Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dedicated to the One I Love...

David recently had a phone interview with a hospital located in Montana.  He is waiting to hear back from them, and if they will fly him out for a second face to face interview.  There are also 2 other job possibilities, with one being here locally.  Our prayer is for whatever God wants.  "Not our will, but Your will be done Lord".

Still, can't get this song out of my mind since David played it for me.  He said that this song came to his remembrance, and he always loved it. So I am dedicating it to him. :) 

The chorus is: Won't you meet me in Montana, I want to see the mountains in your eyes, I've had all of this life I can handle, meet me underneath that big Montana Sky.  

I love it, and can't seem to get this out of my mind either...and I'm not even a big country music fan; however I always loved the Donny and Marie show.  (revealing my age here a little by saying that...lol!)

God is dealing with me on many aspects of my life.  I've always had big God dreams and aspirations, but never the courage to even step out much.  When I do, I feel defeated immediately with negative thoughts about myself.  In it all, I realize that everything I do is first for God, and then quite possibly to encourage someone else along the way in their dreams.  So, if I never reach that point where my dreams come true, I am learning to be so fulfilled in knowing that God used my life to encourage another life.  Anyway, that is what I hope and pray to do.  

Unfortunately, I fail in the process.  So God lovingly redirects me with His word! :) 

Galatians 6:2-5 (The Message)

Galatians 6

Nothing but the Cross
 1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

 4-5Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grabbed the Syrup, Missed Out on the Honey

This morning I did something in a rush, without thinking it through, really.   I was making home-made pancakes with blueberries for breakfast (our routine Wed morning breakfast-more on that later)  Anyway, I usually put honey on my waffles (and pancakes) for several reasons. Mainly, it is what is best for me personally.

I prepared J and Bubb's first (they like the light syrup), and I got them settled.  Then in a rush, I completed my plate by grabbing the syrup and putting it on my waffles as I was walking to the table...before thinking twice about it.  I realized what I had done after they were pretty much drenched.

Thinking the syrup would be just as good...if not BETTER...mmmmm, I went ahead and ate it! :)   
It was sweet, and oh so good for the moment.  Yet, in the long wrong, it wasn't what is best for me. 

Have you ever done this?  Grabbed or done something on the fly before thinking it through...then later realizing it was not the best thing for you? Sometimes it is immediate...we realize it almost right after the fact...that it isn't really best for us.  Yet, we ignore it, and keep on with it.  Sometimes it is way down the road before we realize it wasn't what was best for us at all.  

Whether it be food, jobs, ministry, or other activities in our lives? Someone suggests something, so we jump to it, without even consulting with God first on the matter.  Or we jump into something because it seems like a good and godly thing to do, without even consulting with God prayerfully first.  

God really impressed on my heart how easy it is for me to do this...especially with bigger decisions.  (However, I believe God is just as concerned about our every day small decisions too. Like how we spend a dollar, and how we spend our time.)  Each moment is a gift, and I desire for every part of it to be God led.  

Of course, there is no way to do things perfectly...every moment of every day.  We all mess up. We all get caught up in thinking we have the answers, or with thinking someone else's ideas are the best or even god-led.  We all get caught up in our own agendas...doing our best to mask them in the name of the Lord.  You know, making our agenda, God's agenda kind of thing.  ;)

These verses really spoke to me:

Proverbs 16:25 (Amplified Bible)

25There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.

Romans 3:10-11 (New International Version)

10As it is written: 
   "There is no one righteous, not even one; 
    11there is no one who understands, 
      no one who seeks God

1 John 1:8 (New International Version)

 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

There have been times where I grabbed/jumped before even thinking about praying...especially in ministry.  At the time, it seemed the right and "godly" thing to do.  Yet in the end, it wasn't God's direction at all.  This doesn't mean that I didn't learn something in the process though. Or that God still didn't use me even with my wrong turns.   :)

(Sure the syrup in and of isn't that horribly bad for me in moderation...hey, its seems good and "light", but if I had taken my time to be patient and think it through, the honey would have been a better choice...sweetest...so much better for me in the long run.) 

It is easy to grab for the quick fix, and lets get it done.  

There is always someone trying to fix us quickly, OR I am always trying to fix myself up or someone else quickly.  It is for good reasons too.  I care, and want to help.  Advise is given because others care and want to help us.  Yet, when our advise becomes forced and thoughtless, then I fear we are playing God...and that is scary!!  When it boils down to it, only God truly knows what is best for us.

Whatever it is in my life, service, struggles, circumstances...if it is a rushed decision, it won't be nearly as sweet as when the Lord is given full reign/complete control to direct our steps.  

This is where the surrender part comes in...which is so so difficult for we humans to do.   To "Let Go", and allow God do HIS best work in us in total surrender.

So in my breakfast time this morning, God reminded me to slow my thoughts and actions.  To not be too hasty in decisions. or in giving quick advice...especially in a forceful way.  To "wait upon the Lord, and be of good cheer".  

As I type this, in my human reasoning I'm thinking, "this is easier said than done".  Especially where the world says to get on with things quickly, to make money quickly, to do everything...quickly.  God is saying to my heart and soul..."be still child, and know that I am God".

Isaiah 40:30-31 (New International Version)

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD 
       will renew their strength. 
       They will soar on wings like eagles; 
       they will run and not grow weary, 
       they will walk and not be faint.

Romans 8:24-26 (New International Version)

24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 26In 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.

Hebrews 6:15 (New International Version) 

15And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (King James Version)

 8Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

It is difficult to be patient, and to remember that God's timing is "perfect".   I'm not saying sit back and do nothing.  What I am saying is, not to force things or jump into something too quickly without prayerfully waiting on the Lord for HIS direction.

In our urgency to help ourselves, or others along, let us all remember that only God makes things happen for us... as we soak in His word, pray, and trust in Him completely.   I can encourage, and suggest, but it is really up to that person to allow God's best direction for them. It is up to us to allow God's best direction for us. God can use others to speak into our lives, but even still...we always benefit from waiting on the Lord for the final word.

Exercising my faith in these areas is a great challenge for me personally. What about you?


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saw Something Last Night, Heard Something This Morning...

Our Uncle Bob went to be with Jesus recently.  

We love our dear Uncle and will miss him!  The family farm is just not the same right now.  I know it will get better, but it is quiet out there right now.  

Our family gathered last night at the farm, to comfort one another.  When we have family get togethers at our farm, a tent is put up, and usually food is involved. ;)  We laugh and enjoy one another.  The children run and play hard.  

Last night, we cried, and laughed... and fondly remembered our lost loved ones.  

Before we ate, we prayed together.  Right before the prayer, David's brother spoke about memories of our Uncle.  During that time, I looked behind me and noticed a large butterfly inside of the tent; flying around in the tent right around the outside of our group of loved ones as we were standing together.  It flew around in several circles underneath the tent as he spoke, then flew out and up toward Uncle Bob's house.  Then it gently rested on some grass near the tent.  

It first made me think of my grandmother.  We released butterflies at the graveside when she passed away.  Each child, grandchild and great grandchild released a butterfly.  Then this butterfly made me think of our sweet Uncle Bob being with us; how his spirit is with our family always.  That is how I see it anyway.  

Butterflies always make me think of new life.  We have new life in Christ; when we die, it is really gain because of the hope we have of eternal life.   The life of a butterfly is short lived on earth, yet in that short time they bring so much beauty to behold.  

The butterfly I saw meant nothing to anyone else, I'm the only one who took notice to seeing it.  I know God brought personal comfort to me in the simple flight of that butterfly.  

This morning, I was up watching Pastor David Jeremiah with my mother-in-law, when this verse he spoke really jumped out at me, and encouraged me this morning.

Part of it was, that it doesn't matter what our outside looks like, how we look or how we dress, etc., but what is going on in the insides of us that matters.  God sees the heart of the matter.  Also, this verse encouraged me, and reminded me that our Lord will never leave nor forsake us.  He sees the precious jewels that we are, hidden in our jars of clay.  

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (The Message)

 7-12If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best!

Here is another story a friend shared with me this week that was on the same lines...


A man was exploring caves by the Seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. 

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock . Inside was a beautiful, precious stone! 

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. 

Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away! 

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it. 

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy.. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person. 

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth. 

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them. 

I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with you.. Thank you for looking beyond my clay vessel. 




Pass this on to another Clay Ball!!! 

It is so easy to get caught up in putting down others for their personality flaws or because they are not as neat looking on the outside.  Let us remember who we are in Christ, and how we are to love others no matter how they look or behave on the outside.  We never truly know what is going on in the heart of someone else.  We are all fragile.


Interesting Info about ADHD

I found articles below to be interesting...not that I am going to run out and begin doing this. Yet, I have noticed that when my children have caffeine, it doesn't now make them hyper, and DOES seem to calm them down.

I was trying to find another article on this that I had recently read, that talks about giving a kid with ADHD a coke or a cup of something with caffeine in the morning; how it actually will help them with focus.  

I'm not an advocate of doing this.  Yet, when our children have a coke in the morning, I can see them begin to focus a lot better.  It all makes sense now, especially since I have learned that ADHD patients are often times treated with stimulants.  

Here are a couple of links on this:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sad Times, Happy Times

I've got a lot to blog, but right now I am sitting in a family waiting room of the hospital.  Our dear uncle is in ICU.  Please pray for our family.  Sad time for us...

On a more positive note...congrats to our friends for the birth of their new baby boy!  How awesome, and we are so happy for you guys!!! He's soooo beautiful! Can't wait to see him!!!  

Also, congrats to our friend back home for the birth of her baby girl!!! :)))  Can't wait to see her tooooo!

I'm working on lots of new edits right now from photo shoots, but below are a few from past maternity shoots of our friends (including the ones who just had their babies).    Also a few from a recent maternity shoot, and child with violin.  Can't wait to post some more from my recent shoots at a later date. ;)

1st Maternity:



2nd Maternity




3rd Maternity




4th Maternity (still in progress with the edits on this one)



Here are a few from a recent shoot of child with violin:





I'm excited about my last two shoots that I am still working on edits for. :) Also, new babies and upcoming engagement photoshoots!! :))

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summertime Blessings! Give me a BREAK! :)

The children and I are out by the pool.  Kids in the pool, I am blogging...then will swim some laps in a few.  Or I may just wait for husband to get home, and take a swim with him a little later. :)

We are so blessed to live in an apartment complex that has such a nice swimming pool!  They keep the grounds so well kept, and the pool is sparkling clean!  A real blessing!!!

Today there is not a cloud in the sky...whew it is HOT, and definitely a good pool day!  

Speaking of blessings;  I've been in this mode of counting my blessings.  It can get so easy to get bogged down in our struggles, and forget about how truly blessed we are.  We forget to be thankful for what we already have in front of us that is quite useful.  We think we need something better...this thing or that thing we think we need.  Really, do we?

I tend to forget sometimes that no matter how hard times get for us, we are still so rich and blessed!  In the past weeks I've been reminding our children of this...when it gets to that second week before pay day, and the groceries are running thin.  The complaining begins;  being out of the favorite meat or breakfast items, even out of milk, etc.  We get real creative with flour and water. lol.  It is during those times that I do my best to remind us all how truly blessed we are. None of us are lacking!  That is for sure...you can take a look at us, and tell right off that we are not starved!

When we begin to thank God for everything we put our hands on, we realize how truly blessed we are.  The Lord has been good to us.  

Last week our small group watched a Nooma video called "Rich".  Click Here for a clip preview of Rich.  It went alongside of what I was already trying to encourage our children with.  Our  DC3 group leaders allowed us to take the DVD video home for our children to watch.  They watched it the other night, and I think we could all watch it again and again, and still have things to learn about truly being "thankful".  

Ok, now all of my spiritual talk is going out the window.  Two dripping wet children standing around, hovering.  Why is it that when you have something like a NICE swimming pool...instead of the kids swimming and having fun together with each other...they still have to get underneath me without allowing me 1o mins of peace to type out a blog.  Or, they swim for 10 minutes and complain they are bored.  UGGGGH!!!  HAHA!!!  GO PLAY KIDS!!!  I seriously need a kid-less break! lol!!!

Lord, I thank you for these children, and this swimming pool...even though they won't stay in it for over 10 mins!!! ;)