My ever changing Sundays

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Sundays are different to everybody, for me as a kid they were meant for going to church. Sometimes I loved going, others I dreaded it.  Sunday school was fun for the most part. In high school, I went to church about every week but I mostly helped in kindergarten, and second grade classrooms. I had so much fun being apart of teaching about Jesus to a room full of adorable little kids with a heart for God. My mom was a Sunday school teacher, so that’s how I initially got involved, and then the hours counted towards community service for my high school. I did enjoy going, but I probably needed to be more involved in a high school group, but those were less appealing.

It was either my Junior or Senior year of high school when my parents changed churches, so I followed suit. I didn’t like the new church as much, but my parents did. I started dreading going to church almost every time, my heart wasn’t in it. When I hit my first year of college, we had chapel 2-3 times a week, and church. I thought it sounded great at first, but I grew tired of it, feeling forced to go all the time. I didn’t have a good attitude, and outlook about it. Looking back I realize what an amazing opportunity it was to grow & be with people who desired the Lord. I do have regrets for not seizing the opportunities I was blessed with, but I was lost & guess my heart wasn’t truly willing.

This past year my Sundays consisted of working at a restaraunt downtown. I slowly stopped taking Sunday shifts, but not to go to church, to hang out with friends. A friend from work, and I used to go bar hopping on Sunday nights, our “Sunday fun days.” Then when I got into a relationship, Sundays became our date nights. Sundays lost their previous meaning for me, it just became an ordinary day where I didn’t think of God at all.

I’ve spent more than enough time lately dwelling on the past and things I cannot change, so I’m actively trying to start fresh, and focus on the present. I haven’t consistently been to church since my first year of college, which sadly was about 6 years ago. I have been to church since but again not with a willing heart, and it was usually because my family went. I shamefully admit it was only a few times a year, maybe for Christmas, Easter, and times I accompanied my best friend. But I didn’t desire to go every week, I didn’t go with an open heart, I didn’t really focus on the message, and let it sink in. I definitely did not think about it much the other 6 days of the week. I went about my life, doing the same things. I honestly didn’t think I needed church, or didn’t think it was for me anymore, and a part of me felt like it was too hard to keep going because I would have to change my ways. I would often feel guilt when going to church, feeling uncomfortable, and who wants that? Nobody wants to be out of their comfort zone, and feel guilt, but often times that’s what we have to go through to grow. I kept ignoring it, and just gave up.

Fast forward to the end of June, the night before I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend I went to church with my friend. It had been a long time since I had been, it was a new church. I actually wanted to go, it was something that had been weighing on my heart in the last couple months of my relationship. I was hesitant to tell him because I knew he would think it was weird. It felt so good being there, being around people who needed, and wanted Jesus in there life.

I was finally at a point in my life where I was no longer ashamed to admit I needed Jesus in my life. I felt convicted, refreshed, safe, not feeling lost for a moment. I was so tired of feeling lost, but I didn’t realize what I needed to no longer feel that way. Only God knew exactly what I needed, and He knew the perfect timing. It was definitely God who put this desire in my heart. I used to think church was only for those who have it all figured out but it’s absolutely not the case. Nobody will ever have it all figured out we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of be Lord, but by His grace we are redeemed.

I’m so thankful to my best friend, she knows who she is! 🙂 She has always been a great example in my life of following Christ, and living by faith. I’m so blessed to have had her as friend for all these years. Even through times when I wasn’t the best friend in return, and when I wouldn’t tell her everything because I knew she would judge me, but honestly I deserved it, and needed to be held accountable to my actions. I’m so glad we are able to go to church together, and grow, it’s been fun trying different churches. I’m excited to continue going to church, this time with a willing heart, a desire to grow. I thank you Jesus for changing my heart, opening my eyes, and taking me back no matter what I have done, and how far I strayed from you. I thank you for your mercy, and endless grace.

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Photography: Comfort behind the lens

When I lived in California I would go to Del Mar beach as much as I could, with my camera in tow. I was taking a photography class so I finally had an excuse for taking so many pictures. Being behind the camera has always made me feel safe, I remember feeling lost, restless, confused and just walking along the beach thinking. The fresh air and the sound of the crashing waves calmed me, I felt a sense of peace near the ocean. I let my camera lead the way, following whatever caught my fancy. I often walked near the train tracks taking pictures from up above the beach. It may sound unusual but the sound of trains/coasters relaxed me, a sense of distraction from my thoughts.

I found beauty, and joy in everyday surroundings. A coaster may not be much to some people, but to others it signifies hope, hope in a new day, a fresh start, hope of meeting new people, hope of a better day when they reach their destinations.

Photography gives me a feeling of hope, focus, contentment. The world around me seems less scary through my lens.

I would spend hours at the beach staring off into the vast ocean in awe of God’s beautiful creation. I loved the reflection of the sun glistening on the warm sand, as the waves crashed over the various colored stones washed ashore. Looking back at these photos it makes me appreciate the small things, the joy i found watching the birds leave their little prints in the sand as they wandered the beach. the simple satisfaction of watching the waves continuously swoosh back and forth for hours.

A gorgeous sunset over the pristine blue ocean. I remember my exact feelings of loneliness, and not knowing my place in the world. Life passing me by, as I stood still. In a moment it all shifted, with a change in perspective, and a press of a round black button the world stopped. Those insecurities disappeared in that moment.

Photography: Multiple Interpretations

  
One of my favorite photographs I took a few years ago when my Canon Rebel XSI was brand new. I like looking back at the photo, and guessing this man’s journey. Was he taking a stroll on the beach contemplating life? Missing a loved one? Was he sad dwelling on past memories? Was he lonely?Was he longing for something or someone? Or maybe he was simply just out taking a walk, enjoying the beautiful day. I love photographing people in their natural state, not posed or staged, just free to be exactly who they are in that moment.

New Perspective- Photography on Horseback

  
There is beauty all around us, up above our heads, below our rubber soles, right in front of us, we look, but do we truly see? 

   

  
I have been riding my horse lately, it had been almost a year, I had forgotten how much I love it. I’ve been around horses all my life, my mom had me on a horse as a small munchkin.

I’ve always felt a strong connection with horses, feeling safe, yet aware of the risk, trusting this 1000 pound animal with your life. Being on a horse is extremely exhilarating, freeing, captivating, and literally breathtaking. A beautiful escape into a carefree perspective, the everyday doubts, worries, unbearable stresses just fade away into the sand.

  


I’ve been getting my horse acclimated to dogs barking, kids playing, sirens blaring, and to my frequent stops, taking pictures of the beautiful nature. I love the perspective from the back of my four legged 1000 pound companion.

It is necessary in life to find something that refreshes, and recharges you, a hobby that gives you clarity, and new perspectives. Horseback riding and photography are outlets for me to step back, think, and process life’s obstacles. What are your outlets?

All photos are taken by me.

Flawed, but loved

imageLife isn’t meant to be done alone, I am dark, weak, broken, bruised, sick, I’m selfish, and often forget to spread love; I’m in desperate need of His grace, and mercy. We all are flawed, yet God still loves us. How can we not love everyone no matter what they do, when God has showed us unconditional love. Remember to love, even when it hurts, even when you think someone doesn’t deserve it, because we don’t deserve God’s love but He does anyways. Remember to listen, to be there for each other, lift each other up not bring one another down.

Red journal entry

My journal entry from a few years ago.

“I feel alone, lost, and confused. I’m weak in these moments, I need the one I can rely on, look to for courage, someone who makes the judgmental thoughts disappear only bringing love. The type of love that will make the birds swoon, the oceans roar, and leave my heart content. I want to lend a hand without thinking twice, be there for someone when they need it the most. I want to push away the attention from myself, and let the serving of others bring me joy. I want to feel an unexplainable happiness, letting it show. I want to break out of my cage of sadness, self-loathing, and live life to the fullest, sending love.”

I’ve always needed God, but I didn’t always have an open heart. God’s love is enough, it’s all I need right now. Have an open heart, my friends.

  
 Pictures I took in Canon Beach, Oregon about six years ago.