Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful.

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The past two weeks have been challenging. Last Monday night, I came home from my women’s bible study meeting, and I went straight to bed with a blasting migraine. I’m so thankful that I don’t struggle with migraines regularly; they are so crippling! Once the migraine faded around noon the next day, my throat started hurting. I quickly realized I was getting sick, sick, sick. Sore throat turned into sinus pressure, to me losing my voice completely, to coughing, to congestion…lots of fun stuff.

Also last week, Eugene had to leave for a five day school trip to Washington DC with 8th graders. He left early on Friday, and I had a huge event for around 400 people to work Saturday until around 1am – oh, and did I mention I’ve been wicked-sick and during the event, my eye started turning red? I made it through Saturday’s event, down a staff member because his grandma was rushed to the hospital about 30 minutes after the event started, and the little one had a blast playing with her cousin while my sister kindly watched her.

The little one woke up relatively early on Sunday, as usual, so we headed to church. I caught my nurse-friend in the hall at church to ask her about my eye, and she broke the news to me that it was probably pink eye. Bummed, I picked the little one up from the church nursery, left church early, dropped her off with Eugene’s family, and headed to urgent care for my cold and eye issues. The doctor diagnosed me with laryngitis, upper respiratory infection, and an eye infection. {Awesome.} He gave me a prescription for my eye and a back up Z pack prescription to hold on to, but said the rest of my ailments should heal on their own.

Now it’s Tuesday. Eugene’s ETA keeps getting pushed later and later, and I’m pretty sure I have an ear infection and my other eye is infected too.

So why am I sharing all this crummy stuff with the title of the post “Thankful”? Because, despite all this junk, I haven’t felt too discouraged through the past couple weeks. All I can think of is how grateful I am that I am usually very healthy. I haven’t been on a prescription for well over a year, and I rarely need to go to the doctor. I have two eyes that see perfectly normally, a throat that usually produces a clear voice, a head that is typically pain-free. I have a job that provides extra for my family, and only requires me to go in the office a few days a week. I have a family who is willing and eager to watch the little one any time I have to work or go to the doctor. I have a husband whom I miss incredibly when he’s gone. {I don’t take that for granted…I know wives joke about wishing their husbands would go on a trip, but I was dreading him leaving!} I have technology to watch my little one and her daddy FaceTime and sign “I love you” to each other while he’s miles away.

I have so much to be thankful for – even in a week full of crud.

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Have you read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? It’s sooo good. It’s all about how to “wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to loses and crushed dreams and all that empties out.” It’s about giving thanks for everything, all the small details, every little moment. And I’m not one who throws this phrase around, but it’s life-changing. Not big, hit you over the head, and scream at you life-changing, but whisper in the background, squeeze your hand gently, right when you need it most life-changing.

I read it once for pleasure, and then a second time to take notes {20 pages of notes!} I love Ann’s style of poetic writing. I love her rich way with words to simplify an incredibly profound way of thinking and living to be understandable, relatable, manageable. It’s partly because of this book, I’m sure, that I’m able to keep a grateful heart and a thankful outlook through crummy week’s like this one. I may do a whole post later of my favorite quotes/passages from the book, but for now, I’ll just share a few for safe keeping here on my little blog.

  • “Eucharisteo – thanksgiving always precedes the miracle.” (p35) She expounds on this deeply; it’s an amazing revelation.
  • “Thanksgiving makes time. Creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks and say I have enough.” (p72)

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  • Eph. 5:20 Always giving thanks for all things…even the hard stuff. Even the losses. Tough eucharisteo (p93) “If you haven’t lost Christ, child, nothing is ever lost. Remember, ‘through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’ [Acts 14:22 NASB]…” (p98)
  • God “’does not enjoy hurting people or causing them to sorrow’ (Lamentations 3:33), but labors to birth grief into greater grace. Isn’t that the crux of the gospel? Then good news that all those living in the land of shadow of death have been birthed into new life, that the transfiguration of a suffering world has already begun. Than suffering nourishes grace, and pain and joy are arteries of the same heart – and mourning and dancing are but movements in His unfinished symphony of beauty…I can say it certain now: All is grace…Everything is eucharisteo.” (p100)

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  • “Worry is the fa├žade of taking action when prayer really is.” (p143) “Every time fear freezes, worry writhes, and I surrender to stress, I’m advertising the unreliability of God. But if I’m thankful…for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust him again.” (p151) – this was a huge concept for me. So helpful.
  • “Trust is a bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. I can walk from the know to unknown and know: He holds. I could walk unafraid.” (p152)

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  • the heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude. (p167) Eucharisteo makes knees the vantage point of a life.
  • And possibly my favorite part – this is a lovely prayer that so eloquently sums my heart as well: “Jesus, I know what I want: to see deeply, to thank deeply, to feel joy deeply. How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy – and seeing shows the way in.” (p118)

Oh I pray that I will see deeply, thank deeply, and feel joy deeply. If you haven’t read One Thousand Gifts, now is the perfect time of year to dig in and enjoy it. What a blessing this life is, every little moment, the sweet spots as much as the painful ones.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Encouraging Wednesdays.

It’s Thursday, I know. But yesterday was Wednesday, and it reminded me of a post I’ve been wanting to write for quite some time. Do you remember when I posted my kitchen update photos? Well there’s a print that wasn’t highlighted, but one that I absolutely love in my kitchen.

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I forget how I came across frenchpressmornings.com, maybe Instagram, but every Wednesday the blogger posts a free printable verse. She calls it “Encouraging Wednesdays,” and I absolutely love it. The print hanging in my kitchen is hard to see from the photo above, but it can be found here, and she has a ton of beautiful prints to pick from. 4x6 prints are free, but she has larger sizes to download in her Etsy shop.

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A few weeks ago, I posted this messy photo on my Instagram of one of my favorite verses lately,

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and she made this beautiful art with the scripture…

I printed the free 4x6 & framed this one for my mom who keeps bees & harvests honey for a hobby. {Perfect.}

And when I saw this week’s that is perfect for my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving – I knew I had to share. How beautiful is this!

Oh, also, it may sound like it, but I wasn't paid to write this. I don’t know the blogger, but I just think her free prints are awesome & worthy of sharing with ya’ll. I hope you’ll head over to French Press Morning’s website and print some lovely prints to keep the truth on your heart {and around your house.} ;)

Completely random note to end with, but when I was pulling the kitchen photos from this summer, I saw this one.

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Oh my, how cute are those little thighs!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sister, cousin, best friends.

My sister is one of the most resilient & strongest women I know. My niece is one of the most intelligent & spunky little girls I know. God has blessed me with a sister who is also my best friend, and the our daughters are quickly becoming best friends as well. {It makes my heart so happy.}

After the Wilson family session, I took a half hour to snap a few shots of these two beautiful ladies…

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I’m pretty sure some tickling was involved in the photo below. ;)

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The photo below just may be my favorite photo of all time. Oh how absolutely stunning are they…

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I’m so thankful to God for blessing my daughter and I with our best friends. <3

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Wilson family photos year two.

Last year, I took a few photos for the Wilson Family...

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I was honored when they asked to do a repeat session this year. I don’t get to do many photos sessions lately with my work schedule. I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I love taking pictures for friends outdoors. It was a real treat to get outside in the beautiful Fall weather with this family.

One year older, the boys were a bit more energetic, so I have quite a few silly outtakes with some hilarious expressions, but I think we managed to capture a few “normal” smiles from the bunch.

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When Eugene saw the picture below, he told me the tree looked fake. It’s real – I promise. Pinterest has it wrong; God does the best ombre!

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I love how much fun he had throwing the leaves!

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We tried for a leaf pic with all three kiddos, but she was the only one cooperating. She was so content just hanging out on her belly!

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The Wilson’s are actually adding to their family. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes from these photos to next year’s with a family of 6. :)

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I figured this one would be appropriate to end with since it pretty much sums up life for us young parents. Kids running in every direction, and all we can do to keep sane is smile at each other and soak in the moment. I hope you enjoy your photos, Wilson family!

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