“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day :)

Well, today is the last day of February and the day is creating a quite a stir because it is Leap Day, the 29th.  This day only occurs in years divisible by the number 4 and makes our year have 366 days instead of 365.  So if you are hoping 2012 is better than 2011, you have one more day in which to enjoy the year.

And trivia abounds...an old Irish legend says that St. Bridget struck a deal with St. Patrick (who gave the saints this authority, I want to know) and women were allowed to propose to men on this day, and only on this day.  An old tradition held that if the man refused, he was to pay the woman money or buy her a gown.  In mainland Europe's upper class society, if the man refused, he was to pay the woman twelve pairs of gloves!  Okay....I'm sure there is a reason for this, although who even goes through that many pairs in a lifetime!  The reason being...the gloves were to hide the embarrassment of not wearing an engagement ring.  I guess you could wear a different pair each day.  Hopefully, though you would not wear the gloves out and certainly become engaged before that happened!!  (Might not be so bad if you were given a variety...leather, cashmere, sheepskin....)

Well, ladies, if you do risk it and follow the legend....and ask that special guy to marry you...and he refuses (and gives you a reeeeeeally goooood reason), you could ask for a pair of nice leather gloves to compensate for the embarrassment and then wait until 2016 and try again :)

Sorry, I have been a bit lax lately in writing on my blog.  I let details rule my life sometimes and don't sit down and write.  I plan to...I will....I promise....I am actually taking a 12-week online instructional course on improving your blogging (whoever thought that would be a course....and the verb blogging....hmmm); and I have been reading some great books on writing.  So if I can pull away from the reading and my photography class (which by the way is in it's final week)....you will hear from me more often, I assure you!  

Well, as we say good-bye to February and hello to March, may your days be filled with joy, peace and weather which doesn't require the wearing of gloves!

(photo courtesy Bryant Arnold/cartoonist)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To Breathe or Not to Breathe?

Breathing....we all do it, right?  It keeps us alive. Without breathe, we would gasp, struggle and either very slowly, or probably more adequately, within a few minutes our very life would end.  That's the physical side of things.  But metaphorically....what gives you reason to breathe, what brings you life?  For me, my very relationship with Jesus Christ gives me reason to get out of bed in the morning....reason to love and live....reason to face the struggles that await us each day.  I can love my family, my friends, my "neighbor" because He first loved me (1 John 4:19); He taught me how to love.

But what other beauty that this life holds keeps us breathing (metaphorically speaking again)?  What other creative processes, interests and desires cause that heart to pound and brings a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction to our life?  I love to write....so even now as my fingers tap on the keyboard and my mind is at work, I feel a sense of excitement and fulfillment.  Ideas form in my mind that I want to put to paper.  Something comes alive.

I had lunch the other day with a very dear young woman whom I have mentored in the past.  She is like another daughter to me.  A daughter of the heart.  Her life currently consists of work and along with the help of her mother, keeping watch over her autistic brother.  She has wisely put aside an evening or two of relaxation and "just her" time.  She knows she must feed a part of her that will bring her "life" and keep her "breathing".  She loves her family and brother with all her heart....she knows this is a season of her life and she does it all as "unto the Lord".  But nourishing the creative side of her will bring her the breathe she also needs to be fully alive each day.  As I shared with her the joy the photography class I began this last week has brought me, she got excited and shared she also is pursuing a latent passion.  She begins cello lessons this next week!  Her face shone as she conveyed the joy of beginning something new and creative.  I was so excited for her!  

Depending on what phase of life you are currently in, our days can be filled with diapers, laundry, cleaning up messes....school, study.....9-5 employment, sometimes enjoyable, sometimes to pay the bills....people, meeting needs...and the list goes on.  All necessary, all vital, all a part of life.  In the midst of living, find time to breathe...stop and smell that rose...stop and enjoy that sunrise...or sunset....stop and drink in the beauty of that smiling child you just cleaned up after....and maybe you need to intentionally "breathe" a bit of creativity into your days.  A few moments in a day or night of the week to learn something new.....a class....a latent desire for creativity to express yourself.  Breathing new life into yourself so you can continue to breathe life into those you love each day.  Whether it be a cello, painting, cooking, writing, piano...learning something new keeps us alive.  It keeps us breathing....it feeds the creative side of us and we ALL have a creative side...whatever shape that takes.

My photography class is breathing creativity inside me....

Macro and close up photography inspire me :)

And I love photographing those I care about and think are beautiful :)

Sorry, you may be the recipient of some of my attempts at creativity... :)

This was a fun week....it lit a "fire" inside of me and I am determined to 
breathe fresh air :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sistering...And Brothering :)

Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters....remember Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in their blue feathers singing this out....I'm there to keep my eye on her...

Okay, I am going to take this one step further...so the men don't feel left out in this blog...should any be reading :)

Despite our independent streak, we really do want someone to "keep an eye on us", don't we, sisters?  We really do not want to be left out there all on our own, without someone knowing who we are, where we are and what we are doing.  


GOD created us for relationship.  He created us for accountability.  Pam Farrel says in her book "Woman of Influence"..."Accountability isn’t a biblical word, but the principle of accountability is found in the Bible.  The biblical word “exhortation” means “a calling alongside to bring out the best in another”. “Admonishment” means “to put to mind”, it carries the idea of putting the right thoughts into the mind of another.  That is what we NEED; friends who walk alongside, putting the right thoughts in mind to bring out our very best!"

As my husband and I raised our children, I NEEDED other moms walking beside me during those years to help me understand "I was not alone...this is a 'season'...you are normal". I looked to God for my help and wisdom but also other moms to give me much needed input and advice when I hadn't a clue what to do.  Godly women who could give support and speak into areas only a woman could understand.  I NEEDED other moms to pray with me for my children, their children - rallying together to see God Almighty work in the lives of those precious ones who mean the world to us.  As families, we have each other...husbands and wives to support and pray with each other.  But what about the single mom who desperately needs the love and companionship and guidance of other moms (single or married); what about the married woman whose husband is "absent" in the raising of the children.  What about just the basic human need of companionship and friendship...we NEED each other!  And I know I am speaking to women here, but this rings very true for men as well.  

Do you know that when workers build a house on the bearing walls and around doors and windows, they nail 2 x 4’s together so they can bear more weight.  The building term for nailing the boards onto bearing walls is “sistering”.  When we (as women) hammer our lives together, we help one another bear more weight and handle whatever life throws our way.  Oh, how we need to SISTER one another :)

Four years ago, my husband cut his right hand using a skill saw.  Being a construction worker, this put him out of work for nine weeks.  Self-employed and on our own....during a time that could have been incredibly despairing, God was so faithful.  "Sistering" came into play....men and women :) ....friends stepped up to support us and bear the weight during this heavy time for us.  What was incredibly humbling was the majority of those who helped us financially were full-time missionary friends whom we had served with in years past.  Those who were in need themselves gave to us who were in need.  We saw a circle of "sistering" that overwhelmed us with God's goodness.  We will forever cherish these wall-bearing friends.

Finishing off the reflection of Psalm 16:3 "...these holy people who are in the land, the noble ones who make great friends and in whom is all my delight..." I close with a thought...

When a flock of geese are flying together in a V, they fly 72% farther than when alone.  The honking drives them on. Those flying behind the geese in front give uplift to the air to keep them going.  Oh dear friends, let's honk loudly, to keep each other moving forward!  Let's "sister" together to bring support!  

We all NEED it and WANT it!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

One Big Family - Psalm 16:3

The third verse of Psalm 16 has so much meaning it may take a couple of blogs to convey it's depth.  And even then I am sure we won't get it all.  God's word is amazing!

"I say of the holy people who are in the land, 
they are the noble ones in whom is all my delight."

Take a glimpse at a few other translations:

And these God-chosen lives all around - what splendid friends they make!  (The Message) - I LOVE this one!
The holy people in the land are the ones who are worthy of honor - all my pleasure is in them. (Complete Jewish Bible)
Those who lead holy lives on earth are the noble ones who fill me with joy! (God’s Word Translation)
How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them!  (Good News Translation)
As for the godly people in the world, they are the wonderful  ones I enjoy. (New Century Version)
The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!  (New Living Translation)
As for the holy ones in the land, they are the NOBLE, in whom is all my delight.  (New Revised Standard)

What richness in describing the people of God...that is YOU and ME!!  One word which stands out above all the rest is NOBLE - of high birth, rank or title...a child of a KING, stately, imposing, choice, excellent.  The word "noble" is a 
synonym of the word grand and moral...virtuous, righteous, ethical, honorable, upright, just and honest.  We may not feel like we actually live up to these meanings, but oh, how our Father delights in US and by His Spirit is working daily to form us into a people of nobility.

Another word used in this verse is "saints"...

This adjective in Hebrew is described as sacred, holy, set apart...meaning clean, set apart free from defilement, crimes, unclean and profane things.

Ex. 19:6...you will be for me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.  GOD meant for us to look different.

1 Pt. 2:9, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

We belong in a "family" that is to stand out in this world.  We are to look and be different...even noble and saintly.  NO...we are NOT perfect!!  We make mistakes (and a lot of them at times!).  We fall, but by His grace and strength, we get back up. At times, we have no answers to give in tragic circumstances, but we have a HOPE today and for the days ahead.  
Do we look different or are we trying so hard to be "relevant" and fit in that we no longer stand out? Yes, we want to be relevant....but we mostly to be authentic and honest.   Are others drawn to us because they sense something different...a hope, a friend they can count on to just be there?  As a good friend of mine points out..."Are we agents of change to transform our society?"  Are our lives living out the kingdom of God here on earth?  

We are the noble ones in whom is all His delight.  The Hebrew noun for this also means....in whom is all my purpose.  Wow!  Let's jump back a verse...I have no good thing apart from the Lord...but then it goes on to say “As for the godly in the land...I love them...they bring me delight....You meant them for good in my life...I am not to “be apart from them” (paraphrased!).

This "people of God" -

He delights in us!

We are His purpose!

We bring Him delight!

This "people of God" - these noble ones -

They are meant for good in my life :)

I am not to be apart from them :)

You, dear friend, belong to a people bigger than yourself.  They are there for you...to be encouraged, to be strengthened, to be supported, and to be loved.  Next blog we will wrap this verse up like a gift with a ribbon and tag that says "we need each other!"  But for today, remember...

And these God-chosen lives all around - what splendid friends they make!  (The Message)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February: Loving and Leaping

I'm starting out February being very photo-conscious :)   I have enrolled in an online photography course which I more than a little excited about.  My polarizing filter arrived in the mail - been waiting since Christmas, along with a book I am already devouring and highlighting 

By Brenda Tharp and filled with incredible images

I have submitted two photos in the 12-month photography project I joined in January...

The theme for February is "Love" or "Leap". (2012 is a leap year)...both caught my eye 

Yes, he loves to leap :)

Sister Love <3

I can tell already this is going to be a very fun month capturing a wide assortment of pictures depicting loving and leaping....both of which my family does a lot of - and yes, I do a whole lot better loving than I do leaping...I'll leave that to the below 30 group :)

Oh, and I almost forgot...I am entering a photo in a contest (I said at the beginning I was gung-ho into picture-taking already for February).  Below is the first photo I plan to submit...

I can almost imagine being in Narnia with this one :)

So into February we venture....go ahead - love and leap a bit in your excitement of being loved by the Father!