Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015 from the Stilp's: Capturing Beauty in the Daily Grind

the family photo we used on our Christmas card
Capturing beauty in the daily grind” is the motto that drives my photography business.  It’s my goal to draw this beauty out in my photos.  Nothing monumental happened in 2015, and yet there was so much beauty in the daily grind of our lives that feels noteworthy.

Curt won a prestigious award from Portland State University
CURT: This guy makes working full time, being a full time grad student, an incredible husband and father, and an elder in our church look easy.  He’s a gem.  Curt turned 40 in June and celebrated by a short trip to Minnesota to see his family.  He finished his first year of doctoral school and lived to tell about it.  Doctoral school is not for the faint of heart. The biggest change this year for Curt was dropping his clinic day.  After fourteen years of practicing orthopedics, he hung up his clinician hat to focus solely on higher education.  Well done. We are so proud of you.

Leg one of the Cascade Lakes Relay
JODI:  Jodi Stilp Photography LLC has become a profitable, full time business, and I still can’t believe I get paid to take photos.  God is so good. Running is my main hobby.  I started a run streak on July 9th and have logged more than 1,800 miles on the run this year. I thank God every time I run for the health to do crazy stuff like this. This phase of parenting is my new favorite. The kids are really coming into their own, becoming mini-adults and excelling at their passions.  Taxiing them around and cheering them on at their events is so fun.  We surprised the kids with a puppy on New Year’s Day and Kimber has stolen my heart.

Grant and Kimber
GRANT: Grant (14 years, 9th grade) has entered the world of high school.  His water polo team won the state championship and he lettered so I’m not sure he could have a better start to high school.  He goes after all his passions with 110% effort.  Water polo, swim team, skateboarding, drumming, academics, and his Lawn Care Company consume his free time.  His lawn care business financed two water polo trips to California this year.  His team is headed to Croatia next summer, so he’ll be mowing a LOT of yards to earn that $4,000! He also volunteers every other week in the three-year-old class at church, folding his man-sized body into tiny toddler chairs to play with the kids and teach them about Jesus.
Katie Joy
KATIE: Katie (13 years, 8th grade) is at the top of the middle school totem pole.  Where did that time go?  She is very studious, smart, kind, and a good friend. She gave up soccer this fall to try volleyball and enjoyed it, but lacrosse is her passion.  She’s doing some off-season training this winter to prep for lacrosse in the spring. Katie loves down time, hanging with her friends, and watching movies.  She’s great with kids – babysitting regularly and volunteering every other week at church in the infant/toddler room.

Alli Claire
ALLI: Alli (11 years, 6th grade) has smoothly entered the realm of middle school, killing her academics to earn the school incentive trips. She plays a sport year-round.  A fierce competitor, Alli can’t decide if she loves soccer, basketball, lacrosse, or water polo the best.  She plans to add track to her sports resume’ this spring too.  When she’s not playing sports, Alli wants to be with her friends or holding babies.  She is finally old enough to volunteer at church and plays with the 4-5 year olds every other week. 
Paige Elizabeth
PAIGE: Paige (9 years, 4th grade) has really come into her own this year. Academics and reading are some of her main passions, but she is trying sports this year, with soccer this fall and now basketball.  Paige still wants to be a missionary in Hawaii when she grows up. She also participated in the Battle of the Books and loved it.  Paige is a friend to all, but thrives on quiet time at home. If Paige looks exceptionally cute to you in this year’s picture it’s because she got braces and contacts this year.

That’s our year in a nutshell.  How was yours?  We thank God for each of you.  Merry Christmas!


Curt, Jodi, Grant, Katie, Alli and Paige Stilp

Thursday, December 10, 2015

S L O W D O W N....

Yoga is a hard practice for me.  Why?  Because if you want to do it well and experience the full benefit of your practice you can't do it fast.

Anyone who knows me, knows I can't sit still.  EVER. Give me a list a mile long and a short time to do it and  I thrive under the pressure and the chaos.  It's why life as a business owner with four kids, two dogs, a husband in grad school, and a commitment to run every day usually feels full, but only sometimes overwhelming.  Taking time to BE STILL is hard for me.

The problem with a fast-paced, on the go 24-7 lifestyle is that it's counterintuitive to how we're created.  God created us for regular rhythms of rest.  We must create space to stop. Pause. Breathe in.  Breathe out.

S L O W  D O W N....

I'm racing a half marathon on Sunday and am supposed to be resting this week.  Yoga is a no-brainer for a rest week, but I talked myself out of it every day so far this week.  Who can slow down for an entire hour when there is work to be done, shopping to finish, presents to wrap, and Christmas cards to send out?

Yesterday I received the Christmas cards I ordered last week.  I was in such a hurry to get the cards ordered that I uploaded the low resolution version of the picture we wanted to use so... The Professional Photographer's Christmas photo is highly pixilated.  I am trying to see the ironic humor in it and not hyperventilate.

This morning on my run I realized I completely, 100% forgot my niece's birthday.  No card. No phone call.  No present. No remembering it was even her birthday until today - FIVE days after the fact.  Could I be any lamer?

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season has officially taken it's toll.

Enough is enough.

Yoga forces me to stop the madness and just be.  It was time for a yoga session.

I got out my yoga mat. Lit my Christmas candle.  Turned on the fire. Then spent an hour stretching and meditating.

Inhale. Exhale.

Calm the chaos inside my brain.

S L O W  D O W N....

That one hour of yoga refreshed my spirit and my mind, adding new depth and perspective to this Christmas season.  After all this is the season of Advent - a reminder to anticipate Jesus' coming. There is beauty in the quiet stillness and I experienced that today.

If you feel frazzled and overwhelmed, I encourage you to take an hour to quiet your mind and be still.  You won't regret it.