Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What do you believe...and do you know why?

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For as long as I can remember I've been an opinionated person.  Growing up I had an opinion about absolutely everything - most often it was an opinion or belief that I picked up from somewhere else, i.e. someone I admired, a famous person, church, friends, even my parents.  Now that is not all bad -- after all, that is how we learn early on.  Yet there were things that happened in my life growing up that challenged some of my opinions, sometimes causing me to question something altogether.  Those challenges were growing times, because rather than becoming stubborn and standing on "it's my right to have this opinion" I had to expand and learn exactly what my opinion or belief was based on.  There were even some of those early opinions or beliefs that once I really studied into and couldn't find a basis for them, I changed my stance altogether.  As we grow up we should have a basis for our opinions and beliefs that is a lot deeper than "well so-and-so said it was this way so that's what my opinion should be."  

As a parent, when my children were little I would teach them things...things such as right and wrong, good and bad.  And I tried to stay with the facts.  But then they were also learning from my opinions and beliefs... religiously, politically and just about things with life in general.  Yet as they got old enough to understand and question, I always encouraged them to KNOW what they believed and WHY they believed in it.  I didn't want the basis of their belief to be because it was what my parents taught me.  So they were challenged to learn and study on their own.  To read the news articles, study history, and look at the facts about politics and make their own decision about what they feel it fair and unfair, right and wrong... and just where they stand on their views.  And just the same, they were challenged to learn and know the Bible and see WHAT and WHY they believe what they say they believe.  Most importantly, they were challenged to know the WHO they said they believed in.

Now I have friends in my life who believe all kinds of things, and some of those I just really do not support the same beliefs.  I love those friends -- would do just about anything for them.  But that doesn't change that I truly believe they are investing their life believing in the wrong things... following the wrong god.  And I pray that my life, and the love that I try to show through my life, will touch their heart and cause them to question if maybe there is something more than what they've been holding on to.  The simple fact is: just because someone chooses to believe something it doesn't make it right.  If there is not SUBSTANTIAL proof to back it up, then it may just be a selfish opinion.  I base my beliefs on the Bible in it's entirety.  It's really an "all or nothing" kind of thing, whether we like that or not!  So I can't decide that I will agree with my friends' stance on some things (homosexuality, adultery, cheating, lying, etc.) if in my heart I know that it's against WHAT I base my true beliefs on.  Otherwise, I would just be showing that I really don't believe what I say I do.  Does that make any sense?  But - does that mean that I can't truly love my friend?  Wow - not at all!  Some of my best friends have beliefs that I just cannot support... and I don't look down on them or feel sorry for them, but I do pray for them.  They may never choose to see anything in any way but how they want to see them - and that is their choice.  We all have a choice.  But I have to stand by what I say I believe in. 

What I can tell you, whether our opinions and beliefs are the same or completely different, is that contrary to popular and politically correct argument, there is just no way to argue away absolute truth.  We can NOT like that it is that way, but we can't make it go away.  The argument for relativism ends up proving itself wrong in the end.  

Whether you and I believe in the same things or are on different pages altogether, if you are someone I've called "friend" then you are a friend indeed.  Just know what you believe... and know why.  Make sure your why is a lot deeper than "it's just right for me" because that doesn't make a lot of sense in the end.  There are some pretty bad people out there in this world who believe in what they are doing... so have a better WHY than that. And know this: I would never do or say anything to hurt someone intentionally.  I believe we all have struggles, differences, hurts and experiences that no one else on this earth can ever understand... and we need to love one another through those time.  I simply challenge you to know where your beliefs come from and from what they are based. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Do you remember where you were?

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a little more about my life as a photographer...

Even to write this blog there is a sadness that overcomes me from that day ten years ago.  Exactly ten years ago we had no idea what was getting ready to hit our country... and our hearts and lives.  

But then came THE DAY... I remember my aunt & uncle were at the beach, and my husband was officially opening a new practice.  My kids had just gone back to school.  On THE DAY -- Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I had just arrived at Community Bible Study in Shelby, NC, and had just heard on the radio that a plane had hit the towers.  I was totally confused about what they were talking about, and couldn't gain an understanding from what they were saying.  I went inside and people were watching on the TV's.  I left and went to call my husband, and some of his staff who were at a training session in Charlotte were so confused about what was going on.  Businesses where panicking and shutting down, rumors that the airport and Bank of America in Charlotte were at risk of being attacked were rampant.  Rumors were running wild, and no one felt safe.  There was a sense of disarray as I had never felt before, and hoped to never feel again.  The feeling that life would never be as we had known it before that day overtook everything in you. And the churches immediately started opening their doors for people to come in and start praying.  My first thoughts as a Mother were the safety of my children, and I wanted to just get them out of school and huddle in a safe place with them, but I also knew they didn't need to be panicked and needed to feel safe and assured with their friends.  Then there was the multitude of phone calls - trying to locate everyone I loved so much and just hear their voice and make sure they were safe and ok.  And then there were the thoughts of "what is going on.... maybe this is just a bad and horrible dream..." - but it wasn't.  Another plane hit, and then a plane crashed... and another one hit the Pentagon.  We had moved to Shelby in 2000, and prior to that my husband had been in the Army.  We had friends who had moved to the DC area, and the husband was working at the Pentagon.  So then a new panic set in... and the calls to try to reach them and make sure they were ok started.  And the reality of the loss kept sinking in deeper all through the day.  The numbers being given on the TV were astronomical at first, and everyone had such a sick feeling inside.  Any number was too many... but what was being guessed at was overwhelming.  In your heart you knew life could never be the same.  And as the day ticked by slowly it seemed the outlook got worse and worse.  Families torn apart - some ended completely. Mothers giving birth as they were finding out their husband was no where to be found... and husbands finding out they no longer had a wife coming home.  Children losing parents, but also so very many parents losing their children that day.  It doesn't get easier to lose a child just because they are grown up... it's a thought I try not to ponder on for too long.  Then the day started coming to an end and darkness came... and with it the feeling of desperation and fear.  Crying and heartache, and so very much fear for what was going to happen.  Not feeling safe at any turn.  People piled into the high school auditorium for a community wide prayer group - and there was not an empty seat left.  People were lining up everywhere.  Churches were packed, and stayed open all night for people to keep praying.  Everyone wanted to feel as close to each other and as close to God as possible.  And sadly, in many minds we knew that wouldn't last either.  The night was long, and if you turned on the TV there was nothing to watch except the planes crashing into the Twin Towers... or photos of the wreckage, or the damage to the Pentagon... film of people walking around in the thick, dark ash - desperate and afraid.  And there was no way to find any peace through the night.  Sleep was not an easy thing to accomplish.  That was THE DAY that did change so many lives, and how I remember it -- and life as I knew it did change in so many ways.

That day ten years ago on September 11, 2001, will not be forgotten.  Sadly, I fear that some of the lessons that we learned have already been put aside, though.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A mother's love should be like no other....

Also visit my Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... a little more about my life as a photographer...

You know, too often we witness things in this life that are so impossible to understand.  Many times we just have to accept that this is not a perfect world, and bad things will happen.  Some things we have a choice about or an opportunity to offer some aid or support, and then sometimes it is just completely out of our hands.  But I'm not blogging about those types of situations right now.  What is pulling at my heart right now is extreme hurt as I watch a mother abandon and break the hearts and spirit of her children... and the realization that this is not the first time she has done this to a child's life, but the second.  Some years ago she left her child who was only 3-yrs-old... and she left and told many lies to cover that abandonment.  And sadly, it will be seen in the years to come the depth of the damage that was done to that sweet child who is now a teenager.  But now there are two more children, and again she has left for her own selfish reasons... something that would seem so foreign to many mothers, including myself.  

I was young when I had my first child... 21.  I know, there are many girls who have children in their teen years, but this was not a pregnancy that caught me by total surprise.  Yet especially by today's standards, 21 is very young.  That never occurred to me at the time.  I did grow up some with my children in those early years - I had three children, and was only 24 when I had my 3rd.  I look back and would not change a moment of any of it!  What I don't look back and have is regret, though, for ever wanting to abandon my children -- and certainly never following through with such a want.  Of course there were times I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally.... and there were times that I wondered if I would ever have a moment of quiet.  And any mother knows there are those days when you just want to escape for a moment - to remember what it's like for a day to be something about yourself!  But a Mother's love should be like no other love on this earth.  There is no room for selfishness or self-centeredness.  To look into the eyes of that child who adores you above anything in the world and trusts you implicitly makes it impossible for me to imagine how anyone could bring hurt into their life.  The cowards way is to blame it on hurts that were brought on our own life.  I am not a stranger to being hurt, but those hurts made me stronger and more determined that I would do whatever I could to shield my own children from having to suffer such things.  

My heart aches on this day... the heaviness that I feel deep in my heart for these children makes it impossible to stop my tears.  And I pray that those who are taking care of them will remind them every day that they are loved, and they are so special and that God has such a special plan for their lives.  And as they grow up that they will be reminded often that experiencing such hurt should teach them to be stronger and better than to ever hurt someone in such a way.  

It's sad that we have to apply for permits to build onto our homes or even to fish; we have to have a license to drive; we have to meet criteria to be accepted into colleges or even some groups... but anyone can become a parent whether they are capable and deserving -- or not.   

The pictures included in this blog are some of the sweet Mommy's I've had the honor of capturing moments of along their journey....
Small print:  **this is not intended to neglect the fact that fathers are equally as important as mothers -- or the fact that many fathers have or will abandon their children or their responsibility as a father.  Also, sadly, I realize that there are many very wonderful and deserving people who would be AWESOME parents, yet who cannot have children - and that breaks my heart.  This is simply a blog about a certain situation that has my heart in a bind.