THAT DEEP AND LOVELY DARK

Filed under: bardenisms,my family,my town,newsworthy,project,word of God — admin at 12:55 am on Wednesday, April 10, 2019

That’s an AMAZING transformation!!

I’ve been listening to LOOK UP CHILD by LAUREN DAIGLE on REPEAT.

There is usually an album that speaks to me during the hard seasons of life – and this one is speaking volumes recently.

I sing the songs – I know most of the words – but I don’t always REALIZE what I’m saying. This afternoon while I was singing – I spoke these words -

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know

You know that I’ve been hurting recently. It was a really low low.

I had said that the last time I cried like I did – our marriage was in a pile on the floor. It’s strange to compare your house falling apart to your marriage falling apart – but …

I AM MORE THAN THE SUM OF EVERY HIGH AND EVERY LOW. (and so are you) 

Jared and I were talking the other day – about this house and my attitude – and we talked about TRUST – which I blogged about last time – and the time before that …

And I told him – I feel like I’m grieving the life I thought we would have right now.

We’ve made smart financial decisions. We’ve never had “bad” debt. We paid off our student loans. We now have a small loan on the JEEP we just bought to replace our other jeep. We have a mortgage and then a loan to do the things this house has needed over the almost 15 years we’ve been here.

We will be celebrating FIFTEEN years of marriage in June and we were going on a trip – it didn’t matter where as long as there was a crystal clear beach and a hammock or two.

I saved last year to go on that trip – but now – we’re getting a new foundation instead.

IT’S NOT FAIR!!

In Labyrinth – Sarah says to the goblin king Jareth – IT’S NOT FAIR! He responds with – you say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is.

BUT – that’s what I want to do. STOMP MY FEET and SCREAM that it’s not fair.

Jared encouraged – challenged me – cus let’s me honest – for a glass half-empty girl – it’s a challenge – to find the good amidst the bad.

You might not know this – but you probably do – I have a tattoo on my arm that says – THAT DEEP AND LOVELY DARK WE’D NEVER SEE THE STARS WITHOUT IT.

I literally have it permanently inked onto my skin as a reminder. Because I really do believe that life is mostly about the hard stuff – but there are pinpricks of light.

Last week I backed into someone in my driveway – I didn’t see him – because I NEVER look behind me in my own driveway in the middle of the day.

The light – we are both under the same insurance – so the deductible is waived. AND our insurance won’t go up.

We had no idea the foundation on the house was an issue – until it was ripped apart. Repairing the foundation – building a deck – siding the entirety of the house – two new windows – a new door – and a new dining room added to the existing kitchen. Typing all that gives me serious anxiety. When I think about ALL the things that NEED to be done. Not anything that we were WANTING – all the things we would like to have are now being replaced with the bare minimum of what we NEED to have. And we have – HAD – a strict budget – with no options on taking out MORE loans.

The light – I happen to be friends with and work for our contractor. He’s got leftover things in his shop that we can use. He’s doing all that he can to make this work for us.

And it’s really hard for me to find that. And really see it. While I see that there are shining lights in the deep and lovely dark – WHY DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE!?

I’ve told you that I’m a control freak right!? I WANT THE CONTROL. I want to see the unseen. I would like to tell you that I absolutely trust God – but I want Him to tell me HOW IT IS ALL GOING TO WORK OUT. And not just work out – but work out for good.

Do you remember when I wrote about happiness vs. holiness?

The whole it’s not fair thing – really – in comparison to what?! To who?!

God cares far more about our holiness than He does our happiness.

And that’s a PAINFUL realization.

This is the current view of our backyard from my living room. I can really say that I can’t wait to show you the FINAL view.

However – gaining control over your thoughts and outlook – it’s NOT easy – at least not for me!!

But – every day I am trying to find the shining light through the dark.

And because I know that I am not alone in the valley right now – WHAT IS YOUR SHINING LIGHT IN YOUR SEASON OF DARK RIGHT NOW?!

 

 

REVELATIONS

Filed under: bardenisms,family,my family,my town,newsworthy,the marriage fight,word of God — admin at 12:19 pm on Saturday, April 6, 2019

BEFORE – DURING – DURING – there will be lots of these during pictures I’m sure.

That jutty out part on the left – WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT THING!?

So – it had to come out – which revealed so much. Too much.

Revelations. Peeling back the UGLY layers to reveal … more ugly. Brokenness.

There is only one answer to this problem.

TRUST GOD.

And I know that it’s ALWAYS the answer. I feel like in so many situations – you CAN do something.

There has to be an answer. But – there is not a tangible one.  One I can see and touch. One I can feel.

A friend commented on my last blog about this house -

“Especially after this part. “The glass isn’t only half empty but the water has also run out.”

The desert. Harsh and unforgiving.The desert has always signified trial. 40 years in the desert for God’s people, certainly one long and arduous trial.

This house may be your desert. The place where you come to the end of yourself. Where you run out of Danielle reserves. Let it.

“Because the thing that makes the desert so beautiful is that somewhere, there hides a well”.

And we have hope in that living water.

And once you are out of your own way, Jesus can fill that part with cool, clear, life giving water. Brutal, heart wrenching honesty leads to immeasurable growth. Keep going.”

I’m sure that this house IS my desert. And the thought of that …

And yet another friend -

“I love the story of Hagar in the desert. She’s taken her baby son to a dry and desolate place to die alone, but God… He calls to her, tells her His plan for her survival, and prophecies the great destiny that awaits her once she-and this is the hard part-returns to her place in the house of an unsympathetic and harsh master. For the first time in her life she feels seen. Really seen, and known, and loved! And it all came when she was at her lowest point. Amazing!!!”

I don’t know how to be hopeful right now. I don’t know how to live moment to moment. I don’t know how to trust.

I’m here. In the desert. For a long time.

MAKING THIS HOUSE

Filed under: bardenisms,family,just because,my family,my town,newsworthy,project,the marriage fight,word of God — admin at 5:14 pm on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Wednesday night I sat down to write a blog about this house. This process. This pain.

And I wrote and wrote and re-read and cried and SOBBED and hysterically SOBBED. And what I read was mean. Not nice in any way.

In all the things we’ve gone through – miscarriages and infertility – relationships gone wrong and pornography – a manic breakdown and the depression that came after – I’ve been able to write.

I’ve been able to say hard things – admit fears and doubts. Be raw and honest.

And as I list those things we’ve been through – HARD things – IMPOSSIBLE things – this was ridiculous. It’s a house. I can make it through ALL those things and not THIS “little” thing?!

I knew that those words would be whiny. I knew that those words would be really hard for some people to read. And that night – I exploded. And I erased everything I wrote.

Because it was mean and angry and hateful and … I was not in a good place. A really really bad place.

I went upstairs and told Jared through sobs that I was going to bed. He sat up straight and said – what’s wrong? (I was acting like someone had died) I said – ALL OF THIS. ALWAYS. THIS!!!

I laid in bed and sobbed. I think the last time I cried like that was nearly 6 years ago when Jared told me the depths of his addiction. He sat on the bed and said – do you want to be alone?

And that guy – that amazing husband of mine that loves me so very well – he was stuck either way. I was having one of those “don’t touch me – hug me” moments. Have you ever heard of them? Experienced them? Just me – okay. I’ll try to explain. There are times when I am so angry and out of sorts that the last thing I want is a hug – but don’t you dare walk away from me. Hug me – don’t touch me. Love me – leave me. WHY DON’T YOU DO WHAT I WANT!! (but – I don’t know what I want) So what is a guy to do with a crazy wife – remember when Jared was diagnosed bipolar and the people in my life were like WHAT!? JARED!? I mean – you – yes. Makes complete sense – but Jared – no way. It was one of those moments. Are we sure that it’s really him and not me that’s bipolar?!

So he stayed with me – not touching me – until I reached out for him. Because really – I was mad at him. And I’d like to tell you that I am really good at accepting blame for the things I do. And I am. But THIS – I didn’t do this. He did this to me. I didn’t want to live here. He made this decision without me. Which isn’t totally true. I did tell him that I didn’t want to live here. However – two people needed to sign papers and he didn’t forge my signature. And please don’t think that I’ve been living the last 14 years punishing him day in and day out for this decision. I haven’t. But – when I’m living in skunk – when the ceiling falls down – when the pipes freeze over and over – when there are men working on my house – especially rooms I don’t even walk in – I blame him. It’s not pretty. I don’t love admitting it. But I tell myself that I’m justified in my actions. I am miserable. He should be too. And since he’s not – I can make him. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! Please tell me that you’ve thought this way too. Or am I alone in this!? Like – the hug me – don’t touch me moment!? It’s awful. It’s shameful. It’s not grace. It’s not love.

It’s anger. And what is anger based on!?

I mentioned on FACEBOOK after our people showed up to work on our house with us that I LOVE my people. My Aunt Lori is one of my people – she didn’t show up yesterday – but she texted me after the word vomit I did end up putting on the interwebs. After a few questions and answers she asked me this – anger is usually based in fear – so what are you afraid of?!

Listen – just let me be mad okay. Let me be angry and be a jerk and be justified in my actions and my words. I’m hurting and I want EVERYONE to know that it’s NOT MY FAULT and it’s an injustice. And you should hurt too.

And then my people swoop in and ask hard questions and show up and let me cry and be mean.

I’m afraid of two things – 1. That I will live in this house that I hate forever – this house I never wanted to be in and be stuck. 2. That we will have no wiggle room in our finances and be stuck.

She said – that’s when I ask myself – what is the worst that could happen? THAT is the thing that I somehow have to turn over to God. THAT fear!!

Jared has been dealing with some anxiety lately – and I always ask him – what’s the worst that could happen? Nothing close to those things have happened. So – what’s the problem?

Our anxieties manifest in different ways.

In general – Jared’s cause him to curl up on himself and not do much and think.

My anxiety comes out in a controlling rage. Mine cause me to explode and do ALL the things – ANYTHING except sit and think. Let me FIX something. ANYTHING. ALL THE THINGS. I’ve been organizing and getting rid of STUFF. And don’t get me wrong – I LOVE doing this. But it’s also a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I’ve been helping my people get rid of STUFF. Because I can’t sit still. Maybe I do operate in a sort of mania?!

Yesterday we tore off the back porch to get ready for the siding on the back of the house – the last step – in that process. When Sierra asked what we needed – Jared said we had a few things but not much. I said – we have 3 hammers. Cus – let’s be clear – we’ve got NOTHING and NO IDEA. The only idea I have is that I hate this and it’s huge and swallowing me up and it’s awful and horrible.

So Sierra & Jose came with their tools at 9. Cody came with his tools. That’s it. That’s all that said – we will be there. So this is it – take it away guys – cus we don’t know where to start. But – Dan and his family showed up. Jason and his son came. Scott – a friend I haven’t seen in over ten years – showed up. Mark showed up. Johna came. We had lots of kiddos in and out – running around. We had lots of hands filling the dumpster. We had lots of guys climbing on the roof and ripping it apart. By noon – the dumpster was full – pizza was served and the unsightly porch was gone – the only evidence being a few shingles here and there and the discoloration on the house from the old and the now exposed.

Jose and I were talking about the potential this house has (which is really hard for me to see – mostly because I don’t even want to) and I told him that my REAL fear is that someday I might like this house.

I typed that in a whisper. Because I don’t want to tell you. I don’t want to admit that. I don’t want to be … wrong.

PRIDE is a crazy thing. We would rather stay in anger and despair and be MISERABLE than admit that we might have been wrong. We might not have been justified in our actions and jerkiness.

I was telling Johna and Sierra this later – and Johna said – but we love you. The people that love you and are cheering for you aren’t going to say – I told you so.

Johna said something else that made me think – (everyone seems to love our house and see the potential and she’s no exception) but she said – you Danielle – are so unique – I can’t imagine you in new construction. This house is so … you. And I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. We walked through the house – into the attic – where Jose said – oh yeah. We can do this. And this – and this. We can do this!

I didn’t cry yesterday – but I’m crying now. Because in less than 3 hours yesterday – our people swooped in and fought for us. For me. When I have been MISERABLE and mean.

And like I said – my people swoop in and ask hard questions and show up and let me cry and be mean. BUT THEY DON’T LET ME STAY THERE.

THAT IS GRACE.

I recently had a conversation with my sister about the things we’re doing that hurt each other. Jealousies and assumptions and anger and blame and … you know – really fun stuff. But it was the first time that we’ve had that conversation (cus we’ve had it a bit) and actually figured some stuff out.

Missy texted me the lyrics of a song that she thought of when she was praying for me.

My friends – my family – my people – they strengthen me. They help me. They get it – but they also know that you can’t stay in it.

I love you guys. SO MUCH. I can’t thank you enough for speaking truth and life and love and hope …

I’m a realist who tends to fall on the pessimist end of things. That deep and lovely dark – we’d never see the stars without it. I believe that life is mostly about the hard things.

Hope is a hard one for me. The glass isn’t only half empty but the water has also run out.

Life IS mostly about the hard things. But it’s also about the people that swoop in during the hard things and point you to hope.

I still don’t love this house – dare I say it … yet. Maybe I never will.

I’m still really afraid of how much this all costs and how we’re going to do it and still live. Not survive – but thrive. Really LIVE!

But while the water seems to have run out – God hasn’t. God doesn’t. He gives us hope in Jesus. And His water never runs out.

TEN YEARS

Filed under: bardenisms,just because,my family,my town,newsworthy — admin at 12:46 am on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ten years ago I was leaving my secretary job to start photography FULL TIME!!

I needed 24 weddings a year to make what I was making at my secretarial job – and I had 24 weddings that year!!

Sometimes when I look back on those photos – I think – WHAT WAS I THINKING! Isn’t it crazy how styles change – shooting & editing!

I can’t believe it’s been TEN years already yet only – how can that be!?

I have met so many AMAZING people because of that decision! This camera and the eye God gave me. The chances that you took on me.

I’ve watched you graduate and get engaged and get married and have babies. I’ve been in the room when your child takes her first breath. I’ve witnessed you pledge your lives to each other. I’ve photographed you when you knew that your time together was coming to an end – the last photos of you as a family. I’ve cried with you. I’ve smiled with you. I’ve loved with you. I’ve lost with you.

I’ve met families who continue to ask me back into their lives time and time again. THIS is the greatest honor.

Because of this blog – I met my best friend. Because of this blog I’ve come to know over a hundred women who are wanting to be mothers. Waiting for a baby. I’ve prayed with them and cried with them. I’ve celebrated with them and mourned with them. I’ve been able to see into your lives – to give you moments captured in time.

When I first started this whole photography journey – there weren’t many on the scene – and now … there’s quite a few. I’m not nearly as busy as I once was – and it’s kind of a hard place to be in. I long for the business. I want to photograph ALL the people – okay – maybe not ALL … BUT – I also want to enjoy these growing kiddos. I want to spend time as a family – making memories for our own walls.

I’m not quite sure where even this year will take me – trusting – REALLY trusting the God knows best. Exactly the people I need to meet. Exactly the places I need to be. It’s really overwhelming when you think of it – all the minute details of your life that matter – really really matter. Turning left instead of right. The insanely different path your life would take from such a small choice.

THANK YOU for making the past ten years AMAZING! THANK YOU for asking me to still your moments. THANK YOU for welcoming me into your hearts and homes.

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018

Filed under: bardenisms,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,my family — admin at 12:46 pm on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

CHRISTMAS! Over & done with – ALREADY!!

Over Thanksgiving – Jared & Fitzy went to a Lakers game in Cleveland – so that was most of Fitzy’s Christmas present!!

BUT – he knew he would have a few gifts under the tree!!

Board games & basketball shoes & a HOT WHEELS set & more games. Books & socks & a watch.

We took Jared’s parents to Corning to make a Christmas tree or a snowman for Christmas! The boys picked trees – the orange one is Enoch’s!

Those Barden brothers. They are something else!

Enoch & Fitzy shopped at the thrift store shop their school held! Fitzy got his brother a floor puzzle – he got Jared a book & he got me two necklaces.

Enoch got Jared a book & me an ornament. They spent a total of $2.50 – it was THE BEST!!

After presents – we spent the morning with the neighbors!

Fitzy read the Christmas story this year. Sometimes I forget that he can read!!

The boys were QUITE surprised about their video games!!

We had a relaxing Christmas with our families! HOW WAS YOUR CHRISTMAS!?

FAMILY

Filed under: family,holiday,just because,my family,parties — admin at 12:31 pm on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

If you didn’t know – we live right next to my husband’s parents. And a few houses down from them – Jared’s uncle & aunt!

Marilyn asked if I would take a few photos of the four of them together for Christmas!

Brenda & her brother!

MAKE SURE YOU GET THE PICTURES!! MAKE SURE YOU MAKE THE TIME for the people that you consider dear to you!!

THIS IS US

Filed under: bardenisms,my family — admin at 12:58 pm on Monday, December 17, 2018

I am usually ON TOP of scheduling our own family photos – but this year – any day without rain was reserved for a client!

In October – I texted Megan and said – WHAT DO YOU HAVE OPEN!? Knowing full well that it might be NOTHING because October is THE busiest time of the year for photographers!

BUT – we found a date that worked for us AND her AND my in-laws.

BUT – it rained. These photos are IN the rain – but Megan is AWESOME – so we got two good shots!

We rescheduled our own family photos for one week later – HOPING & PRAYING for NO rain!

At this point in the year – with ALL the rain – that’s about the best you can hope for – just NO rain!!

OH MY HEART!!

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GUY!?

I ADORE THAT ONE!!

SUCH HANDSOME BOYS!!

THOSE GUYS!! I thought for sure I would be a girl mom – but those boys are my life!!

And I’m pretty positive I won’t be able to hold him like that much longer!

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

That family shot on the left!! PERFECTION!!

The boy that saw me. The boy that pursued me. The boy that asked me to share this amazing life with him.

This PERFECTLY describes our family!!

MEGAN!!! Thank you so much dear friend!

*C* FAMILY

Filed under: baby caamano,family,farmlife,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 12:59 pm on Monday, December 10, 2018

It’s rare that my sister AND her hubby get to come home – so we grabbed a few shots of their little family!!

Jack Jack – I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! Samm & Xavier – I love you guys too!!

TROUT FAMILY CHRISTMAS

Filed under: baby barden,baby caamano,family,farmlife,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 11:14 am on Thursday, December 6, 2018

We didn’t think my brother would make it home for the holidays this year – but he did! His wife stayed in Ohio and worked but he brought the kiddos out for Thanksgiving!

On Wednesday night – Thanksgiving Eve – Jared & Fitzy were in Cleveland for a BASKETBALL game!! They stayed at the Westin and had a GREAT time!

BUT – my controlling momma heart was kind of FREAKING OUT a little!! I wasn’t able to really breathe until they pulled in the driveway! WHEW!!

They got in a little after 2 on Thanksgiving and grabbed a plate of food and then opened Christmas presents!!

COUSINS!!!

Enoch 5 – Fitzgerald (who is asking to change his name to just Fitzy) 7 – Rowyn 7 (soon to be 8) – Jack 3 (so close to 4) – Judah 6 – QUITE THE CREW!

That’s only the 23rd gun to add to their collection!!

Rowyn wants to be an ARTIST!! BRING ON THE PAINTS & CANVAS!!

Judah – have you been noticing his faces!! They are the best!

Jack calls me Daniel – and Samm loves it! It IS pretty adorable!

SO MUCH CHRISTMAS!!

My sister is OBSESSED with the poop emoji – so my dad got her a special gift – PASS THE POOP!!

And every year we have to line the kiddos up and get the NEW picture – they are growing TOO FAST!!

We had a GREAT Thanksgiving with our families!!

OUR FAMILY

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,portraits — admin at 12:01 pm on Monday, November 19, 2018

I meant to schedule our OWN creek exploring family photos this summer and then time got away from me! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!

So we scheduled family photos with Megan at the end of October. But it called for rain. So we called them off. Then it was clear. So they were back on.

While we waited for Jared to get home – I took the boys out to get some photos!

FIVE. My baby is FIVE!! TODAY – HE IS FIVE!! Doesn’t he look SO grown up!?

And that Fitzy guy – getting closer to EIGHT every day.

Fitzy took that picture of me – it’s PERFECT!!

And those ones – I LOVE THEM!!

Enoch took that one of me & Fitz! With Jared being a creeper in the background!

And Fitz took those ones too!!

It’s a good thing I have super long arms!

He just gets more & more handsome! And he currently has a beard – with spots of grey in it – SWOON!!

And a shot of our japanese maple tree! I LOVE having them line our driveway!

The rain rain rain came down down down after all and we had to cancel the session that day – as she pulled into the driveway!

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