Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crazy Love!


Crazy Love



I just finished reading a book called Crazy Love.  You should read it!  It is written by Francis Chan.  I’m still working on digesting all that it has in it.  It is a challenge.

It challenges you to look at the way you live your life as a Christian.  Could you do it better?  Could you do more?  Is there meaning to your life?  Do people know you are a Christian, that you believe in God, that your heart belongs to Him?  How do they know?  What in your life shows this?  He talks about people and tells stories of the radical things people do for Christ or in Christ’s name. 

Like I said, I just finished reading this amazing book and am still digesting it so I’m not quite sure what it means to me yet.  What I do know is that you should read it!!!!

Here are some things that stood out to me:

~Are we asking the creator of the universe to join us on “OUR” journey through this life and follow us where we should go, or are we following HIM?

~Are we fretting and worrying too over figuring out what God’s will and plan is for our life and not listening and obeying the Holy Spirit when it call us to move or do?

~Are we turning what God has done in OTHERS lives into a mold for our own?  Are we allowing God to be creative with us in OUR lives as he is with others in theirs?

~Are we truly in love with God or just His stuff?

These are all very challenging things to me.  All things that really hit home hard.  Things that have me taking a close look at my life, my actions, my thoughts, everything I do and knowing that I could do more and how I should do more.

Read the book! 

Hope you are all having a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Missy's having a baby!!!

Meet my friend, Melissa Lynn!

I have known Melissa for quite awhile now.  Through the years we have grown closer and become great friends.  I actually had the privilege of standing up in her wedding as a bridesmaid for her!  I adore Melissa and am so excited for her and her husband Matthew.  

Melissa and Matthew are expecting a baby girl!!!  Her name will be Kata Lynn!!!

Hope you enjoy the session because I sure know I did!  Thanks so much Melissa for letting me document this stage in your life!  You truly look great!!! (Its not fair ;))








Hope you enjoyed!  Love these pictures!  Can't wait to meet little miss Kata Lynn!


*Don't forget about the Christmas picture mini-session!!!  Lets book a shoot today!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Smack!


You know when God wants you to pay attention to something so badly that its like he literally smacks you in the face with it?!  Well, I feel like this is happening to me! 

I’ve wanted to get involved in some sort of Bible study for some time now.  But when, where, about what…I worry about those details.  I want it to be the “right” Bible study.  I want to study something relevant to me.  I want to be in a study with cool, young people my age.  I want to be in a study that won’t take time away from my time with Kevin.  Those are the things I’ve been worried about…let’s talk about out of line priorities, right?!  Well, a few weeks ago at church there was a Bible study going to start for “women” on Friday mornings and it was going to be on 1 Samuel.  I thought about it.  I thought things like, I don’t have anything going on Friday morning, it doesn’t take time away from my time with Kevin, its for “women”…so far it met my requirements.  But then I also thought things like, its for “women” that means there are going to be old ladies there that I will have nothing in common with and there stuff won’t be relevant to my stuff (and vice versa), and things like, 1Samuel?!  What do I care about a time of war and switching from judges, to priest, to a king?  Again, wonderful attitude, right?!  Well much to my weariness, I decided to buy the book and go.

The first week we were suppose to come prepared, meaning that we were suppose to have at least read the entire book of 1Samuel.  Well my usual procrastinating self waited till Thursday to worry about this.  Then I started to freak myself out.  One of my greatest fears in life is looking dumb in front of others (yes, I know its very shallow we will get to that another time).  So I started to freak myself out and worry.  For those who don’t know, I don’t have a great reading comprehension nor do I remember a lot about things that don’t really peak my interest.  People’s names I’m great at, Bible stories not so much.  Well my attitude working against me, I finished reading through 1Samuel and much to my surprise, remembered a lot if it! 

Well to make what could be and sort of already is a long story short this Bible study with older “women” that is on 1Samuel (which by the way is about way more then war and leaders) has been such a blessing for where I am at in life right now.  We are only two weeks in and still discussing the first two chapters but man, God has been talking to me!

As I’ve suddenly mentioned before, Kevin and I are now in the process of trying to have children.  Even though we have only been trying for a couple of months each time I get my monthly “gift” I get so disappointed.  I get a little angry with God.  I, for whatever reason, thought I would be the person that got pregnant right away, no wait, no problem (not that there is a problem, at least that we know about…other then impatient ness) but I apparently was wrong.  If you don’t know, the first two chapters of 1Samuel are about Hannah and her longing for a child.  She was barren and though her husband loved her very much, she still longed for a child.  What hit home to me is that Hannah could have been mad, she could have been bitter at God but instead she gave it up to Him, fully.  She laid it at His feet and walked away.  And God blessed her!  He gave her a child.  Not right away, but in due time.  And you know what, she had made a deal with God.  She promised that if He gave her a child that she would give that child back to Him and that his whole life he would be God’s…and she followed through with it!  Can you imagine?!  You desperately want and pray for a child, God answers that prayer, and then you have to give it up.  Oh man!!!  Talk about a dedicated women!

The reason this hits home so much is because, well were trying to have a child, but also because I have been so impatient and I’m not sure I have fully given this struggle to God, laid it at His feet, and walked away from it.  I still worry about this and that.  This detail, that detail.  If we get pregnant now that would be great because of “this”.   It’s all about me and what works for my life.  But you know what, its not about me and what works for my life.  If you change on detail of Hannah’s story, have it be the wanting so desperately or a child that she makes a deal with God, the timing, the location, whatever it is, if you change one detail, Samuel’s life wouldn’t be Samuel’s life.  I guess the point of me telling you all this is to reiterate to myself what we all really already know, God’s timing and plan is perfect!!! It doesn’t matter how much we want it, how perfect we think the timing is for it, how much we deserve it, or how ready we think we are for it, for whatever reason it isn’t perfect in the timing of the Lord!  And really, does my perfectionist of a self want it if it’s not perfect?! 

So my challenge to myself, and whoever else reads this blog, is to trust in the Lord.  Trust in His timing.  But also to take whatever it is, whatever you are struggling with to the Lord!  Pray about it with Him, cry about it with Him, get angry about it with Him….do whatever you have to do to get it out of your system with the Lord in prayer and then LEAVE IT!  Leave it as His feet!  Don’t worry about it, wonder about it, obsess about it…just leave it!  And trust that God’s plan and timing is better then we could ever imagine or put together ourselves. 


***Side note:  I’m sitting at a table with mostly older women and am LOVING it!  Hearing their thoughts, stories, and insight has truly been a blessing!  I wouldn’t change my table for anything!  (Go figure, right!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Holiday special!!!!

Hey all!!!  
Just thought I would let you know about the great special I have running for the holidays!

Lets book a shoot today!!!!

P.S.-I can create and print CHRISTMAS POSTCARDS for an additional fee!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Baking+Photography=Kinda Nerdy!

One day last week I was having a little bit of a rough day.  So, as usual I decided to bake.  My husband calls me an, "emotional baker".  (Can you fell my eye roll and flutter?!)  He sure doesn't seem to mind enjoying the fruits of the "emotional baking" :)  Anyways, I decided on a recipe that I had been dying to try and that was sure to ease my bad day and early signs of PMS, Hostess Cupcakes!  DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?!?!  Not for me!  In the midst of it all I had an over ambitious idea, "I'll document all my steps, do a recipe review and write a blog about it!"  So, with my nifty iPhone in hand I pictured away.  After all was said and done I didn't feel like writing about them but I did edit the pictures I took together in photoshop.  I swear its the photographer in me, but I just can't fathom the idea of posting a picture that doesn't have SOME sort of editing done to it!

Here are the pictures from beginning to end

           Baked                         Filled                        Frosted                 Decorated                  Perfection!

Can you say nerdy?!  But it just makes me so happy!  Every time I look at this it makes me happy!!!  And added benefit, they turned out AWESOME!!!!!

I found the recipe on a blog called, "Pass the Sushi".  Here is the link for it Hostess Cupcakes .  They are easy to make, taste delicious and a show stopper for sure!  The recipe just had the hostess swirl on top but I put my own spin on it and added heart and words like, love and smile.  You could really do a million different things on top of them!  How cute would these be for a baby shower if you were to make the white frosting pink or blue and put words like, baby or boy/girl or love?!  So cute!  I do have a tip, put them in the fridge before serving them!  Call me crazy, but try it before you do ;)

Hope you enjoyed!  Go bake now!
*One last big picture!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something to think about!

So, as I was getting ready to write a new blog about one of the adventures I've had this summer I did what I always do....look at the Facebook and peruse some of my favorite blogs that I like to stalk.  Well as I was doing the usual routine I came across an article that someone had posted and it got me thinking....this is the article:
Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)
A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”
She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”
Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.
Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.
If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.
Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.
Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?
It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.
Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”
Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.
Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.
Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).
________
Recent post from Rachel Jankovic

Funny enough, this article made me think of a song that has been catching my ear lately.  Every time I hear it, it makes me stop.  I love it!  Its by Steven Curtis Chapman and its called "Do Everything".  Here is my favorite part of the song:
you’re picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you
Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Kevin and I have recently decided that we would begin trying to become parents.  Now, I have always know that at the center of my core I wanted to be a mom.  I know that it comes with a lot of sacrifices and that it won't always be easy.  In fact I've been told that is one of the hardest things a marriage can go through (not exactly inspirational!).  Never the less, I am still VERY excited.  This artcile I think is just a great, refreshing, and new way to look at being a mother, father, parent.  Its something I don't think people take seriously a lot of times.  Having kids isn't something to do just because you're bored.  It should be treated as a privilage in my mind.  Now, I know I can't say much seeing as though I've never been kept up all night with a screaming baby; nor have I been standing in a store with a child throwing a tantrum (hmm...not sure i'm "VERY excited" about that!).  But never the less I think its a privilage!  I just loved how she took the idea of the sacrifices we make for children and comparing them to what Jesus did for us a step further and talking about the reserection and new life that we recieve after making those sacrifices.  
I would say that one of the things Kevin has been most nervous about in terms of becoming parents is the sacrifices we are going to have to make.  We have a really great life together.  We have the freedom to do whatever we want...go out to dinner if we don't feel like cooking, go to the movies, spend our Saturday afternoons doing the grocery shopping together, taking Sunday afternoon naps, even go on a quick weekend trip if we feel like it. He likes this time in our life where its just the two of us and we don't have to worry about anythings else.  (I love it too!!!)  Long story short, he's nervous about the sacrifices that come along with having kids (I am too a little).  But reading this is just so refreshing!  We don't need to be caught up in the sacrifices that were making, instead we should be look forward to the rebirth of a new, and slightly different, life!  And in that we should, "do everything to the glory of the one who made (us)".  
I really love that song because sometimes I struggle with where i'm at in life and if  I'm good enough or doing enough or if anything I do even matters.  But, its just so true and re-assuring to hear that no matter what we do as long as we do it for HIM, were doing what he created us to do and putting a smile on his face!  I love that!  Even the littlest things bring HIM joy!  
Well, those are my thoughts on this HOT summer Wednesday in WI!

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    WAY past time for a new blog post...Or so i've been told ;)

    Alright, alright, alright...time for a blog update!!!  Where to start???

    Its been, for the most part, a beautiful summer here in WI.  But there have been a few day of HOT and HUMID weather...NOT FUN!!! Fun fact: the house were renting has no air conditioning :/  So what have we been doing with the beautiful summer?  We have been continuing our weekly walks by the lake.  Its always so beautiful and nice down there!!!  I really love living close to a big body of water!  Kevin and I took a quick vacation to Boston and Vermont.  We saw a lot of family and had a really great time!!!  We also went to Strawberry Fest!  It was all about Strawberries and crafts!!!  Does it get much better?!?!  Alyssa came and visited!!!!  Fourth of July!!!!  Jelly Belly Factory tour!!!  Made a quilt!!!  Joined the iPhone nation!!!  Storm the Bastille!!!  And now we are anticipating the arrival of my MOM!!!!  And in the midst of it all I have been volunteering one day, sometimes two, at the coffee shop at church.

    God has been blessing us!  It hasn't been easy, but it is getting easier.  Some day we dash forward...and someday we fly backwards...but in the end, I think we are making progress and moving forward :)!!!

    I have pictures of most of our adventures over the last month, but not all.  I PROMISE I will post them!!!  And get better at updating!  So not a huge, long, emotional blog today, more of just and update :)

    Thanks for checking in and please continue to do so!!!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Lovely Lake Michigan!!!

    Here are some pictures from our walk on the lake last week!




























    Isn't it pretty!!! Kevin, Ellie Mae and I really enjoy our date nights at the lake!  

    Hope your week is going well!

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Best Friends!

    Meet Ellie Mae!!!  OR as my brother has so lovingly named her, Ellenor Mabelle. 


    Isn't she cute!!!
    Look at these puppy pictures!

    This was the FIRST day we got her!

    Here she is at 6 months!


    Oh man I love this dog!!!  She is just so wonderful.  And the saying holds true about her, they say dogs are man's best friend, well she is mine!!!  She drives me absolutely crazy but that aside, she is wonderful!!!  She is loyal, sensitive, sweet, sassy, fun....the list goes on and on!!  I know for sure that she is straight from God and made just for me!!!  Thank you Lord!!! Just thought I would share with you all who I spend most of my days with!  

    As for human best friends, I also have the best one of those, also made just for me, and straight from God!!  Thank you again, Lord!!!

    (Please note that this picture is very old, from my 21st birthday!)

    Meet Carolyn!  She is wonderful!!!  She has been a big part of my life for a long time!!!  She moved to Flagstaff for college, stayed there for awhile and then her and her family (now a family of 5!) moved to Colorado, where they are now.  I miss her SSSOOO much!  She is more like a sister then a friend.  The older sister that speaks words of wisdom into my life exactly when I need it!  AND she doesn't sugar-coat it either, which I love and appreciate!!!  She is SO special to me and I love her so so so much!

    Just thought I would share with you two very important ladies in my life!  I think the next lady I will tell you about is my mother!  My all time BFF!!  But I will save that for another day!  

    Hope you all are having a blessed day.  Just wanted to send a reminder to appreciate and love on the ones that you love and that love you.  Whether its a puppy dog or the big sister you never had, love on them, appreciate them, and most of all show it to them!

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Baby Bump: Lina!

    Meet Lina!  I have know Lina (Angelina) for a long time now, since we were like 13 I think (or maybe even younger)!  We have been through different stages of life together and there have been times where we have been closer friends and more distant friends but we have remained friends through it all!  I was SO excited when I found out she was preggers!!!  I knew I wanted to do her baby bump pictures the moment I found out!  I was so glad she let me ;)!!!  This shoot was very fun and relaxed!  Her hubby even came!  Side note:  It was my idea for the two of them to date!  I was sorta there matchmaker!!!

    Lina and Cole, thank you so much for letting me capture this exciting time in your life!!!  I had so much fun!!!  I absolutely can't wait to meet baby Gabbi!!!  I know she is going to be beautiful!!!




    A very excited soon to be daddy!


    Isn't Lina beautiful!




                                                                                                 Excited soon-to-be grandma!!!

    This shoot was so much fun!!!  Hope you enjoyed them!!!

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Graduation: Zach!

    Meet Zach!  Zach just graduated from ASU with a degree in elementary education.  Isn't he handsome?!  I mean his family must have good genes!  ;)  Just kidding!  Well he is handsome and as his older sister I can say that I am very proud of him and was very privileged that he let me shoot his graduation pictures!  To my surprise he was a natural in fort of the camera.  It made me wonder why I never thought of using him as a model before!  He just wanted something simple that captured his personality, light hearted and very intellectual.  I think we succeeded!

    Zach, this was so much fun!!!  Like I said I was honored that you would let me capture this exciting time in life!  You are going to be such an amazing teacher!  I am so proud of you!


    I wish I could take credit for the awesome idea of the books but that was all him!


























    This last one is my absolute favorite!


    Pretty handsome, right?!  Like I said, this was so much fun!  I feel like these very much represent what Zach is all about!

    Hope you enjoyed!!!  Happy Friday!!!

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Cutie: Brody!

    Meet Brody!  Or as I call him, brodnugget.  (His parents use to call him nugget.) Anyways, this is seriously one the the cutest, sweetest, funnest (yes I know that's not a word!) little boys ever!  He just has such a great personality!  His parents are some of my favorite people in the whole world!!!  I was very so excited when they asked me to do his pictures!

    Thanks Hil and Jeremy for letting me hang out with you and capture your little man's handsomeness!





    One in color so you can see those amazing baby blues!


    Like I said, ADORABLE!!!!  Hope you enjoyed!  Happy Wednesday day, or as hubby and I call it MFDN (Modern Family Date Night)!!!!!

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Baby bump: Jaiden!!!

    Meet Drea!  How cute is that belly?!  If you saw her from behind you would have not idea, other than having the pregnant women stance, that she was 9 months pregnant.  She is all baby belly.  This shoot was close to my heart as Drea is a cousin of mine.  Her family has always been a big part of my life.  I still can't get over the fact that she is pregnant!!!  I am so excited for her!  She is going to be an amazing mother!!!  Baby Jaiden is going to be so loved and I'm positive, so cute!!!!

    Congrats Drea!  I can't wait to see and meet baby Jaiden!!!



     I was so excited when she said she wanted to do bare belly pictures!!!!


    Isn't she just so beautiful!!!  And how cute is that little hat?!





    I think this one might be my favorite!!!  Pregnant in heels!!!

    This was such a fun shoot!  Drea was such a trooper and up for anything.  Not to mention she was beautiful and glowing!!!  I can't wait to meet baby Jaiden!

    Hope you enjoyed the post!  Happy Monday!

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Happy Friday Continued

    Here are some pictures from my walk this morning!


    Happy Friday!

      Today, Friday, I found myself signing on my walk with Ellie Mae, taking pictures of God's wonderful beauty, and actually enjoying doing laundry and dishes.  Now if you know me, you know I HATE doing laundry with a passion!  Its not so much the doing as it is the remembering to change it over and most of all the folding and putting away.  Ugh, I dread it!  But today I was excited about it.  And even though I don't mind doing dishes as much, its still not my favorite thing to do.  But today my heart is, for whatever reason, filled with joy and excitement.  Maybe its just because its Friday and I can't wait to spend the weekend with my hubby or maybe its because I've been taking time to slow down and smell the roses.
      Now don't get me wrong, I am really excited to spend the weekend with my hubby.  I wait all week for those two day we get to have and spend together.  But I was thinking about this last night...I was thinking about the fact that ever since we moved to WI my life has been moving at a slower pace.  Now this is a big thing for me.  I'm use to going a million miles an hour and trying to do a million things at once.  As a retired Starbucks barista of 8 years, I'm use to zooming around and my idle speed being around 80mph.  Yes, I was that annoying girl at Starbucks that greets you right as you walk in the door and your thinking to yourself, "GEEZ!!!  I just woke up and just walked in the door, I know you have had your coffee but I'm here to get mine!!!".  Yep that was me! :)  But since moving my life has been moving at a much slower pace.  And until now, I have hated it.  I NEED to have a million things going on to feel normal...or so I thought!
      Sometimes its just me and the silence....and that can be scary when your use to all the background noise. But I am definitely learning to embrace it.  I actually look forward to it.  I feel like that is the time when God really works on you and speaks to you.  Now that I'm slowing down I have time to, "smell the roses" as they say.  I appreciate things that I use to take for granite.  I see God in everything and know that he really is everywhere.  I feel like I use to be consumed with what was going on around me, who had what, what was the newest thing I needed, gossip....I was getting sucked into the world and worldly things.  I use to always say that I hated to notion of "keeping up with the Jones"but here I was giving into it and trying to be the "Jones".  Now, I'm not saying that I have kicked my shopping addiction and that there aren't still things that I want (an iPad) but what I am saying is that instead of trying to find happiness in all of those things, I'm actually starting to find happiness in the prayer time I have as I walk Ellie each morning, the quietness that I have when I'm doing dishes, the ability to stop and listen to God while I'm folding laundry.  Now I know that I don't have kids and that right now I have the luxury of staying at home and that for people who have "normal" lives with kids and jobs that slowing down is hard to do, but I urge you to try and find time to be alone with the silence.  Find peace in the little tasks and to try and see God in everything!
      Now I know I have been doing a lot of complaining about how hard it is living in WI and how I miss home more then I ever imagined I would....but God is working in my life and I'm really starting to appreciate it and actually kinda like it.  I like slowing down.  I like seeing his plan in action.  I have to admit to you that instead of enjoying the silence while doing dishes this morning I turned on Air 1 and was listening to it on my computer.  Sometimes I just like to worship all by myself.  I like to bust out and full on worship God all by myself.  This most often happens in the car but sometimes when I'm doing dishes and cleaning :)  Anyways, this idea of silence and prayer and taking time to "smell the roses" had been on my heart and then all of the sudden this song came on and the words of it made my eyes well up with tears!  The song is "Listen To The Sound" by Building 429.  It is an AMAZING song, you should listen to it!  But the verse that got me was this:
    I hear you say you're alone
    I hear you saying that you'll never make it
    I've got to tell you you're wrong
    Cause I have been down this path you're taking
    You never know what faith is
    Til you don't understand
    Sometimes it takes a silence
    To finally hear His plan 

    WOW!  "You never know what faith is til you don't understand".  That pretty much sums up the past 3 months here, not understanding.  I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember, I grew up in a Christan home.  I have gone through periods where my faith has been stronger, weaker, where I have strayed from God's path...but this move has really tested my faith.  Why would God take ME away from MY family and MY friends just to move me to a place where I am all alone?  "Sometimes it takes a silence to finally hear his plan".  Would I have been able to stop, listen, and accept God's plan for me in AZ?  To be totally honest, probably not.  I was to busy.  I was to consumed with myself, my wants, and my desires to take time and listen and accept God's plan for me.  Sometimes it takes a silence.  I am having to re-learn that its not all about me and that even though I can do most things on my own, God can always do those things a million times better then I can.  I am having to accept that Gods plan is always better and more important then anything I could ever put together for my life.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly what His plan is for my life, but now I'm actually taking the time to hear and appreciate the silence and listen to Him.   
    Happy Friday!  Enjoy your weekend and take time to smell the roses! :)

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Arizona...you have my heart!

    So today is my first day back in WI after spending a week in AZ.  Its is definitely bitter sweet to be back. I am very happy to be back in my house, spending alone time with the hub, and being able to cuddle with my girls, Ellie Mae and Patience, but I very much miss my family, friends, and Scottsdale Bible Church.  

    The whole purpose of the trip was to see my little brother graduate from ASU.  But I did a lot more then that.  This trip had A LOT of high points....mixed with a small low point.  Flying into Phoenix has become such a weird feeling.  Its like flying home...but its not my home anymore :/  While in Phx I had 4 amazing photo shoots!  Each one of them was with a great friend and each one was amazing in its own way. 

    I started out shooting one of my friends from long ago.  We met at church years ago and even though our lives are very different and we don't see each other much we still try to get together whenever we can.  Her name is Lina and she, along with her husband Cole, are expecting their first child.  Its a girl!  And they are planning on naming her Gabbi!  So cute, I know!  Here is a quick teaser from her shoot.  (I will post more pictures from all the shoots later in the week)


    The second shoot I did was for my cousin.  She is just a few years younger then I am and is expecting her first child.  Its a boy!  And his name will be Jaiden!  She is SO CUTE pregnant!!!  She is ALL tummy as you will see!  













    (How cute is she?!!!  And if you think, for one second, that doing these two belly shoots didn't make me want to be pregnant you have another thing coming!  I CAN'T WAIT to be preggers!!!  I just hope I can be as cute as these two!)

    So as if seeing two beautiful pregnant women wasn't enough, I also got the opportunity to take pictures of the cutest little boy ever!!! (Not helping with the urge to be a mommy!)  His name is Brody and his mother is one of my dearest friends.  She is one of those people who is truly beautiful inside and out.  Brody just started walking and will be 1 in July!  Seriously, he is SO cute!!!  He has the biggest, most beautiful blue eyes and the sweetest disposition!  

























    The finial shoot was very special to me!  It was graduation pictures for my little brother.  I felt very flattered that he let me take his graduation pictures...seeing as he isn't the biggest fan of having his picture taken.  He is graduating with a teaching degree from ASU.  I am so proud of him and have NO DOUBT that he is going to be a amazing teacher!  How handsome is he?!  



















    I was very happy with the way all of the shoots turned out!  It really doesn't get any better then doing what you love, having the pictures turn out more amazing then you could imagine, all while hanging out with the people you love!  I am so blessed that God has blessed me with this opportunity!  (Like I said earlier, I will post more of each shoot in older posts.)

    Each time I come back from a trip to AZ it gets harder.  Harder to leave a place full of memories and people I love.  BUT!!!  And I hate the BUT!  But I know God has a plan and living in WI is part of it right now.  On Sunday we went to church at Scottsdale Bible with my family.  I love the pastor at this church!  Kevin and I found this church right before we left for WI and since we have been gone my parents have started attending.  It is a ridiculously huge church, but I love it!  The pastor at this church just has such a gift!  On Sunday he was teaching on the book of Philippians.  The whole basis of his sermon that day was struggles and the struggles we go through and how just because we are Christian's that doesn't mean that we won't go through times of struggle.  In fact, he said, this means we could actually go though more struggles because once a person becomes a Christian the target on there back doubles in size.  But he also said that the struggles are good and that they give us room and reason to grow in our faith and trust in God.  ISN'T THAT THE TRUTH!!!  I sat through the sermon thinking, "Geez God, you didn't have to bring me to AZ to preach this message to me.  Next time just send me an email!"  But in all seriousness, I'm pretty sure that the message was for me.  It was exactly what I needed to hear!  That is one of my favorite things about God, he meets you where you are and walks beside you through it all.  Tough as it is right now, and as easy as it would be to just pack everything up and move back to AZ, I know this is where I'm suppose to be right now...like it or not.  I guess my only choice now is to get on board and stay on board.  Its time to take a huge step and try to let go of what I want and understand that God's plan may not include moving back to AZ....but I REALLY hope it does!  (Clearly I'm still working on the last part ;) )

    Thanks for listening!  Hope you enjoyed the pictures!!!  Keep looking for more post with more pictures! Love you all!!!