Saturday, April 6, 2024

Fun Summer Activity with Teens, Tweens and Littles

Every summer, we make tie-dye shirts. It's a great way to get in a creative state of mind, to have fun and enjoy together time with the kids.

First, we shop for shirts. Target is our go-to place to get white shirts. Currently, Goodfellow and Wild & Fable are our faves. 

Next, we grab Tulip tie-dye kits. I buy the 2-minute kits. It comes with 14 colors, rubber bands, plastic gloves, and 2 microwavable containers. I highly recommend this kit because it expedites hours and hours of waiting. All instructions are included and easy to follow for adults and kids. 

The results are quick with little wait time. Here are some of our shirts from summers past. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Relational Healing and Divorce Care

"DivorceCare is a divorce recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of separation and divorce."
(DivorceCare is a ministry of ©Church Initiative)

3 Pink Dots | I remember this day like it was yesterday. I took this picture with my iPhone on February 8, 2015. At the time, My boys and I lived with my parents in Cary, NC. Interesting and miraculous things have happened since this particular day. Life. God has placed on my heart to share my personal journey. Honestly, I have been VERY RELUCTANT. I am learning to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. While I totally get that social media is often about all the highlights of life, situations in life are not often pretty or good to us. But God is! So, I'm just doing what He is calling me to do. Here it goes...

Divorce Care. With the encouragement and suggestion from a friend I met at church, I began Divorce Care with my boys in August 2015. DC is a 13 week program that offers emotional and spiritual support for the family along with helpful information and suggested strategies toward prayerful healing. This wasn't a group that psychoanalyzed, judged, or condemned. This was a safe Christ-centered atmosphere. In my particular class, the leaders were married, but had been divorced prior and both went through and lead this program over a course of several years. They had known relational pain, seen relational pain and healed from relational pain. This unlikely couple smiled, welcomed, and thanked each participant for coming. All the while knowing where they were. They were humble people who had a heart for hurting people, people who had gone through what they had. They were pillars of strength that had fought relational battles and lived to share their stories.

First, they extended their sympathies that we were there at all. Half of the group had children in DC4K (DivorceCare4Kids). Initially, I was there because of my sons. My friend had talked up this program; she'd been through it a couple times with her kids. I wanted healing for my boys; I wanted them to have friends who could relate to what they were going through and to express it in a safe environment. Additionally, I was bound and determined not to be the bitter divorcée. I had already prayed up on not walking around with a cloud of rain over my head, nor did I want to wear the scarlet letter "D"...Nope! This was not going to be the end all say all of my story. God's got more in store. I knew if I really wanted healing for me and my boys, we had to walk through this. And boy, let me tell you, if someone told me ahead of time what I would encounter and uncover before I walked into that Divorce Care classroom, I wouldn't have believed you.

Thirteen weeks sounds like a huge commitment, but in all actuality, the knowledge you acquire is priceless. Choosing a healthy pathway for healing after divorce was a priority for me. I knew I wanted my boys and I to be covered with TRUTH. And I did not desire to succumb to distractions, or numbing self-medicated agents. That would not do. No, my boys deserve a happy Mom and I am the only one who can give that experience to them.

The stories you hear in Divorce Care are enough to make you want to suit up and go to battle for your fellow classmates. Tears and tears and lots of anger. Holy Moly. You really get a wave of everyone's emotional baggage. And to be fair, everyone has emotional baggage. It's not just people who are going through relational hardships. It takes a humble person who is self-aware to come to terms with that and to give grace to others who are ahead or behind in the journey. There are levels to grief and relational loss. We all discovered that we were not all in the same emotional boat, but we were all on the same body of water. Together. And Jesus was calling all of us out of our boats.

I'll leave it here for now. I'll be back though to share more about my personal healing journey.

Love is Life,

Karrie B

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Divorce Care | How I Spend Most Lunch Breaks

John wouldn't let me leave the house yesterday morning without my "Mom" bracelet that he made for me at Divorce Care. We searched all over and I finally found it in my gym bag, slipped it on and headed out the door to drop my boys off at school. He was wearing his too. John was happy; we matched. 
Schedules change unexpectedly sometimes. Work was not on my schedule yesterday, but my boss asked if I would come in to cover a few hours for a co-worker who had broken her foot. Of course, I said, I didn't even have to think about it. So, I finished my short workday and headed to my usual lunch spot. Super Target is conveniently located close to my workplace. More often than not, I spend my lunch breaks in the Starbucks Cafe. Because of the rush this morning, I forgot to pack anything to eat. I had an hour before I needed to be en route to pick up the boys from school. I grabbed the cheapest low-calorie sandwich I could find in the deli, picked up a few toiletry items and checked out. Lunch time is busy at the Starbucks Cafe, I like sitting by the window, which was vacant. I dropped my things and set up my little lunch...I couldn't stop staring at my bracelet. I smiled at it, remembering. 

Julian, John and I started Divorce Care in the fall of 2016, the year I deemed for healing. I first heard about Divorce Care through a friend I made in my lifegroup from church. She suggested Divorce Care and gave rave reviews about the curriculum covered in the 13 week course. Yes, it's a class that meets once a week for 13 weeks. Each week has a theme that is studied during the week on your own and then discussed in group at the meeting time. There was an adult class and a children's class, so the boys and I could talk about the theme during the week together. I'll use another post to describe our experience, but let me share that it wasn't was brave though. It was brave that the 3 of us took Divorce Care. It's a brave act to get help where you need it. It's brave to accept an invitation from a friend who has your best interest at heart. It's brave to talk about the circumstances that make you sad, or angry, or indifferent. Can I offer you this? Can I offer this encouragement to you?  If you have gone through a divorce or even a long-term cohabitation that ended in a breakup and you have children, consider seeking a church that offers Divorce Care. I didn't know how much we needed it until we started going. I didn't know how much we needed to talk about until we started this class. Divorce Care gives you the strategies and the Godly-wisdom to travel this broken road. It's not a magical class that will suddenly heal you and make the feelings you don't want to feel go away, but Divorce Care proved to be a needed tool to help us along this path. We learned so much, the boys and I. Divorce Care was such a valuable experience, though difficult, I would even venture to take the class again. Whatever is brave, say so. Whatever is lovely or praiseworthy, share it. Whatever is helpful and wise, extend it. I love my "Mom" bracelet; I'm so thankful for this little reminder of a good decision we made while traveling a difficult road. 

God is Good. Love is Life.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Piedmont Park | Engagement Session & Sequential Photography

Saturday, I met Jenna and Jason at Piedmont Park for their engagement session. Even though we were freezing our tushies off, the lighting was lovely. Walking through the park, I had a few random thoughts that I shared with the love-birds: 

1. "This is the 3rd time I've shot an engagement session in Piedmont Park."
2. "I wish the park had a hot beverage cart to grab something to warm us up."
3. "There are a lot of photographers here today!"

What's pretty cool about the area is that the artists are respectful of each other's time and space.
This little lookout spot at the park was occupied by a photographer when we walked up. Another photographer was already waiting in the spot for a proposal session. And yet another photographer used the spot for a magazine shoot complete with model, lighting and makeup artist.
 Jenna & Jason braved the cold with me. Just as we were walking up the steps to head to our next location, another photographer was waiting behind. 
Saturday evening was quite a busy photo day at Piedmont Park.

Look at them enjoying each other. It's almost like I'm not here. You can feel the love, am I right?!
I love love love sequential photography. 

Oh, this is not Jenna & Jason's official engagement session blog post. This is just me signing on real quick to say I'm here; I'm creating and working on the things that I love.

God is Good. Love if Life.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Post Holiday | Merry Christmas & Happy 2018

Did you receive our Christmas Card? If not, here is yours. And before you think to yourself, wait! Why aren't you in it? I assure you; I am! Zoom in real close and you can see my reflection in John's sunglasses. Clever, eh?! I thought so. Actually, catching myself in the reflection was a happy accident. My boys are WAY cuter than good ole' mom anyway.

 I was super stoked about venturing out to update my boys' pictures. We drove into Atlanta and made several stops from East Lake to Kirkwood. Krispie Kreme was our breakfast stop and also served as bribery for my little men to cooperate in front of my camera. They had more fun than they'll admit and they laughed so hard at some of the outtakes. The guitar and drum sticks aren't just props though. For their birthdays, which are both in the spring, Julian and John started music lessons. A few years ago I decided I wanted to invest in experiences that would create memories for them instead of buying toys and things they'd get bored with and grow out of.  They each chose the instrument they wanted to learn. Julian wanted to learn the guitar and John, the drums. Both of them love Beastie Boys specifically and rock music in general. THEY ARE MINE (insert praise hands)! As their Mom, it has been rewarding for me to watch them learn something they enjoy. Connecting with them through this experience has brought us closer. Music has given us a new set of topics to talk about on the way to school. Listening to music together has opened a new door for better communication because we are sharing this commonality, this respect for music. Having something to relate to with my boys has grown our relationship. I am so thankful.

More about the past year...

Below, is the product of an art making experience that I took part in September, 2017, 30 Days of Bible Lettering. I thought it was appropriate to sketch out a quick watercolor of my first place to correlate with this particular verse. You read that right, my first place. With the compassionate and patient help of my dear friend, Gwen, I signed a lease and moved into my very first place. This happened with some kicking, screaming, crying and all out reluctance. I didn't want to rent; I wanted to buy. I had just spent a whole year painstakingly researching and looking and looking, almost (SUPER-SCARY-CLOSE) to purchasing 2 places. I'm glad those places didn't work out, more on this part of the story in another blog post. We, my boys and I, are happy in our little place that may not look like much from the outside compared to where we had been living with my parents, but it is ours. We are learning to live grateful. Living grateful is a process. 

In 2017, I pursued love with abandon. I chased dreams, sold my art, passed a difficult exam, traveled. I became independent. I sought counseling. I spent intentional time with God, my sons and family. 
I did much needed Heart-Work...and the Heart-Work is HARD WORK! All things to be thankful for. Before you are tempted to assume how great all this sounds, 2017 proved to be a year of mountain highs and valley lows. Well, valleys can be very pretty and have great views of the mountains. So maybe it would be more appropriate to say, ditch lows, or miry pit lows. Intentionally leaving you hanging here..

I'll end this post with our Christmas Card, but will be back to smooth out some of these life-clumps I've sporadically plopped here and there. Not that I owe an explanation, nor do I intend to divulge every detail. As a woman seeking truth in love, I have discovered that it helps a whole lot when another human being can relate to your trials in the midst of others' public celebrations and seemingly victory-filled lives. Discovering that there's so much more to the story than the various posts on Facebook and the tiny squares on Instagram, is not only encouraging to the heart that fights daily battles, but is also essential to understanding the reasons behind what people do and why they do it. These stories, the ones behind the pretty pictures and eloquent words are imperative to a honest perspective of one's life. 

God is Good. Love is Life.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy 2018 | New Year, Homemade Soup and The Quest

Today is my day off. I don't get many of these. The weather is super cold and calls for homemade soup. My boys seem to be hungry every other hour these days. Quick meals that I don't have to pay much attention to are ideal. I want to be able to throw the ingredients in and continue with my day, currently my best attempt at being productive. So, Italian Meatball Soup (recipe below) is what I'm serving for lunch. The boys love this soup and often have second and third helpings.

John hiding under his baby quilt. Bless him. 

I'm in the process of doing a few things right now. One being taking down Christmas decorations and the tree (insert sad face). We like the real trees because it makes the house smell good. The status of our tree is now bare and stiff. I chucked it outside, hoping that the garbage men will take it tomorrow. (Update: they did not take the tree. Hmmm...)

Julian is such a good helper, especially when he saves me from going dizzy while walking around and around this tree ten times to wind up the string lights. 

Excuse the low resolution iPhone image. Our ornaments from our big and little trees. 

Italian Meatball Soup: 

- 4 cups of chicken broth

- 24 oz. jar of pasta sauce (I used 3 cups of my leftover spaghetti sauce. I always make big batches 
                                           and freeze.)

- 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables

- 1 cup of mini pasta of your choice (I used half small shells and half datellini)

- 12 frozen fully cooked meatballs (I use turkey meatballs)

1. Combine and boil broth and spaghetti sauce. 

2. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients. Boil on medium-high for about 10 minutes.

3. Serve with Parmesan or shredded cheese.

4. Enjoy!

Now, on to The Quest. I haven't written or shared here on the blog in a long while. My plan is change that this year. Recently, I posted on my Instagram feed about a reading plan by Beth Moore called The Quest. This is just a shortened version of her 6 session Bible Study. If you ever have the opportunity to take part in a Beth Moore Bible Study, please take advantage of that opportunity. She KNOWS how to dig deep in the Word of God and make it relatable. The Spirit just speaks through her. Today is the first day of the reading plan. This study was written to encourage dialogue with God and to grow in intimacy with Him. Beth Moore uses questions to lead this conversation with God. So, what questions have you had for God? Have you felt comfortable giving those questions a voice? How about waiting for or even seeking the answer to your questions? Five questions are posed for today's reflection:

1. Where are you? (Genesis 3:9)
2. Who Told you that? (Genesis 3:11)
3. What are you seeking? (John 1:38)
4. Why are you afraid? ( Matthew 8:26)
5. How much more...? (Luke 11:13)

She warns: "The effects of this excursion will not exceed your honesty. They will go exactly as deep as you are true. Nothing is off limits except dishonesty." So, how HONEST have you been with yourself? About WHERE you are, whether in circumstance or location? Maybe your location is the predicament? Maybe your spiritual health is failing, maybe your attitude is? Be honest about the evaluation of yourself (Romans 12:3). She encourages honesty with God because He already knows. Try not to point fingers blaming someone else for where you are. That's difficult isn't it? It causes us to look inward at our own hearts, decisions we've made. This is, after all, where everything flows from, the condition of our hearts. Our words, our thoughts, our actions and our beliefs. If our hearts are in turmoil, everything else in our life will be too. Only LOVE can save us. 
The question that really stood out to me during today's reading was, "WHO told you that?". 
Close your eyes and imagine God is siting across the table from you with His hands lovingly placed on top of yours. He has just asked you these do you respond to Him? Where do you start? Wherever it is you remember when things went wrong or turned in a tumultuous direction. Try starting there. HOW did you end up here, in the wilderness, angry, riddled with anxiety, wondering where your help is. Your Help is right there with you. He is listening to you answer His question and He wants to respond to you with His Truth. 
The only way to combat lies is with truth. The only way to penetrate darkness is with light. What do you have to lose? Start answering the questions and then be ready to hear His answer. Ask Him to clear your mind of opposing thoughts that threaten to distract you from intimacy with Him. 

Who usually spreads lies, deceives, manipulates, accuses and confuses?

I have to remember WHO God is and WHO I am in Him. Then, I have to remind myself that the enemy disguises himself as an angel of light; he is a master at counterfeiting. He can make a lie look like a truth. He can make a really bad decision look good or feel good. Scary. We can have discernment to know the difference when we daily walk in love with God. While honesty is at the table here, there was a time when I was completely blinded by the control that the spiritual chameleon had in my life. Above, I wrote down the places where he has accused and deceived. The Lord knows that I have been duped a time or two, or fifty, or more...and the accuser goes before God reminding Him what a mess up we are. THANK YOU JESUS, when we are in Christ, 
He remembers our sin NO MORE. He looks down on us and sees the blood of Jesus. My name is engraved in the palm of His Hands. Thank you, Lord. I love you.
Intimacy with God is so important to our souls that our thought life depends on it and vice versa.
 Knowing truth reminds us that we are not hopeless or helpless, that we are redeemed, that grace is poured over our heads (Psalm 23:5) and God's banner of love is over us (Song of Solomon 2:4). Luke 8:17 promises us that we can be sure that anything that is done in the dark, any secret, any wrong doing will be brought to the light. It will be revealed. James 1:5 says that when we ask God to give us wisdom, He gives generously! God is LIGHT (1 John 1:5) there is NO darkness in Him. 
Lord, remind me who I am to you. You are so faithful (Psalm 117:2).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Atlanta Lifestyle Photographer | BOOKING NOW! Christmas Card Sessions

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! Can you believe it? That means Season's Greetings will begin to fill our mailboxes. I would love to capture you and your loved ones for your Holiday Tidings! I have limited availability, contact me so that we can schedule your session. Looking forward to hearing from you. 

Karrie B Fine Art
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