April 2, 2014

Yay Spring!

I love springtime in Colorado! Even though snow is still likely (actually, I'm 76.8% sure it's snowing right now...we're supposed to get 3ish inches tonight), the temperatures are warmer and the opportunities to get outside are abundant! I love that you can hang around lower elevations and find dry trails and 70 degrees or you can go up in the mountains and find lots of snow to play in. So many options!
We took some friends snowshoeing for the first time last weekend and we had an amazing time! A quick hour drive and we were in the most perfect place to tromp around in the snow. We battled some hurricane force winds up there, but it was worth it! Our 7 mile hike came to an end and we dragged our tired butts into a local brewery and revived ourselves with burgers and beer. Perfect Colorado day!

 We've had just a little bit of snow this year 

 David is pretty much obsessed with mountain biking. He has been since I met him, nothing has changed. If anything, he's even more obsessed now. After buying a fancy new bike last week to replace his old bike that he's ridden so hard the wheels are practically falling off, we've spend a lot of time on the trails lately! We had about 10 days of beeeeeautiful weather, so we took every opportunity we had to head outside and spend some time on the trails near our house! 

I tried mountain biking once and it ended very poorly. I hobbled off the trail with approximately 1,318 cactus prickers in my leg after I fell. Since then, I've been a little hesitant to try it again. But I do like to hike while he's riding. It gives me time to clear my head, pray, listen to music and enjoy the outdoors. Even though I'm not by his side the entire time, it's nice knowing we're only a mile or two apart. That way, if one of us runs out of water *cough*cough*David*cough* then the other more well prepared spouse *ahem* can come to their aid on the trail. :)
 The fact that these places are a 15 minute drive from our house...ridiculous. We're so lucky! 

He's loves his new bike so much, it's the cutest thing ever. 

Happy Spring Friends!

March 22, 2014

Reclaiming Joy

I've been thinking a lot lately about our next steps. Or maybe I've been thinking about the fact that we don't have any next steps.

Any time I see someone who I haven't talked to in a few months, the questions come..."what are you guys doing? Like for real, what's the plan? Are you going to adopt? Are you still trying? Are you not trying? Can you honestly try for a family for so long and then just give up? Oh my gosh, are you secretly doing IVF and not telling anyone?"

Even if the questions aren't fully verbalized, they're there. I can see them in their eyes. The words are just below the surface.

And I typically dodge the questions. Because I don't have any answers. My only answer has been this: we're only moving when God tells us to move. And not a second sooner than that. And we're only pursuing a direction that God leads us to. We're not going to rush into something without being fully convicted of his prompting first. And so far, God hasn't given us any clues as to what or when our next steps will be. And I'm getting the impression that He doesn't have plans to tell us any time soon. And to be honest, we're perfectly fine with that.

Sometimes it's not a smart move to race forward without appreciating where you are. Sometimes it's not wise to jump into something before your heart has fully healed. Sometimes, you need to give yourself a little time and grace to just stop, breathe and revel in the place that you're in.

I feel like God has us in this place right now where we are reclaiming our joy. Not that we haven't been happy people for the last 4 years, we absolutely have. But infertility was sort of this big wet blanket on our life. It refocused our thoughts, it dictated our schedules, it took all our money, it dominated so much of our life. And it feels like we just took off the big wet blanket and we're drying off in the sunshine right now.

It feels so good to just enjoy life again.

And so no. We're not talking about what our next moves are. We have no next moves. And we are ok with that! I'm 100% happy with just enjoying life right now, without worrying about what's next.

What's next is we're going snowshoeing tomorrow. And we're going to have a nice dinner with our family tonight and I'll probably have a glass of wine. What's next is I'll probably be updating my Pinterest board with a few new recipes this afternoon. What's next is we're looking forward to sunshine and hiking in the 70 degree weather we've had here lately (well, not today. It's snowing today. But I hear it's going to be nice again soon!). What's next is enjoying Spring Break where I can get caught up on my reading for class a little it (how is it that I'm only auditing one class and I'm still behind on my reading?!). That's what is next for us.

Sometimes when you're in the process of reclaiming your joy, you just focus on what's in front of you. You take hold of the place where you are at, regardless of circumstances, and you celebrate. You don't look ahead, you don't look behind you. You just love where you are.

March 15, 2014

Stepping Stones

I am still processing the truths revealed to me during the IF: Gathering last month. God laid so many convictions on my heart that weekend, it's taken me weeks to sift through it all! One of the things that stuck out to me was the analogy that discerning our calling in life is often like a stepping stone path across a river. God leads us from one stepping stone to the next as He reveals His will for our life. After a while, we can look behind us and see a path that has emerged.
Sometimes we land on a stone for a day or two before moving to the next. And sometimes we land on a stone for a year or two (or five in my case haha!) when it comes to seeking and fulfilling our calling. Each stone, each lesson and stage in life has something to offer. No matter how long we are there, God uses that place to teach us, grow us and speak to us about what He desires from us. 

Thankfully, the Lord has been really patient with my heart over the years as He has lead me through this path. I love how He hasn't pushed me or rushed me to move faster than my heart can handle. He has allowed me to take the time I need to explore, shake off fear, learn more about myself, change and grow. 

I've landed on many stepping stones in my life, but I haven't moved much in the last few years. Until recently. I think one of my first recent steps was the decision to go back to grad school. The next stone was actually doing it (it's easy to say you're going to do something and then conveniently "forget" or get distracted along the way isn't it?). To be honest, I've been a little worried about what the next stepping stone would be. 

My fear was that God was going to put me back into a little square room with 2 chairs and 50 minutes on the clock. My fear was that He was going to point me in the direction of becoming counselor again. That He was going to lead me right back to the place that I left 5 years ago. But after much prayer and seeking Him I feel certain now that He is not asking me to go back down that road (hallelujah!). 

"Sometimes God shows you who you are NOT before He shows you who you ARE."- Christine Caine 

I am so not a counselor. And I doubt I ever will be. At least in the "traditional" counseling sense. I've felt such clear conviction on my heart recently that God knows I am not cut out to be a counselor and He is not going to force me to become something or someone that I am not. And what a weight I feel lifted off my shoulders as I begin to feel God assure me of that truth! I finally feel free to shake off the burden of feeling like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Now I get to dream and explore other avenues that God might be calling me to. I get to stop worrying that He's going to ask me to be something that I'm not. Oh sweet relief!

I feel like I'm one stepping stone closer to crossing this river in front of me. Actually, maybe I'm 3 steps closer. I feel like I've been given permission to shed my presupposition that I have to go back to the traditional sense of counseling in order to fulfill my calling. The release of that expectation I placed on myself has freed me up to explore any and all possibilities that might be awaiting me. 

I'm also learning to embrace the fact that just because private practice counseling has been scratched off the list of possibilities doesn't mean that other forms of helping people are off the table as well. Life coaching, victim advocacy, spiritual coaching, crisis counseling, non-profit work, prison ministry, social work and about 2 dozen other things...all still very much on the table.  

In fact, last week I was offered a position as a spiritual coach/mentor within a Christian ministry focused on helping people break free from the bondage of diets, food addiction, weight and over eating. I feel very called to be a part of this ministry and so I graciously said yes and accepted the position I'd be lying if I was I wasn't a little terrified out of my mind anxious. Afterall, coaching/mentoring is just a few steps away from counseling. But I'm trusting that if God has called me into this, He will also equip me for success in it. Yay for another stepping stone of progress!

March 7, 2014

This & That

  • First and foremost....new blog design!!!!!!!!! I'm so in love with this one! I told Jenn that I wanted something that reflected where we are at in life right now...peaceful, happy, calm, not drowning in an ocean of problems and crisis. And without fail, my dear friend delivered! I love absolutely everything, from the color scheme to the fonts. I love it all! Thanks Jenn!! PS-if you're in need of a blog refresh, Jenn is the best. Make sure to get in touch with her!
  • We had a wonderful trip to Steamboat Springs this past weekend! We decided to forego the season passes to the big resorts this year in favor of more spontaneous trips to other ski resorts, like Steamboat. Due to David's work schedule, travel, holidays and Montezuma's Revenge, we really haven't had too many chances to actually act on our agreement. But we finally booked a super last minute trip to Steamboat and enjoyed a little time away last weekend. We stayed in a beautiful resort near the slopes and enjoyed 10 inches of powder, hot chocolate, jacuzzis, pizza, walking in the falling snow, sleeping in and skiing until our legs almost fell off (for real, we skied haaaaaaard).

Apres ski can go from near death to wonderful and relaxing with just a beer or two :)

  • I'm slooooowly redecorating our family room. We said goodbye to a ginormous sectional couch that had been with us for almost the entire duration of our relationship and got a new couch! To go along with that came pillows, a rug, new pictures and throws. We're still on the hunt for accents chairs and a new coffee table. But I'm happy with the progress so far!

  • My Birchbox is going to get me into big trouble. As in, I want to buy everything that has been coming in my box lately. And of course those things are all ridiculously expensive and if I bought them all, I'd easily drop $500 on beauty products. Maybe not the wisest investment. But still, I'm obsessing over all these goodies lately! Particularly Beauty Protector Shampoo &Conditioner, Whish lotion (pomegranate scent is to. die. for.), Pop Aqua Lacquer, Algenist everything (maybe the best anti-aging line I've ever gotten my hands on. This stuff is the real deal) and Supergoop CC cream. Gah! I want it all!
  • Our Zion trip is starting to really come together! May can't come soon enough! We just got word that our names were drawn for The Subway hike, which is a hike we really wanted to do while there. It's highly coveted and they only allow 80 people per day to do it, so we are excited that we got picked! Woooop! It looks absolutely amazing, we have been on pins and needles waiting to see if we got selected. Essentially, it's a hike that goes through a canyon where there is no trail. The river is the trail! You hike upstream through the river and pick your own path. The route often requires swimming and wading throughout the 9 miles that wind up through this canyon (eek!). Ummm, yes! That sounds so awesome, we can't wait! I've read it's hard, but very much worth the effort.

February 20, 2014

Mexico City

I write this post, curled up in bed next to David watching the USA lose to Canada in women's hockey. It's a Thursday at 1:45 in the afternoon. You must be asking yourself, "what in the world are they doing in bed on a Thursday at 1:45 in the afternoon?" Recovering from Montezuma's Revenge is what we're doing. We've been sidelined. It's not pretty. I'll leave it at that. :)

Aside from the unfortunate havoc Mexico City has wreaked upon our stomachs, we had the most delightful trip to Mexico!!! We decided it was high time to go down and visit Caitlin and Victor considering we hadn't been down there since their amazing wedding.

We were only there for a few days, so our trip was quite a whirlwind. It was 72 hours of tacos, millions of people, mandarin ice cream, baby snuggles, long walks, bright colors, street performers, open air markets, delicious baked goods, Oaxacan cheese, strong coffee, deep conversations and not enough sleep.

 One of the highlights of our trip was seeing the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. They do tours to the top of the bell towers where you can look down and see Zocalo, which is the second largest square in the world behind Red Square in Russia. We went just as the sun was setting, the lighting was absolutely gorgeous!
They were having some sort of military rally in Zocalo, there were SO many people!
 They have Coke stores in Mexico where all they sell are various Coke products. Pretty cool!
 It's customary in Mexico City to have sweet bread/cookies/cakes and hot chocolate in the evening. I was a HUGE fan of this tradition. We went to a local bakery and got to pick out whatever our hearts desired :)
 Oh Cora. Sweet sweet baby Cora. She's Caitlin and Vic's daughter and a fellow red head. She is maybe the happiest, sweetest, calmest and most adorable baby I have ever seen. She laughs all the time, smiles all the time and is just happy to just look around and take in all the sights. David and I are head over heels for this little peach. I was just as sad to say goodbye to her as I was to Caitlin and Vic. She is a light and a blessing. I'm so lucky to have this sweet little girl in my life!
I was surprised by a lot of things in Mexico City. I was surprised by how developed it was, how modern it felt and all the historical and cultural treasures to be found. I was surprised to see Walmart, Costco and Olive Garden. I was surprised at all the ridiculously nice cars people drove and that all these millions of people could live so peacefully together without going crazy (that's the introvert in me talking who freaks out when I'm around more than 20 people haha!). And I couldn't get over the mountains. The elevation is just over 7,000 feet, which is higher than where I live in CO! The mountains surround the entire area, it's so beautiful (even with the pollution haha!).

We are definitely going to be going back, although next time we might be a bit more discriminating in what we eat and drink so as to avoid the current unfortunate state we are in haha! :)

February 11, 2014

Badge of Honor

God revealed so many things to me this weekend through IF: Gathering, it's taken a lot of time to sort through all of it! God revealed wave after wave of truth to me through some pretty amazing women. Almost immediately, I could feel the Holy Spirit stirring in my heart, speaking truth, convicting, imparting insight and challenging my way of thinking in a very real and raw way.

After hearing Christine Caine speak, I heard a pretty clear word from God, "Lose the badge of honor, Beck. Time to move on, girl."

What badge of honor might I be talking about? Oh you know, just my victim mentality. My victim mentality that I carry around with me, day after day. A victim mentality that has stemmed out various things in life that haven't exactly been easy. Things that have allowed me to continually say, "See! Do you see?? Life has been hard."

You might not know that I do that (because most of this has simply been an internal thing that I speak over myself). But I do that. Which is actually kind of hilarious because the victim mentality is my absolute least favorite mindset in other people. It's not becoming. It's not inviting. It's not something that I admire when I see it in others. And yet, it's been alive and well inside me for years (the whole plank and splinter thing I suppose). I wear my identity as a victim on my sleeve like a badge of honor. It's like a big giant V on my right shoulder that I have displayed for the whole world to see. I use my past difficult experiences as a trump card.

Yuck. I'm not loving admitting that. But it's hard to move forward without shaking off the things that hold you back.

I think there is a big difference between being a victim of something and embracing a victim's mindset. We all go through hard things. And I think there are absolutely times when it is 100% fine to be sad about your circumstances or events in your life. And to even embrace your sorrow and grief and heartache. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It brings healing. But embracing a victim mentality means you let that feeling of being a victim settle in your heart....even when those difficult circumstances have subsided. And you maybe even use it to your advantage to get sympathy or to manipulate circumstances or other's emotions.

Embracing the identity of a victim distorted my view of my identity in Christ. I am a victor, not a victim. I am set free, redeemed from bad things that have happened. I have been healed, restored and my life has since been set upon a path of joy and abundant life. How dare I act as if I have not been changed. And so, just like that, I felt myself change and shed a mindset that I had been clinging to for far too long. I ripped that badge of honor off and let it fall away.

I always have been and always am grateful for the life I have. My joy is true joy. I love my life wholeheartedly and I am thankful for every little piece of it. But even in that joy, I have allowed unnecessary little slivers of "woe as me" thinking to creep in. And it's absolutely ridiculous and time to rid myself of that for good. Infertility, my past, my experience in trying to becoming a counselor, my family history...they don't get to hold me back anymore.

Time to shake that off and start really embracing the life I have, the blessings I've been given, the lessons I've learned, the growth in my character and this beautiful path I've been set on. God has so richly blessed my life in so many different ways. And releasing that old way of thinking is bringing me into a place where I can run freely in my identity in Christ. Where I can run freely in this beautiful life I'm so lucky to have.

February 8, 2014

IF: Gathering

When my friend Jenn asked me if I wanted to go to Austin, TX with her to attend a rad women's conference called the IF: Gathering, I said "sure!" I mean, who doesn't love a good road trip with friends to the great state of Texas? I love Tex-Mex, road trips, margaritas and Jesus. So clearly my answer was yes. 

What I didn't expect was for the conference to sell out in minutes. 1,200 tickets sold in the blink of an eye. Shortly after, the conference leaders announced that they were encouraging "IF: Local" groups to gather in living rooms, churches and movie theaters around the country (and world) for the women who didn't get a ticket but still wanted to LiveSteam the event. Upon hearing this, I had two thoughts: 1) Daaaaang, that must be a good conference to sell out so fast. 2) Shoot. That means Jenn is going to talk me into planning an IF: Local group with her. Ha! Sorry Jenn, just being real ;) 

We started planning in October. Almost immediately I felt this question hovering over my head "what in the heck is the IF: Gathering?" And to be perfectly honest, I was still asking myself that question just 48 hours ago! IF: Gathering. It felt vague yet intriguing, confusing but interesting....and just so perfectly hazy that I couldn't help but want to be a part of it. 

We planned for months without actually knowing what we were really planning for. Is this a conference that we'll be streaming? Will there be speakers? Topics? Worship? Are there lunch breaks? Coffee breaks? Potty breaks? How much should we charge to covering catering? How do we get the word out? Uhhhh...what exactly is it that we're planning again?

All we had to go on was there were a handful of women of faith that we knew of and respected (Christine Caine, Jen Hatmaker, Angie Smith, Ann Vosskamp etc) who had a burden on their heart to gather women across the world and to answer the question: If God is real....then what? How do we gather, equip and unleash a women to live out the calling God has placed on them?

That was literally all we had to go on. So beautifully vague. 

As the weeks went on, the details trickled in slowly. We walked in faith, trusting that God would help us with the logistics, murky as they were. With a week left to go before the Gathering, we had pretty much every plan flipped upside down....we had to change our venue, our catering, the cost, the number of expected women who were coming. But, God is bigger than little logistical details.

Friday came. We still had no idea what to expect. The start time came. We still had no idea what to expect. The women were filling up our living room and we still had no idea what to expect. We just sat there with arms open, hopes high and hearts surrendered to however God wanted to move in this time. 

Boy did He move!

We had the most incredible weekend. We heard amazing teaching, worshipped together, took 2+ hour dinner breaks, learned things, spoke truth over each other, met new friends, embraced old friends and grew together. We engaged in real, honest conversations about fears, convictions, our calling, our hopes, our families and our Lord. And it wasn't just the 15 of us gathered in a living room in Colorado. There were literally hundreds of gatherings just like ours all across the United Sates (and in a few other countries too!). All together, there was something crazy like 25,000 women who were a part of IF. That's just a little bit crazy. Just a little.

Personally, I walked away with some crystal clear truths that I felt the Holy Spirit lay on my heart, which I'll probably post about later this week since it would turn this post into a legitimate novel haha! But truly, it was a beautiful weekend and I'm so thankful to have been a part of IF: Gathering!

 "Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"- Hebrews 12:1-2 (MSG)

February 5, 2014

This & That

  • First thing's first. No birth control for this girl. We talked about it, I prayed about it and I just can't do it. I kinda want to, for the sake of getting my body under control a little bit. But I just can't.
  • So I know that I'm a professional photographer and all, so you would expect that I would have some pretty stellar way of keeping track of, organizing, printing and displaying all the pictures we take each year. But you would be wrong. Up until now anyway :) I fiiiinally got a system down for organizing all our pictures and creating albums for each year. It took a lot of time and effort, but I did it! We now have an album of images for each year we've been married. It was really fun digging back through all our old pictures and picking out our favorites to include!
  • We've had lots of snow here in CO lately. Just one snow storm after another, and I personally love it. LOVE it. It could snow every single day, all winter long and I'd be a happy camper. It's so peaceful and quiet......*sigh* I would love snow even more if there were no people involved in snow storms. People make snow storms complicated and stressful. People slide off the roads, people get in car accidents, people fire up their snow blowers at 6:30 am, people run to the grocery store and buy all the food as if they might die of starvation if they don't buy that 6th bag of Cheetos. People make snow storms kind of annoying. :) This picture was taken the day before the storms started. We took a little 6 mile hike in one of our favorite areas and enjoyed some 50 degree weather.
And this was a few days later :)
  • Today was my first day back to school! Eeeeek! As I drove for 2 hours through snow and rush hour traffic, I came up with more than enough excuses to turn around and drive home. But I stayed the course, I made it to campus, I prayed against fear and doubt that had been creeping in my heart and I stepped into class. I found a seat, nervously looked around, took a sip of coffee and opened my notebook. As our professor opened up class in prayer, I almost burst into tears. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude.... for second chances, for the gift of education, for the ability to attend class for the sake of learning and personal growth, for the chance to redeem my first experience in grad school. During our 3 hour lecture, I had the distinct impression that my heart was being healed. Right there, in the classroom. I could feel the rough edges being smoothed, the holes being filled. I devoured every word my professor spoke, I soaked up every powerpoint slide, every question he answered, every commentary he made. It was such a different experience from the first time I took this class. Radically different. Praise Jesus!
  • The Broncos lost the Super Bowl. I'm sad. Let's move on, shall we?
  • I spent the better part of 8 hours on Friday dealing with image theft, copyright violation, DMCA, Cease&Desist letters and the eventual takedown of another "photographer" who decided it would be a good idea to steal my photos and post them on her website and FB page, pretending it was her work. Let's just say she picked the wrong photographer to steal from ;) After multiple attempts to contact her and demand she remove my photos from her website, she eventually called me on the phone to scream at me and accuse me of attempting to ruin her business. She accused me of slander and harassment and all sorts of other stuff. It got a little ugly. By pure coincidence, a few other photographers found out she had stolen their photos too. Before long, the whole situation had blown up on social media and within 12 hours, this girl had received over 300 emails from my fellow comrades demanding she remove the photos and shut her entire business down. And as I write this, my photos have been removed, she has issued an apology and her site has been shut down. Man, I love being a part of such an amazing community of photographers who are willing to fight for each other. There is a lawsuit pending against her, started by a few of the other photographers who she stole from. I don't think I'll be getting in the middle of that. I have a low tolerance for drama ;)
  • IF Gathering is this week! Woot! Our gathering is smaller than we were originally planning, but I think it's for the best. It's going to allow for lots of time to really dig in, connect, fellowship and learn together. And, there's going to be Panera and an endless supply of coffee, count me in! :)

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Hi friends, my name is Becky and this is my journey through running a photography business, being a loving wife, 4+ years infertility, traveling and adventuring with my dear husband, following hard after Jesus and seeking out joy in every area of my life. I'm glad you're here!



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