Wednesday, February 29, 2012

what we're doing {individual passions}

I realize some of this might also be a repeat if you've followed along over the last 2 years, but in order to get to what we're doing, it's necessary that I highlight some of the individual things God showed us during sabbatical. Jeremy and I have always done things together, something that I've never taken for granted but always loved.  However, the sabbatical was a time of finding our individual giftings and passions.

with a camera

Dreaming has never come natural to me (unlike my better half), but during the sabbatical, I learned to put the "barriers" and "walls" aside to dream uninhibited. There is so much freedom in that! I dreamed of telling stories through photos. I was brought to tears when God made that happen and I was able to go to India. In the weeks following that trip, clear as day, I heard God say, "You must do this. If you don't, it would be disobedience." I realized then that my love for photography was more a passion than a fun hobby to do on the side.

his passion

While I was dreaming and walking in the opportunities given me, Jeremy was seeing dreams of long ago happen before his eyes. For years he laid down his dreams of music. The sabbatical gave him space to pick it back up, and he also realized it was more than a hobby. After recording Acquired Taste, he knew it was only the beginning of more.

The word that has stood at the forefront for both of us has been the word resource. Over and over that word was there. So we had our creative passions and we had this word, resource, but what did all that mean? With all this great stuff, what did that mean for our future? Stay tuned for part three!

Part 1: Sabbatical Recap

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

soccer season opener

soccer opener

Saturday was a special day. Not only was it the soccer season opener, but it was the first time Emma G participated in anything extracurricular, sports related. I was really surprised when she told me last month that she wanted to play soccer. I never pegged her as one who would enjoy sports, but I knew it would be good for her, so we signed her up.


I had to laugh out loud as she slowly began to realize what that meant. I told her she might have some early morning games. Early and EG don't mesh well together. A look of panic came across her face. Luckily, all of her games will be around noon. Then came the subject of soccer attire. My little fashionista was shocked when she saw what she had to wear. Thankfully she's eased into it quite well and discovered she likes her sporty look.

going after the ball

The Purple Panthers lost their first game, but it was a blast to watch them. I think I'm going to like these soccer Saturdays. Well, at least if the day is as beautiful as it was!

after the game

Linking up with Communal Global for Sneak Peeks Around The World.

Monday, February 27, 2012

no giant too big :: risk

2 smooth stones

The story of David & Goliath is such a classic of the Old Testament. I love the visual representation of the Veggie Tales version. I mean, here's David, a youth the Bible says, who wasn't even fighting against the Philistines, but as he saw how the Israelites cowered under Goliath's call to fight, he was shocked that they were allowing this to bring down God's name.

So what did he do? He accepted the challenge to fight Goliath. It wasn't about his qualifications, his size, his age, or his equipment. It was about his willing heart.

"God looks for those who will say, 'Yes.' Being radical is simply being obedient."

David took a risk at taking on someone probably three times his size. But while the other men cowered in fear, he trusted in God, thus winning the battle.

May we never look at our physical capabilities and let that dictate our actions. We must listen with our hearts and obey the still, small voice, even if it looks risky and makes no sense logically. It's not about us, not about me...

Scripture reference : 1 Samuel 17

Sunday, February 26, 2012

cherry chocolate kisses

cherry chocolate kiss cookies

This was another of our Valentine's treats, Cherry Chocolate Kisses. I made them for the kids one day and saved the extra for them to give to their teachers. I asked Joshua if he liked giving gifts to his teachers, not knowing if that was cool or embarrassing. His response, "Of course! You do all the work and I get the thanks!" That silly boy of mine, he always makes me laugh. The few of these that were left were gone in a hurry. :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

a desert habitat

her school project

desert habitat

Emma G had a little project she had to complete last week. I know I shouldn't, but I dread projects. Her little personality turns into this super perfectionistic little queen bee. Basically it's understood (by her) that we are there to do whatever she needs us to. Here's the thing, though, that I absolutely love about her. Even though I get frustrated when she doesn't want my help but she does (if you know what I mean), she has a vision, a plan, in her head, and she knows what she wants. She knew what she wanted on this and she made it happen. Don't you just love her desert habitat? If she looks a little sleepy, it's because I took the photo right before school, and she's never awake that early in the morning. :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

his vintage elephant

elephant front

Usually when it comes to handmade gifts, I feel like Joshua sometimes gets the short end of the stick. There's just SO MANY possibilities for girls. As he gets older, I feel like the possibilities dwindle even more. So when he hinted that he wanted me to make him an elephant, I jumped on it. It was his one handmade Valentine's gift (besides cards).

elephant side

Flo (although I don't think that's the name he's sticking with) the Elephant was my favorite choice as I browsed Ravelry. It had a slight vintage feel to it that I loved. I also love the orange contrast with the blanket stitch on the ears and around the feet.


I didn't pay much attention to the gauge. It's just an animal, after all, but it did turn out much bigger than anticipated. Joshua didn't mind. He actually wanted one bigger! I just love the angle from this shot he captured of his BIG animal.

jman's shot

Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday. It's such a great place to share your creativity!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

search for the hidden clover {review}

I am so excited today to tell you about some new children's books! The Search For The Hidden Clover is a great series by author and illustrator, Julia Heckathorn. The mission of these books? "To bring joy and wonder to the hearts of children of all ages through the knowledge and experience of our world and the fascinating creatures in it."

kangaroo island          redwood forest

They definitely do just that, providing not just another book but an educational, interactive experience. As I read Kangaroo Island and Redwood Forest to my 7 year old Emma G, she loved them. The games were definitely her favorite part.

searching with a smile

As a mom, there's several things I love about these books. Of course, the practical side of me loves the hardback cover. I also love the flow of the rhyming story. I'm a sucker for books that rhyme. :) The contrast between a background that looks like a photo and the animated characters who are visiting different places around the world looking for clovers, is definitely visually appealing. The little "Julia says" snippets are packed full of interesting facts. I never knew there are over 60 types of kangaroos living in Australia!

These are books that appeal to readers of all ages. Smaller kids will enjoy being read to while participating in the games. Bigger kids will enjoy reading the educational facts and ALL will love the adventures that Jason and Julia go on to find four leaf clovers.

looking at the pages

Because of The Hidden Clover team's commitment to conservation, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their books, goes to helping save the quickly disappearing three-toed Pygmy sloths. There's only 300 left in the world! They also offer an outreach program to schools, parks, museums, retailers, and child care facilities. Email them for more info on their outreach program or to schedule an event.

These books are like a sweet gem that you don't want to miss out on! Buy your copies here or on Amazon!

Search for The Hidden Clover on the web

Search for The Hidden Clover on Facebook

Search for The Hidden Clover on Twitter

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

what we're doing {sabbatical recap}

This series might be long awaited as it should be. We are finished with sabbatical so what in the world are we doing? Well, for those who have followed this space in the last couple of years, I feel it necessary to do a little recap.

beauty shop

We moved to S. Africa in March of 2007. After traveling back and forth to Africa since 2000, our hearts were stirred for the millions of orphans, so we went there to simply love on them. Thus, Ten Thousand Homes, whose goal is to provide HOPE and HOME to orphans, was birthed. By March 2009, after 13 years in full-time ministry, I was exhausted. I was literally at the point where I didn't have anything left to give. (This post and this post talks about my weariness.) In November 2009, we returned to the states for a little time off, a sabbatical.

By March 2010, we started our sabbatical. I was a bit ignorant on what exactly that meant. It wasn't a physical rest but a spiritual rest. There was so much processing and talking to God that physically I was still exhausted, but all that brought a spiritual rest that overpowered that physical exhaustion somehow.

We spent a full year deep in the trenches of sabbatical. I'm sure that sounds quite foreign. Had I not just gone through it, it would sound foreign and a little kooky to me, too. It was a very deliberate stepping away, handing over of all our responsibilities, not having anything to do with Ten Thousand Homes over that year. Do you know how hard that is for a leader of a ministry? Oh, my goodness. Talk about giving up control and your way of doing things and ultimately trusting God with it. 

When I think of everything that happened over our year of rest, tears literally come to my eyes. If you read my guest post over the weekend, I talk a little about that. It just makes me overwhelmed with His love for me. I could talk on and on about everything that happened during sabbatical. Instead, I will highlight some main points that are necessary in talking about our future. In my next post :). I don't like reading long posts so I would imagine there's others in the same boat! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

senior photo shoots

2012 senior photos

It may be February but graduation day will be here before you know it! My senior portrait price is $150 and includes: a session with two outfit changes, one 8X10, and digital files of up to 25 photos. Email me to set up an appointment! And because I love to tell the story, props are always welcome. :)

on the bench

by a tree

leaning against tree

senior portrait

Can you believe I used to change this boy's diapers? No, me neither.

Monday, February 20, 2012

my two night get away

"It'll be like a two night all-expense paid get away." That's what my awesome friend, Christine, said to me when she asked if I would spend the weekend as a girl sponsor with 60 teenagers at the youth winter retreat. Hmmm...that sounded good except having to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towel, somehow it didn't sound like the get away that I would usually imagine.

smashed egg

My introverted self was telling me, "But you don't know anybody and you're not the best at just going up and talking to people," but my heart was telling me, "You should go." So I did. And I had a great time.

pulling the rope

I learned that most kids have a cell phone by the age of 14 (I believe I was 22 when I got my first cell phone) and every girl has a flat iron in her bag of tricks. I also learned that teenagers face a lot more than I did.

riding horses

The speaker for the weekend talked about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abdnego, and how they were teenagers who made a difference. I began thinking about the fiery furnace situations in our own lives and the choice we have to call on God. As a teenager, I think that choice is much harder to make with the pressure and influences all around you. It's not easy being different.


I met some great new peeps, made some memories (like getting soaked in the rain), ate some delicious s'mores, and had a great time. I am so glad I went!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

red velvet whoopie pies

valentines whoopie pies

There was a whole lot of Valentine's baking going on this week. I saw these red velvet whoopie pies last year but never made them. Aren't they the cutest? Let me tell you, though, those hearts are hard to make without the proper supplies. I made these for Emma G's class. I don't know how they liked them but I loved them. They're not super sweet but just the right amount of sweet. And super, super cute. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

join me

praying and talking

Relentless love... The word that comes to mind is pursuit, God's pursuit of us, because of His love.  Welcome to my story of God's relentless love for me...

Won't you join me here to read the rest of this story?

Friday, February 17, 2012

handmade valentine's for her

If you've been a regular reader here for any period of time, you might have guessed that I like to make things.  I count holidays as the perfect excuse to make something, anything.  Well, there's been a whole lot of making around here lately.

diapers & wipes

baby blanket

After making my most favorite birthday gift ever, I kept going to make some goodies for Emma G. A blanket, baby clothes, diapers, and her favorite, wipes. I had no idea she would go crazy over little wipes, but she was so happy when she saw them.

criss cross     summer dress

green knit dress    knit dress & bloomers

Patterns: diapers, wipescriss cross dress, & bloomers. (Knit dress is my own pattern I don't have published anywhere.)

hair clip organizer

I couldn't stop there, though. Emma G really needed something for her plethora of hair clips so I made her a little hair clip birdie. I saw the original idea in an issue of Simply Handmade (Be Mine). The top was a heart but I changed it to a bird. It was super easy to make!



Did you make any fun Valentine's crafts?


Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday! And P.S., there's a giveaway going on over at Today's Mama. Take a super quick (2 minute tops) survey telling TXU Energy about your reward/coupon use and you could win a $50 Visa gift card!

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