Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Goal #2 - Life Updates: June

Um.... I'm not entirely sure what happened to the month of June. How am I already writing an update for it? Goodness sakes! My life is going by too fast.

To illustrated the fact that 1) I can't seem to remember much of June and 2) Life is zooming by, I present to you -  a bullet-point update for the Month O' June:

• My favorite part of this month was hands down the camping trip Devin and I took with our families

• My least-favorite part was that when we went to re-signed our lease and our rent went up :-(

• I found out another friend is pregnant - cue the baby fever (again)

• Two days later, I baby-sat for my nephew Joshua - baby fever cured (though I totally had a great time)

• I assisted Devin on a family photo shoot - Jackie and his son Chris were so much fun!

 (hmmmm... um... accessing the Palm Pilot in order to remember my life...)

• I had the pleasure of designing a t-shirt for Valley Christian H.S. that I like enough to actually wear:

• Progress on Project 101 is coming along nicely. To date, I've completed six goals and have twenty currently in-progress (some of them will be taking a loooong time still to complete).

Living Frugally is going well. Looking at our budget, the percentages of what we make, verses what we spend, are making me feel good about staying home someday. 

That's all I've got folks. Have a great day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Do We Really Believe?

I am (as you've probably gathered if you’ve ever read my blog) a high-performance oriented individual. Which means that I have a really hard time not getting caught up in the mentality of “I need to do more for God” and “I’m not a ‘good enough’ Christian because I don’t do enough.” I know these thoughts are twisted theology and that I can do absolutely nothing to earn my salvation. But I wrestle with this idea all the time. Very, very (very) often, I do not live in a way that a Christ-follower should, so I get caught up in question “What more I can do to live better?"

I don't think that I’m alone in this either. I see this same struggle so often in the lives of other Christians around me. I get convicted and frustrated when I compare the number of people who proclaim Christ in their lives with the number of orphans in the world, or the number of people who have had bitter, hurtful interactions with Christians and hate the church because of it. What is going on here?? Again, my instant reaction is “Why aren’t we doing more?”

But a thought hit me on the way to work this morning. Maybe the issue is not that we as Christians don’t DO enough of what the Bible says we should. Rather, I think that we just don’t BELIEVE the Bible enough to actually do what it says. Salvation isn’t about works, but if we REALLY believed what we SAY we believe, it would show in our actions, in our words, in our checkbooks, in our relationships. The problem is not, not doing - it’s not believing.

While nowhere does the Bible indicate that one can earn salvation, there are plenty of verses that point to our actions lining up with our proclaimed belief.

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." - 1 John 3:17-18

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." - James 1:22

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." - 2 Timothy 2:15
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:8-10

So I guess the question I have to ask myself and the Christian community in general is this: If our actions reflect our belief... How is it that an entire society of Christians are believing without BELIEVING?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Un-birthday to my Grandma

My Grandma Robison is probably the hippest grandma I know. She has an email account, a cell phone and a Facebook page. She has some of the best style sense of anyone her age, or anyone, anywhere for that matter. Plus, most of her friends are forty-some years younger that her (I've seen these friends with Grandma, they think she is simply the cat's meow.)

As ultra cool and modern as Grandma is, she still has some charming, old-fashion characteristics. For example: As long as I've known her, the expression she uses the most often is, "Oh, forevermore." This could mean she is mildly miffed about something, exasperated that you just beat her in a card game, or genuinely touched by something nice somebody did for her. I love this expression and I love when she uses it. She also, like any well-bred, old-fashion lady, does not relieve her age. And by that, I mean she has told us (her family) to stop celebrating her birthday. (She said, "When you're my age, you'll understand.")

So, this is not a happy birthday post. That is why it is posted one whole day after her non-existent birthday, so clearly this is nothing more than a random mention of admiration for my amazing Grandma. Who is one of the most faithful, full-of-grace women I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Plus, she is sweet. I'm not talking "pinch-your-cheeks" sugary sweet. I mean she is genuinely, care-about-everyone, soft-spoken, others-first, hardly ever (once that I can ever remember) raises her voice, SWEET.

Happy Random Mention of Admiration (not at all related to your birthday) Grandma! I love you so much!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Goal #44 - Dates with Devin (5 and 6 of 20)

Rent a movie, pop some popcorn and enjoy the show! - Dates on a Dime

Movie: Leap Year with Amy Adams, who I have always found completely and utterly adorable ever since I first saw her in The Office. She permanently endeared herself to me in Enchanted. (If you haven't seen it yet and love Disney and trivia, you must see this movie! It is full of hundreds of Disney references and is one of the most charming films I've seen in a whole long while.) But we didn't watch Enchanted. We watched Leap Year. Which was amusing, but not great. Amy Adams was as cute as ever, but didn't fit the role very well, in my opinion.

Popcorn: Apparently, placing a popcorn bag (which, of course, contains hot oil) atop a plastic, microwavable plate cover isn't a good idea. Be aghast by the destruction...

(The popcorn survived unscathed by the way... that is of course, until I ate all of it... by myself... because Devin doesn't like popcorn. Yes, it was a full bag. Don't judge me.)

And in other news....

Last night we ate dinner at home, then went to Barnes & Nobel for some coffee, photography book lookin' and a little bit o' public kissin'.

"Cuddle up in the corner of your library [or bookstore] with an art book or short story that interests both of you.  Choose a color, image or word and kiss each time you run across it." - Dates on a Dime (we added grabbing lattes to this date, but if you want a fun-n-free date, just skip the coffee)

We looked through three different photography books (oh wow where there some incredible images) and kissed at the color orange, any light above the horizon, and any sort of headgear (scarf, hats, helmets, etc.) There was a lot of kissing going on (don't worry, we kept it Disney-rated).

We were completely ridiculous and giggled after each kiss. Had I seen a couple doing what we were doing, I probably would have rolled my eyes or gagged. Devin was sightly mortified I think. I thought it was fun and would highly recommend it. Perhaps though, try to find a more secluded area. We were rather conspicuous and probably did, in fact, make a few people gag.

Photo from Interesno.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Goal #98: Camping in Woods Canyon

Goal #98- Go camping in Woods Canyon Lake (Devin’s favorite camping spot)

I have to be honest, we have been camping in Woods Canyon once before:

It was the end of November. The high was 33 degrees. There was snow. We had frostbitten fingertips. It was brutal. It is an irreplaceable, crazy-newly-weds memory that I love telling the story of, but its also a trip that neither of us care to ever repeat. Ever.

That said, I wanted to experience Devin's childhood camping ground in all it's true glory. Without the snow and below-freezing temperatures. 

This was also a momentous trip because it was the first Robison/Hanson family vacation. My parents and Devin's parents were there, along with my three youngest siblings and Devin's brother, sister-in-law and nephew. I am pleased to report that it went swimmingly and our families get along together great. We are already looking at dates for next summer.

We camped for three nights, four days, had no showers and made for quite the motley crew in our little five tent village. We hiked, made SMORES, played card games late into the night and fished (Well, some fished. I was quite content to sit by the lake a read). Devin and Jordan (my youngest brother) even went hunting for craw fish. Which they then boiled and ate. It was disgusting. I was so grossed out by it that I couldn't bear to let Devin kiss me until he had brushed his teeth. I know. I'm a horrible wife.

My favorite memory from the trip however was this: At one point (I don't even remember why), I said the word "Mama" in a sing-songy Queen (the band)-like voice. Without missing a beat, my dad starting singing Bohemian Rhapsody. He was quickly joined by my husband. They were standing on either side of me singing into my ears. They were in perfect tandem. Every lyric was flawless. It was... surreal. I guess it’s true what they say about girls marrying guys that are like their dads...

Monday, June 14, 2010

A More Managable Temperature

Well, I think my earlier post helped cure me of baby fever. But you know what's weird? While the baby fever of actually giving birth to my own child has settled down, my desire to adopt a little one in need is probably even stronger now. Interesting. Definitely praying about the timing of that one. (By the way, I will not be surprised at all if Marla comes home from her trip to Cambodia with an addition to the family... I'm just sayin'... I think it would be awesome to have a little Cambodian cousin).

(Sorry Marla!)

During my baby-fever-freak-out, I found this list (and we all know how much I love lists) of "20 Things to Do Before You Get Pregnant" and I must say, it was a crucial part of bringing down my temperature. I have added my own comments in parenthesis.

1) Go off the pill 
2) Cut back on partying (ummm... I think can handle this one)
3) Limit caffeine (Do you have any idea how many things have caffeine in them???)
4) Get in shape (I'm too lazy)
5) Go to the movies (because you'll be too tired to stay awake for 2 hours and too bloated to sit for that long, not to mention unable to hold your pee for that length of time)
6) Save a nest egg (makes "cents"... har har. Wow, that was not funny in any way. My apologies.)
7) Pop a prenatal supplement
8) Stock up on sleep (yeah right)
9) Find your sure-fire stress remedy (does that exist?)
10) Takes lots of life-before-baby pictures (because your life will be over in 9 months)
11) Make a restaurant checklist (because you will not be able to bring your squalling infant into these "it" places)
12) Deal with where you want to live (because moving with a baby or while 8 months pregnant is not fun)
13) Deal with your job (I'd like to deal wi--- Ahem.  Never mind.)
14) Ask your mom about her pregnancy (sounds good, but I don't want to get her hopes up too soon! ;-)
15) Pay your doc a visit (that involves a co-pay)
16) Don't forget the dentist (please refer to #15)
17) Book a girlfriend getaway and travel, travel, travel (HECK YES!!)
18) Go back to your roots (aka- stop dying your hair, you won't have time for the upkeep once baby arrives)
19) Stop buying clothes (because soon you will be too fat to fit into them)
20) Have a parenting talk with your husband (popping a hole in the condom without his knowledge is unacceptable)

Baby-fever: Cured.

For now...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Goal #89 & #91 - Learning more about photography

Goal #89: Have Devin teach me more about photography- specifically composition and lighting. 

Technically (at least according to my resume), I know quite a bit about photography. Compared to my professional photographer of a husband however, I know next to nothing. One of our goals as a couple is to run our own photography business full time and if I was going to be any help at all, I had a lot left to learn. Devin as been a very sweet, patient instructor - teaching me more about lighting, composition and editing.

Goal #91: Shoot at least five weddings with Devin (1 of 5)

I was able to put some of my newly honed techniques into practice two weeks ago when we had the pleasure of photographing Forest and Amanda's wedding. This couple was so relaxed and we had a great time capturing their big day. Below are just a few of my favorite shots (the first three are Devin's, the last three are mine.) You can see more of our images from this shoot by visiting Devin's blog

Forest and Amanda were so adorable during their First Look. They were just so happy and they couldn't stop hugging and giggling. 

This couple really knew how to have fun together.

Forest and Amanda recruited their dog Princess to fulfill the coveted role of ring bearer.

Congratulations Forest and Amanda! We had such a great time sharing in your special day. God bless you on this new adventure as you serve Him together!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Goal # 44 - Dates with Devin (4 of 20)

 Treat yourselves to an ice cream sundae. Consider sharing one.
- Dates on a Dime

We had a scheme. It would be brilliant. It would be frugal. It would bring me one step closer to checking Goal #44 off The List. It did not work exactly (at all) like we planned.

The plan was to get two desserts, but only pay for one (using a buy-one-get-one-free coupon) and thus still be (for all monetarily purposes) "sharing" one. We decided on Bahama Buck's Shaved Ice... which I wasn't super thrilled with because I don't like paying for ice and syrup. But moving on... the chick at the counter refused give us the correct, aforementioned buy-one-get-one-free dessert. My better, more sensitive to the feelings of others half refused to argue with her for a mere $2.60, so we essentially still paid for two desserts. Neither of them were ice cream sundaes.  However, my dessert was a smoothie (which had strawberries and ice cream in it) so I submit that it still counts.

After the over-priced ice (and my bad attitude about the lost $2.60) was finished, we very much enjoyed the rest of our date night. Lesson learned? When one is PMSing, one should never accost a restaurant worker over $2.60. One should let ones husband, whose judgment is not being afflicted by PMS, handle the situation. Also, is $2.60 really worth completely ruining someone's night by yelling at them? Answer: No.

I'm so thankful my husband has such an others-centered outlook. I need to learn from him. But maybe on a day that my hormones aren't completely deranged.

Wow. I bet you thought you were going to read a cute post about a date night and some ice cream. Boy did you get more than you bargained for!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Contented Endurance

I read an interesting article recently about the trials and persecution that the westernized church is likely to experience in the coming decade. Honestly, it made me uncomfortable to face the reality that I very well may live long enough to see my happy, safe little church life come too an end - that I could actually experience some serious persecution in my lifetime. I didn't like that idea quite frankly. But Jesus said it will happen (Matthew 24:6-14) and in my resistance towards that inevitably, I am hoping that Jesus' words don't come to pass and am essentially hoping my Lord is a liar.

This is not to say that I should just throw up my hands and stop trying to influence the world for good because it's all got to pot anyways. As a Christian, I am told to endure despite my circumstances. To have hope, when everything seems hopeless in this world (John 16:33) and to never tire of doing good (2 Thess 3:13).  Endure, endure, endure - in all things endure.

I am also told to be content with my circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). Contentment and endurance are to co-exist within my heart and my life. This brought about an interesting realization for me - what does it look like to endure and to be content? How does one effect the other?

So often, when I picture "enduring" it conjurers images of oh-poor-me-martyrdom and pushing through difficult circumstances (sometimes often with a grim outlook). But then when I think about contentment, I know that it means rejoicing even in difficult circumstances and not letting those circumstances get to you. It would seem that one's contentment deeply influences one's ability or need to endure.

How often could I avoid feeling like I have to endure something when, if I was just content in the first place, a lot of those "problems" that I have to "endure" wouldn't even be considered as problems by my contented heart? Example: Contentment means being satisfied with what you have (Hebrews 13:5), so if I lived with that kind of contentment, I would no longer have to "endure" many of the financial stresses I face. I wouldn't have to "endure" my job if I was just content in the fact that I have one. If I am content, my "hardships" become relative and many of them disappear, leaving less things to endure.

Q4U- Has there been a time when you had to endure a trying circumstance that could have been lessened by a spirit of contentment?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

San Diego Family Trip

We recently took a trip to San Diego with my side of the family. Here are just a few of my favorite images (some that I took with my point and shoot and others that Devin took with his Nikon)

Day One: Touring the Beaches
Devin enjoying shooting at the beach.

Devin and I.

 My younger brother David with his girlfriend Bre (she's a keeper for sure.)

Wave running.

Day Two: Sea World!
The "one and only" Shamu (Devin took this awesome shot!)

Enjoying Sea World with my little sister Katie.
David with Bre, Katie and Julie at Sea World

 My little sister Julia watching the seals. They were so funny: begging and howling for food just like a pack of dogs. There was one that would even put up his fin and waved to try and get fish. Those are some smart animals who know how to play a crowd of tourist.

The whole family at Sea World

Devin and I at the Tide Pool

Day Three: Coronado Island and Seaport Village

The gang enjoying Coronado Island (we also looked around the 1880s era Hotel del Coronado and um, WOW!)

Devin and I - classically romantic (except that the people in the original photograph where complete strangers).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby, you give me fever

Maybe it's my age, my mild discontent with life right now, the fact that my friends seem to be popping out babies like rabbits, or a genuine desire to start a family... but I'm experiencing something akin to baby fever, with a hefty dose of a mild panic attack, coupled with the realization that I'm going to be twenty-seven next month and my child-bearing years are ebbing.

 (My adorable nephews, Shane and Joshua - two of my sources for both baby-fever and wow-I'm-glad-I-don't-have-this-responsibility-fever)

I love kids, I want a whole hoard of them (well wait, how many is a hoard exactly?) and I very much look forward to being a mom. I am blessed to have a husband who would be ready to be a dad tomorrow. I'd like to be a mom who is young enough to enjoy and keep up with her kids (and let's face it, most days I already feel too old and worn out to keep up with my own life). I'd like to have kids soon enough that they know thier grandparents for a good long time.

But I also love my freedom, my alone time with Devin and my general lack-of-crucial responsibility. I have places I want to visit and things I want to do. I know that once you hop on the family train there is noooooo going back. These selfish (are they?) reasons are warring against my desire to start a family.

I don't like it. God made woman's bodies to have babies and that process seems straight-forward enough, why isn't the decision to actually have a baby straight-forward enough? Blah.

Most of my married friends tell me how important it is to wait to have kids and enjoy "just the two of us" time. Which I fully agree with. But I also have to face the fact that most of those friends got married when they were twenty-two, whereas my nuptials began when I was already past twenty-six. It's easier for them to say "wait" when, at my age, they have already enjoyed four-years of marital bliss (whereas I have a grand total of eight-months under my belt. Shoot! If my marriage was in utero it wouldn't even be fully developed yet!)

I am very much aware of the fact that the above musings indicate that I very likely may not be ready to start a family. However, I also feel that if I were to become pregnant sooner-than-expected, I would be thrilled. So, I guess my real question is: How did you and your spouse know you were ready (or not ready) to start a family? Was it a difficult or easy decision for you?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memiors of a Graphic Designer

I was swapping client horror stories with my co-worker the other day. We came to the conclusion that the things clients say and get away with in the design world would never fly in the real world. Imagine with me if you will, the following scenarios:

Client Opinions in the Doctor's Office

Doctor: I'm sorry to say that you have hepatitis.
Patient: No, I don't think that sounds right.
Doctor: No really, I've run the tests and you have hepatitis.
Patient: You obviously aren't understanding me - I'm looking at the same charts and it's not hepatitis.
Doctor: Believe it or not, I did go to school for this.
Patient: That's nice, but I'm paying for this visit which makes my opinion more important than yours.

Price Negotiation at the Car Lot

Customer: I can't believe this car cost this much!
Salesman: Well, that's the going rate for this kind of car. 
Customer: Yeaaahh... but that's still more than I was hoping to spend. You could give me a discount, right?
Salesman: Well...
Customer: Since we're friends and all?
: Um...
Customer:  Oh! I have an even better idea! You give me the car for free. Then everyone who sees me driving this awesome car will see your name on the license plate frame. I drive by at least a thousand people per day. That's over 7,000 people per week and 365,000 people per year!! Think off all the free business I'll be generating for you! So you see, giving me the car for free is really to your benefit.

Do-It-Myself Clients in the Dentist Office

Dentist: Alright, just open up and I'll have that cavity out in no time.
Patient: I don't know why I pay so much for this. It can't possibly be that hard.
Dentist: It’s actually more difficult than it looks.
Patient: I’m sure if I had the same tools, I'd be able to do this at home.
Dentist: The tools are rather expensive actually.
Patient: Oh. Well I can just grab some of my own tools and make them work just fine. Your tools are basically the same as my C-clamp and pliers, right? I have a small drill at home too - so that  part will be no problem.

Design by Committee in the Garden of Eden

: Yeah, so God, I know this Tiger project already has the "stamp of approval" and all, but Eve and I were thinking about making a few slight adjustments.
God: Such as?
Eve: Well, we like the stripes, but we don't love the stripes. How about stripes just on the back half?
Adam: A mane too - we think it should have mane.
God: I'm sorry, the mane was part of the design for the Lion branding.
Adam: Yeah, we know, but we were thinking that they would look really great together. Like, meshed and blended. After-all, if it looks good one one animal, it will look good on another.
Eve: The neck too - we were hoping for a more Giraffe-like neck on the Tiger. Ooo! Maybe the spots too!
God: It's my professional opinion that that will look ridiculous.
Adam: Well, why don't you draw up a few sketches anyways and we’ll tell you what we think.

Many thanks to my co-worker, Jeff for helping me write the above scenes.