Archives for June 2015

Tips for Pin Worthy Photos + Link Up

I have to thank all you sweet readers who took pity on me and wished me better health! I’m much improved so thank you again! This weeks blog post is a little different, I was feeling inspired by nature and my love of photography so this post was born!  I found myself  wanting to get outside and do something fun with the kids, so we decided to go on a photography walk.  We found a short moment between rain showers to get out doors this week. The rain is making fun, outside activities, a challenge this summer here in north central Indiana. Let me insert here this isn’t to make you think I’m one of those mom’s who plans all kinds of activities to do and has the entire summer planned out. No, no quite the opposite, I’m too often found behind the computer and my are kids watching TV or movies….just keeping it real here!

Photo Walk

The objective was we each had a camera and we just found pretty things to photograph. This prompted the idea to share with you a few tips to improve your photos and make them more pin worthy or scrapbook worthy! I love photography, I have since my teen years and was blessed to own a business and photography studio. For the past two years I have been “retired” from the business and I’m so thankful to be discovering the joy of photography being mostly a hobby again.

 

I used my “big” camera the Canon 5DMkii with the 24-70mmL lens. My son used by older Canon Rebel with a 50mm 1.8 lens (this is called a prime lens, so the user has to be the zoom) and my daughter used my Sony Cyber point and shoot.

Photo Walk

Most of the images I have here on the blog have been taken by me. Occasionally I do use unsplash images if I don’t have what I’m looking for in my own collection. I hope you will find these tips helpful in taking photos of nature or your own kids!

 

1. Perspective: Get Down.

Get down to the level of what your wanting to capture. When you are photographing your toddler get down on their level instead of standing over them, this makes a more visually interesting image and usually helps avoids extra clutter being in the background. If your capturing something in nature getting down at eye level allows you to capture the entire flower instead of only the center/top of it.

Get down for better perspective

2. Rule of Thirds.

This rule is one of the most basic of composition rules, the easy way to think of this rule is don’t put the subject you want the audience to focus on in the center. Think of your image being cut in thirds vertically and horizontally by placing your subject off center it is more balanced and interesting. Studies have found that when a person is looking at a photo the eyes tend to move towards on of the intersecting points.

IMG_5417

In the above image I placed the large part of the flower on a cross point which will lead the viewer’s eye into the center of the image.

3. Zoom In.

Yep as easy as it sounds! When you zoom in on the subject instead of the entire room the viewer immediately knows the purpose of this photo. Think of a birthday party, to stand back and photograph the entire setting, doesn’t allow for detailed capturing of the birthday boy or girls facial expressions or eliminate the distractions of other background items. I always like a few pull back shots to capture the whole room but for the most part getting in nice and close always looks more appealing! This tip combined with perspective captures moment beautifully. By zooming in on this image I kept the focus on this sweet sibling moment instead of them sitting on a porch at a park.

Finding the Light

 

4. Look for the Light.

This type can be the hardest to learn but will make the most impact on your images. The best lighting is often found on cloudy overcast days. Full sun is very hard to shoot in, it makes people squinty and causes unappealing shadows. Look for light that allows for catch lights in the subjects eye (little reflections of light in the eye). The golden hour is my favorite time of day to shoot in. It’s the time of day just before sunset (or just after sunrise if you’re an early riser) everything becomes cast in a beautiful yellow cast from the setting sun and harsh shadows have turned softer.

 

Finding the Light

 

This image doesn’t show perfect catch lights but you can see small ones. You will notice the even light on her face it makes her skin glow.  Don’t mind the messy face and sweaty bangs!

 

5. Learn Manual Mode.

This often sounds so complicated and hard to people but with lots of practice it really isn’t. All my tips so far have been directed to any camera user but this one is for the DSLR owner. To learn manual mode there a few things to keep in mind-this by no means is a full lesson!

a. ISO: this doesn’t stand for in search of but tells your camera how much light is around you. Remember the film days of 100, 200, 400? This is what ISO is, for bright sunny days pick 100 for overcast/cloudy days or shade 400 will be better, for darker settings or inside use 800. The bigger the number the darker the environment you are in. One more thing to remember depending on your cameras capabilities the higher in ISO you go your final images could start to become grainy.

b. White Balance: this is the button on your camera that has little pictures associated with it this is easy, just pick the picture that represents your lighting conditions. Shady, full sun or florescent lighting are just a couple of choices.

c. F/Stop: is for how big the aperture (lens opening is) this is also what controls your background being blurry. The smaller the number the blurrier the background (depth of field) and the better for lower light settings. This number is also dependent on what your lens capability has.

d. Shutter Speed: This tells your camera how long to keep the shutter open. For fast action your want a shutter speed 1/200 or more. For low light the number often gets smaller (1/100) But you never want to go lower than 1/60 unless using a tripod.

e. Metering: This is the little numbered bar inside your view finder, when the moving line is near the middle you should have a fairly well exposed image. By changing either your f/stop or shutter speed this bar will move and show you if it’s going to be under/over or properly exposed.

 

6. Background is important.

I’ve already mentioned that by getting down or zooming in will help remove distractions from the background. By positioning myself this direction I eliminated the door of the house and patio furniture and was able to just focus on this selfie moment.

Zoom In

 

Cherries

Also think outside the box for backgrounds, these cherries were on the hood of my car!

I hope you find these tips helpful and I love to help people learn and grow their skills so if you have any questions be sure to leave a comment!

 

featured on #wordswithwinter link up

 

This week was another hard week to chose who to feature, thank you for sharing such great posts! There were several posts on spiritual warfare which I found to be such a God thing, so cool that we were on the same page last week sisters!

My first featured post is Lauren of Sobremesa Stories her authentic post on prayer grabbed me from the beginning to the end. She wrote about being afraid to pray specifically how true her words are. “When we withhold our most vulnerable hopes and desires for ourselves, other people, relationships, and circumstances, we present ourselves to God as we think He wants to see us, instead of as who we are.” Be sure to read the rest of this great post.

Next feature is Debbie of Notes Along the Journey she shared about feeling inferior and what God’s truth really is. “Beloved, you are not inferior. You are a confident woman of God. Don’t believe those lies the enemy hisses in your ear. Nothing scares him more than a woman walking boldly with her God!” Her words of pure truth spoke straight to my heart you definitely should read this post!  

Also featured is Deborah of Growing in His Grace I loved this farmer’s wife light bulb moment when she found a yoke in the barn. This post will change how you view taking Jesus’s yoke. You’ll be missing out if you don’t click over and read her post.

This last post inspired me and I would love to see more of you ladies join Kim from Host and Hunt on Instagram for the 40 days of summer project. Be sure to tag your Me and Mom photos with #mandm40daysofsummer

 

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Mighty Warriors + Link Up

This past week I found myself so exhausted. So tired of the everyday. So worn out in the normal routine. I spent 4 days sick – feel like death sick. Fever, chills, sore throat, earache and body aches-Sick. I’m a pitiful sick girl, just ask my husband! I whimper, I can’t help it, I certainly don’t mean to or even realize I’m doing it. My mom has told me I have done it since I was 6 months old. (I must insert my apologies here, if I linked up next to you or you commented last week here, I kept thinking I would catch up and read all the posts and leave responses but alas it didn’t happen.)

 

Do you feel like me?

 

Maybe not physically sick, but mentally worn out, spiritually exhausted?

 

When we find ourselves feeling like this we are distracted from our purpose and calling. Satan can use this against us, he is on the attack and when we become weary he is ready to pounce.

I am His | Me, Coffee & Jesus

I know this, I even think I am prepared, most of the time, but it still sneaks up on me. The Lord knew this would happen to us. He was so confident that it would, He gave us instructions to prevent it. Ephesians 6 gives instructions on clothing ourselves against the enemy.

 

But it takes work to put that on everyday…time too. When life is rolling it’s easy to get distracted from the need to clothe ourselves for battle. It’s easy to lose sight that there is a battle.  This is important ladies, so listen up! There is a battle, a battle so big, a battle that’s entire mission is to destroy and detain us from our purpose we have been planted for. We know this right?  It’s Christianity 101, but how easy is it to forget.

 

Now did I just hear a mumble from the back of “what purpose?”

 

Don’t you believe it, sister. You have been created for a great purpose. A purpose of patiently loving your children, your husband, your aging parents. The purpose of kindness, smiling at the cashier, tipping that young waitress. Praying for the co-worker that drives you bonkers. If you don’t see or think you have a purpose that is the lie of the enemy. To think like that allows a victory for him, that line of thinking doesn’t allow room for the Lord to work in your life. His plans are always bigger than we imagine. Maybe right now your purpose feels small, but don’t let that distract you from the big things the Lord is preparing for you behind the scenes.

 

Ok, sorry I had to get that clear, I was saying that all to myself six months ago so I know someone was thinking it today.

 

Even when we know the spiritual attacks are coming it is still hard to prepare. A huge spiritual attack for me is my health. I have the worst immune system and a chronic illness that rears its head when I’m run down/stressed. If you live in Indiana you know the source of my stress this past week, water! We had over a foot in our front yard last Monday. The other common spiritual attack is financial stress. So yep you guessed it, some financial stressers this past week, nothing catastrophic but stressful.

 

The enemy loves when we are stressed out because what are we thinking about when we are stressed? Me, me, me. We move from thinking about living ruined lives for Jesus, to me living. Our worries, our finances, our sick bodies. Just last week I wrote about living ruined for Jesus, this week I didn’t live that out. To experience that dichotomy within just a week was a true lesson in the importance of daily clothing myself in His armor. 

 

I am personally entering a time in my life of spiritual attacks. When I registered for SheSpeaks earlier this year I was told to be ready, the enemy was coming. Be prepared because you are doing work for the Lord and he wants to wear you out. I know this and still allowed myself to be caught without my armor. So ladies will you pray with me this week, and over the next few weeks. Will you shift your “me” living to living as she warriors, she warriors so ruined for Jesus that satan shivers in his tracks.

 

Let your worship be your battle cry | Me, Coffee & Jesus

 

Father God, we ask for strength this week. Strength to fight the unseen battles that are happening. We ask that you gird us with the belt of truth, that our minds will filter all thoughts through your truth. We ask for our bodies to be covered in your armor of righteousness. That we will live just and fair, guarding judgmental thoughts, remembering others we interact with are created beings of Yours too. We pray for shoes of peace so that as we step into others lives we bring a holy calmness to them. We ask for your shield of faith. A shield to stand behind that will protect us from the certain arrows the enemy will throw at us. We thank you for the helmet of salvation that you provide to us. We ask for complete trust and confidence in its helm of our life. We praise you for the sword that you provided us with. We ask for discernment to fight with it, for strength to wield it. Father, we pray these things and claim them in the power of who you have created us to be. We ask for a holy alertness, to stay aware of the coming attacks to persistently seek you and your will in our lives.

Put on the armor of God, fight like a warrior | Me, Coffee & Jesus

 

If you have a specific prayer request I would love to pray for you. Drop me an email at mecoffeeandjesus@gmail.com or use my contact page. We will fight the enemy together.

 

Find me linked at these amazing blogs!

 

 

featured on #wordswithwinter link up

 

This week I’m featuring two bloggers because I couldn’t decide which one I loved best! So first I give you Keri of Living In This Season her post that encourages us to “find hope in knowing that we are all doing a beautiful work[of raising our children], each in different and unique ways and it is so good. We can embrace our differences and have confidence in how God made us.” You need to check out the full post! 

I’m also featuring Deb of Counting My Blessings she posted on the qualities that make us great, our greatness is ultimately based on her words: “You are great because by God’s grace through Jesus and the power of His Spirit” but you must check out the rest of her truth filled post!

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Ruined + Link Up

I’m ruined are you? Ruined for Jesus, that is. My life is centered around living ruined. I was introduced to this idea at a workshop lead by author Rick Lawerence.  To be ruined for Jesus means we spend time chasing after Him and the desires He has for us. It means choosing to sacrifice money and living with more time for relationships than “stuff”. It means pursuing His goals, giving up careers when He calls. It means leaving family and friends when He says this way.

 

To live like this looks crazy, seems crazy, but I can’t do anything else. Jesus has sought me and won me, so nothing else tastes as sweet. I know I’m not alone, I know the disciples were ruined and I’m certain their friends found them a little nuts!

Everyone’s ruined looks different lived out. I think of a boy from Africa I heard about. When he decided to live for Jesus he packed a bag and left his life, village, family everything because he was no longer accepted. I know I’m so blessed to live in the bible belt and to live out loud for Jesus looks less crazy than in some places of the world.

Yet I still am thought to be “out there” I’m sure. I left a business in hopes of serving in vocal ministry. When the door to ministry slammed closed I was confused to say the least. Then in my Jesus focused line of vision I caught a glimpse of wait – I’m not finished – wait I have something better for you. I’m still waiting as glimpses are still being revealed but the Lord is so good I know He is higher, He is planning the perfect path for me.

 

Me, Coffee and Jesus

Part of living ruined for Jesus is listening to His voice. Not ours or of the enemy, but His, the one of Truth. I find this the hardest part even as I type this the voice of ugly is whispering, talking loudly, screaming, yeah that’s the word. Screaming all the ugly I’ve done, created, the messes I’ve been apart of. How could I be successful in any type of vocal ministry?

 

This voice tells me people already have certain opinions of me, based on speculation, although I know and my close circle know the truth, it doesn’t speak as loud as the speculation. This voice shows me other women who are far more qualified to teach and share the gospel. Lets me know that I have no degree to back up my calling. I don’t say any of this so you feels sorry for me or offer me words of praise. I say all of this to point it back to Jesus. I have always been a people pleaser, it’s part of who I am. I believe the Lord is using this as a thorn in my side.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8 talks about being given a thorn to prevent him from becoming proud. He asked the Lord to remove it on multiple occasions.  But the Lord’s response comes in verse 8.

 

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

Me, Coffee and Jesus

This is my thorn in this season of life. I trust Him, so I will continue placing one foot in front of the next because it’s not my strength, it is His. Because I promise even with all my strength, on the best hair day with my power outfit on do I have enough strength to live Jesus out loud. My strength finds frustration with my children, grumps with my spouse, no time to spend with the Lord. My strength only leads to hot messes! His strength looks like following Him when chaos reins, kindness in response to children driving me to the brink, smiles at the husband who likes to pick on me in fun. His strength looks like finding time to spend with Him in the everyday.

 

featured on #wordswithwinter link up

 

Be sure to check out Rebecca at Mary and Martha’s House as this weeks featured blogger. She shared the importance of making the most out of each of our days in honor of her cousins passing.

 

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New Routines + Words With Winter Linkup

This week has been about finding a new routine since summer break is in full swing. I will honestly admit I’m not doing so well finding that routine.  I have found my normal writing time to not be quiet and productive this past week or so. So as I find my new routine I have to ask for patience here in my little corner!

I do want to share a moment from my week, my very out of the routine week, that allowed God to show up awesomely!  Since I didn’t have my quiet time and coffee in the morning I decided to hide away in my bedroom to spend some time in His word. As I’m sure most mom’s will relate, it doesn’t matter the hiding spot there is no real privacy to be found in the house.  So as I’m getting cozy on my bed, just opening my bible, my daughter pops in to see what I’m up to. I tell her I’m going to have some quiet time reading my bible,  as I encourage her to go play I have a nudging to tell her to come read with me. I wish I could tell you I immediately invited her up but I didn’t. I was mentally stammering “but, but Lord it’s my time”. But I have to believe the Holy spirit was nudging her as well because in just a moment she came back and I then invited her up into my bed to read. As I opened the bible and headed to a parable in Matthew we landed on the story of the four types of soil.

reading together

As she read the passage (I’ve got to have a proud mom moment here,  she has some what struggled all year with reading and she read this passage with only minimal help!!) We stopped every verse or so to make sure she knew what it was saying. Then at the end of it, we talked about what Jesus was saying and how we want to be planted in the fertile soil making sure we grow our roots down deep. That when we root ourselves in Jesus and draw on his waters we can lead others to Jesus multiplying what Jesus has done in our lives! As we talked about this her eye’s were as big as saucers in the amazement of Jesus’s words.

planted in the good soil

It lead me to think how often we as adults have lost the amazement that is found in the words of Jesus. So I challenge you to open the Word and find new amazement! One of my best friends shared just last week how she did that, you should definitely head over and read her story. It also made me realize how often do we not invest in reading from His word with our kids because we think a devotional will be easier for them to understand.  I’m guilty of these things, selfishly I hope I’m not alone, yet I hope you will be inspired to open your bible with your children and try reading a parable with them!

You can find me on these awesome blogs!

This Weeks:

featured on #wordswithwinter link up

 

 

 

 

Is Sharon of sharonsharinggod! I was so blessed to have had such amazing blogs join the #wordswithwinter link up last week! This week I’m am featuring Sharon because this post captured me from the beginning and left me encouraged and blessed! If you have ever found yourself discouraged and beating yourself up with negative self-talk you need to read what Sharon has from the Lord. 

 

 

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Grafted to Jesus +Words With Winter Link Up

This week I was studying Colossians and a verse in chapter 2 lead me back to a passage of scripture in John. Chapter 15 starts out with Jesus telling us He is the true grapevine and his Father is the gardener. I attended a youth leader conference a few years ago that had a workshop based on these verses in John 15, while there the leader of this workshop showed a video of how gardeners graft plants together. It was such an amazing video to watch and think about in the context of our lives being grafted on to Jesus.

 

This is what Jesus is talking about. He doesn’t say WE are the grapevine, we are only the branches. We have been grafted on to Him by the Gardener.

berries

A gardener doesn’t just take a piece of a branch and tape it to a vine. Oh, no my friends, it is way more complex than that!  I would not refer to myself as a green thumb so I had no idea of this amazing process. The gardener must first prepare the vine or root stock that the “transplant” is being grafted to. The root stock is cut down to just the base and the bark is taken off and the grapevine is cut in a deep V pattern so the the new branch can be grafted on. The newly grafted branch is taped onto the vine.

 

Umm, does this sound familiar to anyone else? Jesus was stripped, cut and bleeding for me. Because of His willingness to suffer I was able to be grafted on to Him, so that I might produce fruit.

 

Jesus says in verse 5 that “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.”

 

 

fruit

 

So this tells us we have a choice we can chose to remain in Him and produce fruit. The other option would be to not remain in Him and the result will be to suffer being thrown out. Yes that sounds harsh, until you think of the reward of option one.

 

Because He says in verse 9: “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.”

 

 

Wow, I think option one sounds great but what does that look like lived out? What does it take to bear fruit? And what does it mean when Jesus says in verse 2 “he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more”?

 

So what does it look like to bear fruit as a branch on the grapevine of Jesus? I believe spiritual fruit is obtained when we become more and more like Jesus. That’s what happens when that grafted transplant grows deeper and deeper into the vine, it is still itself but it becomes more and more like the vine. When we long to live like Jesus more than how the world does, that is spiritual fruit. When we show kindness and patience to those who aren’t easy to love, that is spiritual fruit. When we show joy in times of trials, that is spiritual fruit.

 

So the next time your toddler is coloring on the wall with your favorite lipstick, respond with patience drawing deeply from the Vine. When your spouse comes home and has forgotten to pick up the 3 dozen cupcakes you need for the school bake sale respond with kindness that only comes from being tapped into the Vine. This is what bearing fruit lived out can look like.

 

When verse 2 talks about pruning the fruit bearing branches, I get a little squirmy. This is because, although I’m trying to be the best fruit bearing branch I can be, I still think pruning sounds painful.

 

Wikipedia says the purpose of pruning is: “shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of fruits. The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from plants.”

 

This definition when applied to my life does sound like it is good for my overall growth and fruit bearing…still painful, but very needed.

 

What is God pruning in your life? He has definitely been shaping me lately. I read back through an old journal recently and for over a year I was asking the same question of the Lord essentially. Of what should I do about this situation, I didn’t like the situation, but I was stuck. Stuck so deeply that it got painful when the Lord got the pruning shears out and got to work. That pain made me move from my stuck situation, and fruit has begun to grow again.

 

So sisters, I pray that you will root yourself deeper into the Lord if that is where you are at.

 

Cling to what Colossians 2:7 says: “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

 

rooted

Or, if you are like me and are in a season of pruning, I pray that you will let the Gardener do the work necessary for you to become more fruitful.

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