Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stand Up

If you love sports you will be able to follow this example...

Say you are a Steelers fan. You love your team. You know facts about players you've never even met. You want to follow their lives. You dress in black and gold and don't anyone dare schedule something during a game other than a game watching activity. You watch the news. You want to know who's in and who's out. You spend time and money on your team.

And if you are watching a game and there is a bad call I bet you get all fired up. You scream and shout at the ref in the television and you take a stand for your team. And then you talk about it for weeks and make sure that everyone knows that your team wasn't wrong. They were called for something they didn't do. You make sure everyone knows the truth.



So let's talk about God now.

Do you know God? Do you read about Him every day? Do you follow what is going on in the world that He is doing? Do you live in a way that says "Hey! I'm on God's team!!!" Do you know who's on the team and who's not? Do you spend your money and your time on things of God?

And do you stand up for God when someone speaks untrue things about Him?

You see...

If you love God it's going to hurt you when someone says something untrue about Him.

Will you speak up and speak the truth?

Will you share what is right and true about God?

People have heard me say "Don't talk about my Daddy like that!" I don't like it. No I don't have ALL the answers. But I am getting to know my God.

I want truth and nothing else.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SYTYCD

Have you been watching??

I love the dancers this year. Of course I probably say that every year.

My favorite?

Melonie.



She is AMAZING. She is beautiful. She has a great personality. She's just so stinkin' cute. And girl can DANCE!

Not that I really know anything technical about dance. But geez... every time she is on the stage I can't look away. She makes me feel things. That has to count for something right? That surely means she is an amazing dancer.

And did you watch last night?

Girl can fly too!

Holy trust. I could never do it. I have trust issue. For real! I can't even do those trust falls that they make you do in team building exercises. Just can't do it. I would rather sit there and cry in front of everyone and throw a childish tantrum before turning my back to everyone and just fall trusting that a group of people would catch me. And Melonie... well she just throws herself as hard and fast as she can hoping ONE person will be in just the right spot to catch her.

Ummm... no thanks! I'll let Melonie do the dancing and I'll keep doing the watching.

In case you missed it...



Seriously... she takes my breath away.

Anyways... enough about Melonie! I hope she wins. She deserves it and she is my favorite.

My second favorite girl is Jordan. And I don't know if I have a favorite guy. I really like Tad and Marko is amazing. But honestly... Jess is growing on me. I couldn't stand him at first but I like him a ton now!

Who's your favorite?
Who do you think will go home tonight!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What does it mean to train them?

Ever since writing the post on training up your children I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. It’s always there… lingering, making me think, causing me to evaluate how I am doing with my children. And what does it REALLY mean to train them?

So I started to look into it.

Proverbs 22:6
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Let’s start with a few definitions.

Train- to educate; to teach; to form by instruction or practice; to bring up. Also to “develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction.”

Yeah. God gave us some responsibility on that one!

Discipline- 1. to instruct or educate; to inform the mind; to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits. 2. To instruct and govern; to teach rules and practice, and accustom to order and subordination. 3. To correct; to chastise; to punish.

Instruction- The act of teaching or informing the understanding in that of which it was before ignorant; information.

Train. Discipline. Instruct.

It goes WAY beyond time outs, spankings, and taking away privileges. Those can be tools used in training and disciplining but those things are not training.

Training is going beyond just punishing to teaching children the correct behaviors. Sometimes punishment is helpful, sometimes it is not.

A recent example I have is from a situation with Jason and Liza. They are ALWAYS fighting over who gets to go first for things. One morning after breakfast Liza announced “I’m washing my hands first!” and started on her way to the bathroom. Jason jumped down from the table yelling “NOOO! I’M WASHING MY HANDS FIRST!” And in the process of trying to get to the bathroom faster he hurt himself.

I was tired of it. SO… I stopped the kids before either of them got to the bathroom. I brought them into the living room and had them sit on the hard floor facing each other with their dirty hands and I told them “you will sit there until you can come up with a solution to your problem.”

They were like “huh?”

But I just let them sit there.

After a few minutes I asked them if they sorted it out. The answer was yes. So I asked who was going to wash their hands first and they both raised their hands and said ME!

I explained again that they needed to come up with a new solution because they can’t both wash their hands first.

We went through this probably three or four times before they started talking. Eventually they told me that they were both going to wash their hands at the same time. I told them that it was a good idea but it wasn’t going to work because we only had one small stool and there wasn’t enough room for both of them on it.

They sat there thinking for a moment when they decided together that it would be best to take one of their little chairs into the bathroom so that they would both have something to stand on at the same time and they could wash their hands together.

You see… I could have just jumped in, refereed the situation, made up a chart to keep track of who’s turn it is to go first. But I chose to train them instead.

They need to learn problem solving and it’s better to learn on things that don’t really matter so that they are prepared for the things that do.

Train up your children.

If you don’t, the world will. And you just might not like how the world trains them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's been going on...

I woke up today with a massive headache. Thankfully Mike had a rain day (what are those!?? I almost forgot. He hasn't had one in about two months.) Mike is an awesome husband because he got the kids up and made them pancakes. Then he took them to the bank (which they love because they get lollipops) and to the mall to play. But the play place at the mall was closed for maintenance or something so he took them to ride the elevators in Boscovs. (To be a kid again!)

Then he took them out for lunch and stopped to get me some chicken noodle soup from Panera Bread. By the time he got home it was naptime and I was rested up and starting to feel better.

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I spent most of my day reading and crocheting. I finished my book for book group. We read Promises to Keep by Jane Green this month. It was ok. Not one I would recommend but I didn't hate reading it. If that makes sense. Crocheting was better than the reading today. I am almost finished with a scarf made from granny squares and I'm liking it a lot. I know it seems a bit bizarre to be crocheting scarves when it is 80 degrees and over but I'm trying to get some things made that I'll be able to sell in the fall. And I recently bought a book with some great hat and scarf patterns! Have I mentioned I love hats and scarves? I do. :)

This weekend was a busy one. I can't seem to remember Friday. That means I probably didn't do anything but enjoy a nice night at home. Saturday the kids and I got to experience a brand new butterfly. And Mike got home from work early and I was able to go out for a while. I needed it... because sometimes us moms just. need. a. break.

I was at Panera on my day out when I got an email from my friend Kim saying there were fireworks after the baseball game and would I like to photograph them with her? Of course. So we met up and found a spot that would work. (Not a lot of great spots to watch and photograph them from in our town.) We stood in the middle of the street with our tripods and I tried some new settings. I don't want to come home with photos of fireworks that look exactly the same every time. I want to figure out how to get different looks. I didn't get many I loved this time... but I think that was partly because the fireworks didn't seem to last very long so I didn't have a lot of time to figure things out.

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Sunday was Ariel's graduation party. She is my sister-in-law and she is the best babysitter ever so I designated myself as photographer of her party and got her a lot of pics with her friends.

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I've also been putting together the details for hosting a Premier Designs Jewelry show. Got that all sorted and I'm looking forward to a fun girls night in a few weeks!

We've got some fun planned for this week and we are continuing to enjoy our summer!

We finally got a good bit of rain today which is awesome because the grass has been crunchy. Is your grass crunchy this summer?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Butterfly!!

My grandpa was a butterfly collector. One thing I think I will always remember about going to Grandpa's house is going into his study to look at all those amazing butterflies. So many of them. And so many different kinds from so many places.

Grandpa is now in heaven and his butterfly collection has been taken somewhere. (I need to find out where that is!) And I still love butterflies.

Last summer my friend Kim and her kids found a bunch of monarch caterpillars and watched them through their entire cycle until they became butterflies.

This summer I decided to copy her. :)

A few weeks ago we found this guy...

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We brought him home and put him in a container. He ate and pooped and ate and pooped. It's amazing how much those little things can eat and poop!

And one day he formed a chrysalis.

The waiting began.

We waited. And waited. And waited some more.

It felt like forever. I googled some information and saw it could take anywhere from one to two weeks to have a butterfly. I lost track and thought it had been that long.

This morning I freaked out a bit when I saw that the chrysalis had turned black. I thought I had killed it! I even emailed Kim about this to see if it was normal.

Turns out it was.

We had gone to the store and when we got back we found this...

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Our neighbor has a ton of flowers and we had told her about our caterpillar so we decided her yard would be a good place to take our butterfly.

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The kids thought it was super neat!

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Eventually we had to come back to the house for lunch so we left our butterfly on some flowers so it could continue drying it's wings and fly away when it was ready.

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We had so much fun watching this caterpillar turn into a butterfly! I can't wait to do it again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Senior Pics for Alex

Word is getting around that I love photography and random people are asking me to take photos. I still say no to a lot of people and there isn't really any rhyme or reason why I say yes to the ones I say yes to but for some reason I always seem to say yes to the right people at the right time.

A few weeks ago one of the pastors at my church contacted me asking if I would do senior photos for his daughter. They had to get ones for the yearbook at a specific place and they weren't too happy with those perfectly posed studio shots. My goal is to get the person I'm photographing to relax so that we can get pictures that truly represent them as they are in this time of their life. (Most people aren't stiffly posed in real life. :) I get how it can "make you look better" but sometimes you just lose the personality.)

Anyways... they suggested we go to a place that I hadn't used before or even been to and I am soooo glad they did because I love the place and will use it again and again and again. It's perfect.

So I showed up for the shoot and met Alex for the first time.

We only spent a little over an hour together but I get the impression that she is one of those girls that is not only beautiful on the outside but inside as well. And it didn't hurt that she was super photogenic... one of those people who you never have to delete a photo because they look bad... because they never look bad.

So here are some of my favorites from our shoot and if you think of it say a pray for Alex and a bunch of other teens from our church because they are leaving this weekend for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

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And just because I always like to have a fun one for each photo shoot... not likely one that will be printed but one that is simply for fun...
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Thanks for being gorgeous Alex!  You make me look good. :)

Watermelon and some other random things

I love watermelon so you can imagine I was a little bit excited when I saw a really simple recipe using watermelon at Pioneer Woman. It's half a watermelon, juice of two limes and a small amount of sugar. Blend. Freeze. Run a fork over it to shave it up and you have a nice, cold, yummy watermelon treat for these hot days!

Click here to get the recipe for Watermelon Granita.

Speaking of hot days... we've been hitting between 95 and 98. I like it. But I haven't gone outside much. :) We have managed to cool our entire house off with one little window AC unit. It's amazing! Today I am thankful for a small house!

The other day I ended up with a lot of fruit flies in the kitchen. After googling I found a few "home remedies" and decided to try one out. It worked. In a small glass (think shot glass) or shallow dish put a little bit of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Goodbye fruit flies!

And really... I'm kind of drawing a blank today. But I wanted to pass on that awesome watermelon recipe and the tip on fruit flies.

Hope you are enjoying your day!

How hot is it where you are?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why do you read?

I've really been thinking about things lately... things about God. I want to know who God is and I want to believe that He is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.

To know those things I have to spend time with Him. I have to read my Bible. I have to talk to Him. I have to listen to Him.

A friend of mine posted a list the other day. It was ten good reasons to read the Bible and went like this...

1. To know where you are going
2. To have wisdom
3. To find success
4. To live in purity
5. To obey God
6. To have joy
7. To grow in faith
8. To find deliverance
9. To have peace
10. To distinguish good from evil

I'm not picking on my friend. It's a good list and she didn't actually write it herself... just reposted it. And those are good things. And they ARE things that you can find while reading the Bible.

BUT...

Shouldn't it be about God and not about me? Should it really be about what I can GET?

Shouldn't we just simply be reading the Bible TO KNOW GOD!?

To know God.

That's my goal.

That's why I read my Bible.

And in knowing God I find peace, joy and wisdom. In knowing God I find direction for my life, grow in my faith and find deliverance and success. In knowing God I learn to live in purity and distinguish good from evil. And the more I know God the more I want to obey Him.

I don't read to get from God.

I read to know Him more.

Seek His presence more than His presents.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just Believe

I've mentioned recently that I am on a journey to believe God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.

I want to take Him at His Word. No questions. Just belief. God says it... it's true. He does not lie.

I can't say that I believe God but then pick and choose what I want to believe about Him. Either I believe or I don't. And I believe.

I can't let my experience determine what I believe. Jesus works. And I need to find out who Jesus is so that He can work in my life.

Either the entire Bible is true or none of it is. I chose to believe that every word of it is from God.

All of it. Whether I like it when I first read it or not.

I don't get to determine who God is. I don't get to determine what is true about Him and what is not. To try to do that would be saying that I know better than God. And I don't.

I want to only believe.

I want to KNOW God.


And that is just some of the thoughts that are running through my mind at 11:37pm while I am waiting for the melatonin to kick in... which I think it is.

What's running through your head?

Not my own strength.

I've been reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst for a while now. I have some friends that are reading it as well and we have created a little online book club using facebook... it's a great way to read a book and discuss it as you go with friends.




Anyways... Lysa talks about how we are all made to crave but we often let our unhealthy cravings get the best of us. It's a good indicator that things are out of sorts when we are craving food, people, stuff more than we are craving God. God is the only thing that can fill our emptiness. Our "happy" shouldn't be tied to anything but God.

And we most certainly shouldn't be trying to do life in our own strength.

Lysa says, "But in that moment of temptation I realized having a pity party was a clue I was relying on my own strength, a strength that has failed me before and would fail me again."

And that brings me to yesterday.

Yesterday was one of those days. Nothing horrible happened but I was just kind of down all day. I didn't want anyone in my space but I had kids who wanted to hang all over me. I didn't want to hear any loud noise but I had kids who wanted to play and be noisy. And so all day I was irritated. Not a very fun person to be around.

And all day I wanted peanut m&ms... my go-to feel-good food choice.

I had it bad. All day I was thinking about how I could get me some peanut m&ms. And then I figured it out... I had to run to the library to get a book so I would just do that before Bible study and on the way I would stop off at the grocery store and grab myself a large bag of peanut m&ms. It would work. And I could sit and eat them in peace later that night.

All day I was justifying this in my head. I also had the words from Lysa's book playing good angel on one shoulder while my mind and justifications played the bad angel.

"I haven't had anything like this in a long time!"
"Just this once."
"I'm not craving them because I need God to fill some emptiness."
"I'm PMSing. That's why I need them! I can't help it." (Hi guy readers *wave*)
"I wouldn't even have to let anyone know."
"How about I talk to God WHILE eating my peanut m&ms?! That would at least be better than not talking to Him about it at all. Right?"

And so the excuses went all day long.

It came time to leave and I jumped in the car and headed to the library. I would pass the store on the way. But as I started driving I KNEW that those peanut m&ms wouldn't make me feel better. They wouldn't fix my problem. They wouldn't love me.

I said out loud as I drove down the road "I need your help God."

Then I turned off the radio and turned on some Kari Jobe instead. And you know what?! By the time I got to the grocery store (which was no more than about 3 minutes) I felt strong enough to just drive by. So I skipped it and went to the library figuring I could always stop on the way back if I changed my mind. But I didn't need to stop then either.

I was feeling better.

My mood was changing.

I wasn't so cranky.

And I certainly didn't need those peanut m&ms anymore.

It was a victory. A small one but still a victory. I asked God to help me in a time of weakness and He gave me His strength! It was so much easier to do with God. I should have thought of that as soon as those peanut m&m cravings started. It would have made my day a lot easier.

Perhaps I'll remember sooner next time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

He doesn't need Mommy's kisses

Whenever Jason or Liza gets a boo boo and they come running to me, I hug them and kiss them and then we pray... because while Mommy's hugs and kisses can give comfort, God is the one who heals.

Our prayers are quick and simple but usually by the end whoever was hurt and crying is calmed down and feeling better. The kids will usually say something like "God's making it better already!"

And if I am the one hurt they will pray for me. It's awesome.

Just moments ago Jason came to me crying and holding his arm up. He pointed to where it hurt and said something about Liza getting him there. So I kissed it and he surprised me by getting angry, pulling his arm away and then very seriously saying:

"HEY! God already made it better!"

Then he marched to his room,

Said "GOODNIGHT!"

And he closed his door.


Sooooooo sorry Jason hahaha.

Seriously... I love this kid with such an insane amount of love!

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Lion Book Winner

The winner of my All About Lions book is...

TIFFANY!!

Congratulations Tiffany! Get me your address asap.

I'm making a book about elephants. If I love how it turns out I'll have to see about giving one of those away when I get more free photo book credits.

I love artscow.com for making photo books! Be sure to check them out! I never pay more than shipping. ($8)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer!!!!!

Look at these temps!


Yeah!!! I love a hot summer!

Most of those days that have the rain cloud only have about a 30% chance of rain. Although we COULD use some rain. It hasn't rained in forever here.

I think we'll be doing a lot of this...

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Thankfully my new swimsuit came in the mail!!

I didn't think it had even shipped yet! I got an email saying the bottoms had shipped and that the top was coming in a second delivery. I never got an email saying it was on it's way. It was a nice surprise to find it in the mail yesterday!

Although I don't think I was actually charged for the top... just the bottoms. What's the right thing to do?? Should I call customer service and tell them? I probably will. Let them decide what to do. What would you do?

And how is the weather where you are? Enjoying it???

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A light for my path

Not too long ago I wrote about 1 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I talked about how we need to be in the Word so that we know who God is and His promises. By knowing these things we can be fully equipped... not only for every good work but also for times of hardship.

Today I read another verse and it was like "lightbulb!"

Psalm 119:105 says:
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

That, friends, is another very good reason to be in the Word. I knew the verse. I had heard it many times. I know songs about it... but it FINALLY clicked.

The WORD is a light to our path. God's Word is where we find His will. God's Word is where we find direction for our lives. God's Word is where we find truth.

God's Word will illuminate the path we are to follow through this life.

Lost?

Can't seem to find your way?

Get in the Word!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Date Night

Ariel (my sister-in-law) is awesome. She comes in to watch the kids quite often and did it again for us last night. 

Mike and I had a few hours out and it was sooo nice. So necessary.

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We went out to dinner and then headed to Succop Conservancy. I hadn't been there before this week but finally went when someone I was doing senior photos for suggested the place. It's lovely. Calm. Relaxing. Beautiful. I like it. And so I decided to take Mike there since he had never been either.

I love this house... simple, symmetrical, elegant.

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I photographed some flowers.

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And hummingbird moths.
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We had fun playing with shadows.

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We walked the trails.

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 We took pictures.

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I was totally cheesing...
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And at the end of the night we got ice cream and watched a gorgeous sunset! I never get to see sunsets because of where we live.
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It was a good night. :)

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