Someone I worked with passed away today. She only turned 21 a few short weeks ago.
It got me thinking. How many people have I let go of in the last few years? How many times have I said see ya later, thinking there would be a next time?
I’ve been sheltered, I suppose. I’ll turn 29 in November and I’ve only recently started experiencing death.
I know there are others out there that have dealt with these situations earlier in life and many more times.
Still yet, it doesn’t make it easier.
What should you do when you suddenly find yourself surrounded with grief and death in your life?
For me, I turned to God.
He is the only constant in my life. He is my beginning and end. Alpha and Omega. The Author and Finisher of our story. He is the one who molded us and built the path we should walk. He knows the answer and holds our hearts in His hand.
In dealing with my grief, He has brought me to Psalm 126. When you read it, you’ll be thinking “This is about joy, not heartache.”
And you’re right.
When you work your way through trials, it’s hard to hold onto hope. It’s hard to say everything is going to be alright. When you lay your friends and relatives to rest, you can find yourself in shambles.
But, you can always look at everything in your life and remember what God has ALREADY done. You don’t have to worry about the future or how you’re going to get out of this. Think back and hold onto what He has done for you before, then project that onto the future.
He didn’t leave you in the mud, He brought you to high ground and washed you clean.
He didn't say you were unworthy, He has given you His love freely.
He didn’t hold you back, He made a way.
Believe And during these trials, my greatest advice is don’t forget to feel real. Depression is a killer. It pulls you away and isolates. It creates barriers and builds walls. It thrives on insecurity and falsehoods.
When joy seems far off, remember to stay in your moment. Don’t focus on what needs to happen tomorrow or after that. Stay here, on today, looking only at things you can change and let tomorrow wait.
In my times of deep depression, I felt myself teetering between what I should have done yesterday and believing I’d get nowhere tomorrow.
Learning to live in my current moment was difficult. I had to fight to feel real. I had to fight the urge to sit in my failures and press forward with an optimistic outlook.
Friends, I leave you with this; God understands these events, He understands so much that He left certain guidance in the Bible. He knows what your weeping heart is feeling.
Today, if you’re feeling grief, depression or just trying to cope with the latest curve ball of life, please rest in God’s truth and promise of joy and know that He is with you in this situation. You are loved in your weakness and never forgotten. When your days are long and times are hard, lay your worries to rest at the feet of our Lord. Don’t forget to feel real and push tomorrow’s cares to tomorrow. Remember how loved and valued you are, my sweet friend, and reach out to God and a friend if the pain becomes too much. Your words are always worth hearing, whether they are in a prayer or over a cup of coffee.
A Song of Ascents.
When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
Bring back our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,Bringing his sheaves with him.
Another Great Resource
Darcy has ALWAYS been fascinated with candy. He could eat three meals, packed with sugar every day and be totally satisfied (what little kid wouldn't?) As his mother, I do my best to moderate what he eats and we try to omit as many sugary treats as possible. However, as we walked Market Street in Charleston, I spotted IT'SUGAR and knew we MUST stop in.
Now, I didn't immediately let him loose in there. I made him eat his dinner and said if he cleaned his plate, we'd go to a special store.
As you can tell from the pictures, he made it through dinner and was able to partake in some sugar sweets!
The staff were phenomenal, even in the Carolina heat and hustle and bustle from the street. Even as Darcy dropped his prized lollipop while checking out, the cashier looked at the damage and didn't even wait to be asked, she simply went over and picked him up another one.
Darcy even paid for his own merchandise that night on his own! My five year old is turning into a young man. Don't mind me as I go cry!!!!
I went on vacation last weekend for the first time in years. My husband and I packed up the kids and hit the road headed towards Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
For the first time in almost two years, I felt stress free. Everything was going so right; we went to the beach, took loads of pictures, ate at new restaurants, drove around the city and just chilled as a family.
And then I had the dream.
I was inside a hospital, searching high and low. Talking to doctors and reassuring my mother I'd get it figured out. We would make this all go away. I would not rest until it was done. It was going to be okay.
And I did it. I found the cure. I was rushing to the doctors, screaming I had found it, but suddenly the dream began to sway. Reality and my dream state were merging.
It was a slow awakening. I began realizing it didn't matter if I found a cure or not, because my mother was dead. She had been dead for many months. Nothing I did now would bring her back.
Reality is a pill we all must swallow and I spent the long drive home crying and thinking about her. I contemplate some days if I'm really over her death or not. One moment I feel strong and confident, understanding that Earthly death is part of the cycle, that I will see her again in Heaven.
But, then there are times where I fall to pieces, unsure of myself and how I can go one without her, wondering if I will search the crowds for her face forever, if I will always remember her smiling at me, recollecting the sound of her laugh.
I was talking with my husband as the tears rolled down my face, telling him it's not easy being a Christian sometimes.
It'd be easier to drink my nights away and go visit a bar to escape how I feel, but Christianity doesn't allow that. It forces you to face the facts and yourself. When you make your commitment to Christ, you make it for all your days, not just the good ones. You cannot allow yourself to walk too far from His Word or you'll find yourself turning back into who you were or worse yet, being molded into something scarier then what you had been before He rescued you.
People living on the outside without a foundation in the Lord sit back thinking we must be crazy, relying on the eye in the sky, the always present magical force who listens to our prayers.
It's true, I do rely on Jesus, but I also have to work on myself CONSTANTLY, especially with my grief.
This is not a joyride.
This is not a walk for the faint of heart.
As someone whose choice of drug was alcohol in my former years, you better believe the devil has tempted me. As someone who built walls and burned bridges, the devil told me to isolate myself, to hold everything in, to hide my hurt.
But Jesus. He always walks in to the room, lighting up the shadows, saving the day.
I know that this grief can't last forever. I expect some days to be harder than others, and although I can't run to wordly outlets to free myself of pain for a short while, I know I can face it with Him by my side.
I can face this grief, I can face my life without her, I can face the world with Jesus. It's not easy being a Christian compared to earthly standards, but I'd rather face my demons today and move on with my life, than eat with them at dinner while they come to steal my joy at night.
So, you’re thinking about hitting the beach or lake this weekend with your littles, that’s awesome!
But, as a wise old sage of a mother ( yeah, right! ), let me give you a checklist of things you’ll probably forget if you don’t read this!
This is just a short list but I’m sure it will cover most of your needs! Let me know if you think something should be added!
If you travel with small children, you understand stressful situations. You’re well versed in deescalating toddler tantrums and charging on through the rest of your day as your beautiful children scream from the back of the car “Are we there yet?” for the 100th time in the last 7 minutes.
Maybe this is just my life and my crazy family! Although I wouldn’t change it for anything, parenting at my house has its tension filled moments, which are only amplified when you’re going on a trip.
This is why I put together a quick list of Parenting Hacks when taking your kiddos to the lake!
After the long drive and your little ones see the water, everyone tends to flock towards the lakeside. However, the first thing you should remember is to take those kids to the potty.
Nothing is is worse than feeling the first sensation of relaxation as you dive below the water surface and then hearing, “Mom! I gotta go now!”
So, skip the soggy suit trek to the restrooms, and take them when you first arrive.
Play. Rest. Snack. Repeat.
Once those littles start going nuts in the water, you’ll be tempted to zone out and slip softly into a nap....
But, you MUST stay VIGILANT! If you’re swimming at any time during the day, it’s important to apply sunscreen and take breaks to avoid sunburn. If you’re swimming between 10 am and 4 pm ( prime time ) you really have to stay on too of how long they’ve been in the sun.
Typically what we do as a family is:
Apply sunscreen when we arrive
Play for about 30-45 minutes
get in the shade for drinks and snack for 20 minutes
Apply more sunscreen and repeat
After chilling for a few hours, it’ll be time to break out some lunch. I honestly don’t know if a better hack has ever been found for kids lunches at the lake other than Lunchables. Super easy to pack an keep cold in the cooler, no plates or utensils needed and the clean up is quick!
Long Dry Home
When the day is ending and those babes are getting ready to snooze in the back seat, it’s a great opportunity to lay their swim gear on the dashboard and allow it to dry.
I used to bring a grocery bag and throw their suits in it before we left the lakeside, but recently I’ve tried laying them out to air dry on our way home and it’s worked like a charm.
I hope you’ve found some useful tips and can try a few of these out on your next trip to the lake!
Every other weekend on Sunday night, our family packs up and heads towards Frankfort to pick up our son from his biological father.
Typically, we never eat in Frankfort, even though I spent time living there when I was 21 years old.
During that stint residing at the capital of Kentucky, I ate at a few local places downtown and ordered food from some mom and pop joints occasionally, but I mainly stuck to big name franchises that I was accustomed to.
On this Sunday though, Daniel and I sat upfront in the car, asking each other what we wanted to eat.
Finally, after a few minutes of back and forth suggestions, my husband did a quick search on the famous Google and said “Why don’t we eat at this place? The Stave.”
And I am so glad we did.
Taking Exit 58 on I-64, you’ll head east on US-60/Versailles Rd and take a quick right onto KY-1681. Following the road about 2.5 miles, you’ll reach a stop sign and turn left onto KY-1659 with The Stave on the right about half of a mile down.
There are a limited number of spots available to park on the side of this modern-but-rustic building, but don’t fear! There is an empty grass lot on the opposite side of the road for overflow parking.
The lot was full when we arrived and the place was busy with customers and staff moving around, so we parked across the road and I made it a great opportunity to get some shots entering the building with the kids.
When you pass through the front door, you’ll be greeted with a friendly member of the staff and given the option to sit inside closer to the bar or outside on the patio, given the seating availability.
We opted to sit outside with the kids and get the true Stave experience!
Immediately, we were served with water and given menus that truly stressed supporting local businesses. After a few moments of decision, I ended up with the special that day of Black Fin Tuna and Daniel ordered The Stave Burger.
As we waited for our meal, we passed the time by playing Rock Paper Scissors, admiring the huge planters out front and giving Sissy some crackers.
We also had the opportunity to get some shots of how The Stave looks on the inside and how cool the side patio is is!
The food arrived and I, of course, did not manage to remember to take pictures of our entrees or our bread pudding dessert - but take my word for it, you will not be disappointed!
I’ve been focusing on taking better photographs and handling my camera more effectively over the last few weeks.
I really feel like I do a great job capturing candid moments, but when you don’t have a subject to smile, laugh, or look longingly into the lens, it can become difficult to stay creative.
If you’re interested in photographing places or want to get some ideas that you could use as portrait locations, I’ve compiled a quick list to review featuring Downtown Mt. Sterling.
I was able to walk to each of these places within a 15 minute circuit and I did it in 85+ degree heat at 7 pm without breaking a sweat.
Location One: Courthouse Square
I like to park on the brick road in front of the court house when I visit downtown.
Maybe I’m silly and eccentric, but it’s just super fun to feel the uneven bricks beneath my feet and it completes the esthetic for me.
If you are starting your photography adventure at the Courthouse square, I’d take my camera to each store front and just start taking photos!
Try angles and mess with the settings. Attempt to do a trick you saw on Instagram and think about what makes each storefront or doorway unique.
Location Two: Brick Passageway
Near the Courthouse square, you’ll find brick passageways to have fun with!
What can you photograph there? The bricks, the water dripping down, a possible reflection in a puddle, any moss or plant growth.
Location Three: Maysville Street
Across from the Courthouse square, you’ll find more storefronts and a flower garden on Maysville Road.
If you’ve got the time, head North on Maysville and walk towards the rock and iron fences that line the street.
Look at the different materials used and get shots that show the detail and craftsmanship used.
Location Four: City Parking Lot
Most people starting out really like to photograph “pretty things”.
If you venture off the sidewalk and take time to snap some shots behind your favorite buildings, you’ll be sure to find some gems there as well.
This is a good way to practice finding beauty everywhere.
Location Five: The Wing Murals
When walking through the city parking lot, you’ll be sure to notice the floating umbrellas!
After checking out the ceiling, take a look at the walls.
You’ll find two sets of wings painted there as well as some exposed brick and a bench. A pop of color is always a good thing in the photo reel!
Something to think about...
My little adventure was very therapeutic and insightful. I practiced using the Aperture mode and patiently worked with my earbuds plugged in, listening to some moody neofolk sounds.
If I could offer one piece of advice to those contemplating a downtown photography adventure:
Take your time and look at everything.
Think about how you’d want to describe the flowers, sidewalk or wall to someone; do you want them to focus on the color, texture or lighting? How do you want someone to feel when they look through your lens? What story are you telling?
“When you’re in love, you’re capable of learning everything and knowing things you had never dared even to think, because love is the key to understanding all the mysteries.”
- Paulo Coelho
Gallery 113 Photography is excited to present our Soulmate Search!
Currently, we are looking for couples who are just married to those that have made it over fifty years that would like to win a FREE outdoor session from Gallery 113!
On our Facebook page, we will be creating a post that includes the chosen couples’s pictures and their submitted form answer!
Voting will last seven days and the TOP THREE COUPLES picture’s with the most Facebook reactions ( likes, heart, etc ) will win the FREE SESSION!
Get out there and support these couples and share their picture!!!
The FREE session will be planned for the end of August - middle of September with the location to be within 40 miles of Mount Sterling Kentucky.
To enter, please submit the information within this form. Gallery 113 will be accepting submissions until July 17, 2019.
After that date, the submission form will be removed and submissions will be reviewed.
If you are chosen, you’ll receive an email letting you know and asking for your favorite photo together to post and the voting will begin shortly after all photos have been received!
If you have any questions or concerns, please email email@example.com!