BIBPC 7 Category 2

Hello everyone!¬† I don’t usually post this day of the week or with this short of a post, but I had a busy week and finally got a really good chance to get a photo for BIBPC 7 Category 2. If you have no idea what this is, see here. (And please, someone join team spring, so they don’t automatically get extra points for having less teammates!)

The prompt is Fast

And this is what I got.

BIBPC2020_Category2

Mabel was full on sprinting in the snow. ūüôā It’s like the only time she runs, unless she’s got scent of something. A split-second before she was almost leaping through the air. Mabel is definitely fast.

And because sometimes it gives the photo super big, here is a smaller version.

BIBPC2020_Category2

My photo from last week actually made it to Megan’s favorite of the week, so that’s cool.

My Top Books of 2019 + BIBPC 7 Category 1

Hello everyone! I hope your New Year is going splendidly so far!

This year I read a lot of really awesome books! In this post, I’m going to give you my top 5 books I read in 2019 as well as my BIBPC 7 Category 1 picture.

#1:

Andrew Peterson Interview

North or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

As I expressed in a review of the book:

“After the first third of this book, my thought was “Hey, this might even somehow be better than On the Edge Of Dark Sea of Darkness.”

Two-thirds through I thought “Yeah. This is pretty good, but the first one is still better.”

After flipping the last page to find that it was over, I whispered almost inaudibly with a sniff as I reached to wipe the lingering tears from my face “That. Was. Beautiful.”

Yeah. It was really, really good. Do I dare say the best fiction book I’ve ever read? Very, very possibly. Extremely possibly.

In particular, I really love how beautifully the author wove in the strong redemptive theme. It was beautiful. Definitely a must-read. But before you read this one, you must read…

#2:

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness - The Ohio Digital Library - OverDrive

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

And of course, the first book in the Wingfeather Saga comes next. I have heard everywhere about how good the Wingfeather Saga is. Like a lot. But still, I was a little bit skeptical.

I was not prepared to be swept away. This book was incredible (although North or be Eaten is somehow even more incredible)! I love Andrew Peterson’s writing style. This was (and is) a wonderful book.

#3

Crazy Love by Francis Chan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble¬ģ

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

This was definitely an incredible book and the most powerful book I read this year. If you are feeling stuck, this is the book to get you out of yourself and worshiping God with your life. If you find yourself asking questions like “Is doing this thing really that bad?” or “How far can I go to be ‘kicked out’ or heaven?” that you really need to read this book. Even if you’ve never asked yourself these questions, if you have even the slightest suspicion you might be border-line on being a lukewarm Christian or are struggling to love God as you ought, you need to read this book.

#4

Will Our Generation Speak? : A Call to Be Bold with the Gospel by Grace Mally 9780971940581 | eBay

Will Our Generation Speak by Grace Mally

I loved this book already so much, and finally, for Christmas, I got my own copy. I’m so happy! This book is so practical and helpful for how to share your faith with courage and God’s strength. This is a book I will read over and over again.

#5

Live Without You - Kindle edition by Sarah Grace Grzy. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks ...

Live Without You by Sarah Grace Grzy

This was such a sweet and beautiful story. I couldn’t put it down! It was thoroughly captivating and engaging. I love this book so much! If you get queasy with the mention of blood, you might be a little sensitive with this book as it does give a bit of the perspective of a paramedic, though. I still loved it.

Now for BIBPC Category 1!

The prompt is “Unnoticed”.

My picture is of an “Un-noticed” notice sign. ūüôā

Here is the small version first, then the big version.

Category1_Unnoticed

Category1_Unnoticed

It was pretty fun to get this picture together! I hope you like it!

Have a blessed week!


But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

-1 John 1:7


 

*All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted

**All photos in this post are taken by myself, and belong to myself, not to be taken for use unless with permission

 

2019 becomes 2020

Hello. It’s me again. Come to think of it, I haven’t posted since November.

I’ve been crazy busy. And mostly enjoying it too. I kind of wish I had posted more often recently, but really I’m glad I didn’t make myself.

I’m not the kind of person who usually makes New Year’s resolutions (at least around New Years). For some reason, I usually make them right before the new school-year starts instead of the calendar year. But I think this year, I might make a few.

What was 2019 for me?

I think I can honestly say that so far in my life it has been the hardest year in my life. I’m not too proud of the person I have been in 2019. But I am amazed at how wonderful, loving, gracious, and powerful God is.

I have grown closer to God the last year. I definitely have no doubt as to whether I need him on a daily basis. I convicted of my lack of prayer.

2019 was hard, but it was oh, so valuable.

What I wish I’d done better in 2019:

  • I wish I’d been gentler and kinder in both my tone of voice and words, even when I was upset.
  • I wish I’d been more ready to listen to my younger siblings when they wanted someone to hear them out.
  • I wish I’d been less controlling and bossy of my younger siblings.
  • I wish I’d written more, both on this blog, and privately.
  • I wish I’d practiced cello more.
  • I wish I’d memorized more scripture.
  • I wish I’d been more eager to find ways to serve and love others, even when it’s hard and I don’t want to give anything more.

What I’m thankful for in 2019:

  • Growing closer to God.
  • Having friends to lift me up and fellowship with when I’m discouraged.
  • A new sunrise every morning.
  • Cars. (I’ve been thinking a lot about amazing and cool cars are lately:).
  • The writing that I did.
  • Lots of friends and family to act as editors even when it’s kind of last minute.
  • The scripture that I did memorize (and all of scripture at that).
  • All the good food I keep learning how to make.
  • The answering of many prayers.

And now, 2020 is here!!!!!!

2020 sounds so… strange. How is it already 2020?

I do have a few resolves for 2020.

Actually, let me say that a different way.

There are a few things that God has convicted me about, and I want to say yes to Him this year. I want to let Him work in me and change me in these ways.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

-Philippians 2:12-13

Ways I want to let God work in me in 2020:

  • I’ve been getting lazy with my reading of God’s word. For a while, I’ve been reading only a chapter of the Bible in a day. But I think this year, I’m ready to read the whole thing.
  • I want to think twice before using sarcasm. Sarcasm can be used to lift others up, but lately, when it comes out of my mouth it has been to tear people down. I don’t have a plan yet for how to conquer this, other than to ask God for help, and to memorize a verse or two on the words from our mouth.
  • I don’t just want to pray more, I¬†need to pray more this year. One way I’ve been working on this already is to get up extra early on Monday, the hardest day to get up early, and to use all of that extra time to pray. Monday, of all the days of the week, seems to be the day that needs the most prayer, and I think it has already paid off a bit, as hard as it is. Nonetheless, I also need to pray every day, throughout my day, not just once a week.
  • I want to write more this year. But I don’t want to write my paragraph, my story, my plot. I want God to use me to write His story and message.¬†I know His words are powerful and heart-changing, while mine will never be.

Other little things I’d like to accomplish:

  • Because I want to be a tool in God’s hand through writing, I want to be better equipped to write with passion and expression. I always thought I had a pretty good vocabulary, but recently I’ve realized I need more words in my word pool. Rich ones, too. So I’d like to learn 25 new and useful vocabulary words each month (which equals 300 for the year) this year.
  • I’d like to read 100 books this year.
  • BIBPC 2020 (see here).

Sometimes people will pick a word to meditate on throughout the year. I’m going to pick a verse. Here is my verse to memorize and meditate on in 2020:

Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.

-1 Peter 5:6-7

What have you learned in 2019? What has been the hardest thing about 2019? Is there anything you think God is convicting you to do this year? What is a verse that you want to memorize and meditate on this year?

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

-Lamentations 3:22-23

 

*All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted

Editing my Photos

Some of you might be curious about how much or if I edit my photos. I like to edit my photos with Photoshop, and how much depends on the how bad the photos was. Here I’d like to quickly show a few examples of before and after.

Last night I was able to catch a few low-lit photos of fall scenery to the backdrop of the hidden, setting sun. I framed most of them so that almost all the screen was filled with sky. However, there were a few that looked rather dismal. For instance, this picture of fall leaves with a giant cherry tree in the far background:

IMG_4711

It’s really dark, and feels kind of blurry. However, I decided to touch it up a bit to show what Photoshop can do.

When I am going through my photos, first I copy all the one I want to edit, out of my memory card file and into a file I have named “Unedited photos”. Then I open them in RAW and begin to tweak them. This is what it looked like after some tweaking:

phtoshopfall leaves

The biggest thing I brought up was the exposure. I tweaked the contrast and the highlights a little bit, but mostly I pulled up the whites, to make it look like there was bright light in the photo. Because of the blurry backdrop, I brought down the blacks a bit so it didn’t stand out. Notice I did not touch the clarity even though it was blurry in the back. One reason for this it that pulling up the clarity does not actually fix a genuinely blurry element and I didn’t want to bring it our much. Also, when I tried adjusting the clarity it brought our the edges of the leaves in way that didn’t look good, so I just left it out.

When I’m done tweaking, I hit “Open Object” and unless I want to patch up spots with the clone stamp tool, I go straight to “File” > “Save for Web”. I use save for web because it reduces file size and enables me to upload it to WordPress. This is what it looks like in “Save for Web”

phtosho fall leaves 2

Typically, I have the quality set to 60 and the larger side of the image set to 2000 px.

Then I hit save and that’s about all.

Here is the final image contrasting with the original image:

And large version of the final image:

IMG_4711-as-Smart-Object-1
After

Not too bad for how little light it was shot with, but not my greatest photo by far.

Now for some more Before and After shots from last night. Keep in mind that most of them I do not consider great shots.

Black-eyed Susans:

 

Leaves against sky:

Sunset:

Flowers:

 

If you want to see more photos, you can always check out my photos page.

I have a ton of my favorite photos over there.

The cool part about the photos page is you can actually see what settings I took a particular photo on.

To find out what settings I took things on, click on a particular photo you are curious about. It should show up in a sort of slideshow, and then you can scroll down to see the aperture, camera type, shutter speed, and focal length.

Here is a picture of what that looks like:

picture-info-1picture-info-2picture-info-3

Thanks for reading!


I have to admit, blogging has not been number one on my priorities. And that’s fine, just keep in mind that my blog posts might be a little bit on the short side for a while. I appreciate y’all taggin’ along anyhow.

Thanks again!

Have a blessed day!

A Lesson That Never Ends

If there was one lesson I had to choose that I think the Lord has been teaching me the most in this past year, it is this:

God is good, and people are imperfect.

It seems this lesson never ends. If you asked me God had been teaching me last year, I probably would have said the same thing! God is good. God is good. He really is good!

But more and more this particular year, I’ve been realizing how¬†much mankind fails in comparison. I’ve been learning that God is trustworthy even farther than I can imagine, and mankind is more flawed than I can yet grasp.

And yet… it seems I have not learned my lesson yet, for here I am, trusting people and refusing to fully trust in God.

Why is it that the flawed people around us can be so much easier to put our identity, worth, and trust in? Why is it that even after we see God’s love proved over and over, we just can’t bring ourselves to fully trust Him?

I don’t have all the answers, I guess. It seems that His goodness and our imperfection is the lesson that never ends. The lesson we are always learning.

What has God been teaching you?


“They have all¬†turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is¬†no one who does good, not even one.”

-Psalm 14:3

“I said to the¬†LORD, ‚ÄúYou are¬†my Lord;
I¬†have no good besides You.‚ÄĚ”

-Psalm 16:2

“O¬†taste and see that the¬†Lord¬†is good;
How¬†blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

-Psalm 34:8


Have a blessed day! The LORD is truly good.

 


*All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted

Photographing Baby Calves

My favorite ever subject for photography is baby calves. Why? They are so adorable! You might think baby kids (goats) would be my favorite since they are so mini and cute.

Although photographing baby goats is awesome, I think I actually prefer photographing newborn calves even better.

There is something about cows that makes it more worthwhile to capture pictures of them. Maybe it’s the challenge of snapping an up close picture of a skittish calf under heavy guard by a momma cow. Maybe it’s how miniature and huge they can seem at the same time. Goats are obviously cute, even when they are grown, but when massive cows come in teeny form… it’s something special.

So how do you get adorable pictures of calves? It can actually be difficult at times. Goats are friendly and outgoing (at least ours are) and it’s easy to just pick up one of those babies and carry it off somewhere to snap some up close pictures as they try to run off and find their momma. For one thing, unless you are my dad, you can’t pick up a calf. For another thing, good luck getting close enough to even touch it unless the momma and the baby are asleep on opposite sides of the fence.

But thankfully, there is at least one thing going for you with calves. They are amazingly curious about cameras, something I have not found in particular with goats. The momma cows don’t care much for cameras, but the calves are full of curiosity about what you are, what the black thing making clicking noises that you keep looking through is, and whether you are fun to play with.

I thought I’d come up with a few tips to successfully get adorable pictures of baby calves, so here they are!

Tips for getting adorable photos of newborn calves:

  1. Take it slow. DO NOT LOSE YOUR PATIENCE! Often this will involve scooting forward at a rate of 1 cm per minute. Do whatever you can to make the momma cow think you are not moving towards their calf in any way, while still getting progressively closer.
  2. Tying on to the last point: make them think you are heading the opposite direction. This is kinda hard to explain, but basically if you are moving towards as calf and the momma and or the calf starts to get nervous, start easing into a different direction preferably one that will help get you around to a better, perhaps closer angle. Not sure if that one made any sense whatsoever, but oh well.
  3. Also,¬†sometimes just sticking around in a field for a little while doing nothing will help a momma cow get comfortable with you.¬†But do watch, because super protective momma cows might just get super nervous with you just standing there doing nothing, so if you test it out first while standing by a fence you can just slip under, that’s best.
  4. To get a really nice shot, get low to the ground.¬†One of the big things that makes a picture of a super cute newborn calf even more cute is the angle. If you get a picture from standing or from a distance, you just really can’t see how cute and tiny and precious they look. Point is, get low to the ground, and focus on the angle.
  5. If a momma cow is heading for you, often just one or two steps backwards will console them.¬†Usually you don’t have to run completely away if a momma cow is moodily heading for you because she thinks you are too close to her calf. Also, don’t run. That’s never a good idea. Back up as slowly as is safe.
  6. Snap ’em as you go. So many times I’ve been waiting for a momma cow and her calf to to move a little bit and get just the perfect shot when… they moved. Completely. And I missed getting a picture altogether. Instead, while you are waiting or trying to get closer, keep snapping pictures. Still, be careful, because occasionally the continual shutter noise can startle the calves or momma’s. Or just any shutter noise.
  7. Watch it.¬†Keep your eyes looking around. Sometimes even if you are not trying to get closer to a calf, the calf can be curiously moving towards you when you’re not paying attention. I’ve had a momma cow come barging at me before because her own calf was coming over to investigate me. Just keep your eyes open.
  8. And lastly,¬†enjoy it!¬†Enjoy the chance you have to watch precious newborn calves up close, even if you don’t catch any good pictures.

I’m not sure how many of you will ever end up trying to snap pictures of baby calves, but these tips may also be helpful for capturing photos of wildlife or other baby animals.

Hope you found these tips interesting, even if you don’t do photography yourself.

And of course, this post would not be complete without…

The Adorable Photos of Baby Calves!

This one I feel, turned out really well, although the momma cow was not so thrilled.

IMG_4662-as-Smart-Object-1

IMG_4664-as-Smart-Object-1

And finally, what might¬†have been my favorite if it had been in focus. Alas. I was hoping for an adorable shot of the baby calf licking milk off of her nose. (The pink tags in the calves are girls, in case you were wondering ūüôā ) It kinda happened. Except it was sadly deficient in focus.

IMG_4653-as-Smart-Object-1

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I took me a few weeks to work on this one by bits. I’ve been very busy with a lot of other things. Hopefully, I will be more on top of things, and get another post around to you in a week or two.

I hope (and kinda know) that you enjoyed every second of the baby calf pictures! Perhaps you agree: they may just be your favorite photography subject… at least to look at. ūüôā

I also hope you are blessed by the beautiful display God has created all around us. I don’t know about you, but fall weather is beautiful (even if it feels cold early in the morning). What could be more beautiful than baby calves frisking about on a stiff breeze with golden beams lighting the background?


“The¬†Lord¬†bless you, and¬†keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And¬†give you peace.”

-Numbers 6:24-26


 

** All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted.

Help Undying Joy reach 100 followers! (Giveaway involved!)

With a September filled with busy Saturdays, I’ve been gone longer than I thought I would be. And, with another busy Saturday ahead of me, and not enough time to craft an actual full post of my own, I thought I’d reblog this post from Erin @ Undying Joy. She’s one of my favorite bloggers to follow, and even if she wasn’t hosting a giveaway of a book by one of my top favorite authors (C. S. Lewis), you should seriously consider following her. Please go support her if you can, and if you want, check out her awesome giveaway as well.

Have a wonderful and fruitful week!


“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he¬†bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

-John 15:5 (NASB)


 

Undying Joy

GUYS!!! I have 78 followers on my blog! My goal is 100 and that‚Äôs why I‚Äôm running a giveaway!!! ūüôā The more friends you share my giveaway with, the more entries you get. So click the photo or link below to enter the giveaway and then‚Ķshare away! (Please note: family members are not allowed to enter at this time. Thank you!)

The giveaway will start on September 20th and ends October 1st.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

~Erin H.

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