The Dare…

Take a moment to think of your greatest memories. Think of the time spent (recent or in the past) with your favorite people: your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your favorite Aunt, your bestie, your spouse, your Grandma, your Papa, your oldest cousin that you never got to see as often as you’d like, your son, your daughter, your mentor or coach, the neighbor you grew up living next to, or even your pet. No seriously, grab a pen and paper and list 5-10 of those people.

Now, jot down 3 favorite memories next to each person on your special people list. It will be a challenge to think on the spot, but JUST DO IT. This doesn’t have to be done in 5 minutes; dig deep and marinate in your memory bank.

Jax Creations Photography

 

My own dare

Have you started writing yet? If you did, GOOD JOB! If not, that is ok, it is hard to not be tempted to keep reading. Let me give you a little nudge. Quite often your memories are of little bits of time. Most of the time we are reminded of the memory because of a certain smell, photo, song, or time of year. Sometimes being forced to think of a memory under pressure can be an impossible task, but just for the moment, play along and dip your toes into your memory bank. You can always return at a later time when you have some quiet time and some warm tea/wine, music and your journal by your side.

I have a list far too long of special people in my world to share, so here is just a brief 5 that I hope fuels your memory search.

My Husband: The day of my brothers wedding, our overnight stay at Old Northern Inn in Coolin Idaho, Our trip to the coast, and the day he asked me to marry him.

My Great Grandmother: How we would watch ice skating together, the wig she always wore, her molasses cookies and chicken noodle soup.

My Best Friend: I could always count on her to get us into some kind of mischief, how envious I was of her beauty- blue eye and red hair, and how we used to run together to McDonalds to loose weight only to get there to eat ice cream and burgers.

My Aunt: Her red nail polish, sitting in her Mary Kay office playing with all the products, her laugh and her taking me, my brother and cousin to the beach to make drizzle castles.

My Brother: Just thinking about my brother brings a smile to my face. I have memories of me making him dance with me  and playing dress up– he never really had a choice. He always knew had to make me laugh – still till this day, just thinking of him makes me smile. He used to do this terrible little brother thing to me where he would take his hand and smash it to my face and yell “NOSE JOB”!

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awww that was fun and I don’t know about you but not only is my heart happy, I have a big smile on my face.

The list Becomes the vision

So now that you have your list of people and memories, how do you feel? Pretty darn good? You have this sense of accomplishment and love for all you’ve achieved with this person and your time shared. These details have made your relationship with them what it is today. You may feel a bit like, “I wish I could go back in time” or “I hope this stage never ends.” You may feel gratitude or joy.

Now let’s take those feelings and push the nostalgic envelope. Do you have an old box of photos? (Who doesn’t?) This list would have been super easy to create had you opened the box before you made your list. When you look at those old photos, it doesn’t matter if they are “technically correct” (whatever that means, anyway). When you look at them, all your brain sees are the memories. These photos are an heirloom piece.

Only the items on my list in green text above are memories I have photos of. I think it’s an interesting timeline of those memories from my childhood (no photos) and those that I take now primarily since I’m now a mom and photographer. These moments certainly would be more powerful had a photographer tagged along for bits and pieces of my life and the images that I do have technically perfect or not – are precious to me.

Go back to your list. How many items on that list don’t you have photos for? the list items you do NOT have photos for are at risk of being forgotten. Maybe not today, but eventually. You probably won’t forget the big things, like your child’s birth. However, the retelling of those stories will likely end with you. Life is composed of small details that shape us and our relationships. Too often, we don’t even recognize these details while knee-deep in life, let alone photograph them. We look back at the good ‘ol days and often want more. Photographs are a way to celebrate those memories and be a little closer to having that “just one more.”

Oh how I cherish looking at my memories of those small details. How blessed I am to look at a photo and get flooded with senses that can bring my back to that certain memory. The details of a dress I wore as a little girl, a song that played in the background, the way the tile felt on my feet, or even the smell of the grass on a summer evening.

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Now I DARE you to take just one of the items on your list and turn it into your next photo session. Don’t do the session for me or with cost of invest hanging over your head. Do it for you . . . for the sake of your own memories. Your life matters! So do your stories.

How do I plan a shoot this way?

Envision the memory-in-the-making as it happens. What does it look like? Who is doing what? What are all the feels felt? The smells? The light? The environment?

Use your list to inspire the ability to visually express things like, This is where we met. This is how we used to spend our summers. Your mom was so hard to get to sleep through the night, and this is the chair I sat in night after night rocking her to sleep. This is what your great-grandfather did every Saturday.

So, Truth or Dare time…

Dare – make the list.

Truth – Are you neglecting to create (or hire a photographer to create) the photos that tell a story? One more thing: this style is absolutely not limited to children and families. You can document the story of anyone – engagements, seniors and teens, A-N-Y-O-N-E. If you need some help in getting your story shared, feel free to contact me and we can talk about your memories you would like to capture.

Comment below or send me an email. I’m listening and dying to know your thoughts.

 

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January 11, 2017

If you follow on my personal page and on my other social media platforms, you will notice that I speak freely about my walk with faith. In 2016, some beautiful things had happened that really changed the way my faith and my personal walk with God. And even though this is a personal post shared on my business page, I really do hope, you take the time to read and watch this documentary. It is long both in the written blog and the video, but I promise it is worth it.

I must have written this blog post about 5 times and written it in my head about a 100 times. So many words and feeling floating around just not sure how to put them all together to make it all make sense.

 

I grew up believing there was a God but I didn’t really feel a connection in church unless it was done through stage lights, a big band and loud music. My husband on the other hand grew up in a very christian household and can pretty much tell you every story in the bible. He was a type of person that can continue to love accept a person when they did wrong and I was a type of person that had no problem letting them know that I did not appreciate their actions or choices.  I thought of myself as a “christian” believing that I had God in my life but also picking and choosing between society and what was written in the bible. When a cousin of ours struggled terribly with addiction, I drew my line in the sand with this cousin and I was firm with my stance on him having no more communication with our family because of his choices. I had basically shunned him and expected my husband to do the same.

When I heard that my husband had been talking to him and seeing him without my knowledge, you can imagine how hurt, angry and betrayed I felt. And it seemed when I brought up the subject to my husband, that he just did not hear my heart and hurt on it. Which just boiled my anger even more.

What I did not know at the time was that our cousin had gotten himself into a faith based rehab program, Good Samaritan Program, which had changed his life drastically and was about to change my life too.

My husband had tried to set up a session for the 3 of us to talk with our cousin’s pastor but I basically laughed in my husband’s face stating that there was no way some pastor was going to change my mind about the actions that had taken place. I did not understand addiction and to me it seemed as simple as just turning off a tv. I know… I was stupid and foolish. Ignorant and I am deeply embarrassed for thinking such things.

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. – Proverbs 18:2

I can only say how ugly and ignorant I was. Childish and foolish. In those comments and remarks and body language, I also disrespected my husband. But again, I was a fool and I knew nothing better.

Not too long after that conversation, my husband came to me again and asked if I remembered our conversation about him asking to meet with our cousin’s pastor. Again with arrogance in my voice, I said “of course”, to then he replied, well, that is the pastor that was just shot.

I was speechless. I couldn’t believe the world we live in. I didn’t know the story or even about guns or bullets but from what I heard, I really had no words for what happened but I was for sure praying that Pastor Tim survived.  Not only did he survive but he also overcame some pretty amazing medical hurdles.

My husband had kept talking in pieces about how much our cousin had changed. And more and more he kept bringing it up and the enthusiasm in his voice was starting to drive me bonkers. I was not raised in a way to believe that people could change. I had a hard time believing it unless it was proven – and him just telling me was not proof. I felt of course he was going to build him up in a better light, because he was family and my husband believed that you never leave your family behind.  But there was something in my hubby’s voice, but I think I was too scared to trust in what he had to say about something I was so angry about.

When my husband came home one day and shared that he had found a church and asked if I would go with him, I was speechless. I couldn’t believe he had gone to church, I couldn’t believe he found a place that he enjoyed and I couldn’t believe he invited me. This was a huge deal to me. In part, I was a little nervous because he always spoke about wanting to get feed during the message and I was worried that I would be lost or even laughed at because I really did not know my bible. In fact, if you were to tell me to turn to Luke blah blah blah… I would be searching for it still while the next lesson was given.

We walked into The Altar Church together, hand in hand, and even though I was filled with anxiety, there was still some calmness in me. Everything was simple there. The faces were friendly, kind, warm and real. Nothing was fancy, or made up or even dressed up to be this “Sunday Best” thing. When worship started I had to listen to most of it because it was mostly old songs I never heard. There were no special lights or a big band – it was all so simple and yet beautiful. Again, in my foolishness, on my welcome card, I even wrote  that there needed to be better music. Remember that is how I thought I needed to connect. When service started, I was pulled in like a child listening to their favorite teacher reading a story. I didn’t feel stupid. I didn’t feel uneducated. I didn’t feel lonely.

Then my most favorite part of church happened. The graduations. Each week, there are graduations of those who completed the Good Samaritan Program (The Ranch). They stand up and give their testimony. Each week, I cry and I pray and I am moved. Sometimes I seek out the graduates and ask if I can give them a hug just because and other times I just journal about them and keep them in our prayers.

So- how does this all fit together? Well, my husband was right about my cousin. He did change. And I didn’t need to have him prove it in some 5 step program or make him beg in some creepy way. I saw it in his eyes and in his heart but the biggest way I knew was from God. I was at church one morning and it was like the Lord called me up sit right next him and told me that He was still there waiting for me. I did not need to hang onto my anger, hurt, or bitterness. God was there for me, all I needed to do was ask for Him.

And I did. On my knees with tears down my face, I asked for forgiveness in all that I have done and become. I wanted my ashes turned into beauty the only way that I knew it could be done and that was to accept God back into my life. I needed to be cleansed and in doing so I was able to love again.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
– 1 John 1:9

When I saw my cousin the next time, I needed to ask him for forgiveness and apologized for my behavior, attitude and foolishness. I felt so ashamed for my thoughts towards him. I told him I was so proud of him for completing a program to help his addiction but I was even more proud that he was able to find God in his life.

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If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and or abuse and needs help, please read about the Good Samaritan Program. If you need to talk to someone, please feel free to reach out to the church, a friend, a loved one, a stranger, a doctor or someone you can trust. Seek the help you need. Sitting in the chairs at church, walking in the building, and being a follower of God, I have seen so many wonderful things happen through our church and with this program. The facilitators are there to answers questions and can guide you more than I can, but I can tell you as a witness – you can FEEL and SEE that new light in them. As a church body we are there to keep loving them and making sure they don’t wander.

 

I am so grateful that we have found The Altar Church. Never have we felt like we are a part of a church family. For myself, I feel  like I am part of a real family. I had joked with a friend and I had said, I feel like I am a child that has waited a lifetime to be adopted and finally my day has come. I am surrounded my loving parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. It is a place where I can walk through the doors and be who I am – on good days and bad days. It is a place where I can learn and be fed and the message doesn’t end at 12:30 – it continues through the whole week. It is a place where people actually love – really truly love on one another. The Altar Church is a place where you can be and lay your burdens down and not feel ashamed.

The Altar is a place where I have witnessed many beautiful things happen through tragedy (the shooting, a fire, addiction) and through wonderful things (births, friendships, family, health). Miracles happen every day but we as a society have been so brainwashed in a way to ignore them or to be embarrassed to praise them, that unless it is something so remarkable, we don’t speak of it. There is beauty in every day- a blessing in every day – in every person.

 

 

 

 

Pastor Tim had asked me to do a slideshow to show the recent events of 2016 at The Altar and unfortunately since I am still a newbie, I had hesitations that I wouldn’t be able to give him what he wanted. I am a storyteller by heart and all I knew is that there are some amazing people with amazing stories of faith.

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Now I invite you to grab a drink, a snack and get the kids entertained for a while to watch this video about The Altar Church. The video is about 27 min long and parts of it are pretty emotional and speaks about drug addition and loss. If you are looking for a place to come worship or a place to come kneel, I invite you to come to The Altar Church, where everyone is welcome at all times.

The Altar Church from Jax Creations Photography on Vimeo.

 

I am so happy I have found my way home and my family but best of all I have found God again.

If you have recently been following my facebook page and the blog, you have heard me talk and get sappy over memories and why they are so important to me. This weekend I have a very special Pure Moments Film session coming up that will be about family Christmas and I can not tell you how excited I am for this. Today I was wishing how I already had shot it because I am just itching to creating it for this family. Now, hopefully, I am not setting myself up to failure by talking about it so much. But as the mom and I were talking about Christmas traditions and memories, it sparked one of my own favorite Christmas memories. I would love to share it with you.

First I want to get on my little pedastool quickly and share with you that memories do not always need to be captured “professionally”. There are reasons and seasons where the investment should be made, but the most important thing is that it is captured in some way. With your own phone, a camera, a video, with help from a friend, family or even a stranger. Because I promise you that one day, you will come upon that image or video again and all those feelers will come flooded back to you and you will be so grateful that you have that moment recorded in some way – even if it is blurry. If you have a question on how to use your camera during this holiday season, feel free to reach out to me, I will do my best to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. I will also try to throw out some tips throughout the month.

When my hubby and I got married, I quickly learned that this guy knew pretty much everything and needed nothing that I could afford. We talked so much about having children together and I knew it was just time that it would happen but I was filled with curiosity on WHEN it would  happen. I begged and pleaded to God that he would give me a baby for hubby’s birthday or Christmas. A date that would make an impact to him- something he would remember. It was 2005 and we lived in a cozy house in Cocolalla Idaho and for months we planned and we tried but the tests always showed negative. His birthday came and with fingers crossed, no pink lines showed up. I was heart broken.

The early morning of December 24th came. Still dark outside and hubby woke early and headed to work. He kissed me goodbye and walked out the door. As soon as I knew he was gone, I waddled to the bathroom, ripped open the ept package and prayed while I tinkled. I layed it on the edge of the bathtub- staring at it and then looking away- telling myself it was going to be negative and to accept it and that things will happen in God’s timing, but still deep down wishing I would see those pink lines. When I could no longer stand it, I turned to look at the stick again – holding it close to my face and there it was, faint but it was there… 2 pink lines. It was positive.

At first I laughed. Then I cried. And then I laughed again.

I knew that I wanted to give my hubby the gift of the pregnancy for Christmas so I plotted my idea, wrapped it up and topped with a cigar. Thinking of course the cigar would totally give it away, but hopefully he would not expect it. I tried to play it so calmly Christmas morning and the only one that knew was my mom and I have to give her credit for keeping quiet even from my dad – she did a great job. That morning I had asked her to record Charley opening his gift so I can forever keep his reaction and I am so glad I did.

The recording is not professional and my mom, bless her heart, has no camera recording etiquette, and my dad was ready for the comments,  but the moment is saved. And my little guy that I was blessed with in 2005 now has an early piece of his history.

This is my Christmas gift.

The Christmas Gift from Jax Creations Photography on Vimeo.

 

I would love to hear yours.

This weekend I spent it fully in bed. Saturday my body slept all day and Sunday I was short of breath, weak and so shaky. This week’s migraine had been the worse and I was not happy on how it left me feeling, BUT… it did give me a chance to rest and watch a few movies I have been eyeing to watch.

I will try to not spill the beans on all the movies and shows but here is a short list of some things to watch 🙂

Me Before You – Even the cover image made me think that this was going to be a tear jerker of a movie so sadly, I avoided it for a while.

tumblr_o5j7oqbxak1ulesryo2_r1_1280Young and quirky Louisa “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) moves from one job to the next to help her family make ends meet. Her cheerful attitude is put to the test when she becomes a caregiver for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy young banker left paralyzed from an accident two years earlier. Will’s cynical outlook starts to change when Louisa shows him that life is worth living. As their bond deepens, their lives and hearts change in ways neither one could have imagined.

I am glad I watched this alone because I cried that ugly cry. But the movie left me happy yet sad. Yes- it is totally possible. I highly recommend you snuggle up in bed- after the kids and possibly the hubby goes to bed- with some popcorn and tissues.

My second movie I spoiled myself with this weekend was one from Pure Flix – Pure Flix Entertainment, LLC is an award-winning American independent Christian film and television studio, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company produces, distributes, acquires and markets Christian and family-friendly films

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I heard some reviews about the movie The Encounter – a movie about five strangers that are marooned in a deserted roadside diner and encounter a man who knows all of their secrets and can fix all of their problems if they trust in him.

The acting was a little less then perfect but you get wrapped up in the message of the movie that you kind of forget about the B rated acting. Again, good message and made me wonder what my reaction would be if I was in that situation.

My third treat of the weekend was another tear jerker movie – Mr. Church

mr-church-posterWhen a young girl and her dying mother are joined by a black male cook who comes to live with them, little do they know that their lives are about to change forever.

Eddie Murphy played a great role in a dramatic movie and I think this is a great date night movie either with your loved one or even with some friends.

If  you have seen any of these or if you do, please contact me as I love to be able to just talk about the movies. I love to hear what others thought- what they liked and didn’t like, etc.

Posted in Movies, personal
November 11, 2016

Words can not express my personal thanks for the sacrifice you gave to our country. Each day I pray that you are seen walking through the store, going for a walk, meeting with friends and someone – anyone – looks at your, takes your hand and says, “Thank you”.

 

veteran

Veterans Day Salute

For those who lost their lives in battle.

Their photo still rests upon the mantel.

They gave their lives, to fight for freedom.

They gave their lives, with spirit and wisdom.

Army boots and bags.

Navy Seals and rags.

Air Force wings and badges.

Marine Corps boots and buttons.

Helmets of steal which truly toughen.

Toughen the fighting men who wish to be free.

Remembering the lives we lost for freedom.

Remembering the days we had to dig in.

While fighting the wars on land and sea.

Defending our flag, for the right to be free.

A twenty one gun salute, for all our brave men.

Who battled at war, until the very end..

Veteran's Day Poetry By Kim Robin Edwards
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