Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teacher vs. Teether


So, this school year is in full swing and I've been blessed enough to have a new job at a preschool. I love this job and the little kiddos I work with so much! I could go into work on any given day and no matter what mood I'm in, those little carefree kids always make me forget my problems and for just 4 hours I can focus and devote my time to them without a worry about my own life.

Not only do these little ones make me forget my problems, but they teach me probably more than I teach them. Randomly, bear in mind during this blog that the kids I work with are between 1 years old right up until they turn 2.

There is this little girl named Leyla in my class. She is so advanced. She probably about 16 months old, but she speaks in pretty good sentences, really does have a grasp on what's going on around her, is conscious of her classmates and so on. Well, because Leyla is so advanced I have higher expectations for her.

Most of the kids in the class cry for what seems to be no reason and most of the time, if it seems to be no reason then they usually just want my attention. Leyla doesn't really ever do that and a couple of days ago we were getting ready to go outside and Leyla started crying for seemingly no reason.

I got pretty frustrated with her, admittingly more than I should have. I asked her what was wrong and she just kept saying "Teacher, teacher." and I would tell her, "I'm right here Leyla, what can I help you with?" and she would just continue with "Teacher, teacher." So I told her if she didn't stop crying then she could stay on the baby side while the rest of her friends went outside.

She tried to stop crying so I took her outside hoping it would help take her mind off of whatever was wrong but even outside she kept crying. But this time I noticed she had her finger in her mouth. 

And then it hit me like a pile of bricks.

I got down to Leyla's level and I said, "Leyla, I'm so sorry, you were saying 'teether' not 'teacher,' huh?" 

And that sad little baby girl in so much pain looked up at me with her big, lovely, tear-flooded brown eyes and just shook her head up and down. I hugged her and told her I was so sorry for getting mad at her and not helping her and she hugged me back. I ran in to get her a teether and she was her happy little Leyla-self all over again! 

But the more I thought about it the worst I felt. I was going to punish this poor little girl for nothing. She was in pain and I was literally going to add insult to injury and it just smote my heart. I personally always have high expectations for everyone I meet, especially when I know the people can perform well and they don't. So my expectations trumped my naturally nurturing personality and made this little girl feel bad for something she couldn't control and was naturally reacting to. 

It was such a great reminder to me that I need to have an ounce more patience with everyone in my life and realize people won't always perform the way I want. I shouldn't be so hasty in anything because no one in life deserves to have someone do to them what I did to Leyla. 

This verse helped me a lot when I was thinking about all of this: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How To Prepare for Bible College

Coming to church as a bus kid and going to public school, I was always extremely excited to go to Bible College. I seriously thought it would be the coolest thing to go to school where everyone believed the same thing as you. My senior year of high school I tried my hardest to prepare in every way I possibly could to be ready for the 4-year long road that lie ahead of me. I look back and I think, overall, I did a pretty acceptable job of being prepared. 

If there were some areas I could encourage some ladies (and men if any read this) to prepare for Bible college it would be these: spiritually, socially, and academically.

  • Be prayed up
    • One thing I always made sure to pray for was good roommates. Your roommates are going to have the power to make or break your walk with God. Pray that God gives you the most perfect roommate for you- that she (he) would sharpen, love, rebuke, care, and pray for you as well. "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;" - Colossians 1:9
    • Pray for preparation. There is going to be so much you haven't experienced yet in life (especially if you come from a more sheltering home) and Bible College is going to be this realm of freedom you've never felt. It's vital to be prepared for the spiritual attacks that Satan is going to be throwing at you- they will be often and hard. "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand." - Ephesians 6:13
  • Be read up
    • I hate to admit it, but from personal experience, if you don't have a walk with God before you get to college, it will be ever more difficult to develop on when you get here. It is almost inevitable that you will replace personal Bible reading time with chapel and studying for Bible classes. But you have to distinguish the difference between the two- or trust me, God will come and slap you in the face so hard that there won't be anything left for you to do but go to Him. "But He answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." -Matthew 4:4
  • Be humble
    • I know that graduating from high school is a very exciting thing, and you feel as though you can conquer the world now, but I say this in the nicest way when I say please don't go to college with that attitude. Come with a lowly, humbled spirit ready to learn, grow, and be submissive. There will be some upperclassmen that may be rude and demean you because you're a freshman, but just mark those people and stay away from them. And realize that if you don't like an upperclassmen being rude for being an upperclassmen, then others probably won't like you coming with a prideful spirit since you haven't even touched the hem of college yet. Just come humble and observant and God will direct your path. "But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." -James 4:6

  • Observe people
    • When I first came to Bible College I had the misconception that everyone was here for the same reason I was, learn and grow in my Christian walk, become closer to God, serve in ministries, and figure out God's will for my life (and maybe find a husband along the way if I got lucky :P ). But that isn't always the case. I really, really hope this isn't discouraging, but there are wolves among the sheep and there are some people who don't care for the same spiritual things you may. It's EXTREMELY EXTREMELY important your first year to observe people, don't make close friends right away, don't date too quickly, and pay attention to every red flag (it's a red flag for a reason, don't ignore your conscious). But realize, that if there are wolves among the sheep then there are other sheep around, you just have to be prayed up and prudent enough to find them. Always ask for God's guidance in your friendships. "A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on and are punished." - Proverbs 22:3

  • You don't know everything
    • This one personally hits home for me so hard. It was a lesson I will never forget God teaching me. When I was in high school I was an outstanding student, higher than a 4.0 GPA, all honors classes, the whole 9 yards. I received an offer my senior year of high school to go to any CSU or UC of my choice, full ride. (I didn't take it because I knew GSBC was where God wanted me). But because of that offer I thought that I was God's gift to the academic world. I wasn't. And He taught me to stay teachable. I failed so many classes my freshman year because I literally thought "I don't have to work hard, I know so much of this already." You may have a diploma that tells you that you learned a lot but there is still a long academic road ahead of you and you will be learning for the rest of your life. "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom." - Proverbs 11:2

I know there is a huge span of other things I could've covered like don't binge on fatty foods because mom and dad aren't there, don't go too crazy buying school supplies especially if you have a computer, and don't forget your flip flops for the shower, but I just wanted to spell out some things I felt were important that I've learned. Oh, and don't forget your own laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, and stapler. Those little things at home that you always took for granted that would always be there. Yeah, they're not there anymore.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How To Treat Your Photographer

I have been blessed enough to be dabbling in photography for about 3 years or so now (which is no time at all, I understand that). And through that I have had people that have encouraged me, discouraged me, and some who have followed in my footsteps. Firstly, I want to say thank you to those who have encouraged, taught, and invested in me and my passion. I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for the kind professionals that invested in helping me. Secondly, I would like to say thank you to those who discouraged me. You showed me that if there is something I truly love, I should pursue it regardless of what others think. And lastly, to those who I have influenced to practice photography (or who have been influenced by someone else to dabble in photography as well) I hope that this post will give you a few heads-up on what to look forward to.

Now, I want to start this by saying it is not a personal bash at all on anyone who I have worked for in the past. This is strictly thoughts and experiences I've either gone through or witnessed and I feel some people may need a refresher course on courtesy if they're going to hire a photographer in the future. I have been so privileged to work for some of the kindest clientele that anyone could ask for. I have been given free food, lodging, transportation, etc. It has been more than I could ever ask for. But with that... I have had some people that I've worked for (or almost worked for) that have been....sub-par, to put it kindly. 

I was discussing with a photographer friend of mine some pet-peeves we have about people who want us to photograph for them, and I've decided to share some of those with you all. So please, take this highly into consideration when thinking about hiring a photographer (this is just a VERY short list too).

  • Complaining about prices
    • I'm putting this first because honestly, it is the one that bothers me the most. When someone is looking to book with me, I will always send them a list of my prices before they confirm anything. The majority of people have been very understanding about my rates and even thankful for how ridiculously inexpensive they are. But there are others who do have a problem with what I charge. I do try to see it from my client's perspective, and I feel that I, as well as other photographers, deserve the same respect... see it from our perspective. Most people look at the prices and think, "Wow, you're getting paid $1,000 to work for maybe 8 hours at my wedding?!" If that were the case then we would be making $125/hr. But that's not the case. (Keep in mind that $1,000 is pretty cheap for a wedding photographer). 
    • For $1,000 I will make up a scenario for you to understand the gravity of our prices. Let's assume I get $1,000 for the wedding. All of this is going to be for me personally. The location is Los Angeles, CA. There and back in my car is roughly $100 in gas. That puts me at $900. Assume I put myself in a hotel for 1 night- roughly $70. We're now at $830. I have to eat while I'm there. I'm going to eat for one day and assume my clients are kind enough to feed me at the wedding- $30 roughly for a day of food in LA. Now we're at $800. For a wedding I will usually take anywhere between 1,500-3,000 photos. I have to go through every single photo and get rid of all of the bad ones. In the past that has taken me a total of about 8-12 hours (I'm going to ere on the side of 12). Then I have to edit the photos that will take me accumulative of probably 36 hours. That puts us 48 hours of work. Not to mention the 8 hours I spent at your wedding. That's a small total of time of roughly 56 hours. Bear in mind that I haven't counted traveling time which is about 14 hours round trip. If you do all the math, I get about $14/hr. That sounds pretty good right? But I did not account for the time I have to take off of work (one wedding in LA I will take off 4 days- 2 traveling, 1 day before the wedding to prep, 1 day of the wedding) I will lost, at work, about $300 not being at work. We also haven't considered car maintenance (If you want to count that, then we are massively at a deficit here). We haven't considered materials- CD & canvas is what you get for me for $1,000- the canvas will cost me about $60 to make. We then have packaging, shipping. tracking, and insurance- about $20. so our grand totals- 56 hours of work, $720 I have left equals to $12/hr. I'm not considering car maintenance which is huge for me or the time I miss work or travel time.
    • Please remember that there is a lot to consider for the prices and the next time you want to complain to your photographer for how much they charge, remember that they the time they spend at the actual photo session is not the only time they spend working. Actually, aside from the photo session itself, they probably don't really enjoy anything else that they are doing.
  • Cancellations
    • Now this isn't really a HUGE deal for a lot of photographers because they charge a cancellation fee (which I AM going to start doing), but I haven't in the past and it can become a real burden. First off, there are some cancellations that are necessary and understandable- health, death, accidents, etc. Life happens and photographers understand that, its not all about making money for us. Cancellations are a big deal for me personally because I work 2 other jobs because my own business. When someone books with me, I'm making sure to get those days (or that day) off of work, and if you cancel our session I'm out the money you were going to pay me plus anything I would have made at my jobs that day. I now have to sit at home and not spend money because you have just become a deficit to me. I have some policies that I'm going to be implementing in order to ensure that I won't be losing money on cancellations. If you have a considerate bone in your body, you will give your photographer AT LEAST a week in advance notice that you're going to have to cancel- and that is pushing it. Like I said before though, when unexpected things come up, we understand- and it depends on your photographer whether or not you will have to pay a cancellation fee. (Some call it a booking fee and charge you when you book just incase you have to cancel).
  • How to do our job
    • Please people, you hired us for a reason. You probably saw our work, a friend told you about us, you found us on Facebook or however you stumbled upon us- you saw what we've done a considered us worth hiring. If you liked what we did for people before, you will probably like what we can do for you, and that means not telling us how to do our jobs. My fellow photographer was the one who brought this one up to me. One of the most irritating things during a session, especially of children or babies, is when a mom or dad is standing there going "No I want it from this angle, can you do this, that's not what it showed on Pinterest. You should do this, you should do that." No, please, seriously, stand to the side and allow us to do our job. We are highly capable of doing it without you, we've done every other shoot successfully without your coaching mouth in our ear. If your photographer asks you for any ideas before they wrap up a session, great, but during your session please remember to speak when spoken to.
  • Pinterest Perfect
    • Ahhhh the amazing invention of Pinterest. Don't misunderstand me during this point. I LOVE Pinterest. I love getting ideas from there, and I love asking my clients to look for photos on Pinterest they want me to try to duplicate so that we can get some shots they really enjoy. Please, please, please understand that our photos are NOT going to look EXACTLY like the one you saw on Pinterest. That is exactly the beauty of photography, no two pictures will ever, ever be identical. Do not get mad when you get your photos and it doesn't look to-the-T like the one you saw online, it's not meant to and it's never going to. If you bring your photographer an idea from Pinterest, they will try to the best of their ability to make it like that, but don't expect Pinterest perfection- each photographer has their own style of perfection.

I know this was a little more wordy of a post, but some people need to know the background a little bit of being a photographer and understand that there is a lot more that photographers do than just the 1-8 hours of the session they're doing with you. Please be kind to us, we are taking our passion and making it a job- that is a huge risk because we will either continue to love it or learn to hate it. You don't want to be the client we look back to when we've quit on photography and say, "That was the client that was the straw that broke the camel's back and the reason I quit doing what I love." There's so much more that goes into it than pointing and shooting and slapping a pretty logo on it. Please consider your photographer, and remember that my tone now is as loving and kind as possible. 

Happy shooting & hiring!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Don't Crucify Them

What is the difference between judging someone and having a righteous anger toward something they do?

I can't honestly say that I've figured out the answer to that but in recent days I think I may have figured out one difference.

Let me tell you a story.....

I recently called a girl I knew to apologize for the way that I've felt about her. This young lady did something that was less than par in the Christian life, and because of that I had her crucified in my heart for the past year. I have a hard time about being angry with people that struggle with things that I don't struggle with. I find it difficult for me to understand why they struggle with it, but then I have to remind myself that there are things I struggle with that they do not. 

The past few weeks I've felt awful about how I felt about this girl especially because she is so kind to me every morning. Almost every day at 7:55 a.m. she walks passed me at the same place and says "Good Morning." And I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but the fact that she would even take the effort to acknowledge me meant a lot because we walk passed people all the time and we're usually too involved in ourselves to say "hello" to someone outside of our own "click." 

So I called this girl and for 45 minutes we talked on the phone and I apologized for the way I felt. I know people always tell me that with something like this you aren't suppose to confront the person because they don't need to know you felt that way about it. But there was something in me that was prodding my heart to call her. It ended up being such a great conversation. She even started to cry and thank me for the call and apologizing for how I felt. 

I say all that to ask....What is the difference between judging someone and having a righteous anger toward what they do? For me, with this situation, I felt like it was my heart. Was I looking down on her? Was I wanting to help her? Was I hating her or her sin? 

I'm not sure I would advise anyone to do what I did, but things like these are very conditional. You really do have to go in the direction that you feel the Holy Spirit is directing you. I know for me it was the right decision to make because my heart does not feel as heavy and her and I talk on a regular basis now. 

Do what the Holy Spirit leads you to do, but don't go a year of allowing yourself to crucify someone in your heart. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The one you would never expect

"To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." - 1 Corinthians 9:22 KJV

This verse is one of my favorites and speaks volumes to me. It reminds me that not everyone is going to be like me, but I have to be caring enough to be personable with everyone I meet. 

Something in particular that I connect with this verse is the fact that you never know who is going to impact your life. I know I've only lived a very short 21 years, but I like to think that for my age I've met a considerable amount of people. Some I like, some I love, some I dislike, and....others. :P 

Through meeting and dealing with people I've learned that each person comes to your life for a specific reason. You know that random person you start talking to that you never thought you would be friends with? That person you never gave a second thought to? That person you've only ever talk to less than a handful of times? Yeah...I'd consider that person. I've learned that those people are the ones that can greatly impact you. 

There are some of those people that only come into your life for a short time. They are there to help you through something, or maybe they're unknowingly directed by God to you because they need your help with something. Keeping in mind that God may be sending someone your way to help them, try to be kind to everyone- expected and unexpected. Listen to what they have to say because its for a reason; take it all in and highly consider who they are. They're in your life for a reason and you may have a small window of opportunity to help them. You don't want to miss it.

Then on the flip side, there's the people that randomly come into your life and stay. You never would've talked to that person. Maybe you've seen them in passing; little convo here, hello there, and smile every once in a while. But other than that they're just another neutral person in passing. It's certainly a blessing when the least likely people to ever make an impact your life are the best.

I know for me I have a bad habit of forcing friendships and relationships. A lot of that comes from being familiar with the feeling of losing people, so I find people I like and I force it. They eventually leave because its not what God has for me. It's the people I never gave a second thought to that end up meaning the most to me, and that's because God knows me better than I do and will send me better people than I can pick.

I know this is kinda mumbo-jumbo and doesn't really have a deep, intellectual, spiritual meaning behind it, but it's a simple thought I hope you keep with you. Be open to everyone because they're probably better than you would've ever guessed and they're probably the best thing for you and you for them. Be all things to all people, and just be kind- people need someone to be kind to them. (:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

People with Strong Personalities

I am someone who has a strong personality. With that, I love hard, hurt hard, laugh hard, etc. I make it a point to people that I love to make sure they know they are loved. But with that is a really bad backlash of the people I dislike unfortunately can tell that I unlike them- whether I show it consciously or unconsciously. 

Something that God has always worked on my heart about, but recently has really been convicting me about, is treating people better that may not be my most favorite people. We were in Ladies' Devotions last night at my college and I was looking around the room and I was seeing faces of people that I may have rather gone without seeing. But I challenged myself to look at either of those girls a say one thing I like about them to myself. (Just as a side note, if someone doesn't know you have ill feelings towards them, then don't make it known. It will create unnecessary tension). 

There are quite a few ways that you can change your attitude about people and that is where I'm challenging myself and where I would love to challenge you if I could...
  • Pray for them
    • Ask God to burden your heart for that person, to find a way to be a blessing to them, pray for their struggles, trials, hurts, etc., ask that God blesses them, and ask God to change your heart about them and be thankful for the individual that they are
  • Take them out to coffee
    • Not only is coffee just a beautiful thing, but when you're sitting somewhere with coffee and someone else you are in a perfect environment to get to know them. Get to know their story and see where God has brought them from. May eye contact with them. Read their facial expressions and body language. And pray, during that time, that God gives you the words to say during that time. Realize that when you are spending time with someone you are giving them your time (and vice versa) and time is an investment and investments are where your treasure is. So by spending time with someone you are putting them in your heart. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." -Matthew 6:21 
  • Ask them to tutor you 
    • If you know that someone you're not very fond of is better at something then you are, then ask them to help you with it. Give them an opportunity to show their passion about something and how excited they can become about something- you may also learn to like that thing as much as they do and start building a healthy relationship from that subject or activity.
  • Write them a card
    • Whether it is anonymous or not, write them a card and let them know you are praying for them (but be sure you really are praying for them). And maybe if you challenge yourself to like one thing about them, let them know that- tell them something good about them. They may just be going through a struggle of who they are and that little shot of confidence may help and encourage them. 
  • Help them with something
    • If you see them struggling to do something whether its something on the computer, carrying something, homework, etc., offer your service. Odds are you're probably not that much in a hurry and you can give them less than 5 minutes of your time. It is a little gesture that will go a long way and they won't forget when you helped them.

If you're anything like me then you probably have a hard time loving people that YOU find difficult to love, but God loves them and God is love, therefore if you have God you have the capacity to love people. It boils down to asking God to take you out of the flesh and learning to love them. Remember that if you just do works but you don't have any heart from God to back it up then you're working in the flesh and it won't have lasting results. 

Allow God to break you and bring down your pride, so that you can learn to love people you wouldn't usually love. It may surprise you the blessing they could be to you and the friendship that could be built.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My name on a cake

Yay! So today was my 21st birthday and I had such an incredible day!!! My friends treated me so well and made me feel so special! I was able to be sung to in chapel, have a balloon pop for me, get texts, birthday wishes, gifts, cards, etc. Today was nothing short of the best birthday I've ever had!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Anthony too much today because he worked BUT he threw a fantastic surprise party for me yesterday and I honestly had no clue or even an inkling about anything happening! He put everything together from inviting my friends, getting the cake, picking up pizza, and everything! We started out just hanging out in the grille overflow together and just having Panda Express and he gave me my amazing gift (a Blake Griffin jersey). And I thought the whole night was just ours but I was wrong! He led me to the commons where so many of my friends were waiting to surprise me. 

There was one thing about that party that made me want to cry though; and it's such a little thing to some people. My cake said "Happy 21st Birthday Jenelle." And I know a lot of people would wonder why that's a big deal? But I'm a twin. All my life it's been "Corwyn and Jenelles birthday" or "the twins birthday" or "happy birthday you two." 

When I saw a cake with only my own name on it I felt so special. I felt like an individual. I felt like this day belonged only to me. I was overwhelmed with such a vast amount of gratitude that those friends were there for just me- not me and my brother, me and my twin, the two of us; no, just me. Jenelle Caitlyn Gaither. 

For Anthony to put that all together for ME was enough to cry. I can't stress the amount of joy I had to have a cake with my name on it. I'm beyond blessed and loved and I don't deserve any of it. :')