Archives for August 2011

Sharing the Good Stuff: Grace by Sandi Patti

 A great message from Sandi passed on to you!

 

It was an interesting day. I hadn’t felt “on my game” if you know what I mean; I felt clumsy and out of sorts.

I left home in Oklahoma City to travel to Women of Faith. It seems like wherever I am traveling I have to go through Atlanta. Bill Gaither used to tell this joke: “When you die and go to heaven, you’ll have to go through Atlanta first.”

I arrived at the Atlanta airport and searched the screens for my next flight’s gate. Realizing I had a bit of extra time, I decided to stop and get some coffee at Seattle’s Best. Perhaps this would wake me up and help me feel a little less “off.”

I placed my order and as I waited, I reached for a coffee cup sleeve only to knock all 100+ of them onto the airport floor. I bent over to begin to gather them up. The nice lady handed me my coffee―at which time I dropped it and it exploded all over the same floor. I felt horrible and began to get napkins to sop up the mess. One of the workers came out with a mop and bucket and began to clean up BOTH my messes.

I quietly slithered away and began to head to my gate thinking to myself, “Just get to the gate and sit down. Just don’t touch anything else”.

As I was trying to sneak away, I heard a voice behind me saying, “Ma’am? Ma’am?” I didn’t want to think he was talking to me because honestly, I thought if he was talking to me he would probably scold me for being so careless. Finally I couldn’t ignore him any longer since he was right behind me.

He was out of breath from running and said to me, “Ma’am? Why don’t you come on back . . . come back and have one on us.” I almost cried right there in Atlanta airport. I followed him back and they fixed me another mocha “on them” and he quietly said to me, “Ma’am, believe me, this happens all the time. It’s no problem. Just enjoy your drink and have a nice day.”

I’ve been thinking all day about that phrase “Come on back and have one on us.” That’s really how grace should feel. When we mess up and make mistakes, when we are having an off day, God isn’t standing by ready to shake his finger at us in rebuke. He chases after us and probably says, “Believe me; I see this all the time. Come on back and have one on me.”

I love that about our God.

Come to me, all who are weary (and having a bad day) and rest….on me! —Matthew 11:28

Celebrate : Back to School

Written By Jen

Amy, from Living Locurto, created a great free printable she calls, School Notes.  This is a creative way for kids to express their day at school.  Thanks Amy!  I am a huge fan of Amy’s blog Living Locurto. These links will take you over there to check her blog out.  If you click on the image or the School Notes it will take you straight to her post where you can print out these great School Notes for your kids!   I can’t wait to see how my kids like them!  Great idea!

Photography : First Birthday

Written By Jen

Simply Sweet!  A few weekends ago, we were celebrating our friends daughter’s first birthday.   Everything was so cute, I had to run home and grab my camera.   The birthday girl left her wings on for the entire party, I was so impressed!   Here are a few things I liked from a photography standpoint on these images.

This picture looked amazing black and white.  I think black and white images are classic.  I see her beautiful face and the number one, there is less distraction so I see finer details. There was a little discoloration in the grass, in the black and white it is not as eye-catching as it is in the color version of this photo.  I usually like soft black and white for children compared to harsh contrast.  It keeps them looking as sweet as they are.

On this image I like the simple background.  The grass says, “summer” and it’s a brilliant green background.  The tutu adds nice texture to the photo and it’s adorable.  The wings are a fantastic accessory for a fairy first birthday.  Her shirt is perfect!

This picture shows a little personality which I LOVE!  She has two older brothers to keep up with.  She may be a princess but, she’s not afraid of a little dirt!  Remember those mile stones, when your kids baby teeth are coming in? You have to capture that.  Just a couple tiny little teeth in that cute mouth.

Profile pictures are better if you can see at least, the eyelashes of your subject on the far side of their face.  I love the genuine smile and her bright eyes.

My friend Amanda is such a smart shopper I asked her to share with us where she got the outfit. Amanda said, “I got the shirt at Target on clearance for under $2.  I got the wings off amazon.  I got the tutu at children’s place, but I don’t see it listed online.”  Great finds!

I do believe God is crazy about children.  Here is what Jesus said in Luke 18:15-17 “People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”  Jesus loves, stands for and, sees great value in children. Love that!

Parenting: Back to School

Written by Amy

I came across this great post from a blog I follow called “Organizing Made Fun” (the button is on our home page).  Being well-organized does not come naturally to me–I have to work at it, so I’ll take all the help I can get.  Here are some great ideas and reminders:

http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/2010/08/getting-ready-for-school-part-1.html

 

Thinking about school starting reminds me of the learning I will be doing this fall, specifically in the form of bible study.  We will be starting our neighborhood bible study up again in a few weeks, and it always kicks me back into study gear after taking a break for the summer.  I am looking forward to the things God has to teach me.  If you are not in a bible study, I encourage you to find one through your church or just grab a bunch of women and invite them over for dessert, coffee and fellowship.

Stirrings: Change

Written By Amy

 

I can’t believe school starts in a week and a half (some of you have kids starting next week!).  For us it means that welcome shift back to predictable days, earlier bedtimes (which means a little more down time for Jon and I),  and the restored rhythm and flow of the weeks and weekends.   The kids are excited to see friends from school again, and discover their new teachers.

It also brings the transition to early, early mornings (our kids need to be at the bus stop by 7:15 am), making more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than I can count, and the homework to soccer practice to another soccer practice to possibly another practice to home to bedtime.  Our lazy mornings and lingering, peaceful family evenings on the patio will soon come to a close.  Life will return to the frenzied pace of a 2011 American family that we will adjust to like one who adjusts to a bad haircut; shocking at first,  but soon accepted with an ever fading memory of its previous state.

It is change.  A change that I welcome like I welcome the change of seasons….each one feeling fresh and new, yet how ready I am for the next when it takes its turn at the front of the line.

I know that change is not always welcome.  It can confront us in what seems like insurmountable waves crashing into our lives…a loss of a loved one or a loss of a job.  A loss of what was expected or hoped for.  This change seems terrifying, like the solid ground we stood on has suddenly shifted and buckled.  Or it can be the harmless but disappointing shift of realizing your favorite restaurant does not carry your favorite Asiago Cheese Dip anymore (umm….that was directed at you Walnut Brewery in Boulder).

Change can surprise us, like the new dining table that was placed in our cabin that we rent each year.  My mom, sister and I “ummed, and ahh’d” it, questioned its smaller size, discussed how it made the room feel bigger, but mostly felt a bit unsettled that it was different than it had been for the past 40 odd years.

Change can thrill us, like all of a sudden realizing the person you are walking and holding hands with will probably be the person you will marry, or the baby that sweeps into your life filling an incredible hole you never realized you had.

God says not to fear change.  He says it will be a part of our life…the good and the bad.   The bible is FULL of stories of change (Moses, Noah, Esther, to name a few).  Change is not an new concept for the 21st centruy.

We also cannot change the fact that God does not change.  We like to try to change him.  We somehow turn the God who loved us yesterday in our good state into the God that has turned his back on us today when we have sinned.  We think of him as a shape-shifter, loving one moment, angry the next.  Protecting us when we have earned protection, but invisible when we face disappointment or tradgey…where did He go?

Friends, that is not our God.  He is always, always with us.  He never leaves us.  His love is more constant than the ocean waves lapping on the sand.  He sees all, knows all, and still holds us close to him.  We cannot earn anything from him…Love, Salvation, Acceptance are his gifts to us.

So, I will think of this when my kids step onto the bus in a few days, signifying a season of change for our family.   I will think of how God is constant, solid and predictable in the face of change in our lives.  That’s who I want to be my God.

Psalm 55:19
God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.

Numbers 23:19
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Exodus 34:6
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness

 

 

 

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