why

Today I want to answer a question. 

Why should you take time out of your already busy life to pursue personal documentation? In other words: does it matter all that much?

 As I shared in my first letter this month (you can sign up for them here!), God used the arts of photography and journaling as tools to build a foundation of gratitude in my heart. I desperately needed this shift in my mindset during a time of depression in my life. I didn't really know what I was doing, I simply enjoyed remembering and relishing in beautiful things. It became necessity for me because when taking a casual glance over my life at the time, I didn't see anything worthy of remembrance. I had to seek it out.  

That's where photography and writing came in. 

For me, they're intertwined in such a way that it's often difficult to separate the two. 

Now, most people will tell you that the reason you need to invest photography is because, "One day you'll be older with your children grown and want to remember how beautiful your life was."

And while I see the truth in that, I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint: I firmly believe that actively documenting your life in an intentional way can make you understand how beautiful your life is right now.

After all, isn't Right Now all we have? While we all hope to reach the age of silver hair and love-creased hands, we aren't guaranteed that. We simply cannot predict what even the next hour may hold. And I get it, maybe your Right Now isn't ideal. Maybe your Right Now feels like it's defined by the amount of house you have to keep clean, the amount of sleep you haven't gotten since your babies arrived, or that ridiculously tight budget you're living with. Maybe--and it's ok to admit this--you don't like your Right Now. In fact, you want to escape it. But, you can't run away from this. You can't give up. 

Why?

Because, like I said, Right Now is all we have.  

You can't rewind or move forward or slow anything down. All you can do is walk through your life with eyes wide opened to the beauty unfurling around you. You may not be able to change it, but you can record it. You can say thank you for it.

And now you're thinking, but what if I don't want to remember this? It's ugly, it's messy, it's hard. I'd rather forget all this, thank you very much. But deciding to believe that your hardship is beautiful, that there is good to be found here; it changes, well, everything. 

“It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. 

Ann Voskamp

The act of declaring, "I will thank You, for this." regardless of what you feel, can spark a flame that lights your way out of the dark. In this way, documentation can be become your act of worship. 

And that's why it's important. That's why it's not just about the perfect pose or golden hour or an ISO setting. It's about training your heart to bend in gratitude towards your Right Now--whatever it may look like. 

Our heart behind Light & Letter is to teach you how the avenues of photography and writing can absolutely change your perspective on life. Whether we're entering the space of your home to document your story unfolding or loving on your from an email or a blog post, we're here to help you fall wildly in love with the sacred in your life.

 

>>I hope you understand my sharing this huge 'why' behind our business before I shared anything else. This is the foundation our entire dream is built on. But don't worry, all of our sharings won't be so in-depth. ;) In fact, my next post will be a fun little phone photography tutorial that I can't wait to get started on. 

>>Oh! And I can finally share my next playlist! This one was curated to empower, uplift and get your heart pumping. I wanted the listener to feel motivated and alive. Let me know what you think. Find it HERE


my 1am letter to writers

'plink, plink, plink'

I'm listening to raindrops slosh off the roof and land like tap dancers on the wood slats of our porch. Inside the house it's dark and sleepy. Jonathan is at work. The next time I see him will be when I mumble something about me being glad he's back while I shuffle on by to put Behr back to sleep. Poor buddy almost always wakes up daddy gets home.

I'm tired. I should be crawling in bed right now. But, I needed to write. I've learned to just go with the urge when it hits. That's why I keep a moleskin tucked in my diaper bag. That's why my notes app is chock full of quickly scribbled out, half-written sentences. You see, I'm a writer. If I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. I've been carrying around a book in my brain for years. It's a story about this girl who grew up a soldier in world with an ongoing underground war and there's this rebellion and a prophecy about a dark-haired child and---well, I'm not ready to share it yet (maybe ever?). I'm just saying that so you'll understand a bit of what's constantly going on inside my head. I'm always writing. That's why I'm up way past my mommy-bedtime, propping open my eyelids and coaxing words to life in the same way you would a wilted blossom. Easy does it now.

They say when you go to write something, you should be able to sum the main point in your mind with one sentence. If I could do that with this post I'd say something un-clever like, "I hope someone reads this and decides to not give up on writing like I want to."

I don't know, maybe you're a writer too.  Maybe that's why you're reading this. Can I tell you something? Don't stop writing. Your words, the way you carve them straight out of your heart into reality, it's beautiful. If you're anything like me, you're doubting yourself. Why am I doing this? Does anyone really care? I don't have as many followers as she does. I feel like I'm wasting my time. (Yes, these are all thoughts in my head right now. No I'm not proud.)

Am I allowed to just say, it doesn't matter? As in, it doesn't matter that someone else is getting more recognition than you. Your gift still matters. And since when did using our gift for the sole purpose of gaining an audience produce good work anyway? To be fair, the 'audience' should always be considered. If you're just writing for yourself than you're not going to reach other's hearts. The problem comes when you only write for others and what you think they will think. Let me just speak for myself here: I need to have a healthy mixture of boldly using my voice to write in a way that will relate to others, all while ultimately pointing them to Jesus. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I'm rambling. What I really wanted to do was encourage you. Maybe you don't have all the time in the world to write. Maybe you're tired too. Maybe you find yourself scratching out words in the backseat next to a rowdy toddler with a floorboard of crumbs at your feet (see picture above). If so, we're in this together and I'm here to tell you, "I see you. Your gift is important and needed. Keep breathing life into it. Keep cultivating those word-seeds in your heart until they bloom."

After all, I really don't think anyone ever looked around at Springtime and wished there were less flowers to enjoy.

So that's just it. In the simplest way I can say it, from one tired-aspiring-author-I-write-because-I-can't-help-it fellow sister to another: Don't stop writing. Please. Your gift is needed here.

As always, you can chat with me about this by leaving a comment on my latest Instagram post.


ps. If you're experiencing writer's block, allow me give you some links to a few songs that always get my creative juices bubbling. Yes, they're all soundtracks. I can't listen to words being sung while I'm trying to write out words at the same time. It freezes up my brain. 

>>This song first--you have to take time to listen to the whole thing. If your heart isn't pounding by the end, you must be dead.

>> This song which makes my insides weep. True story, I once wrote a death scene for one of my characters with this one. It's that good.

>>This song that will simultaneously make you cry and ache with happiness. No, I'm not overreacting. (please, please tell me you've seen this movie. If so, you better tell me).

>> This old song which you either never head or forgot about. It's the one I listen to when I want to know what Summer sounds like. Just wait 'til you get about a minute into it....

>>This song which is what I feel like it will feel when we finally get to Heaven. No lie, I'm completely serious. Can you imagine the relief? And laughing for joy with Jesus? Listen to the song in that context and tell me it doesn't make you think of that. And now I'm crying tears of happiness.