-4 (this from the Message)...

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Not gonna lie... even though I don't want my marriage to end there have been times where I have wanted out... to call it quits. Give up. Be done with it. I haven't done that because I know it's not right... but that doesn't mean there haven't been times where I have been ready to walk away. But there it was in my Bible tonight... Don' try to get out of anything prematurely.

Premature means done too soon. If I stick this out and do the hard work of getting back to good... I'll be a better person because of it.

I continued reading and next up is my all time favorite verse. It's my go-to in all times of trouble. It's the advice I give to others all the time.

James 1:5... If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

 I. Need. Wisdom.
The end.

Then I read that blessed are those who persevere under trial (v12) and that we are tempted by our own evil desires (v14).

But it was James 1:19-21 that managed to pierce my heart tonight. I've read it a gazillion times but tonight it had new, fresh meaning for me. It wasn't an easy thing for my heart to hear but it was necessary that my heart hear it.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  

Now... I am no Bible scholar. I didn't do an in-depth study on these verses. I don't know exactly what they are meant to mean but I know exactly how God used them in my heart tonight.

I have been so stuck in anger... and I'm still angry and it isn't going to go away overnight. BUT. Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Righteousness is the state of being righteous.
Righteous means acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous.
(Or we could even run with the slang definition of righteous here... absolutely genuine or wonderful.)

And then I am told to get rid of all moral filth and evil.

For me that means bitterness.

Lastly, I'm told to accept the word (of God) planted in me because it can save me. It can do so much more than save me in the sense of salvation and eternal life with God. It can save me NOW. It can save my heart. It can save my marriage. It can save my life.

Pray for me as I let God do some major heart surgery.

Panerapy was good tonight!

The Lewis Family

October is pretty much "family season" in the photography world. I recently met up with the Lewis family at a local park for their photo session and when I got to the almost always empty park I had a hard time finding a parking spot. When I looked around all I saw was other families dressed for photos and every photographer in the area ready to go. 

We worked around the crowds though and had a good time.

I have photographed Cael before and shared some of his story. He was born with a heart defect and began his life with surgeries and long hospital stays. He is now 18 months old and adorable as ever!

Of course, he let me know from the beginning of our session that he wouldn't be working with me and I would need to work with him. :)

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He said there will be no sitting for me! I must run free!

Can't blame him for feeling that way after spending so much of his first year laying in a hospital bed!

Anyways... I love this family! I've known them for a few years and they are super sweet and are such a great example of how to stay strong and walk in faith during hard and trying times!

(They still post updates from time to time about Cael on their FB page. You can check that out here.)

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Cael shows us his muscles!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Thank You

I am convinced that I know the best people in the world! Really... the support and encouragement and prayers have been constant since I shared on Friday about my messy marriage. I was at times overwhelmed... in a good way... by all the emails and words spoken and acceptance. Thank you. Thank you for letting me share my life, my heart, my story. Thank you for listening and not trying to fix me right now.

Thank you to every single one of you who took the time to share YOUR story with me. It means the world that you would be vulnerable as well and offer me support, lend me some courage and remind me there is hope.

I know I'll share more along the way. And maybe even more about my year. This year has been nothing short of devastating when it comes to my dreams and my heart's desires. It feels like the year where everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

I'm thankful that I have my God. Without him I would be so lost right now... but with God I know there is more. I know this isn't the end. I know there are still dreams to be lived and there will be victory. It might be a while before I see those dreams again and have victory... but my future is going to be better than the past. It will be work to get to that place... and eventually I will be ready to do whatever it takes to get there.

Right now though? Right now I feel like I am swimming in a mud puddle of pain. I feel trapped inside my walls. I want out but I can't find the way.

The ironic thing is... Mike really hurt me but the past few months he has been doing the hard work of getting back to good. He has done everything I have asked of him. He has made sacrifices. I'm the one holding us back. I'm having a really hard time walking out of this hurt. I'm having a hard time forgiving completely. I'm bitter and angry.

I am a mess.
My heart needs work.

Please continue to pray for us... for me.

In the meantime I'll just eat my peanut m&ms... oh. Wait... I already finished them off!

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

More Family Photos

Let's lighten things up around here for a day. :)
Here are the last of the photos of my family. It's so nice to be able to share what I do with them. We didn't spend too much time taking pictures. The kids were getting crazy and just wanted to play and I don't think anyone wanted to spend the entire night doing photos. We were also quickly running out of light. SO... each family got their turn... including mine. 

I'll post my them in sibling order.
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(Would you LOOK at Jason!!!! Oh maaaannn... trouble right there haha.)
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I also have to share this one of Dave's family. If you know this family you will understand why this is an absolutely perfect representation of their family!

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And then there is Matt and I feel really bad that I didn't get a picture of him. I have a feeling he wouldn't have really wanted to do one alone but I still should have tried. Maybe I'll have to ask him if I can get one real quick when I am home again next weekend because I have a feeling mom would like to have that.

So that's the fam.

I have a few more of me, Mike, Liza and Jason. I think they are fun. We tend to get silly when in front of the camera because I'm not sure if I know how to be serious. 

We do this thing where we all fake laugh and it's pretty ridiculous.

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The best thing about the fake laughs is that it got us this photo which I SUPER love...

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Serious faces...

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Silly faces...

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And we finished with my favorite kind of photo... up close and personal.

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Oh! And all eight grandkids together!

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I can't wait till we can all get together again!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

To Be Fair...

After my last post I shared the link to FB like I always do and I wrote "Don't judge me." I didn't want to be judged because of my issues or the way I am not coping or for sharing about things so publicly.

Honestly... I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement that came rolling in. I never know how people are going to respond to some of the things I write and it's a little scary to be so open about my life sometimes. But... when the emails start coming in and people start sharing their own stories and their own pain... and some shared how they have overcome the same kind of situation and found their way back to good... when that starts happening I know that sharing was the right thing to do.

However... I want to be fair to Mike as well and ask that you not judge him either.

There are some facts and one of them is that he is a good man. His heart is good. I couldn't ask for a better person to be dad to my kids. He treats me well and in my anger I have not been so good to him yet he sticks around because he knows he made a huge mistake and he wants to make it right.

Yes... he hurt me when he looked at porn BUT he did not look at porn to hurt me. It doesn't necessarily make it easier for me to deal with but I want you to know that he isn't a bad guy. He just made a really big mistake. And if we all get honest for a moment we too have to admit that we have made some big mistakes in our lives as well.

Even though I sometimes wonder how things will ever work out between us I don't want my marriage to end. Yes... my marriage currently sucks. BUT I know that ending it would suck even more. For one, I'd have to get a real job and work. Sorry... maybe this isn't the time to be making jokes... but joking is how I deal with hard things and maybe the fact that I can make a joke is a sign that even in the midst of all the pain I am still me and maybe there is a sliver of hope somewhere in there.

But really... ending my marriage isn't the answer. I know that. Maybe some time apart so we can truly sort through things instead of sitting around the house stewing in anger because we can't get away from each other would be good. (I'm dreaming up a month long road trip for myself this winter in case Mike doesn't find a winter job.)

I know things aren't going to turn around overnight.
I know we have a long way to go.
I imagine things can't get much worse than they are.
Pretty sure we are at bottom.

This is where we get to decide if we really meant it when we said marriage is forever. Yes, we may be miserable now but it is of our own making. Walking away won't fix things... we'll just carry our issues to our new relationships. SO... here we are... at bottom... doing an awful lot of fighting as we try to find our way through the pain. If Mike was continuously looking at porn and not in any way repentant about it I might think leaving is the right thing. But that's not the case here. It was a few days of looking at porn (I'm not justifying anything) and he is sorry that he did it and has set up boundaries and is building a support system for himself. He is taking steps to overcome and be victorious in this area.

Is it hard to trust that this won't all just happen again in the future? Yep.
Is it really hard to get past the pain of what has happened? Yep.
Is my God bigger than my problems? Yep.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Life is a Mess

I'm tired. Exhausted. Depressed. I have been for a while. 2013 has not been my year. Actually, I don't think 2012 was either. I don't really know a good way to share the things I'm about to share but I've decided it's time to just put some things out there. Mike has told me he is ok with that. I'm tired of keeping it all in. Of course, it's all a bit humiliating to share as well which is why I haven't spoke about it much to anyone... but it's exhausting to keep it in. So I figure I might as well be humiliated and exhausted together... at least then you will all know what my problem is when I seem tired and depressed all the time.

It's my marriage.
My marriage sucks. It's awful.
Has been for a long time.

Things had been up and down for a while (what marriage isn't?) but about a year and a half ago I found that Mike was looking at porn again. :( Most people know that he grew up addicted to porn but he had quit before we got married. Nine years without it. I had no idea it would find it's way back into his life like it did and I had no idea how devastated I would be when it did.

Now... to his credit he didn't let himself get sucked back into the world of porn for long... but the damage was done. My heart broken and crushed. I feel betrayed. Trust has been lost. And it's been a hard road to walk since.

I think there are several reasons that I have hesitated to share.
1. Shame. It sucks to have to admit that my husband was looking at porn.

2. Someone will probably read this and think "what's the big deal? So he looked at porn. So what. Get over it." I'll never understand how some women just don't care that their husbands look at porn. It is a big deal. It destroys people on all ends... those in the porn, those who look and those who are attached to those who look.

3. Most things I've read about porn addiction talk about how the spouse needs to be supportive. How the person looking at porn already feels enough guilt and shame and doesn't need the spouse adding to that. Basically what I hear when I read stuff about porn addiction is that I need to just suck it up and deal because HE needs my support and blah blah blah. It all makes me want to scream "WHAT ABOUT ME!!?!?!? I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS! WHO'S GOING TO SUPPORT ME IN WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH!?!?"

4. Someone who has never had a problem in their marriage is going to get all spiritual on me and tell me it's time to forgive and move on... as if I haven't been working toward that... and it will make me want to punch them in the face.

Just know that there are reasons why it has been extremely difficult to move past all this.

So there ya go. If I haven't seemed to be myself lately that's why. Sometimes I cope well and sometimes I don't. Lately I haven't been coping at all. I'm stuck in anger. I'm living life through heartache. I struggle to find a bit of hope. I'm terrified at how devastating one more winter will be to our marriage. I wonder if we will survive this.

I'm now I'm going to hide all weekend... or longer... because everyone knows my issues.

I hate porn. My marriage sucks. The end.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We Are Family!

I'm slowly making my way through the rest of the photos from MY family shoot. :) It's nice that other people in my family aren't intimidated by my big camera and will actually use it for me. I basically set the settings, tell them what I want and then tell them to just take a whole bunch of photos. It works. I get to be in pictures!! Woo hoo!

My brothers and sisters... I'm the second oldest.

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I told them to all hug in and pretend we like each other. This is what I got from that...

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They put up with me.

We really do like each other haha! Promise!

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I just love this next picture! So glad we got it. As much as we love all the add-ins to the family I just like to go back to the originals for a photo. 

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And then there is my mom and dad. :)
Dad has a pitchfork and said he needed a picture with it. They were supposed to be all serious faced but mom was having a hard time staying serious. Speaking of mom (hi mom!) she might poison my food next time I go home for sharing these with you guys.

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But we finally got it. :)

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And I'm pretty sure that might be one of my favorite pictures of mom and dad EVER haha. It's just too fun. 

But to make up for embarrassing my mom by posting those I suppose I should share a really nice one that she will like.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lesson Learned

When my family was all together I insisted that we do family photos. It was four years since the last time we had all been together (photos HERE) and who knows how long it will be until everyone can make it home at the same time again. A family photo was necessary. I tried to make it as easy as possible and thankfully the time I told everyone to be at the house and ready worked out. It had rained earlier in the day but it quit in time for pictures and it was still cloudy meaning we could just step out the back door for pictures.

I set up the tripod. Got everyone set... kind of difficult when I had to leave a spot for myself! I eventually got things good enough and jumped in my place and managed to get all the kids looking at the camera, all 21 people with eyes open! It was glorious!!

That is until I put the pics on the computer later that night and realized that my focus wasn't sharp at all. Boo! No... really... I wanted to cry and kick myself. I was so mad at myself. Once I got everything set and took some practice shots without me in them I forgot to switch the focus over to manual so that it wouldn't move and refocus where it shouldn't. :( I will probably never forget to do that again! Geez.

Anyways... keeping in mind that I know these aren't crazy sharp in their focus... here is my family in the field we all grew up playing in. 

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(One of these things is not like the other... that pops into my head every time I look at this photo haha. Apparently they missed the cue to go back to normal one more time. :))

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Seven kids jumping at the same time while using the remote on 2 second timer???

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 So that's my family.
Started with 8 and now there are 21.
And I'd rather have fuzzy pictures of it than no pictures at all. 
They aren't too bad as long as I leave them small.

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