my pool of bethesda

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I am crazy for this blog of mine! It has evolved into a series of open letters to my powerful girls. This space will forever be for my heart, and all are welcome.

Today’s letter is addressed to both of my babies.

AnnieKate!

While you were sleeping I had a powerful experience reading a story in John, and I could hardly wait to share.

One day Jesus found himself beside the pool of Bethesda. Many congregated here because they believed it possessed healing qualities — when the water bubbled, whoever was first in the pool was healed!

Jesus addressed a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years! I imagine the man spent much of his time watching everyone else be healed. Jesus asked him, “Wilt thou be made whole?”

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The man, not recognizing the Savior, answered, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”

Lights seemed to turn on in my head and their short conversation struck me! This interaction became a lesson on Introspection, Trust, No More Excuses, and always, Faith in Christ.

The man told himself: “I would be made whole, but I can’t.” In other words: I can't walk. I move slowly. Everyone beats me. I've already tried it and when I try I fail. I have made multiple attempts and they did not work.”

Without hesitation Christ says, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”

The man packed up his bed and walked away! But was he free of every problem every day after?! Nope! Was he "whole" right away?! Nope!

But he could walk!

My lesson from the pool of Bethesda was: no excuses; keep a steady closeness to the Savior, no matter how weak, unfit or unable I feel. He will do the rest.

Girls, in your attempts to “dream big and after you’ve done that dream bigger,” will you kick perfectionism and quick results to the curb?!

In seeking Him who makes you whole, your first miracle might be “getting your legs back.” But others will follow! You may witness one at a time, but over the course of your life - miracle by miracle - He will enlighten your mind and soften your heart, helping you become exactly who you were born to be. And He will do it because He loves you, because He is perfect.

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Sometimes our invitations to “be made whole,” come via another’s voice, and they can be hard to recognize. Your mind might play tricks on you and say, "Well, actually there's this thing I have...it’s hard...and that thing...then this other thing happens...and no one is helping me.... But, yes! When I clear this all up then I will come and ‘be made whole!’"

If you will instead say,

"Yes, I’ll choose faith to be made whole. I will take the smallest possible step toward healing. And when I try and it doesn't seem to work I'm going to try again! And no matter how many times I fall I will not stay there! I know the Savior’s way fills me with happiness that spans the eternities, so I'm going to keep trying so He can mold me into exactly who I want to become,"

you will never be wrong.

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It does not matter how many detours you take, how many times you slip up or fall down,

it is in your turning toward Him, again and again and again, that He makes you whole.

That is saving grace.

One word of caution: beware the differences between shame and guilt! Guilt feels like: I made a mistake but when I say “I’m sorry” I am filled with confidence, unity, happiness — I am healed. Shame feels like: I am bad. I have made too many mistakes, there is no going back. I am not worthy of love, blessings or forgiveness.

Shame lies. And shame never comes from God.

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For now you live in an imperfect world and you will lose your footing. When that happens, hear Christ at the Pool of Bethesda saying to you, “Annie/Kate, Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” He is always helping you, one miracle at a time, even when you don’t see them right away — Bethesda does mean house of mercy or house of grace after all.

Never give up on yourself, your faith, your God. He knows exactly how you feel, all of the time, and He will pick you up as many times as you need.

I love you with all of me.

He loves you always.

Mama

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If someone comes to your mind as you read these posts please feel free to share them. I would love for anyone who needs this to find it.

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SEATTLE: I’m coming back in June when the babies are born!!

UTAH: I’ll be there in May.

This is where you book your very own snuggle sesh/hang out/photoshoot!

Click here to ask any questions in the world (though I may only have answers for .00000001% of them ;)), or to share your thoughts with me. I listen better than I talk and I would love to hear your heart!

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(Side note on this Sister Pic my dreams are made of: my girls have been wearing their hand-me-downs for years!!)

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xo, Christina

Portra 400

Ilford Delta 3200

Pentax 645nii

Canon 1V

The sun

A family who says yes to it all, smiling the whole time

Goodman Film Lab

slice of orange heaven

so many feelings

not clear words

lots of pictures

I never know how much to say or not say. But once again, I’m just gonna go for it:

This was a recent response to an email I wrote to a friend (we don’t live near one another and rarely see each other. I recently spent a brief moment with her after 6 years. This was my take away after we tearfully shared difficulty, heartache, and success in all of 20 minutes):

“This observation shook me while driving away from our discussion: I see my own imperfections and those of my family members, and sometimes I think we are living a lesser version of ourselves because of them, but when I see you and your family I am shocked at how all I see (and saw) is how beautifully each of you is living life. I would never even think of, or care, what anyone’s faults might be because all I saw is how everyone is just THEIR OWN BEAUTIFUL SELF. 

I can’t even describe my feelings or thoughts well, except I came home wanting to extend so much more mercy and grace towards myself, and each of us, because I more clearly see beauty in the chaos, growth from imperfection. I see how our efforts…work! Tyler and I were both in tears the night I came home and I told him about each of your babies, and you, and [your husband], and our time together. My mind is flooded with, “How can I ever judge or criticize myself?” In our time together I saw so clearly how beautiful life is even with the messy parts.

[You were right - we just] keep trying. And most of all keep giving thanks for a Savior who creates beauty from my measly efforts. 

I am learning to abide: abide the chaos, abide the Savior’s embrace, abide in the scriptures. (“Abide” is my new favorite word... [Our favorite teacher] mentioned that on [that sacred ]Sunday morning the apostles were at the tomb, as well as Mary, but when the Savior was not inside they left! She chose to abide and [the resurrected Savior] appeared to her. [The teacher] said, “Abide longer in your scriptures, in the temple. When you receive revelation ask, “Is there any more?”) Recently I have chosen to abide [and felt a flood of answers and love and confidence]. I abide in family, even when it’s uncomfortable or I don’t know what to say or do, in study even when I’m tired, in worship when I feel angry or frustrated.

It’s what I see you do and I see how powerful it is and I want that, too. 

You are so wonderful I can’t even say it enough. 

Maybe none of this makes sense in word but it feels precious and important to me, and I want to remember it…

I love you!

Christina”


Little Things

While our family was in town last week we spent an evening watching “The Office.” Pam said, “No big reason. Just a lot of little reasons.” That’s how I feel about life currently - in love with it for the little reasons. I secretly hope I have acquired the peaceful, mindful attitude of a 60 year old woman: life is good and beautiful and happy and peaceful and don’t fill it up with too much extra stuff and family is the most important thing and hug and kiss and tickle and squeeze your people a million times every day.

Also,

One afternoon I was randomly reading a section of John Gottman’s book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” The part I read talked about how marriages have the greatest success when the couples focus on what they are doing well - what brought us together? That stuck with me because I have been thinking about people - I am trying to train my brain to focus on what is going right - what I do well. I believe when we spend too much time focusing on what we need to improve we get sucked into a hole that doesn’t feed our mind, body, or spirit. I just wonder what would happen if I paid more attention to recognizing and celebrating my strengths, I’m practicing it anyway! And then maybe I’ll use them to help my partner, family, neighbors, etc. That’s a big deal to me.

I’m in the process of writing all of the strengths of each member of my family and posting it somewhere. I want the constant reminder of our gifts - our talents - front and center. I wonder if it will help me be more “other focused” instead of “self focused.” I just am interested in seeing where it leads us…

Lastly,

I want to blog once a week. This is the start of it. I take gazillions of pictures. Everything on film always. I want to share my pictures, creations, art, thoughts without much reservation. I’m going to worry less, think less, and send more stuff out into the universe solely because it brings me joy.

Seattle, Bay Area, Utah, My mind is reeling! I’m starting to not be able to sleep at night ‘cause your pictures keep me up. The flutter in my stomach tells me it’s going to be oh, so good. I’m thinking about you, planning for you, and am so, so proud of you for laying down your fears and doubts and insecurities to say YES to preserving these unmatchable and completely irreplaceable days.

Muy buenas noches,

Christina

First Roll of Film

Portra 400 how I love you.

I know why people convert to film and never look back, and I wish I could move this instant. All the creaminess, rich colors, depth of color - I see it! My dream is to shoot 100% film - hopefully it doesn't take long to realize. While these images are kinda weird (due to my having to learn how to work the camera!) I wouldn't change a thing about them. 

All but four photos are completely unprocessed, and the ones that are are only slightly cropped.

This camera is something Tyler found online for free, but is in great condition. It is a Konica Minolta 7000. It was the first auto-focus camera ever made, and was born in 1985. The vignetting in the photos is from the camera. And yes, after every shot I looked at the back of the camera in hopes of being able to adjust my settings so as not to under/overexpose my shots...

I usually mix up my photos in the gallery so similar photos are not next to each other, but in this case I am leaving them in order because this is the exact order in which I took the shots, and my progression through changing random settings through the roll of film is significant to me.

If anyone wants some crazy film shots let me know! I'll give you a steep discount...