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My sister took a quick shot of us on Thanksgiving, while we were waiting for family to arrive before dinner. A good thing too, because by the time we were done dinner it started getting dark. The boys actually liked their sweaters (yay, they don't enjoy wearing much other than crewneck t-shirts these days)! We found the concrete blocks which was a nice way of helping the kids stay still long enough for my sister to snap the shot. Then they started jumping off of them. :)

A Girl and Her Emotions

Feels like I have been waking up Only to fight with the same old stuff Change is slow and it fills me with such doubt. Come on New Man where have you been? Help me wriggle from this Self I'm in And leave it like a skin upon the ground.

Sara Groves, "Like a Skin"

When I found out the ladies’ retreat theme my church was holding this year was on emotions, I admit I inwardly groaned. That’s not for me, I thought. As someone who has previously prided herself on her stoicism, feeling emotionally out-of-control has not typically been an area I’ve felt weak in.

If anything, I more often struggle with hardness of heart and detachment. Displaying emotions can equal weakness to me, and in the past I’ve protected myself against hurt by building a wall around my heart.

I have grown though, in becoming a more emotionally open person, marriage and motherhood being the main means to my transformation.

In the weeks leading up to the retreat, however, I felt pushed to the limit and at the end of myself. I was struggling with anger everyday. Little things were cracking my reserves and I was blowing up over annoyances and discipline problems with my kids.

As much as I tried to change, everyday I felt failure. Everyday I showed my kids how to have a big ole temper tantrum. Patience seemed to elusively slip through my fingers.

No doubt many factors played into my struggle. The lack of time my kids were getting to blow off their energy outside now that it’s colder and the time changed. Homeschooling is new this year and stretching us all. A small house means we’re kind of all under each other’s feet.

But still, something needed to change with me. Yet change seemed out of reach.

Like Paul I could say, “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19).

As God would have it, by the time the retreat actually rolled around, it was perfect in timing and topic. Imagine that! I was wallowing in discouragement and not God’s grace to change and make me more like Him.

Each message at the retreat spoke to me in some way with my struggle of anger and self-control.

First, it was so good to be reminded I’m created in God’s image and that I’m more like God than any other creature in the universe. To be reminded that God feels. He is not detached, unfeeling, or stoic. My emotions are God-given; despite the fact they’re corrupted, just like the rest of me. “The cry of need and the song of joy are each appropriate in image bears of the glory of God,” writes David Powlison in “What Do You Feel?” for the Journal of Biblical Counseling.

Despite the fact I’m an image bearer of God, I still have a long way to go and I feel that. However, one of the speakers at the retreat reminded me that God is glorified by my attempt at righteousness, not just my attaining it.

What a good reminder that my weak attempts glorify God! That He doesn’t look down on me for that. Actually, the fact that I’m wrestling is a sign that God’s working in me, not that He’s not working in me.

This encouraged my soul. My attempts and my wrestling were signs that He was working in me. And though I must fight against my various sin patterns, God also offers rest for my weary and discouraged soul.

“Performance does matter to God.” The speaker had my attention with this comment. She went on, “Never think that it doesn’t. It’s just whose performance matters: that of Jesus.”

I’m not resting in my daily performance of perfect self-control. I’ll mess up. I’ll blow it. I’ll yell at my kids again. I already have since being back from the retreat. But I can rest that Jesus’ performance of a perfect life, death, and resurrection on my behalf covers me.

And so I continue to wrestle. But I rest too.

Does anyone else wrestle with their emotions too? How do you wrestle? How do you rest?

 

Please Note: In this post I shared from the notes I took from the messages at the retreat. I’m not always sure what was a quote from the speakers or someone she was quoting. So please forgive any unrecognized quotes.

Image Credit: Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co.

A New Camera and Cute Kids

A few weeks ago I bought a new camera. A Nikon d600. A "big girl" camera at last! I had really out grown my previous model. And now I'm in love with the images my new camera produces and how quickly I can change my metering and focusing options with a quick touch of a button without digging deep into menus. My images also need less processing time because I have more control over white balance and it has a higher iso. I used it with my last two sessions and was so happy with it! After using it for only a few days, when I picked up my old camera again it felt so cheap and small. But it has served me well.

I was practicing getting used to the new controls and snapped a couple of shots of two of my little guys. Aren't they cute?

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Hunter | Senior Session

Two years ago I photographed my first senior session with Kenzie, better known to my kids as "Kay Kay," our babysitter and friend. It's hard to believe it's now her brother's turn to be a senior! I was excited to be contacted about Hunter's session! No pun intended, but Hunter is a hunter, so he wanted to be photographed on the property where he hunts and include his gun in his images, to represent his love for nature and the sport. It ended up being such a COLD and grey day, but that didn't stop us from getting some great shots. And I was super excited to find out that just a day later, Hunter shot what I believe was his first deer of the season!

Congratulations, Hunter, on your senior year and good luck with picking a major!

Hampton Estate

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During the summer while listening to Where Lilacs Still Bloom on audiobook, I discovered a local treasure. I'd never heard of Hampton Estate at that point, and little did I know that such an amazing historic house was just a stone's throw away from me. Built in 1790 it was once the largest private home in the United States, it has an amazing history. Also, I did not realize the connection between the famous painting by Thomas Sully, Lady with a Harpnow hanging in the National Gallery of Art and the estate. I actually own a print of the painting and have always loved it.

In October we finally visited for the Family Fall Day. We enjoyed it so much and look forward to going back and spending even more time there. The house tour was so fascinating. The boys did a great job on their first hour-long tour of a historic home!

The property was once famous for its' gardens. Note the "orangery" below left. The family purchased orange trees and kept them in the climate controlled environment. You had to be wealthy to do that kind of thing back in the day!

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A copy of the famous painting of Eliza Ridgely, the Lady with a Harp (left) and the dinning room (right).

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The boys were SO excited to help make apple cider!

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Duncan and Owen begged to take pictures with my camera. Duncan took the top one below and Owen took the bottom one.

Pretty good, don't you think?

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October Instagrams

The gorgeous month of October has slipped away and November has dawned. November is not my favorite month by any means. I hate the time change, which is happening tonight! Ugh. So for now I'll bask in October's memories. We loved studying Greek myths for school this month. And a favorite picture book we discovered was Minette's Feast. A lovely book about Julia Child's cat. The writing and illustrations were beyond charming!

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Below left is a tasty kale recipe, yum! Just made some again yesterday! An some favorite drinks: Mexican Hot Chocolate and Mate lattes! And dueling crock-pots of applesauce!

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A Classical Conversations field trip to Beachmont Corn Maze!

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Above: Owen's artwork, some button math, and library book sale deals!

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The squirrels attacked our pumpkins this year! Oh the horror!

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Above: Classical Conversations field trip to Port Discovery for the Gods, Myths and Mortals exhibit. So thankful my mom could help me with that adventure! And below we're all dressed up for Trunk or Treat!

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