Thursday, February 24, 2011


I've always enjoyed taking photos. In my jr. high youth group I'd document every mission trip, retreat, etc. I'd dress my bears up, stage a tea party and take numerous photos of my stationary subjects. The images in my mind never matched the prints I'd get back. FIlm was expensive for a kid and developing film also was! Plus, it always seemed to take forever to get back my prints!

Back then, I had whatever point and shoot my parents would buy me and surprisingly I got pretty good shots out of it. Then after I was engaged, David encouraged me to buy a "real" camera: an entry level SLR. It was a Pentax, manual focus, pretty much maual everything! It didn't even rewind; I had to do that by hand crank as well. I fell instantly in love with it, shooting everything: flowers, streams, grass, sailboats, and of course my favorite subject was David, which worked rather well because he's always enjoyed photos of his action sports. I got pretty adept at surfing photos, rock climbing photos, and windsurfing. When Conor was about a year old I bought my first automatic SLR: on that had autofocus and auto rewind. I thought I needed autofocus to catch my now walking child. (But it turned out I was so good at focusing I could rival the autofocus camera!)

Basically, I've been in possession of either a SLR (film) or a DSLR (digital) for nearly 20 years. I've taken a smattering of classes, including a darkroom class that is now obsolete, but mostly I've learned through reading and doing. And it's been wonderful.

One thing I've resisted: photo editing. Though I've had access to Photoshop for the past 16 years, I've never bothered to learn it. In some ways, I considered it cheating but the reality is: there's just too many options! Do I want vibrant color or muted? Do I want it true-to-life or completely over the top and artificial? Do I really want to remove all imperfections from people or leave it as it is, which has sort of beauty on its own. There's so many choices in digital editing; how does one know when to stop "improving" it and how does one know that it is an improvement? It seems all a matter of very subjective taste.

But lately I've been forced to revisit Adobe products while volunteering. The church bulletin is done in Photoshop and I was so scared of it, but luckily the stuff I need to do to change things are minimal so it has been fine so far. Then last week I was asked to very quickly (in two days) come up with some type of brochure/flyer. I really hadn't a clue what I was doing, but through a lot of trial and error (and a very kind husband) I was able to design a cute little trifold. Of course, when I printed it the skin colors were totally off, but I was happy.

This week I was supposed to "spice up" a half page insert. And I did. But I got the impression that it wasn't quite what was expected. It was for Prayer and Care and the only photo I could find was one I took of a child's hands holding yellow flowers. But I decided I'd try again. So I did, only I reverted to a tri-fold again... because it's pretty much all I know how to do so far! Still, it was much harder than the last one; I changed the colors in the template to better reflect my church and had to rearrange quite a bit. It no longer looks like the template at all!

Not sure if it will be more liked than my first attempt; I know a tri-fold wasn't what was requested of me, but I have to say I enjoyed it. I had no idea how much fun Illustrator, Photoshop and inDesign can be. Funny how it's taken me so long to embrace all this!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wormwood the printer

I volunteer in a church several times a week. There's much I love about it; there's a few things I dislike too. But the biggest problem so far has been Wormwood. Wormwood, or WW, is the office printer and I've named him WW because he is not exactly of the devil, but a junior "tempter"..... he tempts me to think bad things (I never say bad words but lately I've been thinking them!), tempts me be impatient, tempts me to be angry..... need I go on?

I know our joy is contingent on nothing (or supposed to be) but sometimes I wonder; WW has quite a hold on my emotions. I do't know anything about printers, and this one is so inconsistent that I have no control at all. I have finally figured out every crevice it can hide paper when it has a paper jam, yet sometimes there is a mysterious "jam" when there isn't! It hates certain types of cardstock one day but the next day all is forgiven and it accepts it heartily without protest.

Then there's the issue of print color. This is what bothers me the most, as I created it. No one will know I had WW trouble and the printer is possessed and enjoys tormenting me; no. That's not a valid excuse. So instead of printing in the cool, cutting edge brown that is supposed to be one of our new logo "trademark" colors, it prints in streaky, baby poo brown (not formula fed). Yet, every once in a while will print perfectly a few times just to baffle me and cause me to think it's not running low on any ink color; it's just tempting me to be frustrated and angry and hate humanity. Now, I'm tempted to throw away all the inferior ones, but that's about 80% (if not more) of the batch and there's no guarantee when I reprint it will improve at all!

I'm told it's no big thing, no one else seems to care that much, but I care; I created it! Plus it's an extension of my church, a first impression. I want it perfect. And there's nothing I can do to make it perfect. It is completely out of my control and I HATE IT and I know there are others that will hate it too, one being the head pastor but he's away and perhaps will never know, but even if he doesn't, I know it and bugs me!

There's supposed to be a Prayer Summit on Monday. I wonder how people would respond if I asked for prayer for Wormwood. Maybe we could lay hands on the printer. Or maybe someone else would like to print the bulletins because seriously it is driving me crazy.

I'd love to hear your suggestions on resisting Wormwood's attacks. You'd think that church printer would be much more well behaved. I could be worse; it could be Screwtape. At least with WW I think that I will prevail his clumsy attempts. (though I admit they seem to be working at the moment)

I hate printers. Oh, and the other printer, the big poster size one? I think I'll name it Screwtape. I have a feeling I won't win that battle......

Sequin Bible

I have a girl. A very girly-girl. Before I even took this Bible out of the box my young daughter was excited. First, it's pink, sparkly and has little sequined appliques of hearts and flowers on the cover with the words "Holy Bible." Inside, the pages are a good consistency and the translation is the International Children's Version, a good, easy to read translation that is good for young kids, though not my favorite version.

In the back of the Bible is a dictionary, an index of "Where Do I Find it?" that contains where to find favorite Bible stories, and a section of Bible Verses that young kids can memorize.

The text is pretty small, but my daughter is so thrilled by the pinkness and shiny cover that all she wants to do is carry this Bible around and try to read it! It's adorable, and I know that the other kids in her Sunday School class are also going to love it. It is paperback but has a rather sturdy feel to it due to the cover.

My daughter loves this Bible and because of that, I have to say that I love it too. It's a simple thing that just because it is cute and pink she wants to read it, but I like that she's so interested in a Bible. This is not a "study Bible", but that's fine. She's not ready for a Study Bible and when she is, I won't be looking for one in this translation.

She adores this Bible, and even the box it came in and for that, I'm grateful to have received this and look forward to her exploring more and more of God's word.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Same Old Thing

[Senior devil Screwtape to junior devil Wormwood]: The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call “Christianity And.” You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing."

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's My Party

There's been a lot of back and forth going on in my house lately. David thinks we must "do" something for my upcoming birthday, because it happens to be my 40th. The only problem is I haven't a clue what I want!

There is a part of me that does want a party with a lot of people, but I know from experience that I'm not usually comfortable in a situation like that. David said we could go away for the weekend but that's not what I want either, as I know I'll be generally disappointed by the myriad of "Happy Birthdays" on facebook but no other effort by even my closer friends. So by having a party, I won't face that disappointment: But do I want a party?

I don't like having others come to my home.... I always feel like the inadequate hostess, so David recommended going to a restaurant, but...... I'm questioning that as well, as I don't think I'd like a large group type of party at a restaurant: Would I really enjoy them all? Or just the four sitting adjacent to me?

Plus, on top of all that...... I don't like the attention to be all on me.

So, I have no idea what I want and a pretty frustrated husband who is trying to make me happy when I haven't a clue what would make me happy, but I know I'll be sad if I have nothing.

I make no sense.

God Gave Us The World - Book Thoughts

God Gave Us The World by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a delightful children's book. The illustrations, as well as the story, are cute and endearing. My little girl so enjoyed Little Cub and the story of how he learns about others around the world, their uniqueness and God's wonderful creativity and love for the world.

In short, this is a wonderful addition to a child's library and I think the adult reading it will be charmed as well and reminded of the wonderful gifts God bestows by creating us different and how much he loves us to have provided in the wonderful way he has.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Gathered Church

My vision of the gathered church that had come to me after I became the janitor had been
replaced by a vision of the gathered community. What I saw now was the
community imperfect and irresolute but held together by the frayed and always
fraying, incomplete and yet ever-holding bonds of the various sorts of affection.
There had maybe never been anybody who had not been loved by somebody, who had
been loved by somebody else, and so on and on…. It was a community always
disappointed in itself, disappointing its members, always trying to contain its
divisions and gentle its meanness, always failing and yet always preserving a
sort of will toward goodwill. I knew that, in the midst of all the ignorance
and error, this was a membership; it was the membership of Port William and of
no other place on earth. My vision gathered the community as it never has been
and never will be gathered in this world of time, for the community must always
be marred by members who are indifferent to it or against it, who are
nonetheless its members and maybe nonetheless essential to it. And yet I saw
then all as some how perfected, beyond time, by one another’s love, compassion,
and forgiveness, as it is said we may be perfected by grace. -- Wendell Berry

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today I realized how competitive I can be, and not in a good way. I don't know why I do this, but there's a part of me that loves to share and wants others involved.... and then once they are involved and love what I love, I no longer feel it is "mine" and that others are going to excel at the things I love more than I do and I'll be nothing again.

Silly, I know, but it leaves me feeling empty, and wishing things were different, wishing I wasn't so competitive.