Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light



This day’s ramblings

I feel normal again. I even feel…well, I think the word is happy. The sun is shining. The sky is blue with a few fluffy white clouds. I got my exercise in. I still need to clean my bathrooms and take a shower.

This evening I’ll do an engagement shoot for my friends. I’m so looking forward to that.

Today Good Friday will be celebrated all over the globe, then followed by Easter on Sunday.

As a child I remember watching Jesus die on the cross. I don’t remember which version of it was on tv, but I remember crying out and screaming, “Noooo!” My dad probably said something about it not being real and that it was a trick on tv, which I knew that. I also knew that Jesus was killed. Plain and simple. I remember my heart beating wildly and my chest feeling all tight. I don’t remember what I felt when he rose from the dead.

I remember sitting in the theater with Kelly watching The Passion of the Christ. I remember how my heart hurt for Mary, mother of Jesus. I wondered if she questioned God in this. While she was watching her child die, did she wonder what good could come of this? We don’t get to hear her side, but I am a mother and I know how much I love my son. She knew he was special, but I know my children belong to me just as much as Jesus belonged to Mary. I saw the tears of my husband. He remembered and encouraged us to never forget.

He forgot; sometimes I do, too.

As a child my mom would hide an easter basket somewhere. Our house was tiny so it didn’t take long to find. My kids have never had an easter basket. We usually go to our friend’s house with a few other families. In the past the daddies have hidden the eggs filled with candy and money. This year our bigger kids will do that. I can’t remember what we did for last year.

I think I’ll make lentil soup for dinner. I already have the sourdough bread to go with it.

I get to see my precious little friend Mikaiah today. I love her. Truly, I do. She and her parents [and a slew of others] are leaving our little community and it has me a little…well, a lot sad. I don’t like people leaving. Knowing that people are leaving makes me want to leave first. These are people whose hearts I’ve connected with and now I’m learning to connect with other hearts, but it’s always scary.


Choices in a blah day

A million choices come my way every single day. Little ones, big ones, medium ones. They never stop.

These past two days I have been so irritable and tired. Today I wanted to stay in bed, eat ice cream, and watch movies. I have no reason to be upset about anything. Things are good, for the most part.


5:00 a.m.- Alarm goes off. Do I choose snooze or not. I lie in the dark for 30 minutes talking to God about how horrible I feel sandwiched between thanking Him that His mercies are new every morning. I wonder, what does that look like. His mercies. How do we know if they’re old or new? Aren’t they all good cuz they’re all from Him?

5:37 a.m.- I turn on the light and grab my Bible. I can’t remember what I read, but I know I read something.

Time seems to move slow like molasses, but the next time I look at my watch it’s time for me to hop into the shower. The day goes on like that. Slow moving, yet time seems to speed up.

My bed calls and I ignore it.

My iCal calendar tells me what is scheduled. My list tells me what I need to be doing. My dishes and laundry cry out for my attention.

I bake 3 loaves of blueberry bread and 2 round loaves of sourdough bread. Frozen chicken goes into the crockpot for dinner tonight. Beans start boiling on the stove. I have no idea what I’m going to do for dinner.

I edit photos, check my negative balance again, moving like a snail, yet still moving forward.

I iChat, Skype, IM, and talk on the phone with Rachel. I keep telling her how much I want to lie down.

I tell a friend today that being alive takes too much energy today. I seriously feel like a going to bed. So tired and crabby.

I can’t even remember what I had for lunch, but I did have a good breakfast. Turkey bacon, baked potato, 2 fried eggs.

I take a nap, waking with a start at 1:37 p.m. I was supposed to meet with 2 friends at 1:30.

I rush out, leaving my sourdough to rise in loaves on the table. My house smells like chicken and bread.

We meet. We talk. We rush out into our own lives promising to pray for one another and hoping to check in before the week is over.

Have I said yet that I am tired. A million times today I’ve had to choose bed or moving forward. I’ve wanted to reach out to a friend today, but finding that it is better that I just keep close to Jesus. I would have preferred that I never had to see anybody today.

Kids come home. I hug them each in turn & ask about their day. One child comes to me; he’s had a bad day. Kids snack, play, snack, watch a video. That last one was for me. I needed some time for them to be contained so I could get some work done.

Darn. A photo not working out. Stress!!!! Ack!!! A solution. Not perfect, but still a solution.

Dinner. Burritos. Black beans, brown rice, chicken, cheese. Pretty normal food for around here. And well, maybe just one more piece of blueberry bread.

Every moment closer to my bed.

I end the day with watching a silly movie with Ireland and chatting with Christopher about the movie they watched at youth group.

All in all, not a bad day. I had one small breakdown.

Now, to bed and start all over again. All the while giving thanks always and asking Jesus to help me to smile at my children.


That’s how I feel today. I don’t know why.

Yesterday was a good day. In fact, it was a really good day.

I didn’t stay up too late. I didn’t sleep in too late, either. I just didn’t want to do anything. It was my day to meet with Traci & Tracy. I didn’t want to go, but I wasn’t able to make it last week and we had to talk about our Easter plans. I knew I’d feel better afterwards.

I did feel better.

Then I went to a parenting class called Cooperative Problem Solving. I think that will be challenging since I tend to be pretty inflexible, but obviously my lack of parenting skills needs some improvement. It was good.

Strange thing is that I’ve been mildly irritable and sort of feeling like running for the hills today. I haven’t blown up at the kids or yelled. I didn’t even have to make dinner tonight.

So why am I all down and slumpy?

{A commercial on Hulu just convinced me that I need a Kit Kat. I’m too lazy to go get one, but I totally believe them.}

So, why am I even writing? Probably because I want to post every day. I didn’t post yesterday, but I totally thought I did. I guess that’s because my days run together.

I know His mercies are new every morning. So, I will head to bed and expect something better tomorrow.


I learned something about myself today. I’m not sure if it’s a new realization or maybe just a deeper one.

Sometimes I’ll go along feeling perfectly confident in an area of my life. Not worrying about it at all, in fact, I’m even enjoying it. Then all it takes is for one person to question what I know to be true. Suddenly doubt and fear begin to prance about while the assuredness I once has retreats to the closet. I worry and get scared. I wonder if I’m just totally daft to believe what I do; to stand where I stand. Maybe everyone else is right and what I hear or perceive is dead wrong. Maybe my own heart is hidden from me so that I don’t even know what is in there. Maybe my brain has overridden the heart and now I need to listen to the heart.

I let these things sit and stir for awhile. I push them aside, but it’s impossible to contain them once they’re out there. Anger darts in and out of these thoughts. Mostly I pretend that none of it’s there until finally I sit straight up in bed and say aloud, “Ok. You wanna know what the problem is???”

Then guess what happens?

The tumultuous waters are no longer being stirred. They begin to settle. I can breathe again. My vision clears and my tense muscles relax. I know which way to face now.

Maybe I learned 2 things today:

  1.  Before actually listening to the other people I need to remind myself of the truth.
  2.  As long as I’m saturating myself in the Scriptures & praying then I can more confidently discern the truth from distraction.
  3. I think I just need to waffle up and put things in nice little brain boxes and not let the contents of each box mix with other boxes.

Yes, I realize that was 3.

I need to NOT listen to me. I need to look only to Him. To Walk with Him. Listen only to Him so that when other voices enter in I will recognize which ones are from Him.

Great Day!!!

Today has been really great. I am so exhausted that I don’t have much to say so I’m just going to post one of my favorite pictures from today.

This is my friend Tammy. She is compassionate and quick to laughter. She is sincere. She loves deeply and fully. I love how she loved me when I sat in her car crying telling her of my broken heart. I also love how she is not afraid to speak the truth and ask the hard questions.

She is getting married in a few months. I’ll be doing her engagement photos soon. I am so looking forward to that.

One Year Ago

Last year at this time I was lying on my couch hopped up on a variety of drugs.

My esophagus closed at that point where it meets my stomach and I wasn’t able to eat or drink for awhile. I had a few temporary dilations, but that did not work for long. This is a diagram of what my esophagus and stomach look like now.

Early on the morning of Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Rachel and I make our way to OHSU for my 5:30 a.m. check in. We leave Stayton super early getting to the hospital on time only to get stuck in the very first elevator we get in. It’s in the parking garage. It was unreal. All we could do was laugh. I was excited to actually get to use the phone. Only it was more of an intercom. I didn’t get to pick up a red emergency phone.

I, of course, had to model the hot hospital gown I was sporting. It’s so lovely that it’s so nice & airy. Isn’t it hot?

This is my last memory before heading into surgery. I was joyfully waving at Rachel. Little did I know that they had already drugged me. Oh, actually, I remember being put into an elevator & watching the doors close. I also remember thinking, “Wow, this is like a movie.” What I meant was that it was closing the curtain and that scene closing.

My first memory before upon waking up is feeling several hands on me holding me down and hearing someone say, “On a scale from 1 to 10 what is your pain level?” I’m moaning and telling them I don’t know. The pain didn’t actually register to me. I kept saying, “Do I have a catheter in??? I have to pee! REEEAAAALLLLYYY BAD!!! I do have a catheter, right?” They assured me that I had. They kept asking me about my pain level and I’m moaning, groaning, and thrashing around. Then I hear someone say, “Give her morphine, she’s still in pain.” I tried to tell them, “No, no, I’m fine” because I didn’t want morphine.

The next thing I remember is waking up to Rachel taking lovely photos of me! Isn’t that so sweet of her???

Hospital life was pretty good. I was pampered and my doctors were so very nice. They noticed that I had my Bible and talked about Jesus. They told me that they’re Christians, too. That was nice.

My first meal came and I was so very excited!!! It was dreamy!!!! Go ahead. Laugh, but I hadn’t eaten anything for a LONG time. Just liquids.

I continued to live off of juice for the next several weeks. I miss having a juicer now.

My life changed that day. I know it was just a little surgery, but the process was so incredible. The figuring out what was wrong, the recovery, all of it. It drew me closer to God, that’s for sure. In the year following this surgery I have learned of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and God’s abounding love toward me. It is a hard thing for me to accept, but I am beginning to see it more.

Only 2 days after coming home from the hospital I went to the memorial of  a woman I’ve never met, but I know her children. That group of people in that room honoring her inspired me. Her story of falling in love with her husband and the loving of her children is amazing. I see her smile in her daughter that I love dearly. I remember looking at all the yummy food that I couldn’t eat and sitting at a table full of laughter while I was in physical pain and thinking, “I want to be like this woman, Ginger” and feeling robbed of something because I didn’t ever know her.

I wonder what my life will be like a year from now?

Photography Journey

10:55 a.m.- At Slow Train studying Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I have so much to learn. I know more than I used to know, so that’s good. With my film SLR I took my photos on the green auto mode or all the little icon settings, but certainly didn’t branch out there on my own. Then I got a digital point and shoot. I remember the moment I began to figure out a setting that I now know was the exposure compensation button. We were at an old ship wreck on the northern coast. The sun was shining through the clouds in such a way that the rays seemed to be illuminating only the ship wreck. I stood there fiddling with buttons until the the picture on the LCD screen showed me what I saw in real life.

[I seem to have lost that picture in the masses of my photo library.]

Later that year in 2007 my friend, Cecelia, asked me to do her senior photos. I asked if she was sure. i used my little Kodak digital p&s and my Pentax film SLR. By this time I think I had Photoshop Elements 4 or 6 for the mac, but I didn’t realy know how to use it. My freind is from Africa and I’ve found that sometimes hwer skin tone had a strange oraang tint to it. I turned those hpotos into black & white.

Later on, another friend asked me to do her wedding photos in April of 2008. “Um, hello??? This thing on? I don’t know how to do a weedding. I’ve never done one before.” My friend understood that and believed I could do it. She asked me how much I’d charge her. What? Heck, I should pay you for trusting me with such a huge thing. I told her it would be my gift to her. I didn’t even have a digital SLR at the time. I didn’t know what I was going to do. They ended up paying me $300. I was so surprised. Fortunately I had my friend Bryanna be my 2nd shooter. I missed both the cake and the kiss. THE KISS!!!! This couple had never even touched before the wedding rehearsal. [It was a LONG kiss!!!] I learned so much from that wedding. For instance, the lighting at the McMinnville armory sucks. I now know how to take care of that with white balance before I shoot.

In June I shot another wedding. It was great. I was a little more at ease. My sister-in-law assisted me on that wedding. We had a blast! Again, I learned a lot from that wedding. Like, check the background to make sure there aren’t any garbage cans or half of cars that I’d need to later edit out! That clone tool and I became buddies!

Two months later I was the second shooter at Bryanna’s wedding. Whew! That was a relief. So much nicer being the second shooter. It was fun even if I did get the burn of my life. I learned from Krista to check things like hair and the veil so stray hairs don’t need editing out.

It is now 2011. I know so much more than I did in 2008. I just looked at some old photos and cringed a little bit inside. But you know what? I’ve been looking at an old blog of one the top photographers in the wedding industry. Her photos were good, but not stellar like they are now.

Yes, I do have so much to learn, but am confident that I will learn. Each day setting aside time to work on the art and business of photograhy: shooting, editing, organizing, reading, client meetings, album design, learning. Always learning and growing.

I see how for I’ve come compared to where I want to be and I realize that this is a road of hard work ahead. Not a road that I have been well prepared for. Learning to get out of bed when I don’t want to and go to bed when I don’t want to. Saying no, or saying goodbye when I have to move on to the next thing. I’m more motivated these days. Maybe because I finally believe that I can reach these lofty goals I have in life.

Full Days

Yesterday was a really hard day. I wrote about some of my struggles on my photography blog. We have a lot of rough days here in the Taylor Tribe; many of them end up with me totally annoyed & putting my kids to bed early just to get them out of my hair. Then I spend time dealing with the frustration by eating, watching too much tv online, or some other form of self-destruction. That was not the case yesterday and I am so very thankful.

I know why yesterday was different. It’s because of Him; the One who promises to hear us when we call. He delivers us. He has plans for good & not for evil. You know what else? The Bible says that Jesus was tempted, too. The awesome thing is that we are always provided with a way out. A choice.

I was able to get up early yesterday for Bible & prayer time. I had recently told a friend that I don’t struggle in certain areas when I am in the Word. It’s harder to sin while He is in my head. The struggle is different. It’s not ever “should I or shouldn’t I”, but rather, “I won’t. He loves me so much.” I’m not perfect & I sin a lot. I tend to think I sin more than others. I’m constantly asking the Lord to burn away anything that is not of Him. I want nothing more than to honor Him in all I do.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. Crazy, eh? It wasn’t my idea. It isn’t unusual that I wake up during the night, but it is unusual for me to NOT fall back to sleep while praying when this happens. After a little while of prayer and realizing I was not going back to sleep I just decided to get up. Half my Bible reading is done and I’ve written in my journal. I am tired again, but it is almost time to wake the kids for the day. I can’t believe it is Friday already. Crazy, eh?

I just said, “Crazy, eh?” twice in the same paragraph.

When I started writing this blog entry, I had so much to say. Now my brain is turning to mush.

I’m hungry & tired. It’s only 6:30 a.m.

Here’s to a productive day!!!

I’ve been reading in the book of Job. I’m at the part where God is asking Job if he wants to take on Leviathan. Have you read the description of this beast? You should. It’s in Job 41. He’s impenetrable! Terrible teeth, rows of scales shut up tightly as with a seal- air cannot flow between them, and he breathes fire. Darts are as strands of straw to him. Verse 22 says, “…sorrow dances before him.”  I’ve never seen a real live human killing dragon before, but I have read plenty of books with dragons in the.  I’m telling you, Leviathan is WAY scarier than I could imagine. Job repents right after this, but I’m curious about something. How long did Job have to sit there listening to God? It must have been terrifying. At one point God asks Job, “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebuked God, let him answer it.” Job doesn’t have much to say.

I read something in Judges 10 this morning that moved me. God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had forgotten the goodness of God turning back to serving and worshiping the foreign gods of the countries surrounding them. Verse 7 says, “So the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel”. As a result, He let them be oppressed for by the Philistines & the people of Ammon. It took the Israelites EIGHTEEN years to be distressed enough to cry out to the Lord. He tells them that He won’t deliver them anymore. He’s done it before, but they forget Him and His deliverance to serve an idol that does nothing for them. “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress” He tells them. They know they’re toast so they say something like, “Hey, we know we’ve totally messed up here. Do whatever You think is best. Just deliver us!” Then they put away their foreign gods & served the Lord. They turned away from what they had been doing for almost two decades. They chose Him. This is the part that brings tears to my eyes, “And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.”

Psalm 33:10-11 says:

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

I am beginning to understand this merciful & gracious God. For so long I didn’t really see that part of Him. I saw only the part that does the punishing. I am seeing over and over and over again how often Jesus is moved with compassion for people in the New Testament. That doesn’t surprise me as much as seeing God the Almighty deliver Israel because His soul couldn’t endure their misery any more. My friend would tell me that it hurt him to sin because he knew it hurt the Father. I knew sin harmed me because it was wrong causing separation from God. I wanted to stick close to Him because I wanted to be protected, not because I felt loved by Him. I think that’s why it’s so hard for me to move on when I have sinned. Another friend recently wrote in response to my question about Lent, “my spiritual father often says “when you fall down, get back up.” Don’t beat yourself up about it; recognize in it your weakness and cry out to God for mercy and strength. Lent isn’t about keeping a rule; it’s about seeing that we, like the prodigal son, have strayed far, and lent is a time for us to return, to say we’re tired of the pig sty and to make our way back home, humble, and asking for mercy.” Later in the letter she tells me that mercy, in the eastern [Orthodox] context, is not so much asking to be spared what you deserve, but asking for healing, blessing, and wholeness, recognizing that our whole being is “infected” and in need of healing. You can read more about that here.

YES, I am in desperate need of healing.

Walking. Falling down. Getting up. Walking again. Trusting. Always Trusting. Walking in the path He has laid before us.

So here I go. I’m diving in. Getting deep.

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