Saturday, December 8, 2012

Merry Christmas - 2012

Wow! Has a year really gone by? Well, here it is again... Christmas and time for our annual Christmas card featuring Corbett!
Photo Card
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Photo Card
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wehaddababy Itzaboy

Corbett Alexander West born July 1st, 2011 at 1 am. Isn't he cute??

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Case You're Wondering...

My Dream...
What is it that Jesse is referring to in the previous post?

I got my undergrad degree in fine art, with a concentration in photography. A lot of people are surprised by this because for the past 6 years I've worked at a bank and now in accounting at a non-profit.
However, when I was probably 10 or 11, I saved UPC codes to get a 110mm camera from Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. I was so excited when it finally came in the mail! I took pictures of everything, squirrels running up the tree, our creek, my face, whatever. In high school, I always enjoyed the art classes I took, they weren't just a "blow off" class like they were for most people. I loved creating collages for gifts, homemade greeting cards, and doodling on everything.
When I got to college, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I even worked at a Montessori school for a year but soon realized elementary was not where I wanted to be. Then I switched my major to business. I was working at a bank and they would help pay for it, so why not?! While loaded down with coursework I despised, micro-economics, business law, macro-economics, yuck, yuck, yuck... I took a beginning photography course for fun. It was then I realized I was actually pretty good at it! My professor encouraged me to take another course, and Jesse (we were just dating at the time) was very encouraging as well for me to pursue art, buying me a drawing pad and pencil set for either Valentine's Day or my birthday... Anyway, I soon decided to switch majors again - to Fine Art this time. Surprisingly, my parents even let me do it!
Almost 7 years later, I haven't done much with it - a few paintings for friends and family, some photographs for graduating seniors and friends bands, a wedding, stuff for church and work - but I've been feeling the desire to do something more the past year.
I've finally decided to pursue my dream once again... I want to go back to school to get my MFA with the intentions of one day being an art professor. It may take me years to do it, and I'm not sure where I'll go (there aren't any local schools down here that offer an MFA), but I will do it!
For now, I'm taking a painting course at the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Art to get back into the swing of things and I'm being more intentional about painting and drawing in my spare time.
I was nervous to tell Jesse about this because he wanted me to stick with accounting, the practical career. But it's not one I want to do forever, and I felt like I was living his dream - not mine. He's been very encouraging ever since then and wants to see me pursue it. "Your dream is my dream" is what he said to me. What an awesome thing to hear from the one you love!

Here are some of my older drawings, paintings, and photography. I don't have any photographs of my newer stuff yet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The outcome... not in-between.

Carrie and I were talking last night about an unrealized dream she has.  During our conversation she told me that she was nervous to share the idea with me because of how I would react.  In fact, she did her research on the topic, so she was prepared to share with me. I was overwhelmed with guilt.  This is my wife, the solid, "stable" one of our marriage.  Yet, she, because of me, felt it necessary to prepare her presentation about an unrealized dream.  It sounds, on the surface, good that there was preparation... however, my wife is supposed to, because I create an environment of openness, be able to share her dreams with me, regardless of their state of germination.  That is not the case.  I realize that my initial reaction to hearing ideas, especially from Carrie, focus intently on the in-between, the method and not the dream.  While the method is important, focusing on the outcome, as I do with my own ideas and dreams, lends support and enables me to be a part of Carries dreams, not a nay sayer stuck on the details.  I, at every opportunity, will support and assist Carrie in achieving her dreams, by focusing on the outcome and not the in-between.

I good friend said something recently when Carrie and I were dealing with intense pain, she said "I'm happy with you when you're happy and I'm sad with you when you're sad."  I didn't quite get the depth of her statement initially.  However, after reflecting on it for weeks, I've begun to understand the statement and interpret its meaning more fully.  To me it says... accepting someone as they are, in whatever state they exist, loving them fully, regardless of joy or sadness.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My zen place.

On a very hot day about a week ago, I was watering the lawn.  To many it may seem as though I'm just watering the grass, however, watering is my zen place.  It's a time for me to unplug and think about this or that and sometimes nothing.  Anyways, while I was seated, watering, birds started landing on rocks in my landscape.  Cautiously, the birds slowly made their way to the ground that had been saturated, they were searching for worms.  One bird, a Cardinal, caught my attention because he wasn't after worms, he was after a shower.  As I sprayed the water in the direction of the Cardinal he began to spread his feathers, to wiggle and twist, almost like he was dancing.  I stood there quietly thanking God for the living illustration.  This little bird didn't know where he was going to get his next bath and I doubt he thought it would be from a big, ugly human!  I felt overwhelmed in the moment feeling God telling me, "I can take care of this little Cardinal and I can certainly take care of you."  After the Cardinal flew away I sat there thankful for what I experienced, thanking God for such a wonderful experience.  I never imagined that God would apply the illustration to my life so quickly.  However, when Carrie and I found out that our pregnancy wasn't progressing, I reflected on that moment in my backyard when God told me, "I can certainly take care of you."  My heart is broken now, but I believe and can see that God is true to His word and is caring for Carrie and I.

This is a hymn I've listened to dozens of times since our appointment.

I remember being stunned by what the doctor told us and then thinking, I need Thee every hour.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Extreme happiness : Extreme Pain

About a month ago, Carrie took a pregnancy test and it indicated pregnant.  I can't say that I was immediately excited as much as I was shocked, even though we were trying.  The idea of a baby sank in quickly and got me really excited to be a dad, but the reality of a baby was still far off.  I've found myself at times just thinking about what it would be like and how I would deal with a child.  However, for the most part it didn't seem real.  Carrie didn't have a protruding belly or much else in the way of visible hints.  So, while I was excited, I was also in a state of disbelief... a happy state of disbelief.

Here we are just after we found out we were pregnant...

Today, we went to the doctors for our first ultrasound. We were excited to hear hour child's heartbeat and move from disbelief to reality with this baby thing.  However, what we were told is that the baby didn't develop and that we will miscarriage.  When I heard that it didn't really sink... my overwhelming desire was to focus completely on Carrie.  I feel like God placed in me (possibly men in general) an override switch that is guiding me  to support Carrie and deal with this heavy burden, together.  Our hearts are broken.  It amazes me how one can quickly go from a far off feeling, more an idea,  to absolute pain and overwhelming sadness.  Our pregnancy is all of a sudden so real.  I've known pain before, but it has rarely been so close to home.  

When I went to Haiti and witnessed the death and destruction, it made an impact, but it wasn't my family members that died... I was detached from their sadness, instead, I overwhelmed by the image I saw of myself.  I saw my reflection in Haiti, not the person that people see, it was unmasked and dirty.  All of my jealous desires, unreasonable expectations, mean spirited fun, and all around prick, were slapped in my face by the experience of watching people mourn for their lost loved one.  What God showed me in Haiti was how selfish and self-centered I am.... and how that effects my relationships, especially with Carrie.  But the experience of Haiti also encouraged me to look within and deal with my issues more thoroughly.  I can't help but think the tremendous fallout after was to prepare me to deal with the pain of losing my first child.I love her so much and am broken by her sorrow.  

I know God will get us through this and we'll be stronger because of it.  So cliche.