October 31, 2016

Adam is 40 & Happy Halloween!

Whew! It has been crazy over here!! This past Friday night I threw Adam a big ol' 40th birthday party with 50 of our nearest and dearest. The night went just how I envisioned and it was so fun to eat BBQ, play yard games, dance, and laugh the night away to celebrate my sweet husband. I took several photos but unfortunately my computer straight up DIED the other day so I can't edit/upload-ugh!! I knew I needed a new computer but I was hoping to hold off a little longer but alas, I couldn't. So, I'm typing this blog post from my brand new computer but I haven't downloaded all my photo stuff yet so no photos for a couple more days. I have several client sessions that I need to edit before I can get to my personal stuff but photos of Adam's bday party, B on Halloween, B's party, etc. will be coming! This week is going to be nuts so the ol' blog will be quiet for a bit but lots more to come! Happy Halloween everyone!! Oh, and we technically broke ground today so day 1 of construction is underway-hooray!! xo

Halloween 2016

B is currently into Harry Potter so we thought it was pretty fun that she wanted to be Hermione this year, cutest Hermione I ever did see! xo

October 27, 2016

17 years ago + Anne Lamott

17 years ago today Adam proposed to me on a Malibu beach in southern California. There are so many details I remember about that day, what's funny (well, now in hindsight its funny) is that I almost messed it up! I never skipped class in college, most people do, but I knew how much money my parents were spending to send me and I felt way too guilty to not show up for class, so I was always there. On this particular day I had made up my mind that I was going to skip class, I was slated to fly to NM that night to be with Adam for the weekend and I had laundry to do, packing, etc. and I wasn't sure I could fit it all in if I didn't skip class. Well, at the last minute my conscience got the best of me and I begrudgingly went to class. It was in that class that the limo driver showed up and whisked me away to Malibu where Adam was waiting for me and proceeded to get down on one knee and ask me to be his wife, which, other than choosing to surrender my life to Jesus is the best decision I've made to date. 17 years is a long time, I realize just how old we are when I see it written like that, but I'm so thankful for 10/27, its a day shrouded in meaning for us.

I've been reading books by Anne Lamott for years now, there are many more I hope to read but each one I've read so far has left me with good nuggets and "ahhh" moments, if you will. I just finished her book "Plan B Further Thoughts on Faith." I love Anne for many reasons, but mainly I love her candor, she's brutally honest and transparent and throws a swear word in for good measure here and there that I tend to appreciate. She writes as I imagine she talks, just says it like it is and doesn't hold back to make others comfortable, something so refreshing about that. She has many one-liners in this book that resonated with me/caused me pause so I'm going to share some here:

*"Grace means you're in a different universe from where you had been stuck, when you had absolutely no way to get there on your own."

*"You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life, and grace; and though theologians insist that grace is freely given, the truth is that sometimes you pay for it through the nose. And you can't pay your child's way."

*"What a mess we are, I thought. But this is usually where any hope of improvement begins, acknowledging the mess. When I am well, I know not to mess with mess right away; I try to let silence and time work their magic."

*"God doesn't want or expect you to get it together before you come along, because you can't get it together until you come along. You can spend half of your time alone, but you also have to be in service, in community, or you get a little funny."

*In Jesus' real life, the resurrection came two days later, but in our real lives, it can be weeks, years, and you never know for sure that it will come."

*"Learning to love back is the hardest part of being alive."

*"Its good to do uncomfortable things. It's weight training for life."

*"you don't have to rehearse the truth."

*"faith is not about how we feel; it is about how we live."

*"I've known for years that resentments don't hurt the person we resent, but that they do hurt and even sometimes kill us."

*"Unfortunately, change and forgiveness do not come easily for me, but any willingness to let go inevitably comes from pain; and the desire to be change changes you, and jiggles the spirit, gets to it somehow, to the deepest, hardest, most ruined parts. And then the spirit expands, because that is its nature, and it drags along the body, and finally, the mind."

*"We speak in reverent terms of grace, justice, equality, mercy, and then we despise people who are also created in God's image, who are Her children, too. Veronica said that if the president had been the only person on earth, Jesus would still have loved him so much that he would have come down and died for him. This drives me crazy, that God seems to have no taste, and no standards. Yet on most days, this is what gives some of us hope."

*"When someone is acting butt-ugly, God loves them just the same as God loves the innocent. They are just as loved by God."

*"Driving home, I tried to hold on to what I'd heard that day: that loving your enemies was nonnegotiable. It meant trying to respect them, it meant identifying with their humanity and weaknesses. It didn't mean unconditional acceptance of their crazy behavior. They were still accountable for the atrocities they'd perpetrated, as you were accountable for yours. But you worked at doing better, at loving them, for the profoundest spiritual reason: You were trying to not make things worse."

*"We don't transform ourselves, she said, but we finally hear, the Spirit has access to our hearts, and that is what changes us."

*"the opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk."

Good stuff here. You'll probably never regret reading a book by Anne Lamott. Happy Thursday, all. xo

October 25, 2016

its that time...

Every year at this time I take a deep breath and get my game face on. This year its heightened a bit because its a big year for 2/3 of us. Adam turns the big 4-0 this Saturday and B turns the big 1-0 just a few days later! My sweet husband who usually never wants a party requested a big bash this year, and my daughter informed me that since she is now going to be double digits she thinks this year should be "extra special." Sigh, no pressure, right?! I told B that I try really hard to make every birthday special and I'm not really sure what more I could do to make this one "extra" but that I would try. Poor girl, she really wanted this to be her "Sleep Over" party year but in this rental house...it ain't gonna happen so I told her that her "extra special" birthday would need to wait until next year, but this would just be a typical special birthday -ha! Its going to be a roller skating party at the ol' rink, we all hate our rental house and its just not conducive to entertaining. Our dear friends graciously accepted my request to host Adam's party in their backyard so, this weekend we'll be having some GOOD BBQ from our favorite hole in the wall, some yard games, some dancing, and good drinks as we cheers to my sweet husband and his big 40th! After his b-day, we've of course got Halloween and sweet B is on a roll with Harry Potter these days so she opted to be Hermione this year, I bet she'll be cute! :) And as usual by the time it gets to my birthday I'm exhausted and sweet-toothed out so, no plans for me this year! Truth be told I kinda had my birthday "treat" this weekend. My friend Anna and I attended our second "outstanding in the field" event which is the most amazing farm to table experience that was worth every penny and every calorie! I told Adam next year when I turn 40 its gonna be about me and he and B can fend for themselves! Ha! (I kid...kinda ;)

So, lots going on around here and lots of holiday shoots and editing in the midst of the crazy. Our house has YET to be started but we're hopeful for this week (PLEASE LORD!), apparently we're waiting on the dirt guy...sigh. We'll get there. Just blogged a cute mini session, check it out HERE. xo

October 20, 2016

nothing good

There is a worship song that stops me dead in my tracks with the first line, each time I hear it it reminds me of how human I am, what a sinner I am, and how some times there really is nothing good in me. I appreciate songs that remind me of my own humanity because with that comes the reminder that I need a savior and thankfully, I've got one. I was talking to a dear friend recently who is in the process of a major life change, she is walking away from a religion that has fed her lies and made her feel a horrible sense of judgement and of being less than. She said to me with this newfound freedom and awareness "Jesus is enough!" She's realized that this particular church/religion that has been holding her captive for 40 years isn't the answer, that Jesus is the answer and that He alone is sufficient. That's what I'm reminded of when I hear these lyrics:

You are good, you are good when there's nothing good in me
you are love, you are love on display for all to see
you are light, you are light when the darkness closes in
you are hope, you are hope you have covered all my sin
you are peace, you are peace when my fear is crippling
you are true, you are true even in my wandering
you are joy, you are joy you're the reason that I sing
you are life, you are life in you death has lost its sting

(Forever Reign/Hillsong)

Some days/moments/times there really isn't anything good in me, but thankfully God is good all the time and He alone is sufficient, He alone is enough. This is a good reminder for me today, maybe someone else out there needed a reminder. xo

October 17, 2016

justice & other things

I do a lot of thinking and processing these days, its sort of become my norm over the last several years more than in the past. I think this comes with age and more awareness of others and the world around us, and brokenness. I love my church, I've been in church my whole life and I've always wanted to be there but there is just something about my current church that compels me, that draws me to it in a way that no other church has. I don't skip church....ever. I mean, if I'm out of town or something, sure, but if I am in Waco, on Sunday mornings, I'm at church, and its because I can't not be there because I want to be there so badly. I remember one time years ago when we lived here, I just wasn't feeling super hot, Adam and I were both especially tired and we made the decision to just not go to church that Sunday, oh man, did we hear about it! Brennan could not believe we weren't going to church, she was so perplexed and frustrated and irritated with Adam and I and made us promise that we would go the next week! I still smile when I think about that, I remember as a kid if my parents would have given me a "pass" on a Sunday morning, I would've probably thought "eh, no big deal, we'll have a lazy day" but not B, she wanted to go to church! Then fast forward to our time in CA where we tried 15 churches in 22 months and we all left depressed week after week and Brennan would ask "Do we HAVE to go??" every Sunday, man, that was a heart breaker. There is something about UBC that the three of us have in our veins, I think in some ways it defines who we are, we are a part of UBC, we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. We go each week and we are changed each week, and that is a unique thing. One of the many reasons I love UBC is because it challenges me, I leave with certain things rolling around in my head that make me pause, I leave feeling convicted of certain things, encouraged in certain things, and often with a challenge before me of something I need to do or just be better (at). That is the marker of a good church I think, you shouldn't leave the same week after week....right?

A couple weeks ago Josh said a few things that I could really relate to, that really struck a cord with me. His sermon was called "a place for anger in discipleship." I think so often Christians are taught that anger is bad, or that it isn't what Jesus would have us do with our emotions, or that we just all need to walk around with a smile on our face regardless of our circumstance because that's "Christian." Man, what a joke! This hasn't been my experience per se but I have had conversations with people where I've said "Its okay to be angry!! Jesus got angry! Its what we DO with our anger that is the problem." Right?. Josh said "There are some moments that you never mend from, you learn to live with a limp, living means moving through life with a part of your heart un-reconciled. We all have those events, what do you do when this happens?" And "Anger is a real emotion and it has a place in Christian faith. Rage belongs before God, God loves and does justice." These things really resonated with me, there are a couple deep wounds that I carry with me, and will until the day I die, even if they get "made right" the memory will never be gone, the pain of those moments won't ever fully be forgotten, but its such a poignant reminder that my anger about these wounds is valid, I have been wronged and God knows those wrongs, and he is the one in charge of the justice on my behalf. Thank you, Jesus. I was talking to someone recently who is older and wiser and who loves Jesus more than I do (those are good people to know :) and she knows one of my deep wounds and she was telling me to ask Jesus to bring justice for me, she challenged me to cry out to Him and ask him to bring to me what I cannot bring to myself. I had someone recently tell me that I wanted justice in an area of my life, and the way they were saying this to me was as though it was a bad thing, I was essentially being scolded for wanting/seeking justice. My reply was that I absolutely wanted justice! I make/made no bones about that -I am a justice seeker all.day.long. And the truth is, so is Jesus. Wanting justice isn't a bad thing, its a good thing, but we can't always bring that about ourselves, so we need to implore the one who can, and we should, this is a healthy thing to do with our hurt/anger; and as previously mentioned, its not the anger that gets us into trouble, its what we do with the anger. Christians should be justice seekers, wanting to be more like Jesus entails wanting and seeking justice. xo

October 10, 2016

Play With Fire

I recently read the book "Play With Fire" by Bianca Juarez Olthoff, its brand new and worth the read. I read this book in two days, it was so relateable after my 2 years in California (which can largely be referred to as "my time in the wilderness/desert"). In this book Bianca is essentially recounting her own journey of her time in "the wilderness," of feeling alone and broken in the wake of her personal heartache, and of how God was faithful and brought her out of that season. I love real stories, the books I'm most drawn to are that of real life stories where God redeems brokenness, I love being reminded of what I know is true but easily forget.

"In our moments of confusion, fear, loss, and darkness, we have a God whose presence is with us, who answers us when we cry out. And when He responds, when He shows up in the desert, we have one job: worship God."

"God doesn't lead us out of bondage and into our own deserts simply for the sake of our own freedom. He leads us into the desert that we might learn to worship Him. And here's the truth -we cannot worship God for the gifts of freedom and salvation without having known captivity and desolation first. When we know the cost of our freedom, it drives our worship. True worship almost always happens in the desert wilderness, and praise is almost always the answer to a plea that rises up in us while we are in the desert."

"When we forget about what God has done, it makes us doubt what he can do. When we remember His promises, when we remember his goodness, when we remember His miracles, we can hold on to hope that He will rescue us in our time of need."

These are just a few "nuggets" that I took away from this read. I have found these statements to be true in my own life, I have tasted and seen that God is good and that true worship evolves from real pain. If you're looking for an encouraging read and want to be reminded of God's faithfulness and that your pain is not in vain, I'd get this book.

We had a great weekend! The weather is FINALLY cooling off a bit here so we wanted to spend the majority of the weekend outside -it was so nice! We hung out with friends, we went to the zoo, the farmers market, and to the heart of Texas fair -fun! Today B is out of school for Columbus day so we're having a lazy day at home (per her request). I've got wedding editing to do and laundry piled high, but my pumpkin spice candles are burning and its only going to be 84 degrees today so -a lovely fall day it is! :) Hope everyone has a great week, as always, thanks for reading! xo

October 5, 2016

some thoughts on obedience

I came across this quote today and it caused me pause:

"The pain of regret in the end game is worse than the pain of obedience initially."
(Christine Caine)

Isn't that just the truth, though? Obedience can be painful, it can cost you something, and some times that cost is high, but isn't it so much better than the regret that you're stuck with if you willingly choose not to obey in the first place? I've seen this lived out more in the past couple years of my life than ever before. I've watched as several people's disobedience has caused this path of brokenness and regret and excuses and pain, and I have to believe the initial "hard" of the obedience would have been the lesser of the evils. It brings to mind Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." We're all guilty of this, Lord knows I'm not immune, but the older I get I find I do better. This isn't me tooting my own horn, but I rarely say something I regret, I just don't. I think long and hard before I speak and I speak with intention and honesty, I'm not saying I don't feel badly for the ways in which I say things that can be hurtful - that I can apologize for all day long, but it is rare when I apologize for something I've said because I genuinely think before I speak and I mean what I say and I say what I mean. This has come with age, time, wisdom, practicing the fruits of self-control, and honestly, not wanting to have to apologize. Don't misunderstand me here, I'm ALL for apologizing when I'm wrong, in fact, I really appreciate the freedom the words "I'm so sorry, I was wrong" bring. But if you think before you speak, and you do the right thing the first time, you'll find you don't need to apologize as often because you're living intentionally, and there's a lot of value in that. No one likes to be wrong, myself included, but if you live long enough we're all gonna be that person -that, once again, is part of the human experience. The real "deal" if you will is what you do when you are wrong, when you weren't obedient the first go around, when you didn't do the right thing in the moment and the moment slips away. I guess the first part of the deal is the admission that you didn't do the right thing, and often that can be hard to see/ascertain, but once you get there -then what? (I feel like I started this blog post in one direction and am ending up somewhere else but I'm just gonna roll with it). I was talking to a friend of mine several months ago, back in CA, and she was talking about how she felt like her parents generation didn't learn how to apologize properly, and I found this so interesting, to think of the 'art of apologizing' as a generational gap (I'm not saying this is true, just an interesting thought that hadn't occurred to me prior). The more she spoke the more I could relate, I could relate to the idea of people dancing around an apology and using language like "I may have overstepped" or "I guess I can see how this might have..." all these words that people use instead of owning their crap and just saying "I was wrong, I shouldn't have done X, can you please forgive me?" There is power in the words "I was wrong" -it does something to people, it puts the offended's "hackles down" and puts the offender in a place of submission, those are good things!! AND its ownership, there is such value in owning your crap, in claiming it and admitting wholeheartedly that you messed up. There is freedom there, for all involved.

At Young Life camps, at the end of the week we have "say so" night, its an opportunity for students who have made a decision to follow Christ to stand up and "say so" -to confess they are a new creation, that they are choosing to not live for themselves but for Jesus. I love say so night, I always get chills hearing these precious student's stories and it reminds me why I pour into people and do youth ministry -that's the good stuff of life. My point is this, there is something to be said for the power of just saying so. If you have wronged someone: SAY SO, if you owe someone an apology: SAY SO, if you haven't been obedient to what you know is the right thing and you've used every excuse in the book as to why you haven't done the right thing: SAY SO, if you were wrong and you need to confess: SAY SO, if you are broken and need some redemption: SAY SO. Obedience may cost you something, but it is assuredly better than the regret of silence. Jesus would and did and does say something, so if you're looking for an example, that's where I'd start. xo


Each week our church sends out a newsletter called "In the Life of the Church" -this past week's has a blog written by our pastor called "The Importance of Owning a Mistake" and I'm sharing the link HERE - seems fitting.