Monday, July 25, 2011

Precious Life - Atlas Elizabeth {dallas, tx nicu newborn photographer}

Every person has a skill.
Some people are good at cooking and some people are good at sports. Some people excel in writing and then there are a blessed few that can make sense out of mathematics.
Usually when we think of someone being skillful at something we think of how efficient or creative they are. How easily, uniquely, or excellently they can accomplish a task.
Someone that can skillfully cook is a delight to have around and we find that their meals are much more pleasant and enjoyable than, let's say, a cheap T.V. dinner. Someone who can skillfully work math problems is a wonder and true talented individual (at least in my non-mathematical mind.) But let's consider another kind of skillfulness.
"For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Marvelous are Your works,
         And that my soul knows very well.
 My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
         And in Your book they all were written,
         The days fashioned for me,
         When as yet there were none of them."
| Psalm 139:13-16 |
God is skillful at lots of things. One area in which He is uniquely and infinitely more skillful than any other person in the universe is the in the area of creation. He can form something from nothing. And He doesn't just perform this is premeditated, thought out, and performed skillfully.

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing the skillful work of His hands in the form of my baby cousin: Atlas Elizabeth. She weighed 2 lb. 12 oz. at the time of her birth. Most would say she came way too early. Her lungs are not completely finished causing her to have  to wear a mask to breathe, her digestive system is unstable making it necessary to have a feeding tube down her throat, she is significantly under weight compared to a full-term baby which makes every ounce she gains and loses critical, and her immune system is extremely fragile which prevents her parents from getting to hold her freely. Yet, as I went to the little room with my Uncle Kenneth for my 20 minutes of visitation with her all I saw was
A Beautiful creation of the Almighty God that He had appointed to be born in His perfect time.
Despite her 2 lb. 12 oz. status on the scale, at 15 inches long she still displays "tall characteristics" from her Mama. For instance, check out her long little fingers...
And great big feet ;)
It never ceases to amaze me how people change so quickly once they have a baby. As if Kenneth and Mary didn't smile enough when they found out they were pregnant. When we went to the hospital to see them, they were practically beaming. Parenthood is naturally heart-warming. :)
By the if God's glory wasn't displayed enough just by the fact that little Atlas is surviving after being born at just 31 weeks gestation, listen to this. Did you know that the earliest a baby can be born and still survive is somewhere around 24 weeks? Did you know at that time the mother's milk is richer in certain nutrients and enzymes  than at any other time during the pregnancy and postnatal life of the baby? Did you know that after that apprx. 24 week mark the mother's milk changes constantly and is absolutely perfect for what the baby needs at that particular gestation.
God has created us efficiently and with purpose!
And that's something worth smiling about. :D
So in the next few weeks, I would ask that you would all pray for little Atlas to grow and get stronger and continue to be healthy. God has already answered so many prayers and worked exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or think.
And don't forget to keep her sweet parents (Mary and Kenneth) in your prayers as well. :)
~Through Christ's Love 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quiet on the Set!! {dallas, tx lifestyle and portrait photographer}

When you see a silent movie, 
you understand everything that's going on from the images
 because the images are so strong.
|Monica Bellucci|

Let me explain a few things before I get this post really going. Some friends of ours are filming a silent western movie for the SAICFF. {San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival} There were two scenes in particular that they needed some extras/actors to fill in the gaps. This post is about one of those scenes, because my parents, my two little cousins, and I were privileged to be apart of it! (To all you agents out there...our acting career is likely at a stand still for now so it would be best if you looked for your Next Greatest Movie Stars somewhere else.) ;D

Some of the film crew :)

Lovely co-extras ;)
My dad got to be "The Balloon Man" for a day. He said it was the most depressing job to have a handful of balloons with a crowd of giddy children surrounding him and he had to pretend like he was giving them out and then he'd have to take them back. The kids were SO confused! Finally at the end of the day they let him give them to the kids which made them (and him) over-joyed. :D
Aaaandd, there were TONS of ADORABLE littles there in their western costumes which made me usual. ;)
I don't remember this little girl's first name, but she is Josiah's older sister. Isn't this stunning, though?! Completely candid too! :D
~Bella Joy~ 
~Silas Kevin~
~Shiloh Knox~ (Pssst, he's turning ONE this week!! Happy Early Birthday Lo-las) :D
LOL! Well...excuse the "Wanted" Poster...this is Stephen Nehemiah and I'm quite positive he wouldn't hurt a flea.
Though he did keep that sling-shot nearby at all times. ;)
They're buddies :D
These are my cousins, Maggie Grace and Anna Claire (my favorite 5 and 2 year old in the whole wide world) ;D
They're sweet, caring, funny, adorable, and absolutely both color
 and black and white. ;)
~Through Christ's Love 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

[Personal] The Truth is…

I have been going back and forth trying to filter out all my thoughts and form them into a readable blog post with thoughts that make sense. The past few weeks have been a time of refocusing.
You know that little switch on DSLR cameras where you choose manual or auto focus? Well…I feel like I have switched that switch from one to the other time and time again in my life recently. I would go to manual and twist and turn the focusing ring trying to make sense of all my feelings, short comings, and surroundings. I would try to focus on those things that I felt were most important to me and my life and what I wanted. The frustrating thing was that everything that God was dropping into my lap, and heart, and mind didn’t coincide with what I was trying so desperately to focus on. It was like when I try to take a picture of something with my 50mm lens and I’m too close for it to register. It makes this weird little clicking sound and will not, cannot take the picture until I move back a few steps. I wanted with all my might to focus on the things I desired but it just wouldn’t register. And so, after a lot of God trying and testing me in the fire I switched it to auto focus. Things just don’t look the same through God’s eyes, do they? I mean really! All I felt for weeks was, “But God?! I don’t wanna deal with sin in my life….I don’t wanna help others more than myself…this is NOT what I want to do with my life!!”

 Yet things were working smoother and making more sense. My “pictures” were coming out clearer because I was focusing on the right and relevant things. Instead of stressing out about not doing a blog post or catching up on all the latest chatter flying about in cyber space I was having long, meaningful talks with my parents. Starting to feel passionate about things again instead of just mundane and…blah! When I stepped back and watched God sort things out, I started loving reading, and writing, and photography again when before it had all started getting blurry, muddy, discombobulated, and chore-ish.  Things are so much more pleasant when they aren’t pressed upon you like unnecessary obligations! I remembered that I loved reading, pondering on, discussing and applying principles from good books. I remembered how refreshing it was to sit down and write a poem about all the tangled up feelings in my heart. I remembered how soothing it was to sit down and play song after song on my piano. And I even remembered how much I loved capturing life as it happens with my camera. It’s been a tough lesson but, life wasn’t meant to be all easy.
Ten things I realized as of late and would like to move forward from:
1.) I love to take pictures, regardless if it’s a business or just a hobby. I’m not gonna be the next greatest wedding photographer (especially at 16!!) I’d rather just work up to goals instead of trying to accelerate them into existence so soon. For now, weddings are a goal…children, portraits, families, and even some engagements are feasible projects for me to grow, learn, and develop in.

2.) If I don’t make oodles of money at this…It’s not the end of the world…it really isn’t. It’s more important for me to do all that I do as unto the Lord with all my might.

3.) I have GOT to finish high school before I imagine any castles in the sky and actually start the building process of them.

4.) My life is fleeting and if I squander it now on meaningless nothings…I won’t ever get a second chance.

5.) My parents are really a literal God send…I think I would be utterly lost without their guidance…now; I just have to apply the fact that they are 99.9 percent of the time going to know what is best for me and they serve a God that knows %100.

6.) Serving others is really rewarding…not for brownie point purposes but just because it is so Christ-like. You can’t be a servant and have a heart of servitude and not feel like you have glorified Him.

7.) Technology is not evil. It never sinned in and of itself. The men that run technology are evil. So, if I am addicted to my means of media, it is not the devices fault…it’s mine. “YOU! {Blog, T.V., computer, iPod, etc.} will NOT rule me. I am the owner, you are the owned. I control you, you do NOT control me.”

8.) Deep, rich, edifying, godly friendships and conversations with those kinds of friends are much more fulfilling than superficial ones. God has been so good to bless me with godly companions that compass me on every side.

9.) It really isn’t all about me. This is something that I ultimately am always aware of and yet daily, hourly, by the second find myself struggling with. Pride is both the hardest to detect and hardest to kill. *Sigh*

10.) When I “turn my eyes upon Jesus, and look full in His wonderful face. The things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.”

So brothers and sisters I entreat you earnestly to pray for me and examine yourselves. Let us be aware that we are ambassadors of Christ not self-centered existential beings. He is the only One worth glorying in, living for, and dying for.
~Through Christ's Love 

P.S. I guess you noticed I have a new header (after changing it a million and one times throughout the week...I'm pretty happy with how it is...for now. ;) )
P.P.S. I also have revised my About page and have added a new Archives page :)