Where I’ve been:

Around mid September through October I get caught up in photography. Caught up in such a fabulously filling way. There is really nothing I love more than taking and editing pictures. Fall, especially this fall, with it’s ridiculously unbelievable color and delicious weather, is just the perfect time to take pictures. I love meeting new families and photographing families that come each year – it’s so fun to watch those families change and grow. Even if it is people I see everyday – somehow, through the lens, I see with more clarity. I see their kids growing, I can see their relationships with one another changing. It is just such a unique and awesome privilege to get to capture a family in time.

You see, I think photography is magical. I think that the mystery of what is caught up in the paper and ink goes far beyond the technical process of capturing light. It is the ability to capture life for a fleeting moment and hand it over to a family. Time goes so very, very fast and it seems to be a downhill run because the further down the path you go the faster it seems to go. A photograph is a way of preserving something that cannot be captured in any other way. It captures time. It says – here we are, here I am. A photograph is magic.

We all know it – we all want to capture those significant moments. There are a lot of specialties in photography: Newborn, Families, Seniors, Weddings – those markers in life that yell out, “Remember this time, remember who I am right now, who we are.” With the advent of digital cameras in our phones – almost everyone has this magic wand within their reach. What was once a privilege for the very wealthy is now common place. So common that we can forget what a mystical and magical ability we posess.

Where we’re going:

Now there is the question isn’t it – where in the world are we going? I wish I knew. What I do know is that we are definitely going somewhere new. Over this last year I have felt pulled in new directions. I know that God has something new and awesome in store for all of us and I am actively resisting every impulse I have to try and force full disclosure. For one, God doesn’t really listen to my pleading anyway – He seems to have things laid out in a timeline that I don’t need to have input into. Secondly, I have found that when I try to run towards something – even if it is something God has put in front of me, I will always stumble. God likes a calm walk towards progress. That way, when you arrive, both you and the situation is ready.

I do know a few things that are involved: art, photography, and a new blog. I love all those things, so I’m really excited – hence the impulse to run/rush. The new blog is called “A Lifetime of Consequences.” It is about divorce and the impact of divorce on families over their lifetime. It’s something that I have a deep, deep passion for and the idea came to me about a year ago now. I can see that God is refining the idea though and I’m so glad that I didn’t start any sooner. I wasn’t ready. I’m sure I will still make mistakes, but I think the time is drawing very near. That excites me. I hope that it becomes an interactive community. A place where people can come and share their experiences and draw strength and hope and ideas. You will all be a part of the direction and purpose.

The art and photography is also still in it’s infancy. I would like to do some inspirational fine art photography with creative edits, along with some custom pieces of family photography. Ideas seem to swirl and grow each day, but I know it isn’t time yet. I don’t know how I know, but I do. It’s funny because I really know. It’s not like I’m just to scared to start – I can almost hear, “Wait.”

“Wait.” What a lesson. I don’t wait well. Looking back on life though, that has been when I’ve gotten in trouble. When I rushed into something without waiting long enough for the idea to be refined, options to be reviewed, direction to be set. So here I am, waiting.

I’m pretty sure that we will start the new blog before the end of the year. So, I need all of you to get ready. I know there is not one reader out there that has not been impacted by divorce. Whether it’s your own, your parents, siblings, friends. It is not possible that you have remained untouched. As a matter of fact – if you have – I want to hear from you!

As for the rest of you – will you do me a favor? Start putting a little thought into this new blog we are going to start – what would make it meaningful to you? Where do you struggle? What are you curious about? How could this help you in your journey?

I know this can be sensitive – part of what I hope to break down is the unwillingness to talk about things that are hard about divorce and step relationships. So I promise to treasure and protect anything you share with me. You can send me your thoughts at jgaustin@me.com, or you can leave your comments here – whichever feels best for you.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. Thank you for walking through this wild life with me. Thank you. God bless.


A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to Shannon Hale and the back story behind her new book, ‘How to Pray When You Can’t Sit Still’. Tonight I wanted to take a little bit of your time to talk more about the book itself and what it means to me.

Shannon went on a journey to discover a deeper way to pray and, delightfully, she took notes. Now we get to experience her discoveries and challenge ourselves to experience our conversations with God more deeply.

While Shannon’s story includes the challenges of living with a family member dealing with ADHD – the book is for everyone. Who among us is not driven to distraction by the millions of pings, notifications, screams, tugs, and deadlines that make up a typical modern day? The inability to settle and focus during prayer time is a near universal ailment.

What I love about ‘How to Pray When You Can’t Sit Still’ are the ideas and suggestions – from a designated prayer spot, to fasting, to retreats, physical postures, and creativity – there are many ideas on how you can take your prayer life to the next level. So not only do you feel like Shannon ‘gets’ you where you are – you are relieved to find she is willing to show you the various paths there are to get somewhere else, somewhere better.

In ‘How to Pray When You Can’t Sit Still’, Shannon takes a look at five specific people from the bible and delves into some of their key characteristics and challenges:

Abraham, strong in faith but weak in trust.
Nehemiah, overwhelmed by his administrative duties.
Elijah, burned-out from doing God’s work.
Mary, misunderstood and overlooked.
And King David, harshly judged by those closest to him.

Looking at each of them through the lense of learning about, and improving, our prayer life is a new way of looking at these historical figures. Considering the challenges that they faced in their lives and how the dealt with those in the context of a deep and loving relationship with God is a very eye opening journey.

I most resonated with Elijah – burned out and worn out – I have been craving a retreat for years! Shannon offers some practical advise on how to get the most out of a retreat – whether you do it with your spouse, alone, or with a group of friends.

While I most clearly related to the chapters on Elijah – every chapter offered advice I will keep with me and, more importantly, apply! I love the idea of praying through your regular activities during the day – making my family breakfast can be a prayer if done with a right spirit.

For under $5 you can get a copy for your Kindle or Nook – just click the links below:

Barnes & Noble Nook

Amazon Kindle

Or you can get a PDF version for under $3, to download to your computer and print: PDF Version

And finally please go visit Shannon’s awesome blog – she has a online bible study running now using the book – it is fantastic!
Distracted by Prayer

You can subscribe to her blog and get all her new posts via email. As a matter of fact, you can do that here too!

So leave us a note on ways that you have found make your prayer time more meaningful – Thank you!


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