Friday, June 27, 2014

FMF and #FMFPartySnailMail: Lost

I'm doing a smashup today of 2 posts, both closely related: Five Minute Friday, and the #FMFPartySnailMail project.  Read on!

Finding community is hard. 
There's no other way to say it.  
Seeking out that comfortable place, settling in on that common ground with others.......seems like it ought to be easy. 
But it isn't.  At least it isn't always easy.  
My husband and I are coming up on our 4-year wedding anniversary in a month.  So it's been almost four years since I've uprooted myself from the community that had been formed, shaped, built up around me -- at my workplace, at home, in the community in which I lived, at church and church events.  
I still miss it. 
Sometimes I have felt somewhat lost. 
But God is blessing me in amazing ways - bringing beautiful women into my life.  Shaping community in ways I never understood before.  
Bringing together seemingly "random" strangers together through (in)RL events. 
Opening opportunities for ministry in my home parish in Omaha.  Bringing together the "Pew Sisters" at my husband's church.  (Who'd'a thought a Catholic could fit in so well with Lutherans?!) ;) 
Slowly, oh so slowly, forming friendships with people where I work.  That has perhaps been the most difficult transition, where I have felt lost the most in the past few years.  
And with every connection, every thread that hems me in a little more, I thank God for His work.  
This #FMFPartySnailMail thing?  One more way our Lord is helping me connect to women in ways I never, ever dreamed I could.  Kaitlyn Bouchillon who blogs at It Just Takes One is the beautiful girl who has so faithfully put this project together.  Starting with just a small group of us, she is now putting together our third round of Snail Mail women...numbering almost 80 ladies now!  Remember way back in the day when we'd have penpals?  This is like that.  These short notes of encouragement, prayer, Scripture, faith-sharing make my day.  Every. Time.  

And as always, God's timing is perfect with the delivery of each note.  If I've had a particularly trying day, there's an encouraging note that appears with the mail.  If I'm praising God on a certain day, another note will come in that day's mail delivery celebrating and rejoicing with me.  
It's exciting to see the Holy Spirit work in the hearts of his daughters from so many places.  Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Canada, Washington, Arizona.....

Wanting to be found, and understood.  Because even though we may feel lost in this world, we know we have been found and loved by a powerful, almighty King who holds us in the palm of His hand.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Taking Better Pictures

This morning I happened upon this post by Deidra Riggs, a writer and speaker who lives in Lincoln (!!!) and has wonderful posts on her blog, as well as wonderful guest posts, as was the case today.  Cindee Snider Re blogs at Breathe Deeply, and I am easily her newest big fan.
I was inspired after reading Cindee's post on Deidra's site called "6 Tips for Taking Better Pictures."  I had heard of several of the apps and sites she recommended for editing photos, but had really never spent much time exploring or playing with them.
Another reason this topic intrigued me is that I'm taking part in an online (in)courage group whose focus is all about discovering art in your life. Our challenge this week was to try our hand at another form of art outside our usual area.  For instance, some ladies in the group are paint and paper artists, some are photographers, some are fiber artists, etc.  Since I'd been doing a lot of crocheting lately, I figured it would be good for me to try something else for a bit.
This is a gorgeous Wednesday at the start of summer, and I actually had some free time this afternoon.  So I grabbed my little Sony Cybershot camera and headed outside in the wind and the sun so see what I could see.  As I walked around the front of the house, nothing caught my eye.  I even said out loud, "Everything is so ordinary."  But, I would not be denied finding shots that showed the everyday beauty that surrounds me!!  I first ventured over to the upper pond and took a couple pictures there.  With the wind, it was so pretty to see the grass and the trees moving and blowing.
Then I decided to head out the driveway a little bit and see what I could discover about the corn that's planted.  I had already taken a couple other pictures of the corn this spring, but this was my first attempt at doing any editing with one.
On the other side of the driveway is a field of beans.  I had fun trying to get some different angles of the rows and the field.
As I was coming back in toward the house, I decided to see if I could capture how pretty our spirea and barberry bushes are this year.  Honestly, it was hard to see what (if anything) I was getting a picture of, as it was so bright outside and the screen on the camera was reflecting so much!  But this is one of the pictures I got.

As I finished up, I realized truly, yet again, how incredibly blessed I am to be surrounded with this God-given beauty every day.  Honestly, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  
All these pictures were done with just the basic editing tools on PicMonkey - very cool site, no registration needed, just upload a picture and go!  
I know there are many other sites that have great features as well that I can't wait to try on another day.  Plus, I want to play with the camera on my phone and some mobile apps to see what other fun things I can discover.  
What are your favorite editing sites and apps? What hints and tips do you have to share?