Friday, August 19, 2016


A few days ago,  I took the middle 3 (ages 12, 15, 17) to the doctor for check ups.  I know some of you may not do that after a certain age with your kids, but I still do.  I've had many health problems, so I always like to make sure I haven't passed any of that along.  Plus I like to visit with our pediatrician....I love her!! Each child came into an exam room alone with me and our pediatrician.  Our pediatrician has known them their whole lives, and she knows them well.  She will remember things about them from years past, all 5 of about amazing...that would be her.  On this day, Drew went first.  All went well...even the blood draw (which is typically a complete anxiety meltdown) was pretty smooth.  Bryna went next, and again all checked out shots or blood draws for her.  Of course she is the one who never sheds a tear.  Even when she was a baby and would get a shot, she would not cry.  Her little baby face would let out a big sigh and just look if to say, You're hurting my feelings.  Then it was Cal's turn.  Over the last few years, Cal has made huge strides in all things life deals him.  For those of you who don't know him, he has autism.  Going to the doctor was always a true nightmare for me (and for him), like literally I would have nightmares about it before and after; and it was NEVER EVER EVER smooth.  Our pediatrician has always been so accommodating and kind with him....she knows him well.  We discussed his progress, and she was more amazed than she was last year when he came in. I told her that out of my 5, he was  the easiest.  He doesn't do social media, or understand peer pressure, or know how to lie, or get involved with drama.  He is tidy, obedient and goes along with about anything we ask him to.  She nodded her head in agreement.  Who would have thought?  Certainly not I and probably not her.  He did everything she asked and answered all of the questions she asked him with confidence. happened, she told us he needed a shot and a blood draw.  I told her I would guess we would need to choose between the two, because I wasn't sure we would be successful at either.  He is a 17 year old young man, and although he's of very slim stature; he gets super human strength when he gets scared or he could lift a car, and I'm not joking even a little bit.  She said we should go for the shot.  I explained to him what was about to happen, and his face went from calm to pure panic; and he began shaking his head NO!  I knew right then and there that we would have a battle on our hands.  The petite little nurse came in, and we gave it a try in his arm.  He was in complete panic mode and tried to grab the needle from her hands.  Then she decided we should scoot him down to the end of the table, and she would try his leg.  NOPE...not happening.  We both declared defeat and decided that NPayne would have to take him back...EEEEKKK!! Bless their hearts.  When the nurse was telling our pediatrician that it wasn't going to happen, Cal got very upset and screamed "I hate shots!" and then he punched me in the arm HARD.  Immediately I saw a look of regret on his face.  While we were driving home, I looked over at him; and he was weeping silently but deeply.  I could see the sadness and disappointment in his face, and I was sad for him.  I knew that I couldn't ignore what had happened, but I needed to think about how to handle it with him effectively. Drew and Bryna were both silent in the backseat, but they both had such empathetic looks in their eyes; and I thought they might cry too.  It had been a long time, since I had seen Cal sad enough to cry.  I talked to him in the car and told him that hitting was never okay when you're angry, and I tried to give him words to use instead.  He listened and stared at me through his tears.  I could tell that he was so very sorry, because he was talking silently to himself which is one of his coping mechanisms.  Once we got home, I told him he needed to go to his room to think and calm down.  After about 20 minutes, I went upstairs to talk to him.  He was on Bryna's bed, and he was not crying and had composed himself.  I asked him if he had something he would like to say, and he said "I'M SORRY!"  I asked him what he was sorry for, and he said "For hitting you!"  His face said more than his words did,  I told him he was forgiven; and we talked about why hitting was not kind once again. Later that night, I went out to dinner alone.  It had been a long week.  Neil had been out of town, our house is in complete disarray due to renovations, the kids are all home adding to the disarray; and I was trying to work in the midst of the disarray.  I was a tad stressed, and to be honest; I had a little tantrum that afternoon; so alone I went.   I was sitting in the restaurant reflecting on the day's events and my son, when God reminded me of something big.  He reminded me that what had happened that day was full of miracles.  He reminded me of when Cal was a little boy and how things were hard.  There were days when I felt like I was failing him so big and days when I wondered if life would ever be easy again? Then He reminded me of Cal now, at 17,  and the conversation I had just had with our pediatrician about how he was the easy one. He reminded me that Cal has come so far...and He even gave me examples through memories of "little" big things he has accomplished.  Although Cal was sad today,  and it hurt my heart; God reminded me that Cal was understanding his emotions....something I was not sure would ever happen.  His sadness showed huge progress.  The fact that he was able to say, "I'm sorry for hitting you!" is a blessing and a miracle.  The fact that he was able to do everything our pediatrician asked him to and answer all of her questions was astonishing and a miracle.  The fact that he was able to recover, compose himself and go to school to see his teachers and classmates for a social gathering ..... that is an absolute miracle! Miracles are happening all around us, sometimes we just need to be reminded to look for them.  Thank God for reminding me and using my son to show me so many!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Photography can be a lonely job!

Addi and I attended a conference this past weekend called The Inspired Story.  It was designed to give photographers insight on bringing or keeping Jesus in your business and giving Him the glory.  There were lots of good stories and inspiration.  There were lots of stories about suffering, and how God blesses you during those times.  There was lots of learning.  I took away a lot, but one thing that really struck me was how one speaker said the business of photographry can be very lonely.  I've been stuck in a rut lately, and I think this is why.  The actual session is still as much fun and brings me as much joy as always, but the after part has become quite mundane.  I think this is why....loneliness.  I also think this may be why I've been turning down many weddings lately.  They are glorious to shoot, but then I edit and invest my time and emotions in people I may never see again.  When I photograph families, I usually always see them again.  Many of them have become my friends, and we have a connection.  Oftentimes when I shoot a wedding, the connection ends as soon as the images are delivered.  When I'm very busy with editing, I sit alone hunkered down with my coffee and music and work.  Sometimes it gets tedious, and  I end up with a stiff back and tired eyes; but I still enjoy it....until lately.  I think the lonely part is what has made it not as enjoyable as it use to be for me.  I've been doing this a long time now, and although I do really love alone time...too much of this kind of alone time takes its toll.  I'm feeling led to start looking for other things to photograph and to make a change in my business.  What that will look like....I don't know yet. 

School/Home School

As summer is quickly coming to a close, I am sad and excited.  Things are changing in our house physically and otherwise.  I will have at least one child at home with me for schooling this year, and I'm thrilled; but I'm also a tad nervous.  I want to make sure our time together is valuable.  She is excited about it, and I am too.  However as I've been searching for things that she is interested in learning (which don't necessarily involve academics or curriculum), I'm discovering that most classes and teachers still only offer times that are typically "after school hours".  I was kind of hoping to find the knitting class, art class, cooking class, etc. that were offered during school hours; but no luck yet.  Part of the lure of homeschooling is not using weekends for extra things, but preserving weekends for adventures and family.  As more and more people turn to homeschooling, I hope some of these things will become available.  For now, we will pick and choose a few and go from there.  I have another, who is contemplating, homeschooling this year.  I pray that whatever her decision, it will be best for her. As the school year approaches, I am excited about being actively involved in my kids' learning.  This is gonna be a good year!