Sunday Theology

  "Nevertheless, the central affirmation of the Reformation stands: Through no merit of ours, but by His mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son. This is the Good News, the gospel of grace. 
  With his characteristic joie de vivre, Robert Capon puts it this way: 

The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred-proof grace--of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the gospel--after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps--suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started... Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case. 

Matthew 9:9-13 captures a lovely glimpse of the gospel of grace: 

As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow me." and he got up and followed Him. Now while He was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When He heard this He replied, "It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners." 

   Here is revelation bright as the evening star: Jesus comes for sinners, for those as outcast as tax collectors and for those caught up in squalid choices and failed dreams. He comes for corporate executives, street people, superstars, farmers, hookers, addicts, IRS agents, and AIDS victims, and even used-car salesmen. Jesus not only talks with these people but dines with them--fully aware the His table fellowship with sinners will raise the eyebrows of religious bureaucrats who hold up the robes and insignia of their authority to justify their condemnation of the truth and their refection of the gospel of grace. 

  This passage should be read, reread, and memorized. Every Christian generation tries to dim the blinding brightness of its meaning because the gospel seems too good to be true. We think salvation belongs to the proper and pious, to those who stand at a safe distance from the back alleys of existence, clucked their judgments at those who have been soiled by life. 


  The sinner saved by grace is haunted by Calvary, by the cross, and especially by the question, Why did He die? A clue comes from the Gospel of John: "For this is how God loved the world: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life." Another clue from Paul's cry in Galatians: "He loved me and delivered Himself up for me." The answer lies in love.
But the answer seems too easy, too glib. Yes, God saved us because He loved us. But He is God. He has infinite imagination. Couldn't He have dreamed up a different redemption? Couldn't He have saved us with a smile, a pang of hunger, a word of forgiveness, a single drop of blood? And if He had to die, then for God's sake--for Christi's sake--couldn't He have died in bed, died with dignity? Why was He condemned like a criminal? Why was His back flayed with whips? Why was His head crowned with thorns? Why was He nailed to wood and allowed to die in frightful, lonely agony? Why was the last breath drawn in bloody disgrace, while the world for which He lay dying egged on His executioners with savage fury like some kind of gang rape by uncivilized brutes in Central Park? Why did they have to take the very best? 
  One thing we do know: We don't comprehend the love of Jesus Christ. Oh, we see a movie and resonate to what a young man and woman will endure for romantic love. We know that when the ships are down, if we love wildly enough we'll fling life and caution to the winds for the one we love. But when it comes to God's love in the broken, blood-drenched body of Jesus Christ, we get antsy and start to talk about theology  divine justice, God's wrath and the heresy of universalism. 
The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise  He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven  It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness." 

*Excerpts taken from The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning


Tangible Things

The past few days I've felt exceptionally icky about my Facebook usage. I just sit there and mindlessly scroll through the homepage, reading needless gossip, feeling as though I *have* to read the verse of the day, and catching up on the latest weather news -- all while my house is needing cleaning, the world is waiting, and my sweet two year old boy is running around chasing robots and fighting pirates. 

Before this sounds like I'm an absent mother, let me clarify: I love on him, play with him, let him know how wonderful he is to me. It's just that, I feel disgusting being on FB too much. I've fallen prey to an addiction (the first step is admitting, right?) I don't think I'm the only one, a brilliant photographer I follow threatened to delete his account, a mom I know said she would only get on while her kids were sleeping... there's something about it though that just gets me feeling grimy. Do the cyber debates about politics really get people convicted? Does telling the world we've had the worst day ever really make us feel better? Are our relationships edifying to one another over a Qwest connection?
 (If you start ranting back about the benefits, you're missing my point entirely.) 

Now, one could make the argument that blogs are just as evil, Instagram is the devil's playground and Pinterest is for the digitally gluttonous. Alright, but I'm not there personally, forgive me. You'll still see me following beautiful things, but I'm going to try to stay away from reading about people's personally public status updates and the like. Oh, how refreshing it's been lately picking up a book that inspires me to live well, I can't say that more than a handful of times from my blue and white homepage. 

I don't want to be accessible to anyone at any part of the day, and the only person to blame for that is me. 
I want the "old fashioned" way of communication -- a phone call if you need to ask me something, a pat on the back if I do something right, I want to be free of this addiction before I really regret it, before life slips past me.

Due to the nature of my job I'm still on the computer, but maybe I can be freed of this one guilt trip. 
Living life without regrets means making the right choices ahead of time, not forgetting the bad ones we left behind. 

I'm not making anyone any promises, I'm not saying I'm off forever, I'm saying I feel like I need to get off now. Sure, I'll tell you what our TRP news is on the fan page, but I want to be more like the people I admire and not be sucked into knowing everything that's going on with everyone else.

Well, there it is. 


2012 Photo Contest

*Update* The First Place winner of our 2012 Client Contest is Baby Ty's family!
The Second Place gift certificate goes to Cassandra -- 

Congrats guys, and thank you to everyone who voted!!

TRP is hosting a photo contest for our clients of 2012 

The winner will receive a custom photographer's choice TRP book of images from one of this year's sessions. 

Second place will receive $200 towards any photo service of 2013, this can be kept or given as a gift. 

So what do you do? 

Go over to our Facebook fan page, click "like" and then go ahead and "like" your favorite photo(s) in our 2012 Contest album -- there's no limit to how many different photos can be favorited! 

The contest ends Thursday December 20th at midnight. 

The winners will be announced Friday :-)

Happy voting! 


Meet Cassandra

She loves her sister's chicken enchiladas. Her go to pick-me-up is watching Friends. She loves laughing, spending time with people and traveling. She is an AZ native born and raised. She wants to be a nurse when she grows up. She is beautiful both inside and out, and has a darling smile. 

Hats off to you Cassandra, it was a pleasure meeting you and having a fun filled afternoon together. Congratulations on graduating! 

December 10

 All photos are surrounded by some kind of story, I'm going to go ahead and give you a little history to go along with these. 

For as long as I can remember I've attended the midnight Christmas Eve service at my parents church, caroling by candle light included. When I was very young, I remember Ginger standing in front of the church and singing a song that can only be described as divine. As a little girl I would sit and listen with the intent of one listening to angels. 

Years passed, Chris and Ginger had three beautiful daughters and I was asked to babysit them. We had plenty of mac + cheese and bedtime story nights, cooking and jammy time at it's finest. 
Ginger started mentoring me throughout all of this, inspiring a teenage girl how to live for Christ, encouraging me to live by conviction. I think my parents were probably breathing heavy sighs of relief that I got caught up with people like this. A few years into the mentoring and I had found myself a boy. He, of course, had to go through the rigorous process of being onced over by my folks, he did well and then Chris and Ginger asked to meet him. They had us over for dinner, and looking back it has meant so much to have "outsiders" love me enough to join in on the meet-the-new-guy process. 

Through thick and thin they've stuck with the Hebert pack - I know God loves me by the friends and family He gave me, I couldn't ask for better. Ginger delivered Christian (in addition to an outrageously good singing voice, she's an amazing midwife too) and now her girls have watched him, and he absolutely adores them.  Life has a funny way of coming full circle. 

In addition to singing and home births, Chris' baking is delicatessen worthy, and he's a super prayer warrior. Alex is growing into a woman who cares about the world deeply, mentioning observations to me that are insightful beyond her years. I've also been watching her start her own creative photography journey. 
Audrey is bound to be a phenomenal mom, her patience is never-ending and at her young age she's already turning into a style savvy young woman. 
Lily is the most versatile little person I think I've ever met. She can have a conversation with a 30 year old and keep a two year old on his toes. She has an eye for sports, yet is turning into quite a little lady. 

Now that you've been formally introduced, here are some shots from my time with them. 


A Session that Hits Home

Before I go snuggle under some blankets I'll leave you with a goodnight post. In addition to our amazing family shoot with  Ms. Amy Radcliffe, we decided to do a session yesterday with my parents and our dear friend Magda, who is more like family than anything, and with whom we've had the pleasure of visiting with during her stay in the U.S. - here are just a few. :)


Just a Kiss

While Christian and I were running errands today we were spared from a car accident. No, I'm not saying this was some sort of near death experience, but it could've been painful and an insurance irritation to deal with after the fact. We were spared, but sadly a lady and her little boy driving near us were not. 
They got hit by someone making a U-turn, the offender in the situation jumped the median after the impact and started driving down the wrong side of the road before coming to a stop a little ways down. As far as I could tell no one was seriously injured, but the mom who was hit was understandably shaken up. Her sweet little boy Emmanuel (isn't that such a sweet name?!) was standing solemnly by his mom while we waited for their family and help to arrive. Despite Christian's kind efforts of giving the little boy his straw, he stood there quietly holding a stuffed toy that looked like it might have been thrown from a vehicle, possibly during the collision. When we left they were being checked on and their family had arrived. While I imagine this was a long day for all involved, I'm glad it wasn't worse. 

Since Christian was very young, I've tried my best to give him a kiss almost every time I put him in the car. A kiss so he knows I love him, with the added thought of "just in case something happens". Sometimes the post car seat placement kiss can be a little forced when there's a stubborn two year old testing my nerves, but I try to remember to give it nevertheless. I know this might seem so trivial, so meaningless - but I thought if I was going to spend time mentioning something, it might be this. There are habits that are destructive, habits that are useless, and habits that might hopefully create some sort of positively lasting memory. Today is a good reminder of why I have my little routine. I say this not to bring importance to myself, but to encourage you to act in a recurring way of love to those around you, to remind you that the things our children/husbands/family/friends see us do out of love, they might hold onto as something precious. 


Срецна слава: Srecna Slava

Tonight we celebrated our family's "slava", a Serbian tradition dating back hundreds of years, celebrating the saint(s) given to various families in the Orthodox tradition. There are customs that we observe in remembrance of our heritage, of where we came from - this is one of them. 


The "K" Family

A little peek into yesterday's shoot of my second family... 



Seven days seem to pass by much faster when looking at someone so new... 


Say Yes!

This afternoon was time well spend getting to photograph a family I haven't seen in quite some time (almost 3 years, where has the time gone?!). Before I had little Christian I used to watch Brody and Colby, and it was so nice getting to catch up and see how much they've grown! I just loved their little personalities, miss Colby wanted to come home with me, sit with me, help me take pictures, it just touched my heart! And when I told them that saying "yes" brings out a more natural smile, Brody would give me a model look with a big "yes" grin. 

Here are some shots from my time with the "W" family :-) 

Baby Haven

Today I had the privilege to hold a sweet new little one belonging to a dear friend, it seems like just yesterday her and I were playing "babies"... 

Meet darling new Haven Alicia

"May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. 
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace."
~ Numbers 6:24-26 NLT


Raise my hands, paint my spirit gold...

After graduating from art school I came away with a few things I'll forever be grateful for, and the most important benefit has been friendships. Yesterday my beautiful friend Amy allowed us to use her space and her talents for our family photo shoot. She was so wonderful with Christian, so sweet to be around, and even set the mood with some Mumford & Sons wafting through the house and into the yard from her record player. David jumped in on the camera action towards the end and looking back it was more like collaborative play time with friends than anything else... my favorite.