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The Holidays Aren't Always “Merry and Bright”

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Friends, as we sit in the midst of the Christmas season, it’s impossible to escape the constant chatter and excited hubbub around us.  And for many of us, maybe the holidays are a time of full hearts and memory making.  But ya’ll, that simply is not the reality for everyone.  

You may be heading into Christmas feeling lonely and dark.  Maybe this is your first year without a beloved parent, child, or spouse by your side.  Maybe it’s yet another year of unfulfilled longing for a family of your own.  Or maybe you’re caring for a loved one in their last days.  Because despite how “unfair” it may feel, life, death, and heartache don’t slow down for the holidays.

If you’re in the joy-filled camp, please remember your friends who may be having a harder time this season.  Make space for quality time in the midst of the hustle and bustle or invite them to celebrate some of your traditions with you.  And most importantly, have empathy for those who are having a harder time.  Brené Brown captures empathy and how to do it perfectly in this short clip


And friends, if you’re on the other side of that coin, and every moment hurts, hear me.  You are not alone.  Seek out that person who will make room for you at their family table.  Plug in to your Life Group’s activities or look for ways to engage and serve here at E91.  Seek Jesus in this season and I promise, he’ll be seeking you.

Still feeling alone and hurting?  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  At E91 we’re ready to meet you where you are.  We have a counseling center with a staff ready to walk with you and assist you through hard moments.  We also have a Stephen Ministry with lay leaders who are trained to listen and respond in trying times.  And if you’re dealing with something else, like a broken marriage or overcoming addiction, we’re prepared to enter into that with you too. For more information regarding resources, visit east91st.org or email .

In the midst of what can be difficult season, we encourage you to join us. Our worship experiences are no strings attached and we would like to merely give you a place to find refuge. Join us this December at 10:05 each Sunday and specifically at 4 & 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Remember, never to go at it alone.

Capture The Moment

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Family photos can be one of the most exciting moments during the Holiday season or could be the most difficult. Capturing that perfect family moment on camera can be a difficult task, especially if you don’t have the resources or the eye for what a good family photo looks like. Many of people end up like our family pictured above aka Awkward Family Photo 2016 edition.

Don’t worry, we are here for you with some great mobile apps that can really elevate your family photo to truly capture who your family is. Each of the mobile apps listed below are available via the Apple App Store for free and come with some great additional resources.

First recommendation is VSCO; a great camera app for capturing high quality photos simply. It has tools that are very familiar with apps like Instagram or Facebook as well as many artist curated filters to really make your photos pop. This app also allows you to unlock professional level features if you so choose. All in all, it is a great application to really make a dull picture bright and exciting.

Second recommendation is Rookie Cam. This application also offers great filter options as well as similar level of professional features that can be unlocked. What makes this app stand alone is the ability to create photo booth like collages for multiple photos, as well as place text overtop. The ability to place a funny family saying or inspirational quote on an image will make your photo stand out amongst the clutter. The collage option also allows the ability to include multiple shots in one image, which can tell an even better story than just one.

Last recommendation is Print Studio. This too is one of the most popular apps on the App Store with hundreds of thousands of downloads. This app, unlike the ones listed above, is not a camera app, but instead a printing app. It allows you to take the awesome images you just created with your family and order cards, prints, stickers, posters, and books. Simply make your selections in the app and they will be mailed straight to your door. In an age when most of us consume media by scrolling through our news feeds, it can be a good change of pace to have a tangible photo to share with others.

We hope that this guide has been helpful and has made capturing that perfect family photo that much easier. We would love to see the images from this holiday season so please share them on social media and use the #E91CHRISTMAS. Don’t forget to follow E91 on all social platforms @e91cc to stay up to date on all things Christmas and some of favorite photos that are shared using this hashtag may just end up on our pages.

Thanks so much for reading and good luck capturing those amazing family moments.