Monday, September 28, 2009

Behold Ruth.

I want to dedicate this blog to my very good friend, Ruth. I could say a lot about this gal...but I'll stick to the main reason for posting this. I just finished editing some pregnancy photos I took of her recently and so I've been staring at her face for hours it seems. And I'm not tired of it! I gotta say, 8 out of 10 photos turned out great because she is so dang beautiful. I don't know if it's the glow of new motherhood or that gorgeous red hair. I hardly had to do a thing in Photoshop to improve these. In fact I decided to play it up a little and be more extreme with the colors and lighting. Otherwise I would have been bored trying to find ways to make these shots look better.

The crazy thing is that my camera is nothing spectacular (although I love it like a pet). It's an Olympus SP-550 UZ and it takes two seconds for the poor thing to focus and snap the shot. But since I am a slow, patient photographer as it is, I don't always mind this (unless I'm trying to take pictures of an almost-2-year-old in low lighting...).

Okay, I'm done with the technicalities. I want to show you some Ruth.

To see more photos and other versions of these go here.

I had more fun that day than I've had in awhile. I loved spending the entire day with Layne and Ruth. Their home is so comfortable and relaxing and we always enjoy just being around them. Since Shane and I are still sort of new to Spokane and not very extroverted, we don't have many friends in the area. But Layne and Ruth are by far our closest friends here. Because of them we had a place to stay before we found a home in Spokane. We found a great church to call home and made even more friends. We don't feel so alone in a "big city" full of strangers and acquaintances. We've cried together, rolled in laughter together and sat in content boredom together. It's a forever kind of friendship I'd say.

To top this great Saturday off, they invited us to stay for a dinner they were making for a Bhutanese family. Layne and Ruth volunteer for Global Neighborhood which is a non-profit that helps refugee families settle safely and comfortably in Spokane. There are a lot of refugees in the area from Bhutan, and this family in particular spent 15 years in Nepal in a refugee camp. We had such a great time getting to know them. Their kids were great entertainment for Oliver (or vice versa) and the food was so good I had big seconds (thanks Ruth!). Shane and I long to immerse ourselves in other cultures. The only way I have experienced this is with people who have immigrated from other countries. But Shane has been overseas several times and is formally educated on relating/understanding other cultures. I love to see him so in his element and long to enjoy more of the world with him. The good news is that in less than two weeks we will be traveling to Indonesia to visit Amanda, Shane's sister! My first trip overseas. I am so, so excited and can't wait to take pictures of that colorful culture!

Well, I got sidetracked a little. But I just want to say one last thing. Ruth, thank you for welcoming Shane, Oliver and I into your life. You are a treasure on this earth to more than just us. I cannot wait for your little boy to finally make an appearance. I want to cuddle with him like you did with Oliver in our cozy little cabin in Idaho. So many memories ahead!

Okay, one more!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Little Oli.


I like how the tops of your ears slightly stick out. Like mine.
I like how your eyes look amazing when you wear blue.
I can't help but give in when you take my hand and drag me to wherever you want to play.
All I want to do is make you happy and I fight the urge when I know the best thing for you only brings disappointment.
Every little tear of yours pulls me apart inside.
Every giggle makes me feel like a queen and reassures me we're doing okay.
Somehow you hold my entire vault of emotions in the palm of your small hand.
You make me feel completely strong and able, yet completely vulnerable and incapable.
I anticipate and fear your future.
I yearn for your affection, but want more than anything for you to share it with others.
I love the mystery and the contradiction life reveals as I learn to be your mother.

originally posted by .hello foto

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

uGm. A New Mark.

Sometimes I write blogs but never post them because I'm not sure I want the world to know exactly what I'm going through. It helps to write out feelings and thoughts and then put them away until later when you can look back on the circumstance and be thankful it passed and life has moved on. Well, I just received a phone call that reminded me of an old blog I never posted. I'll share the entry first and then the good news I just received.

May 12, 2009

I suppose there’s somewhat of a frustration gurgling inside me. I’m brainstorming constantly. I keep waking up in the night with crappy logo ideas and then mentally kicking myself before falling asleep again. I just bought and read through Jeff Fisher’s book Identity Crisis and I learned a lot. But I found a few of the redesigned identities featured to be boring and unoriginal. So, shouldn’t I be able to come up with something not boring and unoriginal if I’m able to identify the ones that are?? But I can’t! All my pages of sketches and hours of creative brainstorming have left me feeling like I’m not very creative and I’m cheesy and boring. So maybe I should just create something that’s expected. Why does it have to be way amazing and completely new and exciting anyway?? Maybe I set a standard for myself that’s too high. A standard I am incapable of meeting.

And the fact that my boss wants to see my progress and be in on what’s going on in my head makes me nervous and frustrated as ever. Because if I were to show him my sketchbook right now or even try to explain my ideas I don’t think I could explain them at all. In fact…I don’t think I even have any ideas! My thoughts are not organized enough to even begin to lay them out for someone. So the whole organization has put their trust in me to create a visual identity. And if you think of how huge of a responsibility that is…particularly for a place that is doing such an amazing work in their community, then maybe you can imagine how heavy my shoulders feel right now.

Ok…simultaneously I am completely aware that God is in this and He is ultimately the One we are putting trust in for our identity. He is the one who gives me creativity, so it is not myself and my own mind I should be leaning on. So, I know this…and I know he has called me to this place and has His hand on me. But how do I keep working and sketching and moving forward with the creative crap I keep producing??? I can design a flyer, a poster, a brochure, a newsletter. But a logo is sooo completely different and encompasses a lot more than just one area or focus of the organization. How can you put everything about UGM into one small mark? I’ve done so much research and so much reading, interviewing, thinking, thinking, thinking. And I’m just waiting for that amazing revelation? Is that ridiculous or what? Persevere.

Back to present time

Well, I did persevere...and I came up with a brand new logo and identity for Union Gospel Mission Spokane. I had that "revelation" in church actually...right after I asked the church to pray for this process I was going through. I doodled on the bulletin because it was impossible to turn off my brainstorming process at that point. It was too easy. But brilliant. And the more I stared at it the more it made sense. The more it told the bigger story of UGM. Well, I've come a long way in a few short months and it has been frustrating to get this logo out there and we're trying to apply this new look to every little detail on the small donation-based income of UGM.

Well, the good news that I received happend to be that a generous investor is donating a large sum specifically toward UGM's rebranding process. Praise God, He is so faithful. We don't have to settle now for the cheapest quality of everything. We're going to put our new look out there and show our best face. Spokane will not be able to ignore the work we do for the poor and homeless.

Lord, make this logo shine. Thank You for always doing great things here and letting me be a part of it all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shane just called me and told me his mom was coming over tonight to stay...maybe for a couple days? I said okay cool, thanks for telling me, I'm busy, gotta go. Then as I hurried to my next task I realized I felt very light-hearted and my mood was instantly better than 2 minutes prior. I was momentarily confused until I realized that I was genuinely excited to see my mother-in-law. WOW, that's a cool realization actually seeing that a lot of women have relationship struggles with their mother-in-law. I'm not saying it's any easy relationship to build for me. But I am SO thankful that I can look forward to seeing her and I don't stress about the way my house looks or how I should act or what food I should have in the fridge. And as I write this I realize how similarly I am thankful for the peace and rest I have with my parents (see my previous post). But it is definitely unexpected to have that with Shane's mother, Karen.

Things I love about Karen:

She is uninhibited about her love for horses and spends HOURS looking at them online.
She fights for what she believes, but allows room for others to speak their hearts.
She almost always insists on buying ice cream or cake or brownies when she visits.
She loves to stock our fridge even when she's as financially tight as we are.
Um, she bought us plane tickets to Indonesia. Not a tiny thing.
She respects our rules and guidelines for raising Oliver.
She completely desires more than anything for her kids to experience life to the fullest and will sacrifice all in order that they do.
Whatever it is....she takes it like a man.

I could go on about this. But I'm just happy that I get to see her today and watch her enjoy Oliver...because I know that's her main reason for visiting and she'll want some special time with him. And since I'm leaving tomorrow for a 2 day Staff Retreat with my work (my first night away from Oliver I believe!) then I'm sure she'll have plenty of special time.

Love ya Mom #2!