Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Please Forgive Me

When a moment returns to my mind that repeatedly turns my face red, causes me to shake my head at myself and consistently gets me to laugh at its climax... I deem it worthy of being shared. I battled with whether or not to write this story because I didn't want to offend anyone. I feel the need to share it, because.... well, it's funny. I am one that laughs at life and doesn't take things too seriously. So when you read this, look at it from my perspective and laugh with me.

It was Easter Sunday and I was hired to photograph a beautiful little girl's first communion. I was honored, I was excited and a little bit nervous. I had been to Mass before with my grandma, but that was many years ago. I think I was ten. I called my mom beforehand to get the gist of how a first communion ceremony unfolds. She told me about her first communion as a little girl to give me a heads-up. I wanted to be prepared. I love a good challenge but I still like to prepare when I go into a situation completely in the dark.

I was already at a disadvantage before walking in the door. I was scared. Scared of humilitating myself, disgracing the church (in innocence of course) by doing something I shouldn't and getting kicked out of Mass. To someone that doesn't attend Mass this was a very intimidating situation to be in. There can be a lot of pressure when you are expected to know what to do.

I arrived at the church early. I was hoping to get a feel for the service. I was trying to get a feel for things so that I wouldn't seem like such an outsider. The service coordinator told me that I could stand up at the front of the sanctuary during the ceremony and that I was free to take pictures throughout Mass. One restriction, I was to not take pictures as the priest was blessing the elements.

Alright, easy enough... I got it!

I was at the front of the sanctuary were I was told I could stand. All of a sudden, I started to feel very out of place. I was the only one in front other than the priest and he was only about five feet away. I was definitely not feeling comfortable with this placement. As gracefully as I could, I crouched out of view of the congregation and found a more low-profile position on the left-side of the sanctuary. Thank to my amazing 70-200 mm lens we were still in business and the redness in my face had subsided a bit.

Mass continued and I rejoined my clients in the pew reserved for the families who had children receiving their first communion; the front pew.

The first communion ceremony was over and I was done shooting until after Mass. So I put down my camera and decided to participate in the rest of the service. The priest then called up the congregation to take communion.

Great! That sounds nice. I haven't taken communion in awhile. I followed the crowd and got in line.

Now, at this point of the story, most of you understand the contradiction. Most of you are already laughing. I was not supposed to be in line. Anyhow, lets move on.

I'm in line. I'm in the front. Remember my prime, reserved, first-class spot. Hmm, this is very different from how I am used to recieving communion. No problem; I will just observe and mimic those in front of me. I see everyone cupping their hands together, putting them out and then the priest gives them the blessed bread.

Alright, lets do this!

It was my turn. I cupped my hands together, reached out to the priest and waited. He said, "Christ's body." I looked up at the priest, his eyes were fixed on mine. He was just staring at me. Nothing was happening. So I gave a little gesture with my cupped hands. I sort of moved them forward a bit as if to say, "I'm ready, see!" Again nothing was happening. What was I doing wrong? I looked up at his eyes again and I could see that he wanted me to say something. I sort of started to panic. What was I supposed to say? Everyone had been whispering and I couldn't make out what they had said. I probably thought in that moment they were being polite and giving thanks as he placed the bread in their perfectly cupped hands. I obviously didn't feel that saying thank you was the way to go as I remained silent in a terrified frozen state. I should've paid closer attention and read some lips. "What the heck is the word?" I thought. Then I opened my mouth in a moment of desperation and blurted out in a whiny, scratchy, frightened voice, "I don't know what to say?"

He immediately implied, "You're not catholic." I felt my heart beating out of my chest and my face quickly turning a thousand shades of pink. I topped off our lovely public conversation with, "I'm a christian!"

He then placed his hand on my head and said a prayer for me. In front of the long line that was residing behind me, I patiently listened. He sent me on my way and I walked back to my pew, empty handed.

Well that was a surprise.

Let me remind you, I live in a very small town. I might not remember very many faces from that day, but I am sure mine will be remembered. You can be sure there is one priestly face I will always remember. I will always remember those eyes, that prayer and that moment of paralyzing fear. Maybe that is what Catholic's refer to as the fear of God!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Daddy's Little Girl

Every daughter has a father. Every daughter has a different story. Some might look at my story and see it entirely different than the way I see it. Sure, times were tough. There were some definite hard bumps along the way. Some might say my childhood wasn't ideal. But, to me, it was a perfect journey. It was my journey. It was the journey that formed and shaped me. The journey that made me the person I am today. I am so grateful for my path in life and I wouldn't change a single thing.

Thank you Dad for being who you are. Thank you for teaching me how to persevere through the toughest times. Thank you for overcoming and enduring your story... for me.

When I think of some of the sweet memories I have of being my Dad's little girl I think of shoulder rides, dancing together, applying his shaving cream to his face, his whistle that we could hear from anywhere, silky ear lobes that I would rub as I sat on his shoulders, trips to Disneyland, cooking together, gin rummy, the smell of his mustache wax, the smell of his Kuros cologne, long road trips from Oregon to California, eyelash kisses, snuggling in and watching cartoons, flying kites at the beach, fishing, the blue Cadillac, doing math problems, playing chess and knowing above all else that he loved me.

I have his nose, his feet, his stubbornness, his determination, his packing skills, his self-confindence, his work-ethic, his compassion, his soft-mushy heart and his tear ducts. Put both of us in front of an evening movie, while we are reclining, and we will be out in approximately five minutes. There is so much of my Dad in me, and I could not be more proud to be his daughter!

Love you Dad, Happy Father's Day!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Cocktail

A blog post from my better half in honor of Father's Day!

My kids are great sleepers. We don’t have to deal with the fear of smothering one of them in our bed because they just don’t attempt to climb in with us. If there is a bad dream they’ll just sleep on the couch upstairs. Sometimes we won’t even know they’re on the couch until we stumble out of bed to make coffee in the morning. There is a balance to everything and in this case, good sleepers turn into early risers!

We’ve tried to keep the kids in their beds until seven. That used to be the rule but as they have grown older we started to realize our sleep-math was a little outdated. Seven to seven is twelve hours of sleep; roughly equivalent to what I have slept after working 30+ hours straight. The amount of time we expected our children to sleep started to resemble new age torture techniques, not healthy rest. So we stopped demanding so much and we’re still not sure if that was the right move.

I’ve woke up to the sound of breaking dishes, screams of joy and pain, the scary sound of water splashing and the slam of the front door (where could the kids have to go at 6 a.m. on a Saturday). The way we wake up to the kids is always the same but a little bit different (figure that one out!) every morning. It’s like the surprise I feel when I pick up the mail; maybe some cool stuff but always nullified by the bills. Needless to say, waking up at the Wilt home is never dull.

On Saturday I woke up to a familiar sound coming from the pantry. Usually I come out to find Matthew elbows deep in a box of cereal with a considerable amount of it on the floor. This time I was relieved to find my oldest opening a can of pineapple for the rest of the brood. What a proud dad I was; my oldest stepping up to take care of her siblings so mom and dad could sleep in! I gave her a thumbs-up and stumbled back to bed.

Something went terribly wrong as I slept for the next fifteen minutes. When I came out of the room I saw the kitchen and could feel my blood pumping hot up my neck. How could anyone do what these kids did in fifteen minutes time? I didn’t know we had so many dishes until the children removed nearly all of them from the cabinets. I could imagine each kid putting their breakfast on a plate only to decide that the plate they chose was unacceptable. The only remedy is to try a new clean one! The same story with the cups they use for drinking. If the cup didn’t hold the right amount or have the correct artwork on the side, just grab another one!

Like a pot coming to a boil, I slowly began to flip out. I was raising my voice and slamming the plastic cups in the sink. Toys were flying into bins with the force of a trash compactor. A part of me was a little impressed that the kids could accomplish so much in a short time but they were moving in the wrong direction. Then I saw the margarita glass.

We keep a few margarita glasses in the top of our dish cabinets. We put them at the top for a reason. There are actually four little reasons with climbing curiosities. We put the glasses so high that Linsey can’t even reach them. So you can imagine my concern when I saw one of these on our counter. I knew the culprit immediately. I could see the fear in Abigail’s eyes when I glared at her. She was loudly ordered to her room to await further punishment. Out of compassion for the little ones my wife comes out of our room and tries to calm me down. As the cloud of anger dissipates I look closer at the margarita glass.

It turns out that the creative bug bit Abby that morning. There was some minced pineapple in the bottom of the glass looking a little like some of that lint you find in the bottom corner of your jeans. The glass was filled with tap water and you could tell it had been sitting out for a while by the little air bubbles on the inner surface of the glass (maybe I slept more than fifteen minutes). On the rim of the glass was a sliced, canned peach pressed gently to add that appeal every cocktail needs. To top it all off, she added a new twist to a cocktail I had never thought of, a leaf of cilantro atop the peach. Fantastico! I was contemplating Abby’s future as a bartender/drink inventor when I saw the note.

The drink was a special treat for her sleepy parents to enjoy along with their coffee. What a gesture! As I called her up to explain she showed me the can with the picture of what she was trying to create. She got as close as any seven-year-old could get with the ingredients on hand. I couldn’t believe the heart of this little kid! This drink was better than any aftershave an offspring could wrap up for Father’s Day. She did admit it had a horrible smell but I still loved everything about it. I have no shame admitting that I didn’t take one sip of the concoction (it could’ve made me sick!) but this event will be close to my heart forever.

That is what it means to be a father sometimes. You have to be the enforcer and give the kids a healthy example of authority so when they’re in the real world they’ll understand how it all works. But there is also the side of compassion and love that every kid needs to see in Dad. I was fortunate to have both in my dad and I just hope my kids can say the same.

I know every dad has stories like this and we should take time on Father’s Day to remember them. Cheers, to a happy Father’s Day! Remember, you don’t have to drink it!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Love In Simplicity and a Reality Slap

What's the one thing that we as parents desire the most for our children to understand?

Society tells us a college degree, health, beauty, money, success, are the important achievements to be made.

For me, it's summed up in one word. Love.
One of my biggest downfalls as a parent is the guilt that dominates my thoughts. I haven't done enough, I yelled to much today, I haven't spent enough time with them, the last thing I yelled said to them tonight before they went to sleep was, "stop the I love-you-good-nights, that's enough, go to sleep, I have already said it ten times."

The guilt is there and I suppose it always will be in some way, but I love when reality slaps me in the face. The moments that tell me that my kids get it. They understand what it means to love. Better than I do, because they understand it in its simplicity. They teach me and remind me what love looks like.

Mark 10:13-16
Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

It's the small things. The merciful act of giving up the last bite of cake, the sweet, "are you okay," when one of them gets hurt, the loving hug that is given for no reason at all.

On our camping adventure this last weekend, Matty fell. We thought he just bruised his arm, but it turns out it's a bit more than that. I took him to the hospital on Sunday night. He has fluid built up around his little elbow and possibly has a fracture. We go Wednesday to an orthopedic for full x-rays. He has it in a splint and sling for now. I really hope we are not looking at a cast for the summer.

I watched as my children loved, cared for and doted on Matthew. He was milking it for sure with the numerous requests made and his pouty lip in play, but his brother and sisters were happy to do it. They were given an opportunity to love and ran with it.

My heart is so blessed when I see love in action through my children. By God's grace they get it. When I start to feel the guilt build up, God gives me a precious moment and a reality check. I may fail, but He has it covered!

Ephesians 3:17-19
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Before and After Blog Hop: A little boy and his balloon

My little boy turned three this week! He picked out this balloon at the store and it was so fun watching him play with it. He kept it on his wrist all day! 

Here is my before and after



5D Mark II, 50 1.2, 1/8000, f2.5, ISO 250
edited in lightroom and photoshop
edit: crop, small wb fix, ran starlet action by florabella at 44% with some adjustments
added contrast, brightness and bumped up the blacks a little. Tiny bit of clarity and a little vignette.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No More Twos

A lovable, funny, big-hearted, adorable, precious little handful, turned three this week.

Let's look back at the twos.

"Is just for fun." ~Nacho

He was, what you would consider, a classic two!

What does it mean to be two?

There is no possible way, when you're two, you can stand in front of a large pit of foam and wait your turn in line. The desire to jump is just too much.

When you're two and your mom takes you into a candy store during nap-time,

it will always end in tears.

Being two means you like the feeling of smearing toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror.

And when questioned, gives the look of, "who me?"

Then you put on your sweet baby innocent face and totally get away with it.

Being two means major mooching.

Sitting real close to your friend who has a pudding cup.
Where else would you be at that moment, when you're two?

And score!

Being two means looking up to your big brother like he is the greatest thing in your world.

It means building a jumping platform out of boxes and turning into superman. Naked.

Making a delicious snack all by yourself, when you're two, is one proud moment.

It means messy faces, cute faces

charming faces

and lots of grumpy faces.

It means being perfectly content chillin in the snow with your good buddy, with no desire to strap on the skis.

It means showing the big kids how it's done.

We have officially said good-bye to our last phase of "the twos."

Happy Birthday our big three year old!

Opening his present from his brother and sisters.

This guy is very serious about his cake!

His faces are the best. Ever.

We went to the store so he could pick out his cake, and he spotted this balloon.
"I baman baoon, peese, peese. My birday?"
He had it tied around his wrist all day and felt so special.

A boy and his balloon

Happy Birthday my sweet love, you are so precious and the perfect completion to our family!
Love you Birthday boy!

Three is going to be fun!

Remembering some moments of Matt-moo's twos.

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