Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In the Silence

I don't have a lot of time to write, but I really wanted to share what my devotional said this morning. As some of you may know, I have started a new job in Mount Pleasant and it has proven to be much less then I expected. It is a constant frustration and I find myself close to tears almost every day. I've cried out wondering why! Why was I happier without a job then I am now that I have something to get up for in the morning? Why did I feel that this was the job God had picked for me, just to meet the devil in it. And then I read this devotional and, while it doesn't help me to completely understand why, it does shed some light on the situation.

Go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. (2 Kings 4:4)

The widow and her two sons were to be alone with God. They were not dealing with the laws of nature, human government, the church, or the priesthood. Nor were they even dealing with God's great prophet, Elisha. They had to be isolated from everyone, separated from human reasoning, and removed from the natural tendencies to prejudge their circumstance. They were to be as if cast into the vast expanse of starry space, depending on God alone---in touch with the Source of miracles.

This is an ingredient in God's plan of dealing with us. we are to enter a secret chamber of isolation in prayer and faith that is very fruitful. At certain times and places, God will build a mysterious wall around us. He will take away all the supports we customarily lean upon, and will remove our ordinary ways of doing things. God will close us off to something divine, completely new and unexpected, and that cannot be understood by examining our previous circumstances. We will be in a place where we do not know what is happening, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives by a new pattern, and thus where he causes us to look to Him.

Most Christians lead a treadmill life---a life in which they can predict almost everything that will come their way. But the souls that God leads into unpredictable and special situations are isolated by Him. All they know is that God is holding them and that He is dealing in their lives. Then their expectations come from Him alone.

Like this widow, we must be detached from outward things and attached inwardly to the Lord alone in order to see His wonders.

It is through the most difficult trials that God often brings the sweetest discoveries of Himself. (from Gems)

God sometimes shuts the door and shuts us in,
That He may speak, perhaps through grief or pain,
And softly, heart to heart, above the din,
May tell some precious thought to us again.

From Streams in the Desert by LB Cowman

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Your Opinion Please

We have a favor to ask of you. Our apartment is slowly becoming more of a cozy place but we are in need of filling our picture frames with actual pictures as opposed to the photos that come standard in the frame. We would like to fill a couple of them with some of our You, Me & 52 weeks photos, but we can't decide! So, here's where you come in! We want to know what your top 3 photos are :) Let the fun begin! Once we decide we'll post a photo of our photo decor! Can't wait to here what everyone's top picks are.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I'm changing things up! This has been a season of change for not only myself (Erica), but also Adam. With this season of change, I have been feeling God tugging on my heart to share what He's been doing in my life. Therefore, I've changed up our blog title. As we move on from You, Me & 52 weeks, we look forward into our lives together as husband and wife. We look forward into what God has in store for us. You, Me & 52 weeks was originally started for Adam and I to have a creative outlet for our photography, but as you have seen, it turned into an outpouring of what was on our hearts at the time, and why a photo meant what it did to us. So with that, we transition into what God is saying to us, and how he is working in our lives. As I thought about this, and prayed about it, the desire I felt was that this sharing would not serve as a "brag blog", but as a ministry to someone who may need encouragement, strength, understanding. This next season of blogging I am praying and putting into God's ever capable hands, that He may speak through me.

3 weeks ago, I married my best friend. It was the best day of my life, spent surrounded by family and friends. A week after this day, and several days to follow, resulted in being one of the harder times in my life. The move away from family and familiarity was scary. But in the weeks that followed God spoke to me and continues to give me peace.

This past weekend we came home and I had the pleasure of being able to go back to my home church and lead worship again. During this service God moved. We sang one of my favorite songs, "I Give Myself Away". The lyrics are as follows:

I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

 Here I am
Here I stand
Lord, my life is in your hands
Lord, I’m longing to see
Your desires revealed in me

I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

Take my heart
Take my life
As a living sacrifice
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I place them in your hands

I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

My life is not my own
To you I belong
I give myself, I give myself to You

I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

The first time my friend introduced this song to me I liked it instantly. But as God has taken me out of my "cushy life", if you will, and put me back in a place I never really wanted to come back to, this song has taken on a whole new meaning. I find myself praying this song daily. I pray that everyday I can give myself fully and completely over to God so that HE can use me. I know that my plans cannot compare to God's plans. I've believed this my whole life, but had forgotten that I need to live God's plan every single day. So often our lives become comfortable. We go about each day in our normal routine, thinking that this is what God wants for my life. But what I found for myself was that I stopped really seeking God. I was comfortable. God was using me in my church, I had a job, I had christian friends and I had a boyfriend/fiance. But what I've realized in this season of change; this time of becoming a wife, moving away from home to start a life with my husband in a new city, and learning each day what it means to have myself die so we become we; is that I became comfortable and stopped truly asking God to use me. 

I moved to Mount Pleasant with a bit of a chip on my shoulder towards God. I didn't understand why I had to move. There are so many people who get married and they are able to keep the normal of their everyday lives. They get to stay in their home town, keep their jobs and just start living their married lives. So why did I have to be the one that had to move away to a place where I have no job and I know noone aside from my husband. The answer, so God can use me.

I don't know what God has in store for me here, but in the last week, He has put a peace and excitement on my heart that I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, He has something big planned for me here. I've stopped question why and started saying "Prepare me to do your will", "Use me Lord, I am your servant". And he's used me, in small ways, but He's used me. He gave me the courage to volunteer at the church we're attending. There He provided people to embrace me, the opportunity to meet with the Music Director and most of all, he provided me with excitement for His plan.

I do still pray that someday we will find our way back to the Grand Rapids area, but while I am here, I have the desire to be used to bring glory to God in whatever way I can. I'm not scared anymore to ask God to use me, because as the song says "My life is NOT my own!" I am here to be an example of Christ. I cannot think of a better place to put my life, then in the loving, capable hands of my heavenly Father.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Our last post before our wedding. We decided to make this one a "wild card", which meant we could choose whatever we wanted to photograph. This has been a fun and challenging journey. It has challenged us to think outside the box while photographing images. Made us think about why we are photographing these things. At times it was easy, other times it took a lot of will power to take the photo.
This week I wasn't sure what I wanted to photograph. I really wanted to photograph something with meaning, but just didn't know what that was going to be. Then, this morning laying in bed I looked to the foot of my bed and it hit me. I have a small collection of Willow Tree Angels that I have gotten from people throughout the years. And one of them is the Angel of courage. There is a long story behind this Angel, one that I don't need to go into great detail about. But I will share a bit about why it has such meaning then and still today and will continue to be a reminder to me.

2 Corinthians 4:7-11
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

 The summer of 2006 was a monumental time in my life. I was at a pretty bad place. I had little self-worth and was relying on everything but God to give me what I was looking for. But PRAISE GOD he rescued me. It may not have been in the way that I would have liked, but it was the most perfect way and he knew that. As I look back on this time in my life, I still get upset with myself for the choices I made, but I can praise God for the miracles he brought into so many peoples lives in that time. 
Some close friends from church took me out to breakfast and gave me this angel. It brought tears to my eyes when I saw that it was titled "Angel of Courage". It was so fitting because it took courage to go through what I did. But this is not just about courage, it is about an Angel as well. God walked beside me, my family and so many others and directed our paths, showed us where to go and kept telling us in so many ways "this is MY perfect plan for your life."
Today, I can look back on that time and give God all the glory, all the praise and all my gratefulness. He brought me from a time that I was feeling pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. But he did not allow it to crush me, to despair me, he never abandoned me, and he definitely did not destroy me.
My hope and prayer is that, while this blog was about photography, that you also found encouragement, hope and love within it. We all are going to be brought to a crossroads at some point, and we have a choice. We can choose to look at it and turn from it saying it is too big for me to cross. Or we can look at it and know that we are not alone in crossing it, but know that we can do it with God's help. With his Angel of Courage, we can cross any road, no matter how big or how small.
In a week I will be marrying my best friend. We will start our lives together. We will have good times, and hard times. But we know that through it all, we have our Angel of Courage in Christ who will walk each and every step of the way with us. 
Do you need an Angel of Courage today?
God is waiting, arms wide open for you to come running into them 
so that you and he together can go through this time. 
You are not alone. 

 Hebrews 13:5-6
For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

Friday, February 17, 2012

One last time...this one WILD

Ladies and gentlemen-more importantly fans of the You, Me and 52 Weeks blog, we have come to the end.  We have posted on this blog for over 52 weeks and now it is time to close this chapter of our lives and start a new one.  Next week Saturday I am going to marry the love of my life, my best friend, my inspiration.  I can't wait.  When we started this blog last January I never thought that we would end it with a wedding.  This blog has done wonderful things, it helped me grow as a person, as a photographer and as I look back on it, I can honestly say I think it helped us, Erica and I grow closer together.  I am very glad we did it, and I have a feeling we will be back, doing something similar in the future.  But I think we will take some time to enjoy being married.
Now for my photo, our topic was WILD, so I could photograph anything that I wanted.  As I thought about what I was going to photograph, a few things came to mind.  I thought back over the past year, I tried to think what some of my favorite post were, and I thought about the fans-and the post that I created the most buzz was the photos that I took and then expand on with my words.  So my photo this week- is of a very important pair of shoes.  These shoes will change my life.

The saying goes, You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear.   
These are my wedding Jordans, these are the shoes I am wearing on our wedding day, Air Jordans are the best shoes ever, and these are the most special pair ever - These are the shoes that will carry me down the aisle to marry my bride. These are the shoes that I will be standing in infront of our friends and family as I say I do.  These are the shoes that will help me dance the night away with my wife.  These are the shoes that are going to make me the happiest man alive, next week.  These are the shoes that are going to carry me into my future-  these are special shoes.  Many people are probably reacting - he is wearing sneakers at the wedding-to you I say HELL YEAH I AM.  They are my Wedding Jordans!  They are special shoes, I am not wearing someone else's shoes/rentals on the most important day in my life.  I will be able to wear my Wedding Jordans whenever I want and hopefully when I put them on after our wedding day they will bring back that feeling, that moment that I see my bride on our wedding day.  

Now as I close out this last post, I just want to thank you all for reading.  I think I can speak for Erica on this and say we were blown away with the support we got.  From the casual 'We read your blog every week from the neighbors across the street to the aunt at Thanksgiving who told us that she felt that she know us better from reading, to the family that showed grandma every Monday night -thank you to all of you.  There were times when we got busy or didn't feel like posting, but just knowing that you were out there really inspired us.  
And with that-


Friday, February 10, 2012

Take Your Pick

It's hard to believe that in just 2 short weeks I'll be marrying my best friend.  The man that God has chosen especially for me.  I am one lucky girl, and am looking forward to being able to see Adam everyday as opposed to just on the weekends.  But that is really not related to our topic this week. We are over our 52 week project, but we had put a couple more topics in the hat then just 52, so we decided we would do 2 more.  This weeks topic was Toy.  I had my heart set on photographing the best gift I ever got as a child.  My Opa used to be a wonderful woods craftsman, and one year he built me my own Barbie mansion.  It was bigger then any plastic barbie house, and it looked like an actual house.  He put wallpaper on the walls, carpet in a couple of the rooms, and linoleum in the kitchen.  I LOVED that house, as did my cat at the time, I remember coming downstairs to find him curled up in the bedroom.  So when we decided to photograph "Toy" I thought, well I'll photograph this house. Tonight, I went downstairs in search of my house, and sadness it isn't down there. I need to know where it is now. But, now I was left with what else could I photograph. While this doesn't have the story behind it, the toys that we have out on a regular basis are our dogs basket of toys. They're toys consist of a kong, a ripped apart blanket and old socks. I'm always amazed that they haven't ripped apart the basket that they're in yet, but they just grab whatever toy they want to play with and get in your face so you'll play with them. 


Do you know that this is the 53rd week?  You are all in for a treat-we have gone over our said goal.

This weeks topic is a fun one-toys.  It was not a hard topic to generate an idea for, I love toys, especially legos, it was just a matter of when I am going to find time to photograph legos.  I thought about going big, set up some lights, compose a photo and spend some time really photographing my collection of legos I have here with me.  But then I thought that was not fair to all of you out there.  My photo should say more, so I will share with you a photo from my office-at work.  I have slowly collected some legos in my office.  They are toys, and also decorations.  I have a collection sitting on my window ledge-photographed here-
I have a few small vehicles, but mostly Star Wars stuff.  I was told when I took over my office I could decorate, as long as it was, well tasteful.  I have to say when people come into my office and see my legos they ask about them and sometimes play with them.
This is only one side of the office, on the other side of my monitors I have more legos- little Star Wars characters.  I find time to play with these guys.  I am a multi-taskers, so if I am waiting for a project to compress or render I typically have a minute or two to kill.  I take this time to rest my eyes, look away from the computer screens, or finding myself needing a break to brainstorm an idea;   I started to find myself playing with these little guys.  Let me just clarify here, I am not constantly playing with Legos at work, this maybe happened every few days.  But I would position the guys in a new spot on my desk or with in reach.  Currently the are sitting on top of the TV in my office, guarding the elephant.  I would grab my phone and take a photo of how I set them up, I compiled some of my favorites in this montage for you all to enjoy.