Leaving auto for manual: thoughts on stepping out

Leaving auto for manual and other thoughts on stepping out My friend Kacy has a phrase she has used a lot-- leaving comfort for courage-- that has always stuck with me. Isn't that just how we are to live? Outside our comfort zone, being courageous in the face of what may come, being bold, and strong in grace and in the gospel.

from auto to manual-1

It might be a stretch to make this analogy, but bear with me here. I recently started shooting photos on manual. This month's 10 on 10 was my first all-manual set. On Sunday, we spent a family day at the beach for my birthday (it was a gloriously lovely simple day).

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The fog rolled in thick and low, while the brightness of the sun still fought to shine through, making the lighting incredibly tricky.

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For quite a while now I've been shooting on A which means that I adjust the shutter speed but my trusty camera figures out the rest for me. It was a good stepping stone, but I've been standing there perched for far too long. (Professional photography is not my goal; I just want to learn how to use my camera better and get the most out of my photos.)

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I decided it was time to jump off that step and just start doing my best to set the camera right (armed with a couple of ebooks on photography and a skilled brother as references).

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I made a lot of mistakes and had to reset the camera with almost every shot. It was challenging and yet the photos that came out spark a lot of joy in me, knowing that I had to work at achieving the correct lighting.

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You know what holds me back and has me switching back to A or even to Auto in a dicey light situation? It's fear. Fear that I'll miss out on the perfect shot because I had the settings wrong.

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But the wonderful thing about digital photography is that we can take a virtually endless amount of photos (depending on media card size, of course). We just keep shooting and shooting and adjusting as we go, and checking to see if we get it right. Eventually, I think I'll get the hang of it (or I'll at least remember which way to dial the f/stops). It won't be so touch-and-go, and I'll be more confident.

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Any time we try something new, it's this similar learning curve.

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It feels like it takes this enormous amount of boldness to step out into the unknown or into a new direction, but the truth is that when we step out where God is calling us, we're stepping out onto the path that has already been prepared for us.

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We don't actually have to bolster up all this faith, all this courage, all this boldness on our own. He actually provides it for us as we go. We just have to ask for it! God's pretty great like that.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 4:14-21

God doesn't need "good people" {31 days of The Life Poetic, day 19}

God doesn't need good people... This "note" was inspired by a message one of our pastors, Patrick Crandall, preached last Sunday. If you want proof of this quote, just study the journey of Moses in the wilderness as they were in between deliverance and the promised land.

And let this word of truth encourage you. You don't have drum up goodness on your own.

You just need to come to Him as you are, and He will be faithful to transform your heart to be more like His perfect Son's.

He can teach us how to love well, walk in freedom, encourage one another, and live in grace.

Come as you are.

the life poetic

This is Day 19 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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3 little things... favorite Bible study tools {with a printable!}

three favorite Bible study tools from GidgetGoesHome.com There's a stark difference in my day when I take time to give myself a hard reset and a fresh start by reading my Bible first thing in the morning. Ideally, I get up early and enjoy the quiet and solitude of a still house at dawn, but of course, with three kids, someone is often bound to be up early with me.

The season I'm in right now is all about surviving and making do. I might not get uninterrupted time to journal my heart out like I did before I was a mama but that doesn't mean I can't read a few verses, review some prayer requests, and center my heart on the Lord even on mornings where the chaos starts early.

Here are a few things that make me happy as I dig into the Word.

ESV journaling bible

1. My Bible

I've been using a Crossway journaling Bible over six years now, but just this year I upgraded to a real leather version with a single column of text instead of a double column (bottom right photo above shows compares the two). I feel like the text lines up with my notes better with the single column. I've always been a verse-underliner and love inserting interesting notes so this Bible is really perfect for me. I hope it lasts me for many, many years, and gets super worn with lots of notes. There's nothing better than a worn, well-loved Bible.

micron pen for bible study

2. My pen

Thanks to my friend Susan, I finally discovered the best pen to use with this Bible, a Micron .25 mm. It's a very fine point so that I can write tiny notes, it doesn't smudge (she's a lefty so that was key for her to find), and it's archival quality. The other great idea Susan gave me was to use a new color each year. I started with brown, and I love how it writes, and how it, surprisingly, doesn't show through the pages like I thought this kind of pen might.

inductive bible study bookmark

3. A little guidance

I'm so excited for my CBS class to start up in two weeks-- I love having the homework to give me something focused to study in the Word (we're studying Daniel and Revelation this year!). But I'm also reading through all the epistles on my own, and hope to continue that even when CBS starts as they provide such practical advice on the way I want to live my life... and also, there's so much to underline and notes to transfer from my old Bible to my new one!

This summer for our womens' small groups we did some inductive Bible studying. I created a pretty little bookmark using some of the questions that our leadership team put together for a simple way to read the Bible and study it inductively. I laminated these for my girls and me to keep in our Bibles, always handy for us to use as we read the Word-- to not just gloss over what we read but to really extrapolate some tangible takeaways from it.

I wanted to share it with you, too! You can click to download the PDF of the  inductive bible study bookmark.

Linking up with Amy of MomAdvice for 3 Little Things. :)

What are your favorite Bible study tools?

Affiliate links included. Thank you for your support!

Embracing Self-Care: Spiritual & physical health

This week's topic for the Embracing Self-Care series is sort of a biggie. It's probably the biggest, in fact. If we're not taking care of ourselves spiritually and physically, there literally is nothing left in us to care for others. It's also the most constant work-in-progress category for me. IMG_7562

Physical health

I'm very casual about exercising-- maybe too casual. I was an athlete growing up and (thankfully) I still have the general physique of an athlete (although an athlete who's birthed and nursed two babies), so when I do work out there's a lot of muscle memory that helps me out.

By and large, my exercising has consisted of carrying and chasing babies/toddlers/kids for the last seven years. I've gone through seasons where I did regular gym workouts, CrossFit classes, gone surfing, and/or taken long walks, but nothing super consistent.  Now that I'm done having babies and am thirty-three, it's probably time to get some kind of regular routine going. ;)

As for diet, I'm a primal-ish eater, although the emphasis on the ish has gotten stronger in the last few months. I could stand to be a little more disciplined with my eating again. Sleep is something that I'm working on as well. My goal is to go to sleep at 10:30 and wake up at 5:30-- I'm getting closer to that, but it's really hard for me to get to bed on time, especially because David is a major night owl.

Plan of action for self-care:

I really do want to take care of this vessel that God has given me. I want to be energetic enough to take care of and play with my kids, and even if I end up with some random health problem eventually, I want to know that I did what I could to keep myself as healthy as possible. I also want to set a good example for my kids of taking care of my own body.

My springtime goal is to workout at least three times a week: ideally I would do a park workout once a week and do this really cool (free!) workout tailored especially for (but not limited to) getting in shape for surfing called WaveShape two evenings a week. I also want to start doing squats or push-ups or sit-ups throughout the day. When summer hits, I'll have to re-evaluate since I'll hopefully be surfing and walking more.

Spiritual Health

There are a few disciplines that really help me feel like I'm tracking well with the Lord. These are areas where I constantly need to be mindful of or they will easily slip away from me.

First, is my morning time with the Lord. This is a vital part of my spiritual healthy. I wrote a little bit of detail about this part of my life a few years ago, and that post is still relevant and descriptive of how I basically like to do things.

If you're feeling the pull to waking up early but needing help and encouragement, I can't recommend enough the free eBook Maximize Your Mornings by Kat Lee and the HelloMornings community that grew out of that eBook.

Speaking of community, I also can't say enough about the benefits of being immersed in encouraging, inspiring, authentic community. I see a direct correlation to my being connected to the body of Christ and my feeling spiritually healthy. A couple of resources that may encourage you in this area are my 31 days of intentional community series and my PDF prayer calendar for praying for those around you (free for newsletter subscribers).

embracing self-care: physical and spiritual health

Here's where I need to grow: prayer

I've been feeling the Lord imprinting on my heart that prayer is a discipline I need to focus on more and spend more time doing. The season of life I'm in is a challenging one and I need to be really leaning on Him being more intentional about praying, specifically for my own heart in parenting, and also for my kids' hearts to be softened and for their growth and development.

Time in creation

Being outside, especially at the beach switches on a big wave of peace in my heart and really tunes my heart to sing His praise. Prioritizing time at or near the beach doesn't feel indulgent to me anymore because I know that it refreshes me spiritually, and oddly enough makes me a better mom. I encourage you to figure out what you can do or where you can go for that feeling of refreshment, the place where you take a big sigh and go, "ah, my happy place."

It's been such a good exercise to take a good, hard look at the physical and spiritual aspects of my health and determine where I need to be more disciplined and how I can best take care of myself. Remembering to do this regularly can only help me to be a better mom, wife, and friend.

How's your health? Where do you need more discipline or growth? What disciplines come easy to you and which take more effort?

You can visit the other Embracing Self-Care hosts today, too!

Their individual posts for today’s topic will be linked up in the linky, or you can view their whole series by clicking the links below.

Beth at Red & Honey

Emily at Live Renewed

Krissa at More Than Mundane

Mindy at This Crazy Wonderful Life

Stacy at The Delightful Home

Leigh Ann from Intentional Grace

In which I confess my lack of bravery, and why I'm okay with that

psalm 7416-17 pick your portion smaller.jpg Today I'm honored to have a guest post over on the newly launched blog, Pick Your Portion. This new multi-authored site features a creative response to a passage of scripture each day. The title of the blog comes from the verse that says:

"...the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42 ESV

Fear has always been a struggle of mine, and when I recently was confronted with the question “What is the bravest thing you have ever done?” I was again reminded of this weakness of mine.

But head over to the post, and see why I'm embracing my weaknesses and clinging to the gospel instead.

Penny for your thoughts: contentment in the interim

Made this for friend! Good to remember that every good and perfect thing is from above.

"Everything is interim."

~ Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

It turns out contentment isn't actually about sitting where I am and not wanting any change or growth.

God is using this interim-- the already not yet-- to craft my soul into one that looks more like His Son's.

Dear readers, may we all experience the kind of contentment that understands that He is Sovereign and Holds Me Tightly in His Will.

His will will not be thwarted no matter my failures.

Godliness with contentment is indeed great gain.  {See 1 Timothy 6:5-7}