Saturday, October 10, 2009

good news

Our family traveled to Disneyworld in Florida last week. This is my favorite picture from our trip.




As we were leaving the park one afternoon, we looked up and saw a plane writing “Jesus Loves You” in the sky. As I paused to watch the pilot skillfully write this powerful message in the sky, I couldn’t help but notice all the conversations of people walking past me.

So many little children asking their mommies and daddies, “Who is Jesus?”… and their parents awkwardly changing the subject.
Some seemed noticeably irritated…others just didn’t know what to say.

As we were waiting for our shuttle to arrive to take us back to our hotel, a little girl was sitting on a bench next to me. I recognized her from our hotel…a precious little preschool age girl with a very sweet parents. As she looked up, she asked her Mommy what the words in the sky said.
Her Mommy looked uncomfortable, but she quickly read them to her.
I don’t know why, but the little girl turned straight to me and asked, “Is that true?”.
I wanted to tell her.
But I couldn’t.
Her mommy snapped at her and said, “I told you what it said…you do NOT need to ask her!!”
I just smiled. I pray she finds out someday.

It makes me sad that the name of Jesus makes so many people so uncomfortable.

Perhaps they have good reason? Maybe they’ve been beat over the head with the Bible by ‘well-meaning’ Christians. Maybe, instead of being loved by Christians, they’ve been judged and criticized. Maybe they just don’t understand what it all means.

OR, could it be, that I am just seeing this firsthand…

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Whatever the reason, somehow, the “GOOD NEWS”…

John 3:16 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

…has become BAD NEWS!

I am reminded today that the time is coming when a man writing “Jesus Loves You” in the sky could be arrested…in the United States of America.

I am asking the Lord for Holy Spirit boldness…to share the Good News while I can!

When all is said and done, I do NOT want these words said of me… “she loved praise from men more than praise from God." (John 12:43)

John 1:10-12 (ESV)
“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

Friday, September 11, 2009

pray for Emma

**10-9-09 UPDATE** Emma passed away at 1:30am this morning. She is with Jesus now. No more pain. No more tears.

***********************************************************************

**10-7-09 UPDATE**  Emma is returning home from the hospital and hospice care will take over from here. The latest tumor in her brain has proved to be extremely aggressive and the doctors have decided there is nothing further that they can do.
Join me in lifting up Emma's sweet family to the only One who can heal their broken hearts - Henry, Lauren and little brother Jeremy.

Psalm 34:18
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

***********************************************************************

Please pray for Emma.

I had the pleasure of meeting Emma for the first time in the Spring of 2007. She had recently been diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) which had also spread to her lungs.

The pictures in the slideshow below were taken in May '07...



I got to spend time with Emma again in November 2008. Another tumor had just been discovered in her lung. These pictures were taken the day prior to her lung surgery..



This week, a brain tumor was discovered in Emma's frontal lobe. She will be going in for brain surgery on Monday.

Please pray for Emma and her sweet family!!!

Pray for a miraculous outcome in the face of a scary prognosis!

Pray that they would receive comfort from Jesus like never before!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

still around


Just thought I'd pop in and let you know that I'm still around. :)

Although I haven't written on my blog much lately, I feel like I've been on the computer WAY too much. I decided to give the Facebook thing a shot...it's fun, but could definitely end up being far to addictive for this girl. We'll see how it goes.

I'm praying about what I'm doing with this blog. If the Lord wants me to continue sharing my heart here, then I will absolutely do it.
But if He's not, there's really no point . . .

Psalm 127:1-2 (NIV)
"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat -for he grants sleep to those he loves."

Monday, July 13, 2009

give me Jesus





In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus


Friday, July 10, 2009

c r u m b s


During my quiet time today, I was reading in the book of Matthew about the faith of the Canaanite woman.

Matthew 15:21-28 (ESV)
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.


How often I’ve been satisfied with the precious “crumbs” that fall from the Lord’s table. Gobbling them up as quickly as possible, and anxiously awaiting the next crumb to fall. Seemingly unaware that I could be feasting at The Table…instead of waiting for the Lord, in His mercy, to allow another crumb to fall.

Oh how often I've operated out of half-hearted faith. Almost like I’m playing games with God. Not willing to completely believe what He says…but always asking for “one more crumb” to convince me.

And in His infinite mercy, He plays along...for now.

What would happen if I stopped settling for the crumbs and BELIEVED with my WHOLE HEART that He IS who He says He is…and He CAN do what He says He can do?!?

I can only imagine!!

At times, I feel too weak to climb up into my chair at His Table.

Sometimes, I have to ask Him to carry me.

The good news is, He is always willing. Praise Him!

"Carried to The Table", by Leeland:

"I was carried to the table
Seated where I don't belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don't see my brokenness anymore
When I'm seated at the table of the Lord
I'm carried to the table
The table of the Lord"


Thursday, July 9, 2009

the simple things


It's the simple things that make me happy. :)


Like my vase full of limes in the summertime.

I love a pop of green on my kitchen table, but I don't want to spend lots of money on flowers that die quickly.
So during the summer, every other week, I buy a bag of limes and fill my vase.
They last longer than flowers, and the simplicity is totally my style.

Less is more, if you ask me.

I'm easy to please...at least I'd like to think so! :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

time flies

Oh my goodness, time does fly when you’re having fun…and potty-training a puppy!


We are having the best time with our sweet puppy! Toby is just amazing.
He is super laid-back and just content to lay at our feet and chew on a toy…or sleep.

The kids carry him around like a baby…and he is just fine with that (so cute!). Of course, it won’t last long. At 8 weeks old, he weighed in at 15.6 pounds…and he has already grown a lot since then. He is going to be a BIG boy!!



The only behavior problem that we’ve had showed up his second day with us, but thankfully, it has now stopped.

That little problem happened to be with “humping”. Fun!

Turns out, it’s pretty common for new puppies as they are trying to figure out where they fit in with their “new pack” (that’s what our Vet told me…phew!).

Unfortunately, I didn’t have that valuable knowledge when Isabelle wanted to know why I was freaking out so much and telling the kids that they could NOT let him do that.

She asked me what Toby was doing. What was the big deal?

Without having a complete understanding yet (and being in a hurry), I quickly told her, “Oh, that’s just how they mate”.

What was I thinking?

Isabelle’s response…“WHAT?!? He’s trying to mate with me?!?!?”

So, trying not to laugh, I proceeded to explain to her that Toby was not trying to mate with her, he was just a little confused (clearly, I don’t think well under pressure!!).

She ran off to go play some more and came back to me a few minutes later (apparently she was still processing). In a very serious voice, she says . . .

Mommy, that is just SO gross. It’s like a man just walking into a room full of people, and walking up to some lady, and asking her to marry him!!”

Um, yah. I don’t know what I said after that…it’s all a blur.

I guess I should just be happy that in Isabelle's sweet 9-year old little brain,
sex = marriage! :)


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Flesh vs. Spirit


Sometimes I wonder why it is SO hard to live the way Christ would have me live. To make choices daily that line up with His Word. To treat people the way He is commanding me to treat them…with love & forgiveness, with grace & mercy.

It is just so, so hard.

Why?

Romans 7:18-19
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

Galatians 5:17
For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

These scriptures encourage me.
They remind me that I should not be discouraged. I shouldn’t feel like it is just “too hard” to live the way the Lord asks me to live.
Of course it is hard…it goes completely against what I would “naturally do”.

But, as a Christian, I have the Holy Spirit in me.

Galatians 4:6
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

Ephesians 1:13b-14
“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.”

So why does it feel like my Spirit is fighting a losing battle with my flesh (sinful nature) most of the time?

Maybe because my flesh is getting fed a whole lot more than my Spirit!

It’s like “operating in the flesh” is my human “default mode”. It is so easy to go there. To live exactly the opposite of how I have been commanded to live. Of course it is….because it’s effortless…it comes 100% naturally.

For me, it is only when I am filled up, through time spent in the Word, prayer & worship, that it feels like my Spirit has a fighting chance.

But it is a CHOICE.

It’s a choice in how I’m going to spend my time…

Will I spend my time feeding the flesh?

It’s incredibly easy. For crying out loud, this world is like an “all-you-can-eat” buffet for the flesh…24 hours a day!

Or will I spend my time feeding my Spirit?

If I’m going to feed my Spirit, it’s going to involve making some choices that may not sound like “fun” to begin with.
After all, if I’m feeding my Spirit…I’m starving my flesh. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if my flesh is starving, it’s probably gonna growl…pretty loud sometimes!

In my own life, I may need to get off the computer and spend more time reading God’s Word.

I may need to get off the phone…drop down to my knees…and spend more time talking to the only One who really wants to hear everything I have to say.

I may need to turn off the TV for a while, and crank up some worship tunes. Lifting my hands to Him in worship as a physical sign of surrender…and allow Him to have His way with me.

Do I do all this to “impress God”? To be “good enough”?

NO.

I do it because I need to be filled up. That is the only way I’m going to have a fighting chance at beating down my flesh, and living according to the Spirit.

And when I’m living according to the Spirit…that is when true freedom, joy & happiness come!

That is when I’m living life to the fullest!

That’s when the fun really starts!

That’s when I actually start bearing GOOD fruit…

Galatians 5:16-24
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.


The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires
.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

meet Toby


I’m taking a quick break from puppy-proofing my house to introduce you to Toby.

Our sweet new boy.


We don’t actually bring him home until Sunday the 31st…it is SO hard to wait!!
Of course, not having him home yet doesn’t prevent me from having lots of pictures. We have paid him a few visits already, and he just keeps getting cuter & cuter!!

He is EVERYTHING we have been praying for.

And incidentally (or not), Toby is a Hebrew name that means “The Lord Is Good”.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

checkin' in


It's been a while!

Just poppin' in to say HI to those of you who've been wondering where I've been. I'm still around. :)

I have been without my computer for the past week. Painful AND exhilarating...all at the same time!!

I have lots to share...not sure where I will start. New post coming soon!

Have a BLESSED weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Am Ready


Next weekend I’m going away for a few days with some sweet girlfriends…I can’t wait!

Each year, a handful of the ladies from our church go to a wonderful retreat in Ocean Shores, Washington. It is such a sweet time of worship, teaching, and just hanging out with the girls.

Each year that I’ve gone, God has met with me there…and I have been so blessed!

I know that God can meet with us anytime…anywhere. But I guess there’s just something about setting aside a couple days to focus completely on Him. Getting away from the daily routine, and just quieting myself before Him. Asking Him to speak to me...and actually taking the time to listen.
I have yet to be disappointed!

This time last year, I was at the peak of my career as a children’s photographer. I was busier than ever. I had lots & lots of amazing clients who trusted me year after year to come into their homes and document the lives of their children. I felt like I had
“made it” in the world of professional photography…and I was enjoying
every-single-thing associated with “making it”.

Little did I know what God had in store for me that weekend…

He spoke to me. He asked me to give it all up. To leave my photography career behind. He had something else for me.

And when I doubted that I was really hearing from Him correctly. He confirmed it.

He confirmed it through the words of the speaker that weekend…it was like she was speaking straight to my heart.
He confirmed it through a prophetic word spoken over me by a close, Godly friend.
He confirmed it over and over…and over again.

I remember sitting there just before the last session ended, with two of my closest friends on either side of me. They knew what the Lord was asking me to do, and He was using them to provide comfort and support in that moment.
The pastors’ wives had been called up to the front to be prayed over.
Times Two (an incredible & ANOINTED local band) was singing the most beautiful song over these precious pastors' wives. It was called “Blessings”.

“Blessings” by Times Two

“My blessings are on you
My blessings are on you
Receive My blessings dear one”

I just sat and soaked it in.

I cried.

And I prayed.

I asked the Lord to go before me. I knew He would have to because I had no idea what I was going to tell everybody.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I just “knew” people weren’t going to get it.
He was asking me to give up a successful career…for “no apparent reason”.
Because He had something “better”. But I didn’t know what. And that is really hard to explain to people…that’s really hard to explain to myself!

On my way out that day, I stopped by the back table to buy a copy of the CD with the “Blessings” song. {I had a feeling I would be desperate to have that song sung over me quite a bit in the coming months.}
I told the band member behind the table that I wanted their CD with the “Blessings” song on it. She pointed to the CD with the purple cover and said, “it also has the song ‘I Am Ready’ on it”.
I remember thinking, “I wonder why she would say that? I've never heard of that song.”

When I was finally alone in my car, I popped the CD in and went straight to the blessings song. After having that sung over me a few times, I thought I would listen to the “I Am Ready” song she mentioned.
I skipped to it and I was half-listening to the words as I was driving. Then, all of the sudden, the words caught my attention. I had to start the song over to make sure I was hearing right…

“...so take my strengths and talents, before I change my mind”

I bawled…again.

“I Am Ready” by Times Two

“Jesus, I am ready
I’m ready to surrender
All that I have worked for
And all that I’ve dreamed of”

“Cause I know I can trust you
I am confident, Your love
Is everything I’ll ever need
Your love will be enough
I am ready
I am ready”

“So take my strengths and talents
Before I change my mind
You can even take my weakness
Take anything you find
Lord I’m saying use me
Let Your Glory be defined
In my life”


As if I didn’t have enough confirmation already? Thank you, Jesus!

Needless to say, I listened to that song over & over as I went forward in the months to follow.

I’m not gonna lie.
It was hard.
It took six solid months of working my tail off to phase out my business…and not just “to finish”, but to finish well.
Not everybody understood, but every single one of my clients was gracious and wished me the best…even if they didn’t understand.

And guess what? I don’t have a neat and tidy way to wrap this up for you.

I can’t tell you exactly what it is that the Lord is calling me to do now, because I’m still waiting to find out.

I believe that not one moment has been wasted, but that He is slowly growing me and preparing me for “whatever it is”.

In the meantime, He has freed me up to enjoy more time with my children while they are still young.
He has provided me with a season in life where I can sit at His feet for hours at a time if I choose…just praying, worshiping Him, and studying my Bible.
He has freed me up from an incredibly busy lifestyle, so that when a loved one is suddenly walking in the midst of a very dark valley, I can be there for them…completely.

I BELIEVE that the Lord has an amazing plan for my life up His Holy Sleeve.

Amazing by the world's standards? Maybe not.

Amazing by His standards? Absolutely.

For now, I am standing upon this scripture…

Luke 1:45
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"


(By the way, if any of you local girls are interested in going to the “Girls’ Getaway” in Ocean Shores next weekend, May 15-17th , email me!
I’d love to get more information to you!! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

h u n g r y



"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled."

Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Friday, May 1, 2009

gettin' equipped


Ephesians 6:13-18

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


(Sorry about the strange background sounds coming from my video camera -
apparently it could not decide where it wanted to focus. Oh well! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

p e r f e c t i o n


I just want to preface what I’m about to write by saying that God is asking me to share what’s on my heart.
Not because I’ve got it all figured out – I don’t.
Not because I’m incredibly eloquent – I’m not.
I would MUCH rather wait until I’m a little bit further on in my journey, but the Lord is asking me to share now…while I’m still messy…and have just as many questions as I do “answers”.
So please bear with me, it’s not going to be anything earth-shattering. But maybe what I’m going through will speak to just one person…and they will seek God…and they will ask Him to heal their heart the way I’m asking Him to heal mine. And that’s good enough for me.

Okay.

God has been doing a HUGE work in my heart in regards to PERFECTIONISM.

He has been showing me that, all my life, I have had an underlying belief system that “in order to be loved…I needed to be perfect”.
{By the way, I do not believe that this is the result of the way I was raised, or any other easily identifiable area – that’s not the point}
The point is, I have been asking Him to sift me, and expose areas in my heart that He wants to heal…and this is one area that He has made very clear that He wants to heal.

Of course, just like any false belief system, it didn’t just apply to me.
Unfortunately, if I required “perfection” of myself…I also had an underlying expectation for everyone else to be perfect too...
for crying out loud, if I was going to beat myself up daily for not being perfect, nobody else was gettin’ off the hook!

We all “know” that no human is perfect. But I guess that never stopped me from trying (I’m always up for a good challenge!).
To make matters worse, if everything came together at a particular time, and I was actually successful in “looking like I had it all together”…well, that just fueled my fire...
Sure enough”, I thought, “people like me sooooo much more when they don’t see my flaws, so I’m gonna have to try even harder to make sure that I don’t let them down.”

Oh, the weight of that is so heavy…way too heavy.

That desire for “perfection” has just led to all kinds of frustration & dissapointment with myself…and everybody else!
And when I am frustrated & dissapointed with people, it’s really hard to love them the way God asks me to.

Mark 12:28-31
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these."


A lightbulb went off for me, not too long ago, when my pastor was talking and said, “If you say you love God, but you ‘just can’t stand people’…something is wrong!”
Ouch!
Here we go.
I can feel a sifting coming on.

1 John 4:19-20
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

I can absolutely see the danger in not loving others…and I really, really want to love them…but it’s so hard when they drive me nuts!

The Lord has been showing me that when I have been operating under a particular belief system all my life, it’s only through Him that I can get free from it!

In my own human strength, it’s just not possible.

The good news is that when I earnestly seek Him in prayer. And ask Him to change my heart. To soften me up and help me love people the way He would have me love them. Well, I know that He can…and He will!
How do I know?
Because He says so in the Bible.

1 John 5:14-15
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

There is not a doubt in my mind that He will answer this prayer of mine…because I KNOW that it IS “in accordance to His will”.

Sometimes I pray about stuff, and ask the Lord for something, but I don’t know for sure that it is His will. And that’s okay, that shouldn’t keep me from going to Him in prayer and asking.
However, this time, I am confident that what I’m asking for is His will…because He has commanded me to love other people. And if I can’t do it in my own strength, then I KNOW that He will help me…I just need to cooperate with Him!

So I’m excited. Excited that the Lord is freeing me up from “the need to be perfect”…and from expecting others to be perfect too!

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. THE ONE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL AND HE WILL DO IT.”


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

an incredible weekend


I spent the weekend in Portland, Oregon at a Beth Moore - Living Proof Live event. I have so much that I want to share about it, but I am still processing.

All I can say right now is that it rocked my world!

It was INCREDIBLE!

The Holy Spirit fell so heavy on that Rose Garden Coliseum it wasn’t even funny!

The Lord spoke straight to the hearts of over 7000 women in ways that will leave them forever changed. I am pretty sure that every single woman there felt like the message that Beth Moore brought was “just for her”…I know I did!

Here is a slideshow that Beth Moore posted to her blog yesterday. (You might need to pause it to allow it to load for a few minutes, and then come back to watch it - it will play smoothly without stopping this way :)

(If you pay attention at the 5 minute 45 second point, you’ll see a picture of me with the sweet group of ladies I went with from my church. I was SO excited to see that we were in the slideshow!)



{The Lord reminded me this morning that PICTURES are one of *my* love languages. He let me come away from this very special weekend with a picture…and I was actually IN it this time!}

Okay, and I just have to share this song with you that we sang more than once at the conference. It is now officially my all-time-favorite song (that happens to be a very big deal)! Travis Cottrell and the rest of the worship team did an amazing job with this song…seriously…they were rockin’ that coliseum!!


I came home singing this song and I haven’t stopped. My little Isabelle is hooked on it now too.
A couple times a day we just crank it up and DANCE…oh ya…it’s a sight to see!
Our boys think we’re a little crazy…but we don’t care!!
Get out of our way when we’re worshippin’ Jesus!!

“Take the shackles off my feet
So I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You
You broke the chains
Now I can lift my hands
And I´m gonna praise You
I’m gonna praise You”

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Am Second


I ran across an INCREDIBLE website today, and I wanted to share it with you.

It is called I Am Second.


So far, I’ve listened to the testimonies of Ashley, Brian Welch (from Korn) and Jason Castro (my all-time favorite American Idol…oh ya!!) – every single one made me cry. I'm excited to watch the rest!

One of the tabs at the bottom of the page is called “Struggles”.
When you click on it, it brings up a list of struggles that the individuals featured have dealt with (pride, sex addiction, selfishness, etc.). When you click on one of the “struggles”, it then brings up the video testimonies to choose from.

Here are some direct links to videos that do a wonderful job of answering some very important questions:

How can I become second?

Who is first?

More questions - This is a list of commonly asked questions about Christianity with answers in video or written form – I like the videos best! :)

Everything I’ve listened to lines up directly with what the Bible says…VERY important!!

Anyway, when you have time, you should check it out. Go listen to what they have to say about “being second”.

Good Stuff!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the pearl necklace


A cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.

On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.

One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess-- the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."

"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. "What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And, when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace.
With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of beautiful genuine pearls.

He had had them all the time.

He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

~ Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

birthday boy

Today is my sweet Austin's 12th birthday.

We celebrated his birthday a little early, on Easter Sunday, with family. It was lots of fun!

Austin was thrilled to get the "airsoft gun of his dreams" and, as you can see below, he put it to good use right away!

Of course, he had to get his camo Army jacket on first to make the whole thing much more realistic!

I just love this video. It seems to sum up Austin so well. He looks so tough with the Army gear & gun, but when that smile breaks across his face...all I can see is little boy (shhh...don't tell him I said that)!

Austin is rough, tough & "manly" on the exterior.

But, on the inside, he is just a big teddy bear.

He loves to laugh. He loves his family. He loves his little sister - and sometimes he'll even come home early from playing with friends because he knows she is wanting to play with him too. He loves hanging out with his dad, and learning what it looks like to be a Godly man. He always tells me he loves me...even in front of his friends! If we're texting back and forth, his last text to me is always "love u". He is friends with everybody.

But most importantly, he loves Jesus.

I don't know how the Lord is going to use Austin's life, but I am certain, it's going to be powerful!


(By the way, I feel the need to apologize for the poor quality picture. I was using my point-n-shoot that can take video too...so it's worth the cruddy pictures sometimes!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

conversation with death

I ran across this “Conversation with Death” on John Piper’s blog last week.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It is SO good!

**************************************************

CHRISTIAN:

Hello, Death, my old enemy. My old slave-master. Have you come to talk to me again? To frighten me?
I am not the person you think I am. I am not the one you used to talk to. Something has happened. Let me ask you a question, Death.
Where is your sting?

DEATH, sneeringly:

My sting is your sin.

CHRISTIAN:

I know that, Death. But that’s not what I asked you. I asked, where is your sting? I know what it is. But tell me where it is.

Why are you fidgeting, Death? Why are you looking away? Why are you turning to go? Wait, Death, you have not answered my question. Where is your sting?
Where is, my sin?

What? You have no answer? But, Death, why do you have no answer? How will you terrify me, if you have no answer?
O Death, I will tell you the answer. Where is your sting? Where is my sin? It is hanging on that tree. God made Christ to be sin—my sin. When he died, the penalty of my sin was paid. The power of it was broken. I bear it no more.

Farewell, Death. You need not show up here again to frighten me. God will tell you when to come next time. And when you come, you will be His servant. For me, you will have no sting.



1 Corinthians 15:55-57
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


**************************************************

I really love that last line of the conversation. It reminds me of something that Beth Moore said in the Bible study I recently did, “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things”.

She was talking about the sifting of Peter…


Luke 22:31-32
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Beth Moore writes…

“Satan had a sieve. Christ had a purpose. The two collided. Satan got used.”

Oh ya, that makes me want to jump up and down…I love it when Satan gets used!!
For the Glory of our God!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is risen!


"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " Then they remembered his words."
Luke 24:1-8

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beautiful Scandalous Night


"It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last."
Luke 23:44-45


Beautiful Scandalous Night

by Sixpence None The Richer & Bebo Norman

Go on up to the mountain of mercy,
To the crimson perpetual tide.
Kneel down on the shore,
Be thirsty no more,
Go under and be purified.

Follow Christ to the Holy Mountain,
Sinner, sorry and wrecked by the fall,
Cleanse your heart and your soul.
In the fountain that flows,
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree,
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me,
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white,
On that beautiful scandalous night.

On the hillside you will be delivered,
At the foot of the cross, justified.
And your spirit restored,
By the river that pours,
From our blessed Saviour's side

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree,
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me,
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white,
On that beautiful scandalous night.

You carry the sin of mankind on your back,
And the sky went black.
Go on up to the mountain of mercy,
Go the crimson perpetual tide.
Kneel down on the shore,
Be thirsty no more,
Go under and be purified.

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree,
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me,
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white,
On that beautiful scandalous night.

f r u i t



I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;
and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you,
unless you abide in Me
.”

John 15:1-4 (NKJV)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

choose life

It’s spring break this week for Austin and Isabelle.

We can’t really go anywhere because Jamin (my hubby) has to work all week.
In lieu of a “real vacation”, we decided to hit up the huge, local, indoor water park…spend one night…and play as hard as possible for two days straight.
If we headed down right after church on Sunday, we would have Sunday and most of Monday before Jamin had to go to work…perfect!

The first day, I was completely content doing my “usual” - sitting back, relaxing, taking it all in AND documenting every second on camera…so everyone could remember all the fun they had.

As I was taking it all in, the words from a verse in Deuteronomy kept going through my head … "choose life”.

The next morning, we woke up and the kids were going on and on about a ride called “The Howlin’ Tornado”. How it was SO much fun. They were begging me to do it with them!

I had EVERY excuse in the book.

First of all, I’ve heard from plenty of people that it’s really, really scary…
I don’t do “scary”!

“choose life”

Second, the narrow flight of stairs (3-4 stories high) that you have to stand on while you wait in line (for who knows how long?) looks terrifying to me…
I do NOT do “heights”!

“choose life”

Third, everyone says the “best” part is when you drop suddenly and have to hang on super tight to your inner tube or you could fly out (great!).
They say it’s just like a roller-coaster. Guess what…
I don’t do roller coasters either!

“choose life”




Well, I gave in.

I was shaking so hard standing on those stairs, I thought my legs were going to give out.
I was gripping onto that stair railing so tight, my knuckles were white.
When it was time to get in our inner tube, instead of just holding on to the handles, I shoved my entire hand through and made a fist so they couldn’t slip out. (Oh ya, you should of seen my wrists when we got through…ouch!)

But I did it.

Yep, it was scary. But it was worth it.

My kids and my hubby laughed so hard. I think the visual of me on that ride will make them laugh for a very long time.

I stayed in the water the rest of the day. I played with my kids instead of just watching.
I don’t have any pictures from the second day, but that’s okay.

I chose life.

And I’m glad I did!

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him
.”

Thursday, April 2, 2009

If My Words Abide In You


I know that the odds of very many of you taking the time to watch this video are slim, but I’m going to encourage you to do it anyway.

I am usually very reluctant to take the time to read or watch anything online that takes too much time, so I don't blame you if you are hesitant. ;)
But I am so thankful that I took the time to watch this incredible video from John Piper on the importance of memorizing scripture.

It has served as a great reminder to me of the how important (necessary!) it is to memorize God's word...and definitely renewed my passion!

When I get busy, one of the first things to go seems to be my time alone with the Lord…and scripture memorization. When I stop meditating on God’s word, day and night, it is so apparent in my thoughts, feelings and actions!! Not good.

Anyway, I pray that you will be as blessed in watching this as I was…and that it will light a fire in you for memorizing God’s word!

(The first 16 minutes is John Piper reciting scripture. Such a blessing to listen to!
Ahhh, just soak it in
!)



Saturday, March 28, 2009

w i s d o m

"My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,

and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God."

Proverbs 2:1-5
.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

t r u s t

I’ve been struggling with trusting the Lord lately.

Not so much in the BIG stuff. The stuff that’s “bigger than me”. The stuff that I have no choice but to trust Him on.

I don’t seem to struggle with trusting and believing that the Lord has my best in mind (even when it doesn’t feel like it) when it comes to the big stuff in my life.
I completely trust in His Sovereignty and I know that He will definitely make my path straight if I just trust in Him and give control completely over to Him.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


No problem, I totally get it.

I’m guess I’m struggling with trusting Him with the little stuff. The stuff I would rather just handle myself…rather than giving the situation to Him.

It’s so tempting to believe that He only cares about the big stuff…but the little stuff is up to me.

If I’m not careful, my thoughts go here… “I know God has my ultimate good in mind, BUT does He know what I really like? I mean, if I leave it up to Him, He may not take care of the details that *I* am concerned about. Maybe I just need to help Him out a little. After all, I can’t really expect Him to take care of all the details, can I?”

We are planning on getting a new puppy in the next couple months.
We are so excited!
We know exactly what we want – a light-yellow…boxy-headed (but not too boxy)…big (but not long & lanky)…sweet-tempered…cuddly…Labrador Retriever…that likes pheasants…must like pheasants!
Not too picky, right? ;)

I’ve been struggling with the desire to control every aspect of the search.
To talk to breeder after breeder, nailing down the perfect combination of male & female to give us the best chances of ending up with the our perfect puppy.
And believe me, the breeders are more than willing to “go there” with me…
they get it! ;)

There have been so many mornings that instead of spending my quiet-time with the Lord, I am tempted to get online and research, contact breeders, make sure we are on the right waiting-lists, etc. (I’m not gonna lie…I have succumbed to the temptation more than once!).

But almost every time, I hear a still, small voice whispering to me, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you…”.

Sometimes it feels like I need to physically pry my fingers off the keyboard cause I’m making progress… “Come on God, I’m making good progress, are You seriously gonna make me stop?!?”
Anyway, it’s such a struggle for me. But I know that the Lord is trying to grow me in this area.

I need to trust Him with the little things, as much as I do with the big things.

Cause I’m pretty sure, “all these things” includes cute little puppies!! :)

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”


*********************************************************************************

{ I feel like I should add, my struggle with trusting the Lord with “the little things” is so unfounded…it is ridiculous!
All I have to do is look around me, at all the ways He has blessed me in big AND little ways, and I am SO convicted!
He truly does care about the little things, and He DELIGHTS in blessing me in the details.
He does know what I like…and He does know the desires of my heart…after all, He put them there!!
I am so thankful that He loves me where I’m at…and that He forgives me for being a brat when I tell Him I’m sorry.
He is so good!
}

Friday, March 20, 2009

r u l e s


I was just going through the hundreds (yes…hundreds!!) of pictures from Isabelle’s slumber party.

I love the poster she made for her door with the “rules”.

(Nothing like takin’ the bull by the horns right away…not sure where she gets that?!?)


In case you can’t read them, here they are:

1. Get comfortable
2. Have Fun
3. Be Your self
4. NO Gossip!
5. Make sure your American Girl dolls are comfortable

(I love #4…we’ve been talking a LOT about gossip lately! ;)

And here she is lovin’ on her new doll. So cute!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

p r a y


In the past few weeks, I have had several people mention to me how they have a hard time praying.

Knowing what to say, and how to say it.

Especially when praying with other people. It can feel so awkward and we can feel like it’s just so messy…especially if we compare our prayers to the prayers of people that we feel are so much "more eloquent" than us.

The other day, I felt like the Lord gave me a picture in my mind of how He wants us to pray.

SIMPLY.

Like we’re talking to a friend, right on the other side of the table.

It doesn’t need to be fancy. We don’t need to impress God…He knows our hearts.

He just wants us to talk to Him.
To tell Him what we need.
To cry out to Him when we’re hurting.
To laugh and rejoice with Him when we’re happy.
To pray for our friends when they are just too weary to pray for themselves.
To have a relationship with Him.

We make it so complicated, don’t we?

Next time you’re praying, try to picture in your mind’s eye Jesus sitting in the chair right next to you. He is. And it’s really not that hard to talk to Him.

James 5:16
"…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective"



Here is a beautiful song by Casting Crowns called “Prayer For A Friend”.



I pray that not only will I pray like this for my friends, but that when I need prayer, God will raise up people to pray like this for me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

mighty to save



Another a great verse to memorize!

And I love this song that talks about our God being "mighty to save" (this version is sung by Hillsong).


"Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations
"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

c r e a t e


My sweet Isabelle is having a slumber party this weekend with five of her girlfriends from school.

She is celebrating her 9th birthday.

All the girls are bringing their American Girl dolls and camping out (in a tent, of course) in the house.

I LOVE throwing parties! And I LOVE any excuse to make fun things with beautiful fabric. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by!

I decided that each little girl must have a sleeping bag for her doll!
So, off to the fabric store I went...

Here are my materials, before. I just love the colors...eye candy for sure!




And here is the finished product...







Such a fun (and time-consuming!) project.

Hopefully the girls will like the sleeping bags as much as I do!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

u n s e e n


“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

THE WIND.

We cannot see it, but we know it’s there.

We know it’s there…because we can see the effects of the wind.

We can see leaves blow in the wind.
We can see our curtains flow as a gentle breeze comes in through our window.
We can see an umbrella turn inside-out when the wind blows really hard.

Not for a second do we question if the wind exists.

We know it does…because we can see the effects of it.


I guess it’s kind of the same thing with God.

We cannot see him, but we know He’s there.

We know He’s there…because we can see the effects of Him.

Sometimes it’s in the little things . . .

Like just the right song coming on the radio at just the right time…and the words are exactly what we needed to hear.
Like a friend calling with a word of encouragement at the VERY second we needed it.
Like when we just flip open our Bible, desperate for a word from the Lord, and He delivers just the right verse.
No coincidences.
That is God.

Sometimes it’s in the big things . . .

Like a miraculous healing.
Like sudden financial provision when there seemed to be no way.
Like the mending of a broken relationship that seemed beyond repair.
Like lives transformed before our eyes.
No coincidences.

That is God.

must read


Virtue Alert is a must read blog for moms of teens, if you ask me.



Vicki Courtney is a Christian author and speaker with three teenagers of her own...up to her eyeballs in "teen-culture". She is a wise woman with a very Godly perspective on what's going on in the world of our teens.

And for you teenage girls (I know I have at least one teenage reader...hi Brittney! :), she has a blog called Virtuous Reality.

Check them out when you have a chance...good stuff!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

s t r e n g t h


This another great verse to memorize, or just claim in prayer . . .



Tuesday, March 3, 2009

d a n c e



If you followed my photography career, you will recognize this picture.

It kind of took on a life of it’s own in the “photography world”.

Sure, partly because it’s artistic & pretty. But I think what really got to people about this image is what it speaks to all of us about “choosing to dance”…in the face of adversity.

I met 3-year old little Ali for the first time on a dreary, January day, three years ago.
She had recently been diagnosed with a very severe form of childhood cancer…with a VERY scary prognosis.
Her parents had asked me to come up to the Ronald McDonald house in Seattle to photograph her before she went back in for her next round of chemo.
When I got there, she was sick…so, so sick!
All she could do was sit on her bed and cuddle her stuffed animals.
I photographed her a little bit, but it just didn’t seem to be a good day for pictures.
We didn’t want to push it…I could always come back when she was feeling better.
As I was preparing to leave, she looked across the room and spotted her tutu hanging in the closet. She pointed to it and asked her mommy if she could put it on. Of course, her sweet mommy got the tutu down and helped Ali get it on.

I’ll never forget what happened next…

When she put that tutu on, it was like she was a different little girl.
Suddenly, she forgot how sick she felt…she just wanted to dance.
We went down the hall where she would have more room, and she began to dance.
It was as if, in that moment, nobody else in the room existed.
She seemed to forget her pain…she spun around like the most beautiful ballerina I had EVER seen.
It took my breath away!

I think we could all learn a valuable lesson from this little girl.

DANCE…no matter what you’re facing!

It might be hard, but don’t wait to start living until all your problems are gone…it’s probably not gonna happen this side of heaven.

So get up.

Put on that tutu.

And DANCE.

I’ll join you!!

Psalm 30:11
“You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy”

Friday, February 27, 2009

east to west

This is the third scripture verse that I am memorizing with the ladies from my Bible study group. Such a great verse!



I love listening to the music of Casting Crowns - there is so much truth in the words of their songs.

Below is a wonderful teaching video that Mark Hall, from Casting Crowns, put together talking about the very concept of the above verse.

I think we could all use a little reminder like this sometimes!!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

m i r r o r


Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror,
but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.
All that I know now is partial and incomplete,
but then I will know everything completely,
just as God now knows me completely.

I Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)



We would never be so naive as to think that just because we can’t see beyond the scope of this mirror, nothing else in the room exists.

So why are we so tempted to do that in our own lives?

It’s so easy to think that what we see with our human eyes is “the whole picture”…and try to make sense of it with human wisdom.

Our knowledge and comprehension of what’s going on in our lives is SO limited.

One day, we will get to see what was going on outside of our limited scope of view…and it will all make perfect sense!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

be mine



"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine
."

Isaiah 43:1b

Friday, February 13, 2009

sadness + joy


I am in the midst of one of the most painful AND joyous seasons of my life.

So much pain and sadness…and so much hope and joy…all at the same time.

In the last few months, I have personally witnessed more heartache and devastation in the lives of those I love than I ever could have imagined.

I am in the process of witnessing a full-scale assault on the physical, mental and emotional health of one of the most precious people in my life.

Sometimes I feel like it’s just too much.

Sometimes all I can do is cry my eyes out and beg the Lord, “please, lift my head…again!”

Psalm 3:3
“But you, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head.”

Sometimes I don’t even know what to pray…there just seem to be no words.

Romans 8:26
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Just a few short years ago, this all would have been too much for me…WAY too much!
I shudder at the thought of what witnessing so much pain and darkness would have done to me.
But God is good.
His timing is perfect.
Before allowing me to walk through this valley of darkness with the ones I love, He gave me a season of pure light and freedom.

The Lord showed me (and is continuing to show me) that it is NOT about me. And sometimes I need to be reminded of that hourly!
It is not up to me to carry the burdens of those I love.
(Not that I haven’t tried…believe me…I have!)
But it’s just too heavy…and I would crumble under the weight of it all.

What it is about is handing the precious people that I love over to Jesus. They are so much better off in the hands of their Savior…no matter how much I love them.

The most important thing that I can do is pray, and pray, and PRAY.

John 11:3
“…Lord, the one you love is sick.”

So when I get up off my knees…and wipe away my tears…I am filled with JOY.

Joy in knowing that it is all out of my control…and that is a relief.

Joy in knowing that my prayers have been heard…and prayer changes things!

Joy in knowing that God is on His throne…so I can rest.

Joy in knowing that my loved ones are safe in His arms of love. And His arms are way bigger and way stronger than mine!

Psalm 30:5
“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Psalm 126:5
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

a new thing


I shared a little bit here about my passion for Scripture memorization.

I also said that I would share with you the weekly Bible verse that I am memorizing with the ladies from my Bible Study group.

Well, here is our next verse:



You might notice a bit of a theme with the scriptures being memorized - that is because they relate directly to the subject matter of the Bible study we are working through.
The study is Beth Moore's "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things".
This study has been called "a biblical guide to authentic repentance and restoration".
It is so good...just like ALL of Beth Moore's studies...so, so good!

Anyway, I love this verse from Isaiah (quite possibly my favorite book of the Bible).

Oh, and like I said last time, feel free to print out the verse (it is a jpeg file) and carry it around with you, put it on your refrigerator, whatever...it really helps with the memorizing process.

Thanks for joining me!! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

life as art


“Life as Art” was the slogan/tagline for my photography business. I always felt like it really summed up what my objective was - creating art…from everyday life.

My clients would hire me to create artistic images of their beautiful children. Of course, once the images had been created, there were always lots of questions on how to display the artwork in their home.

I have gotten lots of requests, through the years, to share my own personal displays of photographs in my home. I never really have before. Not because I didn’t want to.
Just short on time, I guess.
Anyway, time is on my side these days, and there is no time like the present…so here goes.

Most of the images on the first level of my home are pretty small. While I really prefer large prints, I don’t have a lot of great wall space for huge prints downstairs, so I have gone with “clusters” of framed images in various places.




The thing I do love about all these small prints is the ability to “tell a story” with lots of images in one place.



These prints in my dining room are actually pretty big (20”x20”) – it’s just hard to tell.










This is just the tip of the photographic iceberg in my home (you have no idea!)...but it’s a start.

Next time, maybe we’ll head upstairs…I have lots of fun, big prints up there!

By the way, I created a design guide that I offered to my clients to help give them ideas/inspiration for displaying their photographs within their home.
If you are interested in having something like this, send me an email…I’d love to share it with you!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

m o r n i n g


"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation."

Psalm 5:3

Thursday, February 5, 2009

t r u t h

I’ve shared before that I asked Jesus into my heart as a little girl.

I grew up in a wonderful, loving Christian home. I grew up going to Sunday school every week. I knew my Bible stories inside & out. I went to a private Christian school for years. I had parents who prayed for me daily and their love for Jesus was (and still is) obvious to all who knew them.

I was saved. I was beyond blessed. I am so thankful for that.

However, over the past few years, I have come to a huge realization…there’s more…there is SO MUCH MORE.

Although I was “saved” my whole life, I was still trapped in destructive thought patterns and behaviors that really did hinder the abundant life that God has for me. And, frankly, I didn’t really see the problem.

There was really nothing to complain about. A wonderful husband, two amazing kids, a very successful career doing what I loved, no really obvious problems…I had a good thing going…why mess with it?

Why?

Because as “perfect” as my life appeared, God still had more for me!

He had FREEDOM for me.

Galations 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

As I began to spend more and more time in God’s word, I began to see TRUTH.

John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

By filling my mind with truth, I was able (with God’s help) to identify lies that I had believed all my life…a lot of them about myself.

As I began to tear down the lies, and replace them with God’s truth, freedom started to come!

Freedom from destructive thought patterns. Freedom from behaviors that I had gotten used to…but that were keeping me from living life to the fullest…as God intended.

(For me, this involved actually writing down specific lies that I had believed, and then countering them with specific scriptures that proclaimed TRUTH…essentially tearing down that lie.)

I began memorizing scripture (one verse a week)…reprogramming my mind with God’s word. Powerful!!

Romans 12:2
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword . . . "

God has given me such a love for His Word.

He has given me an incredible passion to encourage others to dive into scripture…and to start using it as the offensive weapon that it is!!

I am currently memorizing scripture with the ladies from my Bible study group.

Here is the verse we have been working on this past week. If you would like to join us, I would love it!



Feel free to print this out and carry it around with you – it really helps when you’re trying to memorize.

Oh, and if you do want to join me in memorizing scripture, leave me a comment OR send me an email so that I can be praying for you!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I will rise


Okay, so I have to share this song with you.

I heard if for the first time, at church, this past Sunday morning.

I don’t think I have ever immediately loved one song so much. Seriously. It is so good.

It’s called “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin.

As our congregation was worshiping together, singing this song, the enormity of the meaning of these words just hit me.
There is only one way to explain the feelings that filled my heart and soul at that moment…JOY…pure joy. Coupled with anticipation.

Oh, I cannot wait to see my Jesus face to face…to fall on my knees and worship Him.
The thought of it alone is almost too much…I just can’t wait!

I know that, in the Bible, it says that the Lord is waiting. Waiting as long as He can. Because it is His desire that everyone would call on the name of Jesus and get to spend an eternity in heaven.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

I am thankful for that. So thankful.
I will patiently endure all the pain and darkness of this world, knowing that each day presents another opportunity for hurting souls to cry out to Jesus…and experience everlasting joy.

'And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
” '





We have so much to look forward to. Thank you Jesus!!

p.s. – I went straight to the Christian book store on Monday to buy this CD (and I haven’t listened to anything else since I got it) – you should seriously consider buying it…it is awesome!
Anyway, I made sure to get “I Will Rise” playing before I even considered leaving the parking lot. I was driving along, singing my heart out, when it got to the part of the song where it gets louder and these are the words . . .

'And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
'

I was so overcome (for a moment!) that I just closed my eyes and lifted my hands to worship the Lord…thankfully I remembered I was driving and quickly got control of myself.
I probably should wait until I get home to “get my worship on” – especially since this is not the first time that worshiping has affected my ability to drive. ;)

Technically, you could say that I was driving “under the influence".
But as my good friend, Beth Moore (okay, maybe not, but a girl can dream!), would say…

“Ain’t no high like the Most High!!”

Saturday, January 31, 2009

my {other} girl


Amelia Bee. My sister’s little girl. Oh, how I love her. She melts my heart!

A little over a year ago little Amelia Bee entered this world.



The emotion that took over my body when she arrived was almost more than I could bear.
I had felt this kind of love before (with my own children, obviously ;) … but it was so different to experience this overwhelming love for a little baby…without all the other emotions (exhaustion!) associated with giving birth.

I could just love her completely without all the worries that new parents experience.

At least, that was my plan . . .

Just days after Amelia was born, I flew down to California to stay for a week and “help out” my sister and her hubby as they adjusted to having a newborn.
It was my first night there.
I was all settled in, sleeping peacefully.
Until the middle of the night, when I awoke suddenly to the sounds of a crying, hungry baby.
I was so tired.
I was completely disoriented.
I jump out of bed and go running for the nursery to “help” (cause you know my sister probably couldn’t nurse her baby without my assistance).
Unfortunately, I hit a small flight of stairs that I didn’t realize was there. I went flying down the stairs and landed flat on my back at the bottom. Nice.
My very kind brother-in-law rushes to find out what all the commotion was…he finds me sprawled out on their hardwood floor.
He helps me to the nursery and I lay down on the floor right in front of my sweet sister, in her rocking chair, trying to nurse her baby in peace & quiet.
All is well until I go into a full-blown anxiety attack, right there on the nursery floor.
Oh ya. Good times. As if things couldn’t get worse.

I got through it, but I'll tell ya, it wasn't pretty!

It all worked out and they got me back to bed without any more trouble (and I even slept through the rest of the night!), but I'm sure they were more than a little concerned about what it was going to be like with my "help" for a whole week! :)

I can look back now and laugh. Actually, I was laughing about it the next day. Laughing about the fact that instead of caring for their newborn baby in the middle of the night, my sister and her hubby were fanning me, giving me herbal “tincture” for anxiety, bringing me ice-packs…and anything else they could think of.

I know they were so relieved to have my help!

Here is sweet little Amelia Bee a year later . . . laughing at her VERY silly auntie!