March 3, 2016
This actually happened; I witnessed a birth of a precious baby boy! It was one of the most breathtaking and glorious experiences I have ever had. Loved every moment with this beautiful family!
March 2, 2016
Finally, I started an Instagram account for Crista Ballard Photography! Feel free to click on the photos below to enter the official account. Thanks for stopping by! :)
October 17, 2015
One slice of wisdom I’ve been handed lately is that I don’t need to figure out who I am. That’s a very broad statement so please let me break it down. There are a lot of self-help books that give us strategies on how to self-reflect and find yourself. I have to admit, since I’ve entered the adult world I’ve been tempted to invest in one myself but that’s where the recent realization comes in:
The harder we try to figure out who we are the more lost we become.
A couple years ago, I started to reflect and breakdown my childhood to try to better understand why I am the way I am. I tried to gather reasons as to why I might have high anxiety in particular areas in my life, or why I’m easily irritable. But this led me to blame others or events for certain traits that I don’t like about myself. I would pinpoint memories and try to use those situations as excuses as to why I am the way I am.
Just today I realized this is pointless. It is pointless because I’m not going to grow if I blame my ugly traits on another person and it’s a huge waste of brain cells. Not to mention time.
We don’t need a self-realization of who we are but Who’s we are.
Back in the Bible times, the apostle Paul went to go witness to the Greeks. During that day, the Greeks were hungry for any word of wisdom they could get their hands on. They wanted to find themselves through gaining wisdom from philosophers like Plato and Socrates. This might be why the Greeks were open to the words of Paul because they strived to learn. But this also might be why Paul prayed these words over them, “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…” (Ephesians 1:17 NKJV). In the knowledge of Him. Paul knew that all of the worldly wisdom the people had wouldn’t lead them to what they craved, he knew they needed to know God.
God calls us to know Him, not to know ourselves, and through that we will learn who we are in Him. And who we are in Him is loved, dearly loved.
It’s not all bad to use the past for clarity in the present, but it’s how you use that information. For instance, I could use the past as a crutch or a boomerang. Will I lean on those excuses and not grow from those realizations or will I use them for momentum to be better.
It’s easy to get into the “self” mindset. I thought that if I knew more about myself then I’d be more confident and sure, but that just led me to crave self-indulgence and short-term happiness. But I can honestly say that I am the most confident, sure, and joy-filled when I’m not thinking about myself. That just bores me thinking about thinking about myself. Yuck.
And isn’t it a relief to know we don’t have to figure out our complex nature? I’m mean, really. I’d rather not leap into that never-ending maze. Thankfully we don’t have to.
August 14, 2015
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." Revelation 3:20
This verse reminds me that Jesus is literally just inviting Himself into our lives...knocking at our hearts and wondering if we will let Him in to free us from the heavy weights the world puts on us. I'm imagining Him coming up to my front door knocking to see if I will invite Him in...what a precious gesture this is to us; Him wanting to be in our lives. We all crave for someone to want to be a part of our lives and care...and Jesus has sent each and everyone of us that invitation. How encouraging that is to me...He came that we may have life to the fullest, not to feel bad about who we are or what we've done. I easily get caught up in that game of feeling guilt for what I do or don't do, but that's not what Jesus wants for me or you. The last part of the verse mentions that He wants to come and eat with us--"...I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." That's a beautiful picture of the sense of community/relationship He wants with us; He wants to sit down and eat and chat with us. Sounds fun, Jesus! Invitation accepted!!
Photography: Live Mode
Since photography has become a part of my daily life I've learned so much about beauty. Not the kind of beauty that sets standards too high, or fake unrealistic expectations, but genuine beauty that shines through that lens. I believe genuine beauty is shown through smiles and bright eyes, and through those unique characteristics that each of us have. The camera gives me a chance to capture the beauty in people that they don't always see in themselves. The camera gives me a chance to let time stand still for a moment to catch a glimpse of pure joy, comfort, and love. A moment when my clients don't have to think about deadlines and the rush of life, but can relax for a moment and trust that their true beauty is being captured.
When I set my settings, one of my first steps is to put my camera on live mode. This mode allows me to see what lighting and colors the camera "sees" at that moment. Then I can adjust those settings to portray more of what I see with my naked eye. When I take a photo, my goal is to capture that moment just like I see it. What I see with the naked eye; those brilliant colors and textures that are already there, are what I strive to capture. Amazing cameras, lenses, and editing programs can't beat what nature already has to offer. If anything, those materials are just trying their hardest to capture reality as best it can. That's something I want my clients to believe when they receive their photos back--that the camera didn't change who they are; they're brilliantly beautiful on their own.
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things."
In addition to my blog post below, Steven and I did not end up buying a goat (thankfully). Although, we've taken another leap of faith (or should I say, leap of insanity)...we've gotten a puppy.
We've thrown around the idea to get a pup the past few months, but nothing serious. And we've checked the Humane Society site on-and-off, but we hadn't for at least a month. On Tuesday we randomly checked the site and saw that they had a batch of lab puppies for sale, but they weren't available until the next morning at 11AM for purchase. One of the faces that caught my eye was a girl named Hermione--it stated that she was loyal and liked to snuggle; she sounded like the perfect pup of choice!
Steven wasn't too fond of the idea of a puppy, just yet...but I tried my best to convince him it was a great investment; we could enjoy nature through daily walks, petting a dog can lower blood pressure, and I would help out as much as possible!!
The next day while I was at school, I noticed it was past 11AM---did Steven decide to go get the puppy, or not? I wasn't sure, but during a break I quickly checked the Humane Society site and under Hermione's sweet little picture it stated, "Adopted." This could mean I missed Mother's Day by just one day, or someone else had beat us to the chase.
Since then, Hermione has been welcomed into our home with open arms and we renamed her Lucy. She has pooed in her kennel once, chewed on the corners of our furniture, and kept us up for hours in the night. Is it worth it? Most definitely.
Steven said that there were five people in line that morning at the kennel...and thankfully we are the lucky two that get to spend the rest of her doggy life with. Lucy means, "Light," and that's exactly what she is to our little family.
Recently, my husband and I have a new member in our family.
Little did I know the new member of our family would have wings, a beak, and a goblet :). Yes, we have a chicken now...and not only one, but six of them!
The story of how we got these chickens starts off simple, but it's amazing how it all happened.
This plan all started when Steven and I watched a documentary about mistreated meat-producing chickens. Through this documentary we learned that we had been buying eggs and chicken meat from companies that didn't seem to care about the quality but only quantity. Chickens were not living in healthy conditions and were being pumped full of steroids and antibiotics. The meat producing chickens were growing from chick-state to adulthood so rapidly, due to constantly being over-fed, that they developed too quickly for their bodies that they didn't have the muscle and bone strength to stand.
So we started to buy cage-free, non-steroid, non-antibiotic eggs but they usually cost around four dollars a dozen.
The other option you have is to raise chickens on your own, but this process can be costly. You can buy chicks for around two dollars a piece, or full-grown chickens for eight to ten dollars (or find them free online), and build a coop with scrap wood (but that seems like way too much work). You can buy fifty pounds of chicken feed for fifteen dollars, which lasts around a month. To get this all started could cost around three hundred dollars, depending.
But Steven and I only spent only forty-five dollars.
We had been talking about getting this chicken idea started, but three hundred dollars seemed steep for all the work it could be. Also, we could just buy organic eggs.
Steven's friend had been raising chickens for the past couple of years out in the country, but left to go teach English in Spain. Steven contacted him to ask for advice on where we should buy our chickens, etc. His friend said that we could have his chickens for free. Wow, now all we needed was a coop.
That's when Steven noticed the house behind us had just been sold to a different family and they had a chicken coop in the backyard that wasn't being used. He casually asked them one day if we could have it, and they graciously gave it to us in exchange for only a dozen eggs...I still can't believe how this all went down.
So we currently have a free coop in our backyard, six free chickens, and the only thing we had to get was a five gallon water suspensor for thirty dollars, and the feed for fifteen dollars.
We've had the chickens for one full day and we already have six eggs!
These occurrences seem so random, but I truly believe it all was a complete gift from God...
This morning Steven said, "I'm thinking we should get a goat." --haha