Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stepping Out in FRONT of the Camera

...An Open Letter to All Mothers...

Dear Mom Behind the Computer Screen,

How are you?  Long time no see!  Literally.  When was the last time your blog followers/readers saw an updated picture of you?  No, I'm not talking about that fantastic head shot that you use for your "About"/"Welcome" blurb on your blog.  I'm talking about a pic of you with your kids...your spouse...your parents.

If you're anything like me, you avoid the camera because of perceived imperfections.

Oh, sure, I can make all sorts of excuses as to why I'm not in any photos, usually claiming that I'm always the photographer, but in this digital age of camera phones and DSLRs, a mom has to wonder why she doesn't appear in more photos with her loved ones.

As a Catholic mom, I have to ask myself, do I really believe in Psalm 139:14?

I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.




Over the weekend, at Mary's recital, my mom offered to take photos of me with Mary...I cringed.




What's the first thing I see when I look at the above pictures...

...my heavy upper arms!

Not even my beautiful daughter...

....just focusing on those awful upper arms.

Oh, and my faded highlights leaving me with dishwater-colored hair.

See what I mean???!!!  It's not a healthy outlook at all...

...but not an entirely inaccurate perception.

My upper arms are heavy...heavy from too much sugar-intake...not enough exercise...from using food as a comforter/friend/stress-reliever, etc.

But instead of focusing on all the negatives, I need to focus on what's right with that photo...

...that my arms can wrap themselves around our darling daughter whose personality shines through her eyes...

...that my arms have THREE kiddos to hug when there were days and YEARS when I thought I would never hold a baby...

...that they are strong enough to carry multiple bags of groceries at one time (so I don't have to make multiple trips to the car!  LOL)

Recently, Chris' cousin posted this article on Facebook. It is such a good read.  It made me cry to think that I avoid taking pictures of myself out of vanity...when the only ones I'm really hurting by denying myself being photographed are my loved ones!

Feeling Too Fat to be Photographed???

So, I'm pledging to be kinder and gentler with myself. For if I truly believe that...


...I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.

...then my actions must speak louder than words.  I need to begin allowing myself to be photographed and sharing those pictures with my loved ones...and even you, dear blog reader.
We are all fearfully, and wonderfully made.  We are mothers, daughters, sisters.  We are authors in our own right...we are educators of our children.  We have been endowed with certain beautiful feminine traits and we need to lift up and celebrate ourselves and each other!  We need to look and see what our loved ones see in us...
When my mother snapped these pictures, she didn't say..."ooh, you need to hit the gym harder or run a few extra miles this week."  She didn't say, "no more photos for you, until you get that hair highlighted."  
Instead, she saw her precious first-born daughter and oldest child posing with HER first-born and only daughter!
So, I challenge you today...to step out from behind the camera and instead be the subject of the camera for the sake of your loved ones and to prove to God just how much you love what He loves. 
You truly are wonderfully made!!!
Be Blessed,




 

7 comments:

  1. Dearest Val...first off...you are beautiful. Your smile is just radiant! Second, thank you for this...I am often hesitant about being "in the picture." I just feel more comfortable being behind the lens.

    I think of the pictures of my sweet mother when she was a young mother, and how much I treasure them. I don't want to deny my children those precious treasures...so I guess I should step in more than I do, right?

    Thanks for the inspiration, Val! Have a great weekend, friend!

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  2. Val, you ARE beautiful and I didn't see any of the things that you were worried about :). This is such a great post, though, because I am definitely one of those that avoids the camera! You have convinced me to go for it and quit worrying. The pictures are precious memories and treasures!

    ~Julia

    By the way, your daughter is darling :).

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  3. Valerie,

    Thank you so much for this post, which I appreciate very much. Yes, you are beautiful and courageous and a good example for all of us.

    I too, avoid the camera. My problem is age. I hate seeing all those lines around my eyes and the soft skin around my jaw, even though my family thinks I look perfect. It is getting to the stage where if you look at our family photos you wouldn't know I existed!

    I shall try to do better!

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  4. We are our hardest critic!
    I think we all experience this--
    being to hard on ourselves and it is a hard habit to break.
    I fight with this ALL THE TIME.

    God did make us the way we
    are.

    These are super pics and
    Mary is so cute in her
    costume.

    Love your dress too.

    :)

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  5. I think we are all over critical of ourselves. I rarely like the way I look in photos. I'm usually behind the camera! Miss Mary is very photogenic, lucky girl and her Mama's eyes shine bright and proud with her sweet daughter standing next to her! Thank you for filling me in about the dance dress rehearsal photos. It made perfect sense that she would be concentrating to make sure she was ready for the big moment!

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  6. Yes, we are all critical of ourselves. Don't beat yourself up. At the same time, what awesome, positive thinking you posted. Thank you for that! I can use it, and I know many others will appreciate it as well. You are beautiful. And you know what? God loves you!! Very, very much!! Thanks for being an inspiration, Valerie!

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  7. I'm guilty of this. I always feel like I need to put on my best clothes, do my hair and makeup before I'll be seen in a photo. I have very few photos of my mother (yes, she always said she was behind the camera too) but the best photos of her are not where she is dressed up, but where she looks happy.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

Valerie