Friday, January 27, 2012

The Ministry and Me

With all my recent photography posts, ya'll are probably thinking that is all I spend my every waking hours doing. {And just between you and me- sometimes I DO spend more time on my new hobby than I should!} But really, my photography endeavors are a little further down on my priority list.

Nearer to the top is "The Ministry", as we call it. =) I guess that's just an abbreviated term for the service for God that we feel called to do. We happen to get a pay check from a church, but I know lots of people "in the ministry" who are technically accountants, engineers, doctors, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers. Okay well I actually don't know any butchers or candlestick makers, But I do know a baker!

I don't post much about our ministry here or the ministry in general. I guess it's because I feel hesitant to influence any one's perspective on full time ministry, or being an APW - Assistant Pastor's Wife, thank you very much- based on something I say. I'm afraid the ministry is overflowing with servants in the ministry, particularly women in the ministry, who feel like they don't "measure up". There can be such stiff stereotypes about what exactly makes a "good" pastor's wife (or any other position title you want to insert there, but probably the biggest would be the pastor's wife). I know of several ministry wives who don't feel like they have the right personality, talents, skills, knowledge or spirituality to be in  the place that they are in. What's ironic is that one particular pastor's wife I know who really struggles with these feelings of inadequacy and lack of "what it takes" said to me that "she just isn't like Mrs. McCoy" - my late mother in law. And the kicker is that my mother in law never ever thought she was the quintessential pastor's wife at all! She felt like she never fit in at meetings for pastor's wives. She never enjoyed standing up and speaking in front of a group of women. She had to really muster up her courage to simply pray at a gathering like a baby shower. And there are many other specific areas that she was for sure not the "typical pastor's wife". But isn't it funny how to some, she represented everything a pastor's wife should be? When I told her how my struggling friend thought of her, she rolled her eyes and couldn't understand it.=)

As for me, I'm not much like my mother in law either. And I'm not too much like my home pastor's wife. But I do hope that I have little bits of pieces of them in me. I'll never be the ultra practical and mostly introvert that my mother in law was. But I hope I picked up some of incredible work ethic, and I hope that I learned from her to read the Bible for myself and let the Holy Spirit instruct me, instead of only living off of what someone tells me the Bible says. And I may not  have the wonderfully ability to diffuse personality conflicts like my home pastor's wife did- but I sure hope I can someday!! {really need to work on that one!} And I absolutely hope I learned how to love unlovely people who can offer nothing in return like she did... as I was a recipient of that love.

I don't know all there is to know about surviving and thriving in the ministry. I know it's weird life. =) Tax preparers don't even know where to start with us. We have zero flexibility and yet we have lots of flexibility. Make sense? =)  One thing I never like to say about ministry life is that we are busy. Look around you- who ISN'T busy!?! At least, we get to be busy together and doing for the Lord! It's actually a sweet deal.

Am I doing it "right"? I don't know.

My ministry consists of:
Loving Seth
Loving our girls
Helping Seth do ___________. {God fills in the blank.See? Told ya- weird, sweet life.}
Teaching SS, or helping others teach SS.
Nursery nursery nursery.

What I want to add:
Having a better attitude toward nursery. =)
Interacting more with the teen girls. In a way that doesn't involve them babysitting my children. =)
Being a  true friend to the ladies in our church.
Encouraging the members of our church
Reaching out more effectively to those not in church.{Winter + young children = me feeling like a very unfruitful witness. Would love anyone's ideas for improving in this area. One thing I've decided to do is when strangers approach me to compliment or talk to my girls, I'm going to give them tracts and invite them. It's something I should already do I know, but so often I just have friendly chit chat and then they walk away and I think- duh! Should've invited them to church!}

I loved college. LOVED it. I learned a lot. But I don't know if one can actually teach the ministry. It's kind of on the job training kind of thing. So this is my "in a nutshell" thoughts on it.


Week 4/52

The nephew photo shoot con't.



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week 3/52

My cutie pie nephew is now 3 months old. So my sister in law came over and we spent about 2 1/2 hrs. on a make-shift photo shoot, with my house turned upside down by a. me rearranging furniture to get the baby in nice light and b. the 7 other children (yes, that would 8 children in total!) running amuck while we tried to make the baby stop fussing (tummy issues) or sucking the life out of his hand. It was a fun, hectic afternoon! While shooting, I thought well, this isn't going well, I'll probably get 4 good ones from the whole thing. And then while editing them (all 88 of them!) I got excited about how many I liked. But, of course, by now I have stared at them and picked them apart and found all the flaws. But, still, I think I like them overall.








I think the above storyboard looks funny- like he's dancing or something! =)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Crowded Bathtub


As I was getting these photos prepared for posting, it occured to me that Maddie may be reaching the age where bath photos shouldn't go online. So.... I'm going go ahead and declare that this are the last of them. =)

After many many attempts, I have finally figured out how to create storyboards. And truthfully, I actually downloaded the template here, and followed these instructions. Even which such great explanation, I'll be honest and tell ya: this was hard for me to learn! I *think* I can finally wrap my head around it now though. I am working on Photoshop Elements 8, the baby brother of the full Photoshop. I've had it a couple of years now and still have so much to learn. Of course, by now, Elements 9 and 10 have been released. Technology is a bit frustrating that way... you only have the latest for about 2 seconds.

But what is really giving me fits lately is my computer. It is a good 5 yrs. old which I guess in computer world is a grandfather. It originally only had 1 GB... after replacing the hard drive a couple of years ago, we figured we'd go ahead and put in another GB since Vista was taking that lonely GB all to itself. My Elements was more than it could handle. But about 354,986 photos, mostly saved in large files, later.... it's on it's death bed. =( I was given a lap top with 4 GB but it has some issues of it's own and can not connect to the interest. So now I'm debating what to do.... maybe put some money into the lap stop to fix it.... but I'm not sure about editing on a laptop. I'm so mouse accustomed. (I guess I could plug a mouse in a lap top, right?) Blach. This is not where I like to spend my time or money. But it's kind of necessary.


Friday, January 13, 2012

The mid-night run for a pregnancy test

If that title doesn't draw in you, I don't know what will! =)

Yup. A few nights ago I sent my husband out to the store for a pregnancy test. I'd been intending to grab one all day and never got a round to it and I really didn't feel much eagerness about it... until trying to settle down and sleep.

"um, honey...."

And he was up, dressed and back in 15.

And it was negative. Both of them. =)

But in the hours, possible days, that I considered a 4th McCoy (girl, no doubt!) to be a possibility, a few noticeable changes took place that I think have been helpful to me.

With the idea that our house could get {more} crowded soon and that my already busy days would get busier, I immediately started to "man up". You know what I mean... stop whining about the nitty gritty hard work stuff that comes along with having cute and energetic and normal children. Why bother getting annoyed at the long lost of things you never have time to finish- just get busy doing your best and "hanging the rest". Yup, I'm tired. Who isn't? Yup, we're usually broke. We're in good company. My van is a perpetual dumpster. Okay it is a little gross sometimes and I need to be vigilant about getting every member of the family who can manage it to grab something on the way out of it. But a nice clean shiny new car is like not even on the radar right now. Oh well. It really doesn't matter.

What did (and does matter) is that I've got little people learning from me how to live, what attitudes to adopt, what to believe and if what I believe and what I do are at all connected.

So even though it's just the 5 of us still, I think this little rush of "what if's" this week was good for me. And what is kind of funny is that had anyone asked Seth or myself a week or two ago if #4 was on the wish list, we wouldn't probably have said not right now, we'd like to wait if we can. But you would never have guessed that by the cheesy grin on Seth's face when he came home with the tests. And no, I'm not exactly disappointed by the negative tests.... 3 babies born in October? Poor Eden would be so left out! I would have been very happy with a plus sign instead of a negative, too. It's just how we see it. I'd have to be a very difficult situation to not be excited and happy about a new baby. The craziest part of all is that the part I was starting to look forward to the most is the delivery. I know!?!! What in the world! But as painful and long and a little scary as it is, it's probably the most exciting thing in the world... to go the hospital with an empty back seat and come home with a tiny cooing little sweetie pie in the back seat. I was also starting to happily plan on more hair bows but don't tell Seth that part. =)

So for now, Leila continues to be "The Baby" and I am "manning up". Except for today, because I'm sick. =)


Week 2/52




Baklighting in a feild.... always nice. I'm not sure I *LOVE* these and am still learning how to shoot backlit situations but am committed to actually posting photos taken during the week, not better ones from a month ago. =) Hopefully by the end of 2012, I'll see marked improvement.

We had a nice warm week weather wise. Lots of illness at out house though. Today it was my turn. Blach.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

My life these days

A recap of life with my cute silly noisy family lately:

- Cold and flu season. I don't want to talk about it. ;) (But Maddie's asthma is doing well)

- Leila is 14 mo.s and loves food. LOVES food. Eats more than her big sisters. She sleeps and naps really well, so I'm a happy mama.

- Eden said one day "Mawm, (Mom) some people call me 'Eden' and some people call me 'Eden Gwace' (Grace) but my name is 'Eden Gwace'". "Oh, okay. Would you like everyone to call you 'Eden Grace' then?" "Yes, or 'Pinky'.  She's really hesitant to express her opinions on matters, as you can see. ;)

- Laundry, laundry, laundry. I don't want to talk about it.

- Couponing... I've definitely slowed down with it. Maybe it's just me, but I'm really not finding as many fabulous deals as I used to. And some deals I'm not interested in- I still have several years worth of toothpaste and shampoo/conditioner. But I did just finally run out of toilet paper after stocking up in November 2010. Yeah- over a year of not buying TP. That was nice. And I also have learned that just because canned soup is cheap doesn't mean my family will eat it. I'm the big soup consumer in the family and I'm a bit of a soup snob and want homemade soup, or soup from a diner. So the small stock pile is good to have in case of emergency, but I don't need to jump on every Campbell's Chunky Soup deal I find. Still, other items I would love to restock up on but am not finding any great buys. So if you find outrageously awesome deals for toilet paper, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent or breakfast cereal, let me know! =)

- I'm barely keeping my head above water when it comes to organizing and keeping this house in relative cleanliness. And believe me, I'm not striving for absolute perfection here. I'd be happy to settle for being able to walk without tripping on princess shoes, or have a counter top without mushed up banana finger prints. Leila has a blast emptying drawers and I need to be more consistent with having the girls put away one set of toys before getting new ones out. My husband's cousin's wife (wow- that's a mouthful!) has some great ideas here on her blog.

- Another link for you: my Bible reading schedule for 2012. The girls and I read the 'family" selection before starting school.

And that's all I've got time for folks. =)


Week 1/52

I'm starting this off with some shots from a practice engagement session with a young couple that attends our church. It was really great to have subjects who were cooperative adults! Such a nice change from the riff raff I usually photograph!! ;)

And it was fun to hang out with these two and get to know them a little (any other mamas/nursery workers out there feel like by the time you get out the nursery, the bulk of the congregation has left? yeah-- missing some fellowship for sure!)

I initially like these a lot, but have now had time to pick them apart and have a list of 157 things I should have done differently. =) But in the end, it's all about:

(Although big beautiful diamonds don't hurt either!)

And being together....
...(being cute isn't a bad thing, neither!)...
... on the journey of life.