19 days until Christmas. Even if you love the classic Christmas carols, we will be so ready to be done with them by the end of the month.
It has been cold here in the Phoenix area and those with asthma and arthritis have been struggling to stay healthy.
As I see the beautiful Christmas sessions being posted, I feel a little guilty for not offering them. However, I have thought that putting my energy to being prepared, efficient and ready for the New Year is more important at this time. Also, I have been concentrating on capturing the highlights of the life of one Lorelei Blanchard, who will be three months old soon.
Yesterday flew by, so I am touching base with you today. I chased a lot of squirrels today, am hanging someplace between fall and Christmas, catching up on the house, the website and plans for 2021. I went to sleep last night listening to Romans 12. Most of it is highlighted in my Bible because I need to know and remember that as a Christian, kindness is the best fruit of all, others' needs are more important than mine, not to be lazy (slothful) in business, always trusting God in hope, always quick to pray in every situation and not reach for the glass of wine or the cookie first...
This is all that is left of a Christmas swag I bought to put on top of my curtains for the season. My boys are quick, and didn't even move the diapers I stacked on top of them when they grabbed the package and ran. I have a new pair of glasses and smart watch on because they are quick, love to chew, get bored easily, and just don't care how angry I get at them...
When your joints hurt, standing in front of a sink, lifting dishes, is the last thing you want to do. But the week worth of dishes is down to one sink load. Also, when I am healthy, I would rather tar the roof, or scrub toilets than do dishes. But Kitchen is clean and ready to bake Christmas cookies!
Diapers to be re-elasticized, one of the swags left to hang, fall decor to put away. So much to do. How are you staying organized balancing home and business?
Kitchen clutter needing to be transitioned from messy to organized....
I already have my planner for next year. It combines my devotion journal with an organized plan, goal setting and evaluation. It is Christ centered, because as we put God first, do everything for Him, and honor His will as we plan and do, we will prosper and be blessed.
Most people will do anything for someone that values them and appreciates them.
Christmas Photos for a select few. Baby girl is too cute. So this is a glimpse into my messy, busy life. I can take this chaos and create order through Christ who is my health and strength. Yours, Gail O
Firstly - I have many photos I took to go with this post, but my card reader decided not to read them. So, to keep this interesting, I will add unrelated images for you to enjoy.
Reading: "the answers to your deepest longings" by Lysa TerKeurst and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team.
Watching: "Living Proof" by Matt Embry, his documented journey with MS.
Listening: Elevation Worship's "Graves into Gardens album". Yes, the entire album. If you are having a hard day or need a spiritual pick-me-up, turn it on and crank it up!!!!
The dog pool was green and muddy and gross. It is early in the day, I don’t want to get dirty or wet. So as I gently pull the side of the pool down to drain, so far so good, water is coming out, I am still clean. I was participating in pool water reconstitution, but it wasn’t costing me a thing. When the water was low enough to lift the sides up and dump, again, I was directing the water to the front, where I wasn’t. Well, the water chose to come out of each side instead. Result? I am now covered in mud and pool water. I went from participating, to investing in the process of providing clean water for the dogs (and cats, and rodents, and birds) to enjoy.
Juvenile sports now reward for participation. Some schools too, passing children to the next level without the work to back it for various reasons. People get positions and ministries because they were there and available, the right age, or the right look, but they don’t really have the resume or skills to back the appointment. (Cool down, It’s word).
In Matthew 21:19 describes a fig tree that participated, but did not invest. Pretending to be a fig tree, it had leaves, but no fruit. Jesus went up to it, to get a snack, and found no fruit on it. He proceeded to speak "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth, forever." The fig tree withered immediately. Really? It was still viable, still pretty (today’s philosophy, don’t hate on the fig tree). But no fruit is an ineffective fig tree. Taking up space. No explicit value.
We pray, but see little results because we are participating, not invested. We sing the songs, read the scriptures, but where is the sacrifice. In Matthew 17:21, and Mark 9:29, Jesus told His disciples that some demons are only cast out by prayer and fasting. Ooh, fasting (No! Not my food, sad face), an investment in the present and future.
I am guilty of trying easy. I have been cast out of my ministries, my appointments, even some of my familial roles, because I was participating in comfort, but resisted when it cost me something, or when I felt threatened, or God tested my pride.
In order to be effective and prosperous, there needs to be some healing, breaking of sallow ground, breaking of strongholds and past demons. There needs to be some sacrifice, some heart work, some investment.
Pride, offense, and fear, are some of the little bugs that will steal your ability to produce good fruit. Think deep. Do you participate, or do you invest all that you have into producing the fruit God has ordained for your life?
I have to go change now. Be better. Be blessed.
The quiet of the morning is a gift. His mercies are renewed every morning. Before demands take us over, we can sit in His presence and become remade, blessed, filled with His purpose. Mark 1:35 tells us that Jesus rose a ”great while before day” and went to a place of solitude. He submitted His human to the spirit of His father. What we did yesterday, last week, ten years ago does not matter to the Lord once you lay it at His feet. He is faithful, He is forgiving, He is forever our God, loving Father, protector and champion.
Watching: The Closer and Rizzoli and Isles reruns. Again. It’s all about the writing.
Reading: Unforgettable photograph by George Lange and Scott Mowbray
I love photography! I love people, I love to shoot, and I love to create wonderful art with some of the images. With the revolutionary cameras on cell phones and digital cameras, many photographers are doing everything but shooting to continue to pay the bills. I understand. When I ponder what things I could possibly do to bring in revenue besides releasing the shutter, all I can come up with is ‘shoot.’ So, I practice, I learn, I put myself out there and I wait for the right persons to find me. I always have work, for I seek opportunities, but they are not always paid opportunities. But God.
Last weekend, I documented a baby shower. Let me extol the ingenuity of Amazon, who provided us with a ‘party in a box‘. Everything we needed to decorate the house was in one box, including the sign-in poster.
We celebrated my baby girl’s baby girl, who is due with my great baby girl in September.
There were photo booth props in the party in a box too. People who hate photos of themselves, will pose with props. Usually. We took photos of each guest with our baby mama, just like we did at birthday parties years ago. We were blessed with the turn out, the gifts and the love that was ‘showered’ upon Mikayla, and are so grateful.
This was a day to be remembered. And I have the receipts (proof).
Mid - Week
Disclaimer: This is NOT a religious blog. This is a place to explore the musings of a photographer that does everything (or attempts to) from a Christian perspective. “And whatever you do, do it full out for the Lord, not for (approval of) other people. Col. 3:23.
Every time I have sat down for the past 3 weeks, to update you, I get distracted, or busy editing. I have a squirrel problem.
I have been outgrowing a habit of mourning the past, learning to live in the present and trust that my Heavenly Father will cover me and console me when needed. Where are you on this? Do you long for what felt like better days? Today I finally realized I mourn because it was a happy time in MY life. I miss the cuddles and hugs and jokes, all the little things that create great memories. But time moves on. People change their priorities, desires, the people they want to spend time with. Just like anger, wistful revisiting of the past seems to be born out of selfishness.
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer every person.” Colassians 4:6. I went to Baltimore three weeks ago for a wedding on a yacht (more of that in a minute) and for three days I did fun things on very little sleep. As a sort of testimony flying there and home again, I wore a t-shirt that says “Ya’ll Just Need Jesus.” Mostly, I got stares, one or two comments, but no real interaction, which is OK. However, when you wear a shirt that tells people that you are different, you better be different. Speaking with grace is not easy when you are exhausted, and barely strong enough to walk on your own. Twice, while wearing that t-shirt, I got snarky and short with people, not representing the shirt, or Jesus well at all. And at that moment I realized that I acted like that most of the time not too long ago, using such excuses as tired or hungry or stress, which are not good excuses when representing a patient, loving God. Good lesson. I am sorry.
I have spent two weeks revamping this website, I hope you see a difference. It seems that for every item I fix, another error pops up. The goal is that you will be comfortable, find what you need easily and be informed when you find me on the great web to see what I do or what project is currently happening. I am not crazy about the connect with me page, because it is a pre-built, unfriendly template, but I did my best for now and will improve it later.
Pricing is a bear because you cannot please everybody. I want to be fair, but I would like to be able to pay my bills too. The need to see a price list is reasonable, however, my goal is that you are more interested in the quality of what I deliver more than a bottom line. For the month of August, I do have a special that for a limited time would cover any social media images, head shots, a short senior session, children’s milestones, cake smashes and couple portraits.
Three weeks ago, I was in Baltimore, Maryland. I love the east coast, so serene and Olde Americana. The people there are genuine and nice. I was there for a Jason Lanier workshop, ‘A Real Wedding workshop’ on a yacht. This was a great experience, and I will be posting photos several more times before I will feel done. Once Jason posts his wedding images, I will be able to post images of the couple. For now, it will be images of the area. I got up early the wedding day because three of us went out and to capture the sunrise, the images need to be found. I believe I tucked the card away someplace safe; the location is yet to be discovered. I know where they are not. I wanted to shop downtown Annapolis, or go to the beach, but after breakfast, it was all about the nap and getting the gear ready to go. (Another reminder that the camera bag does not pack itself.)
I love church steeple crosses. I have so many saved in folders.
Miss Emily is a model/photographer, Jason Lanier's right hand, and administrative assistant. She is an amazing, beautiful, gracious young lady.
That's all for now. Stay-tuned.