Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Part of the Plan and Weekend Snaps

This past weekend, DD and I decided to do a few fun snaps with the iPhone camera. Guess I'm getting a little bit of a creative camera fix with the phone.

People want to know why I am not doing 'official photography' anymore. Well, it may not make sense to others, but the Lord actually spoke to me to put it down for awhile. Part of it is that God has been working out a lot of PRIDE in my life! STILL IS!

Also, during the time of my husband's unemployment, I needed to sell the camera bodies to help pay the bills. Photography was not a 'steady' income. It was mainly a ministry for me and then I made a little money. BUT, I allowed myself to get so sidetracked and consumed with it to the point where it became a vanity thing that I 'lived for'. It was expensive to be able to get the update equipment that I really needed, consumed a LOT of time away from my family, and I did not see this as a 'full time job' venture to begin with.

I found myself so obsessing over I do over so many things and people in my life. God is leading me to OBSESS in HIM alone! Why is it so easy to get sidetracked? I need those blinders like you put on the sides of horses to keep them on the straight path! Lord, keep me on your path, in this moment.

For now, I'm living in 'the moment'. Not thinking too much ahead, not letting go of the God Dreams, holding to hope of the vision, but learning to TRUST His ways. Allowing God to 'fill the holes in my heart'. Which reminds me of these songs I used to love back in the 80's. So here is a christian music throwback. ;)

So, I laid the photography down for awhile, and other things too. It means something between GOD and ME, and that is all that matters! Focusing on what I NEED, my relationship with the Lord, and what MY FAMILY NEEDS. Worrying less what other people think of me, and less of what THEY expect of me. Being used where GOD leads me, not where I allow people into GUILT-ING me into. Trying also not to put those kinds of pressures on people around me either. When we expect a lot from ourselves, we tend to expect just as much, if not MORE from those around us too!

God may have me pick the photography back up again, or invest in the better equipment so I can be ready if God wants to use me. I have done some small shoots here and there using other's equipment, ONLY as the Holy Spirit has led me to do. There are a few 'portrait' promises that I had made for two close friends in ministry that I will hold to if at all possible when those times come, and they are each ready to do their shoots (and those two ladies each know who they are). ONLY portrait shoots! Nothing major, and I can rent the equipment needed for those.

There are times I do miss it...mainly the 'people' that God brought into my path through it. I had the most wonderful conversation with a friend of mine from eastern NC yesterday via Skype. She and her family were one of the first families I photographed, and she shared with me how much it was a blessing from God to have those photos we took together. She is so sweet and encouraging of me. I'm loving that she is pursuing photography, and she is going to be GREAT! She has an amazing creative eye, and such a sweet and humble spirit of the Lord. I'm praying for you girl and that God will direct your path in this new venture!

I do believe we are to use our gifts and talents, all of them, for the glory of God. There is a fine line in the 'balance...being sure it is something GOD wants. For me personally.... so many years I've lived my life from such a place of feeling guilty about everything I do, so it is difficult sometimes for me to KNOW if it is something I am supposed to be doing.

There is this place in my heart for music and worship through song, that God is using, and will continue to use... all of this creativity and music in my heart is from God, and will be used for God's glory. Only pray that God do it HIS way. Sometimes it means being willing to lay it down.

I'm sure it is all 'part' of whatever God's plan is for me to do.

Right now, our family has been through so many transitions, it was such a God thing that I had surrendered the photography for a season. God blessed us in ways that He would not have been able to do if I hadn't. Romans 8:28

When I need a little creative fix, I snap some shots with my instagram. ;)

So here are a few of my favorite things. :) Some fun snaps I did, and share them here so family and friends who don't have facebook can keep up with us and see our faces.

Beautiful DD:


Our boy got a haircut.......


AFTER - He loves it and so do we!!!!......

AND I still want to share with you all about SUNDAY! My bum is tired from sitting at this desk, and I'll write more later....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Comfortably Numb

Today I am thankful for two awesome children. We are learning so much together as we home school. I'm learning from them, as much as they are learning from me. Together we are learning from God's word, and I'm even re-learning Algebra. Fun Fun! They are both such a blessing to me, and I'm thankful for them.

It is turning a little colder as we draw nearer to the close of this week. I think we are going to have a few days of high 40's, low 32ish. Burr! Clear skies, so probably no snow in our area.

Tonight DH is taking DS out for some father/son time. DS is really looking forward to this. They are going to have some bonding time that is long overdue with all that we've had going on. It will be a good time for them.

DD is making a list of ideas for she and I to do. I'm looking forward to time with her too! She and I have fun together, and I'm sure we'll find plenty to do around here. Or we may venture out to the larger city.

I'm doing better as far as the move. I do 'like' it here. Good days and hard days still.

Past few days, I've sort of been flat about it. One night of tears. Anyway, I've accepted it, but it still occasionally stings...missing people. The holidays are just a little tough in general with missing many loved ones, especially those of ours who have died. There is this funk I get into, and don't even realize I'm in it sometimes. It rolls around on birthdays of the loved one, or holidays, or anniversary of their death.

I'm doing pretty good overall. Considering it took me 3 yrs to get over our move to eastern NC from western NC...I'm in a MUCH better place in comparison. It is hard that after the 4th yr, we were moving again. It causes me to hesitate to really open up my life and connect with people, because we may move again.

I'm learning to accept God's plan most often upsets ours, even though it HURTS sometimes!!! It isn't about ME ME ME. I just get the privilege to GO THROUGH it. Like many other painful losses. Can't get around it....can't go backwards, can't side step it, or hurdle over it (run ahead of the process). Must GO THROUGH. Like pressing against a raging vortex at times.

Today, I'm 'comfortably numb'. You know me, I'm honest........not going to pretend like I'm joyful Jennifer, when I'm not. I'm not saying I don't have 'joyful' moments (many more lately than not), but not saying it is easy and without sad moments either.

Yeah, This is where I am at today.....comfortably numb. When I'm like is like the lyrics of the song I've posted here..."Hello, is there anybody IN THERE???? Just nod if you can hear me!!" Some days DH has to knock on my head (so to speak) to see if anyone is home. Grief does that too.

Most days are GOOD for the most part.

That balance will come, and the joy is coming. For now......

The words of this song describe me in this moment. My 'drug' of choice is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit who gives me what I need to make it through the days...some days harder than others. God's word always has what we need.

Some days more joyful than others. Some days... neutral. I'll call neutral...'comfortable numb'.

This song reminds me of my late father. My father died in Sept of 1997. He died of a heart attack suddenly when I was pregnant with DS. and DD was so little. A dear friend brought us a bag of snacks to take on the ride to FL (Thanks Ging). We were living in NC at the time. Our Aunt allowed us to drive her beautiful luxurious car to have all the room we needed for traveling. I remember the drive to FL. It was bittersweet...I was BIG and pregnant too!! The drive back to NC was worse, was it tough. Mainly because I had no time to spend with my family, no time to be with them and grieve with them. It was hard...which made it a little more difficult to get through it.

Anyway, my father loved Pink Floyd...and would play 'The Wall' tape on our drive to stay with him at Ft. Pierce Beach. My parents divorced when I was young, and we would stay weekends with my father, and weeks in the summer with him too. My father once owned two corvettes at one time....and he liked to drive them extremely over 90-100 mph once when he took us to the beach. He liked 'speed'. He was a free spirit......and we were along for 'the ride'. He liked to play Pink Floyd, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band....and Rod Stewart. Songs really do spark memories.

My wonderful grandparents were usually there too. They would take us on the beach, while my father and grandfather worked. Or sometimes I would go to work with my grandfather, and he'd let me drive around in the groves while he checked on crews that were harvesting oranges. The beach was a place of peace and solace for me. Which is another reason why I very much miss living near the ocean now. It was nice while it lasted.

AnyWHO. This too shall pass. Going to enjoy time with our family in western NC during Thanksgiving. That will be a fun time! And tonight I'll have fun too.

Here is another song that makes me think of my father.....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Consider the Ant and Finding My Sabbath

I'm constantly reminding myself, and in teaching our is the 'steady plodding' that gets us to our end result. You know...the whole 'short term goals get us to our long term goals'. The small things we do today, open up the larger things God has for us to do. I need this reminder even more so as I remind our children.

Today I've been thinking about the little things I do, that sometimes think to be insignificant. Yet, if I look at the long term result.......there is something being produced in all of these 'little things' we think are not so important.

The verse comes to me about doing EVERYTHING as unto the Lord...and that means "EVERY" thing! Why is this so difficult?

Every day we are sowing into something or someone. Every little thing holds value (even laundry).....a kind word, a smile, an encouraging word, a word of correction in love....can mean life or death for a person's spirit, or their life course. Wow, that is a LOT to consider!

So today I'm considering the ant.......the ways of the ant. For me....working, building toward the kingdom of God. My life, my husband's life, the two little lives that God has entrusted me with, every person God places in my path....moments or interruptions that could be irritating. God may have something quite profound in those moments, even the irritating ones. It could be a 'divine appointment'.

Then balancing and keeping in mind healthy boundaries, and remember to take time for my personal Sabbath/REST with God each week. There is such a fine line with keeping balance. Only the guiding of the Holy Spirit can keep that all in order. The weekly Sabbath is so important...a FULL DAY. If it was good enough for God to do, it is good for we His children too. Even good things done when it should be a day of rest, can take away the healing and filling up of God that a true Sabbath can bring to us. We need to be filled up with the Lord AND rest in Him, so we have something to give back out again. Or...we may burn out.

Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.

Proverbs 30:24-28
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces.

Colossians 3:12-17
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Hebrews 4:9-13
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God I need you in every moment of the day. To keep my path straight and steady, for what You want me to do...moment by moment. Some things can wait, if you have something special in mind. As long as I am moving with You. Lord, help me find my personal sabbath each week...a full day to rest and reflect in YOU! To Be Still, and KNOW that you are Be Still, and allow my mind to stop spinning with 'busy-ness', so I can truly think on You and honestly work through my thoughts with YOU. Also, to hear You speak in the quiet of the day.

Here is a beautiful photo from my walk........

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Stroll

Today was such a BEAUTIFUL day!!! The sky was soooooooo blue, without a single cloud in the sky!

We slept in a bit, and then drove to DH's office. We hung a picture, most of his plaques of being his B.A. in Sports Medicine...and put books in his bookcase. We need to have his ordination certificate framed, and Master's of Divinity.

We decided to hang this one on the main wall of his office......

It works nicely in there, and it is a print of a drawing we purchased while visiting The Biltmore House. The artist of the Biltmore House drew this when he was 15-16 yrs old. It took him a 1 and 1/2 to complete. On one of our visits to Biltmore, the artist happened to be there signing his drawings. So we purchased this one, and DH's uncle framed it for us. We've had it for years, and we love it!

Here is more of God's beauty while driving to DH's office:

After we finished at his office, we took a drive to Roanoke. It was such a lovely drive, and here is what we saw on the drive.....

An amazing view from the highway.........

Then we stopped for a late lunch at a famous Hot Dog Stand.......

Yes, Barbara Bush has even eaten here.......(and this same man, the owner, served our Hot Dog's today......)


(Almost as good as Tankard's chili dogs....not quite, but what can we do when we are 6 hrs away from Tankards??? Boohoo missing you!)

Tomorrow we are going to the early church service at the church we have been visiting here. Then we have a memorial service to be a part of......given for families who have lost loved ones this past yr., whose loved ones were taken care of by the Hospice clinic DH works for. They have asked DH, DD and I to sing with the small choir they have put together. DS did not want to sing, but he will be attending with us. We are singing one of my favorites..."I'll Fly Away"; A few other selections, including this song.......

Going to bed early....tomorrow will be a busy, and most likely emotional day.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Week in View

Today I am thankful that my husband has a job, when so many are out of a job and not been able to find employment. We are very blessed that he was able to find a position, doing what he loves and feels 'called' by God to do, after four months of being unemployed. God has blessed us with a nice place to live, and the main thing......we have each other!

Tuesday we met DH for lunch at the hospital he will serve in at times. It is an amazing hospital...not large, but NICE. The inside of it had a waterfountain that resembles a waterfall. There was a black grande piano across from the fountain, that was up on a platform. Dr's and Nurses play it at random times...during breaks/ lunch hour.

The stairway down to the cafeteria was wide, gradually curved around, and it was made with smooth stones. So beautiful! The walls and part of the ceiling were all glass in the cafeteria area, and it was so sunny and bright!

Being in a hospital usually does not cheer me up, but being in this one was quite cheery.

After we had lunch with DH, the children and I we went to his office and met his supervisors and co-workers. Most of them are pastor's wives...very interesting.

DH has a nice office...first time he has ever had his 'own' office. Usually he would have to share a space, or he worked out of his home.

On Sat., I'm going help him decorate his office, hang books in his beautiful bookcase. There are some certificates we still need to frame to hang in his office. His recent ordination, his certifications he received with hospice. I'm going to look into this. There is a Michael's nearby, and I'm pretty sure they do framing there. I'd like them to match what he already has framed (as much as possible).

I've had a good week, and gotten a lot accomplished. Not as many sad moments (although had one good crying spell early this morning).

Yesterday I hung paintings and portraits...'eye-balled' them....cleaned and organized the first floor of our 3 floors. Cleaned out and found homes for things. Still need to finish the armoire. Somewhere along the way, I've lost some pegs for the top shelving. Need to find those before I can finish organizing it. Anyway, made a lot of progress there in the living room and kitchen. I had unpacked, but not really gotten stuff organized or 'homes' for some of it. Main thing, there were paintings and portraits stacked down there, and glad to have most of those hung now!

I'm starting at the bottom and working my way up. The second floor is 'another story'. I still have a floor full of books, artwork, and music in the upstairs den. The floor is covered..........these piles I want to conquer, and will be able to find homes for a good bit of these items. Will need more shelving for the books and artwork. I'm going to get one more tall walnut bookcase. Then one tall white one for the sunroom/art studio. It will take some time as we are still playing catch up.

Last night when DH drove DD and DS to youth group, I while sitting in the passenger seat, admired how beautiful the sky was....took some photos of that. God is the master artist:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Treats, no Tricks!

Well, we got through another 'Halloween'. I don't mind it so much. Our children have always loved the dressing up part. When they were younger, we'd take them around mainly to friends and family...maybe some church festival events, and they would have fun getting candy and showing off their costumes.

As they are getting older, they enjoy more handing out the candy. Both DD and DS had a good time rushing to the door, with bowl of candy, to see the children and their fun costumes. Lots of sweet little girls with princess costumes, a few Harry Potters, a Sponge Bob. A few creepy ones too.

I try to take an approach to see the good and fun parts of it, and not focus on the other. That is just me, and I try to respect other's opinion about it too. I've never played it up much at all. Only had a very few decorations that were pumpkin related, and actually got rid of most and gave to my friend Lindsay before we moved.

I've given away a LOT more items before we moved. I still have a box to take to Goodwill or Salvation Army, that the movers accidentally packed...was too tired during the move to even notice they had packed it up. I gave tons of empty plastic containers away that I did not intend to fill again. Kept a few...but seriously, there were like probably at least 40 empty plastic containers! It is a good feeling to simplify. DH and I are going through the garage one more time, to see if there is anything we can give away or throw away.

God keeps calling me to go through again and again...keep simplifying. Not sure what this is about, but we have other friends in AL who have been going through this same feeling. Also another friend in Washington. Maybe God is getting us all ready for something, or calling His people to learn to live 'simply'.

Last week was a good week for me (as far as feeling sad about the move and this transition), and I've had my mind in a good place; My attitude in a good place. Well, last night I took a turn for the worse, I had a drop down that went south fast! Not sure what it was because I'm staying in the word, had a good day overall with the children, and have been allowing God to shift my thinking. Yet, out from nowhere, I could not stop crying.

I suppose grief can be like that....grief of all sorts. This move is a grieving. DH and I were also faced Sat. with dealing with grief of friends losing their father. Also, another illness they are dealing with. Which brought us around to losing our Gaga, and the children and us walking through more grieving moments too.

As much as we'd like to never feel sad again or shed a tear, the sad moments still come unexpectedly. We've got to allow ourselves to FEEL that pain, work through it....allow God to touch those places, and move through it. We are doing this with God walking us through. We get through the sad spots, with or without support of others. However, it sure would be much sweeter getting through the struggles and pain of life, with understanding others. Not someone to 'fix', or tell how us how we need to be acting, or what to do to 'get over it'. We all know that, We know the word. We love Jesus and HE is our Savior! Yet there are times we need to feel and cry...need a brother or sister in the Lord to 'be' beside us. A presence of a friend can be comforting; a word of encouragement and love...and uplifting word in season can bring a person from a very low place, to a much higher place. A sharp, harsh word, can take one lower into despair.

God help me be as Jesus to those who are hurting. Help me speak words that build up someone who is hurting, and lovingly remind them of their hope in Christ. No matter how long it takes, show me how to walk through it, and love others through, and allow YOU to do the work in us all. Not place burdensome or encumbering expectations on others or myself. Help me sharpen lives by your love and your word. Help me live out the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 6:1-10) in my own life, and to be this to others. Help me bear burdens with others, and help them carry their box of burdens too. Help me not be like the Pharisees, who were more interested in shoving the word down peoples throat, for the sake of being 'religious'. Help me to truly LOVE with your love as you teach us in 1 John 3. There is so much I am lacking in, but yet you have grace and mercy enough to cover and BE love through me.

1 John 3
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Help me to live the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.