Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bailey Family

This weekend Jon and I were able to take family pictures for my parents, sister and I. Jon did all the work behind the camera, and I was so happy with how they turned out!

My mom looked totally amazing!

and my dad looked pretty shnazzy himself.

I was so glad to get pictures of everyone together. Of course my sister and I can't do anything without goofing off a little...

ok, maybe a lot...
My dad had to get in on it too. I started making faces while we were trying to get a normal picture together, and he joined in. As most of you know about me (that is, if you have ever heard me REALLY laugh...) I have a snorting problem condition... After I snorted a couple times in a row, my dad was laughing so hard that he decided to imitate me. The bottom right picture shows Jon capturing his face mid-snort.

Overall it was a really awesome experience getting to work with my family. These are the first all together official family pictures we've had taken since I was about 10. (14 years ago!) We won't talk about it. 
Hope you're all having a good weekend!
Next up... Halloween :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Creating Memories

As most of you know, Jon and I have a little photography hobby. Usually I don't post about it specifically on here because we have a dedicated photography blog and a website already. But this experience was so much fun, I just had to share!

Last weekend we were invited to second shoot a wedding with a friend from the ward who owns her own photography business. The wedding was in the Bay Area and our friend, being 4 months pregnant, could not easily photograph the entire thing by herself. We went along to assist her and get in some back up photos and angles while she got the main pictures. It was such an awesome experience doing what we love and it was probably the easiest, most stress free wedding we have ever photographed!

The bride and groom are chinese, and I had never been to an asian wedding before. It was absolutely gorgeous and the tea ceremony was really neat. Although the bride wore a white "western" dress for the ceremony, she had a second more traditional chinese dress and hairstyle for the reception after dinner and it was fantastic!

Here are just a few of my favorites from the day. I love that Jon and I have a creative hobby to share with each other and with others around us. What a great way to further our year and create!



First dance:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Believe in Christ.

Every 6 months The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints holds a worldwide conference where we hear from our general leaders. Our living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, speaks as well as his counselors, the Quorum of the 12 Apostles and other members of the general authorities including the Presiding Bishopric, the Relief Society presidency and other auxiliaries. It is a time that I look forward to twice every year because it can give spiritual guidance and answers to questions I may have been struggling with. It is also a good reminder of covenants and commitments made to follow Jesus Christ's example in our lives. And I also really like watching a church meeting at home where I can be in my pajamas and eat breakfast at the same time :)

I have thought a lot recently about posting on General Conference and the things I learned a few weeks ago. I could of course post a list of all my favorite talks and quotes on each one that I wrote down in my journal, but you could always go to lds.org and read the talks for yourself. I thought about posting my testimony and sharing how much it means to me to live a God-centered life, but somehow it didn't seem enough. I always have a lot of thoughts about the church and how I feel like I relate to the rest of the world, having been raised a "mormon".

When it comes down to it, what really spurred my decision to post today, was this video. It's a little long, but I think it's worth watching. It didn't make me upset when I watched it, only curious. And I think it's good to pay attention to.



So what do I think? Well, as a born and raised Mormon with her own free will and choice, let me tell you:

I do not live in a compound and follow a charismatic leader who tells me what to think and when to think it. My husband and I live in an apartment with our dog, and the President of our church is a witness of Jesus Christ and teaches us to follow him. We do not worship Thomas S. Monson or Joseph Smith in any way. I do not have extreme beliefs and lifestyle practices (unless you count the fact that I've never tried a cigarette, tasted alcohol, and we don't buy things on Sunday.)

The Book of Mormon, in addition to the Bible (yes, we use both) is in our canon of scripture because it acts as another testament of Jesus Christ, supporting the bible's teachings and clarifying in a way that gives a complete and full witness to the goodness of God and the relationship that we can have with our Savior. In fact, look at it this way: I live my life as to be a witness of Christ and his teachings. I live in a way that follows His example and commandments.

I testify of Him as our one and only way back into the presence of our Heavenly Father. By writing this today, I am giving another testament of our Savior to stand forever. In the same way, the Book of Mormon is a collection of testaments, written in a timeline very similar to that of the Bible, and supports the truth that God is the creator, that His son, Jesus Christ, atoned for our sins, and that reverence for life and things that are sacred are key to our Heavenly Father's eternal plan for His children. In the end, aren't there thousands and even millions and billions of testaments of Jesus Christ in the world from the beginning of time?

Revelation didn't just stop with the Bible. Heavenly Father did not just stop speaking to His children. He wants us to have guidance and direction, and he wants us to know that he is there. It's part of why I pray everyday, for personal revelation and guidance.

I know that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Say Saints are true followers of Jesus Christ and are in fact Christians who stand with the rest of the Christian world in declaring that He is the Son of God, and our redeemer. We believe that it is only through his merciful atonement that we can be brought back into the presence of our Father, and I know that he suffered and gave his life for every single one of us on Earth. Even if there had only been one person, He would have done it, because he loves us that much. We have a picture of Christ on our mantle at home, and I am reminded of that fact every day. He loves each of us. Every single one.

Christmas 2010

To quote Dallin H. Oaks, "Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten and Beloved Son of God. … He is our Savior from sin and death. This is the most important knowledge on earth."

I hope that if any of you have questions about what it is we believe in, you will just ask. I am always willing to share. And if you want to search for answers on your own, check out mormon.org. It is centered around Jesus Christ, and the people of the church around the world who live their lives as "Mormons" (which, by the way, is a nickname we're ok with - you can check out M. Russell Ballard's talk for more on that!)

Love,

Steph

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Lake Trip

Although today seemed to officially mark the beginning of Fall (now being October and having overcast skies with a bit of sprinkling) last week we were still having super warm, sunny weather. My sister Michelle, sister-in-law Amanda, neice AnnMarie, and I celebrated the end of September with a trip to Folsom Lake. Sadly, Jon had too much homework so he couldn't come :(

See what I mean? Sunny and gorgeous!

My neice was very excited for this trip. All she talked about was wanting to make sand castles.


Sis-in-law Amanda with her dog, Copper:


Michelle was a good sport and let me take some fun pics of her:



Margo was a champ and practiced her swimming skills:


AnnMarie gave her treats as a prize:


Margo, looking scraggly and pathetic, wanted all the goldfish she could get:


Don't worry, I really was there too:


And to end the afternoon, Margo got to share a peach with us. She especially wanted to wear the sticker. She takes after me, I suppose.


 Happy end of Summer, and welcome Fall!!