Life is Too Short

I think life is too short to waste time not doing what you love.  If you don’t love you’re job, make it something you love or change it.  If you don’t love your marriage, put the work in and make it incredible.  If you don’t love your house, put in the time to make it beautiful or move on.   If you don’t have valuable friendships, go out and make some friends and really spend time investing in those relationships.   Bottom line, you are not doing anyone any favors by maintaining a miserable state of being.  In order to life a full life sometimes you have to be bold enough to change it.

I am not talking about the American search for happiness.  I am talking about searching for joy.  In searching for joy you are searching for the heart of God.  And that my friends, is where life starts.

Jobs consume about 25% of your life (based on a 40 hour work week).  Sleep consumes about 33% of your life (based on 8 hours of sleep a night).  Not including working overtime, commuting, eating, showering, maintaining the home, and other necessary activities, you are left with 42% of your life to work with.  Here you might spend time with your family, exercise, work on a hobby, enjoy some leisure time… etc.  I lay out these stats to specifically point out just how much time is spent at your job.  I have, and hopefully always will be, a HUGE advocate for doing the work you love, not working to do what you love.  Too many people work 40+ a week and are looking forward to the weekend the moment their Monday morning alarm goes off.  If you know you cannot love the work you are doing please seek something else.  I highly recommend picking up Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life and 48 Days to The Work You Love to help get your started.

Marriage isn’t about you.  Period.  Marriage is about your partner and growing your heart closer to Christ.  If anyone has entered marriage thinking of themselves it will be better to learn sooner rather than later that it isn’t by being served by your spouse, but by serving your spouse that will bring you joy in your marriage.  People say marriage makes you die to yourself, but I say you can only really die to yourself if you want to.  It is all to easy to stay selfish even if you’re married.

Home is the place you rest your head at night.  Whether you are living with your parents, have a crummy apartment, live in a problem house or your parents live with you, you rent a stunning loft, or own a gorgeous home, this is the place to invest some thought.  The best answer isn’t always trying to find the next best place.  Sometimes the best answer is making your current place a gem.  To get started on your own Remaking Home project you can take a look at my experience doing this HERE.

People need people.  No matter who you are.  People need people even if they are married… especially if they are married.  Any one person cannot be your everything.  That is the beauty of fellowship.  For example, my husband doesn’t want to listen to me talk about books, but my Mom loves talking about books.  I would bore my husband to death talking about photography for more than ten minutes, but I could talk about photography all night long with Laura.  And most people wouldn’t listen to me talk about my deepest hurts, but my husband and my family would listen to me until I had no words left.  Like a marriage, friendships are an opportunity for you to grow.  By truly investing in friendships you learn to die to yourself just a little more.  If your friend needs help moving, you clear your schedule and lend a hand.  If your friend lost a loved one, you clear your schedule and show up to the funeral.  If your friend just passed a major milestone like having a baby or publishing a book, you throw a party.  And remember, by loving your friends well you are not only pulling your focus off of yourself but you are loving the heart of God.

Now go love your life!

Children’s Books | Book Reviews

I love children’s books.  Last week I read through a batch of seven that were recommended in Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market and I loved all but one.  These were all promised to reveal great writer/illustrator relationships – picture books that the illustrators work not only adds color and animation to the story but actually adds to the story itself.

Here are the six I now want to add to my collection.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type

This is a quirky tale of a farmer at odds with his dairy cows because of a sudden typing ability.  These cows discovered a typewriter in the barn and set to work making demands of the farmer. I was skeptical of this book at first, I figured it wasn’t my type of tale but I’m glad I read it because I giggled my way all the way to the end.


The Wriggly, Wriggly Baby

A set of new parents finds themselves always trying to hang onto their baby.  This little baby is always on the move and, in this story, gets out of the house for a full day of adventures around town.  Without his trusty sidekicks, dog and cat, in tow this story shares what could have been a bad ending if it weren’t for them. This rhyming book is a great read; the illustrations are colorful interpretations of the adventures in ways that makes them worthy of continuous hearty chuckles.


The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman

Very simply, this is a story of a niece who misses her uncle.  The tale starts with a letter written by the niece requesting a visit from her uncle.  He replies that he can’t make it but Oliver K. Woodman would love to make the trip in his stead.  The catch, Oliver K. Woodman is actually a life-size wooden doll figurine, so you can imagine how his hitchhiking across the county would be thoroughly entertaining.


Bertie Was a Watchdog

Bertie is a teeny tiny little mutt.  One night a big, bad burglar enters his home and when Bertie sounds the alarm the burglar simply laughs and starts picking on the pooch.  Bertie is clever though and ultimately outwits the burglar.  This is a feel good tale of how even the seemingly inadequate can prevail if they tap into their unique gifting – the perfect kind of book for teaching kids that just because they can’t do things the way the world says they should doesn’t mean they are any worse off to do the things God has gifted them to.


A Very Hairy Scary Story

Sarah stayed too late at her friend’s house.  The minute she stepped outside to walk home she was struck with fear of the night and imagines multitudes of terrifying creatures in her midst.  It’s a tale of learning how to obey your parents the hard way isn’t always the best idea but it sure does stick.


The Day the Goose Got Loose

The goose is a family pet.  One day she gets out and causes trouble in every niche of town.  Ultimately it is a tale of imagination and friendship with a rockin’ rhythm and illustrious drawings.


Church Quotes

Willow Creek Community Church is my home church. I have only missed a handful of Sundays since I started attending in October of 2011 – and that was because I absolutely cannot make it, I have come home early from trips just to be at church on Sunday morning.

Often times when I am asked where I go to church I am met with immediate skepticism and subtle negativity – I have found that people too often judge Willow simply because it’s a mega church with a lot of wealthy attendees. People ask why I go to Willow and my reply grows with each passing Sunday. I love the teaching and how it not only “feeds me” and gives me strength and fire for the week but, more importantly, I am challenged to grow in my faith practically, emotionally, physically, and knowledgeably. Most importantly, I so often feel the Lord’s hands in the message and his voice speaking through the sermon. And I love the worship, but not as much for the skill presented on stage but for the hearts and commitment I see on that stage. Most importantly, I can see the love of God in their eyes and as I watch them lead us in worship I feel like God is loving me through them. These two reasons are what made me choose Willow.

Since regularly attending I have grown more committed and in love with my church. I love their passion for giving and giving in a way that not only alleviates poverty through aid but pursues permanent solutions through partnership. I love their passion for establishing the Biblical relationships modeled by Jesus: the many, the “Oikos” (or 72), the small group (or 12 disciples), and the close friends (or 3 confidants). I particularly love how they are establishing Oikos communities in the church by fostering relationships within the auditorium section you sit in. Because of this initiative this BIG church is becoming very small as I am now frequently stopped in the halls for a chat or a hug or even to grab a cup of coffee to catch up.

There is too much more that I love about my church but this blog post is supposed to be for the tidbits I’ve jotted down with my sermon notes over the past few weeks. So here they are, some quotes said from the stage that encouraged and impacted me.

Referring to pain and struggle and how it is an opportunity for growth: “I’m not asking you to like [the pain and struggle], but I’m asking you to not waste it.”
– Shane Farmer

“God doesn’t need good ideas, he wants good servants.”
– Shane Farmer

“God is like a navigation system. When you take a right instead of the required left, He doesn’t abandon you, he reroutes you. The trouble is, with too many wrong turns, you start to run out of time and the road gets rougher.”
Michael Jr

“First of all, if God could be explained He wouldn’t be God.”
Michael Jr

Happy Wednesday friends! Have a super day!

Kaia Calhoun

The Second Time I Met Josh

Just a short love story for y’all today 😉

The first time I met Josh was in Wilson Hall. He caught me wandering around.

“Hey, what’s your name again?”
“Kaia,” I said.
“I’m Josh, I like the way you dress.”

The second time I met Josh was at an on campus drive-in movie. I donned a black “Passion Patrol” t-shirt and my job was to walk around the packed parking lot breaking up make out sessions with the gift of Hersey’s Kisses. This job made me uncomfortable so I hastily handed out my kisses and sat with my friends on a tailgate. I don’t recall feeling chilled but Josh saw my bare feet, took off his sweatshirt, walked over to wrap it around my feet, and walked away without a word. I thought this was the most kind and also the most utterly peculiar, and perhaps invasive, act I had ever encountered.

The sweatshirt started our friendship. After the movie gave it back and after that evening I couldn’t get rid of Josh. We took to hanging out at Steak and Shake with groups of friends, then we took a road trip to Colorado, and then we got married. Well, basically 😉

What did the beginning of your love story look like?

a Photo a Day | May 13 – 19

1M2Tu 3W4Th 5F6Sa 7Sunday

MONDAY  I started my Portrait Study this week.  I had 5 models come to the studio and I have 5 more to go!  This shot in particular is a goof shot while I nailed my levels down.

TUESDAY  Frozen Custard with Kaitlyn

WEDNESDAY  Portrait Study – Day 3.  However, the project won’t be with smiles so, again, this was a goof shot while I nailed down my levels.

THURSDAY  Portrait Study – Day 4.  Again, no smiles in the final product, a girl can’t give away all her secrets before they’re ready to be told!  I suppose you’ll have to come to the Portrait Study opening to see what I actually put together 🙂

FRIDAY  Little League Fundraiser in Hinsdale, IL (my job was to get the minglers)

SATURDAY  Barreto Family (full blog post coming soon)

SUNDAY  Citizen Way at Christ Community Church (full blog post coming soon)