Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Saturday Like This... what I have been waiting for.

It is cold and cloudy outside. Our schedule is completely empty (except for working out). I get to wear my pajamas for as long as I want and I get to spend the day with John!

I hope you are enjoying your Saturday as much as I am enjoying mine!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Enjoying Every Step

I recently realized something about myself that I wish were not true. But for the sake of being open and honest, I decided to share it with you all.

Truth: I am all about the results.

Let me explain. I do a lot of things in life only because of the results.

Example Number 1: Hiking
While many hike because it is a great way to stay active while being outside, I hike because I want to know what the view is like from up there. Needless to say, when I hike a whole mountain only to a cloud – the day is not a happy one.

Example Number 2: Exercising
I always wanted to be one of those devoted Seattleites that go on a run even if the city is flooding due to rain. Really, I wish I was that dedicated to my body and health. Instead, I complain that I have to go outside every single day to exercise. I daydream about living in a world where we would be naturally fit. The only reason I exercise is because I know it is good for me. If you read Brain Rules you will know what I am talking about. Well, I also like what I see way more when I am exercising…

Example number 3: Cleaning
I have a friend who loves washing the dishes. I don’t understand why anyone would enjoy washing the dishes. I only clean because I like the final result. I like it when my home smells clean, when all the laundry is done and folded. I like it when I can see my own reflection on the wooden floor. I like it when I step into a bathtub that has no soap scum on the sides. But I certainly do not like cleaning any of these things.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Really, I am learning that I miss out on many opportunities because all I care about is the final result of whatever it is that I am doing.

So, it is time to make some changes in the attitude department of my life. I am going to work on finding joy in every step of life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Four Years Ago

On October 24, 2006 I got a phone call from John…but I was in the library and didn’t have any service. I suppose my lack of response to his phone call prompted him to send me an email.

Here are some pieces of the email I received:

Hey Goose,
I'm getting off work early today … Do you have time to get some dinner? … Just thought it'd be cool to hang out for a bit before core group.

See ya!

*Just so you know Goose and Shotgun are our Camp names. John and I met when we both signed up to be camp counselors in Alaska. His camp name was Shotgun and mine was Goose.

**Also, I will include that I read this email while with a group of friends from an accounting class (We were preparing for an accounting competition). I pretty much read this email and left my computer open while I went to the bathroom. When I came back, my friend Anna had replied for me saying that I would love to grab some dinner together.

So, I ended up going out to dinner with John that day. Before then, we were friends and had spent a lot of time together – but always in a group setting. This dinner was going to be our first time together alone.

To my surprise, John took me to a cute Italian restaurant and proceeded to tell me how he enjoyed spending time with me. I started thinking that this dinner was a bit like a date…

…I was nervous and couldn’t really eat. Finally John looked at me in the eyes and told me he wanted to be more than just a friend I see every now and then. He said he wanted to really get to know me and asked if I wanted to be his girlfriend!

I am pretty sure I could hear my heart pounding. I had liked John for a while and pretty much all my friends knew that. However, I didn’t think he had a clue. I didn’t even think he had ever ‘noticed’ me.
I told him that being his ‘girlfriend’ sounded wonderful…and the rest is history.

So, we are having dinner at that same cute Italian restaurant tonight to celebrate our last four years together!

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Baby Makes Me Want a Baby!

Rahm Family

I was honored to take the Rahm family pictures when their little man was only three months old. This time around I got to experience more personality, more smiles and more fun as I captured the many ways this family has changed in the last six months.  In my opinion, they could not be more beautiful!
If you would like to see more images from this photoshoot, click here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Work Out Update #4

Ok. I am a little late writing this update – considering that I try to write it in the beginning of the week and today is Thursday.

But, better late than never.

The workout routine is now a normal part of life. John and I no longer have to try to remember to work out. We know it is going to happen and our bodies know what to expect. Having said that, don’t think that we are always eager to get ourselves into the gym. Now that the weather is colder, I am finding that at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is go work out. Instead, I want to take a shower and wrap my whole body in a blanket like a mummy.

I have procrastinated almost every day this past week – and the only thing that gets me going is the fact the John has been so committed that I know he would go even if I decided not to. And if he is going, than I feel that I HAVE to go as well.

We increased the weights on almost every exercise and that is both exciting and discouraging at the same time. It is fun to see how our bodies have adapted to the initial routine…but adding weights make the exercises just as hard as they were initially. So, sometimes it feels like we have not accomplished anything and we have to remind ourselves that we can do lunges with twice the amount of weights now.

Speaking of lunges, I dislike them with a passion. It takes me forever to go through all the reps and I am constantly aware that I might fall over at any minute while doing them.

However, I must mention that all this exercise must be doing us some good because we were able to hike a relatively tough mountain without feeling like we were going to die! I hiked Mt. Dickerman more than 4 years ago and it took me almost 5 hours to get to the top. This past Saturday it only took me 3 hours to get up there. Exciting! Maybe someday I’ll climb Mt. Rainier. After all, that is one of my goals, but I didn’t have the guts to share it with the World Wide Web in case it never actually happens.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Autumn Hike

John and I spent our Saturday on a hike. This was my first autumn hike ever - and let me tell you, I had been missing out without knowing! Reds, oranges, yellows, browns and greens danced in front of us and every switchback introduced us to a new array of colors. It was truly magical!
If you have never hiked in the Fall time before, I strongly encourage you to stop doing whatever you are doing right now and start heading toward the nearest mountain. You will not regret it!
Just in case you need a little bit of encouragement, here are a few pictures for inspiration.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who's your Master?

I watched the movie Invictus for the second time last night. Since it was a cold night and all I wanted to do was wrap myself in a really warm blanket and John had not seen it yet, we decided to rent it. It was a good movie to watch together.

Invictus is inspiring and above all, I love its message of forgiveness and reconciliation. I admire Mandela and all that he has done for his country and for this world. I love how his message parallel’s the teachings of Jesus Christ.

However, the more I think about what the poem ‘Invictus’ actually means, the more I realize that its message is far, very far from Jesus’ teachings. As a matter of fact, one cannot be a follower of Christ and follow this poem’s mission.

by William Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
I must admit, there is something very attractive about being the master of one’s fate and the captain of one’s soul. I myself like to step into that position again and again. I like to be on the driver’s seat. I like to do as I please. I like to be my own master. However, I cannot be a follower of Jesus and remain my own master.

Joshua 24:15 clearly states:
‘Choose this day whom you will serve.’

But I cannot choose to serve two masters. I cannot be my own master and invite Jesus to be a part of my life. I must give up one or the other.  

From experience, I know that I make a horrible master. I often lack wisdom, love, grace, mercy, discernment… and more often than not I am selfish, jealous and prideful. Recognizing my weaknesses and failures, I came to the decision long ago that I cannot be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

Here is a poem that better explains the reality of my life:

by Dorothea Day

Out of the light that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be,
For Christ – the Conqueror of my soul.
Since His the sway of circumstance,
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under the rule which men call chance,
My head, with joy, is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of sin and tears,
That Life with Him and His the Aid,
That, spite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and will keep me unafraid.
I have no fear though straight the gate:
He cleared from punishment the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate!
Christ is the Captain of my soul!
I choose Christ to be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.
Isaiah 43: 1-3
But now, this is what the LORD says—
       he who created you, O Jacob,
       he who formed you, O Israel:
       "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
       I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters,
       I will be with you;
       and when you pass through the rivers,
       they will not sweep over you.
       When you walk through the fire,
       you will not be burned;
       the flames will not set you ablaze.

 For I am the LORD, your God,
       the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Pride Issue

I just finished reading Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. Every single page of this book brought along with it some challenges.  The second to last chapter was all about the perils of leadership and not surprisingly, the first one mentioned was ‘pride.’

The author points out that “the victim of pride is often the least aware of the sin.”

Sanders also provided three tests that help us identify the problem:
  • The test of precedence: How do we react when another is selected for the position we wanted to fill?When another is promoted in our place? When another’s gifts seem greater than our own?
  • The test of sincerity: In our moments of honest self-reflection, we often admit to problems and weakness. How do we feel when others identify the same problem within us?
  • Test of criticism: Does criticism lead to immediate resentment and self-justification? Do we rush to criticize the critic?
These tests brought to the surface the fact that I tend to be a proud person at heart. I tend to be jealous of others that have accomplished what I want to accomplish. I tend to get hurt if others point out failures in my character. I tend to become defensive when others criticize me.

I am more aware than ever that I need to pray for a humble heart.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that
of Christ Jesus:

 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:3-11 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Work Out Update #3

I never thought this day would come, but I am happy to announce that I am no longer feeling horribly sore! It is nice to see how my body has adapted to the exercises in a relatively short period of time.
This past week I was able to increase the intensity level by adding a couple of pounds to the dumbbells! Actually, I was not excited about adding the weight. But I made the mistake of telling John that I was feeling so much better now that the dumbbells don't feel as heavy as they used to. John looked at me and smiled. He then told me I should add more weight to all my exercises since they are becoming easy. My excitement disappeared immediately.

Also, since I decided to be honest with you all in regards to the reality this workout routine, I have to confess that John and I didn’t do the whole exercise yesterday. We had company over for dinner and we knew we would not have enough time to do our whole exercise before dinner. So, we headed over to the gym and did as much as we could in the short time we were there. After dinner we got lazy and did not go back to finish the workout. I should also mention that John wanted to go back to finish it, but that was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do.  I promised John that we are going to finish yesterday’s exercise today (after we finish today’s exercise).  

Well, that is it for now. I hope to feel really inspired to get all that work done tonight.

Bokeh Fanatic

If you asked me anything about bokeh a year ago, I would have looked at you and pretended I knew what you were talking about. That is what I do. I pretend I understand and run home to do a quick Google search that hopefully clarifies all things.

Anyways, since diving into photography I have learned quite a bit - and a good bokeh has become a favorite. Seriously, I have a big soft spot for shallow depth of field.

If you are not a bokeh fanatic, here is a quick lesson:  small f-stop = wide aperture = shallow depth of field = lots of bokeh. I don't actually get it either. But it not only works, it looks great!

Below is a visual. Do you see how the wheatgrass is in focus but the whole background is a blur. That, my friend is what I am talking about. Beautiful!

PS. If I am not wearing contacts or glasses, bokeh is what I get to see everywhere. This may be the only beautiful thing about having bad eyesight!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Learning Takes Time

Hi Friends,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and feel ready to start a new week. I hope you feel inspired to do your best independent of what is ahead of you!

As for me, I spent quite a bit of time (in other words, many hours) working on this weekend. Actually, I should say that John and I spend a ridiculous amount of time in front of a computer trying to figure out why the drop down menu refuses to work correctly.

Man, learning new things take time! And patience!

We finally got the website to work properly...only to realize later that the drop down menu only works with some versions of Internet Explorer. So, I say you should ALL go download Internet Explorer 9. That way you can see my website without errors.

Also, while you are at it, log in to your facebook account and visit my Facebook Photography Page.  By pushing "like" you will be able to stay updated on new photoshoots! Feel free to look through the albums and leave comments. Also, fell free to tell all your friends that you know someone who is a great photographer who would feel honored to document their story with photographs they will forever cherish!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall is Here

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dried Apples

What to do when you still have lots of apples at home?
Dry them!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's Your Color Personality?

When it comes to colors, I can be a little boring. Pretty much every outfit I own is either black, gray, white or navy blue. It is not that the other colors are ugly, it is just that I am not sure they would look good on me.

However, I secretly admire people who wear bold colors. I even admire people who paint their kitchens bright turquoise! I just don't think I would have the guts to do the same.

But if someone asked me what is my favorite color, I would most likely say blue or green. Or even better, a combination of both.

So, this morning, I took the "What's you color personality?" test at the Better Homes and Gardens website. After answering a couple of questions, here is the response I got:

It sounds like the hue you most relate to is green -- the color most evocative of nature. Adjectives such as kind, gentle, and contemplative likely describe you. You enjoy being involved with your neighbors and coworkers, but you also require plenty of time to yourself to recharge.You are social yet introverted, and modern but not trendy. Surround yourself with your signature color to create a restful, soothing environment. From sage to hunter, green can work well in virtually every room of your house. Use it generously to create a haven you'll love coming home to.

So, it sounds like green is my color! So far, I have green walls in a bathroom, green bedding, green candles and some green plants in my living room...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Work Out Update #2

Last time I wrote about our work out I mentioned that we could not see much difference as far as looking or feeling more fit. Well, that has changed!

While I still struggle to breathe while running, I KNOW I am getting better at it. I have been pushing myself on the treadmill and I can run longer than I used to. Also, the muscles are becoming visible! Those who know me, know that I like muscles. By that, I don't mean that I like the body builder kind of body. I am talking about a toned body that looks healthy and active.

The soreness is still there, but John was mentioning yesterday that he is starting to feel much more energized - even when his body is tired. That is what exercise does to the brain! As John Medina would say:

"Exercise is Miracle Gro to the brain."

So, our bodies and our brains have been benefitting from this new exercise routine and I encourage you to start some kind od exercise routine if you have not yet created a routine of your own.

Got Apple?

This weekend was all about apples. Since we brought back more than 350 pounds of apples from our trip to the farming land, we had to be creative and make everything we know how to make with apples. So we headed south, to the country side to make:

Apple Crisp

Apple Sauce

Apple Butter

This was quite the task! We had people assigned to cutting apples, people assigned to stirring the cooking apples, people assigned to making apple sauce with two kitchen aid mixers, people assigned to making apple get my point.

The kitchen was a mess, we were hot and tired and the house smelled 100% apple!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Favorites

I have recently submitted some of my photographs to a couple of contests. To tell you the truth, I am not hoping to win anything - mainly because I have never won anything in my life. Still, it is exciting to submit photographs knowing that people all over the world are going to take a look at them. Even more exciting is to read the positive comments left by people I don't even know!

Here are some of the ones I have submitted this far:

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