Thursday, November 29, 2012

Peace in Family Life


In a world of chaos, peace may sometimes seem fleeting. Peace between countries. Peace between neighbors. But without even considering any of these, I often wonder how to achieve peace in family life.

When children are very young you may long for peace from crying and diaper changing. You may embrace that freedom that comes as they find independence and accomplish more and more for themselves. As they become teenagers finding peace in family life becomes a different kind of challenge.

Teens are figuring out who they are. Sometimes they don't agree with what is expected of them. They bicker with siblings, disagree with parents, tease and prod, drum and screech and just make noise for the fun of it. They must explore the world at home and outside the home to find their place in it. It's an exciting, frustrating time for parents.

But somehow in all of that it seems important that they also learn to be peaceful. To feel peace within themselves and help create it with those around them.

There are so many opportunities for our youth today. This is a blessing only when we choose carefully which obligations to fill our schedules with and which to let our teens fill their schedules with. Over scheduling does much to keep us from finding peace.

If only we can hold onto dinner time and those few other moments when the family comes together. It may not always feel peaceful, but our youth need parents to treasure those times when a family gathers together. Parents must protect this valuable time. In a few years they will be on their own. Gone from our protective influence.

Finding peace in family life is more important than it has ever been.

What specific things help establish that feeling of peace in the home? Here are a few ideas.
  • Calming music in the background can change how we feel and deal with others.
  • Personal prayer or meditation helps bring peace on a personal level and should be encouraged.
  • Hold on to dinner time. Even if it doesn't seem peaceful. Don't let life get in the way of spending time together as a family.

What do you do to encourage peace in your home?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Take Great Pictures

I've been on a quest to learn to take great pictures for my Etsy shop. I've still got much to learn, but wanted to share what I did with my lighting. Somebody on my Etsy team sent me some information about building a light box from a cardboard box and I gave it a try.

I realize the picture of the light box is not a great picture. But the pictures taken using the light box are dramatically improved.

I actually used two boxes and just pieced them together with a lot of glue and a glue gun. As you can see from the photo, the main idea is to have the sides framed in cardboard and they lined with white fabric that will let the light shine through. The top is also framed and lined with white fabric, although I haven't arranged a light on top.

I'm using the light from the window, which is south facing and seems to work best in the afternoon when I can open the curtains and get light without direct sunshine. Then I turn the halogen work lights on. There is one on each side. Although they heat up pretty quickly and I've been nervous about them being that close to the fabric. I only keep them on when I am actively taking picture and staying right there. Once I did all that I was getting pretty close, but the pictures still weren't quite what I wanted. I was aiming for that white background that makes the item pop. I asked a photographer friend for some help and she added a flash. I'd been doing everything to avoid the flash. But with all the other lighting I'd added, it seem to just eliminate the rest of the shadows without washing out the item. Ususally. I'm still playing with it. But I've managed to take some pretty nice photos with it.

Take a look at this.

Here is a picture with just the light from the window.
This one is with the window and the flash.
 And this one is with the window, the halogen lights and the flash.

 What other ideas do you have or tricks do you have to make your photos the best they can be?