Saturday, July 31, 2010

just because...

I LOVE this picture.
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

friday wrap up

Just thought I'd share a picture of my handsome cat:

AND Some sites I've been looking at this week:

I died watching this video: BP Coffee Spill (Language warning)

My article featured on the Faith Deployed blog last week.

The most beautiful patio in the world.

My favorite hymn.

The next project on my list.

My new favorite song thanks to my week at Lake Shasta (the person in charge of music played this song like 100 times)

Have a wonderful weekend!!

[Credit for this blog idea goes to Chelsea]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

beauty shots

A couple of weeks ago I did a photo shoot with the amazing Chelsea. Let me tell you, she is so talented! You can check out her photography blog here. (She also did some pictures of my husband and I for our anniversary this year.)

I haven't received all of the photos from her yet from this shoot, but she sent me some sneak peaks and I couldn't help but want to share some of them with you.

These are a birthday gift for my wonderful husband of 6 years... So of course I can't show all of them to you ;) But here are a few:

If you are looking for a photographer in Las Vegas, let me highly recommend Chelsea. And if you're not in Vegas, I hope this inspires you to get a little fancied up and take some fun beauty shots! It will make you feel pretty... I promise!!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 26, 2010

sunday brunch

Summer!! My favorite season for fruit. I LOVE fruit. If I could, I would just eat fruit all the time, nothing else. So I felt like sharing the fruit platter that I prepared myself for lunch yesterday:

Pluots (yum-o!)
Green Apples

And the mess that was left over after I finished.

I hope you are all having a fabulous summer.. What is your favorite fruit??

Sunday, July 11, 2010

five things i learned from the life and death of a baby

1. God is who He says He is.

In the Gospel of Luke, we read about the 'feeding of the 5000'. Luke 9:10-17 tells the story of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5000 people with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. In the end, there are 12 baskets full of left-overs. This passage demonstrates one of God's many names, Jehovah Jireh: "The Lord will Provide". So simple, yet so powerful. God has a provision for each of us.

I personally experienced God's provision during the summer of 2008. My husband was deployed overseas and I was 15 weeks pregnant. I was getting ready to take two semesters of summer school in Las Vegas. During an ultrasound I found out that my daughter had some very severe abnormalities (I would later come to find out that survival for a baby in that situation is extremely low). Devastated and at a total loss, I packed my car and drove to Vegas.

There, God provided support. If I had stayed in San Diego (and if I had finished school the year before on a government loan like originally planned), I would have gone through this pregnancy with virtually no support. Instead, I was able to stay with my parents through the whole thing.

God provided a Christian doctor to see me through my pregnancy. And this doctor decided to take care of me all the way through delivery, even though he was not covered by Tricare.

Then, when I received the terrible news that our daughter Isabella's tiny heart had stopped beating, God provided a way for my husband to come home from the Middle East. It was quite a fiasco and I won't get into details, but it seemed almost impossible at the time. But thankfully, he was able to be with me during the delivery at the hospital and at the funeral.

2. God will glorify Himself.

In John 9, we see Jesus heal a man who had been born blind. His disciples ask Him who had sinned to make this man blind. But Jesus answers them saying, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." (John 9:3, emphasis added)

And that is exactly what happened during Isabella's short life: God's work was displayed for others to see. He displayed His work to my husband and me and I'm pretty sure others saw it too. God used my daughter's life to glorify Himself.

3. God loves us with an agape love.

We are all familiar with the story of Lazarus. After all, Jesus raised the man from the dead! In John 11:5, John makes a very simple statement: "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus." The word for 'love' that John uses is the Greek word 'agape'. Agape love is much more than a brotherly love or a friendship love. Agape is an unconditional love. The Hebrew equivalent actually means 'to breathe after'. Agape love is not a love that seeks to fulfill the immediate. Instead it looks beyond the immediate to the eternal.

I experienced God's agape love for me. The immediate solution would have been to heal my daughter and that would have been amazing! But, God had a much bigger plan for me and for her. Although it seems like we lost the battle, I know that she rests eternally in His arms. I will see her again. And as for me, God grew me in ways
I could never have imagined. And I know He's not done!

4. God uses suffering for the building of our faith.

Later in the same story of Lazarus, Jesus tells His disciples how He will use Lazarus' death: "So He told them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." (John 11:14-15, emphasis added). Suffering and death are platforms that God uses for faith. In the midst of Lazarus' death (and later in Jesus' own death) many would believe.

I can say that in the midst of my suffering for the loss of my daughter, my faith was built up. God used the grief and suffering I experienced to draw me closer to Himself. He revealed so much about Himself to me. Although it is never fun to be broken, brokenness truly is the best way to be changed and molded by the Potter.

James says it this way, "Consider if pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:2-3). We are not to consider the pain or the trial 'pure joy' but we are to consider it 'pure joy' that God uses those trials to mold and shape us. My faith is a thousand times stronger because of this one trial.

5. God will reward His followers.

Paul writes to the Corinthians about this amazing truth. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says: "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." Wow!! Not only are our troubles here on earth temporary but we will be rewarded in eternity for our trials here on earth, our temporary home.

Even though the loss of my daughter felt like the end of the world, I know that the reward of simply seeing her in eternity will far outweigh that feeling. But, I cannot even fathom the eternal glory that my one trial has achieved. God is amazing and He promises His people amazing things. All He asks of us is to be obedient. That means following and seeking Him, especially during trials.