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About Me

Single tired mom of four. Lover of chocolate and coffee - not necessarily in that order. Lover of Jesus, photographer by trade, Photoshop junkie and crime TV watcher.

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RSS Hallie Westcott Photography

A New Year’s Blog Evolution

December 25, 2009

New Years Evolution

As I sit here trying to muster up the makings of a new post, I can’t  help but wonder where this blog is going.  Much like a photograph, a blog should have a focal point and at some point, this blog’s focus was lost.

There was a time, which seems like an eternity ago, that I posted regularly and with total enthusiasm.  Always finding the humor in the midst of the mundane and a filled glass where most would see (ehem…excuse me,) only backwash.  Of course, that’s when life resembled something that looked more to me like normal…or whatever my perception of normal was.

At that time, I (we) were largely defined by the fact that we were homeschoolers.  I was a struggling single mother who had opened a bookstore to stay home and homeschool my children, while being the caretaker of a mom with an acquired brain injury.   I had spunk and durability, having withstood many an injury to my spirit, I maybe felt a little too good.

But things are different now. So much has happened since then, it would be really hard to nail it down in only one sentence, but since I have resolved to start the new year with transparency and authenticity, there is no time to start like the present.

The overview…I am still a single homeschooling mother, which may or may not be a surprise to those of you who have grown to know me online over the years.  I will not go into detail, but it has been an ugly year to say the least.  I am recovering from a serious burnout of sorts, I now help care for *two* ailing parents, I finally put my youngest in nursery school to give us some time to regroup; even put an end to a chapter in our lives that needed to come to a quick termination after the closing of the bookstore.   This of course is only scratching the surface; however, I will spare you the gory details and hold tight to the fact that we are the mend and only Jesus will bring us through this difficult season.

I have since started a photography business, out of necessity, spent loads of time getting to know my children, and taken more time to nurse my ailing soul, which needed a great deal of nourishment.  I have come to realize, when faith is put to the test, there are really only two possible endings.

My point is, I am no longer the same person I was when I started this blog.  And therefore, it cannot continue as it was.  I have struggled with this fact for sometime; not wanting to stop blogging, but not able to articulate the changes occurring in my life.

But I digress.  As time permits I will still continue posting, but my focus will be more about photography.  I will still enjoy and freely share more personal things, because first, I want to, and second, I feel that a measure of transparency is needed between a writer and a reader for a personal connection to be made.  However, I need to write with a purpose, or writing becomes a task and a burden and I have felt that for long enough.

So there it is…..and it only smarts a little.

Here’s to a joyful New Year.

Expect A Miracle

August 12, 2009

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Maybe you remember this post not too long ago, or maybe you don’t.   Either way,  several weeks ago my dad fell onto a four by four post, breaking several ribs and puncturing his lung.

Although in a great deal of pain, he was healing nicely, or so we thought.  Then about three weeks ago he was in the tub and tried to get out, but he seemed to have no strength.  He struggled to pull himself up and felt a terrible pain in his abdomen.  He decided to be a hero  at 4:30 AM and drive himself to the hospital, without notifying anyone.   He called me the next day to tell me he was there.

The doctors seemed to have no idea what was wrong with him.  Test after test and no answers.  They did determine that his pancreas and liver seemed to be functioning abnormally, but had no idea why.  Three days later we were waiting with still no answers.  I asked the doctors if it could have anything to do with the fall he took when he broke his ribs.  They said that wasn’t possible.

By day three, he seemed to be doing better and his test results were normalizing.  And then that evening I received a phone call from the hospital.  They informed me that my dad had started bleeding internally and I needed to come to the hospital immediately.  They said it was serious and they didn’t know if he would live.

I was stunned.  Whatever was happening was making no sense at all.  He had just been mowing the lawn on Tuesday and now he was fighting for his life.

When I arrived at his room, they were inserting a central line to transfuse him quickly.  He was somewhat lucid, but was filled with fluid and looked on the edge of death.   I tried to be brave and knew without a doubt that God had the situation in His hands.

His blood pressure was dangerously low and even if they could find the source of the bleeding, they wouldn’t have been able to operate because his body wouldn’t have tolerated a surgery.

As soon as the nurses and doctors inserted the line, they stood back and I laid hands on my dad and prayed.  I asked God to give him peace, to heal up the wound, and bring up his blood pressure to a normal level and to give the doctor’s wisdom to see what was happening.

And that’s exactly what He did.

Slowly my dad’s blood pressure rose and the bleeding stopped.  His blood levels started to rise and over the next couple of days things improved even more.  He did get pneumonia in his right lung and had some abnormal heart rhythms, but it God is slowly taking care of those issues also.

And guess what the problem was…..

His broken ribs punctured his spleen when he tried to get out of the tub.

I hope they now realize nothing is impossible.

I certainly know it.  Nothing at all is impossible with God.  He is ever faithful and present especially in our darkest hours.

Longing for Heaven in A World Filled with Sorrow

March 6, 2009

 

 2 Corinthians 5:4  ”For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.”

My mother used to repeat an old saying, “Don’t be so heavenly minded, that you are no earthly good.”  But lately, my longing for heaven is so present.

I wonder what it will be like.  Will the rocks really cry out, or will the flowers sing praises to God?  I’m sure they will.  Can you imagine a field of the most beautiful flowers singing out to their Creator? Maybe we will all have our own type of heaven, by God giving to us things that compliment our personalities. 

Of course we won’t know until then, but it brings me joy to imagine.

I know that our home is this foreign place is only temporary and someday I will be free from pain and sorrow and the evil things of this world.  But until then, I wait with patient endurance.

It Is Well with My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

A Cure for My Indifference

February 3, 2009

 

A short time ago I had a fairly deep conversation with my sister-in-law and she said something that resonated with me deeply.  Although, at the time I didn’t feel it applied to me.  

A few days later I was driving and voicing my ongoing indifference over a particular issue in my life.  Even though I had been sincerely grieved over my feelings, or lack thereof, I knew I was powerless to change them without God’s help.  My insightful fifteen-year-old looked at me a repeated the words my SIL had spoken that day, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Whoa.  Who knew she was listening.  

I always appreciate being humbled by my children. 

And then the phone rang.

A dying man called my house looking for another girl that used to work at the local hospital with the same last name.  He was calling her to say goodbye, but he found me instead.

I politely asked him his situation, which was grim.  He told me the story and I encouraged him to find his friend and not to give up looking for her.  Then I asked him if I could pray with him.  He seemed genuinely pleased and concluded that God had him dial my number for a reason.  I concluded the same thing.

I prayed and then I asked him if he knew Jesus.  He told me that long ago he was a spirit filled Christian, but he had backslidden many years ago.  I encouraged him to call again if he wanted me to pray with him, or if he just needed an ear.

In the midst of it, my heart softened and I was humbled that God would use me in the midst of the struggle with my own sin.   Sometimes it is hard to see the value God places on me, even when He and I both I know I am not pleasing Him with my actions.   I praise God for His mercy; I would’ve kicked me to the curb by now. 

Peace Within

October 16, 2008

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Thank you for your prayers; they meant a lot.  God brought us through this terrifying day and I’m finding that God really wants good for us and not evil.  That seems so simple; like I should have it down by now – ingrained somewhere deep within, but I don’t yet.   I am a bit cynical from living a very difficult life and seem to always be looking for the boogieman behind every corner. 

I’m sure this all sounds like mumbo jumbo right now, but when I can share more, you will understand.  For now I have peace and that is all I really ever needed.  It’s not over yet and I don’t know if it will ever be, but I have my eyes set in the right place.

 

Rail Road Crossing – Danger Ahead

October 8, 2008

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The lights on the rail road crossing sign serve as a warning to protect us when we might not be paying attention to where we are going.  To stop us from driving onto the tracks when there is an oncoming train.  Two weeks ago, I received a warning.  I didn’t see it as a warning, I just viewed it as one more tragic event in our lives.

However, God is there to watch over us and I needed a reminder that sometimes bad things happen, so He can protect us from harm.  However, it can be hard to see the end result, when the details seem so grim.  When your life is already so filled with chaos and you cannot imagine why one more thing is taking place.

I thank you all for your prayers.  We made it through today and God met me at the door and gave me grace to step through it.  Yesterday, I couldn’t eat and terror filled me.  The thought of facing today was worse than anything I could have imagined.  And then God sent someone that spoke words to me, that instantaneously calmed my fears.  He knew just what I needed and when.  I had the grace today and was not even one tiny bit nervous.  That is God’s hand for sure.

Now, in the midst of this storm, God has given me a good thing.  The timing of all these events just makes me laugh, but God has made it possible for me to go to a photography workshop at a hotel a couple of hours away for three days.  I am going away alone for the first time in my life and although it is a bit frightening, I know that this is time for me to rejuvenate and rest.  Just what I needed.  I am in awe that He gave this to me during such a time as this.  All I can think about is…big bed and room service.  

Thank you all for your prayers and support.   You are all as much my friends as anyone I know in person. 

Photo by Sarah

Pretty Pictures Do Not Always Tell A Story

October 6, 2008

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I wish I could tell you a story behind this photo, but I can’t.  We have been hit with another trial, one I can’t talk about, but it is very serious and involves my youngest child.  I am having trouble focusing on God’s faithfulness through it.  All I can see is the storm and the waves tossing us about.  I can’t eat.  I can’t focus.  I am scared to death.  I want to crawl into bed and not wake up tomorrow.

I want this photo to be all there is….no trial, no storm, just a pretty picture, yet here we are again.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but your prayers are greatly needed.