Friday, May 27, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Family DomiNATION [Ann Arbor, MI]

Here's some favorites of my shoot with the Brabbs from few weeks back.  Absolutely loved taking pictures of this family, I had such a good time getting to gleam into a little bit of what life for the Brabbs family looks like.

Phil was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a type of blood cancer) right around the time that I met him when I was in highschool.  I've watched and admired the last 3 years as he and his family have navigated through the rough waters of life.  I have so much respect for this man of Faith.  More than Phil's incredible drive to bring awareness about multiple myeloma, I love the way that He is dominating as a husband, father, and head of household.  Follow he and his families journey here.

Holy Cuteness!

Loved this action shot for some reason =]

Beautiful Family!

Daddy Sandwich.

Definitely blog material.

The Life of a Mountain man [Buena Vista, CO]

I've now been in Colorado a little over a week and a half, my time here so far has been so busy that I haven't had much time to spend alone with my good friend Jesus, let alone stay caught up with all my 'people' that I love so much.  Life is definitely a whirlwind at the moment.  Busy going from one training session to the next.  It's been quite alot of fun to be getting all of this training, I've been absorbing quite a bit of new information over the past week.
We've spend the most amount of time on learning all the different rock climbing and repelling systems.  Getting all the knots down, all the protocols for climbing and being anchored in to something, how to tie students in, how to rescue a student in case they get stuck.  Attention to detail I'm learning is one of the most important things as a instructor and guide.  The safety and lives of students depend on making sure that everything is 100% correct 100% of the time.

Mike Displaying proper technique for clipping into your harness.

This is my face(s) for getting ready to go out and spend a day on the rocks.

Though people may not be able to perceive this, I do miss my family quite a lot, that has been probably one of the hardest parts so far about being out here in this wilderness paradise.  NO FAMILY!  My desktop background is currently as follows.

Though this time away from family and familiar environments is hard, I feel like this summer is the training grounds which is moving me from boyhood to manhood.  I feel a maturing taking place in my heart as I continue to plow ground.  There is a reality of now plowing ground for myself as Isaac Mark Smith.  I am laying the foundations in these years that the rest of my life will be built upon.  What are going to be the founding principles of my life, my household.  No one can make these decisions for me, as well no one else can walk these values out for me.  I get to dream with the Lord and press into however much of Him that my flesh can take.  Narrow is the gate, difficult is the way, and few are those who find it.  How far will He let me go, how abandoned will He let me be.  I want to be dependent on the words of one man alone.  Truly His opinion is the only one that matters.

Until I get wireless internet again...I remain...

Mountain man.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm in Colorado, I'm rock climbing, and I think I might DIE! [Buena Vist, CO]

Here's an entry from my digital journal.  I didn't have time to write a specific entry for this blog.  The pics were from a rescue training session we did today.  I'll update again when I can, my internet time is limited these days =]

[May 17, 2011] Today was the first day that we got out to the cliff face to set up our systems for repelling and climbing.  It was a nice little hike up to the area where we could actually set our anchors.  Got to feel how out of shape I was with my pack on carrying maybe only 20 pounds of gear.   It was nice to finally get up in the mountains and start putting into practice the different knots and climbing systems that we have been learning the last couple of days.  The repelling system made sense finally as I could see it laid out.  I got to go over the cliff first and repel down a good 60 feet, for my first time repelling, I really enjoyed it.  I’ve really enjoyed my time out here so far.  

Yesterday I had the day off, and discovered the little prayer chapel.  I spent a good 2-3 hours in there alone, reading the word, some books, praying, and talking with family.  It’s such a peaceful spot to go and spend some time alone with the Lord.  I think it is quickly becoming my favorite spot out here in the mountains.  There is a little wood burning stove in the chapel to heat the small 15 by 20 room.  A couple quaint pew’s, a well made rocking chair in the corner, in front of a letter desk.  I think that I would really like to spend some evenings in there writing letters, and journalling, and maybe some songs.  Seems like my heart has been missing my friend Jesus a lot more lately.  

It has seemed like the more and more I become disconnected with all of the business of what I have been dong the last 8 months, the more my heart feels at rest.  My heart has been at peace here in the mountains, though so far away from my comfort zone, I am finding comfort in the place of fellowship with my Lord.  I know that this part of the journey has been so ordained by the Lord’s leading.  He has brought me to the wilderness so that I might come up leaning.  So far, that has been my number one concern each day, how much time can I steal away to get before the Lord.  I have become aware of how quickly I put on a mask, to cover and hide the deep things of my heart.  I haven’t been able to truly be myself before others because I have been more concerned about what they think, instead of what my Father’s opinion is.  I don’t want my heart to be gripped in a man pleasing spirit of living before man, but before the eyes of the Lord only.  How do I set a standard and refrain from engaging in different conversations or activities.  There is no balance.  There is black and white.  Am I compromising or tip-toeing on that line?  I want to run from wickedness, I have to kill pride, I have to go to the lowest place. I want to serve the people I’m around this summer and bring them into encounter with the man Jesus.  I don’t want to be a hinderance to that process.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Family of DomiNation (Preview) [Ann Arbor, MI]

More to follow, I absolutely love the Brabbs family.  Here's a preview of a family shoot I got to do with them at their home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Check out the Brabbs blog and journey here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pushed into Leaning

There hasn't been to many transitional seasons in my life, I'm not sure if I would even consider this summer to be the Lord moving me into a new 'season'.  Maybe just a mid-season hiccup.  All my stuff is packed as I am getting ready for a summer that will be different than most I'm used to.  In just a few days I will be flying home to Michigan to see my family for a week.  Upon returning to Kansas City I will have two quick days to repack and get ready for a summer spent in the mountains of Colorado.

For the past two years I have lived in KC, the longest time I have spent away from this place was a month back in the summer of 2009.  When I moved here, I don't think I knew that I would be moving here more or less permanently.  When I finished my internship I moved into a house with 5 other guys, called the 'Refuge House.'

Left to Right: Me, Jay, Micah, Kris (the owner of the House), Josh
Jay, Micah, Kris, and I have been together for the past year and a half in the house.  I've had alot of fun getting to know these guys.  Basically, we had fun pretty much all the time when anyone was home.  The refuge house really has felt like home here in Kansas City, it's going to feel really odd to be back in Kansas City and not coming home to these guys.

As for where I will live come fall, I have no clue.  There are so many things that are out of my control at the current moment of life.  My heart is to find a place with fewer guys, a little slower pace, and would prefer to have the guys going to IHOPU.  Life here at the House of Prayer is really busy, really fast pace, so it's important that when you walk in where ever you are living that you are able to enter into true rest.

I think also having grown up in a big family, going straight into internship life, then coming to a house with 4 roommates, I'm ready for a little break.  I need a little smaller crowd for home life.

Truly my heart will miss these guys.

So today, I officially feel like my summer is starting, as I take this first step of trusting the Lord.  I know this summer is about leaning for me.  Leaning into leadership that is unseen.  Learning to hear His voice and trust Him at His word.  I feel the pressures on my heart already to abandon ship, to neglect the voice of the Lord because of the tensions my heart will endure through the uncertainty.  Truly, He must increase, I must decrease.

"The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places."