Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How It All Went Down...

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that about 2 years ago, I started dabbling in photography.

When I first began, I found I loved taking macro shots -- extreme closeups.  Usually of flowers.  And though that has evolved into taking other shots of mountains, skies, oceans, animals, and most recently, people, I still relish shooting nature macros.  

As I would examine the flower macros, I would see not only the beauty, but the minute intricacy of the world we are blessed to live in.  And, the more I shot, the more in love with the God who created this amazing world I became.  The more overwhelmed I became at the abundant love He has shown us by creating all these beautiful, intricate, amazing things and letting us live among them.

In short, my photography made me fall even deeper in love with my Savior.  And, like one who is smitten, I craved more.  And so I shot more pictures.  

Over time, the collection of pictures that I thought were "share worthy" increased as my skill increased.  I paid more attention to the things "real" photographers do -- composition, lighting, and a few other things too.  But in it all, my passion was to bring God to the people.  That sounds sort of Black Panther, but I truly felt that if someone who didn't know God could see his majesty in my photos and realize that something, someONE greater than ourself created all that -- and LIVES!!!  Well, then my desire for my photography would be fulfilled.  

And so I stepped out of my comfort zone.  And gave some of you my photos as gifts.   I felt shy and unsure about it.  But, since those of you who where gifted with the inaugural images are family, I figured you HAD to like them!  (That's one of the rules of family, right?  "Thou shalt love all gifts given within the family.")

And I shared with the world -- or at least those who stumbled upon this blog.

But recently, I was feeling there was more.
I felt a sense of anticipation, but couldn't put my finger on why or, what I was anticipating.
And, I felt fear.

There is a song we sing at church by Jesus Culture called "Burning Ones."  There is a section in it that really speaks to me in regards to photography:

     "So let this love be like a fire
       Let my life be like a flame
       Fill my soul with Your desire
       Let my passion bring You fame"

Shortly after Christmas, I remember thinking to myself, "Yes.  That's what I'd like to do.  Use my photography bring God fame."  But that was as far as it went.  A thought.  Something to take back out and examine later. 

A couple weeks later, I was sitting in a class offered by our church.  Our pastor said something along the lines of, "If you have a dream and it won't go away, consider that it might be from God."  (That wasn't the ah-ha moment, so don't get all excited yet.)

A couple weeks later, a guest speaker at our church was talking about how if we want to see change in our world -- if we want people to know God, then WE must make that happen.  He handed out a card that had Isaiah 40:3-5 on it as well as: "If the world is going to see the glory of God, it's on us to prepare the way.  How can I make God accessible to the people He has called me to reach?"
It started me thinking.
But, still no ah-ha.

Somewhere in between those two events, CraftyGirl and I went to our local Farmer's Market, which was having an extended season -- the Winter Market.  We visited with friends, sniffed soaps, tasted everything from kale, to kumquats, to whole wheat cinnamon buns and generally had a good time.  (Still not the ah-ha moment.  But, I promise, it's coming.)

And then?
Kapow!  All the things I'd heard about a dream from God, and making God accessible, and my feeling of finding and loving God through photography, and wanting to use my passion for photography to burn for God seemed to gel into an idea.
A scary idea.  
The type of idea that can only be described as requiring a leap of faith.  
Like a smack upside my thick head, I finally knew the way God wanted me to reach out to His people.  The way he wanted me to make Him accessible to the people He has called me to reach.

"Use your photography to introduce Me to people.  Then tell them about My great love.  And mercy.  And grace.  Share Me."

"But, Lord!  People might not like the photos.  They might laugh.  They might not want to hear what I've got to say."  (There was more weeping and gnashing of teeth and a lot of attempted bargaining, but I'll spare you the details!)

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

And when I got over my selfish focus of how this would affect ME, I got it.  (Here's the ah-ha!)
This whole photographic journey is not about me.  
It is about Him.

And so I applied.
And was approved.
And scurried about like a crazy woman on a mission.  A Photography Mission.  A Missionography.
And I set up a booth at the Farmer's Market.  Selling photography.  GULP!
I talked to people, using the photos as a gateway for a conversation.
And shared the love of Christ with them (knees shaking, but the courage of God strengthening me.)
Shared the reason I take photos.  Talked about His majesty.  His grace.  His abundant love.
And even invited a guy to church.

And, though this isn't about me, I did receive overwhelmingly positive feedback on my images, which made my heart flutter.  I don't know why I doubted.  
Of course the feedback was positive -- it's God's creation.  And His blessing.  
I had a variety of images to choose from, in several different forms, and sold several.  I would have been completely satisfied to simply be there to share about God, but the sales were the icing.
Some photos were just the image, and some had scripture on them.  
I had someone say, "I think you should do more with scripture.  I'll be back next week for more."

All I can say is Amen and Amen!
The blessing and sheer joy of serving obediently leaves me speechless and really smiley.
I'll be going back this weekend to again set up my photo booth.
Won't you pray that I might be strengthened to bring the Truth to a lost world?  
And won't you pray that possibly one ear might hear, and one heart might accept Him as Savior?
And won't you pray that God continue to use me to serve Him, and that I follow in obedience?
And, if you're in my area, won't you come see me at the Farmer's Market?

We are Your burning ones.

We are consumed by You.
We set our lives apart.
We are consumed by You.

So let this love be like a fire.
Let my life be like a flame.
Fill my soul with Your desire.
Let my passion bring You fame.

Let my passion bring You fame.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

You GOAL, Girl: an update

So, this morning, I ran my first race.  

It was windy.
It was cold.

It was FUN!!

My personal goal was to finish the race, running the entire thing.  If I'm honest, that goal wasn't really a goal at all, seeing as how I've been running over 4 miles per run for several weeks now.   

So, me being me (too many adjectives/descriptors could be placed here!) I decided that I wanted to finish in under 31:00 minutes.  Ten minute miles.  Though I'd only run that fast once.  A little trickier goal, huh?

I get up this morning, and can hear the wind howling.  And begin to rethink the "under 31:00 minutes" idea.  The wind along the Gulf of Mexico can be brutal.  (Just ask Ivan or Katrina!)  And, you never know if that's going to be a headwind, a tailwind (my fave), or a side wind that does you no good at all.

Goal-wise, I was again back at "just finish."

We took off. 
Ran some more.
Ran while the wind pushed us around.
And took hats off.
And made hair into Medusa wigs.
And we ran some more.

And, for me, it was tough.  Tougher than I thought it should/would be.  I was confused.  I can do 4+ fairly easily, and so I had no idea why it was so hard.  
"Did I eat correctly?"
"Am I tired?"
"Where is the stinkin' finish line?"

And then, I saw it...
And the clock above it...


Lemme repeat that just in case you didn't get that:


I was running as fast as the wind blows!  (You gotta say that with a Forrest Gump accent!)

Goal met, and a new PR!  

So now I'm asking myself...
"Can you really have a PR on a "small" race such as this one?"  (My answer is a resounding YES!)
"When can I race again?"  (Next month:  St. Patty's Day race)
"Why didn't I do this sooner?"  (Uh, hello?  Anyone there?  [crickets chirping]  I am definitely my hardest critic, the one with the most doubts in myself...)


Get out there!
Get moving!
It's SO totally worth it!!
And feel free to say about me, "And from then on, wherever she was going, SHE WAS RUNNING!" (again with the Forrest Gump!)

(My goal for this year is to run 4 races.  I can see that goal was way, way too low!)

Today: Race #1

Monday, February 6, 2012


So you've learned a bit about Clean Eating.
You've even tried a recipe or two.  
And now you have a question to ask.

So, ask away!

"But don't you feel deprived?"

Deprived?  Of what?
White Flour?
30 Lbs?
Binge Eating?
Poor Energy?

Um, no!
No depravity here.

Especially when something like this is on the menu...

Cocoa Banana Buckwheat Bake
adapted from The Edible Perspective

1/4 cup ground raw buckwheat groats (see "thinks" notes at bottom)
1 Tbs. raw buckwheat groats
2 Tbs. milled flax seeds
2  1/2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs. chia seeds
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 large banana, mashed [~ 1/3 cup]
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2-3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 egg white

1.  Preheat oven to 350*
2.  In a medium bowl, mash banana until wet and smooshy.   Mix in almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and egg white with a fork.
3.  Mix in buckwheat flour, groats, cocoa powder, baking powder, milled flax seeds, and chia seeds.
4.  Lightly grease a medium ramekin or other oven-safe bakeware.  I use coconut oil and it seems to work better than using the oil mister.
5.  Pour mixture into ramekin and smooth top.
6.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
7.  Enjoy with your toppings of choice:  peanut butter, unsweetened coconut, banana, walnuts, etc.

No, I'm not feeling deprived.
How could I?

Craving Buster Choco-PB-Bana Shake

1 cup almond milk (or other milk of choice:  cow, soy, etc.)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 Tbs. Natural PB (check the label -- NO SUGAR!)
5-6 frozen banana slices
crushed ice

Dump it all in your blender and process.  
Pour it into a pretty cup, garnish with a straw and suck it down, baby!

The thinks you'll think:
-- What are buckwheat groats/flour?   Buckwheat is a gluten free option for many dishes.  It is not related to wheat at all, but works like wheat products in baked goods.  I found my groats at the local health food store and just use my spice/coffee grinder to grind them to soft powder.

-- The Buckwheat Bake is too much food for me to eat in one sitting.  I usually divide mine in half and save half for another meal/snack.  Honestly, I think it's better after a couple hours... rewarm in the microwave and enjoy!

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
   blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekly Photo Dump

I bet you thought I forgot, didn't you?

I actually didn't forget.

I have taken and posted pictures all week (mostly of food.)

However, I'm trying to choose one specific day to edit and upload my photos to the blog.

I'm thinking that will be Saturday.

But since that epiphany came to me in the middle of last week, you had to wait a few extra days.

I hope you find...

... that it was worth...

... the wait!

"There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens"  
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oh, No You Didn't!

Oh, yes I did!!

Saturdays around here are a slow waking, slow moving kinda sort.  The kind of slow that just calls for brewing a cup of coffee, making something great to eat, and enjoying it slowly around the table.

Unless, of course, it's these waffles.
Then you'd scarf them right down...

Clean Eating Chocolate Protein Powder Waffles
Makes approximately 12 waffles

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 Tbs. milled flax seeds
4 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups almond milk (or any other milk:  cow, soy, etc.)


1.  Combine pastry flour and protein powder in a large bowl.
2.  Mill your flax seeds and add to dry ingredients.
3.  In a small bowl, combine eggs, olive oil, and almond milk.
4.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.
5.  Grease a waffle maker with your oil sprayer/mister
6.  Ladle batter onto waffle maker and close.
7.  Allow to cook until crispy on the outside.
8.  Top with WHATEVER makes your mouth and belly smile -- as long as it's clean!!
9.  Enjoy!

Optional Toppings:
chocolate chips (not clean, so only the kiddos eat these, but still tasty-- I'm sure!)
bananas (try warming them in the micro for a few seconds -- brings out their sweetness!)
walnuts (or any other nut)
Natural (no sugar) PB, or another nut butter
Maple Syrup

I actually doubled the batch so that I'd have extras to store in the freezer for our not-so-slow mornings.  I mean, really, if I can bring the Slow Saturday feeling to the middle of the week, why wouldn't I?

A couple thinks to think:

-- Why milled flax seeds?  Well, your body cannot break down the hard outer shell of the flax seed, so in order to get all those wonderful nutrients (Omega 3s, Calcium, Protein, Lignans -- there's a reason it's called a "Super Food!") from the seeds, you need to mill (or grind in a coffee/spice grinder) them. 

-- Why mill your flax seeds yourself?  You can buy milled flax seeds, but it's not recommended.  As soon as the seeds are milled, they start losing their potency.  So, my solution was to just buy a small grinder and do it at home.

-- Protein Powder:  There are many, many, many, many types of protein powder on the market.   Look for a clean version:  one that doesn't have a bunch of additives, words you can't pronounce or don't know, and NO SUGAR.  Now, I will admit that my brand of protein powder does have a bit of fructose (fruit sugar) in it.  However, I bought a plain powder and found it so unpalatable that I had to mix it with the current type I use.   You'll need to decide which protein powder matches up with your personal wellness goals.  

Now, go forth and make waffles!