Saturday, June 21, 2014

Opening Up //

We all have weakness, vulnerabilities, tender places and we like to keep them close and secret and protected. Walls up. Armor on. Smiles wide. We know the risk that is run if we confide, share, ask for help. Ouch. Every one of us has had brokenness. We aren't meant to stay broken + we aren't meant to travel through it alone. Christ's Body -- little healers, comforters, burden-carriers, lovers -- held fast in Love Himself, freed from ourselves to see others, are compelled to reach out, kneel down, put a hand around a shoulder and weep beside, journey with tirelessly and rejoice together in the time of freedom + wholeness + joy. We can't fix a single soul but we know Someone who can and while He's doing His work inside we get to do this work outside.

Going about my days, moving forward, healing, I've been so moved by the Body's care in my life. They don't always know what to say, sometimes they talk when silence is needed, sometimes the truth rings true but stings like peroxide in the wound, they've affirmed and confirmed and not always with word, sometimes a hand on my back or an arm wrapped around is more than enough. They haven't smothered me, shoved healing down my throat or dragged me forward, they've trusted me to the Shepherd to lead in due course and they've always been there when I reached out, when I asked for help, when I needed a shoulder to lean on. Opening up is a risk, but opening up to people lovers, in my own experience, has proved to be a little bit of mess, a lot of grace, and way more blessing than I ever imagined. In short, its worth it. And I am awfully glad I don't have to be alone in this life where trouble is promised.

Can we make sure that the people who are currently alone in their hurt come to know that they don't have to be much longer with us around? There are a lot of people with unshared stories, hidden hurts and thick walls around us. They're holding signs on the street corner, they're singing next to us in church, they live next door in suburbia, they sleep in the room down the hall, they bag your groceries, honk at you in traffic, answer your customer service calls, and go to your school. Some of them do not have anyone to trust with their fragility. If they did, they would be fully aware of the risk involved though... We will look like a risk to people, and we should know that, but lets make sure that they see that we are consistently worth it. Here's to being known by love!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Three Avocados >> giveaway!

Disclosure: Three Avocados is a nonprofit coffee company. I was sent free coffee from Three Avocados. Three Avocados has given me 2 free bags of coffee, and a free bag to giveaway to one of you (my readers) in exchange for talking about Three Avocados in this blog post.

Winning non-profit coffee would be a great way to start next Monday, wouldn't it? 
Enter for a chance to win one free bag of the Ugandan blend coffee. Winner to be selected next week.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 16, 2014

Three Avocados >> sponsor

Disclosure: Three Avocados is a nonprofit coffee company. I was sent free coffee from Three Avocados. Three Avocados has given me 2 free bags of coffee, and a free bag to giveaway to one of you (my readers) in exchange for talking about Three Avocados in this blog post.

I first discovered Three Avocados around the time I learned about TOMS shoes. Though they are different business models the goal is the same: to give back, to make a change, to touch lives. I can't tell you how delighted I am to get share about them!




COLD BREW COFFEE:
1 1/2c ground coffee
8c water
stir together // allow to sit for 12-24hrs // strain the coffee grounds slowly, 
pouring into a new container // chill // enjoy!





I was so excited when I got the coffee in the mail that I made a batch of cold brew coffee with each kind immediately. The one from Uganda smells like a rich dark chocolate, its a dark roast, and the Nicaraguan one is a smooth medium roast.

A giveaway for a package of the Ugandan ground bean coffee will go live tomorrow. Winner will be selected one week later. Can't wait for you to try it for yourself!

Enjoy this 10% off coupon code, compliments of Three Avocados, just for my readers!



Friday, June 13, 2014

Find Joy >> right here

You don't find your dream job, but if you keep journeying toward what feels closer to the right fit it seems that it finds you. After years of life experience and various jobs, life seems to edit your big picture into something practical. That's how my past four years panned out anyway. 
It just started as a passionate and knowledgable pitch to my Dad that he needed to tell the story of building a Parade Home through images. I was hired on the spot and "freshVISION freelance photography // lifestyle + location" grew out of that afternoon.


Excerpt from my FAQ page:
Freelance simply means independent and, I like to think, free-spirited. Location means ready and willing to travel. Lifestyle means un-stylized spaces, un-posed you, and your world is all the studio that we need. We want to tell it like it is because "it" is beautiful -- dirty dishes, messy hair, long shadows and all.
// a typical morning with your family at home - the process of remodeling - little details of setting and community at your celebration - behind the scenes of your band on the road //



It's the perfect job for me. Capturing details, capturing people as they live their unique lives, capturing the beauty of your space -- whatever the condition its in. Telling your story through my eyes. I get to have new adventures because no shoot is the same, make my own schedule, travel + create. Leaving a trail of beauty behind me, individual voices echoing out more sincerely and clearly... I love my job.


P.S. It's so much work! You work more hours when you're self-employed than you do at a typical full-time job, but you love it so much it doesn't matter + it molds itself to fit into your existing everyday-life moments. I'm finding that taking a shoot from creative vision to end product is 20% shooting, 80% uploading, organizing, editing, etc. Photography business is a lot more business + logistics than you'd think, but if you love your clients and you're good with details, that's part of the beauty of the process.
Note: Having an editing buddy is crucial. Mikayla and I partner up to motivate each other through the endless editing hours, to brainstorm + dream big together, swap business + branding advice, encourage each other in life and to laugh through our draining energy levels -- laugh because to work hard at what you love is the best way to end up worn out. (You may be seeing us collaborate on some shoots + projects in the very near future. Get excited!)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Love Will Have the Final Word

When the voice of fear rages in my head
Reading down the long list of my regrets
When the ruins are all I see
Remind me that it only means
That love isn't finished speaking yet

Of all the things I've ever heard
Let me remember when it hurts
That love will have the final word
As long as God is on His throne
I am carried by the hope
That love will have the final word

When the place that broke inside you will not mend
And you wander in the dark without a friend
When the night goes on and on
Remember when it all goes wrong
That this is how we know it's not the end





Of all the things I've ever heard
Let me remember when it hurts
That love will have the final word
As long as God is on His throne
I am carried by the hope
That love will have the final word

Sorrow may close the chapter
But the story will end with laughter
Cause the worst thing is never the last thing
No, the last thing will be the best thing

Of all the things I've ever heard
Let me remember when it hurts
That love will have the final word
As long as God is on His throne
I am carried by the hope
That love will have the final word
[x2]

Love will have the final word
Love will always have the final word

Not Right Now

You could see the smoke from a mile away
And trouble always draws a crowd
They wanna tell me that it'll be okay
But that's not what I need right now
Not while my house is burning down

I know someday
I know somehow
I'll be okay
But not right now
Not right now

Tell me if the hope that you know is true
Ever feels like a lie even from a friend
When their words are salt in an open wound
And they just can't seem to understand
That you haven't even stopped the bleeding yet



I know someday
I know somehow
I'll be okay
But not right now
No, not right now

Don't tell me when I'm grieving
That this happened for a reason
Maybe one day we'll talk about the dreams that had to die
For new ones to come alive
But not right now

While I wait for the smoke to clear
You don't even have to speak
Just sit with me in the ashes here
And together we can pray for peace
To the one acquainted with our grief

I know someday
I know somehow
I'll be okay
But not right now
Not right now
No, not right now

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Find Joy >> right here


MyNextHome has been building a home featured this year on the Parade of Homes. I've been photographing the progress for several weeks now. Photography isn't my only creative bent though. Yesterday Mom and I left the house at 7am and we got home at 2am today. This is what we were doing...







Staging a home is a huge project. Especially when construction is still being completed and the cleaning crew from CleanWorks is working around them and you're shlepping dozens of boxes of the home owners belongings down into storage, moving furniture, making beds, stylizing shelves. My photography of the home building progress hasn't meant to just show wide angles of the rooms but to tell the story of the process of building a Parade Home. One part of that process is the late, late night push to wrap everything up before the opening morning of the parade. Utterly exhausting but all part of the fun of creating.



Helps to have such a fantastic group of people from the MyNextHome crew rotating through over the course of the day and burning the midnight oil with you. The remaining crew at 1:15am when we called it a night. Just a handful of so many who've poured their time and energy and mad skills into this house.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Loss // week 20

I've lost something. Life doesn't stop when a dream is lost, a life is lost, a limb or a future is lost. You move forward long before you can move on. It gets easier. You adapt. You know there's more good ahead, it wasn't all left behind. Still, that doesn't mean you don't remember, don't miss, don't wish.

miscarry: (of something planned) fail to attain an intended or expected outcome.

The Enemy steals and kills and destroys. The Lord finishes what He begins. Death is powerful but the power of resurrection, of life, of restoration, revival, of fresh, new, is far greater. Darkness can't fight back light.

Comparing pain, judging loss, is pointless. Circumstances are different, we all experience hurt though. There are unanswered questions, mourned dreams, scars with stories written in them. None of this should shape our view of God. He is who He says He is and when you know His heart you don't attribute the loss or pain to Him. There are things I can't know and things I don't yet know, but what I do know is His heart. He's spelled it out for us (literally) and He confirms it to our spirits endlessly because He doesn't change.

The same Papa holds us in His abundant-life, redeeming, healing, resurrecting Hands. In the differing losses hear His heart ring true as the heart pangs of a some dear friends echo out --- read here.

I walk around + journey forward in much security. I stand in strength because my roots are sunk deep in the fathomless love + acceptance + goodness of the Beloved. I have moments I suppose amputees must also experience where you are caught up in normalcy and a sense of wholeness and then realize something is missing. Something important and irreplaceable. Something that was part of your life every day and then suddenly was not. Something -- someone -- that's another half of you, a best friend. I've lost him. Death has taken hold. That's the end. 


-- for now. Because where the Lord is, death is never the last word. I know He is not finished here. I don't know what it will look like at all I just know that new life comes next. Probably like a sun rise, slowly and then in its entirety.