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

What I'm Into...

Magazine readers I can't seem to stop sharing good things with you. It makes sense, because for all the years that I've been subscribing to Martha Stewart, her Good Things section has always been the most fun part of the magazine for me.

And I'm trying out another new (to me) linky, since I had so much fun with sharing what I learned in June. If I keep going with both of these memes, I suppose I'll need to differentiate them a bit, but for now, bear with me if this post seems a bit reminiscent of my last one. So without further adieu...

Read and Reading

I came to a realization last week. I'm not really in a good season for fun fiction, as I like to call it. I have this problem where I get so immersed in a book that I can't really think about anything else until I finish it. It's --ahem-- not very conducive to running a household and taking care of kids.  So, I might take a break from reading so much fun fiction. I'm in love with memoirs right now, and they read at a pace where real life seems to be within reach between chapters, which seems sorta important.

Yesterday's Tomorrow

yesterdays-tomorrowI think this last book I read was what really did me in. Yesterday's Tomorrow was intense and there was really no way I was going to drag out reading it over a period of days or weeks. With a father-in-law who served in Vietnam and an interest in journalism (I almost majored in it), I was drawn into the story basically couldn't put it down.

Author Catherine West did a wonderful job developing her characters-- they were very raw and real. Their relationship intrigued me and the complications they had to overcome surprised me. The wartime setting made the book an obvious page-turner, but it was also the characters that made me want to read more, to watch them grow and change and experience life, love and a deep sense of God's sovereignty. This may not be a relax-on-the-beach type of book but I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of adventurous romance stories.

Vietnam, 1967. Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father’s memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother’s wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he’s hiding something. Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they’re forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

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Currently Reading

Been working on these a while now: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Desperate (Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson), Toujours Provence (Peter Mayle), Nurture by Nurture (need to pick this one back up!); recently borrowed from a friend: Cold Tangerines (Shauna Niequist); picked up at the library: Food Rules (Michael Pollan).

TV

Can't stop watching Hart of Dixie. Sad to be almost done with Season 1 because Season 2 is not on Netflix yet. Still working our way through the new Arrested Development-- I still see it as a darker version of the original, but we're enjoying it nonetheless. And of course, the Dodgers are a constant in this house. You've never really experienced baseball unless you've watched/listened to Vin Scully call a game.

The kids and I are now obsessed and in love with Olive Us (thanks, Melissa!). I can't recommend these adorable short videos enough. It has also inspired me to get back to editing our own little home videos that have been waiting patiently in the recesses of my computer for the last couple of years.

Movies

We haven't watched much of note lately, although last weekend I watched What to Expect When You're Expecting with a girlfriend and enjoyed it-- wasn't expecting (no pun intended) the sweet adoption storyline. Seeing Dennis Quaid (who I normally love) play a jerk was a bit of a shocker though. I always love movies with a million little storylines that eventually converge (is there a name for that kind of movie?).

Music

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the prospect choosing something out of pretty much all the music in the world? (I'm talking about Spotify of course.) Sometimes I just don't even know what to listen to. But lately, I can't seem to get enough of Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, and Joao Gilberto. My username is nicoleakagidget there.

Also of note, while not technically music, is a fun podcast I started listening to on our recent road trip: Spilled Milk. Just think a dude and a girl (both married to other people, both quite funny), exploring various food topics. David and I did the shared-ear-buds thing (which was very romantic until he had to turn his heads to change lanes) and listened to a few of them together on the drive.

Things I love:

~ The Honest Company. I think I'll write about this more later but if you are looking for quality disposable diapers (i.e. not chemically-laden), these are an adorable option. I'm loving everything I try from Honest so far (including their sunscreen and I'm a stickler on that one).

Hallee's Bummis

~ Bummis swimwear. I was sent this adorable swim outfit for Hallee to try out and I just love it. The velcro swim diaper is easy to get off and on and doesn't store tons of water like some other reusable swim diapers do, she actually keeps the hat on for a while and the rashie is nice and thick which I know means good sun coverage (and less sunscreen to apply!).

~ Staying with friends on road trips. Enjoying other people's hospitality and having so much quality time with friends is such a treat.

~ Seeing David with his buddies from the days of old like happened last weekend. Wish we could live closer to all the fine folks we visited.

Gigi and baby Charlotte

~ My baby nephew and my baby niece who are both equally squishy, cuddly and just plain cute. I can't wait to hold them again!! (But no, I don't want any more babies of my own). ;)

Molly and me

~ Instagram friends who become real-life friends. My brother can back me up here. Meeting the lovely Molly and her family was such a fun treat, she is a true kindred spirit!

Sparklers!

~ Sparklers!! This is a pretty novel thing to me because home fireworks are not legal where I live (fire hazard anyone?), but they are super fun, and our kids loved experiencing them (Gigi was a little unsure but warmed up a bit).

In the blogosphere

Back in the day you could "share" things on Google Reader and that was how I kept track of inspiring blog posts I found elsewhere. That's been gone quite a while and now Reader itself has gone the way of the buffalo. I'm reading blogs in Feedly now and will try to stay more up-to-date on sharing worthwhile blog posts on my Tumblr page or occasionally on Facebook.

Yesterday I had my monthly post on Simple Mom, where I shared how to make the adorable yo-yo earrings that I often get compliments on. It's a quick and easy project!

What are you into?? 

Linking up (eventually, I'm a bit early) with Hopeful Leigh.

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh
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What creativity looks like for me... when I'm not crafting

Written by editor Nicole Bennett of Gidget Goes Home.

We've been talking about creativity this week... first I shared my goals, then Emily wrote about carving out time to be creative, even if it's just small slices of time.

I love to create and really do feel that we were designed to take part in the creation process in our own little ways. But sometimes traditional arts and crafts just aren't in the cards.

Many times, I am simply prioritizing other things during free time-- checking email, writing a blog post, reading a few pages in a book, dusting the piano, washing diapers. Leisure time (or lack thereof) and life circumstances certainly have a lot of control over when we can create.

It's funny-- I started writing this post, and then realized that my friend Andrea was doing a year-long challenge that spoke directly to what I was feeling.

Sometimes we(I) pigeon-hole ourselves into thinking that “creating” is all tied up in a perfectly styled tutorial, complete with pretty pictures and plenty of pins.  We forget that we have the opportunity, and often do in fact create every day, several times a day.  A freshly organized closet, a twist on a classic family recipe, a simple after school craft project with the kids; these are all ways that we in fact create a life and a home, and memories for our family. ~Andrea Howe, fortheloveof.net 

I love to create with my hands and my heart-- I love sewing, doing embroidery, scrapbooking and many other crafty things, but I really want to "create a life and a home and memories for our family"-- that can happen every day, whether my fabric has been unpacked or not!

So here's a short list, off the top of my head, of ways I've been finding creative moments in orthodox ways lately...

  • reading good fiction, which inspires me dream of stories and writing
  • planning new ice cream recipes inspired by other yummy treats
  • incorporating creativity into my homeschool day with my daughter
  • slowly unpacking my crafty supplies, and thinking about what I'll tackle first when my work area is ready
  • reading inspring blogs, when I have a few spare minutes at the computer
  • flipping through my stack of unread magazines and planning for future homemade gifts
  • getting inspired by how others fit creativity into their days
  • playing with my new espresso machine and savoring my creations (mmm...)
  • settling in to my new home, creating new vignettes and arranging old favorites in pleasing ways

Soon (I hope) the fabric and thread will come out of hiding. :) What do you do to feel creative when you're not crafting or DIY-ing? If Andrea's project appeals to you, join in this month on Instagram with the hashtag #52weekstocreatejan.