Thursday, December 30, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens...

These are a few of my favorite things.


I don't really go overboard decorating for Christmas.  The tree is the most important thing to me as it is covered in decorations that have been given as gifts or made by my children.  As we decorate the tree each year, we laugh and remember stories about some of the ornaments.  Like the year Jake thought he was a mouse...he got a mouse decoration.  Or the handmade ornament with a photo of Stephanie as a first grader.  Our tree has somewhere around 100 decorations.  Only 10 of those are ornaments with no significant meaning.  Our tree theme is "These ARE the good ol' days!"

Here are some of my favorite Christmas decorations.



Our First Christmas Together






This  belonged to my mother-in-law.  She gave it to me when she moved.  It's ceramic, missing some lights and the star on the top is broken.  I love it!

Given to me by my uncle.



Our family.

Jim has given me a poinsettia every year we've been together.





One of my favorite scenes from my Christmas village.

Jingle bells on the door.

My parents gave this to me in 1998.  It's one of my favorites.



Handmade ornaments from my kids.  I LOVE these!



When the dog bites...When the bee stings...When I'm feeling sad...I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.

(I watched The Sound of Music for the first time last week.  Wow, huh?)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Heavy Heart, Thankful Heart



The Thin Blue Line
 




My heart is heavy.
Last night, an Arlington Police Officer was killed.

















My heart is thankful.
Last night, my husband slept in our bed.  Safely.


Jim's real passion at work is teaching officer safety.  Teaching them how to stay alive.  And he is very good at it.  God has given him a gift and he uses it.  He is mindful and aware at all times (even off-duty) of dangerous situations.  However, this does not mean that he can't encounter a situation in which there is no safe way out of.   And I know that.

And so I pray.  Believing that God will bring all of the life-saving techniques Jim has learned to his mind if he should ever encounter a deadly situation.  Having faith that God will protect him while he is protecting others.


Thank you, God, for bringing my husband home safely to me every night.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When You Hit The Wall ~ Say Hey!

Today I have been editing photos. Usually I move right along smoothly then BAM! I hit the wall. My eyes get heavy.  Nothing seems to work or look right. So frustrating.
Pandora stepped up.
This song came on. Editing ceased and dancing commenced.

Tell me you can NOT move during this song. I dare you.









And now...back to editing.

p.s.
As far as I can tell, YouTube does not limit how many times you can play a video.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Funny Face ~ From Tex To Amy Jo

I was the apple of my Grandaddy's eye.  Ask anyone.  They'll agree.
In my world, Grandaddy hung the moon.

I vividly remember Grandaddy's love for music.  Country music.   Lefty Frizzell, Eddy Arnold, Porter Wagoner, Patsy Cline.  Classic, y'all.  (I know he has rolled over more than once for what is called 'country' music these days.)

When I was growing up, there was a Fort Worth radio station called KXOL.  Grandaddy was friends with the djs (you know, back when they were called djs) and he would call the radio station and have songs dedicated to me (back when djs did that sort of thing).  "From Tex to Amy Jo".  In that moment, I thought nobody else in the whole world was as special as me. 

This was his song to me.  It's silly, I know.  But I love it.  And it's MY song.  And when I miss Grandaddy, I play it.  Over and over and over.

The 'Why'

I have been passionate about photography my entire life.  My first camera (I think) was a disc film camera.  In fact, somewhere around here, I have an undeveloped disc.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see what's on there?

My passion for preserving memories comes from my Granny.  Throughout her entire life, she was a 'picture-taker'.  I loved this about her because her life and my life with her is well-documented.  During difficult times in my life, I have been comforted by perusing through the lovingly-taken photos of a much simpler life.

I am the 'picture-taker' in our family.  And I love it.  My kids can never say "Why aren't there more pictures of us?" 

I document the important stuff.  And stuff some people may deem 'not as important'.  But isn't it?  Isn't that simple photo of a child's toothless smile, a funny face or the Blizzards we had for supper important?

My memory is not good sometimes.  There are many periods of time throughout my life that I just cannot remember.  But I have photos to remind me.  Or that I can use to make up my own stories.  Either way, they serve their purpose.

And so I hope that, if others cannot remember, they will have my photographs to remind them of a happy time.  Even if they laugh at me for taking too many photos, isn't my job done?

Earlier this year, I officially started my photography business, Amy Hobbs Photography.  I spend time preparing before photographing my clients .  Taking into account each person I'll photograph and how I can capture their personality.  My goal is to express my creativity through my photography and to share my gift.

  That's the 'why'.


This moment is why.








And they are why.








And she is why.




And capturing Gabriel so proud he is turning 3 is why.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanks And Giving


November always brings campaigns to help the less fortunate.  (side rant ~ I feel the focus is usually on 'financially' less fortunate.  But we should not limit our help to monetary.  There are lots of hurting people and it has nothing to do with money.)  And while I believe these campaigns to be a wonderful thing, it makes me curious as to why we don't really pay attention to people's needs ALL YEAR LONG.  I am guilty myself, and I am not proud of it.

The current influx of nudges to help worked.  I had been thinking of ways I could bless someone else.  The list is infinite and a little overwhelming for my perfectionist-procrastination brain.  sigh. 

Yesterday, while visiting the local superstore, God presented me with 2 opportunities.  'In my face, don't miss these' opportunities.  It was divine.  And scary.

I had to step out of my comfort zone to seize these opportunities.  (Remind me to tell you the story of being rejected while trying to give.  Now THAT was a learning experience!)  I stepped out in faith.  "How much faith does it take to help someone?" you may be asking.  Sometimes...a lot.  I had to make sure my heart was in the right place.   The WHY.  I had to make sure I was gentle and not demeaning.  The HOW.  I had to overcome my fear of totally screwing up.  The WHAT IFs. 

What happened was nothing less than spectacular.  And by this, I don't mean there were fireworks, a parade, and a 'look what I did' celebration.  My help was well received and there were very special moments between 6 people which left everyone blessed.  See, that's an amazing facet of sharing God's love.  In giving, I was blessed.   And the impact of this experience will resonate for a very long time for each of us.

Thanks and Giving.  I challenge you to both.  Year round.

Be thankful for what you have.  Share it with others.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Journey: What James Taught Me

Our small group met tonight and boy was I in need of it.

James 1:1-4
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Greetings,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


What I learned: 
God allows trials.  They strengthen my faith.  If life was always smooth sailing, would I ever 'need' God or call upon Him?    Job 2:10  ...Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?

Joy is different than happiness.  Joy is 'calm delight'.  Happiness comes from outside sources~from happenings.  It is possible to not feel happiness and still feel joy.  I do not feel happy about the trial, but I will rest in the joy of the Lord.
During trials, God is perfecting my character.  Who am I DURING the trial?  I am to stand in the trial, confident that He has already worked it out. 
God ALWAYS answers prayers.  Sometimes the answer is no.  Sometimes the answer is yes.  Sometimes the answer is yes, but not yet.  I am to pray.  Then wait.
Satan is 'fishing' while I'm in the trial to see what I will bite on.  There's a lure.  And always a hook.

The notes in my bible say:  "Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth.

Ever feel like God is talking directly to you?  I did tonight.  And I am thankful.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Journey ~ Feels Like Today

It feels like today...


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

5 Years Later...

I just now found a note card given to me by the dear lady who led me back to Christ.  It is no accident that I carried it around in the cover of my Bible for 5 years, not having looked at it in probably 3 years, and found it today.

It is dated September, 2005 and reads:

Amy,
Always remember:
"There is nothing - no circumstance, no trouble, no testing...that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me.  If it has come that far, it has come with great purpose, that I cannot understand at the moment; but I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart.  So...no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever alarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is."
Love in Him,
Kelly
(she could not remember the author of the quote)





And so, with this gentle God-sent reminder in the form of a 5-year-old-note card, I am lifting my eyes asking God to not allow me to miss the lesson or the blessing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roots

A Journey

From the Radical Love Book:

Everything in life is designed for you to truly experience God's faithfulness.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Journey

God has me on a journey that I would not have chosen.  Along this journey are lessons.  Some are proving to be tough. 

First lessons:  Truth.  Trust.


To my first true love ~ I will always love you. 






If it's the last thing I do...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Week In The Life Of This 40-Year-Old

Memory Lane


Sand bags :(


Trench beside out house to prevent flooding


Neighborhood cookout


Oh...this can't be good


I love a man in uniform


Super-tall Amy


New 'do!



Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Week In The Life Of This 40-Year-Old

Concert in the kitchen.


Black bean and cheese quesadillas.  Yum!


New favorite taco place.


New workout program.


'Veggie Buger' disappointment.  Giant portabella mushroom.  I REALLY tried to like it.


Because a trip to Target is ALWAYS good!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Week In The Life Of This 40-Year-Old

Live band in a garage.  Loud and fun.

Back to the gym.  Oy.


First day of school.


LOVE these moments.

A new Bible study.

Much needed rain.

Super-fun evening with my cousin.
Birthday balloons.

Friday, August 27, 2010

On My Soapbox: The 'Be Respectful To Women' Edition

Today my husband and I were at a workplace gym.  In this gym is a magazine rack which holds several different magazines (either 9 or 12 slots, I think).  In each slot, each front magazine was opened to a picture or an ad of a woman.  (Side gripe:  Some ads, even  in 'tasteful' magazines, are distasteful and on the verge of soft porn.)

Now, this took time and effort for whoever did this.  And it was most definitely an intentional act. 

'Sexual harassmant' was the phrase I used.




Kudos to my husband who stood there with me, closing each one of those magazines.



Which brings me to my next point:  I am so grateful for a husband who is respectful of women.


Which brings me to yet another point:  It is my responsibility as a woman to be respectful of my body and my husband.  My body belongs to my husband.  It is not meant to be put out there in a such a way that is enticing to other men.  (This does NOT mean that women are not allowed to dress and look nice.  I believe that a woman CAN dress and look nice WITHOUT looking slutty.  There, I said it.)

And with that, I will step off of my soapbox.

Until next time...




I am Amy.  Hear me roar.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lessons I Teach Myself While Parenting My Children

I started working out (again) this week.  I really don't enjoy exercise, but I know I have to do it to reach certain goals, including weight loss and a healthy body.  sigh.

My plan is to do 3 miles on the elliptical several times a week.  So far, so good.

Today was day 3 and I was in no mood for it, but I sucked it up and did it anyway.  Not long after mile 1, my mind and body were done.  D-O-N-E.  My playlist sucked.  The TV on the elliptical was all fuzzy and getting on my nerves.  And somebody in that room stunk! 

But there was no way I could stop. 

For the last 3 days, I have been trying to teach my son that in order to get certain results, sometimes (most of the time) we have to work hard.  Really, really hard.

He started football for the first time this year.  And he was looking forward to it.  But...the practices have been long and difficult.  There was even puking involved.  (ack!)  

There have been many early morning and late night pep talks going on around here.  Trying to help him understand that to be good at football, he is going to have to do the hard work, as suckish as it may be.  "Eventually, your body will become used to the hard work and it won't seem so hard."  I broke it down into smaller, more manageable pieces for him.  At least every 25 minutes, they are given a water break.  "All you have to do is remember that you won't have to go longer than 25 minutes, then you get a break." 

Eventually, my body will become used to exercise and won't hate me every time I do it.  All I have to do is make it one. mile. at. a. time.  Revamp my playlist.  And make sure I choose a machine with a properly working TV.  Unfortunately, there's not much I can do about stinky workout neighbors.  (gag)




KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON!






My name is Amy.  I travel 3 miles and get NOWHERE!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Am SOO Glad School Started...

...but not for the reasons you may think.  I've seen Facebook and Twitter posts galore about parents ready for the kids to be out of the house after a long summer break.  And while I've felt that way in years gone by, this year is different.

My kids are embarking on new adventures this year.  Uncharted waters.  My daughter is starting college.  My son is starting 7th grade and football.  I'm excited for these new phases in their lives and hope they enjoy these new life experiences.

Another reason I am so glad school has started:  So that we can get back to some sort of routine.  I don't do well for long without some sort of schedule.  I really love summer for lots of reasons.  One being the laziness:  We get to stay up late and sleep late.  Eat whenever and whatever we want (cookies and cheese puffs for breakfast).  Go swimming, ride go carts and vacation whenever we feel like it.  These are wonderful things which we are so blessed to get to enjoy.

However...
I don't do well (mentally) after floundering around for too long.  Oh it's all fun and games in the beginning, but after a while, I long for some kind of order.  Some kind of schedule.  I hardly cooked at all this Summer. Many days were 'fend for yourselves'. (Mom of the Year award ceremony to be announced.)  While we have lots of fun during the summer, I don't get much 'have-to-do' accomplished.  


Maybe that's the lesson here.

 

The point of Summer break, perhaps?



Maybe this post just took a turn from where I originally intended it to go. 





I think I just cut myself some slack...without even meaning to.




Maybe I should re-title this post "Random Post That Takes A Dramatic Turn And Doesn't Really Have An Ending"






My name is Amy and I arm wrestled a Marine.




Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Week In The Life Of This 40-Year-Old

Museum of Living Art rocks!
A new project.
Date Night
Seriously.  If I could swim in that sauce, I would.
Water Park
Fi-Yah!
Sunny Street Benedict.  Birthday Breakfast.

A Beautiful Post From A Sweet Friend

Please visit Ronne's blog and be blessed by her wisdom.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm Published!

I'm so excited!  Today was the release of Radical Love, authored by my friends Kimberly Parker and Donna Lowe.  I got to travel to Canada back in June to take their photo for the back of the book.


What an awesome experience!  I am so thankful to Kim and Donna for allowing me the honor of taking their photo. 


('Have a photo published' is #15 on the list.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Living Out Loud (Random Thoughts of a 40-Year-Old)

Sometimes that (Living Out Loud) seems like false advertising.  In some things I have no problem 'living them'.  In others, I sit idly by and let things happen.  Why is that?   And while lots of interesting/exciting things happen, I don't always blog about them, even though I want to.  (see lame excuse below)

Whatever my issues are right now, I'm going to blame the heat.  Seriously.  I live in Texas.  It's August.  And I am D-O-N-E with it.  It sucks the life right out of me.

I'm sitting here surrounded by party stuff from last Saturday, still needing to be put away.  Boxes of decorations, supplies and memories.  That's where I got (mentally) stuck...the memories.  I have had a great life, complete with happy times and not-so-happy times.  And I wouldn't change a thing.  However, in my life before I had any real control (or took control), things happened that I still have to reconcile.  And these boxes of memories triggered feelings...for what could have been, or what should be.  What do I do with those feelings?  Pack them away again?  That doesn't seem to be working for me.

It's that time of year when school is about to start back up and I'm thinking about that 'to-do' list.  You know the one...of all the things I'll do once school starts.  (That actually made me laugh)  My kids are old enough  now that I can't legitimately use them as an excuse for not getting things done while they are home.   I guess I'll be busy looking for a different excuse.

I'm entering all kinds of new and exciting stages in my life:
1) I have a child that will start college. I AM THE MOTHER OF A COLLEGE STUDENT!
2) I'm 40. And it doesn't feel much different than 39. Except a little more 'distinguished'. (or some such)
3) My son will splay football this school year, for the first time EVER. Football is a contact sport. Lord help me. (Like how I turned that around to be about me?)
4)  I have my own photography business, and it has been coming along nicely.

The sadness of my brother being in prison is setting in.  (This is strongly related to the 'boxes of memories') It's tough to explain my feelings on this.  Although he broke the law and deserves to be in prison, it's still sad that he'll spend the rest of his life there.

I still haven't blogged about my "Christmas Around The World" dinner.  And it was definitely blog-worthy.  But I allowed my JOY about the event to be stolen.  sigh.  I'm mostly over that, so I promise to blog about it...eventually.

While I enjoy reading others' blogs, there's still a part of me that wonders, "Who the heck cares about what I have to say?"  Hence the sporadic blogging.


(Clicking 'Publish Post' will cause me great anxiety.  My PP brain (procrastination perfectionism) is on overload for this post.)


This is me.  Covered by GRACE.  Whew!


(Post blogpost thoughts:  This entry sounds kinda heavy.  That's not how I intended it.  I am in an absolutely fantastic place in my life right now.  Things could not be better!  Well, maybe they could...if I could eat chips and queso for every meal and NOT suffer the consequences.)