What's your favorite song? What do you think about when you listen to that song?
With any song I listen to, I feel as if pictures are constantly running through my mind. Like a slideshow of memories and moments that have significance to me. I have a lot of favorite songs, but at the moment there's one song in particular that I listen to every single time I get in the car, Long Live by For King and Country. Songs that talk about living life up and making the most of everything you're given, are the best kinds of songs. Motivating songs, inspirational songs, that tell us to live, love and laugh as much as possible. Pictures of crazy memories I have with my friends, or special moments on a family vacation come through my mind when I imagine how I live my life out myself. God gave me this amazing life with so many blessings, and I do not intend on wasting it. God calls us to be all we can be. It makes me think of another song by the same artist: "Love like I'm not scared, give when it's not fair. Live life for another, take time for a brother. Fight for the weak ones, speak out for freedom. Find faith in the battle, stand tall and above it all, fix my eyes on you."
I'm a tad obsessed with this band at the moment, and that's why this post isn't too much about photography. But it's a message I hope everyone can take in. Are you doing what is possible to encourage one another? Esther 4:14 says, "Perhaps this is the moment for in which you have been created." Is there someone in your life that needs your influence in their life? Are you going out there, doing and being all that you can do and all that you are? I pray God uses me to encourage, support and love on others in all I do. I love being crazy and living out the wonderful life I've been given.
I've been craving to take photos lately. So when an opportunity to take a family's photos came up, I took it immediately. But then I realized I needed new material...You see, I have this tendency to go back to the same location for photos. Sometimes I just find some really beautiful spots and I want to keep going back. So I started the search for a new hot spot, and I finally stumbled across this local county park, that was just the right little size for a simple photoshoot. I like to visit locations in person before I take any photos of people, so I can visualize how things will be done to assure that everything will go well. As my boyfriend and I walked through this little park, I got this sensation that the presence of God was there with me. A lot has gone on in my personal life lately-- a lot of prayers being sent up to God. In this moment, I watched the water fall off the dam, and I just prayed everything would be okay. I believe God walked with me through that park, to reassure me that even though he seems far, he is always there. I pray a lot, but my prayers never seem to be answered like I'd like them to be. (Doesn't that always seem to be the case?). But I need to learn that my life isn't revolved around my time, it revolves around God's time. It's all up to the big man. My life decisions, what career path to take, what relationships to keep-- all of it.
When I have a camera in my hand, I feel like there's literally no problem in the world. Do you have that one thing that just makes all your worries go away? Whether it's sports, drawing, singing, whatever. When you're doing what you love, nothing else matters. When I go take pictures, I forget about the worries I had earlier. God takes over. He gives me this moment of peace and fulfillment. He may not seem to answer my prayers quickly, but He sure makes His presence known. I need to remind myself, when the camera isn't in my hand, that God is in control and I should never worry. He will answer my prayers in His time.
I'm on the 3rd month of me having this insane feeling like God has this extraordinary plan for my life, but I have not discovered what it is or gotten any hints when it may happen. It's difficult to process. Being in college, my minds changes a lot with all the complicated life decisions I have to constantly make. But where is God in all of this? What is my life plan?
As a kid, people told me to do what I loved for the rest of my life. Then in high school, I was told to pick a career I could make a lot of money in. As time goes on, you grow up, reality kicks in and I have to be realistic.
If you had asked me in Elementary school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd tell you I'd be a photographer. Well, years ago I went to a College for Kids photography class and the instructor was very straight forward with my ten year old self. "It's a hobby. You could never make enough money off of this career to get you anywhere." Which I later found out he was right. The price of equipment is no where close to how much I'd make in profits. So, I realized I need to make money, not have fun.
It wasn't until I got to college when I finally said "screw it". I decided to explore my hobby more and put my photography to good use. I had a passion and I wasn't about to let it go to waste. Am I making a career out of it in the future? I'm not planning on it. But I sure am having a blast.
I strongly believe God puts these passions in our hearts that aren't meant to just sit there and be a nice day dream. I sometimes think of it as the concept of tithing. People claim they don't give their 10% each month because they cannot afford to. Alright. Well my family and I believe that BECAUSE we give our 10%, all our needs have been met. House, food, water, clothes, etc. We have never had money problems because we believe the Lord is faithful to those who give back to his work.
No matter what I major in, which college I go to, which career I chose, I believe if I am happy and doing God's work, the salary will not matter at all. Money isn't everything. Follow after God's heart and everything will fall into place. God will reward those who accept Him in their heart and follow Him. If I listen to His word, I trust everything will be alright.
I've decided to stop listening to the critics. If I major in management or marketing, I'll get my ideal business job, with a photography gig on the side. Or maybe I'll start my own business. Who knows. All I know is, God has control. I'll follow His will for my way and I could not be more excited to see where it leads.
~This picture here makes me think of the reverse cliché of looking out in the ocean and seeing endless possibilities. Not that there aren't endless possibilities, but sometimes I do not feel as if there are. So many decisions get thrown at me, I feel like there's a wall up. A wall where I cannot figure out what to do right or what might turn out wrong. Thankfully I know here's a calm part on the other side, I just need to wait to get to it.~
I've taken a lot if pictures lately. I'm wondering if this is healthy! The photos I've done in the past week have been all people, not so much my usual nature shots. I've been wanting to photograph a boy, because all my subjects are girls, and I knew I needed to change that. So i bribed my brother. I told him I'd take him to this great pizza place, if I got an hour of his time. (He's a teenager, give him food and he's putty in your hands). So we left the other morning for a beautiful riverside spot. Between all the shirt and shoe changes, pictures went well and we had a lot of fun doing it. I love making people laugh, and I especially try doing that during a photo shoot. What better picture to have than a natural, being yourself, laughing photo? Well my brother is not so dumb and would not fall for my jokes, but he chuckled to humor me. It was an enjoyable time and we spent the rest of the afternoon together, and having a blast.
My brother and I spend a lot of time together, not always voluntarily. We get along better when the parents aren't around, of course. So when I got to steal him away for the day and just hang out, it was great. Don't get me wrong, he still bugs me, but those moments really make me thankful I chose a brother over getting a dog when I was 4 years old. (Yes, I got the choice and still chose a baby brother...). I thank God for giving me someone who can be my sidekick when I don't want to face issues alone, or my parents alone. We have had our moments, but for the most part, we get along well now.
This post did not really have a deep meaning, or cool spiritual analogy, but I wanted to share the great time I had with my brother. (And document it, so that when he denies this, people will know the truth.)
The next day, I ended up having a mini photo shoot with my entire group of friends. Long story short, it was crazy and awesome. All the girls love being photographed, but the boys are just standing there waiting to go back to a house to get food and get out of their dressy clothing. My one friend and I love photography more than the rest, so we came up with pose ideas and different groupings for photos. We laughed more than anything else-- just having everyone together was a great time. Our pictures turned out great, the boys got some food, and we went back to play board games for the rest of the evening.
I am very blessed with the friends I have been given. Throughout all of high school, they stuck with me and now we are still going strong through college. The pictures we take each summer remind me of our bond between one another. There's 10 of us total, typically, and it can be hard to get everyone together now that we're older and busier. The moments we all get together are usually the ones we photograph the most, because we wanted to capture it all. My friends can always count on me to have some sort of camera on me... "Ashley, take this picture!", and the photo moments cause more laughter and more fun.
I love taking pictures. Each one just seems to tell a story about a memory or a person in it that is significant. God blessed me, beyond measure. I have some crazy people I am surrounded by, but I would not change a thing. Do you realize how blessed you are? Think about the people that mean the most to you, capture the moments with them. Remember it forever.
Lately, my thing has been to find new spots of nature to photograph. I love going to bodies of water-- the river, lakes and bay around home. It has been a mission for my boyfriend and I to find a bridge that crossed over the river. But not just any bridge. A railroad track bridge. There were two we found locally, so we traveled over to West Virginia to reach one of them. I was walking through a small trail that led to the tracks, and you could see a glimpse of the river from the trail. I noticed in the river were remains of a stone bridge that had once rested in the river. Eventually the bigger, steel bridge was built and the stone one was torn down. All that was left of the stone bridge was a few nubs from the leg of the bridge. I sat there staring at the nubs (not really sure why).
I got my bridge pictures, even though I'm pretty sure we were trespassing and not allowed there... As we stood there, I heard a ringing, and a few seconds later a train blasted through. (I had to run far away, because I was a baby about the train being so close.) I looked at the tracks after the train passed. I thought about how strong a bridge has to be to stand so tall, and be able to hold the massive train as it rolls through. The stone bridge must not have been able to handle it anymore. Eventually, trains are made bigger and heavier and the little stone bridge would not have been able to hold all the train brought on.
Life is like the train. Things keep getting put on our plate and we get weighed down and life gets heavier. As things get more complicated and stressful, we need a good support system-- the people we chose to surround ourselves with daily. If we don't have good support of our friends and family, it can be hard to get to where we need to go. We come to this stand still..."Should I cross over? Can I make it?". The only way to fix the problem seems to be to fix the structure we're leaning on. We can't cross the rocky bridge that is not stable enough to hold us up. Continuing to travel over a weak bridge will not get you where you need to go.
Ask yourself if it is time to fix the stone bridge and build a new, stronger one. To continue on your journey of life, you need to stop being in this stand still and get over the river. Just ask yourself how you're getting over it.
I love going out and exploring new places. Each new place holds history, value and importance. I believe God brings us to difference places to give us perspective on things. Is it time to build a new structure to continue on where you need to go?
Look around you.
Here's my blog!
I used to think Blogs were pointless, and nobody read them. That may still be the case! But I found reading people's blogs actually made an impact on me, so I wanted to do the same. I love photography, and a lot runs through my mind when I'm taking pictures, so I decided to share all my thoughts with you guys!