My word for the year in 2020

What is a word for the year? Why do I need a word for the year? How do I find a word for the year?

In 2017, I started using a word for the year to keep motivated and focused on the annual goals for my personal, spiritual, and physical life. It came naturally to dive deep into my heart to find a word, or as I like to view it, a feeling or emotion that needs to be addressed throughout the upcoming year. 

*This post contains affiliate links which are marked with an * as an added level of transparency. This means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if a purchase is made through one of the links. If you do, thank you for the support ♥

In 2018, I chose THRIVE because I was ready to tackle a new endeavor in videography that eventually morphed into photography! I jumped onto WIX to create my first website, created a Facebook business page, and promoted my services to the community. It was a year to branch out and THRIVE aka prosper, grow, and develop a service that would blossom into a flourishing business. The word for the year did not lead me astray and kept my eyes on the prize – a thriving business that would have slow growth but GOOD Growth!

In 2019, I chose SIMPLIFY because I was saying “YES” to all the things to feel apart of something outside of being “just” a stay at home mom (that statement needs a FULL post but I am not ready to tackle that just yet).  The real focus needed to be on my heart and home for this frazzled creative. I know that I am not alone when it comes to being a night owl and not an innately structured person so simplify morphed into decluttering and pruning to make time for what matters most.

Before I reveal my word for the year 2020, let’s discuss what it is and how to find yours?

1 | WHAT IS A WORD FOR THE YEAR?

Defining your goals for a the year can seem overwhelming but a word, just ONE word, is simple. You can speak it into all areas of your life – marriage, family, work, exercise, diet, and your walk with the Lord.

So if you enjoy making plans and goals, yet struggle with focus as the year weans, then embracing this new method may be just the thing to keep you motivated and on track.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” -Hans Hofmann

Ok, let’s do this.

You will pick ONE word or small phrase to embrace as your mantra for the year.

It is a simple idea but finding the word, the emotion, or statement that speaks to YOU may be difficult. Let’s dive into how then I will share more about my word for the year of 2020.

2 | HOW TO FIND YOUR WORD FOR THE YEAR?

Gathering digital images for organization

First, I do not like to reinvent the wheel so here are two resources that you could use to discover a word on your own.

01  |  she works HIS way

In 2017, when the Lord impressed upon my heart to step out in faith to bless other people with photography and films. I immediately joined the she works His way member community as my very first step to becoming a business leader. The organization is amazing and I am NOT being paid or compensated for this opinion.

They produced a wonderful article in December of 2019 that dives into how one person schedules time with the Lord to purposefully establish a word for the year. You can read more about it here.

02  |  Fill out a quiz

DaySpring is an online shop that wants to help you know & share the life-changing message of God’s love #liveyourfaith

Currently they have a charming little quiz to take out all the guess work. You can visit here* or by clicking the image below.


Word For The Year  |  DAYSPRING

 

I enjoyed the seven question quiz from DaySpring. Each question felt like it spoke to the emotions that you would feel when planning a year… “where do you want to go with your relationships?” “where did you struggle this past year?” And the answers were rooted in scripture though it wasn’t explicitly described that way.

The quiz reaffirmed my chosen word with STAND. The Lord had not given me that particular word but I wouldn’t be able to move forward without STANDING.

You will also be provided with an image like this after you complete the quiz with an opportunity to receive emails about your word throughout the year!

03  |  PEN AND PAPER

Here are the steps I have gathered from all these resources.

01.  Grab your Bible, something to write in like a journal or notebook, and a pen (or pencil as long as you enjoy writing with it).

02.  Choose a day and time that will give you ample time to reflect and evaluate your past while contemplating your future. I would suggest the early morning or a Sunday since it is already a day of worship and praise.

03.  Spend time in prayer and journaling your worries, fears, desires, and ambitions.

04.  Now it is time for the real heartwork. Pray over the words. The journaling. The heartaches and struggles. The goals and vision that the Lord is laying on your heart. During this time of deep meditation is when the Lord starts to pull out the emotion that feeds into my word. The next section is an example of the dialouge that happened in my heart that secured my word and direction for 2020.

 READ ALSO: How to apply your peronsality type in Bible Study

3 | KNITTING MY WORD FOR THE YEAR

Reflection  |  MY PAST

I have learned that my personality type goes to the deep places in my heart without hesitation. It is comfortable (for me but maybe not you) embracing and wallowing in the hard places of life like grief, tragedy, and suffering.

You see, the book of Job spoke to my teenage heart, and even today, still resonates in my bones every time I read through his longsuffering.

Therefore, as I reflected on 2019, it would be easy to see our health issues and growing family as a place of worry going forward BUT I have joy in my heart.

“…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” -Job 2:10

Personally, I need to move away from the hurt but not forget the unexpected blessings. I need to stand firm, like the roots of a tree, in God’s mercy that he bestowed upon our family. Shake off the dead and decaying cancer that tried to choke us. Place the agony at his feet. Praise His Name and continue to step forward in faith.

In 2019, God simplified our lives by pruning away the distractions, the clutter, and unnecessary stuff in our lives that could have caused wedges in our relationships with one another and especially with Him.

Reflection  |  MY FUTURE

If you have any garderning experience, you know the benefits of pruning away the dead or overabundance of growth on plants. We have an amazing burning bush in our front yard. The burning bush is a hardy plant that requires little maintenance plus can grow to a mighty 15 feet! It has flourished to the point that it was obstructing the view of the street from our front porch which meant I coud not see our children easily on the sidewalk.  (NO GOOD!)

The plant required pruning to aid us in our vision of what is to come. The plant will heal and grow. It will also now have a deliberate path for growth. And with it’s new growth it will increase the beauty of our home.

Therefore, like the burning bush, new growth will happen in our lives. The growth will be strong because the roots are established. It will bloom once again with healthier leaves and gorgeous flowers.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. 

-Luke 8:14-15

MY WORD FOR THE YEAR IN 2020

 

GROWTH

 

Spiritual:  Increase in knowledge of scripture through consistent Bible Study. Would you like to join?

Marriage: Deepen our marriage through “love & respect” with intentional time together while also creating more clarity in our decision making process. {AKA I will be more decisive and clear in my communication with a bolder attitude yet it will always be respectful.}

Family & Home: Cut the CHAOS and create a home of loving support, peace, and joy. Muster up the self-discipline it requires to MOM with all my heart.

Physical: Strengthen my body along with my soul. AKA lose the baby weight and increase my energy levels with better diet and increased exercise.

Professional: GROWTH. Grow this online ministry. Increase my capacity as a photographer/family filmmaker/leader/speaker/writer.

Six ways to organize your life with Google

Six ways to organize your life with Google

Free resources available through Google to organize YOUR life 

As a loyal PC and Android user, I am quite familiar with Google and its free products. Let’s emphasize the FREE part which is a crucial reason WHY I adore Google and it’s software products. Yes, I tend to be quite frugal and Google has been a go-to software for this reason.

Over the years, we have seen Google transform and innovate their products from a standalone search engine into a diverse company with a number of free and paid for products. Let’s review my favorites from the point of view of a mother with young children and beginner blogger.

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC, used with permission.

01  | Gmail

Gmail is the email service that is provided for free through Google. I can remember when you needed an “invitation” to join the email service provider back in 2005 and readily jumped on the bandwagon from my yahoo account. The Gmail account has transformed through the years and it now means you have a “Google Account” that opens the door to many other products. 

PRICE: Free

HOW: To sign up for Gmail, create a Google Account by going here. You can use the username and password to sign in to Gmail and other Google products like YouTube, Google Play, and Google Drive. You will need to remember your username and password to sign in unless you also use the Chrome search browser, in which case, you can choose to let the browser save your information for easier login.

My top tips for Gmail

1. Open a free account today! It is easy and opens the door to the following products that are an added bonus to this service.

2. Do NOT continue to sign up for all the spammy accounts that will run your email inbox up to 1000 unread emails – again! Allow this new account to be your fresh start.

3. Organize your inbox using the Gmail provided organization system or create your own!

4. Create an email signature along with automated responses for vacation time, etc. It is easy and looks cool. (I have a couple created at the bottom of this blog post AND I created them with Google Slides.)

5. Use this service on your phone instead of the straight out of the box email app that it comes standard. You will need to download the app and connect it to your Gmail account. However, personally speaking, it will provide more usability and user friendliness.

6. Real World Use: I use Gmail for communication with doctors, school administration for my children, with my husband to schedule appointments within our shared google calendar, receive notifications from our church, and now, as a professional email account via Google Domain by making an official ” @knittingourstory.com” email address.

02  | Google Drive

A Google account via Gmail provides you access to a multitude of other products. The first one you should take advantage of is their cloud service called Drive.

PRICE: Free

HOW: To sign up for Google Drive, create a Google Account from the previous review item. You can view what Drive is all about by going here. You can use the username and password to sign in to Gmail and other Google products like YouTube, Google Play, and Google Drive. You will need to remember your username and password to sign in unless you also use the Chrome search browser, in which case, you can choose to let the browser save your information for easier login.

My top takeaways for Google Drive

1. Use it to store important documents, projects, and make important documents.

2. Drive can be used as your default option to download to and save items to within Gmail! Great way to instantly save important documents from your email.

3. Save images here but only ones you will probably use on a regular basis otherwise I would use Google Photos as your photo library which will be discussed below.

4. Use Drive to create documents! Google Drive is where you can access Google’s online word processor online software apps that are similar to Microsoft products such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

5. Use it on all your devices with the free 15 GB of storage for email and Drive items.

6. Real World Use: I use Drive to make cool printables for my kids and church, write blog posts, make images for this site, make shared slideshow presentations for instructional purposes, save important PDFs that I need to access frequently but DO NOT want to download to my phone’s internal memory.

03  | Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, My Maps, Sites

Create your own documents, slideshow presentations, financial spreadsheets, and much more with just a click of the “+ New” icon within Google Drive.

PRICE: Free

HOW: To use the resources within Google Drive such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. You only have to click on the “+ new” in the left-hand corner section (on Desktop) or the “+” symbol in the lower right-hand corner (mobile).  You have access to all of these resources for FREE and they automatically back up on the Drive so need to worry about it crashing or losing all your work. Offline is also available if you want to work on documents without internet. To access these apps on your mobile device you may download the apps individually or use them in a browser window.

My top takeaways for using the processing applications

1. If I need to compose a formal email and want some collaboration with others for editing purposes = Docs.

2. Track your expenses and make a family budget = Sheets.

3. Create a cool printable of Paw Patrol or Fortnite characters for your kids = Slides.

4. Create and collaborate with other moms, teachers, missionaries on a presentation = Slides.

5. Gather input via a survey or poll for your new product, classroom idea, or outreach project = Forms.

6. Drawings, My Maps, and Sites are for specific uses that I could elaborate on more if you are interested. Leave a comment to let me know if you would like a tutorial on them 🙂

7. Real World Use: I use Docs for my blog posts and Bible Journaling in the morning. I use Sheets to track blog posts, affiliate information, and store information in an ordered manner. I use Slides the most creating images (as well as Canva) and instructional presentations because I love the ability to keep everything in ONE place.

04  | Google Calendar

A Google account provides access to their calendar that is used across the internet! It is amazing!

PRICE: Free

HOW: Calendar may be accessed via the right hand side menu under your account name and picture (on desktop) and download the app for your mobile device.

My top takeaways for Google Calendar

1. Create your work schedule, home life routines, and share it with your close ones.

2. Save important dates straight from your Gmail.

3. Add tasks and reminders within Gmail or Calendar and it will save at an exact time and place perfect for you.

4. Share it! Or save your kids’ school schedule directly to your calendar! Or your church’s or whoever else may have their schedule available online.

5. Real World Use: I use it to save important appointments like doctor visits and schedule reminders for tasks or projects along with saving the local school’s calendar. My husband and I also collaborate on dates and times for events without double booking! #winning

05  | Google Keep

An app and desktop application that you can use for quick reminders, save important images, lists, etc.

PRICE: Free

HOW: Google Keep is another resource located on the right hand side corner along with Calendar that is an added bonus but not something you may realize is there from the beginning.

My top takeaways for Google Keep

1. An easy and quick to use smartphone application that allows you to jot down things you want to remember. It is very similar to Evernote.

2. I love how visually appealing it is along with how it integrates with all the above applications as well.

3. You may end up with a long note that would be better used as a document which you can easily convert with a click at the bottom of your board.

4. It is a great grocery item list maker.

5. Real World Use: Grocery items, school reminders for the kids that can be scheduled in the calendar, blog post ideas, names and pictures of cards for people I need to remember but will lose in the bottom of my purse.

06  | Google Photos

My favorite for last! Google Photos is the unlimited photo cloud storage service, at certain file sizes, along with videos. It also comes with Google Assistant which means you can create little home videos.

PRICE: Free

HOW: Google Photos is also available via the right hand side corner menu that is freely given with your Google account.

My top takeaways for Google Photos

1. BACKUP YOUR PHOTOS AUTOMATICALLY!

2. The cloud service can be downloaded onto your phone and used as a backup for all your everyday photos and videos.

3. The unlimited storage and organization allow you to have peace of mind that your digital memories are safe.

4. The Google assistant puts the creative control in your hands as a total beginner! Let the artificial intelligence create home films or create them yourself.

5. Real World Use: My go-to cloud backup for my everyday digital memories. I share images with those NOT on social media like grandparents who do NOT need a Gmail address to access them. Along with SHARED albums with my husband so both of our phones are backed up. I have also used the movie maker feature that is great for TOTAL beginners.

Conclusion

Today’s technology isn’t going anywhere. We are very blessed to have these tools available and smartphones mean we can carry it with us everywhere. I also always encourage people to be mindful of their screen time – children and adults – but understand that it is a tool used for work and pleasure so use your judgment.

The applications are available on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Who would benefit? Parents who want to stay connected with each other and with their kids. Tracking changing schedules, updating resumes, writing school essays, or compiling a list of donors for non-profit events. Teachers who need to create things on the go. Missionaries trying to create communication pieces on the frugal. Bloggers or online creators designing content to share but do not have the ability to purchase Microsoft Office products. 

My hope is to transfer knowledge into YOUR hands. Let me know how I can help.

#LegacyLoveLetter

Dear littles, 

I hope that as you stalk this site that you will see that I never stopped learning. I pursued more knowledge that could be used effectively and efficiently for our family. Even as #4 sits in his high chair enjoying Nutella, I am seeking to further the kingdom throughout my everyday actions. 

Hi! I’m Holly, and at Knitting Our Story, I embrace the fact that you can love your new smart device while also living a full and intentional life; you do not have to choose one over the other. If you desire to use technology as a workplace resource, a fancy new toy, or want to utilize it for creative resources, I’m here to support you with why you should and how it can be done.

Read More

My favorite easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners

My favorite easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners

It is about time I wrote my first review. This is an honest and unbiased review of a video [and photo editing software – PhotoDirector] perfect for beginners or serious hobbyists – Cyberlink PowerDirector. If you are here then are you probably looking for an easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners – I was too!

My favorite easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners because:

A favorite because it was my first (semi) professional video editing software willingly purchased. It had a non-linear timeline that allows you to have creative control over the editing process! It was exactly what I needed in that season of life.

Who would benefit from a video editing software program? 

Someone looking to edit their favorite smartphone videos and photos into a family keepsake film that everyone will love AND enjoy. [Let’s be honest – not all photo slideshows are created equal.]

Parents of young ones capturing day to day activities

Parents of teenagers capturing the multitude of events and sports

Grandparents doing the same thing

People starting a new adventure like retirement in an RV  

Missionaries sharing their story

Small startups creating engaging video content

MLM/Direct salespeople making video content 

Teachers creating lessons, promos and a year in review

And whoever else wants to create something but doesn’t want a steep learning curve

If you are considering this an easy to use a video editing software for mothers and total beginners, just like I was in 2016, then you are probably asking yourself several questions like: 

 

#1: Why do I NEED this easy to use video editing software?

 

After falling in love with video storytelling in 2008 through a very simple and free software [insert post about windows movie maker] I knew that I WANTED to create a more detailed and engaging film. 

 

Fast forward eight years, I was a wife and mother of three adorable children and my smartphone and computer were quickly filling up with images of our life together. Again, it really was the best option for an easy to use video editing software for mothers and total beginners.

 

One day, while scrolling through social media I noticed a beautiful film – and I mean film – that someone created by piecing together home footage from a smartphone! 

 

GASP! I was in awe!

 

I just knew I needed this in my life! But my budget was in no place to pay someone else around $500 to create a family film.

 

SOOOOOO, I started to research video editing software. Days on days and weeks of research that ultimately led to purchasing CyberLink PowerDirector 13. It fit the bill in all the right places for this Stay-At-Home-Mom in the market for making family keepsake films with smartphone footage.

 

 Ready to give it a try? Click Here for a 30 day FREE trial!

 

 

#2: Does it have everything I DESIRE?

Easy to use – CHECK

Non-linear timeline – CHECK

Cool transitions – CHECK

Multiple timelines for music and voice over – CHECK

Add graphics ON TOP of my images and films – CHECK

Save in high quality – CHECK

ONE TIME PURCHASE!!!!! – CHECK

If you have children or family members or pets that you have captured in a media format then you have the stuff to manipulate just like I did (and still do). 

 

I had different types of footage and images that once pieced together into a Non linear time frame would produce a family keepsake film for, at the time, my grandmother. 

 

The program needed to be able to slow down, speed up, scroll and pan through images AND control the focus points so she knew where to look and when. 

 

HOWEVER, if time is short or you have a limited knowledge base, artificial intelligence can do basic movements across the image and create stunning effects as well. The creative control is in your hands, OR NOT, it is your choice.

 

#3: How user-friendly is this software?

Right out of the box, the video editing software PowerDirector gives you choices on how to startup your project. 

 

You have the option to let the software guide you through a simple photo/video slideshow that will ease you into the editing process or you can start from scratch with the FULL timeline option. Without a doubt, PowerDirector is easy to learn if you have a basic knowledge of video editing. If not, I am here to teach you some tips and tricks on how to use it or where to find other people who can also help.

 

Check out this guy to get you started: How to Make A Video That Doesn’t Suck | CyberLink PowerDirector 18

#4: Does the price justify the purchase?

PowerDirector is a robust user-friendly prosumer video editing software. You have the choice to buy it one time and keep it forever. It is yours. No strings attached. However, currently they are offering a subscription-based package that is similar to Adobe’s plan.

 

For me as a stay-at-home mother who wanted to start knitting together all the video footage, photos and memories I was creating with my growing family – it was a lifesaver. I had tried free programs but I found their limitations to be stifling once my knowledge base started expanding. 

 

So if you too have hit a creative wall with the “free” software programs then I highly recommend this as your first “big” investment for video editing software.

It does exactly what YOU need in a beginner software and more. 

One caveat, it is only available on Windows, Android smartphones, and now, Chromebooks. Again, for transparency reasons, I am only reviewing products I have used and can share an honest review to SERVE you in finding the best product.

In Summary

I enjoy photography and videography. I knew I wanted to create family films that we would enjoy and want to sit down and watch together. I wanted something much more than just slideshow photos that faded slowly and lacked the sounds of our children.

 

I wanted a new and innovative “family keepsake film” that included music with fancy transitions. I wanted to control the focus points and guide the viewer’s attention to our children and our love and joy and laughter together.

 

A legacy for my family that was more than just smiles and portraits of one another but a story that needed to be shared. A testimony of our love to pass down to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren because let’s face it, today’s digital age means we have a digital footprint that stays longer than we ever expected it to. 

 

Between our Facebook photo albums and YouTube videos, the memories can’t deteriorate like a book or photo sitting on a shelf that will slowly degrade. It is something that will last through the ages. Therefore, we should carefully consider what is being posted of our children and family. 

 

So in my honest opinion, Cyberlink PowerDirecotor is a tool to create an intentional legacy.

Try it for free for 30 days. Click Here.

Save up to 30% Storewide. Click Here.

What story do you want to share with people?

Please leave a comment below about the stories you would like to create and/or questions you have about this program.

 

CyberLink Storewide offer - Save up to 30%

Blogging through Cancer

Blogging through Cancer

On the 20th of February in the year of 2019, our world changed with a single phone call. A tumor was located in the center of my husband’s chest.

 

A consistent blogging routine had yet to be established with Knitting Our Story however I chose to continue to write throughout the process even if I wasn’t sharing it publicly. Writing was cathartic and pleasing to my heavy heart. Also, it would be a wonderful legacy to share with family and friends after the chemotherapy was said and done. After the eyebrows grew back. After the scars had faded and the tumor had disappeared. Here is an excerpt from my ramblings in February 2019:

 

In December 2018, my husband started complaining of mild chest pressure, not pain just pressure, that originated in the right side of his chest and moved into his arm. After two primary care and three urgent care visits that involved a strep throat infection it seemed his symptoms were worsening along with a rapid 15 lb weight loss. He struggled to breathe at night that forced him to sleep at an incline. Any strenuous activity, including lifting our six month old son, caused his superior vena cava vein to swell and bulge in his neck. 

 

Finally, we received an answer for all these symptoms on Feb 20th 2019.

 

My husband’s perseverance with medical staff in addition to the persistence of loving family members we did not give up on seeking a prognosis. Eventually, we compiled an entire list of all his symptoms:

 

  1. #1 symptom for us: persistent cough
  2. #2 symptoms for us: unexplained difficulty breathing and pressure in chest
  3. Fevers and strep infection for a normally very healthy person
  4. Unexplained weight loss (15 lbs for my husband)
  5. Lack of energy (sleeping constantly yet never fully rested)
  6. Painless swelling in neck
  7. Superior Vena Cava syndrome (we had no idea why the vein in his neck was bulging)

 

According to Sloan Kettering and Boston Children’s Cancer Blood Disorder Center, Peter presented all the symptoms necessary for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma BUT they were also symptoms of very benign infections as simple as Strep Throat. WHO KNEW?

 

In the span of minutes our world flipped upside down. 

 

Without flinching, we held tight to the promise we have in Christ Jesus. We will both affirm that He carried us through the first 48 hours of this devastating news. 

 

In 48 hours, my husband underwent a chest x-ray, CT scan followed by an ER visit, overnight hospital stay and a thoracic chest biopsy (chest surgery).

 

Then we waited. And waited.

 

What would the results say? Is this really cancer? 

 

Yes.

 

This is day 12. This is fresh. This is new. This is us. This is our story.

 

We are trusting the Lord with cancer. 

 

I am also trusting the Lord with this blog. 

 

Here are three reasons why I am STILL writing during this time.

#1

My blog is titled “Knitting Our Story”. With all my heart, soul and strength I love the Lord and this intricately knitted story HE wrote while I was still in the womb.  It has always been my heart’s desire to share our story. Cancer is just a chapter being woven into a much longer novel.

#2

I am my target market. Again, my heart’s desire is to share knowledge with others by providing them with concise and practical ways to capture their story with today’s technology BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! The intent has not changed. If anything it has placed a fire in my heart that capturing our story is more than ever paramount. I want to capture every single moment with my family. (OK, not every moment, I want to engage as well) My husband’s diagnosis has fanned the flame in my heart to be better and become obedient. To stop making excuses and run the race marked for me. The Lord is still encouraging me to share. To help. To serve. 

#3

What was once a long term goal has become a short term goal which is to make this blog an investment opportunity through monetization so it can contribute to our family income. I do not know what is to come and it is fully in the Lord’s hands. However, to be a good steward and to have a farmer mentality, I need to start sowing into this passion project, my blog, to reap benefits that will serve my family with financial gains. Here is my full disclosure policy. In advance, thank you for any contribution you make through any of my affiliate links and for just visiting my blog. Thank you.

 

SO WHAT WHO CARES?:

The practical application is that NOBODY is promised tomorrow. What are you doing TODAY to make the most of it? What could you do today to start creating a legacy to leave for loved ones? How would you handle something like this? Are you prepared to withstand a storm of uncertainty?

 

Share your insights below.

Why and How you should film a first time event

Why and How you should film a first time event

The day had come. 

We recently experienced a first in our household. Our firstborn daughter had the joy of attending her FIRST Daddy Daughter dance! I am sharing why and how YOU should also capture the “firsts” in your family with the technology at your fingertips.

Prep:

How wonderful it was to see the joy in my little girl’s eyes over a special evening with her father.

She instantly understood that a date with her father meant that she would be the center of attention. As an avid capture the moment momographer (mom who films or takes videos of her family so frequently she is given an imagined made-up title/role), one might think that I initially planned on filming this night.

NOPE!

I could have just went through the motions and the significance of the event would have slipped through our fingers which would potentially lead to a missed memory.

Now, it is all on screen! Her eyes lighting up as her special request for “make-up” was granted. It was so apparent that she too needed something to cement the evening.

It was a first and firsts always hold a special place in everyone’s heart.

Her first date with Daddy.

Her first time preparing herself for an adventure focused on deepening a relationship with someone else while loving on herself with dignity and integrity.

It was a proud Mama moment watching her pick out the clothes, shoes, and finishing touches to prepare for her father.

(Filming it allows us to treasure these memories long after it’s gone.)

For us personally, it is the beginning of many opportunities to show our children the love of Jesus through the love of their earthy father.

The bar will be set high for whomever her potential suitor will be because it is our job to build up her confidence – in the Lord – and accept nothing less in a husband.

As she grows up this video will become a memoir of her innocence and venture into becoming a lady.

Build up her confidence-in the Lord.

 Execution:

I recommend that you make the decision to make a “film” or a “highlight” video ahead of time. It will dictate what you will need to capture. When it comes to events like this you can put a little more effort into styling the scenes and setting up the environment.

Now, if you have chosen to make a film you will want to capture the details like the intricacies of the clothing, shoes, flowers and the invitation. I approached this film as though it was a wedding prep ceremonial film.

Get multiple angles. It is recommended to get three different types.

Full, Mid, Close-Up [check out this post to learn more about these terms]

Add voice. SOUND can make a film come to life! I added a small interview and placed it over some of the scenes using L- and J- cuts [here is another post to explain these terms]. 

FOUR Reasons to Capture Your Story NOW

FOUR Reasons to Capture Your Story NOW

Four Reasons to Capture Your Story

 

This video passion project has been a work in progress since I first picked up a camera as a high school yearbook photographer.  Then (and still now), I knew that capturing a story was something worthwhile. There was something about being behind the lens of a camera that opened my eyes to the beauty around me while making my heart flutter with excitement. On Friday evenings during football games, I would run around the stadium capturing the intensity of football players, the joyfulness of the band and the school rallying around our school. It was exhilarating and my movements flowed effortlessly  maneuvering into crazy positions always trying to capture the perfect shot!

Over ten years later I am still trying to capture “the shot”! Though the players and settings have changed the desire to capture the moments has not! The passion has transcended from photo to video since it also flows vs freezes the moment. I enjoy how it gives life and movement to an event and evokes emotion.

Reason No. 1: Legacy

For my wedding day, we purchased a budget friendly handheld camcorder.

WHY? Because there is this deep desire in us to preserve our story, our history so that we may pass it on to others. We used that camcorder to capture our ceremony, dances and special messages from our guests. It also captured the moment we found out we were expecting our first child!

One day, our children will be able to look back on our younger days to reconnect to our youth to better understand their own unique history.

So now that we have several children, the following passage is constantly tugging at my heartstrings because the old adage is true… “the days are long but the years are short”.

“For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together

in my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 139:13

God knitted together each of my babies in the womb and their story was already written before they arrived. I can’t help but capture each and every delicate moment of their first years with us.

Reason No. 2: Connection

As the years started to roll by and the miles between my family grew I knew that sending photos sporadically wasn’t enough to convey the full sense of our growing family. AND when my 80 year old grandmother said that she felt like she didn’t know her great-grandchildren it started a fire within me. I created a 15 minute slideshow for each of my three young children just for her and burned them onto DVDs to send through snail mail!

Nowadays, the ever innovating technology field is changing the game on how to share our memories with family. Are you familiar with FaceTime? Google Photos? Facebook? Snapfish? Bound photobooks printed and delivered to your door? Giant canvas prints at reasonable prices?

You see? There is a gap in digital literacy and our children and grandchildren only know screens! Not print. So we need to catch up to stay connected BUT I also feel that there is something to the tangible and want to teach people the new techniques on how to get photos back in your hands and on your walls.

Reason No. 3: Life is Short

I am not done yet. This is the most sobering reason and the hardest to discuss.

Tragedy can strike anyone at anytime. We are no exception. [Read about our very personal battle with cancer here.]

First it was my Uncle.

He had a stomach ache and begrudgingly went into the hospital. He came out with a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer. The next two years flew by as the cancer did what it is so infamous for…. It slowly took away another loved one from the embrace of a family – a wife and daughter.

During this same time period, my teenage cousin also went to the doctor complaining of a “pain” in his leg. Once again, a loved one walked out with the diagnosis of cancer – Osteosarcoma.

 “Nick Widner fought a courageous battle with osteosarcoma.

Cancer didn’t define him. He lived free & easy.

His spirit will live forever in our hearts.”

Things moved so rapidly after these initial diagnoses.

Within a year, I received a call (about my Uncle) that hospice was on the premises. I desperately placed an order for a digital voice recorder for him to record a few conversations for his precious daughter (i.e. words for right before she graduated, first dance, first boyfriend, first breakup, marriage, etc). My heart ached at the realization that he would no longer be here but I clung to the fact that technology could somewhat ease the pain.

If she couldn’t have him there physically then maybe having his voice would bring some solace during those pivotal moments in a young girl’s life. He fought a good fight and went peacefully to the Lord.

Within the year, my 17 year old cousin lost his battle with Osteosarcoma.

His family continues to fight the battle against childhood cancer through fundraisers for other families still in the fight. His legacy will live on through the heartwork and hard work that his mother does in his honor.

I have learned that cancer does not discriminate; young, old, married, single, rich, or poor it is not prejudiced with its victims nor does it relent. We must be the ones preserving our memories and proactively capturing them to share with others.

But to fully grasp the gravity of this “life is short” I have to share the next story. It also happened during this timeframe and rocked a small town and countless families with aftershocks still being felt today. Here it is from one of the victim’s mother:

“On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, exactly 4 years after Jody and Nick graduated from the police academy, they responded to a domestic disturbance call, and were murdered by a career criminal with a 32-page rap sheet.”

The Jody and Nick from the above statement were my brother’s dearest friends. The day this all happened, our wedding anniversary, is still burnt into my memory.

You can read more about both young men and how the community continues to love and support the thin blue line through the The Smarr and Smith Foundation.

[Yes, I bleed black and blue for ALL our law enforcement, first responders and military personnel who put their lives on the line every day to serve US. I recommend following Kyle Reyes and his new venture Whiskey Patriots.]

 Life is short.

I don’t want it to pass me by. SO, I pick up my phone, camera, or recorder to capture, document, and treasure each fleeting moment we have here, just in case…

How about you?

 Reason No. 4: To Glorify the Lord

To Glorify God and love others sacrificially.

The Lord has equipped us all with talents, gifts and passions.

Mine happens to be creating heartfelt films, photography, constantly exploring user-friendly technology and teaching. All of these talents allow me to find joy in the number one role of my life which is being a dutiful wife and mom. By no means am I perfect. The dishes and laundry constantly gets overlooked plus my organizational style isn’t the best – just being real [ask my hubby].

Now how does this serve the Lord and you?

By creating this blog and using my talents, I am pleasing my Lord and Savior with the talents He blessed me with by being fruitful while giving HIM the glory. At no point, now or even later, will I take up the boasting in my own strength. Dear Reader, Let me serve you. I want to share all the tips and tricks I have learned and much much more as I continue to learn myself.

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