Spring through my lens

 He is risen, He is risen indeed! 
I'm waking up today with hope in my heart because yesterday we celebrated Easter and our Jesus who lives.  He lives indeed! 

One of the greatest ways I understand God in my everyday life is through the everyday world around me.  Especially the natural world. Ever since I heard Shauna Niequist describe God as the ultimate artist it's just clicked for me.  With each click of my camera I'm not just seeing a pretty photo op, but a stroke of God's paintbrush on the earth.  What colors! What textures! What beauty, layers, growth, light and shadows, and unique things He has made for our eyes to notice. 
I pick up my camera almost daily.  Although the amount I share in this space may ebb and flow, the camera connects my heart to God and the wonder that really does wait for us to find it. 

Looking for the rosy in my routine is a practice and one I work at faithfully. 
I challenge you this spring to find at least one thing a day that catches your attention. 
Somedays I trudge outside and am desperate for something, anything to get my mind off the daily to-do's.  Almost always it's either the girls making me laugh, art, photography, cooking, or the natural world that puts the pep back in my step.  I think the people who appear most naturally cheerful are maybe just the ones who decide a million times a day to look for the rosy. 

These two things brought me to tears.

I know I usually keep it pretty rosy around here.  What you might not know is that my passions are actually best summed up as "both."  In fact, both is probably my favorite way to describe myself.  I think both the rosy and the really raw things of life matter completely.  One not more than the other.  I don't think the sugar-coated life amounts to much.  I believe in reading things that make our stomachs turn, challenging the status quo, and listening to what makes our hearts ache and pound just as much as I believe that my pink door makes me happy.  What a weird sentence to write, I know.  All I mean to say is, it's not all spring flowers, farmer's markets, pink doors, and selfies rooting for the rosy life around here.  Behind-the-scenes there is much that matters deeply to me, whether I know how to articulate it or not.  Without writing an entire novel, I'll say this week this commercial and book made me cry.  Like in an instant, the tears were there.  The deep kind.  

The commercial is sponsored by Budweiser and to me, that's neither here nor there.  You simply must watch. 

The book is gut-wrenching.  It left me almost sick to my stomach on more than one occasion.  It made me feel like I was reading a story that was set way back in history but the most traumatic part is that it wasn't.  These were recent events.  It profoundly impacted me in a way very few books have.  

These are the things that matter to me, although I may not always know how to put it into words.  I don't know much about life.  But I know I will always be a champion for hope and joy and for people.   ALL people. However God sees fit to place me in this world, whomever he puts me amongst.  We have light friends, that we can share with those around us and that is no small thing. 

iPhone 6 camera versus Nikon D750

Something caught my eye and attention today and I thought I would share it quickly! I was taking a picture of my art to post on IG and grabbed my phone because for some reason it feels faster to me.  After I snapped the shot I quickly reminded myself that I actually DO know how to use my "big camera" and how to use it quite well.  Within the span of a few seconds I grabbed my camera and took an almost identical photo to the first.  

This is the Nikon shot you see above, which is actually the second picture I took.
The first was this, taken with my iPhone 6. At first glance there's nothing wrong with the photo, except that on further glance the photograph taken with my Nikon much more accurately depicts my painting.  

There just simply isn't any match.  It seems like the argument over phone versus DSLR is fading.  The phone seems to be winning.  The photos can be simply stunning from an iPhone, especially if you have the newest version. (which I'm not even sure what that is)

For the record, both of these photos are completely unedited and straight from the phone/camera.  I guess all I'm saying is I think there will always be those of us who view the phone camera as fun, but the DSLR camera as a work of art.  This few minutes today reminded me of that.  I feel best when I am an artist with my camera AND my paintbrush. 

Journaling my way to free.

You all, I finished an entire journal.  Start to finish, beginning to end.  Front cover to back.  Within the time span of a year!  I have started many, many journals and I seem to unearth them a few times a year underneath the piles in my craft room.  Remnants of the past strewn about the pages, but too many blank pages left at the end to count.  Never finished. 

Then something shifted last year.  Our little one moved on to a new foster care home and there were more thoughts and feelings than I knew what to do with.  Where little feet padded constantly, silence. So I took to journaling.  I don't remember exactly what kept me coming back to the pages, even after the ache lessened from missing our little one.  (note: lessened, never gone) But for some reason I kept putting pen to paper and over the course of several months I noticed the weight journaling relieved.  Being able to articulate what was going on in my head and heart and then leave it there on the lines and close the book felt, for lack of a better word, freeing.  It hasn't just been the hard things of life I've journaled.  It's also been the joys, the God moments, the answered prayers, and times when I truly noticed the rosy in my routine.  Things that have never made it to the blog and most likely never will.  Perhaps I'll mine through my journals someday to write that book I've always talked about writing.  But mostly?  This is for me.  I no longer find myself writing "journal" on my to-do list because someone else thought it was a good idea to do and said so on their blog but because journaling has become such a healthy release for me. 

Now I am the one on the blog telling you to try journaling! 
**This photo was taken during my 2 week stint of trying to have pretty, grown-up nails.  Between working outside, painting, and just my daily life, it didn't last.  Maybe I'll try again soon. lol**

Starting with reflection: What's working and what isn't?

You all, this is my absolute FAVORITE time of year! Spring and summer are for sure my happy places.  So many flowers and blooms to capture with my camera, the garden to tend, people to see at Farmer's Market, sunshine to sprinkle my face.  I lean towards the rosy on my blog, for good reason.  I truly think we can spend our time either leaning towards misery or merriment.  You know where I fall on this spectrum. What you see is what you get with me, rosy indeed.  Most of the time that is.  What I don't think people realize is that behind-the-scenes this is soul work that feels like hard work occasionally.  Not that often, but sometimes certain habits, situations, and just life things slowly chip away at my spirit, leaving me feeling not nearly as rosy as I may look from the outside in. 

You know what? That's ok.  I've come to realize my favorite people EVER are the ones who are as real in the struggle as they are in the celebrating.  I had a best friend of mine say this when I asked her how she was recently-"There have been some highs and lows...some low lows.  But God keeps telling me to get back up. Don't stay down!".  I think Lauren Daigle's song "Look Up Child" puts it pretty well in just three simple words. 

The past month or so (and really a sprinkling of days leading up that) have held some things out of my control but many things in my control that have snowballed into a bit of an inner storm for me.  You know what? A handful of things I don't have any control over and honestly, rosy attitude or not, won't be able to ever make someone happy.  I'm trying to learn to sit with that feeling.  That some people will not like me, no matter how rosy I am.  Hard for this people pleaser to face and then move on with my day.  What I DO know though is that we have so much control over our own lives.  We CAN take control of a lot in our lives and turn this ship around.  This isn't to say that we control our lives and God doesn't.  I'm not going there at all.  Instead what I mean is one tiny choice at a time, we can take our worlds and form them into something different than what they've been before.  We get redo's.  We get to start over. We get clean slates.  We get "try again!".  

So this week I'm sitting with my thoughts a lot, memories of such a wonderful weekend floating in and out.  I'm thinking about what is really working for me in my life and what isn't.  I'm going to work hard to make the changes I need to because life is too short to feel stuck and exhausted.  

Some of the changes I'm pondering/planning to make are: 
Deleting IG and Safari off my phone again-did you know you can still upload to IG and check your account from your Desktop?  A quick look at my screen time (you can find this under "Settings" on your phone) was at first horrific to me to see how much time I wasted and then sad and then made complete sense that I've been feeling the way I have.  I still plan to upload to IG because I do like it! But if it's on my desktop I won't have the option to browse all day every day. 

Filling my free time with: 
reading a book, going outside, journaling, listening to music with no distractions, painting, or art journaling. 

Letting go of: 
toxic people-not letting them have power over my sensitive soul
eating junky food -UGH.  As a recovering emotional eater, this feels so hard at first until I'm a few days in.  Then it feels better. 
staying up too late-I'm almost 36 folks.  I just need more sleep than I used to! 

Last-saying what I need to.  I had two much needed conversations this weekend about things that were eating away at me.  This was SO HARD for me.  But I did it! I did it y'all and I didn't cry or throw up or have a panic attack.  Although I came close, lol.  There is such POWER in speaking up for ourselves and being authentically ourselves. 

Really, that's the whole point of this post.  To remind you gently, that there is more to this rosy gal and blog than meets the eye.  I'm figuring out this life just as much as you are.  My rosy? My armor.  There is power in choosing happiness and joy.  I'll believe that forever.  But I also believe it's ok to be gentle with ourselves, show ourselves grace, and reflect on what's working for us and what isn't. 

Maybe you need to sit with your thoughts and bravely make a few different choices this week?  I'm right there with you, doing the hard work social media doesn't always like to see too. We can do this! I'll be back to the rosy posts tomorrow, but the behind-the-scenes work will continue. I'm cheering you on from this side of the screen! 

Our winter film

Film-making and viewing the world through the lens of my camera is so much a part of my life.  Whether it's on full display for the world to see or simply a means for my art to express itself, photography has never left my thoughts or hands.  

The past year or two I've fallen into a rhythm of capturing little snippets of our life through film.  A few seconds here, a second or two of ordinary life captured there.  Together, they make magic in my eyes. 

Here is a look at our Winter film.  
I hope you enjoy! 

Painting canvases and playing in my art journal.

Happy Monday friends! How are ya? I am feeling a bit sluggish due to the 30 degree temperatures this morning. I'm cocooned in my warm, winter coat yet again.  Winter-please go away! I'm officially ready for the sun on my face and sitting on the back deck instead of by the warm fire.  Brett and I counted up the months and we end up burning fires in the house at least six months out of the year.  I'm one of those souls who's mood can really feel a shift when day after day of cold, grey skies, or rain fills the calendar.  I've gotten pretty effective at recognizing this and adding in the joy and color my body craves.  
So needless to say, we make a lot of art in our house.  You probably already guessed that, right? I remember starting the year off with the goal of having a clean dining room table. We had been to lunch at a friend's house and their table was so spacious and cleared off they had room to set the food in the middle of the table so we could each serve ourselves.  It was simply lovely.  Although I do clear our table off a few times a week, it never stays that way for long.  The first spot the girls head to when we get home is always, always the dining room table.  Markers are quickly spilled out, dress designs drawn by Betsy, homework done, masterpieces created.  Our table is so very full of life and although it doesn't look like my friend's, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Our mantle was needing a spring lift so I grabbed some canvases for half-off at Hobby Lobby and turned the girls loose! The rainbow painting you see above is Anna's creation.  It makes me so happy every time I see it.  Kids don't stop and fear when they create, at least mine don't.  They just go for it! I have so much to learn from this.

Our Spring Break didn't go as planned.  Our plan A turned into plan B which turned into plan C.  But you know what? It gave us more time at home and that turned into the truest break I could have imagined.  One particular morning I must have sat on the porch in my robe all morning long, coffee close by.  I still adore tearing my favorite pages out of magazines and sat down with a big stack of pages to start cutting and taping into my art journal.  

My art journal is something I reach for often and like to add stickers, paint, notes, quotes, and drawings to.  I'll share some more pages soon! I've actually just finished an entire art journal and so this is a brand new one.  Is there anything so lovely as opening up a blank journal? I don't think so! If you're intimidated by a blank page, follow my lead and tape some magazine pages or photographs down first.  In fact, I think a journal would be lovely with just a simple image taped to each page! There is something releasing about creating in this medium.  It never, ever, ever gets old. 
And last....here are some works in progress of mine! I said I wasn't going to share these because admittedly, sometimes sharing progress feels like a "before/after" photo shoot and what if people don't like the after?! But, I do think it's good to bravely open up and share all the stages of creating.  I'll give you a hint.  I usually really, really dislike my paintings before I really, really like them. :) It's just part of the process!   (I happen to really, really like where these two are headed.) 

That's it for a creative look into our world lately! I can't count the hours or the joy from sitting down with my girls, letting our fingers do the talking. 
I hope you make at least 10 minutes for creating today. 

Spring through my lens

 He is risen, He is risen indeed!  I'm waking up today with hope in my heart because yesterday we celebrated Easter and our Jesus w...