FYI: Posts will be sparse around here until I replace my laptop.... Coming back to work after Christmas break apparently was too hard and it quit on me!

20 December 2012

What defines me...and how I cry at goodbye

I cried after I had over 12" of my hair cut off. I cried when I said goodbye to dance and packed away my shoes. I cried when I filed away another months worth of sermon notes and knew there would be no more of those. I cried when I let go of perfection so that I could complete. I cried when I packed away my camera--my new birthday camera. Now I cry as I say goodbye to blogging for a season.

I was known for my long hair--but it does not define me. Hair grows back in time.
I was known as a dancer--but it does not define me. Some people still notice and it makes me either cringe or do a happy dance inside.
I was known as a part of that church--but it does not define me. The Church is not a certain building or a few people. The Church is all believers everywhere.
I was known as a perfectionist--but it does not define me. I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.
I was known as a photographer--but it does not define me. I simply enjoy capturing what I see.
I was known as a blogger--but it does not define me. Blogging is merely a way to write my thoughts and share them with others to encourage them.

I am defined only by Jesus Christ--in Him I find my identity. He is my life--a life worthy of the Lord. 

"The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you - you personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything - then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it." - Ian Thomas

When I let go of these things, I cried because it was hard. Hard to let go of what I thought had a right to hold and call mine. Really, I was hiding behind these things. Hiding because I was scared.
But God used these moments when I let go to do great things in my life. Now I look to see what he will do with this change. Change is needed, change is good, but change makes me cry--because I'm scared.
This quote by Charles Spurgeon sums up what I've been learning recently:

He is enough.  He is.

01 November 2012

The Unfailing Promises of God - a thankful thursday

404: life -- full of abounding joy!

405: family -- whole & complete
Please be praying for a family who lost their eight year old little boy during the storm on Monday. He was hit by a falling tree limb. I taught his class at Church on Thursday nights last year and he played soccer with my brother--so hard to believe that he's gone.  But we know he's in the arms of his Heavenly Father.

406: Singing "I Love My Lips" VeggieTales silly song with Titus while cooking supper...Ten days after I turned 8, Got my lips stuck in a gate, My friends all laughed…And I just stood there until the fire department came and broke the lock with a crowbar and I had to spend the next six weeks in lip rehab with this kid named Oscar who got stung by a bee right on the lip and we couldn't even talk to each other until the fifth week because both our lips were so swollen and when he did start speaking he just spoke polish and I only knew like three words in polish except now I know four because Oscar taught me the word for lip, “Usta!”

407: a home overflowing with music -- constantly -- someone is always playing or singing =)

408: the promises of God's unfailing love Psalm 103

30 October 2012

Life's Interruptions

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”
(from a 1943 letter from C.S. Lewis, included in Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis)

28 October 2012

May the Words of My Mouth...

May the Words of My Mouth 
Christy Nockels

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
Bless Your name, bless Your name, Jesus
And the deeds of the day and the truth in my way 
Speak of You, speak of You, Jesus

For this is what I'm glad to do
It's time to live a life of love that pleases You
And I will give my all to You
Surrender everything I have and follow You
I'll follow You

Lord will You be my vision, Lord will You be my guide?
Be my hope, be my life and the Way
Ad I'll look not for riches, nor praise on the earth
Only You'll be the first of my heart

I will follow, I will follow You

26 October 2012

The Stars

A quote I came across this past week by Bill Watterson:

So very true.
When I look up at the stars I realize how small and insignificant I am--and how great and wonderful my Creator is. I am awed by the size of the creation and the magnificence of the Creator. (If you don't feel small looking up at the stars, watch this video by Louie Giglio. Seriously, go watch it.)

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
    where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4

The most amazing thing is not the size or beauty of the creation--but rather the magnificence of the Creator. Why? He created the whole universe, yet He loves me enough to die for my sins. My sins.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

All too often I don't take time to appreciate the grandeur of God's creation--or the Creator--and I need to. Not because it makes me a better Christian to think on holy subjects, but rather because it changes my life. When my perspective is changed, so are my actions. More importantly, I need to take time to marvel at His unfailing love. Love is what changed the world--the agape love of my Savior.

(I challenge you to go watch this video by Louie Giglio. Really.)

25 September 2012

Tuesday's Tips - Customizing the Post Date Format

To customize the post date format you're going to look for this code in your template: {

The CSS inside the brackets {} following that code will control what your post date look like.
You can customize the code however you'd like--be creative! You can use my CSS Basics posts on Borders, Backgrounds, Text, and Padding & Margins for specific codes. If you have any questions on how to do something specific, ask in a comment and I'll get back as soon as I can.

For example, my current post title code looks like this: {
font-family: Perpetua;
color: #70543e;
font-size: 14px;
font-style: italic;
float: left;
padding-top: 44px;
padding-left: 75px;
padding-bottom: 0px;
margin-bottom: -10px;

22 September 2012

A Recipe - Chocolate Cherry Cake

A fast, easy, moist, chocolate, and absolutely delicious cake.  


1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
2 eggs
1t. almond extract

Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon(not a mixer--it will mush the cherries). Pour into a greased 9x13pan. Bake at time and temp for this size pan on cake mix box.


1c. sugar
1/3c. milk
5T butter

Mix in a saucepan and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and add 6oz semi-sweet choc chips. Stir until melted. Let cool a bit and beat until thickens. Pour warm onto cake.

18 September 2012

Tuesday's Tips - Creating a Design Credit Link

If you take a look at the very bottom of my blog, there is a line of text giving me the credit for my blog design. It is a simple way to give credit where credit is due. ;)

Find this code:
#footer {

and copy/paste this after that section of code:
/* Design Credit
----------------------------------------------- */
#credit-link {
  text-align: center;
  padding-top:  0px;
letter-spacing: 2px;
font-variant: small-caps;
font-family: arial;

Feel free to tweak it using CSS.

Next, search for this code:
 <!-- end outer-wrapper -->

and copy/paste this code above that section of code:
<div id='credit-link'>YOUR TEXT HERE</div>

Replace YOUR TEXT HERE with what you want in your credit link. You can include links in it. For example, my code is below:
<div id='credit-link'>designed and coded with love by <a href=''>emily grace</a>.</div>  

note: if you used my tutorial on how to create a lowerbar, make sure this is below the lowerbar section of code. 

13 September 2012

Because He Loves Me So - a thankful thursday

401: Evening laughter on the deck -- someone telling mommy that someone else was picking the buds off of the green bean plants as they were picking the beans... What one will do for the hope of not having to pick green beans again!

402: Reading through old journals and remembering all that God has done for me!

403: Silly faces that make me laugh.
A blooper from his back-to-school photo session...see the rest here.
404: Encouraging but oh so challenging articles (have you read the newest SetapartGirl Magazine? Read the article on page ten first!)

405: Having this song stuck in my head all day long: 
How deep is Your grace
That you could see my need
And chose to take my place
And then for me, these words I'd hear You say
Father no
Forgive them for they know not what they do
I will go
Because I love them so

12 September 2012

Welcome to the Real World

Well, I'm back from camp. (actually, I've been back for a month now...)

(a sunny morning outside my bunkhouse...                                                                ...a sunny evening with the mares out in pasture)                                    

And honestly? It has been hard adjusting to life back at home. (or maybe just harder than previous years?!)

At camp it was easy to do the right thing. I knew what was expected and what came next. Since being home every week--every day--has been different.
Right after coming home we were off to Philadelphia. Then came the fair and I was signed up to work 4-10pm. School started after the fair. Vacation to the beach came the second week of school. While that has all been wonderful, it didn't leave me any time to sit down and think. Think and reflect about what I've learned this summer and how I'm going to apply it in my life at home. It also made it hard to keep to my good habits that were more firmly established while at camp.
Getting up early and time spent with God are just two things that have really been tossed to the wind since being home. Does it really matter if I can have good habits when everyone around me has them? Doesn't it matter more when I have to do it because I want to and not because everyone else is doing it? Granted, I did it at camp because I wanted to--but nearly everyone else was doing it too. Not that life at camp was easy--it wasn't. It was challenging, but oh so rewarding.

As I've been struggling with this I remembered one of the chapels that stood out to me most this summer. Emily just remember: Put off. Renew. Put on. Repeat! Put off the old sin nature. Renew your mind in Christ. Put on the fruit of the Spirit. Repeat the process again! A never-ending process of becoming more like Christ. But that is for another post at another time...

"Your knowledge of your fears/mistakes makes you ineffective -- so press on and strive because the Savior has made you His own!" - Dan Stanley 

05 June 2012

This summer...

...I'm going back.

(School is finished--praise the Lord!, summer is here, I'm excited, and I'm going back!)

Back to the place where the sunsets are magnificent, the gospel is shared, horses are cleaned/ridden/fed and then cleaned/ridden/fed again, lessons are taught, kids are encouraged, trail rides are never boring, thunderstorms are sudden, chores are completed, songs are sung, hay is stacked, games are played, boots are worn every day, God's Word is read and studied and memorized, laughter is everywhere, and Christ is honored above all. 

At the end of the day I might be exhausted, smell more like horse than anything, feel at peace, be in awe of God's grace, wonder how in the world I'm going to get up in time for morning chores, but it is all worth it in the end. 

I'm going back to camp. =)
(I'll return home in August!) 

When the alarms all go off...

When the alarms all go off at once and everything is clamoring for attention right now...

the timer for the pizza, 
 the smoke alarm from the spilled and burning cheese, 
 the screaming little boy with the bleeding lip, 
 the upset child who was disciplined, 
and the mother calling for order
...where do we find peace?

In the love of God

After the alarms have been silenced, we bow our heads and pray. Just as Jesus prayed for us, we pray for the love of God to be in us so that we can show that love to others.

30 May 2012

An Umbrella...

26 May 2012

A whispered Hallelujah...

Perhaps Hallelujahs are not always loud and magnificent, boldly declaring "Praise ye the Lord!" Perhaps they can be quiet whispers of praise, slipping by nearly unnoticed by others. In those quiet whispers one can really see God and feel His presence. After all, the Lord did not appear to Elijah in the great and powerful wind, the earthquake, or in the fire. The Lord was in the gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-13
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Sunsets, like hallelujahs, are not always bold and magnificent. The quiet ones, slipping daylight into dusk, speak just as much of God's glory. Barely noticeable, they tint the clouds the faintest pink and orange then fade away altogether...

a whispered Hallelujah...praise ye the Lord!

08 May 2012

Tuesday's Tips - Customizing Comment Author Avatar Image

To customize the comment author's avatar image you're going to look for this code in your template:
#comments .avatar-image-container img

If you can't find it in your template, copy and paste it after this code:
#comments h4

The CSS inside the brackets {} following that code will control what your post titles look like.
You can customize the code however you'd like--be creative! You can use my CSS Basics posts on Borders, Backgrounds, Text, and Padding & Margins for specific codes. If you have any questions on how to do something specific, ask in a comment and I'll get back as soon as I can.

For example, my current post title code looks like this:

#comments .avatar-image-container img {
border: 0px solid white;
border-radius: 45px;

So if you take a look at my code:
      - the image does not have a border
      - the image has rounded corners with a radius of 45px (this is what make the image look like a circle)
      - the image has a margin of 3px on the left

01 May 2012

Tuesday's Tips - Customizing Post Date Title Format

To customize the post date title format you're going to look for this code in your template:

The CSS inside the brackets {} following that code will control what your post titles look like.
You can customize the code however you'd like--be creative! You can use my CSS Basics posts on Borders, Backgrounds, Text, and Padding & Margins for specific codes. If you have any questions on how to do something specific, ask in a comment and I'll get back as soon as I can.

For example, my current post title code looks like this: {
font-family: Georgia;
color: #8f8f8f;
font-size: 14px;
font-style: italic;
float: right;
display: inline;

30 April 2012

song of my heart

change my heart O God
make it ever true
change my heart O God
may I be like You
mold me and make me
this is what I pray

(This song has been playing over and over in my head since last night...I think it is the potter song from the Donut Man, or something like that. ...)

26 April 2012

Glorious Light - a thankful thursday

365: extra time for a glorious sunset...because the car wouldn't start

366: grease on hands. wrenches, nuts, and late long night. bare toes on cold cement. a working starter for tomorrow's trip.

367: the strength to step out of my comfort is beautiful

368: simple joy - a baby tooth lost, leaving a big tooth sized hole and an even bigger smile on a little boy's face

369: golden light made even more glorious by previous days of April showers, both rain and snow

a self portrait..
lucia, etc.
entering the above photo

370: my God, the light of my world, in whom I have the light of life. (John 8:12) Glorious light!

24 April 2012

Tuesday's Tips - Customizing Post Title Format

(I've got a whole list of topics to cover for Tuesday's Tips, thanks for requesting them! It is time for me to get back on track with these...)

To customize the post title format you're going to look for this code in your template:
.post h3

The CSS inside the brackets {} following that code will control what your post titles look like.
You can customize the code however you'd like--be creative! You can use my CSS Basics posts on Borders, Backgrounds, Text, and Padding & Margins for specific codes. If you have any questions on how to do something specific, ask in a comment and I'll get back as soon as I can.

For example, my current post title code looks like this:
.post h3 {
  margin-top: -85px;
  color: #0586a2;
  font-family: Arial;
  font-variant: small-caps;
  font-size: 30px;
  line-height: 25px;
  font-weight: normal;
  letter-spacing: 1.5px;
  padding: 8px;
  background-color: #ffffff;
  border-bottom:0px dashed #8f8f8f;

.post h3 a, .post h3 a:visited, .post h3 strong {
  color: #0586a2;
  font-family: Arial;
  font-variant: small-caps;
  font-size: 30px;
  font-weight: normal;
  letter-spacing: 1.5px;

.post h3 strong, .post h3 a:hover {
  color: #8f8f8f;
  font-family: Georgia;
  font-variant: small-caps;
  font-style: italic;
  font-size: 30px;
  font-weight: normal;
  letter-spacing: 0px;

08 April 2012

Christ Has Risen!

Matthew 28:5-7
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

Christ Has Risen
matt maher

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but heaven's will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He's alive! He's alive!

Happy Easter!

05 April 2012

His Goodness - a thankful thursday

364: the way He loves me so...
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
- Psalm 27:13

355: the joy in our Church - an april fool's joke played on us all by the pastors, "who's turn to preach?! not mine!"

356: Briella Mae, the way she practices her violin and makes it fun...

357: Marcia Anne, the way she wears her heels all over the house, just so that she can be taller than everyone else...

358: Mother, the way that she spends long hours in the sewing room, a labor of love to make a little girl feel special...

359: Jared Clark, the way he grins so proudly...

360: Grandma Jane, the way her hands tell the story that she labors long in the kitchen - making it always smell good and stay clean...

361: Grandpa Verlin, the way he is always willing to play a game, making great memories with checkers, wizard, and would you rather...

362: Daddy, the way he thinks of others, laboring in love...carrying wood in by the armful so that I don't have to do it

363: Titus Henry, the way he makes us all laugh, ever the cheerful entertainer

"The gift list is thinking upon His goodness -- and this, this pleases Him most! And most profits my own soul and I am beginning, only beginning, to know it. If clinging to His goodness is the highest form of prayer, then this seeing His goodness with a pen, with a shutter, with a word of thanks, these really are the most sacred acts conceivable. The ones anyone can conceive, anywhere, in the midst of anything. Eucharisteo takes us into His love."
--Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

01 April 2012

Psalm 103


Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit;
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The LORD performs righteous deeds,
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us;
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness
toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more;
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting
to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children,
To those who keep His covenant,
And [who] remember His precepts to do them.
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens;
And His sovereignty rules over all.
Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

21 March 2012

Why I Blog

Helping a friend set up her blog and discussing her purpose in blogging had me thinking about why I blog. Reading the article on pages 8-20 of Setapart Girl kept the wheels why do I blog?

Let me start off by saying why I read other people's blogs. I read them to be encouraged, to be inspired, to grow in my faith and photography. So then I write my own blog to encourage others, inspire others, and to help others grow in their faith and photography.
My faith is my relationship with my personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ is my life-Colossians 3:4. My blog is about my life--a life worthy of the Lord. may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. -Colossians 1:10-14

So this is why I blog. 

Honestly, this is not how I started out blogging. But I am not the same as I was nearly two years ago--I've changed. I look back at some of my first posts and want to smack myself...but by mistakes we live and learn. I've made mistakes--many of them. I've lived--nearly two more years. I've learned--why I blog now. 

11 March 2012

Channels Only

07 March 2012

Seeing the Source

"Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9

Should a man see only popularity, he becomes a mirror, reflecting whatever needs to be reflected to gain acceptance. Though in vogue, he is vague. Though in style, he is stodgy....

Should a man see only power, he becomes a wolf--prowling, hunting, and stalking the elusive game. Recognition is his prey and people his prizes. His quest is endless....

Should a man see only pleasure, he becomes a carnival thrill-seeker, alive only in bright lights, wild rides, and titillating entertainment. With lustful fever he races from ride to ride, satisfying his insatiable passion for sensations only long enough to look for another....

Seekers of popularity, power, and pleasure. the end result is the same: painful unfulfillment.

Only in seeking his Maker does a man truly become man. For in seeking his Creator, man catches a glimpse of who he was intended to be.

God came near.

--Max Lucado in Grace for the Moment II

29 February 2012

A Glimpse...

a glimpse of beauty...contrasting the ugliness of stomach bug sickness
a glimpse of peace...against the turmoil of sleepless nights
a glimpse of joy...shining through the discouragement of failure
a glimpse of love...displayed for all who would stop and see
a glimpse of forgiveness...despite my hard heart

a glimpse of the glory of God
...shown in the heavens for me tonight

26 February 2012

My Jesus Fair

My Jesus Fair

My Jesus fair, was pierced by thorns
By thorns grown from the fall
Thus He who gave the curse was torn
To end that curse for all

O love divine, O matchless grace
That God should die for men!
With joyful grief I lift my praise,
Abhorring all my sin, adoring only Him

My Jesus meek, was scorned by men,
By men in blasphemy
"Father, forgive their senseless sin!"
He prayed, for them, for me

My Jesus kind, was torn by nails,
By nails of cruel men
And to His cross, as grace prevailed
God pinned my wretched sin

My Jesus pure, was crushed by God
By God, in judgement just
The Father grieved, yet turned His rod
On Christ, made sin for us

My Jesus strong, shall come to reign,
To reign in majesty
The Lamb arose, and death is slain
Lord, come in victory!

This song has been playing through my head throughout this past week. =) My Jesus...

25 February 2012

an accent seasoned with salt

I recently had the chance to meet someone from Brazil. Her native language is Portuguese, of course, but she spoke English very well. Naturally, she had a very distinct accent. When told, "Say that again, I love your accent!" she responded with, "Oh? I hate it." That thought struck me as strange.

Accent / ac·cent /ˈækˌsɛnt, / noun
1: a way of pronouncing words that occurs among the people in a particular region or country

Everyone has an accent. When we speak, our accent tells people where we're from.

When I speak, I'm sure that people can tell where in the country I'm from. Those from the south usually have a southern drawl. Those from New Jersey have a distinct New Jersey accent. Those from large cities even have an accent. Those from other countries have different accents when they speak English--even those who speak English as their native language such as the British and Australian. I'm sure I have an American accent when I speak German. It would be strange if I didn't and had, say, a French accent!

Our accent can define us. What do I want my accent to say about me? That I live in the US, that I'm smart, that I'm...what?
What is my lifelong goal? to live a life worthy of the Lord - Colossians 1:10
My accent needs to reflect that.
My accent is to be evidence of the love of God in me. My accent is to be seasoned with salt.

My accent tells people I'm from the body of Christ.

Matthew 5
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying: [...] 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

23 February 2012

Day by Day - a thankful thursday

I have so enjoyed recording these graces day by day...


(three things blue)
394: time spent with a dear friend working on a design of blue
395: a homecooked meal still steaming on dishes of blue & white
396: the empty pages of a blue notebook waiting to be filled with grace


(one grace borrowed, found, inherited)

397: a camera that I use every day
398: encouragement in the simple things
399: love of cooking


(a gift before 9am, before noon, after dark)
400: sleeping in only to wake up to a room brightened by the sun
401: encouraging notes from friends
402: a clear night with stars shining bright

see the rainbow? =D
p.s. My daddy had surgery on his foot last week, he is healing and doing well. You can keep him in your prayers. =) It has been nice to have him home from work this past week!


Have a wonderful evening!

22 February 2012

to encourage

"to encourage someone is to give them a new perspective on life"

Encouragement comes from actions, words, and simply the way we live our lives.
Our actions matter--they have a bigger impact than we would ever imagine...

*it says that "these two people have never met and never will." well, I'd change that to "these two people have never met, but one day will" because they will both one day be in heaven. *

20 February 2012

I am Weak.

I am so weak. I struggle with even the daily things in life. Getting out of bed on time, completing my chores with a good attitude, respecting those in authority, and the list goes on. This past week I've been especially struggling. Yet,

He has proven to me over and over that when I am at my weakest, He is at His strongest.

Last summer while working at camp He showed Himself to me. It was towards the end of the summer and I was tired. It seemed like I could do nothing right. I struggled waking up for chores and was nearly late once because I didn't wake up to my alarm. I wasn't working fast enough cleaning stalls--"you're too much of a perfectionist! just get the big spots, everything else can wait until later when we have more time..." I wasn't able to get one of the kids in my lessons to understand anything I was trying to teach her. Then to top it off, a kid fell of the horse on a trail ride I assisted because I failed to double check the cinch. (he was not hurt other than a slight bruise where he fell on his hand) Oh I was feeling so discouraged. Why couldn't I do anything right? Yet, even then, when I was at my weakest, He used me to encourage others. He gave me a smile while I worked and His light shone through me. "I know you haven't had the easiest week, but your cheerful attitude to do whatever was asked of you encouraged me." Oh how that conversation encouraged me too! His grace is enough for me.

Last month He showed Himself to me. Last month before finals I was very stressed out. It was my own fault that I procrastinated so much. That knowledge didn't help anything. I had until Friday at 4pm to finish everything. That Friday was also the day that the youth group left for snow camp. My parents said that I was going.  I didn't want to go to snow camp. Staying up until 3am and getting up at 7am doesn't appeal to me. Negative five degree weather doesn't either. I also didn't want to go with the youth group. We had just switched churches and I didn't like the new youth group. They seem to me very shallow and worldly compared to my other circle of friends from the other church. I would rather have stayed home and prepped for the new semester with good sleep and a clean desk. I begged, I cried, but still I went. I had an awful attitude about it too. Yet even then, when I was so weak, God still worked through me to encourage others. I don't know what it was Actually, I do know. It was God working in me. I could not have encouraged others on my own at that time--I was so weak and full of self-pity, self-want...I was consumed by self. He had to step in. By His grace my weakness is made perfect in His strength. I wrote this post during that time--although I didn't type it up and hit publish until much later.

Right now He will show Himself faithful to me. I feel so weak. I can't overcome the bad habits of procrastination I slipped into last semester...I can't have a good attitude when I have a headache...I can't love my siblings as Christ loves them...I can't...
I can't wait for Him to show Himself faithful to me now. It is coming...His grace has made my weakness perfect in His strength...He has shown Himself faithful to me before...

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

1 Corinthians 1:9
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Psalm 33:4
For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

He's Always Been Faithful
Sara Groves

13 February 2012

when I am weak...

Tired. So tired. Exhausted. Can't go on. I can't do this. There's no possible way.

Yes, Lord. But I'm tired, and I've tried. I can't do this. 

Yes, Lord. But I can't do this. I need You. I need Your strength, Your power to do this. Because I can't do this on my own, I need You. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Thought I had learned this last summer at camp. Nope. I'm still learning it. I fight, I fail, I am forgiven, and I keep learning. Learn that I have so much yet to learn. Perhaps it takes a lifetime to learn this. Yes, that's it. A lifetime of living for Christ to learn just how to live a life worthy of the Lord.
But by His grace, I am strong in Christ.

"For when I am weak, then I am strong."

03 February 2012

Reflecting the Light - a (belated) thankful thursday

388: laugh lines (one grace wrinkled)

389: clothes washed, folded, placed away in drawers as an act of love (one grace smoothed)

390: a new semester, new beginnings unfolding (one grace unfolded)

391: the encouragement found in being told "You are different from all the other girls...the light of Christ shines in your are beautiful!" Matthew 5:16 

entering here

23 January 2012

a letter of love

(A creative character sketch in the form of a letter from my great-grandmother to my grandma. 
Based on the lives of my great-grandparents and grandmother.)

November 1945

My dearest little one,

Jo Ann,

I know that you are not able to read this letter now and won’t for several years, but I want you to know all that has happened the past several years before you were born and while you were too young to remember. I want you to know the sacrifice that has been made for your freedom by your father and others who served in the war. I want you to know just how much the war changed life for everyone. I’m taking the time now to write all this down while the memories are fresh and most of all because I want you to know how much I love you.

I suppose I had better start at the very beginning. Your father and I both grew up on farms just outside Boston, Indiana. Our families both went to church there, mine to the Christian Church and his to the Methodist. We went to school together and even played our violins with each other. Little did I know then, that I would one day marry that Robert Fleisch! After all, he was nearly two years younger than me. Your father has told me since then, that when he was thirteen, he knew that I was the one he was going to marry. That day didn’t come until he was 20 and I was 22.

We eloped together one unforgettable weekend in 1942. After that weekend, your father went back to his training base and I to my parent’s farm--without telling our families. The nation had entered into World War II at this time, and your father had enlisted in the Army-Air Corps. It wasn’t until we found out that your father would be sent overseas in June of 1943 that we told our families. They were very much surprised, but nothing negative was said. We took a weeklong ‘honeymoon’ to De Soto, Missouri just before he had to leave. Your father then left for India. Oh how I feared for him.

While stationed in India, your father worked in personnel. Although we wrote frequently to each other, I don’t know of what all he did then because the army censored all mail. So we wrote of insubstantial topics, because it was wonderful just to hear from each other. Even though we tried hard not to talk of topics that could cause information to get into the wrong hands or have to be censored, many of his letters arrived with punched out words. It was more than a little strange to realize that someone else was reading our letters before we had a chance to. I saved all his letters and he saved mine. One day you’ll be able to read them all and perhaps understand a little bit more about the lives of your parents before you were born. When I discovered that I was going to have you, I immediately sent a telegram to your father in India. He was sitting at his desk when he received it and exclaimed, “Oh my word! Esther’s pregnant!” I could hardly believe it myself, and yet was so excited, so thrilled, and so frightened all at the same time. I just wanted this terrible war to end, my husband to come home, my baby to be born healthy, and life to return to what it once was.

In spite of the war, I was able to keep my job working at the department store in Richmond. I was very grateful for that job, as I knew many other women who went to work in factories to support the war effort. I was living with my parents on the farm then. The farm was going well as the war boosted agricultural growth in order to feed the troops. Still times weren’t easy, everything was rationed and everything was about supporting the war effort. We went into supporting it with everything we had. Metal pieces given for scrap drives, new clothing sewn without zippers, recipes made with supplies just from rations, and even still soldiers like your father fought on. When not busy with all of the war efforts, I prepared and waited for the day when you would be born with ever increasing anticipation.

You were born a healthy and beautiful on April 6, 1944. I couldn’t wait to let your daddy know. He was so overjoyed when he learned that you were born. You were a happy baby, but I longed even more for the day when your father would arrive home. Being a single mother was very difficult for me. I often wished your father were here to share in the joys of parenthood as well as the responsibility. I wrote to him often with all of your newest discoveries—when you first learned to sit up, to crawl, and then to walk. I shared with him how your blue eyes were exactly like his and just how big they got when you first experienced the coldness of an ice cube. How you loved to smile at the littlest things and kept us all smiling too—despite the difficult times. Both sets of grandparents doted on you and you were well loved. I did wish that you would know your father in the first year of your life, but that was not to be as the war raged on for more than another year.

Shortly after your birth, your father was relocated to a base in China. He was assigned to the dangerous work as a gunner in the B24s flying supplies over the Himalayas or the ‘hump as he calls it. These supplies were used by the Chinese army as they strived to defeat the Japanese invasion of their country. He explained that this operation was dangerous because of the terrible weather, possible combat with enemy planes, and the immense size of the mountains. I never knew that then, and for that I am glad, because I was afraid for him as it was. That is the little he has told me since coming home. He wasn’t able to tell me anything while he was there due to the censors and He doesn’t like to talk about his war experiences much since arriving home. I’m sure it was not an enjoyable time and don’t push the subject. Perhaps as time goes on he will feel more open to share about it. I’m simply glad that he was able to come back home again to us at all.

Although the war officially ended several months ago, your father did not return home until last week. This period of time between when the war ended and when he arrived home was the hardest to wait for. When the time did come, I took you with me to the train station in Richmond to pick him up. It seemed like forever since he was here, even though it was only about two years, and I was so excited to see him. Although you were only 19 months old, you caught on to my excitement and were all smiles that day. My smiles only grew at the sight of him dressed so smartly in uniform, but yours disappeared into tears. You were quite scared of him and cried, reaching for me when he held you. It must have been the uniform that frightened you so much, for the next morning you went to him just as if he had held you every day of your life.
You two are already fast friends after just a week of seeing each other. He is so proud of his little girl and love shines in his eyes when he holds you. You respond to him with smiles and giggles. So the war finally did end, your daddy came home safely, beautiful you were born, but somehow I don’t want life to go back to what it was—I’m glad just to have it continue with you two.

Love always,

Your mother,

Esther Fleisch

I'm back from the world of studying and finals! =D Yay for the new semester! It is so weird, I have nothing I can do for school right now. Either teachers haven't posted assignments, I'm unable to work on assignments until after class, or I really have no assignments because it is orientation week for the second semester. ;)
Anyways, the letter above was for my history project on WWII that I had a lot of fun researching and writing so I thought I'd share it here. Thoughts? =)

Happy Monday!

12 January 2012

love of my Savior - a thankful thursday -

338: lens pen cleaner--love of a sister (something that's in my bag)
339: amish bread--love of a grandmother (something that's in my fridge)
340: love for others--love of my Savior (something that's in my heart)
341: time spent in prayer for me (a grace from someone I love)
342: time spent talking through life and school with me -- love of my Daddy (a grace from someone I love)
343: Titus smiles and asking to play a game (a grace from someone I love)

"take a picture of me pretending to eat all the peanut butter!"

344: winter sunrise through the dining room windows pouring across the table (a light that caught me)
345: the moon reflecting on the frost covered world (a reflection that surprised me)


346: shadow from the flickering firelight warmth (a shadow that fell lovely)

348: a necklace made with hope--all the way from Nicaragua (a gift in my hand)

349:Titus sleeping on his 'comfy bed' --couch+sleeping bags+pillows! (a gift I walked by)

350: little girl learning to read sitting on my lap in sunday school  (a gift I sat with)
351: tears.  (a gift that's sour)
352: tears that soften into repentance and forgiveness.  (a gift that's sweet)
353: challenges that challenge. and turn out just. right.  (a gift that's just. right.)

fonts: sell your soul, pea olson, perpetua

354: yellow sticky notes covered in lists with check marks (a yellow gift that strikes me as fresh mercy)
355: yellow lego creation that he explains to me in great detail  (a yellow gift that strikes me as fresh mercy)
356: yellow corn bread with steam still rising  (a yellow gift that strikes me as fresh mercy)
357: a humming fan--out with the cold air, in with the warm  (something above me)
358:   (something below me)
359: a stack of finished projects and a stack of ones to do  (something beside me)
360: a new discovery of b+w mode on the dslr and falling in love with the dramatic light it captures once again


p.s. are you participating in the joy dare?

08 January 2012

Psalm 30


The Blessedness of Answered Prayer

A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David.

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

little things // anything

Now in my prosperity I said, "I shall never be moved."
Lord, by your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.

I cried out to You, O Lord;
And to the Lord I made supplication:
"What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
Lord be my helper!"

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.