It’s me. Not you.
When I was a kid I remember dressing up as a Cowgirl for a Halloween event at our local Church. It happened once. And only once. The event was so terrifying, scary, and over that top that my older Brother was traumatized…and that was it. My Mom made a call. She’d never subject us to being scared in the name of a social holiday. That was the same year that I saw a moving face covered with blood at a local Seven Eleven. I had nightmares for years about that image. Not kidding.
After that year, we lived in Congo for the most part. Where Halloween is not a thing. But it is a country cloaked in deep deep Spirituality. Things there are very clear. Good and evil are real. Evident. Out in the open. I saw demon-possessed people. I witnessed it first hand. I came face to face with Witch-Doctors. I saw the power of Satan in very real and evident ways. A lot. I was never afraid. I always knew who my Protector was. I knew I was covered by the all-encompassing grace and love of Jesus. It didn’t scare me to see those things. But it made me aware. Certain that when scripture talks about the ‘kingdom of darkness’, well, it’s real. And it’s not really a laughing matter. It’s not something funny to use as the plot line for a movie, or for entertainment. It’s real. It destroys lives. Lots of them. And when we take something that real. That dangerous and make it a commonality…a normal thing. Well. I feel strongly that we do ourselves a serious disservice. We open the door to a world that we simply do not understand or fully comprehend.
Fast forward a few decades to a Youth Group gathering where my Husband was the Youth Pastor. One of my dearest Friends took the chance to share her testimony about Halloween. About the research she had done, the former Witch she had talked to, and all that she had learned about what actually takes place on that night. The truth of what happens behind the cute costumes and carved pumpkins. It was eye-opening. Jaw dropping. And sickening. I was stunned to have an inside look at what the Holiday was really about to those to celebrate it for “religious” reasons. I knew right then, that I couldn’t ever be apart of it, in any way at all. I couldn’t even touch the idea. It was too real. To gross.
Fast forward a few more years and now I have Kids of my own. I live in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. Halloween is a thing. A BIG thing. It’s everywhere. 3 months before it even happens. I find myself having to walk out of stores in September because of the vampire with blood dripping from its fangs, because my 4-year-old is screaming and crying from the sight of it. I have to censor EVERY SINGLE thing on TV. Because fear is funny and it’s everywhere. Even on G-rated cartoons. The joy people find in fear is weird to me. And the fact that it has to be everywhere, even grocery stores, is beyond me. Even my local YMCA has had ghosts hanging for over a month in the hallways. Cause, ya know, the spirits of dead people, that’s totally fun. And completely belongs at my local gym. OK. I’ll lay off the sarcasm. 😉
I don’t find skeletons cute. Ever. They stand for death and toxicity.
I don’t think ghost are funny. They are the spirits of the dead.
I don’t find witches to be endearing. I’ve met real ones.
I don’t think fear. Death. Blood. Demons. Witches. Spiders. Bats or Zombies are entertaining. I just don’t.
I am not owned by fear. But neither do I have to celebrate it.
I have heard all the arguments a 100 times.
“It doesn’t have to be scary! It doesn’t have to be about fear!” But it usually is.
“Just let your kids dress up in cute things, it’s fun to pretend!” I encourage them to pretend. All the time.
“What about opening your door to your community? Loving on your neighbors?” I have 364 days a year to do that. And we all should, daily.
Now let me state a few things. I hold zero. And I do mean zero judgment for those who choose to celebrate Halloween. In fact, some my closest, most cherished Friends call it their favorite Holiday. I don’t judge them. I don’t fear for their souls. We just have a different stance on the issue. We’ve lived through different experience. And that’s ok. I’m not looking to make my convictions theirs or yours.
It comes down to this. I have to live out my convictions. And they just might be different from yours. Or even my close Friends. But I have to stand by them. Because if I don’t, then I do my children a bigger disservice by teaching them to compromise their values. And that might be worse than celebrating a holiday I despise.
Why waste my time writing this? I’m not sure. I don’t have a strong reason. More to share my heart than anything. I’m not trying to turn anyone. Or make anyone feel belittled. Simply sharing my experience. Take it or leave it. But it’s mine. And it’s helped me to make the choices that I make with firm confidence.
Happy Weekend Friends! I hope that whatever you’re doing you soak it and enjoy those you love! And if you live anywhere where seasons are a thing…I hope your view is as gorgeous as mine!
My Grandfather is dying. He’s lived and long, full life…and right now our entire Family is walking the journey to the end with Him. Although, I’m pretty sure it’s actually just the beginning, but that’s another blog post entirely. My Aunt and Uncle have been keeping us posted. Letting the whole Family know how He is doing. Daily updates. It’s not easy to see someone you love start to slip away…
My Nephew did some research and found Grandpa on Wikipedia. Pretty impressive to say the least. And it’s stuff that most of us never knew. I had no clue that this man I had grown up sharing Thanksgiving dinners with was a genius. Feel free to see it here:
After the moment of being kind of awestruck by his accomplishments, it hit me. Not one single person will remember him for those things…not for a bunch of computer discoveries and mumbo-jumbo. You know what we will remember him for? His heart. His huge, kind, thoughtful…loving heart. I will always remember the way he intentionally hugged every single Grandkid and whispered in our ear, “Jesus loves you, and so do it!”. He did that EVERY SINGLE time I saw him. No lie. I will remember his amazing cooking. His supernatural patience as he cared for and loved my Grandma for years while she was in a wheelchair and unable to walk. He took care of her every need. And did it with so much gentleness and smile on his face. I will remember the way He cared for His Children, and Grandchildren. I will remember His priorities. Jesus. Family. And Others. Period. No ifs ands or buts…if you knew Him, if you met him even once…you would know those were the things he cared about.
Our legacy has little to do with accomplishments. Our Kids will not praise our memory with how much money we made, or how famous we became. They will remember how we lived. How we treated others. How we loved those less fortunate. How we approached life, and those around us.
Go out today and seek to love and to serve. Not to get or to attain. Some things are fading…others are eternal.
So. Here it is. I pay hard earned money every year for this blog. A place to showcase and share my amazing Clients and their pretty faces. But sadly..my love for Photography, and hence my work, is only a small percentage of my life. So. The blog gets put to the back burner…and weeks, months…pass and I don’t blog. What is a girl to do?
What if instead of JUST blogging about Photography, I share my life in more ways? What if I talked about food? Weight loss journey/struggles? My crazy Kids? My life? Well, it might be less interesting to the general audience but at least I’ll have something to blog about…the rest of my life. So here it goes…my 1st entry, and it has very little to do with Photography.
Have you achieved it? Mastered it? If so. I would like to come read YOUR blog!! Because even the best of the best, the most fit, rich, together humans alive…they struggle with it. Cause it’s real. Yes. The struggle for balance is real folks. And we all know it.
Day 1. Get up early. Work out. Come home. Get the Kids to school. Husband off to work. Meal plan. Grocery shop. Buy only healthy amazing food. Cook. Clean…squeeze face time in there somewhere with my 3 year old. Oh shoot..it’s 8:00 PM, I’m exhausted, and I haven’t touched one single part of my other job. I haven’t edited one image. Or responded to those 10 emails. Ok. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Day 2. Get up early. Work out. Come home. Get the Kids to school. Husband off to work. Place 3 year old in front of TV (only educational shows, of course). Sit down at computer and edit. Respond to emails. Squeeze a shower in there somewhere. Phone call with a Friend. Get 3 year old fed. 3 year old down for nap. Edit more. Blog. Oh snap…it’s dinner time and guess what? Yup. Nothing prepared.
Day 3..repeat Day 1 and Day 2 over and over and over…..
I can’t do it. I can’t do it all and do it all WELL. If I prioritize working out and eating well…I lose time to work. If I prioritize work, I lose time with my Family. If I prioritize Family…I lose eating well….ugh. It’s an endless cycle of mystery.
And it’s so cliche too. Everyone loves to say “Just everything in moderation.” or “Just do the best you can!”. What if your best isn’t enough? What if you can’t be strong, healthy, productive and a loving soul all at once? What if you don’t have the grace for it? What if your capacity just isn’t that high? You can’t save the world from disease and run a meager photography business at the same time?
Then add social media to the mix. Oh glory. That’ll make your head spin. Just 60 seconds on Instagram and you’ll see the whole world has it all together. Yup. Creative. Bright. Happy. Adventurous humans. They’ve got it all mastered. Their Families are like super models + fairies. Their food? Picture perfect and always healthy. And if it’s not, no biggie, cause they just did this amazing yoga session on the beach that burned 1,000+ calories (in their fancy Lulu Lemon tankini, of course), so that In-and-Out Burger is totally OK. Their work. Flawless. And you sit there and think to yourself…whoa. I’m so far behind. My life does NOT look like that. I guess I should take my Kids on more creative adventures. And we should probably live on a beach somewhere and have a zero level carbon food print, cause you know…raising your own cows and chickens is the new thing. And geez…my Family should dress better. And we should probably start thinking about adopting a Kid from Africa soon. And…and…and….
…stop! I can’t do it. You can’t do it.
How do I find the balance? How do WE find it?
Oh. You thought I had the answer? Hahaha! No chance. You’re suppose to help me here!
OK. Here’s what I’m gonna try.
I’m going to take it 1 day at a time. I’m going to pray my way through them. Surround myself with loving, kind, and adventurous Humans. I’m going to try harder to live each day with my priority list in front of me.
2. My Family.
3. Others I love.
4. My health.
5. My work.
And each moment, each day…I’m going to try and remind myself, NO ONE has it all figured out. I have a good, good life. Do NOT compare my reality to anyone else’s highlights. I am blessed. I am lucky. I have so, so, so much to be grateful for. Give everything MY 100%. Not someone else’s. Just mine.
And hopefully. Just hopefully, at the end of each day…the most important thing is that I have loved and loved well. That I have made my Children feel safe and valued. I have supported my Husband, and told Him at least once how much I adore him. That I have seen the beauty in the chaos and, well…embraced it.
Holiday Mini Sessions are here!! Email or call to book your session today!
Included with your Mini Session is a free Holiday Card design!
You can also purchase your Holiday cards right through me in bundles of 25 or more! Make your Family pictures and Holiday Cards a piece of cake this year!!
Here are the designs being offered!