7 Days of Makeup

Mostly using products from Revlon, Urban Decay, TooFaced, and Tarte.

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Mercy Cuts So Deep

Sometimes I cannot forgive And these days, mercy cuts so deep If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep

While I lay, I dream we’re better, Scales were gone and faces light When we wake, we hate our brother We still move to hurt each other.

Sometimes I can close my eyes, And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing, What makes me so badly bent?

We all have a chance to murder We all feel the need for wonder We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

-Jars of Clay-

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The spirit of creativity always strikes at quaint times. Like 6:30 in the morning after getting 4 hours of sleep. If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep…

I considered going back to bed, but was lured into the thought of hot coffee and an hour of quiet, sleeping children. It’s hard to resist the siren call of silence sometimes.

And I can’t shake my thoughts. Pesky, persistent, beautifully haunted thoughts. These thoughts and bittersweet memories are stirring my hibernating emotions. I feel like I cannot control the coming and going of my fervent feelings. All I can do is embrace them when they come, and wait in a semi-stable state until they return unpredictably. I think it’s my brain is going into self-preservation mode to protect from being in a constant, overwhelming state of emotion.

This morning, one thought is staying with me as I reflect on my past and all the pain, hurt, beauty and nostalgic-filled days I have lived through; and it’s this thought that brings me comfort, even when my deadened emotions cannot be jolted back to life. This thought is: I don’t have my life figured out, but that’s okay, God does. That might be a simplistic statement, but it could not be more true.

I think everybody in the history of humanity has fallen into the trap of thinking they have their lives and life itself figured out. Nailed down. Tightly categorized and philosophized. Then life goes sideways. People leave you and hate your guts. You wake up to the fact that you are being abused or abusing others. You lose faith. You find faith. You have everything taken from you physically and emotionally. You stare into the jaws of responsibility and reach inside to find your inner strength but come up empty-handed.

Then you either come to the end of your self-preening and break to be remade by the ever faithful potter, or you keep polishing the outside of your sepulcher, and prolong the inevitable end of oneself.

I won’t pretend that being self-righteous is a one-time thing. I cry when I think of all the self-righteous ugliness inside of me that has spilled over into my marriage, relationships, and daily life. It’s an hourly and even moment-by-moment struggle as a human being, whether you are Christian or not. There’s never a clearly defined line between being humble and being self-righteous and thinking you can tell yourself and others how to live life and predict success, happiness, and salvation.

But this I do know and rely on: even during the darkest nights of my soul and the bleakest times of my life, even when my faith was shredded on the floor and my heart hard and full of hate, He has been my anchor, and He has been my tether. He never breaks, He never lets me go. He is ever-providential and ever-caring.

So, after seasons of self-pride and nights of undoing, I am learning to say with Job.

Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Photo Feast

Feast your eyes upon these photos, lovelies. I am too busy and too happy to try and hammer out a 1,000 word post detailing any cranky details of my life. My life isn’t too cranky of late, anyhow — I did manage to find a temporary rental in Roseville, and I have good leads on a couple other places. Yay!

I took a bouquet of photos for my brewpub last week. Since work is keeping me so busy, the photos will have to speak for themselves (I have yet to get food shots, but that is going to happen soon).

Feast your eyes:

*All the views expressed on this blog are mine alone and not representative of my work.*

Try?

Colbie Caillat has a new song called Try that has become a hit. It starts out really soft and slow, talking about makeup and hair, getting your sexy on so “they will like you.” Then it builds up and shows all these women taking their makeup off to reveal pretty much flawless skin, and still pretty hair (except for the one chemo patient lady). It’s a “feel good about yourself the way you are” type of song — original, huh. Anyhoo, this song has been shared a lot around Facebook and has 14 million views so far. Whew, quite popular so far!

Well, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I think it’s a dumb song. I can understand Colbie singing to other fellow female celebrities who struggle with the constant pressure to stay thin and look pretty so they can make a buck… but the whole song comes across as simplistic. Why try, try, try so hard? Why don’t you just stop brushing your teeth twice a day, too, and shaving your legs, and just stop wearing bras? Who needs bras anyway? You have to try so hard to find one that fits well.

The other thing I’m tired of is this constant theme of there only being pressure on women when it comes to beauty standards. What if this song had been sung by men from mens perspectives? Would we see them go from clean-shaven, showered, fit guys to unshaven, stinky, slobs with beer-guts? Catch my drift?

Hey, I’m not for holding women to Hollywood standards of beauty, either. I think that our society is messed up in many ways when it comes to women. But coming from a homeschool background where we didn’t try very hard to look sexy or pretty, I have to say that I find this song mildly offensive. It’s conveys s subliminal message that gives leeway to women everywhere to just forgo the shower and ditch the mascara and pretty clothes. It’s also saying that if I put on pretty clothes and makeup everyday then I’m trying too hard. By whose standards? Are the only two extremes here doll myself up like a hooker or go au natural and baggy sweatpants?

At the end of the day, yes, do stop try, try, trying so hard for other people. Stop trying to look like a photoshopped version of Colbie Caillat. But have some respect for yourself, and dress the way you want to dress, take care of yourself in the ways that make YOU feel good. If you love makeup by all means wear it everyday. If pretty dresses and heels make you feel confident and sexy, go ahead and dress up. If jeans and short haircuts do it for you, be my guest, do what makes you feel best. I have no problem with women wanting to wear makeup, not wear makeup, have long hair short hair, whatever. Just stop setting the beauty standards for everyone else, and stop letting them be set for you. People need to just start setting their own.

Personally, I find makeup enjoyable. I will put it on because I have respect for myself, and it makes me feel relaxed and happy. Do what you want to do, not what other people want you to do. That message should have been communicated better in the song, but I feel like Colbie botched up the communication part of her song.

And remember, self-confidence looks good on everybody, so get yours on.

Oh, and one last thought. If you really want a good way to gain some perspective about beauty standards and “relax” yours a little, I recommend browsing on the “Nu Project” for a while — it helps to see other people’s bodies sans clothes and in all their love-handled glory if you have body-image issues. I do find the body beautiful in its au natural form, as well. Just a fair warning; the site contains nude images, so don’t look it up if that is offensive your your standards, speaking of standards, and please don’t look it up if you are underage and don’t have parental permission. I’m not trying to start an issue here, but just trying to point out that I have no problems with nudity in art, and also have no problems with nudity in photography. I don’t recommend looking at it for pornographic purposes (solo sexual gratification — I have issues with that), but as an objective way to view the human body. It CAN be helpful to view the human body sans clothes if you have body-image issues, as I have had in the past before.

Food Photography

Working in a restaurant has gotten me champing at the bit to get a camera again. Give me a 70D with a 100mm macro lens, and I would be in heaven. Of course, I would have to take all evening to just enjoy photographing food, and I can’t do that anyway, but with the extra cash I save up from this job, I can’t wait to actually get a camera again and taking photos of the incredible food that is being served up at the Bistro.

Food photography is tricky. Most people just snap a photo of what looks appetizing in real life, but the end result of the photo is usually a snapshot of greasy food. Appealing, not.

One of the biggest tricks when taking food shots is to use lots and lots and LOTS of natural light. It can be hard in most dimly lit restaurants to get enough light to actually take a good photo (as the guest). Find a window, and have the light be to the side or coming in from behind or above you. use some white poster board to bounce light back onto the food by facing the poster board towards your light source. Sometimes it’s also fun to place a vibrantly colored poster board directly behind the food to add a splash of color, too!

Food shots are also best done with a camera that can achieve the “bokeh” effect — where one part of the food is in focus and the rest is blurry — this is best done with a DSLR and a lens that has an aperture as big as f/2.8. A T3 Rebel Canon body and 50mm macro lens can achieve that if you are on a lower budget for camera equipment. I want a camera body that can handle lower light situations, so I am going to save up for the 70D.

One last tip is: try different angles. Get up high, get down low, get up close. Food rarely looks good when you take in the whole plate at standing eye level. Be creative with your angles, and I mean that in reference to photography ;-).

Anyway, enough talk. Here are some of my favorite food shots from over the years of being a photographer. Hope they give you some insight into the world of food photography, and they make your mouth water, too!

 

 

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Final Farewell

Final Farewell

This photo I took captures many of the emotions I am feeling right now. It’s the salute of a final farewell set against encroaching shadows — It is a farewell to all that is old and dead, a farewell to the fakery and the masquerade of false friends, a farewell to the darkness of their slavish mindsets and their poisonous words and murderous acts. There is hope, there is color and vibrancy, there is freedom in what lies ahead, but behind are only the things that live in the dark, and I will not return to them. Farewell, shadow people.

Life Scars

The hero of the movie slowly pulls off his skin-tight shirt.

“Oh, Darling!” She gasps… the camera zooms up and focuses on our hero’s muscly back; he’s hot, sensitive… and he’s got scars. Visible ones. They should be ugly, but somehow they just make him sexier.

He gives her the a smoldering look. Then they kiss passionately and fall in bed. Fast forward, we know the rest.

 

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Yesterday, Roo was running next to me on unsteady toddler legs, tripped, fell, and face planted right in the gravel, scaring the crap out of Mommy, I might add. Daddy cleaned up her wounds and comforted her crying; when she let us get a closer look at the damage, we saw that she had scraped up her nose pretty good, and gotten a fat lip, as well as scrapes on her forehead. She looks like she got into a tussle with a baby grizzly bear. She’s forgotten about it already this morning, but the bruises and scrapes are still there, and now they are starting to scab over and heal, but I will have to to keep reminding her to not pick at her scabs and cause bad scarring.

It made me think, though, that if I have to teach Kristina to not pick at her own wounds, will I stop picking at my own internal scabs and cause worse scarring?

Unlike the heroes in the movies who get tortured, and attain some hot life scars to show off to their sexy girlfriend, to make her even more madly in love with him, most of us do not have visible scars. When you are in a car accident, and you get lacerations all over your body, you will heal, in time, and have scars to show… but what about when you are in a train wreck of a church split and people stab you in the back over and over and over? You can’t exactly show those scars on the outside as evidence of the viciousness of fellow “Christians.”

And those scars? Those real scars on the inside? Those are the ones that we carry with us for the rest of our life. And most of us will hide them away to pick at the scabs in private, creating deeper and deeper scar tissue. What once was a minor scar becomes any ugly lump of scar tissue on the inside because of our habits of picking at it. I am not without exception, for I have done this, too.  These scars are not visible, and they sure aren’t sexy like the ones that heroes get in movies. They are ugly. They go deep. And we pride ourselves on keeping them bleeding so the scar tissue becomes even deeper.

But, I am weary of this. I am weary of others, who have it so engrained in their psyche to keep it all inside that they know nothing else other than to keep picking at their bleeding wounds. All the ugliness eventually shows up on the outside, too, but it takes time to manifest, and it takes getting burned by these people to realize that they have festering wounds that they keep picking at inside their own souls.

The harsh reality, the reality that is SO hard to teach to our children is that this life WILL give you wounds. People will hate you for little to no reason at all. People will lie. People will slander. People will falsely accuse you. Church leaders will disappoint, and, in many cases stomp on your hands as you are hanging on the edge of a cliff. The people you were told to trust as a child will beat you, abuse you, ridicule you, and make you dependent on them like a druggie dependent on his life-killing addiction.

You have a choice. I have a choice. And I have chosen to say, “no more.” Here is my heart on my sleeve. I am not ruled by my emotions, but I will not hide my emotions either. I will not hide my wounds so that I can keep them bleeding. I’m not doing this to impress anybody or win friends, because being open, honest, and letting yourself be known doesn’t make you easy friends. But it will show you who your real friends are. There are only a handful people who matter to me more than anything else in this world, and I will work to build up my precious relationships with them.

Life happens. Shit happens. Wounds are inevitable. Scars are inevitable. Friendships come and go. People everywhere disappoint. But I don’t want to become completely jaded and retreat into the fortress of my soul. Instead, I want to realize and recognize when I am headed that way, and recognize the effects that bottling my hurts and my complaints up on the inside will have on me and my loved ones. Because when you choose to turn those wounds into bigger and bigger scars by picking at them, you will ruin every real friendship, and destroy all the things in your life that can give you genuine happiness. It WILL become your obsession to the point where it is all second nature to you. And for a lot of people, there is no real healing when they reach that point.

I pray that God helps me to never forget the One who ultimately bore the scars for us; it should be a daily remembrance for me as I go through my own silly struggles and trials, but I forget about what He suffered for me all the time. God did not take away Jesus’ scars. The stripes that healed left visible scars. On His hands. On His feet. On His side. And probably on His back where it was flayed open by the whipping He took.

But Christ is a living testimony now to the truth that those scars, though they never go away, serve as a humbling reminder that we, too, can overcome every wound that is given us in this life. Our scars can become beautiful reminders of His eternal love instead of only ever being ugly, scabbed wounds. But only with His help. Only with His help.

 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.