Saturday, March 31, 2012

my artists

BOTH of my kids recently had artwork featured in our local Celebrate the Arts. It was awesome seeing their creativity on display.

jman's coffee art

eg's art

eg's crayon

eg's mixed media

Friday, March 30, 2012

crayon art

crayon art

This past Sunday we created a crayon masterpiece. When I saw the idea on Pinterest, I about squealed. It was simple and colorful. We already had a canvas, so all I had to purchase were crayons. The idea was to do a little ROY G BIV action (by the way, Joshua says he hopes to one day have a friend named Roy G Biv), but if you buy a box of 64 crayons and try to use only the colors of the rainbow on a 16X20 canvas, you're left with a little space. Emma G did all of the color placement so she added a little black, gray, and other non-rainbow colors to fill in the space. Doesn't it look great?

box of crayons

arranging crayons

I did the hot gluing with a little help from the little lady. Both Joshua and Emma operated the hair dryer. Before we started, Joshua's question was, "How long is this going to take?" Spoken like a child with a short attention span. Thankfully, it didn't take long for that hair dryer to work it's magic. By the sounds of my kids, it was like magic in front of their eyes. They thought it was so cool!

melted crayon

When Emma G requested it be hung in her room, I thought nothing of it and said yes. We hung it above her desk to provide some creative inspiration for her. Joshua wasn't too happy about that, so I imagine we'll be creating another one of these in the near future.

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." Albert Einstein

StudioJRU 

  Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

the bluebonnets {photography}

It's that time of year when you see Texans out with their cameras on the side of the road with kids dressed in Sunday best as parents try to capture smiles amidst all the beautiful blue. It's only for a short season that our state flower is in bloom, so I, too, join the masses, trying to capture that perfect shot. This year was different in that it was an enjoyable experience for all of us. Initially my girlie had a freak out moment before we left, and I almost had to ditch it, but we came through, got out there, and had a blast. You'll probably notice that there are way more photos with Emma G than Joshua. I learned that my boy is quite like me. He loves being behind the camera way more than being in front of it. I'm learning to accept that and be happy with only a couple of good shots of him. I have to admit that his photographer eye is amazing me. My edits were all over the place with these, but these are some of my favs from our 2012 bluebonnet photo taking experience...

hazy profile

smelling bluebonnets

timeless bluebonnets

smelling flowers

serious dude

in a sea of bluebonnets

holding hands

scrunched nose

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

embrace the camera

sweetness

together

Although I've never participated in it (until now), I love The Anderson Crew's Embrace the Camera photo challenge. I'm usually the one behind the camera and often forget to get in front of the camera. I don't want my kids to grow up wishing they had some photos of me with them. 

There was no photographer around the other day so Miss Emma and I decided to just take some photos using the computer. Yes, they're grainy and not the quality I usually go for, but really is that always so important?? Definitely not when it keeps you from getting in front of the camera and embracing it. :)



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

slow and steady

slow and steady

Slow and steady. If there was ever a time in my life when I understood those words, it's now, after a year of sabbatical. I'm sure many of you watched or heard of the Kony 2012 video put out by Invisible Children that recently blew up social media. Shortly after that rise to fame, Jason Russell, the movie's creator, had a breakdown.

I'm not here to express my opinion on Kony 2012 or Jason Russell's breakdown, but I found Donald Miller's response very interesting as I've pondered "slow and steady." I love how he compares God's work in our lives to the way crops are grown. God's not in a hurry when it comes to the process of working in our lives.

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4

When I think about a thousand years being like a day in God's sight, I think about time and how it is relative. Sometimes I get in such a hurry. Sometimes rising up and doing something quickly is appropriate, but I love that God works "slow and steady." Donald Miller says, "Keep working, daily, digging our rows and harvesting our crops. Play your small part in the grand epic."

I'm not saying here that slow and steady means sitting back and being lazy. No, as we keep working, doing what we're supposed to do, God works in us...slow and steady.

My heart goes out to Jason Russell and his family. As someone who is in the non-profit business, I understand all too well the stress and pressures. It was for this reason that God told us to come away for a time of sabbatical, a rest in order to recharge and let Him do His perfect work in us.

Monday, March 26, 2012

a mouthpiece :: risk

With my 2012 "word" being risk, I am studying risk takers in the Bible.
It's fascinating to learn these nuggets from Bible greats.

fish

Oh, Jonah. God told him to do something, and he simply ran the other way. God certainly got his attention with the raging storm and Jonah being swallowed by a whale. After all that, Jonah did what God asked. He went to Ninevah, a city of great wickedness, the Bible says.

Although Jonah did eventually take a risk and go where he didn't want to go, he still fought tooth and nail. Even after his obedience, he was angry with God for having compassion on them. When I read Jonah's actions and response, I see someone who made it all about him. He had reasons why he didn't want to go, and they all began with "I."

Here's the kicker for me. Jonah 3:4 says that Jonah went through the city saying, "Yet 40 days and Ninevah will be overthrown." Those eight words, and the people repented and turned from wickedness and violence. Maybe there's a bit more to the story, but to me, it sounds like God had already prepared their hearts to hear Jonah's words. All he needed was a mouthpiece...
I can take a risk and step out in obedience because God is already there to meet me. He sees the bigger picture when I don't. I see through a glass dimly. He sees it all.
Thinking only of myself and wishing justice over grace and mercy (referring here to Jonah's anger on God not wiping out Ninevah) will affect my whole being negatively. God is about grace and mercy. When I make it about the fight for justice, I am not seeing the bigger picture. The risk of fighting for grace far outweighs "fairness."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

black bean quesadillas

black bean quesadillas

I have been on a black bean kick lately. I absolutely love them! I used Budget Bytes method of cooking black beans in the crock pot (much cheaper and tastes better than canned) and then divided and froze them. I used a portion to make these black bean quesadillas also from Budget Bytes. They were delicious. Emma G ate all of hers. She's becoming the more adventurous eater. Joshua wouldn't touch them. I honestly don't get it, but that's a story for another day. I used this recipe from 100 Days of Real Food to make wholewheat tortillas. I couldn't believe how filling these quesadillas were!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

progress

I'm about halfway done with these birds. Then I'll start on the pigs. Two weeks to go until birthday time. I can get these done no sweat. :)

They sure are angry.

Friday, March 23, 2012

phoebe for phoebe

I recently finished knitting Phoebe...for Phoebe. Fellow YWAMers (Youth With A Mission-ites) that we knew from the days we lived in Tyler, found out the beginning of this year that their sweet two-year-old girl had AT/RT cancer, a rare childhood brain cancer with only 30 newly diagnosed cases each year. As I've followed their daily posts on Phoebe's progress, my heart and prayers for them have increased. Phoebe, so far, has spent all of 2012 in the hospital.

My crafting genes were itching to make something for her, but the question was what. Then, like a light bulb coming on, I had it. Phoebe Mouse! Phoebe Mouse is quite the busy traveler. You might remember her showing up at Emma G's 6th birthday party. She was also sited in the Summer 2011 issue of Artful Blogging. You can see all of her travels on her blog. Well, now I hope Phoebe is bringing smiles to Phoebe as she fights cancer in the hospital.

phoebe mouse 

 I've only met Joanna Johnson, author of Phoebe's Sweater, in cyberspace, but I suspect we would have such a lovely chat over coffee should we meet in person someday. When I shared with her Phoebe's story, she graciously donated a copy of Phoebe's Sweater to go with Phoebe Mouse. Thank you, Joanna!

with her sweater on 

 Please pray for little Phoebe Fair. I can't imagine everything they are going through right now. I encourage you to visit her blog. Her mom, Amey, writes with such hope. It's amazing to read such sad news and yet walk away feeling encouraged.

back of sweater 

 Side note: Phoebe's Sweater is a beautiful children's book. Phoebe's mama knits her a sweater while waiting for her new baby to arrive! The back of the book contains all the knitting patterns for Phoebe Mouse, her dress, sweater, and a sweater for a child. Other books by Joanna Johnson include Freddie's Blanket and Phoebe's Birthday, coming out this Spring!

StudioJRU

Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

precious baby {photography}

I spent the better part of yesterday looking at this precious baby. Isn't she beautiful? I've always stereotyped fourth babies as being extremely laid back. She definitely confirmed my suspicions. What a dream for my first baby photo shoot! Following my sneak peek, these are some of my favorites...

in the air

beautiful blue eyes

hands in mouth

laughing at mama

laughing

with mama

looking in the mirror

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

what we're doing {the field and the city}

Have you ever had those moments when someone spoke a word to you that you never forgot? Jeremy and I did 10 years ago. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Joshua was only a couple of months old, and we were at a meeting with some leaders from our home church. This man prayed for us and he kept saying, "You'll be in the field and the city. The field and the city. The field and the city." He kept saying, "the field and the city," over and over again. Something resounded in our hearts, and apparently those watching felt the impact, too.

legogote in the distance

Over the years those words "the field and the city" have never left us. It seems each year that we gain a little more understanding of what they might mean. Now, more than ever, those words are resounding like a clanging cymbal.

As I've shared what we're doing, the question is "Where?" The answer is simply the field and the city. In order to communicate, share the stories, and build a bridge between the work and the people, we must be in both places. We must be here meeting with people and speaking. We must be in Africa to cast vision and bring the stories back with us.

reflection

We've dreamed of having homes on multiple continents. I used to think that dream was too exorbitant for a "missionary" family, but after I put the money dream buster aside, I realized that God can make a way. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He can make a way for us to have a home here and one in Africa. 

This summer we are planning to return to S. Africa with open ended tickets. The kids are beyond excited. We feel we are to be there for as long as we need to. It could be 2 months. It could be 6. It could be more. It's part of this call of being in the field and the city and being open to His leading. 

We are in the middle of making decisions for the kid's schooling next school year. We've always evaluated it each year, but this year more than ever. Despite my initial fears of how they would handle changes, they are incredibly open and excited for the future. Home schooling is on the radar again, but we're still seeking direction.

I hope it hasn't been too confusing explaining our sabbatical process and what we're doing over these several posts. I do want to share more about my photography and how it relates to Ten Thousand Homes and how it doesn't. That post is coming soon. If you have any questions I haven't answered, feel free to ask away in the comments section! 

Part 1 : Sabbatical Recap
Part 2 : Individual Passions
Part 3: Filling In The Gaps
Part 4: The Post You've Been Waiting For

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

depth of character :: risk

With my 2012 "word" being risk, I am studying risk takers in the Bible.
It's fascinating to learn these nuggets from Bible greats.

baby feet

Perhaps one of the greatest miracles ever is that of Jesus' birth. I can only imagine Mary's surprise when Gabriel came to her and told her she was carrying Immanuel in her womb. Was she fearful of what others would think? Was she excited? Was she surprised that God chose her to bear the Savior? I imagine she felt all of the above.

But I think, out of Joseph and Mary, perhaps the greatest risk taker here was Joseph. Joseph had a choice to make. The Bible says, when Joseph heard the news, he "planned to send her away secretly." I picture him as a man who loved God deeply. He didn't want to disgrace Mary, thus doing it secretly, but he probably knew that her being with child would not go over well with others.

It was his love for God, though, that changed his mind. After the angel appeared to him, he knew Mary was telling the truth. Then he took a huge risk. He took her as his wife and stood confidently by her side.
When God speaks, obedience should be the only option. It's not about my reputation being on the line. God's is on the line, too.
Joseph and Mary might have been young, but they showed such depth of character. I hope I can show even half as much character in those moments that God calls me to risk...

Scripture reference: Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38

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