Saturday, December 27, 2014

An Amish Photoshoot

Back in November I was taking a walk in our little Amish community and spotted these little munchkins playing in a nearby cornfield. As I had my camera with me, I asked if they would pose for a few shots...

Okay, okay...I'm not serious. =) Actually my father wanted some pictures of Amish people to use for wall displays at our Amish-themed hotel, and since typically Amish people don't like having their picture taken, the obvious option was to take several of my family members and dress them up Amish for a shoot. =) Hudson + Rebecca were the chosen two. We took these pictures on the last nice day of fall, in November. I was so thankful we did them then, because the very next day it snowed and has been cold ever since! #seizethemoment

There are lots of Amish in our community, and we are related to half of them + know the rest, so coming up with some genuine Amish outfits wasn't hard at all. And I must say, I think my siblings can pull off the Amish look pretty well!

Speaking of borrowing the outfits, there is a hilarious story behind that! If you care to hear, read on...

So back several months ago, my mom had borrowed clothes from an Amish friend of ours, for my siblings to wear for a themed event, and also for this shoot. When it was time for the shoot, I realized that I had everything that I needed except the broadfall Amish boys pants for Hudson. For the other event he had just worn regular black dress pants, but I wanted this shoot to be GENUINE so I wanted to have the real deal for him this time. =) 

Mom had told me which Amish lady she had borrowed the clothes from. I think I was in the middle of something when she told me, and not totally paying attention. But she had told me how this Amish family was selling the clothes in a new little store they had just set up and right away I "knew" exactly who she was talking about---some Amish friends of ours who own a little store/rummage sale next to their house. I was sure I heard her say the name "lda" but it didn't really matter since I knew exactly who she was talking about. So I sort of tuned out and didn't think anymore about it...until it was time to return the extra clothes + get broad fall pants. Then off I trekked to our Amish friend, Ida's house. 

Unfortunately Ida wasn't home, but her children were. I explained to them that my mom had borrowed some clothes from their mom a while back, and that now I was back needing a pair of pants. They didn't know anything about it but I didn't think anything of that because I knew that my mom had talked to their mom. One of the daughters said they didn't have any little boys amish pants to sell or rent, which I did think was kind of weird because my mom had told me that their little store was full of Amish children's clothes. But they said I could borrow a pair that one of their brothers had outgrown, so I was all set and didn't think anymore about it. I told them I would go ahead and return the extra clothes (that some of my other siblings had used for the other event) and then bring back the rest when we were finished. They weren't sure of the price for renting the other clothes, which was also kind of strange, since my mom had told me that they sell/rent clothes out all the time, and even though they were happy to let me borrow the pants, it didn't seem like this whole thing was a typical occurrence. So I gave them my number, and told them to have their mom call me when she got home, to tell me the amount, and then I would send a check in the mail.

I went home with the remaining clothes that we needed and we did the shoot! Yay for beautiful weather, awesome Amish outfits, and unimpressed, uncooperative, but nonetheless, photogenic siblings! =) #keepingitreal

That evening I saw that I had missed a call. I listened to the voicemail and was super confused. It was the mom of the family I had borrowed the clothes from, and SHE sounded pretty confused. She said her children had told her that I stopped by, but that she was quite sure there was a mistake, since the clothes that I had returned were not theirs. She said we had never borrowed any from them. Furthermore, she said that the dresses & covering I had returned looked like some from Ila's (another Amish friend of ours) girls. 

Now I was MAJORLY confused. What was going on? 

I came out to the kitchen and explained the whole thing to mom, telling her that Ida had called and said that she (my mom) hadn't ever borrowed the clothes from them + that the clothes I had returned weren't theirs. What was going on?? At this my mother burst out laughing. I wasn't really seeing the joke although I had figured out by now that I had obviously made a mistake. She finally quit laughing long enough to ask me why in the WORLD I had taken the clothes to Ida?! I told her it was because she had told me that Ida was who she had borrowed them from. Amidst laughter she managed to inform me that she had borrowed the clothes from ILA, not IDA.

Whaaat?! Ila? How had I managed to miss that?

Well. Thank-goodness for gracious Amish friends + a sense of humor! All involved got a good laugh out of the situation, and all turned out well. 

Pictures were taken + canvas's ordered, the respective persons had their clothes returned, and yours truly felt quite humbled + made a mental note to LISTEN a little better next time information is being given. =)

Moving on....{smile}
Here are a few of my favorites from that day!

Favorites, anyone? And don't you agree that they pull of the look so well?

-Chels

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Recent Lessons in Faith + Grace

{note: I wrote this post the middle of last week, two days before the LACP. It seems hard to believe that this was just a week ago. In the busyness of everything I didn't get it finished + stuck it in my drafts folder to be retrieved at a later date. Namely, today. =) Even though in a way it is past + irrelevant, still I thought I would go ahead + share it, as a little testimony of what God can do when we yield to Him + His plans.}

And I have a lovely picture here for y'all today! (haha, NOT)

This is what you have for lunch when its the day before the first LACP showing + you are wanting to break your record of being sick every year over the play + you woke up this morning with a sore throat, a cold, and extreme fatigue.

Ah, the joys.

So there's my big bowl of vegetable soup (with plenty of onions/garlic/chicken broth), oversized mug of peppermint tea, and dinner roll. The dinner roll is added for yumminess, since, sadly, I don't believe it has any healing properties worth mentioning. (unbleached flour healing? Nah.)

It is Christmas Play season here right now. (for those of you who haven't followed very long and don't know what this is, it is a huge, $30,000 drama that my church puts on every Christmas. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of, but there is also an unbelievable amount of work + energy that goes into making it all happen)

 And just to be 100% honest, it has been a tough past two weeks. The play this year is so dynamic in how its been written + how the gospel is weaved throughout EVERYTHING and as a result of that, the spiritual warfare has just been unbelievable. I was talking to a friend from church the other day about the amount of bizarre and crazy things that have happened just in the past week, and all of a sudden it just hit me: "This stuff is so abnormal that really the only way to explain it is that it really IS totally spiritual warfare. "

All that said. It has been ALOT. I have had my patience tested and tried in ways that I never dreamed possible. I have lost my temper so many times I'm embarrassed to even try to count. It has been a refining time for sure. I've failed and failed and failed. People that I normally love so much (and still love so much!) have just rubbed me the wrong way. There were more areas of leadership for me this year but along with leadership comes still being under other people's authority and I'm realizing again just how good that really is for me since I don't do very well with it. And working with a team of people that are just as opinionated + determined as one's self definitely makes for many moments when you just have to extend grace and hope that others will extend grace to you too! (easier said than done though) There were comments made, and things said, and decisions made, and plans changed. There were things that were going perfectly + smoothly and suddenly there were changes made and I found myself nearly frantic with how it felt like I was just losing control of everything I had worked so hard for.

Two Sundays ago my pastor preached a message on grace. I can't remember the exact title but what I do know is that it spoke to my heart. It was the perfect message for that time in my life. He talked about how God gives grace + forgiveness to us, and we need to be willing to extend that same forgiveness + grace to people who are part of a trial or difficulty in our lives.
At the time I remember thinking "I need to remember this for the craziness next week."
Haha-I had not a clue what was coming! I've been involved with the play for three years now + this was the first year I have ever experienced conflict + issues like this year. It's been almost uncanny how many things seemed to fall apart, and go wrong, and just how many stressful situations came up! One night just a few nights ago, I came home from rehearsal thinking, "If one more thing goes wrong, this whole play is just going to go up in smoke!"

One of our deacons preached the message last night (our church service was combined with the last rehearsal) and he talked about how this play can produce faith in all of us, if we let it. He talked about people who do things you don't appreciate. He talked about misunderstandings. About spiritual warfare. And about LETTING GO + LETTING GOD use it all to increase our faith and make us more like Him.

Wow, I am so thankful for men of God who are willing to preach His Word. Both times I felt myself feeling very small in my pew, feeling like God had this message just hand-picked + prepared for me. I so needed those reminders, both for this season of preparing and then also for the upcoming play this weekend. If I can just get my eyes off myself + what I am comfortable with, and keep focused on JESUS and remembering that He sees the bigger picture!

{Here's a little "teaser" shot of me and my "LACP Mother". =) More to come shortly!
It is strange to look back now and think that all this was going on just several weeks ago. To think that now it is all history + a thing of the past. The rewards live on, though. God moved in amazing ways-just amazing! The way He blesses the faithfulness + obedience of His children never ceases to awe me. He is so good. It was so incredibly worth it. I would do it all again. Can't wait to post about it all soon.}


"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end, Amen."
Ephesians 3:20+21

-Chels