About Me

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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The One from whom all blessing flow

Thanksgiving is a interesting holiday. It has become another excuse for Americans to take a day off from work and gorge themselves on turkey & stuffing & pumpkin pie. Some people watch the Thanksgiving day parade where hundreds of people in strange costumes dance & sing while huge air filled cartoon characters hover overhead. The best part of the Thanksgiving holiday in this crazy world is that it encourages people to enjoy family & friends and for a brief moment savor those blessings.

But even in those brief moments of thankfulness I wonder how many people are choosing to acknowledge the One from whom all blessings flow. Where are they directing their gratitude? Is our thankfulness for our blessings a vague whimsical idea that floats out into the nothingness of the universe or we thankful to someOne for allowing us the blessing of life.

The history of Thanksgiving takes us back to the Pilgrims who were celebrating the opportunity to live away from religious persecution. Although most of their number had died in the time proceeding that first celebration they did not lose sight of their goal which was to be able to freely worship their Lord & Savior in this new land. It was not simply about the harvest; it was not simply about bridging cultural gaps; No! Their celebration was about acknowledging the abundant grace of the One True God and the finished work of Jesus.

I, myself, find it difficult to quiet myself amongst all the turkey & family & traveling, long enough to sincerely have a moment with my eternal Best Friend to thank him for all He means to my life. To acknowledge that my family, my home, my food, my health, my talents, my friends, my salvation, & much more are all blessings from Him.

I pray that I can find that moment within myself today & everyday. And I pray that you, too, pause before that first bite of pie to say "thanks" to Him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The "Two-Face" Chili's

There is a Chili's restaurant being built a couple blocks from my house. For awhile we were excited about the prospect of having another choice for dining out. (Well sort-of, in my opinion Chili's & Applebee's are like fraternal twins. While they may technically be genetically different, they obviously came from the same womb.) But the excitement has, for me, turned to utter annoyance. The new Chili's is a monstrosity to the eye!! I don't know what in that very hot eternal place the Chili's corporation was thinking but this new design should have been left to burn there!

Perhaps my husband & I aren't really the best people to judge. We often joke with each other about having OCD, or here lately CDO (it's like OCD only the letters are in alphabetical order like they should be. *wink*) and we share a love of all things symmetrical. This new Chili's is like a big saber poking us in our symmetry loving eyes! Perhaps a less conventional person would be able to look at the new Chili's and appreciate the art in its non-traditional look but for me...every time I drive by I ponder the idiocy of the person who came up with the idea to design it that way and the apparent blindness of every person who had a hand in approving that decision.

Let me describe it's ridiculousness the best I can with mere words. It looks like they came up with two acceptable designs for the exterior of the building and then couldn't decide which they liked better, got in a huge fight and decided to compromise by doing one half in the one design and the other half in the other design. The west side of the building is painted green with multi-colored arched cloth awnings over each individual window. While the east side is dark red on top, yellow on the bottom with a strait square metal awning that spans the length of all the windows. Seriously what were they thinking!!?? I was having enough of a conniption when I found out that they were going to leave the sides two different colors but now that they put different awnings on each side I am even more annoyed. From now on I'm going to have to look away whenever I'm driving east-west on Hwy 26 or may have a design fit and cause a mishap on the road. The new Chili's reminds me of Two-Face from Batman Forever. And it's just as awful.

I wonder if it would be considered vandalism to give it a new paint job while everyone is sleeping?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My 'One Minute Writer' Haiku

Today's prompt on One Minute Writer was to close your eyes, turn around, open your eyes and then write a quick haiku about the first thing you see. Here's mine.

Pictures on my shelf:
Memories of days gone by
smiling back at me.

Okay, now it's your turn. Write a haiku...it's easy and fun. Leave your haiku's in my comments! (And for those of you who can't remember or don't know what a haiku is--"a haiku is a poem of three lines. It doesn't need to rhyme. The first line has 5 syllables; second line has 7 syllables ; third line has 5 syllables.") There you go...haiku away.

Here's one of my favorite haiku's for inspiration. I don't know who wrote it but I like it. Props to them!

Haiku's are easy,
But sometimes they don't make sense,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Award?

So, Thursday Thunker, Kittilicious has bestowed me with a blog award...

...here are the terms & conditions...

1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then "add image" it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as To add it to your sidebar, add the "picture" gadget. Also, don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.
Now---on to my award ceremony.

I eagerly pass this award on to the following bloggers (should they choose to accept it):

1) Shay-There couldn't possibly be a more enthusiastic & dedicated blogger!
2) Jill-Although her posts are few and far between they are always fabulous reads!
3) Lianne- She always has such cute pictures of her kids and her exuberance about them is always quite apparent!
4) C. Beth- As a thank you for her fun writing prompts!
5) Meanma- Because reading her blog always makes me appreciate her more as a person & not just mi madre.

Okay and here is a list of five of my fabulous addictions (although I could give them up any time I wanted, I swear!)

1) Lipton unsweetened ice tea.
2) Checking into my cyber-social life via blogger, facebook & hotmail.
3) Photography (most of my nightmares involve not knowing where my camera is when something photo worthy is going on.)
4) Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm--or chapstick in general. (I'm half crazy when I can't locate one of my many sticks.)
5) Russ. Yep, I admit it...I'm addicted to my hubby! It's just that he's so darn wonderful!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just For Fun...Thursday Thunks

I came across the blog Thursday Thunks and decided to participate this week just for fun and something to blog about. She gives a list of random questions to answer each week and we answer them in a blog post..so here I go. (BTW, welcome to anyone visiting from Thursday Thunks blog...feel free to wander about my site!)

Woods, Decisions, Water, Jobs, Snow, Beds

1. Have you ever pooped in the woods?

I suppose it depends how you define "woods" but I have in fact on several occasions did some business in the out-of-doors. 'When nature calls', as they say! (T.M.I....anyone?)

2. You are starving. You have not had anything to eat for days. In front of you is poison ivy, a live hissing cockroach, and a rotten stinky piece of some sort of mystery meat to eat. Which would you pick and why?

I think I'd rather starve to death than eat any of those things. Starvation seems like the merciful way to go. But I think the hissing cockroach would be my next choice. Poison Ivy would be painful...Putrid mystery meat would likely give a starving person an even worse case of food poisoning than a healthy person (and I'm guessing a healthy person is gonna get pretty sick eating something like that.) But although a cockroach (particularly a 'hissing' one) is kind of a turn off, I'm guessing it isn't really going to hurt you much and it may actually contain some nutrients for sustaining life. (People eat all kinds of bugs in other cultures, right?)

3. Bottled or Tap water?

Uh..it depends? Some tap water is better than others. Bottled water you always know what you're getting....foreign tap water that has been run through a make-shift purification system and is contaminated with plastic chemicals which have leached into the water during shipment & storage. (okay, so maybe it's not always foreign.) Tap water varies...some comes from wells through lead pipes and contain all the chemicals that we put on the ground, i.e. fertilizers & pesticides. Other tap water comes from public sources, such as "the city" which has been minimally purified to remove natural occurring poisons and then has several unnatural poisons added to it so you get the concoction of chemicals the city deems worthy for you to ingest. So...in answer to the question....I drink both. I like the portability of bottled water but I think it safer to drink my well water...especially after it has been run through our distiller. ;)

4. Your dream job, what would it be and why?

My dream job would be as a traveling creative photographer. I would love to be able to make money to just travel all over, taking photos of whatever I want to take photos of and then having big public art shows that people would clamor to attend so they could buy my work. I love to take pictures, I would love to travel, and to have your photographs looked at is what any sane photographer wants!

5. Do you have any snow globes?

No....wait I do have a small nativity snow globe in my Christmas stuff, i think.

6. Do you like your bed? If not, what kind of bed do you want?

I love my bed. It is a California king with an oak frame & headboard with cubby shelves in the headboard and a double sided pillow top mattress. We got it as a "hand-me-down" from Russ' aunt after her husband died and she was moving to a smaller place. It was a wonderful gift! (Thanks Rox!) The only down side to it is that it is difficult to find California King sheets...but that is a minor detail.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's "who I am" that matters, not "what I do"

"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord...... who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Timothy 1:8-10, NIV)
I think that one of the greatest spiritual misunderstandings is placing too much emphasis on what we do. So many people, so many religions feel that they must somehow "earn" God's favor. And they look at the world and view the "condemned" vs. the "saved" based on some guideline of performance. And this reasoning works both ways. "I have done such & such...and that guy down the street has committed such & such a sin, therefore we are not acceptable to God." Or it could be, "I have done this good thing and that guy down the street is really nice and helps in that such & such a way, therefore we are good and God will save us." But neither way is accurate.

When it comes to our spiritual standing with God, what we do is not the issue, rather it is who we are. We are not unacceptable to God because of the specific sins we commit; we are unacceptable to God because we are born sinners. I have inherited my filthiness in the same way that I inherited fingers & a liver. It is programed into my genetic makeup and has been passed down since Adam. It is part of being human in this fallen world. Therefore I am not any more acceptable to God than Adolf Hitler. Our sin is spiritually equal because it is not about performance. It is who I am (clothed in my sinful nature) and not what I do (specific sins) that condemn me.

Since our condemnation is not based on our performance, neither then is our salvation. Since I cannot separate myself from my sinful nature there is no way for me to "perform" or "work" my way into being acceptable to God. Since I am incapable of earning it, my salvation is dependent entirely on God's grace (undeserved favor) and Christ's finished work. I can perform my socks off, feeding entire starving countries, never telling a lie, always sacrificing my comforts for others...etc, etc. (anything you can think of that is good) and it is all useless because I still am grody to God because I have failed to rid myself of the inherited sin. "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6, NIV) or as Chuck Missler translates it "are like used menstrual pads." to God. (How do you like that imagery?)

The only way to rid ourselves (spiritually speaking) of the condemnation that proceeds from our sinfulness is to accept that Jesus took our deserved condemnation upon His (undeserving) self and let his perfection replace our sinful nature in God's eyes. We are only acceptable to Him because/if we are covered in Christ. It is because of "who we are" (Christ's) and not because of anything we did.

There are many applications that could proceed from this line of thought. Some people out there may still be trying to "earn" salvation and need to accept what Christ has done on their behalf. Some of you may be saved but still feel as though there is something you must "do" in order to deserve it. (Sorry, none of us could ever possibly "deserve" God's favor.) Some may not see clearly their sinfulness and believe that they are "good enough" for heaven. Or perhaps there is a thought somewhere in your mind that your sin is "better" than someone else's sin. Some sinful acts may carry greater earthly consequences but spiritually there is no sin that is "cleaner" than any other. Your sin nature which caused your "white lie" is just as damning as someone else's sin nature that caused them to murder.

I have struggled with several of these at one time or another in my life and am learning more every day what it means to be saved by grace, "through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV) I thank God every day that He saw our helpless filthy state and loved us enough to make a way for us to be with Him anyway. And I pray that I continue to learn that my works are meaningless if they are not His works by the Spirit.

"if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:13-17, NKJV)

Praise God that it is "who I am" that matters
and that I am a child of God!

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Movie Cast List

So, perhaps I'm pathetic but I have spent too much of my life pondering the question of who should play me and the key players in my life story if my life were to be made into a movie.

For me, I think I'd probably pick Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon or Zooey Deschanel. I think they are all very interesting actresses who are about my age. Of course they are all way better looking than me but 'hey' that's one of the perks of picking movie stars! Natalie Portman I think could be a great Gina except for her brown eyes but perhaps colored contacts could rectify that problem. Reese is cute and very funny (maybe too funny to play me...I'm much more serious.) Perhaps Zooey would be a good choice. (Did you know we are only a week apart in age?) She is edgy, funny, and unique but probably way too tall. (I wonder how tall she is, anyway.) Anyone have any other ideas for actresses to play me?

For Russ, I was thinking maybe Colin Ferrell or I'd also considered Jake Gyllenhaal but I don't think either one of them is attractive enough to play Russ. And a problem with Colin is that he has very dark eyes and Russ' are bright blue so I'm not sure that would work. I also thought of Hugh Jackman. Russ & I both enjoy his acting but he's kind of too old. Hmmm...maybe Jared Leto. I thought he was so hot back in high school and he has the blue eyes & dark hair in is favor. (Too bad he's kind of a freak in real life.)

I always thought that Julia Stiles or Katherine Heigl would be appropriate to play my best friend, Connie. And Jill would want Amanda Bynes to play her and I can't argue with that choice much. I also have ideas for a few other people but I think it better not to give too much away. ;)

Anyway, Now it's your turn, my readers...if your life was made into a movie and you could cast any actor/actress to play you, who would you choose? Leave your answers in the comments, please. I can't wait to hear your casting choices!

Kindness of a Stranger

There has been so much going on in my mind lately that I have had a hard time knowing what to blog about...so I decided to get a little help from One Minute Writer. A couple days ago the prompt was to tell a story about something nice that a stranger did for you. Well, I was thinking and one story popped into my head which I treasure because it was so out of the ordinary.

A few years ago, when Russ & I were living in Colorado Springs, ( I believe it was Labor Day Weekend, September 2005) my parents & sister came to visit us. We went to the hot air balloon festivities and then walked up & down the streets of Manitou Springs visiting all the little shops & boutiques. In one of the shops I found a stacked glass cactus that I loved.

For background let me tell you that when Russ & I were dating, Russ, his friend Josiah, and I went to Phoenix, AZ for a conference. The conference was held at a really nice hotel and in the hotel gift shop were these stacked glass cactus that I fell in love with. However, I was a poor college student and decided not to buy the large cactus and spent the next several years kicking myself for not spending the lousy $25 it would have cost.

So fast forward to this shop in Manitou that had for purchase these very same cactus. Some of the stacked glass pieces were placed on glass bases while others were set on rock bases. I loved the rock ones. But I could only find one large cactus in the entire store that had a rock base and it had a small chip in it. I was a bit disappointed. I already had a small cactus from my Arizona trip at home, and I wasn't really satisfied with the glass based ones but yet why would I want to pay full price for a broken one? So I left the store. After making it a couple more blocks I decided that I had to buy one so I returned to the store alone while my family continued to shop down the street. I found the chipped one and took it to the man behind the counter. I asked him if he had any others perhaps in the back. I pointed out the chip and told him that he had plenty with glass bases but I really wanted the rock base but it was broken. He looked a bit and concluded that it was the only one of its kind in the store. I expressed disappointment and pondered what to do. He told me that he'd give me a discount since it was broken. I said okay, I'd take it and he proceeded to wrap it up and I told him my story about Arizona. When he had finished wrapping it and I had my money out and ready to go, he says to me, "Why don't you just keep it, it is broken." I was flabbergasted. "Are you sure?" He insisted that I keep it. So I put my money away, thanked him profusely and left the store in a state euphoria & shock!

I had my money ready...I was going to pay him. He willingly gave a total stranger an item from his store for free! That man did something so unusual and kind. Everytime I look at the small chip in my stacked glass cactus I remember him and his generosity to me. I hope the Lord blesses him for that because he sure blessed me that day. It challenges me to bless others in similarly unexpected and generous ways.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008