Shooting with Soul ~ Exercise Two: Your Shadow

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ah, finally I have checked off the next exercise in my photography book.  My book, "Shooting with Soul", has been sitting on my desk collecting dust again.  But today I decided to move on to the next exercise - my shadow.  (Check out my previous post to learn more about this book - Shooting With Soul)

The above picture is a picture from many years ago.  My friend was the one with the camera so I didn't take the picture.  But I still love the picture because of the memories it brings back.

My family does a lot of hiking and last year I wore my "cowgirl" hat hiking.  I rarely wear this hat because, even though I love it,  I can never find an outfit to wear it with. This was actually the only time I have worn this hat. I'm glad I did though.  It made my shadow look neat and the granite rock made for a nice and (mostly) uncluttered background. Although when my mom looked at this picture she didn't know that I was wearing a cowgirl hat until I told her.  Shadow pictures can definitely be hard to interpreted Sometimes. 

Last summer when we were camping at the ocean my favorite part was waiting on the beach for the sunset.  While waiting as the sun went down I noticed how long the shadows were.  This picture makes me look like I am standing on stilts.  I really like this picture because of the golden color the almost setting-sun gives off.  

These last two pictures are from today.  The sun was hitting our front yard at an angle.  The perfect recipe for great shadows.  The garage door makes for a plain uncluttered background so I snapped a few pictures before the sun went completely down.  

It felt great to take my camera outside today and snap some pictures.  I never seem to have the time anymore for this favorite pastime of mine.  

I can't wait to see what the next photo challenge in my photography book will be!

My Prayer Board

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Two things have been on my mind these past few days.  The fact that we are constantly in spiritual warfare, and what God has given us as our main weapon to fight against this kind of warfare 

Thinking back to last Sunday's sermon, which was on prayer, I was convicted of the power of prayer and important role it plays in our spiritual walk with God.

When I think of prayer a certain movie comes to mind.  Last October I went with my Mom and sister to see "War Room". If you haven't seen this movie, it is a very powerful, convicting movie about prayer that I believe all Christians should watch. I was encouraged and inspired by this wonderful movie.  click here see the War Room Trailer .

If you asked me what the one area in my walk with the Lord that I struggle with, without any hesitation, I would say my prayer life.  I pray everyday but I never feel like I'm focused or really pouring out my heart to the Lord when I pray.  I do it often as if I'm doing it just to check it off of my list of things to do for the day.  I have a prayer journal and whenever I write my prayers down it helps me to stay focused as I'm talking to my Lord but I don't always have the time to write down all my prayers.

After watching War Room I wanted to find a place to make into my 'War Room'.  I wanted a special room set aside for prayer where I could pin prayer requests and Bible verses on the wall. Unfortunately I could not find a place in our house that isn't already being used for something.  We don't have a large house and all our rooms have a purpose.  I was thinking of clearing some space in my closet but my closet is already packed full with too much stuff.   

When one way doesn't work though, you'll find another way, you just have to be a little more creative in your thinking.  As if out of nowhere, an idea came to me!  Since I didn't have an actual room to devote to prayer I needed something else that would help keep me focused as I pray.   I created what I call my 'Prayer Board'.  It has a list of prayer requests to remind me of what to pray for and some inspiration and guidelines for prayer.  I also ripped out a notepad from an old address book I don't use and added it to the board to write down daily prayer request and things I'm thankful for each day.

The clipboard I used was found at a thrift store (where I pretty much find most of my stuff). You can find them at Wal-Mart though.  I see this style clip board whenever I am browsing through the 'office supplies' aisle.   

On the inside of the clip board I decided to make a place where you can write down prayers that have been answered.  I also struggle with memorizing Bible verses so I stuffed some index cards (I use index cards for everything, they're so useful) into the pocket and each week I can write down a Bible verse to study and pray about.

This took me no time at all to put together.  I love being creative and organizing so I really enjoyed making this board. You can personalize it any way you want.  Now when  I pray I can grab my prayer board and everything I need is right in front of me to help me stay focused on Who I'm praying to. Another plus with this board is it will work great for traveling.  My family goes camping a lot in the summer.  When you find a nice quiet place in a beautiful valley or while taking in a majestic mountain view, there's no better time to pour out your heart to the Lord in prayer.  

With my new 'Prayer Board' I'm looking forward to growing closer to God in my prayer life.  Prayer is our strongest weapon  against the enemy and just like all weapons, we have to learn how to use prayer.  Only by  devoting a certain amount of time each day to prayer will we begin to reap the benefits and effectually fight off the enemy.  

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

Focusing on the Year Ahead

Friday, January 1, 2016

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96: 1-3

It feels like 2015 was just yesterday, oh wait, it was. 

Once again, the year seemed to have flown by. I can't believe that we are now in 2016 and 2015 is the past. Looking back on 2015 I can confidently say it was a good year. I had ups and downs, good times and bad times.  Many of my dreams come true, but many of my dreams still remain just dreams.  It was a year of new friendships and painfully watching old friendships fade.  A year full of laughter and tears.  But through it all God has always been by my side.  That is why I can say 2015 was a good year, and I know that each lesson I learned in 2015 was to bring me closer to Him.

Briefly taking a look back over the past year I would like to share with you a few of my highlights:

  • In March my mom, my brother, my sister, and I went on a road trip to visit our relatives in Illinois. It seems so long ago that we all piled into my brother's car and drove, drove, and drove until we finally reached my aunt's place in Illinois. We had a wonderful visit and made many new memories.

  • In the spring my family worked at a Christian living history camp called Rock-N-Water. I learned so much and made so many wonderful friends during the two months we worked at Rock-N-Water. I'm looking forward to working there again in 2016 (this year).

  • My biggest accomplishment of 2015 was making my Astrid Cosplay (you can find information about my cosplay on my cosplay page - My Cosplays). I took my sewing skills to a new level. Cosplaying Astrid has long been a dream of mine and it's truly an amazing feeling to make a dream of yours come true. I hope to make many more cosplays this year.

  • In November I turned 20. To me that is a big deal because I'm no longer a teenager. On that day I created a list of goals for my 20th year. (you can find the list here - Twenty and Blessed)

Looking back I am also reminded of the many sad and difficult times I faced in 2015.

  • Saying goodbye to my best friend as she left to go to college in Texas was difficult for me. I'm thankful that I can still communicate with her but it's hard not to be see her as much as I used to.

  • Watching my brother enter the Coastguard only to come home with a medical discharge was a trial for my whole family. Seeing someone you love so disappointed wasn't easy. We prayed that God would heal him and I'm still trying to understand why God sent him back home.  But we take comfort in knowing that God's plans are always the best.

  • Continually doing my best to trust in God and be content is always a constant struggle for me. I want to find my purpose in life but each day I have to learn to surrender myself to God and trust in Him for my future. 

I know that many of the struggles I faced in 2015 I will also face in 2016. But I know that just like God was with me in 2015, He will not leave me in 2016.

But enough about 2015 - I have decided to focus not on the past but on the year ahead. I can't wait to see what lessons God will teach me this year and what new skills I will be able to learn.

If I were to come up with a list of resolutions for the new year, it would sound a lot like the list I made on my 20th birthday. I have thought hard about it and have decided upon three main things I hope that this year brings:

1. To learn how to sew a dress without a pattern and and how to make my own pattern (this skill will be so helpful in making cosplays)

2. Become a better sister and daughter. God has made it clear to me that my place of service is to my family. I want to be kind and loving to my siblings and respectful to my parents.

3. To grow closer to God. I want to reach a point in my walk with God where nothing else matters. I want to 'fall in love' with God.

I'm looking ahead with a hopeful heart, thankful for the year that is past, and ready for the year to come.

Happy New Year!