What are you going to DO about it?

>> April 26, 2009

This is the book I am currently reading...

If you're looking for a good non-fiction / Christian Living book to read, I recommend this one.

God has been challenging me in the way I live out Christianity.
This change in me started awhile ago, but I really got that "what are you going to DO about it" question from God when I was reading Crazy Love.
During that time, God gave me vision for one way He wanted me to "do something."
I have been working on my part of bringing that vision to fruition and trusting God for His part.
And He is definitely showing me that I heard Him correctly as He is already providing what I need to do my part. So I continue to take one step at a time in this.

And ever since I sensed His nudging when I was reading Crazy Love, everywhere I turn, every person I talk to, every book I read, every speaker I hear just reiterates what I sensed. I LOVE how God confirms what He tells me so that I can't doubt His leading in my life.

Fast forward to this new book I am reading...
Do you ever read something and get chills because God is confirming something in you?
I started reading this book on the way home from Catalyst and couldn't even get past the forward without that sensation. I had to read it out loud to those who were in the car with me.
Here is part of that forward (written by John Ortberg):

"The prophet Micah said a long time ago that the devine requirements for human life are not rocket science. Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before your God. Worship is the humble walk. It is the knee-buckling, jaw-dropping acknowledgment of the gap between the creature and the Creator, the finite and the Infinite, the sinful and the Holy. It is the heart-rending, spirit-mending
gratitude and joy of those who have tasted the wonder that words like redemption can only hint at.

But apart from doing justice and loving mercy, worship means no more than a child's "thank you" means if it is accompanied with a selfish unwillingness to share what she claims to be thankful for."

It is time for God's church to start doing what Jesus did - to get their hands dirty. It has become too easy to ignore the part of Micah about doing justice and loving mercy (or at least only considering that part as long as it doesn't make us uncomfortable), even the walking humbly part is conditional in so many people who say they are Christians. We care too much about ourselves and our comfort.

Bruce and I went to Catalyst last week. I haven't even fully finished absorbing all that I heard and that God did in me. Maybe I will have more to share as I wrap myself more around it. God definitely used the conference to reconfirm what He is doing in me. He also used it to make that vision larger. So those are my thoughts for now.

I want to leave you with my favorite video clip from Catalyst. This clip came from Mosaic church and was the opener for Erwin McManus - who's point was that Jesus died so we could live our most heroic life for Christ. Enjoy! (I know this is a long post so if you don't have time, come back when you do have time. It lasts about 5 1/2 mins.)


Jump rope extravaganza...

>> April 14, 2009

I got an email today to watch this video I posted.
These girls are amazing.


Uncle Brent and Aunt Gina

>> April 8, 2009

We got to go visit family last week.
Brent (Bruce's brother) and Gina got married last October and recently bought a new home. This was the first time we got to go to their new house.
We had a really great time.
They have a beautiful new home.
We are soooo happy for them.

This was a favorite feature of the new backyard...

Molly LOVED the jacuzzi. This makes me even more excited for summer to get here.
The boys braved the pool, but it was tooooo cold for everyone else.

Check out this visitor that was watching the fun. I wish I'd had the zoom lens with me.

Thanks Brent and Gina for a great day!


New design and photoblog

>> April 6, 2009

Well I finally got around to customizing my blog.
What do you think?
And for those of you who have been asking Bruce and I to start a photoblog, I finally did it.
You can visit it here.
Two blog designs in one evening.
Can you tell I didn't have all of my kids at home?


Achieving the look of a tilt-shift lens using Photoshop

>> April 5, 2009

I first came to love the effects that can be created by a tilt-shift lens or a lensbaby reading this blog. Of course a tilt-shift lens is expensive (what great lens isn't?). So I decided to play around in photoshop to find a way to accomplish this look in post-production. I found that there is a whole community out there doing this, trying to make images that look like miniatures. And there were many tutorials on how to do it, but I didn't want my images to look like miniatures and I obviously didn't have the right version of Photoshop for most of the tutorials I did read. Because they required me to work in 2 different masking modes, which I couldn't find in my version. So I got ideas from the tutorials and started trying different things myself.
This is the tutorial that came from my playing around in Photoshop.
I finally wrote it out to enter a contest to win this. (The tutorial I entered wasn't as thorough because I was limited to 350 word and 3 pictures.)
I probably won't win, but I loved the challenge of actually putting my work into words, so I went for it.

So here is how to do it:

After you open your image…

(My original image)

Create a new layer that is a copy of the image.
To do this, either go to Layer – then Duplicate Layer. Or you can, in the layers palette, drag the original background image to the create a new layer button.

Screen Shot 2
Or you can use the key command Ctrl-J.

Then, on the background copy layer, click on the add layer mask button in the layers palette.

Screen Shot 1

Next, get the gradient tool. Click on radial gradient in your gradient options.
Make sure you are still in the background copy layer and that the mask box (see image above) is called out. Click on the center point of the area you want to keep in focus and drag out as far as you want the focal point to go. If your gradient selection went from white to black, your mask box will show a white circle. If your gradient went from black to white, your mask box will show a black circle. It is important to be aware of this for the next step.

Screen Shot 3
Now, click on the image box of the new layer. You will no longer be working in the mask box.

Screen Shot 5

Go to filter – blur – lens blur.
In the lens blur dialog box, make adjustments until you get the affect you want.
In the depth map section, make sure the Layer mask is called out in the source drop down box. And if you had a black circle in your mask box you need to make sure you click the box next to invert.


Click ok when you have the results you want.

If your image needs some fine tuning, select the paintbrush tool. Click on the mask box. Set the foreground color to black if you want to make a portion of your image in focus again, or white if you want to blur more and paint away.
Also, you can adjust the opacity of your brush to vary the amount of the effect to make it look more authentic.
When your done, flatten image (in the layers drop down list) and save.

This is what the final image looked like when I was done...



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