Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My friend Ben

Benjamin Franklin once said:

"The way to be safe is to never be secure."
(I take this quote from Ben...we're buddies!!!...as a spiritual/governmental statement...Just like Jesus said in 1 Peter 5:8,9: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." We must never let our guards down and be prideful, we must always know we have an enemy that wants to destroy our hearts. A part of being safe comes from knowing the enemy is out there and being on guard against any and all attacks." Go Ben!)

"He that would live in peace & at ease, Must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees."

"He that can compose himself, is wiser than he that composes books."

"Either write things worth reading,
Or do things worth the writing."

"Wink at small faults; remember thou hast great ones."

"They that won't be counselled, can't be helped."

"Whate'ers begun in anger ends in shame."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome Korbin

Our nephew Korbin Scott has arrived! We have not met him yet, but I am sure there will be a very HUGE snuggle session with Auntie Livy very soon!

Yet

"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength."
Habakkuk 3:17-19


I took this self-portrait last night and when I saw it this morning it made me think about prayers. I looked up different prayers of people in the Bible and came across Habakkuk's. Circumstances between him and I are very different, but I think the Lord has used his recorded prayer to help me as I walk through some very "dry" places as well. Places like Habakkuk lived, where war and selfishness rule and cause very real after affects.

The word that most stands out to me in his plea is the word "YET." Such a simple nothing word, but it changes everything...it cancels out anything stated previously...it makes a new beginning for what is said next. So today, my prayer is similar to a man who lived so long ago, it is one of "YET" of a new beginning and affirmation of my focus no matter what.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Heated Conversation

I had another powerful walk with the Lord the other day. I am surprised He showed up since my attitude was less than company worthy. Poor Gracey was barely allowed to leisure sniff, it was hot and miserable and to be perfectly honest, I am 100% completely and utterly sick and tired of Texas. The only logical things that must love this perpetual desert are cactus, lizards, and things that like to bake, fry, and sizzle.

My 30th birthday is coming up in November. I am kind of dreading it. Have you seen the Friends episode where Rachel refuses to come out of her room on her 30th birthday? Well that might be me. But God spoke to me kindly as I thought about this reality. His Words were soft and Loving, and it renewed a passion once again. It went something like this:

There are a lot of people in the world that have powerful ministries revolving around the fact they prayed and got what they wanted. They are the 1 person we see and admire whose Faith we somehow covet, although it really has nothing to do with them. We don't see the others. For every 1 person that sees and experiences a true miracle there are thousands and thousands of people who don't. Are they somehow less Faithful? They are the ones who stayed up day after day and night after night praying, seeking, and reading God's Words. They are the ones who got people to pray for them and with them. They are the families who have done every possible thing known to man himself to connect with God and plead for mercy, and then the horrible still happened. Their daughter died, their father suffers day after day from cancer and withers away slowly before their eyes. They are the people that have asked the Lord to heal with the most sincere and humble hearts and have only heard silence in return. They are the hearts that have been stripped, bared, and torn, but that somehow still Believe. My ministry is not to the ones who have had everything work out, my life is to help the other thousands of people who never got to see that miracle know how Amazing God is even when you don't get your way. Not only when you don't get your way, but when it doesn't make sense to believe or trust. And this goes beyond the USA.

There is so much more to this "conversation" I had as I hallucinated through the Texas heat back to my car. As much as I want my life to be about me, about fairness, about doing what I thought was right to hopefully get what I wanted, it is not. It doesn't even work this way with God. In fact it has nothing to do with a formula, it has to do with Trust and Faith. I am learning this in a new way now. I give God glory for His constant reminding of who He is. And if there is nothing else I can "brag" about during this milestone, then let it be that I will Trust Him.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Needa Laugh

You ALWAYS need a good LAUGH...
these are my selections for today:
LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!!LOL!!!LOL!!!LOL!!!


I visited some of my other posts labeled "I Need A Laugh" and it seriously made my cry from laughing so hard. One particular entry was a portrait of Gracey a little boy I used to nanny drew of her and he held it up to Gracey and was so proud because he said "it looks just like her!!!!" He really was proud that he captured the likeness in his drawing. You have to see it to understand and acheive optimal laughing ability! I like remembering funny and silly times and have good, clean and funny comics.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saying "Good-bye" is Never Easy

One of my best friends moved today. We went and celebrated her birthday all day yesterday and spent the whole day laughing and crying. It was very special. We enjoyed the bowling alley where I "played" (meaning I knocked down a couple of pins the whole game), we sang "Happy Birthday" and ate yummy cake that Bryan and I made for her that says "Happy Birthday Jenn, Friends are Forever!" The kids had so much fun running around the alley and bowling as well. Just Jenn and I spent some rare time without the kids and talked and SHOPPED (whew-whew!).

She is a precious person, with a beauty and passion for the Lord. I kept telling her I don't know what I am going to do without her, and I mean it. Knowing she was nearby was a huge comfort to me. We would cook together, go out on double-dates with our Hubby's, play Catan (GO CATAN!), celebrate birthday's and Thanksgiving's together, prayed together and fight for each other as sister's in the Lord, cry when bad things happened to us or our families, and rejoiced in the hope and on the days where God showed us His Love. I always could count on her. A couple of days ago I came home from hanging out with her and the kids and I just started to cry thinking about how she was leaving. I coulnd't stop...Bryan had to come over and hold me in his arms. I just cried and cried. It takes so long for me to open up to people, because to me people have been unpredictable, I don't know how long they will stay around, or if they will die, leave me, or decide they don't want to work things out in friendship. But Jenn saw past this and used her Jenn-tility (Like that!!!???? LOL....I know...I'm hilarious!!!), to help me and assure me.

God gives us new seasons, and this is a good one for her and the family. God will never leave them and they will grow in strength in their new home and city. I am confident she will thrive wherever she is. God has His Hands on her and her family. I speak Blessings over them all and for a safe and peaceful transition.

To my Jenn: Thank you for being a friend who is like a sister. You have given me a true gift in that you are a TRUE friend to me. Thank you for letting me be a part of MaeLiegh, Audriana and Neco-Nators lives. You have blessed me with the ability to be an Auntie-La-La to them. I love them and consider them my nieces and nephews. They are a joy I have been honored to be a part of. Thank you for giving me that gift, the gift of letting me love them. My heart aches that I will not be a part of their everyday life anymore. But I will think about them often and pray for God's Love to be growing them. I love and cherish you Jenn!

"A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses."
- Proverbs 27:19

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend's countenance."
-Proverbs 27:17

I LOVE YOU JENN & ADRAIN, I LOVE YOU MAELEIGH, I LOVE YOU ADRIANA ROSE, I LOVE YOU NECO(NATOR)!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meet Agilly

Meet Agilly-Furr. We got to know him well on our early morning hike down into the Grand Canyon. You can't tell, but the edge of the cliff was directly next to him, but Agilly was not afraid. In fact he pranced around almost as if he were showing off. That is how he inherited his name, he was SO agile, so Agilly stuck. We actually named many little creatures on our vacation...Bolt the baby mule-deer, Terri the Tarantula, and Gracie the other squirrel (notice how she spells it I-E!!!). Agilly was the most special critter of them all. He is actually my cell-phone screen saver. Every time I see him I get so happy remembering him.

Bryan and I stopped to eat a snack on the way back up the canyon and I should've known the commotion eating nuts would create. Every four-legged creature in the canyon must've been alerted to our stop. Agilly welcomely appeared and sniffed with his cute little sniffer, looked like he would cry and danced on the rocks for us as if to say "I'm here....me...Oh...me!!!" Sadly, it is illegal to feed any wildlife in the park. So I'd like to say I stood my ground, strongly. But whose to say a tiny little Agilly-sized nut might have been left behind. I just don't know!?

A Photo Shoot Really Is.......

Just recently I did a photo shoot for a large family. The photos are beautiful, but it was the family that made the photos so special. All of their own personalities, their quirkiness, the playing and joking around happening because they gathered together to take these memories. I came home and reviewed their session on the computer and my eyes swelled with tears of joy. I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be that evening, in my ministry of Inspired by Grace Photography. Something deeper crept into my heart and I saw not just that moment that I had captured, but an entire vision sprawled across my mind. Their past journey of joys and sorrows, babies being born, deaths, scary times, confusing moments all led up to that specific time and date of this families photos. Before that day I am sure they made mistakes, did things they were ashamed about, worried, tried and failed, conquered. They are on a path and stopped to cross my world in those moments. It was then I captured their smiles, silliness, playfulness, and the things that made them a family and the things that brought them together if only for that hour or two. Everything was put aside, and they came together as a family and had fun.
After we were done, they got in their cars and drove away. They will face another journey now in the future. More trials, ups and downs, happiness and sorrows, hate and love and so many other unpredictable circumstances. Some moments might even bring complete change in sorrow. You never know how quickly life changes. But the Lord allowed me to be a part of a happy moment. The moment that they all have worked hard to get to. A moment they shared and will remember for the rest of their life. It was the day they smiled and laughed and took a family portrait to capture their love for each other as a family. The past and future didn't show up, it was just NOW, the present, it was the moment in front of them that mattered.See I am photographer, but I use a photo to declare a change and bring families together and remind them they love each other. I am blessed with this position to see two times meet. I freeze time so they can say well, "before this photo, this happened"....or "after this photo when that happened..." Something spiritual went on when I felt the depth of what I do. My photos are a positive time line for people to celebrate! It is an actuall weapon I believe to remind us of who we love and belong to, and to live in that moment to capture this bond and display it to help us remember our commitment no matter what happens in the future.
So yes I am a photographer, but I seek to do more than just taking photos for clients, events, and volunteer situations, I want to use my photos as a weapon against lies, I want to remind these people that there was a time they chose to be happy and celebrate the one true thing in this world, LOVE. There is an intensity when you desire to do this for the Lord. You want to tell a story, capture them accurately, but also do it for the right reasons. This is one of my new reasons. *atan doesn't want people to be reminded of loving each other. He wants to bring bad memories to your mind that will evoke hate, mistrust, anger and doubt. But not my photography...I pray my clients use them as a weapon against any attacks. I want the photos they order to be visions of their family as God sees them when He sees them together. That is what my heart thinks about before a photo shoot, and I believe it is truly a called profession that can be used as kingdom work.

© 2004-2010 Inspired by Grace Photography
All Rights Reserved for Olivia M. Brigham

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Pit-of-DOOM!

Gracey loves when Bryan runs. When he was getting ready to run the marathon last year he would run around the track near our house and Gracey and I would sometimes go and show our support. When she saw him approaching us, she would take off as fast as her little Chawennie legs could go and actually keep up with him for an entire section of the field. She never got tired of "chasing" him. I think she is proud of him. Running and going to Lowe's with Bryan is heaven to her...well that and maybe a steak!

Bryan doesn't run as often as he wants to, working is enough of a marathon for him everyday, but he tries to exercise by running every now and then. In fact a week ago we all went to ACU and Gracey and I walked while Bryan ran around the campus. I try to time things to where we will meet up with him just as he is rounding the corner to finish. I knew we were cutting it close and we actually took a short cut through the Bible Building (yes, Gracey is VERY familiar with this building at ACU. We walk inside a lot during the summer because of the heat) to Jacob's Ladder and super-sonically-squeegeed across to see if he was there and low and behold here comes Bryan. I told Gracey "Daddy's here!!!" and she must've found some supernatural power and took off like her life depended upon finishing with him. I wanted to cut across a small portion of grass to the sidewalk where he was running towards us and ran ahead of Gracey. I knew she was behind me and before I knew it I was sloshing in a MASSIVE mud bank. I don't mean the tiny little rain induced brown water...it was thick clayish mud that tried to take me captive. The momentum worked to my advantage and I peeled away with heavy casualties to my sneakers. But before I could even react...I heard another huge double-pawed slosh behind me. Yes, it was Gracey.

I looked over my shoulder to see Gracey completely in the thick mud looking stunned and a little baffled about what happened. It was up to her doggie shoulder's! It was dark when this happened, so we didn't have any warning about the short-cut. It was the perfect hidden trap of DOOM! But there was a goal, nevertheless, and the focus was Bryan. She came through with vengeance, lept with all her might and continued to road-runner her way to Bryan and made it just in time.

As we turned around to walk back to our car all you saw were these incredibly muddy foot and paw prints down the side walk! I laughed the whole way home as I replayed the scene in my head. Ahh, the fun little surprises in life! I needed to laugh that night. Poor Gracey. She got a bath when we got home!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

What Will You Believe?

And so what will you believe?
Do you believe when it is easy to? Convenient? Not a challenge?
How do I believe when I feel like I can't?
Do I fake it? Make myself by telling myself I can?
Is it wrong to doubt? Struggle? Collapse under the weight that strives to bring me down?
Who answers,
When there is just silence to my cries?
Who holds me
When I am all alone in the dark.
Why do I have to pretend?
Is it to make others more comfortable?
I know the Truth and believe,
but I want to feel it, now.
I want it to be tangible
I want to know what I know
So Lord I come to You again, broken and bare
I ask for Your Comfort, Love, and Purpose
Show me, show up
and I will wait, I will always wait
for You.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Updation-Station

September was wonderful! Bryan and I celebrated our 4th anniversay! My Mother-in-law got married and we saw tons of family and friends. A sweet friend from Massachusetts came and visited us. The week after we left for our Grand Canyon adventure for over 10 days. Then I had a small college reunion at the Lake House!

Violin is going amazing. I have had 4 lessons and continue to learn so much every week. I feel blessed every time I play. Notes reach into your soul and draw out a prayer that doesn't even need words. It is like a direct link in worship to God's throne. I will have my first recital next month. It will be hilarious! There will be all these small children who probably play tons better then me, and then me! Can you see it? I will LOVE it!

Gracey seems to be doing much better. I think the heat bothers her a lot. The weather seems to be relenting a little and we are able to take longer walks. She still rests a lot, but her last tests came back stable and even better than it has been. Gary, my new Father-in-law is a vet and has been so gracious and loving to Gracey and watches her closely.

We have had no new foster placements since Nevaeh and Jazmine left about a month ago. Before that we had Isaiah, Nevaeh, Haylee, Devin, and Jase. We are going to dedicate a portion of a wall and put everyone's photo's up to remember them and keep praying for them. I am not sure what our future holds with CPS Fostering, but I know because of all these children, and our own babies we have waiting with Jesus, we have become who we are today. Adoption is in our hearts and we pray for God's blessing to bring our kids to us.

Inspired by Grace is blessing me incredibly. I have been asked to take pictures for the Heart Gallery of Texas which is a website designed to show kids available for adoption. I take photos for the site of the adoptable kids. I also am continuing this year to help at Field of Faith. With photo shoots and other fun opportunities, I am asking God to continue blessings IBG.

My Lupus has been more stable lately which has been a relief. I began my cellcept treatment months ago and it was a difficult transition in finding the right dose. I did very well for the amount of traveling we did.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Natalie's 7th Angel Day


October 6, 2010: When I posted these photos on Natalie's Angel Day my heart was so sad it was all I could do. My writings wouldn't have made sense to anyone. It would have been a lot of anger, sadness, resentment, and pure exhaustion. So I simply posted these two photos, but now I am going back and sharing my heart a little more collectively.

On Sept 30, 7 years ago I found out that my daughter's heart had stopped working. I was nearly 8 months pregnant and the devastation that followed was too much to even grasp. I walked from my OBGYN to the hospital across the street stunned, numb, and not really noticing cars, buildings or people. It felt like I was floating there. When people go through this situation no one really thinks about what happens between finding out such news and then afterwards. They had to cause labor for me and it took 2 days to have Natalie. I was scared. They did a lot of things to my body that hurt so much I thought I was going to pass out. They withheld the epidural even though I asked for it, and then finally about 5 hours before she was born they decided even though I wasn't "signed" up for it (how was I to know I needed to do that so early?) that they would allow me to have it.

October 2, 2003 3:13AM : Natalie was tiny. She was so frail, but strong. She looked like me! I could see myself in her face, eyes, and nose. All her tiny fingers and toes. I was very drugged up from the epidural and pain, but I remember holding her. I remember not wanting to let go of her. I felt rushed. But in 2003 I didn't have the knowledge I do now since I have been working with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep as one of their photographers. I should've taken more time. But it was difficult for everyone there, uncomfortable, not quite natural I guess. So I was rushed along. I was put in Labor/Recovery. The hall where all the new babies and Mom's are. I faded in and out of consciousness with the sounds of babies crying all around me. By 10 AM, they were already discharging me. I was wheeled downstairs with only one thing in my hand, a purple box with a picture of Natalie and some cards with her foot prints on them. Tomorrow would be her funeral.

There are years where I feel stronger at such times. And years like this one where I want to run away from this pain.