Saturday, May 26, 2012

Carra Jane Photography

If someone had told me in high school that one day I would start a photography business, I would have told them they were crazy.  I never even owned a camera until I got pregnant with our first child (unless you count those super cool disposable cameras that we all used in college :)  But after I had Addison my whole view of photography changed.  I wanted to take quality pictures that captured those special moments and told the story of her life.  I looked into photographers and at the time could not afford taking her to a professional, so I decided to learn to do it myself.  I had a good point and shoot camera and I learned how to use it for the next three years.  If you look at pictures of Addison as a baby you can definitely tell that I was in my learning phase :)  In 2009, my sweet husband upgraded my camera and I found a real passion for photography.  I often used my own kids as guinea pigs and would spend time setting up photoshoots with them to learn a new aspect of my camera, a new skill, or how to do something else in photoshop.  My sweet friends Jennifer, Amy, and Christy (who are all great photographers), would let me ask them questions and helped me so much the past few years learn the art of photography.

Fast forward two years and here I am starting a business.  Last summer, I started asking people if I could practice with kids were getting tired of being my models :)  Then in October I started doing pictures for family Christmas cards and Santa parties.  At the time David was out of work so I started charging a little money, which ended up being a huge blessing at that time.  I was able to build up my portfolio, learn from my mistakes, and learn how to take pictures of people from all different ages and stages of life.  The other thing I learned though is how much time and money goes into photography... and I now understood why professional photographers prices are much higher than say WalMart or JcPennys.  I learned that the work for a photographer is not really spent in the hour or so taking the pictures, but it is spent in the hours upon hours afterwards editing those pictures and making them beautiful.  I also learned that photography equipment (lenses, props, backdrops, cameras, etc.) are really expensive, and like with any business you have to upgrade your equipment every few years.   If a photographer is going to make any money for their time and equipment they have to charge more.  I also learned that I love taking pictures...I love spending time with the families and the children capturing their expressions that are uniquely them.

I am so grateful for all the people and friends that have let me practice and take pictures of them over the past year while I have built my portfolio.  It has truly been such a joy for me and I have learned so much about photography, from how to get a cranky two year old to smile to how to try and make the experience of taking pictures a fun and relaxed time for a family.  I am happy to say that after one year of taking pictures of others I feel confident in my abilities as a photographer, and that is thanks to all of the people that have allowed me the priviledge of capturing those moments in their lives.  

Some of the new changes for Carra Jane Photography are...

I am taking the month of June off from business, and am working on my new pricing for the upcoming year as well as working on some stuff for my website, and mostly just spending a month focusing on my family.

I am working with a new printing company (White House Custom Color).   They are wonderful and one of the best printing companies around, so I am very excited about that change to the business.

Now that my portfolio building is over (I have done newborns, families, engagement, maternity, and a wedding)  all of my prices are going up, sitting fees and print prices.  I have researched prices in the Fayetteville/PTC/Senioa area and still strive to be one of the most affordable on location photographers around, while still being a business that helps my family financially.

I will only be taking 2-3 photoshoots per month.  My family is precious to me, and the time I spend with them I cannot get back, so we have prayed about how many photoshoots I can handle in a month and still be the wife and mother God wants me to be to them.  Once my slots are filled for the month I will not be taking other photos, so the key will be to schedule early.

I will be starting a facebook page in the next couple of weeks to checkout and send messages through.

Again I am so grateful for the people that have prayed for me and encouraged me as we have started this business.  My main goal is to bring glory to God through the talents that He has given me and to show the love of Jesus to those that I meet.  Thank you all again!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Physician for the Sick

Okay so it has been a really long time since I have blogged...honestly so much has happened in our lives over the past 3 months that has proven God's faithfulness to me and our family.  I will try to spend a few posts writing about David's new job and where God has us and our family later this week or next week, but right now I feel like God has placed something else on my heart to share.
It may not change how anyone else behaves or speaks, but these thoughts keep coming to mind and I know that God is using it to change me and the way that I look at people, so I felt compelled to blog about it :)

Over the past few weeks I have heard or read more on Facebook and in the news about homosexuality than ever before...and I have been so upset by it because honestly there have been so many Christians that are doing more harm than good by the things that they are saying and the way that they are acting about homosexuality.  First let me say that I agree homosexuality is a sin, just like lying, cheating, adultery, stealing, gossiping, etc. and I am in no way condoning it or saying that we should not address the sin as a church.  But as I keep looking through the Bible I keep running across all these stories of Jesus associating with "sinners" or "unclean" people, and I keep wondering what would Jesus do if he encountered a gay man.  In John 4, Jesus meets the woman at the well...first of all he talks to her, which was a big no no for a "good" Jewish man.  Talking to a woman would have been bad enough, but a Samaritan woman was worse, and because he later tells that he knows of her adultery it would have been even worse.  But the first thing he tells her is not "you are abhorrent...look at how sinful you are!" The first thing He offers her is Living Water!  He offers Himself, His love, His grace, and the freedom from the sin that she is so entangled in.  He then addresses her sin, he doesn't sweep it to the side but calls her to repentance.  But I think that because she saw in Him that day how much He loved her and how He was different it changed her life...she wanted to change because He spoke to her in a way that no one else did...he didn't care that she was a woman, or a Samaritan, or a sinner...he took the time to offer her Himself first before he ever judged her for her sin.  Then I have thought about the adulterous woman in John she is obviously caught in sin and thrown at Jesus feet, and He doesn't throw a stone.  Instead he sees the hearts of the Pharisees and puts them in their place by saying "He who is without sin can cast the first stone." Then he goes and offers her grace and her life back.  He asks her when all the others have left (Jn. 8:10-11)  Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?' she said, 'No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you: go and from now on sin no more."  He definitely still adresses her sin but after she knows His love for her and the life He can give.  I keep thinking about how mad the Pharisees were that Jesus kept hanging out with those "sinners" and I can honestly say that I don't think that all of those "sinners" would have invited Jesus to their homes or parties if all he did was rant and rave about how "disgusting" and "perverse" their lives were.   When Jesus went to Zacheus's house people were mad because Zacheus was taking their money and being dishonest.  But after spending time with Jesus, he repented and changed his ways.    Jesus continually tell the Pharisees that He came to "seek and save that which was lost" Lk. 19:10 and that "those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick." Lk 5:31  When people genuinely encounter Jesus they walk away changed...they want to change because of his love and grace in their lives.

 I keep thinking of it in terms of marriage...there are things about me that I am sure David would love to being the fact that I lose everything (keys, phone, etc.) on a weekly basis :)  Well lately I have been making an effort to be more responsible of that stuff and change that about myself because I love David and I know it aggravates him at times and I desire to be a better wife.  I do that because David loves me unconditionally and I want to change for him.  If I didn't know David, I wouldn't care about losing my stuff daily and would be making no effort to change that part of my life.  (as all of my past roommates can tell you :)  Same with Jesus...when you truly know Him and His deep love for you, you want to change and live a more holy life.  I don't expect the lost to act as anything but that...lost.  I don't expect them to follow God's laws or have any sense of morality...why would they?  They don't know Jesus.  It is our job as Christians to get to know them, not just knock on their door and say "do you go to church?",  but really genuinely get to know them and show them Jesus and His love.

       I keep thinking about the people that I have met or know that are homosexuals....  Many suffered abuse as children some physical, some emotional, and some sexual.  (Not all, but a good many)  You don't go through something that horrible as a child without it having some impact on your life and the way you view the world.  Knowing that,  I can look at them with compassion because they are "like sheep without a shepherd"....many lost and hurting.  My prayer this week has been that I will see all people as Jesus saw people in desperate need of a Savior.  I pray that I will see them as His creation and love them as such....that I will treat all people with the same love that Christ showed the woman at the well.  I pray that I won't look down on people as the Pharisees did (because at one time in my life I was just as sick and lost as they are!)  It is only by the saving grace of Jesus that I am redeemed!  I pray that Christians will take the time to offer Jesus first, to offer the Living Water and the stone not cast before they come at people's sin all hellfire and brimstone.  My prayer is that the church will not be Pharisees, but will be like Jesus and follow His example of being a Physician for the sick, showing them their only Remedy instead of just focusing on their disease.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Phillip Yancey said "I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what only makes sense in reverse." And I think that his quote is a great one to sum up our year as a family.

At the end of 2010 when we realized that David had lost his job, I think we naively thought that it would only be a few months until we would be serving at another church. We quickly got our house ready, packed up stuff that we didn't think we would need for a while, and put a for sale sign on our house. At the time I was so sad to leave our church and the people that had grown to be my family. As a girl that lives states away from her own home, I had grown to depend on the people in our church and was comfortable there, and I honestly wasn't ready to leave our church or the friends I had made there. I was worried about David being home all the time...I figured all that togetherness would end up driving us all crazy after a while :) I was worried about the girls and ruining this perfect little world that they lived in and loved. This was the only church that they had ever known and had so many people and friends that they loved. And honestly as strong as I thought my faith in God was paled in comparison to how much he has taught me about faith this year about His provision and love for all of His children!

And the months ticked by....and God taught us so much!

This year has been full of change and so many blessings for our family. It was a huge change to have David home all the time, and we also went from being a family of four to a family of five when Micah was born. The girls have each grown up so much in the past year and God has shown us over and over His complete grace, love, and provision for us and our family.

I guess we didn't really realize how LONG it takes for some churches to choose a pastor or how much time goes into that process. David sent out dozens upon dozens of resumes and preached at several churches and still a year later we are waiting, but as much as I want us to have a church and be settled, I wouldn't change a thing about the last year. It turns out that having David at home has been the biggest blessing, far more than I ever realized. That much togetherness did not drive us all crazy as I feared, and I will always look back on this year with such thankfulness of the time that we all got to spend together as a family. And for all the months our house sat on the market, we didn't show it to one person. Looking back I can see how God knew that we would need to be here longer than we imagined, and I know that when the time is right and our house goes back up for sale He will provide a buyer when we need one. The girls have done better than I imagined at each of the churches that we have visited or David has preached at, and God has shown us that He will give them comfort and friends no matter where He sends us. In 2011, I have seen over and over the provision of God in our family's life. There have been so many people that have blessed us financially and I have seen His hand in tangible ways like when Micah was born, I didn't have to buy one single thing. He has whispered over and over to us that He sees our family and has a plan. And over a year later I am still sad that I will have to eventually leave people that I love and have considered family, but I know that God will give us new friends and that we will always be able to keep in touch with the people here that we love. All those months of waiting have grown our faith and made us that much more ready and passionate to minister at another church. I cannot wait to see where God leads us and plants our life in ministry. So with all of that I can truly see how "faith is trusting in advance what only makes sense in reverse".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Micah David Rathbun

Well I figured now that Micah is almost a month old I would get around to writing his birth story and all about how his sisters adore him. Micah's due date was August 29th. Actually all of my children have been due on the 29th....Addison's was April 29th and Kendall's was March 29th. Both of the girls were early, I went into labor with Addison on the 17th, and I was induced with Kendall on the 20th. So I guess I figured Micah would be the same and once I hit 38 weeks I was more than ready to see his sweet face. I was not sleeping well at all, spending most of my nights up until 2 or 3 a.m., and so I did all the walking I could during the daytime to try to get him moving. (which I have to say was pretty miserable in the August heat :) I had an appointment on Aug. 10th and was not dialated at all. On the 17th when I went in I had jumped to 2 1/2 to 3 cm dialated, and I rejoiced thinking that all my walking must really be paying off. I started to think he would be there any day, and every night in my discomfort I secretly wished that I was one of the 15 percent of women who have their water spontaneously break. My doctor, whom I loved, told me she was on call the weekend of the 26th and if he had not arrived before then she would be willing to induce me, but she thought that I would have him before that. I was nervous because out of the 4 doctors that deliver in the practice that I go to, I only like 2 of them, so I was very much hoping that Micah would decide to come on a night that one of them was on call.

The night of the 22nd the girls and I went with David to his softball game and we joked with the other men at church that I would be willing to base run for anyone that wanted a break :) We had a good night as a family and the girls and David went to bed like usual, much earlier than me. I took a warm bath and tried to go to sleep at 1 a.m. on the couch. (my new bedtime location) At 3 a.m. I woke up with a terrible back ache. I tossed and turned until 6 a.m. and then moved to the bed. I tossed some more until 8:30 and was scared that I was having back labor and just didn't know what it felt like, so I called the doctor's office and they told me to go to the hospital to get checked out since I was past 39 weeks. Well, after getting some stuff together, I left by myself fully expecting to be sent back home. I arrived at the hospital at 10 a.m. and they checked me for contractions. I was now almost 4 cm dialated but did not have regular contractions at all. The doctor on call was one of the doctors that I liked and he said that he would break my water if I wanted to have Micah that day. After nine months of waiting, he didn't even have to ask, I was more than ready to meet our little boy.

I called David and he left the girls at his parents house and came to the hospital. I spent most of my labor on an epidural and asleep. Hours went by and at 6 pm I was only 6 c.m. and I started to get nervous that the girls were going to be asleep by the time that Micah came. Addison remembered when Kendall came and how she watched them bathe her and check her heart in the nursery, and they wanted to watch that with Micah. At 8:00 David's mom called and said that they were going to get ready for bed. At 8:30, the nurse came in and checked me and said that I was ready to push, so we quickly called David's parents and told them to bring the girls over to the hospital. The doctor came in, got everything ready, and three pushes and 5 minutes later Micah David was here. He was the smallest of our three babies, weighing 6 lb. 13 oz. (The girls were both just over 7 lbs.) and was 20 1/2 in. long. We immediately loved him so much and were so thrilled that he was part of our family! The girls were sort of shy around him at the hospital and I think a little nervous to see me in the hospital bed, but they have completely adjusted since then and adore their baby brother. They are such great big sisters and we have loved becoming a family of five. Micah is a good baby and loves to be held and cuddled. Addison loves to help me pick out his clothes and take care of him and Kendall loves to hold him and calls him "Buddy". We are just so thankful to God for another sweet blessing to love. Here are a few pictures from Micah David's first days.....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Only Kids Once

About a week ago the girls asked to play outside after dinner and so we got some play clothes on (which for Kendall included a tutu) and headed outdoors. About 3 minutes later it started to rain. For those that do not know my oldest daughter Addison very well...she is a worrier about anything that is out of her thoughts of normal (and staying outside while it is raining is not usually normal). This sudden rain freaked Addison out because she is usually terrified she will get struck by lightning if one drop of rain falls from the sky :) But fortunately there was no lightning in sight and so I thought to myself "why not let them stay outside and play in the rain". I knew it might get a little messy and mean a load of grassy laundry, but how often do you get to run around and play in the rain in your life! I figured I have never seen adults just running around in the rain in their yard screaming and laughing, and I am pretty sure that I never will....although I do think it would be hilarious. As I watched the girls have so much fun getting wet and playing I are only kids once, so you might as well enjoy it! Here are some pictures that I snapped from that night....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Worth Waiting For

Over the past few weeks, God has been reminding me that the best things in life and the things that you cherish the most are worth waiting for....which has made me think about one of my favorite verses in times of waiting, Habakkuk 2:3 "For the vision is for the appointed time, it hastens toward the goal, though it tarries wait for it, it will certainly come, it will not delay."

When I finished college I left having already been a bridesmaid in three weddings and had most of my friends in serious relationships or already engaged. I remember many a night thinking to myself that somehow I had missed "the one" or just feeling like it was unfair that God was asking me to wait while so many of my other friends had already found who they wanted to marry. One year later I walked onto Belmont campus in Nashville to work MFuge for the summer, not realizing that David would be there or that we would fall in love. And suddenly all the heartbreaks of past relationships and all the waiting didn't seem so long after all.
David and I spent the next year driving back and forth from Georgia to Mississippi to see each other...a long seven hour drive. I remember thinking it will be forever until we are in the same state and don't have to do this every other weekend traveling just to spend time together! Ironic how quickly I forgot that waiting is part of the process and in the midst of it God teaches me so much. Instead I just thought it was unfair that other couples got to see each other whenever they felt like it instead of being states away. But again on June 17th, 2006, we got married and I moved to Georgia and suddenly we were together, and I realized that all the waiting was worth it.

Fast forward just two months from our wedding and we find out that we are pregnant with Addison. And as many pregnant women will testify the waiting seems endless. I have realized that I grow especially impatient the last 2 months when it is hard to move around and sleep. I remember being 3 weeks away from my due date and walking up hills everyday of my spring break from teaching just hoping that she would decide to come a little early. But as any parent will tell you, holding your baby for the first time makes the waiting all worth it, and she was.

Fast forward two years and apparently I forgot how long nine months really feels, because there I was pushing Addison in a stroller up hills to try to get Kendall to come early too. None of my own efforts worked, but as I watched Addison become a big sister and realized we were now a family of four, the waiting didn't seem so long and was definitely worth it.

And now there is Micah, and once again I am impatient for him to get here, impatient to see who he will look like and what his personality will be like. I am impatient to see Kendall become a big sister with Addison, and honestly I am a little impatient to be able to get off the couch without David's assistance! But this time around I am reminded that God has all of his days ordained and numbered (Psalm 139:16). So I am trying to be content and know that in the end when I see his face I will know that every day of this pregnancy that I spent sick or uncomfortable is all worth it.

And the past few months have been a huge reminder to me of Habakkuk 2:3. As David searches for a job and as we wait for God to bring us to the right church it has been hard not to grow impatient again. But God has been so sweet to remind us of this verse time and time again during this process..."the vision is for the appointed time"not my time, but His. And just with everything else in mylife I realize that "though it tarries wait for it, it will certainly come, it will not delay". There have been so manythings in life that I wanted to rush or to come on my ownterms in my own time, and I am learning that God's time and way is always the best!
But as I have learned, best doesn't always mean it is easy. There have been many days that it has been hard to wait about this. There are days where I am sure that David is realizing that he would not want to be a stay at home dad forever :) And there are days where we are just anxiousto know what God's plan is. But today I am reminded that itis always worth the wait. Just like it was worth the wait for David and all of my children I am trusting that this will be the same. And so that is what we are doing, waiting on God to lead us to the church He has for us next and trusting that His vision for us will certainly come and will not delay! Thankyou for all of our friends and family that keeps us intheir prayers and we are excited to see what God has planned forour family over the next months.

No Time for Flashcards

I don't know about any of you, but there is a part of me that loves summer and a part of me that dreads it! I love all the stuff that comes with summer...swimming, ice cream cones, Fourth of July, grilling out, and the list could go on and on. But I absolutely dread the long days of being stuck inside with the girls because it is unbearably HOT! For those that have not experienced summer in the south, it is pretty much miserable to be outside from the hours of 10 until 7 every day. So it can be pretty easy to get stir crazy with two little girls that are always very active and looking for stuff to do. And if I don't find some stuff for them to do, I can be certain that Kendall will find some messy mischief for herself! You would think with all their toys they would be occupied but often they are not, and I don't like to just have them spend their summers in front of the T.V.
So here is where I have turned to one of my favorite sites of all time.... It is amazing! It has ideas for outside activities and inside activities, messy and non messy. I can always find an activity that I have all the materials for because there are so many to choose from. I have used many of the letter activities to teach Addison her letters. Here is one example of an activity that we have done....

I hope that this post will help some poor mother out there that is stir crazy and doesn't want to go outside in the 100 degree heat :)