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.  


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blue Sky Blessings

"Nature" was the topic of the week.  In the summer, spring or fall this would have been a fun topic.  In the winter, with no snow and everything "dead" is kind of difficult.  But today was a beautiful day!  The sun was shining, it was 40+ degrees outside and Adam and I were up for an adventure.  So we went in search of a lake in Mount Pleasant.  We found a cute little lake that had a park with a walking path.  So we parked the car, climbed a fence and walked the path.  The the sky so blue and the sun shining it made the berch trees very beautiful.  It was fun to be out on a nice day shooting photos with my fiance and enjoying God's creation.  Even in winter, when there aren't beautiful colors, we can still find and appreciate what God has created and blessed us with. Enjoy this 52nd photo of Nature :)

Natures Textures

Our topic this week was Nature.  It wasn't the best time of year to photograph nature, so we waiting for today to go on an adventure and find at least an lake or something to photograph.  God heard my prayers and blessed us with a beautiful day.  As we pulled up to the park and sun was shinning it was perfect.  We, Erica and I, wandered around and enjoyed the afternoon.  I photographed a few trees and a the lake that still had a thin layer of ice on it, but I settled on this image.  The texture of a birch tree I think is so cool, the trunks stand out with their white hue and its rough feel, I think they are just cool trees.  So I could resist sharing the texture with you.  Enjoy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Too Many"

For the past 7+ years I have worked as an optician.  For those who may not know what an optician is here is an explanation: An optician is the person you would see at your eye doctors office who would help you with anything to do with glasses.  From helping you pick out your new frames to adjusting or fixing your glasses.  There are definitely some perks to my job, one of which is the ability to get glasses for super inexpensive.  When I started in this "career" I never thought I would become boarder line obsessed with glasses, but over the past couple of years I must admit, I have.  At my current place of employment I have more responsibilities then just glasses, but the glasses are arguably the funnest part of my job.  When Adam informed me our topic was "Job" I really had no idea what to photograph.  But then one day it hit me.  I have A LOT of glasses, and we have displays at work that I could use to display my glasses.  So Thursday night before my last wedding shower before the wedding (WOW), I carried all of my glasses (it did take multiple trips) and set up a little display on the table.  I will be honest, I was amazed at how many glasses I have!  Kind of ridiculous.  When patients ask me how many I have, while I could give them an accurate answer I will stick with my "too many" response :)

(this photo doesn't display all of my glasses)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Work or something like that...

I can't remember what the hat gave us this week, it was either work or my work, but it had the word work in it.  I will have to admit as we get close to wrapping up this 52 week project, it is becoming difficult to get excited to try to find something new to photograph.  I think it is safe to say that I have a fun job, I get to venture all over campus, the city and the state with my video camera, shooting video, interviewing people. I could have shot a photo of one of those adventures, but seemed a little to easy.  So I thought I would share my work with you, I have one of those jobs that I can do that.  Here is a photo of my laptop, and on the screen is the CMU's youtube channel.  Visit the site and you can be entertained by my work.  Please note that not all the videos on there have been but by me, anything over 11months old was done before my time.  Click here to learn about what is happening at CMU.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

An Exciting Time

I found this topic to be a difficult topic to photograph.  There are a lot of things that are exciting in life, but a lot of those things are spur of the moment type things that you just need to be ready for.  All week this topic kept bugging me.  What can I photograph that will show excitement? And this one thing kept popping into my head.  Our wedding.  A wedding has to be one of the most exciting (stressful and enjoyable) milestones in a couples life.  It is the mark of a new life together.  A commitment to always be there for the other person, to love and cherish them and support them.  I will admit, I haven't been one of those brides that all I can think about is wedding wedding wedding.  And this scared me a little bit being that it seemed everyone I talked to just kept saying "Oh this is SUCH an exciting time in your life!" It has been exciting.  It has been fun. But, now...we're 35 days away from our wedding!  35 days...5 days over a month!  To me, that is exciting!  It's a little scary, but mostly exciting.  I can't wait to see how everything comes together.  Most of all, I am excited to walk down the aisle, look into Adams eyes and public declare my love and commitment to him.  And then, HONEYMOON BABY! :) hehe  This is an exciting time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Excited was this weeks topic...

With the topic being Excited ideally I wanted to photograph little kids on Christmas, but it's January.  So I gave myself another challenge, in the course of the week I had to gauge my own excitement about what was going on.  Now I have to say that yesterday was a great day, I got to see Erica for dinner.  Dinner together in the middle of the week isn't something we get to do often.  That was really an exciting opportunity, but what I had photographed was the events of Tuesday evening.  The story begins on Monday, after a long busy day at work I had no energy to go to the store, so I just headed home, when I got there I ate what I could find, I had some microwave dinner type thing.  I wasn't good.  So Tuesday it was grocery day, and then my fridge got food, so I could get fed.  I have to say I was very excited to be able to open the fridge and see food and not have to stare at empty shelfs when you are hungry.
It is the little things that excite me some times and having more then just apple sauce and O.J, do that when you're hungry.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gorgeous and Peaceful

Sunday morning, I still had not taken my favorite place photo.  I walked out of Marcus and Lynell's house and was greeted with a brilliant picture.  This sunrise.  And in addition to that we had gotten quite a bit of snow.  So the combination of the two was breathtaking.  There is something about God's creation that leaves me speechless at times.  I stand in awe of his artistic hand.  How he can paint the skies with these brilliant colors.  How he covers the ground with white snow.  How the waves from the lake roll and create such a majesticness that is breath taking.  So when I think of my favorite place, I think of God's creation.  So when I walked out of that door and saw this site I knew I needed to photograph it.  It brought happiness, peace and awe to me that morning.  Thank you Father for sharing your beauty with us in the way of your creation.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 11, 2012

My favorite place was the topic, and I struggled.  It seems like an easy topic, but I struggled.  I struggled with the fact that I don't know if I have a favorite place.  I thought for almost a week on this.  My apartment, my bed, my couch, I have already photographed those.  I thought about taking a photo of myself with my feet up watching a movie, but I am not sure if that is my favorite place.  I thought about taking a photo of Erica, but I have already done that too.  I couldn't and can't say ____________is my favorite place, which frustrated me to a certain extent.  So then I went to the other spectrum, what is my least favorite place, I couldn't decided that either.
I dare you to think of your favorite place, really think-be true to yourself, don't say something that just sounds good like church.  I tried, and thought about this all week.  Here it is Friday afternoon and all I know is that I may not know where or what my favorite place is, but I have come to the realization that I haven't found my favorite place yet.  That kind of excites me- I look forward to the adventure of finding my favorite place.  It happens alot in movies where people say things like-'I come here to think' and they are on top of building in downtown NYC or sitting in a tree branch in Alabama-maybe I will end up with a cool favorite place someday, maybe I won't but at this point I am okay with still wondering.
Now as for my photo, this is a photo I took with my iphone leaving earlier this week.  It's January, it was warm enough to make the sky this beautiful color and also warm enough for me to have my sunroof open...Maybe my favorite place is Michigan? cause I love surprises like this-50 degrees in January with 6-8inches of snow a few days later.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Bridge of Love

   This past month has been full of trials, struggles, questions, wondering, but at the core of it there is growth.  Growth in faith.  Both of our families have had to and continue to deal with many things in our lives that make us rely on the promises our Heavenly Father has given us through His Son.  
   My Opa is fighting a loosing battle against cancer.  I have never experienced this with anyone this close to me.  It has been a journey with many ups and downs.  A journey in which at one minute Opa is good.  He is strong, he is joking and I sincerely believe he will make it to February to see his oldest favorite granddaughter walk down the aisle to start a life with the man she loves.  And then there are days, much like a Tuesday about 3 weeks ago, when you wonder if he will have the strength to make it through the night.  But, God is faithful through it all.  With many promises and Opa is a true testament of those promises.  Even in the midst of pain and struggle he finds it within him to give our Heavenly Father all the praise.
   When Adam told me our topic was "Bridge" this week I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to take a picture of a cross.  There is a song that Point of Grace sings that is one of my favorite songs.  I've included the Lyrics under the photo this week.  As you will see it talk about how there is a cross that bridges "The Great Divide".  It talks about how our Heavenly Father sent his son to die on that cross to bridge the divide of sin that has entered this world.  The cross bridges a divide between us sinful humans and our perfect father so that we could know His love for us.  The cross allowed a bridge for us to talk with God and know that through his son our sins have been forgotten.  But I believe that cross is also what is laid down for us to walk across when our time on earth is finished. We will be able to walk across the great divide to spend eternity with a Heavenly Father whom has loved us unconditionally our whole earthly lives.   The cross is a symbol of life, of love and of promise.  There is a promise that God created a bridge across the great divide in the form of the cross on which His only Son died for us.  What an amazing promise that is.  
   So while my photo is not literally a bridge, it is the symbol of a Bridge of Love.  A bridge that I am so thankful is there for my Opa when the time comes for him to go to his Heavenly home.  I am thankful that Bridge is there as a promise to me, my family and my friends that one day, when our Father calls us home, we will be able to walk across that cross and welcomed in Love, Singing and Joy.  And I am thankful that Jesus died on that wooden cross to bridge the great divide of sin to love.  Praise God that he promised so much in that one wooden cross.

The Great Divde
Point of Grace
Trying to fathom the distance
Looking out 'cross the canyon carved
By my hands
God is gracious
Sin would still separate us
Were it not for the bridge His grace
Has made us
His love will carry me

There's a bridge to cross the great divide
A way was made to reach the other side
The mercy of the Father, cost His son
His life
His love is deep, His love is wide
There's a cross to bridge the great divide

God is faithful
On my own I'm unable
He found me hopeless, alone and
Sent a Savior
He's provided a path a promised
To guide us
Safely past all the sin that would divide us
His love delivers me

The cross that cost my Lord His life
Has given me mine

A bridge

The hat said BRIDGE, so I found a bridge.  I waited til today to take my photo, I was really hoping for a bit of snow, still waiting.  With this topic I was wanted to find a fun bridge and shoot some photos from some different angles.  Luckily we came across this railroad bridge that crossed the Chippewa River.  I was willing to hop a fence to get under the bridge but was able to just causally walk up to and under the bridge. I was glad to not hear a train in the distance as we were by the bridge, cause I wasn't sure how that was going to work, but we were good.  I am sure I will be back in future to photograph this bridge again.