Monday, April 22, 2013

Washed by the Water

This past Thursday I got to see two of my favorite bands in concert, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, and NEEDTOBREATHE. I bought my roommate and I tickets for her birthday, and I'm so glad I did. Such a great concert.

I fell in love with Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors a couple years ago when I saw them in concert at a really small venue here in Louisville. Ellie Holcomb is possibly the cutest person ever and has an amazing voice. I just want to be her friend. I didn't bring my camera to this concert because I didn't think it would be allowed in, but here's a picture of Drew and Ellie from the concert I went to a couple years ago. If you've never listened to Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, do yourself a favor and look them up now. (Their old song, "Mercy," is a personal favorite.)

NEEDTOBREATHE has been a favorite band of mine for a while, but I've never had a chance to see them in concert until now. I think I had forgotten just how much I like them. I love cranking up their music in the car and singing screaming along. They have so many great songs that I can't really choose a favorite...The Outsiders, Something Beautiful, Washed By the Water, Drive All Night, Let Us Love, etc.

Recently I've been listening to Washed By the Water a lot. The lyrics of that song remind me of one of my favorite verses, Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." This song talks about how even when storms come, Christ won't let us down. We are still washed clean by Christ even when things around us seem to crumble. Plans I've had for years have changed, people I know have been diagnosed with cancer, I'm moving across the world, and terrible things have been happening in the world lately, but I still have Christ, and he won't let me down. (Disclaimer: Moving across the world is exciting, but leaving my community in Louisville and knowing I won't be able to talk to my family as frequently is hard.) This song is reassuring during a very transitional time in my life. It's comforting to know that while many things may be changing, Christ's love for me will never change.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Camera Backpack

I've been looking for a camera backpack for a little while now. I admit I'm picky. I want something that doesn't scream, "THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A CAMERA BACKPACK, PLEASE MUG ME!" Maybe that's an irrational thought, but I'd rather not advertise that my backpack has expensive gear in it. Also, I want to blend in as much as possible when I move overseas...not that a petite, blonde, American girl will be able to blend in well in S. Asia...but I can at least try not to stand out.

Anyway, as I was searching, I came across this backpack which I fell in love with...but it's a bit out of my price range ($429). It's just so pretty.
via Ona
My family took a look at that backpack and helped me search for more reasonably priced options. My dad found some National Geographic backpacks that I'm seriously considering. Still pricey, but much more reasonable. Any good camera backpack will be somewhat have to consider the cost of what it's protecting. Here's my favorite of the National Geographic backpacks.
via National Geographic
I do own a great camera bag. I absolutely love my Kelly Moore bag, but while great for many events, it isn't the best for travel.
Here's the Kelly Moore bag I own:
via B&H
I obviously like gray camera bags/backpacks. Gray is one of my favorite neutral colors. If anyone knows of any other camera backpacks similar to what I'm wanting, let me know in the comments! I'm still searching. I think I take after my Dad in that I enjoy doing the research before making a bigger purchase. If I'm going to spend the money, I want to make sure I love the product. (Not trying to be materialistic, just trying to make sure I spend my money wisely.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I've been planning on writing this post anyway, so what better day than National Sibling Day?

Momma (Judy) & Daddy (Lane)
Taylor (youngest '93), Lindsey (middle '90), & Me (oldest '87)
I've always known that I'm blessed to a have a close family with parents who are still together. My sister, Lindsey, figured out that my parents have been together for 36 yrs. They've been married for almost 29, but they started dating in high school and got married when my dad was in med school. I hope I have a marriage as strong as theirs one day.
Lindsey tweeted this recently, which made me laugh:
Mom: "You're not through talking cause your feet are still twitching.." What a 36 year relationship sounds like.
Lately I've realized just how much of an exception I am. I've heard stories recently from multiple friends about growing up in divorced families. Some of my friends have pretty rough backgrounds. I got to hear a couple of my their testimonies recently, and I'm thankful God drew them to him even though they weren't raised in Christian homes like me.

I used to think that my story wasn't all that special. I didn't have some sort of crazy story where God pulled me out of a rough situation. Quite the opposite. I was a goody-two-shoes, typical oldest sibling, who tried to be appear perfect. I grew up in church; knew all the major Bible stories; made good grades; considered myself to be a good person. My parents lived a Christ-like life before me, and were the natural people for me to go to with my questions.

I became a Christian when I was eight. One of my friends was baptized, and I wanted to know what that meant. I remember standing in my parents room and having them explain the basics of Christianity to me. Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and he rose again defeating death. He lived a perfect life and died as the ultimate sacrifice for us. We simply need to accept the gift God has given us.

God drew me into a relationship with him when I was eight, but I didn't immediately start living perfectly. I tried though. I was a bit legalistic growing up without realizing it. I'm a people-pleasing perfectionist...I don't say this to brag. It's often not a good thing. I truly believe I became a Christian as a child, but I've always placed high expectations on myself and this bled into my relationship with God.

I thought I needed to be perfect. I looked up to other Christians in my life and never thought I could be as good of a Christian. The past few years I think the message of grace has finally been sinking in to my thick skull. Diving deep into theology through seminary and my church has been extremely beneficial. Knowing others in my CG who struggle with similar issues, and having others in my group call me out on my dumb thoughts has helped. God saved me by GRACE through faith. Christ died for us while we were STILL sinners. I'm not perfect and I don't have to be because Christ was perfect for me. God sees Christ when he looks at me. This doesn't mean doing what I want when I want. Living for Christ means wanting to obey him, but it also means that all I need is Christ.

I've gone off topic, but I think these things needed to be written...and now back on topic. I'm thankful I was raised in a loving home with Christian parents. I have a great relationship with my parents. I can talk to them about anything–theology, camera equipment, emotions, clothes–anything. We don't always agree on everything, but I know that I can talk to them about anything, and I praise God for that. I take it for granted too often. Hearing others' stories recently has made me realize how I take my relationship with my family for granted far too often.

I have two younger sisters as well, and I'm glad we're all close. We have our typical sibling fights, but for the most part we get along pretty well. I definitely think we've gotten closer now that we're all adults. I'm proud of my sisters. I'm not always good at expressing myself verbally, but I love my sisters, and I'm proud of them.

Lindsey is three years younger than me and recently graduated from Mississippi State as a painting major. She's an extremely talented artist. Check out some of her work here. Her road to graduation wasn't easy. Some plans changed, but I think she definitely wound up in the right major because she is ridiculously talented. She'll be heading to ultrasound tech school soon. Painting isn't a steady job market, but becoming an ultrasound tech will hopefully give her some job security while still allowing her to pursue painting.

Taylor is my baby sister. She's six years younger than me, and attending my alma mater, Mississippi College, where she is a sophomore nursing major. She just got her official acceptance letter into nursing school at MC. I think she will make an amazing nurse. Taylor has always been the most servant-hearted of the three of us. Lindsey and I abused her servant-hearted nature quite a bit growing up.

Sorry this post was so long. Sometimes I can't stop writing once I get going.

Some questions/thoughts for you...I'd love to hear your thoughts:
• Are you close to your family?
• How have your family relationships impacted how you view God/religion?
• Do you struggle with perfectionism or other traits which influence how you treat God?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Prayer Cards

This is my potential design for my prayer cards as I prepare to head overseas. Let me know what you think, and feel free to shoot me an email if you would like one once I get them printed. I need to have 100 people committed to praying weekly for me while I'm overseas, so if you'd like to be one of those people just comment with your name and email address. Thanks!

A big thanks goes to my friend Kara for taking some awesome portrait shots for me. It felt weird being on the other side of the camera. ha Glad she was willing to trade services with me, and I look forward to doing a family session for her!

*Edit: Added Sojourn's logo to the back.

Monday, April 1, 2013


I realize I already posted once today, but what can I say, I'm in a blogging mood...and I was playing with my camera, so you get a photo post.

It's spring break [I mean spring reading days], and while I am getting to relax some, I have a lot to do. I need to do two site visits and reports on Christian ministries in the city for my church action in community class, and I can't use my own church. I know one place I'm going to use, but still need to come up with another. I've also been put in charge of the backdrops for VBS...I'm hoping I haven't bitten off more than I can chew by agreeing to this. I think I have it under control now, but I was stressing out earlier today. And, of course, I always have reading I need to do for classes. Seminary reading never ends.

While I have a lot on my plate, I was fairly productive today.

1. I brainstormed ideas for the backdrops, did some research on how to best build them, and emailed the people I needed to about the ideas.

2. I did sprint sets with wasn't pretty, but I survived. Also, my knee didn't give out. I consider any run where my knee doesn't give out to be a victory.

This is my post-run, I survived, face:

3. I went to Target after my run [ok, maybe not the most productive thing], and bought this immersion blender with a gift card and some surprise money from an Easter package my parents sent me.

4. I also used a gift card to enjoy this iced caramel macchiato...I admit that I prefer my favorite local places, but free is free.

5. I cooked dinner for my roommate and me. Tried out this recipe for "Crispy Black Bean Tacos," and they were delicious. I'll be making these again.

I still need to clean up the cooking mess though...anyone want to volunteer? I enjoy cooking, but hate cleaning the mess up...especially since I don't have a dishwasher or disposal. Bleh.

I was also productive earlier during my break in that I had a portrait session done for my prayer cards by my friend and fellow photographer, Kara. Kara and I are trading services. I'll be doing a family session for her soon. I love the two photos from my session that she has posted on fb so far. It will be hard to choose which one to use for the cards.

Hopefully I'll continue my semi-productivity the rest of the week. I would like to finish my last semester strong, but it's so tempting to just quit sometimes. 

He is Risen!

Easter Sunday is a wonderful celebration of what Christ did for us, and that the grave could not contain him. My church knows how to celebrate. We sang some of my favorite songs today including Absent from Flesh, Death in His Grave, The Power of the Cross, and a new arrangement of the hymn Up From the Grave. We also got to shout, "He is Risen Indeed!" a few times, AND it was a baptism Sunday, which is always a celebration. I love that Sojourn has someone read the person's testimony to the church before they are baptized.

Click here to see my church's service recap, including some of my pictures.

Here are some of my favorite photos I took of the service yesterday:

Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
Our fantastic band lead by Jamie Barnes
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
View from the Balcony
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
Our East Campus Pastor, Kevin Jamison
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
The band getting into the music.
 ©Allison Rushing
Sojourn East Easter '13 11am
 ©Allison Rushing
Yeah, I kind of love my church, and by "kind of," I mean, I love my church a whole, whole lot. 

I also love my community group (Yes, they're included in my church; therefore, already loved, but they get even more love.), and got to have a wonderful Easter lunch with some of them at Laura's. Laura is an amazing cook...she and my dad are my main cooking inspirations. 

Here's a little collage of the deliciousness we ate:
Nom, nom, nom.
 ©Allison Rushing

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