Friday, October 7, 2011


Ever have one of those weeks?  You know the kind where you just can't get on top of things?  I've been physically ill all week.  I think my body has broken down because of my emotional state.

Last Sunday as we were loading the car to get to church we discovered we had been robbed.  I love a few "things" and the one "thing" that I love most was taken from me.  I had left my camera in the car with all of my favorite equipment. I glanced at it the night before as I was getting out and thought, "I'll leave it in so we won't forget to bring it with us to the park after church."  What's ironic is that I had just returned from Walmart, where I had carried it in with me for fear of it being stolen from my car in the parking lot.

Many things race through my mind as a result of this.  One- guilt... "You don't deserve something you can't take care of."  2.  again--guilt,  "You shouldn't feel so bad, be grateful for what you have." 3.  Extreme anger. 4. Pity and prayer for the thieves to be convicted in their hearts. 5.Sadness and loss as if a part of me was taken... and then back at one...

My home insurance will cover a very small percentage of what was taken.  I have a $1000 deductible... yes you can cry for me if you want. :)  With the few hundred that I anticipate getting back, I will begin to rebuild my collection and I will also look into third party insurance.

The level to which this has impacted me has also solidified my passion for photography.  I am now wondering if I should take photography to a new level, what that would look like, and how it would work out as I continue to raise two young boys alongside my husband.

I'm now looking for things around my house to sell and am restocking my Etsy store with shirts that I have made in order to raise new funds for my camera.

Monday, September 26, 2011


For many reasons it's been a while since I've posted the gifts God gives. One is lack of time at the computer. So, I'm typing from an app on my iPhone because I'm really feeling a void from the absence of naming blessings. Random order of things I can remember from the last few weeks. (not sure of the numbers so will add later)

Brothers bonding. Really a highlight in out life!
Celebrating birthday with friends and family
Baby nicknames: Thumper and Bruiser
3 year old's first soccer game
Home insurance
Loneliness that only God can fill
LSU football
Missing New Orleans and remembering my time there
A new lens
A new book from a friend
Big boy booster seat
Being emptied so that I can be truly filled
Christmas shopping mostly done
Baby grunting and squealing experiment with sounds.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mountains within and the faith that moves them

"And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.["But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]"  Matthew 17:20

Until recently I thought that faith was a strength of mine.  Maybe it is in a since, but I think it's been in the wrong place.  I have found recently that I'm not motivated the way I once was.  I think that it's because I have been motivated by the wrong thing.  I've lived more out of obligation and trying to live up to a standard rather than resting in love.  My faith has largely been in myself rather than in Him.

See, it's actually easier that way even though it's impossible to ever meet the standard.  For to rest in love, one has to trust and to believe in love.  I now realize that I have little faith in love.  Therefore, I hardly rest in it and it has not been my motivation for living.

The other night I woke up in the middle of the night and had to write. I just wrote a little because sleep these days is hard to come by.  Here's what I wrote:
 "Jesus said, 'Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains,' and the largest mountains seem to be in my heart.  I have lost faith in a father's love and find myself running in self preservation from it.  I run in vain as it's impossible to escape the Father's love and there's no place to hide from Him.  There is a still small piece of me that hopes, though most of my being rejects the idea of unfailing love.  This small bit of hope keeps me holding on, waiting for a father's love to come to the rescue. 'Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief.' My unbelief seems so great.  I feel Him stirring within me."

Yes, the largest mountains seem to be in my heart.  But even the smallest faith can send the mountains crumbling into the sea.

In Matthew 17:1  the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn't drive out the demon and heal a man.  He replied that they didn't have faith.  They were trying in vain in their own strength to perform the miracle of healing and driving out demons.  So often I try in my own strength to drive out the past that haunts me.  Healing and power come from Him alone and with just a little bit of faith He can heal and restore as he performs miracles in my heart and I learn to rest in His love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eyes opening

I have not been motivated to do much of anything lately, including photography.  It's also been hot, so I haven't taken my boys to the park in a while.

Well, today I knew we needed to get out of the house so I grabbed my camera and my boys and headed to the park.

Now after looking at the shots and doing a little post-processing, I feel I am coming to life again as joy of the moments of this day take over and lift my spirit.

I should never stop taking pictures.  I feel more alive when I can see through the lens.

Here are a few shots.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The hard stuff.

Why share the hard stuff?  I often struggle to know whether to share the harder parts of my life.  Who really wants to hear about that?  Mostly, we'd rather look at happier, lighter things than the ugly and painful.  I know I would.  But God has a purpose in EVERYTHING and as I look at Scripture I see people who suffered and lived to TELL about it.  I see that they tell of God's glory and God's purpose.  They don't sweep half of their life under the rug and just tell of the easy stuff.

Take Joseph for example.  One of the main things we remember about him is the way that his brothers mistreated him.  God uses their acts against him for Joseph's good and God's glory.  Joseph acknowledges this and forgives his brothers.

I hope in the way my story unfolds, God receives glory for every step of the way.

In addition, healing for my heart comes as I tell my story.  I'm given a voice to express what still pains me.  Children in abuse have no voice, no control or say in their world.  As I speak about what was never spoken about as a child, I am strengthened and comforted and empowered to move forward.

SO, thanks to you for sticking with me through the hard stuff.  Though it can be hard to share, it's harder to deny that it ever happened.  And I'm comforted to have a few to walk alongside with in this journey as we share our stories with one another.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Practice of Love

The practice of love
Or the absence thereof
Eats away at the core
Where you wouldn’t give more
Gnawing, it erodes and threatens to consume
The firstfruits of me before I’m aware

The practice of love
Mixed with threats, cuts and blood
My safe haven shattered
As our dreams lie tattered
Fleeing to hide in a shelter that eludes
As approaching hope drowns in fear

The practice of love
Dreadful script comes undone
My Savior catches each tear
As He holds me forever near
Healing, restoring He gives life anew
And leads me to the true practice of love

The practice of love
Born from the One above
Proves unlike any I’ve known
Teaching me deep truths of Home
Running, soaring in His strength I can do
As He does and lay my life down for you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What is the Studio?

If you have been following this blog, you have noticed that I have begun directing you to a place I call the Studio.  Officially named Life River Studios, it has become a landing place and online home for many of my creative endeavors.  In addition, I write posts there that I share on Facebook in hopes of sharing what God is doing in my life and how He shows Himself to me through the gift of creation and of creating.  Because I share links with basically anybody I've ever brushed shoulders with, I'm hoping to keep it deep, but not as much as a journal as this blog has been.  It's been a blessing to hear from non-believers that they read and are impacted by what I've written there.

All that to say, this blog will remain somewhat of a journal.  I don't plan on making it private, but I don't plan on linking these posts to my Facebook account either.  I may share struggles in more depth here.  I'd like a place to continue to write and have support, but not for my whole world to know.  Thank you all who follow and encourage me. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Counting daily grace...

I'm continuing to count some of the many ways that God blesses me.  It's easy to look at the happy days and good times and praise God for them.  Only a few weeks ago, I had an amazing trip to the mountains in which God's neverending  grace shined so clearly.  Now home and back to the daily grind of life and even darker struggles of depression, can I thank Him the same way as I did just a few weeks ago?  It's definitely not as easy, but He remains the same.  The same God who made the mountains, made the valleys and walks with me through the highs and lows.  (Job 2:10, Ecclesiastes 7:14).

"As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."  James 5:11

Come by my studio to continue counting with me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An art of seeing

Until recently, I thought that taking good pictures heavily relied on being in the right place at the right time with camera in hand.  Many good pictures are taken that way, like a strike of lighting over the horizon, a rare bird found feeding her babies, or the winning touchdown in the superbowl (I have a friend who takes those shots).

One of the ways that I escape the craziness of raising two lively boys is to get out in nature, go for a walk, and take pictures.  During this time I draw near to God as I am amazed at His beauty shown through all that he has made.  As I focus my lens on glimpses of His glory, He shows me that He is near.  I believe He speaks to us through His creation, if we have eyes to see it.

Come by and see me at the Studio to read more, see more, and praise God with me for the gifts he gives.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Preschooler's thoughts on Heaven.

On Thursday's I like to link up with Christina at To Show Them Jesus to explore what it means to teach our kids about Jesus and practical ways to do so.  Do you have any ideas or challenges that you can share?  Consider joining us!

To Show Them Jesus

I'm still working with my three year old through a great book for preschoolers, My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts.  It's amazing the way that he can remember the verses and the opportunity that I have to use them in our daily conversations.

Today's verse was, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life." John 5:24  I didn't really think that he was paying much attention.  Usually it doesn't seem like he is, but he still remembers the verses.  In the middle of the story he asked, "Mommy, where is Heaven."  Stumped that he was listening and thinking, I stumbled for an answer.  I really tried to avoid talking to much about death on this day.  I told him that Heaven was God's home and where we could live forever with Him if we believe in Jesus with all our heart.  I told him that Heaven is the place that we were made of, that Heaven is our true Home.

Later we were riding in the car and he began talking more about Heaven.  "It will take us a long long time to get to Heaven"  (I think he meant drive).   

"Well, it might," I answered, "but it might not take that long at all. We don't drive there.  We will go when Jesus comes to bring us Home or when God chooses to bring us there.  We don't know when, so we should always be ready."

Wow.  This is the first real discussion that we have had where I can tell he is thinking.  It's neat to see him asking questions.  I continue to pray for God's Spirit to move deep in his heart that he would love and follow Him.

We approached our house.  "There's our house! We're home!"  I said. He shouted "Yay, there's Heaven!"
Oh the thoughts of a child!  I smiled and said, "Not quite, son."  But I'm glad that he made a connection that Heaven is our Home.

A New Command

I'm intrigued by the commandment that Christ gives to His disciples, to us.  I find it interesting that to love (truly and selflessly) can be called a new command by the One who manifests love in the flesh. Love certainly began before the foundation of the world.  In love He knew us before the creation of the world and called us His own.  God himself is love, therefore love always has been.  How is it that we have lost sight and now must be given this new command?

 After all, we know what love is right?  We search for it and long for it, write about it, watch movies about it, and sing songs about it.  Sometimes we even give it to others.  But our view of love has been tainted with a love of self which  blinds us to how to truly love.
'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’” John  13:34-35
I'm at The Studio today.  Would you come by for a visit to read the rest of this post?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Abounding grace in so many gifts

This week finds me at home after a sweet vacation with friends in the mountains in Chattanooga.  I loved being away in the beauty of God's creation.  I can't wait to get away again.  Meanwhile, I settle back into my Florida home, a bit out of place, but right where God has placed me.

596.  Early morning walks to the dock.
597.  My fishermen in the canoe.
598.  Connecting with dear friends from New Orleans and the unique fellowship we share.
599.  A longing for our fellowship to be together again (we've been apart since Hurricane Katrina) which points me to a deeper longing for our true Home and a fellowship unimaginable in the glory of our Father.
600.  Encouraging words from a friend.
601.  The men taking the boys for the afternoon and an opportunity for the mommas to get away.
602.  Breakfast cooked by my Hubby.
603.  Used book stores.
604.  Fun photos.
605.  A challenge to grow in the art of photography.
606.  Helping a turtle cross the street.
607.  Lots of playtime for the boys.
608.  My son's joy to be with his friends.
609.  A beautiful "hike"
610.  The wonder of caves and the way they grow and form, evidence of God's handiwork in places unseen.
611.  A still somewhat new happiness.
612.  Friends to travel with.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Give Thanks to the Lord...

Gratitude Monday is here again and once again I feel out of time to even come close to adequately expressing how good God has been.  But even just a glimpse will show the greatness of God.

"You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118: 28,29  (you should read this whole psalm)

577.  The faithfulness of God proven over and over again in my life.
578.  God is my sure foundation and there is nothing more sure than His promises to me.
579.  A quiet home and energy to do a little housework while my preschooler enjoys meeting new friends at school.
580.  A day to not leave the house, get ready for our vacation, and play cars and trains with my preschooler.
581.  My baby's determination to learn how to crawl.  He is close.  :)  I am bracing myself!
582.  Rediscovering my sling and how to carry my growing infant on my hip in it.
583.  Our family's excitement for vacation with friends.
584.  Friends inviting us to enjoy a nice cabin on the river in Chattanooga (and sacrificing the master room for our family.
585.  The long drive going better than I expected with my two little ones.
586.  Hotel reward points providing a nice Hilton suite for us to break up the drive into two days.
587.  My husband's joy to be able to fish on the river often during our stay, and his restraint to be able to put it aside to help with the boys and fellowship with friends.
588.  Boys playing.
589.  Rocking chairs on front porches overlooking the Tennessee River and mountains.
590.  Children's museum (an amazing place)
591.  New City Fellowship (a very cool church)
592.  Worshiping with many cultures gathered under one roof giving a glimpse of how I believe worship will be in heaven, though our colors will be all the more brilliant in His glorious presence.
593.  A city that has rich culture, artistic expression, a historic city, and mountains.  I couldn't dream of a better place this side of home, though my husband would add an ocean coast to his wish list.
594.  That this list really is only a glimpse of all that God has done for me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

So many thanks, so little time.  I thought about just posting each photo as a thanks, but each one holds multiple reasons to be thankful, so many I can't list.  And then there are the things invisible that can only be seen with eyes of the heart.  I've had a full week.  Here is a small glimpse.

531.  Play date at the children's museum.
532.  Antique fire truck, child sized grocery store, and a pirate ship complete with kitchen and cannons.
533.  Imaginations of little boys to make it all come to life.
534.  Boys who are like brothers.
535.  Picnic lunch.

536. Andrew's first day of preschool.
537. His excitement and eagerness to get in and play with new friends.
538.  Packing his lunch.
539.  Backpack as a birthday present from his friends.
540.  School bus t-shirt and Life is indeed good.

541.  Growing baby feet.
542.  His fascination with the texture of grass.
543.  Baby sitting up.
544.  The feel of cool grass.
545.  God who makes all things grow.

546.  How my heart melts when my boys smile.
547.  This crooked little smile and the personality behind it.
548.  Six months old.
549.  Eyes deep and beautiful like the ocean.
550.  Holding, rocking, kissing, tickling, and cuddling this baby boy.

551. Celebrating a birthday boy.
552.  Parties in the park.
553.  Pinatas and the little ones who can't reach, but try anyways.
554.  Snowcones, cupcakes, juice, and various other sugar group foods and a day to splurge on them.
555.  Limbo, launching rockets, and stickers and chalk art.

556.  Nana in town for a weekend.
557.  Little hat to protect his little head.
558.  Beautiful sunny weather to enjoy the river.
559.  Fellowship with my church family with kayaks, boats, and rafts.
560.  Both of my boys' love for the water.

561.  The joy of discovering and exploring that little boys have.
562.  Seining for shrimp and fish.
563.  Little fingers trying to catch little creatures.
564.  How all of the children flock to our new pastor.
565.  A true family of believers.

566. "All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace." Isaiah 54:13
567.  The covenant of God for our family.
568.  The Keeper of the covenant and his infinite ability to uphold it.
569.  Our congregation who are family and help to raise our boys in the knowledge of Christ.
570.  God's grace to us to call us to himself, from darkness to life, and set us in the family of his followers.

571.  The provision of a pastor just in time for MD's baptism.
572.  Expectant hope of what God will do in the life of this little guy (and my other one).
573.  Confidence in Him to work in their hearts (and mine).
574.  Sweater vests and baby shoes :)
575.  Unbelieving family who attended the service and stayed for the preaching of God's Word.
576.  His ability to exchange hearts of stone for hearts of flesh.

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