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Two Weeks In

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When a heart breaks, no it don’t break even…

-The Script

I cleaned like I lived there again.  The echoes of the girls’ voices as they played in empty rooms was unnerving. I kept cleaning. Every room holds a memory. Even as I cleaned the bathroom, I thought about all the baths I gave the girls in that tub. Sometimes I jut threw them in, closed the shower curtain, and sat on the toilet seat playing sudoku on my phone. It was nice to just listen to them in there. I’m not sure I said 10 words to them until about 2 hours in when I finally decided to ask Big Love if she missed the “old” house. I was kind of relieved when she said no.

I think people so often have a misconceived idea about broken relationships. It’s so easy to think that it’s like the movies because where would the writers get their ideas from if not from real life, right? The truth is it’s not like the movies. The truth is that even the person that makes the decision to leave is heartbroken, quite possibly even more so than the other half.  It’s not always this big relief.  In some ways, yes, but in a lot of ways no.  The truth is that, while most days I’m fine, there are ones that release wave after wave of emotions of all kinds, thoughts of all kinds, and on those days, it’s so hard to keep it together.  In fact, I usually don’t.

I look at all the heartache and hardships this decision has cost…not just me, but The Husband, my family, even my friends (kudos to my awesome friends, by the way, for sticking with me so well! I love you!).  And sometimes it’s hard to continue to say this was the right decision.  All the other chaos makes it look like it’s not.  But The Husband noticed Big Love’s dimples were showing again when she visited, something he hadn’t seen in a long time.  I’ve missed those dimples too.  I could see the heartache in him when he told me.  He had a bad day.  Just like me.  So the truth is that, the heart really doesn’t break even.  It’s not one-sided, and it’s not always a clean break.  The relationship is still a relationship.  It’s just different.  And it’s just as complicated as it was (if not more so) than before the heartbreak.  And despite all of that, I can still sift through all the pain, heartache, all the burdensome weight that sits on my chest, all the missing and reminiscing, all the memories… and  maintain that it was the right decision.  Sometimes it just takes a while for all the sand to settle…

White Horse

Say you’re sorry
That face of an angel comes out
Just when you need it to
As I pace back and forth all this time
‘Cause I honestly believed in you
Holding on,
The days drag on
Stupid girl
I should have known, I should have known

That I’m not a princess
This ain’t a fairytale
I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet
Lead her up the stairwell
This ain’t Hollywood,
This is a small town
I was a dreamer before you went and let me down
Now its too late for you and your White Horse,
To come around.

I’m not your princess
This ain’t our fairytale
I’m gonna find someone, someday
Who might actually treat me well.

- Taylor Swift “White Horse”

Sneak Peek {Family} Williams + Grandkids

Surely your all remember this family by now!  This is the third time in less than 6 months that I’ve had the honor of photographing them!  This time we brought in the grandparents of these wonderful kids.  Reverend Williams was my childhood pastor and Mrs. Williams was one of my English teachers in high school (the best one I ever had…ahem.  Do I get brownie points now?)  ;-)  This is just such a wonderful family!  Thank you again Styers, Collier, and Williams family for giving me the privilege of being your photographer!

Beach Fever

“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

–Jacques Cousteau

This is my sweetheart.  I’m so proud of him.  This picture is of him after he wiped out (finally) on the boogie board.  It’s also the very first time he has actually gone out into the ocean past the surf.  You see, my husband is English.  They don’t do ocean like we do here.  And he’s not a great swimmer either.  He rocked that boogie board for almost 2 hours!  Until, that is, he messed with the wrong wave.  I’m sure he’ll be back out there later this week :-)

This is also the very first time I’ve entered an I Heart Faces photo challenge!  I’ve followed I Heart Faces for a really long time now…almost since they first began!  But I’ve never had the nerve to enter.  What can I say?  I’m feeling gutsy!

WRAL Viewers!

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I’m so thankful you stopped by my blog! Feel free to check out my work at http://www.lizcooper.smugmug.com or contact me via email at ladyrose@nc.rr.com for pricing and availability!

I am doing a few more portfolio building photo sessions so that I can start a website, and I need people!! :-)  If you live in or around the Louisburg, Wake Forest, North Raleigh area, please read below for what I’m offering.

FREE Couples Photo Session

This is for dating or newly engaged couples!

HALF PRICE Glamour Session

This is for women who are interested in having glamour photos done.  They could be for personal use or for a spouse or mate!  You would have your hair and makeup done and we would discuss high fashion looks that represent your style.

REDUCED PRICE Maternity Session

This is for the woman only.  This session takes place when the woman is around 8-8.5 months pregnant.

REDUCED PRICE Infant Session

These sessions typically take place when the baby is less than 2 weeks old.

Fresh Mommy Give Away!!

I love this blog! I read it regularly and find it uplifting and encouraging!  Not only is Tabitha a great photographer and so obviously a great mommy and wife, but she is a follower of Christ and lives as such.  Her posts are always so positive and so full of life and if ever I’m having a bad day, I turn to her blog for a bright spot!  Well, she’s just had a sweet baby boy, but she has still found time to  blog and to offer this fantastic skin care give away from SkinCareRX!  I love excellent skin care products but can rarely afford even to shop for them at Wal Mart much less some place nicer!  Her give away is for $150 gift card to SkinCareRX to buy anything your heart (or skin) desires!  And while you’re entering, you should check out the rest of her blog because it (and she) certainly rocks!!

ps.  I would love to have cute little buttons that link you back to the different websites, but I have yet to figure out how to do that on wordpress.

Another Valentine’s To Remember

I should have written this yesterday, but I simply didn’t have time. If you recap last year’s Valentines for my family (HERE and HERE), my husband and I were separated…but not apart. We were in the middle of a reconciliation.  We were in the throes of a dark night that had been pitch black for so very long, and we were just starting to see the light.

Well, this year we are together…happily. It’s been yet another rough year, but progressively better. Bloke and I are (I can’t believe I can say this) happily married! We see the steps God has taken to get us to where we are. We feel more bonded as a couple than I think we even did when we first got married. When I had lost just about every ounce of love I had for my husband, God took what was at the bottom of the barrel and turned it into full-fledged love. The slate actually does feel clean.

The pastor at the church we are visiting preached the Transfiguration sermon yesterday (see Luke 9:28-36).  It was such a touching sermon for Bloke and I because it not only talked about the transfiguration of Jesus but the hope the disciples had afterward.  There was something to cling to.  Hope has been a recurring theme in our lives as a couple and as a family.  The pastor said, “There is a dawn that follows every darkness.”  God made this true.  There is no day without night and vice versa.  Bloke and I (along with our extended family and even friends) have been through a long, long night, and we so hope that God does not want us to endure that particular one again.  I think I can say, however, that morning has broken – or is breaking – on a new dawn for us.  I really do feel like it is a new marriage, a complete family, and a new love.

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

The Grass is Always Greener…on the Other Side of the Septic Tank

I am incredibly disdainful of this phrase and those like it. When people say that (even me sometimes) I cringe and think to myself how horrible it is to say something like that. I’ve always struggled with comparing myself, my life, my husband, my everything basically, to other people. My parents can attest to it. Even as a child I strove to do as well, be as well, and look as well as others. The struggle isn’t as great now, but it still rears its ugly head at times when I’m not expecting it to.

I think one of the reasons I hate the above mentioned phrase so much is because for me, the grass usually is greener on the other side of the fence. It’s not a septic tank. I understand that everyone has problems. I understand that I could never truly know their burdens, their issues, their struggles…even if they told me about them. Unless I’ve experienced them I cannot truly feel what they feel. However, for most of my friends, I’d certainly walk a day in their shoes. I know they have problems, but to me, they aren’t as bad as mine. I mean that’s not to say that everything in my life is horrible right now. It’s not at all! We’re actually having good times as a family. It’s just to say that there aren’t many people I know that I can say, “I wouldn’t trade with them in a million years.”

I don’t want to trade the people in my family or in my life. I don’t want you all to think I may be coveting in that way…ahem. It’s their decisions, the financial aspects of their lives, or even their possessions. I think, “well, if we had made decisions like they did, we’d be where they are or better right now.” I know. I recognize how horrible that sounds. I’m aware of the green-eyed monster that pops out. But it especially pops out when someone mentions “that phrase” shall we call it.

I am so very thankful for what we have. We have a home. We have more than our basic needs provided for. We have four healthy and alive people living in our home and lots of healthy and alive extended family members (aka mom and dad and grandparents). We have a car. My husband has a job. I’m thankful. Really I am. I’m just thankful and envious. Can you be those at the same time?

Well, today, this week even, that’s what I have been struggling with….the fact that I don’t know anyone that lives in a septic tank.  I know lots of people who live on the other side of the fence, and the grass is pretty green.  So for those of you who might mention that phrase, please think first.  Comparison generally leads to envy or even jealousy.  It’s a struggle for many…maybe even most.

“Love sees sharply, hatred sees even more sharp, but Jealousy sees the sharpest for it is love and hate at the same time”

Arab Proverb

Small Town Girl

I grew up in a small town. I learned to drive in a small town. I went to school in one and learned to kiss in one. I learned how to get into trouble in a small town. I spent my whole life trying to get out of this very small town…this very one that I’m in right now.

And when I graduated from high school, I did. I left. Only to return and go and return and go and return again. After 27 years, I have learned to love my small town – the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s interesting, though, to see where my peers ended up and what they have ended up doing.

It seems growing up, there were kids in my small town that seemed to know who they were from birth. They didn’t need to find themselves. They knew who they wanted to be, had their own style, their own way. If they wanted to leave, they did. If they wanted to stay (or return) they did that also. Some are still drifters just as they were in high school, hippies floating from place to place. Some are adventurers. Some are professionals. Some are still partyers. Some have kids and aren’t married. Some have kids and are. Some have no kids and are not married. Some have even died. In the 10 years that we have been out of high school, the people that were in my class are really no different. The town that I grew up in is still small and not too much different than it was before I left. The ones who knew exactly who they were, still do.

Yes, we’ve aged, matured even. But I know that I still don’t know who I am or what I want to be. I know that I still wouldn’t fit in in any one clique. I know that I still compare myself to others and that my confidence (while at least now it does exist) often wanes. When I graduated from high school I couldn’t leave dust trails fast enough. I just couldn’t get out of this wretched town fast enough. I was destined to be a professional city girl. I know now that that is not my path. I’m a small town girl. I love knowing everyone. I love them knowing me. I love that if I’m in trouble, I have people who are willing to help. Our community will pull together. I love that my family is here. My memories are here – good and bad. My life was built here. I know every inch of this small town, every crack in the sidewalk, every cross in the road. It’s cozy and comfortable and safe…well, for the most part. I want to travel the world some day. I want to have opportunities to see things and do things and for our children to too. But I think, wherever we land, if it’s not in this same small town, I will always want to live in a small town where the families are tight knit and the stores are close by, where the tractors roam, and where the dogs can run free, where the post office is within walking distance, and where my family will be.

Each year that goes by is one less year that I have to figure this life out, one less year to really figure me out. So, at the very least, while I may still not know who I am, what I’m doing, or where I’m going, I do know where I am and that for right now at least, I am a small town girl. Here’s to another year of….figuring things out.

Joy After Christmas

1 When the LORD brought back the captives to [a] Zion,
we were like men who dreamed. [b]

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”

3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, [c] O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.

5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.

6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.

Psalm 126

After Christmas, I am generally overwhelmed by how I feel. It’s like a trapeze artist swinging from one trapeze to the next…how they feel in the middle. I wonder how I’m supposed to feel – sad that Christmas is over, happy that it was so blessed, ready and/or anxious about the new year? What do we feel? There’s a mourning in my heart when Christmas is over. For a few days out of the year, peace is prominent amongst many people. And after those few days are over, chaos begins again right where it left off. For a few days everything is right with my world (or at least I can pretend it is), and the joy of Christmas blinds me to my troubles. The thing about Christmas is that it does give us joy, joy in celebrating Christ’s birth, joy in giving to others, but that joy should continue throughout the year. We should always remember the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Surely if you do not believe in him as our Savior, you have been affected in some way by someone who does (hopefully, in a good way). That in itself produces some belief.

The pastor of our local church preached a wonderful sermon on the above Psalm yesterday. He said, “Joy is a matter of coming home.” Where is our joy after Christmas? We often live with the myth that joy is something to be obtained, and then life will be easier – it will be all downhill. But joy is something we should have no matter the circumstances and it should last…but it doesn’t. We have ups and downs.  We have anger and sorrow.  We stray from God’s grasp and are called home.

The pastor said that joy always involves going home and it always involves planting seeds. We often wait to plant seeds until we’re in the optimal position (emotionally, financially, etc.), but we should plant seeds in any position. In order to find our ultimate joy, though, and the capacity to sow seeds, we must go home. We know where the house is, but we don’t come home.  Planting seeds, forgetting about ourselves…that is where the joy is.  We absolutely cannot plant those seeds unless we go home to God.  I hope that  God calls me back to Him, that He will not ever let me stray too far from His grasp.  I hope that, like the captives in the psalm that I can sow in tears and in laughter and that I will reap great joy.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

Rabindranath Tagore

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