Our Princess is 3

>> May 31, 2010


A little over a month ago, she started telling me that when her birthday came, she wanted it to be pink.
"Can my daddy make me pink cupcakes?"

So pink is what she got.

3 is lots of fun, because at that age they can really understand what "birthday" means -
at least what it means for a 3 year old...
"I'm not 2 anymore, I'm 3 now", cake, presents, and for her, a pink celebration.
She was even counting down the days for the past couple of weeks, telling me, "Mommy, my birthday is coming to Fresno and I'm going to be big. I'm going to be 3."
(I'm still not sure what she meant about it coming to Fresno. But it made me giggle every time she said it.)

Here was the conversation on the morning of her birthday:
"Guess what sweetie? Today is your birthday and your 3 now."
"No mommy, I'm only 2"
"But today is your birthday."
"(Big grin) I'm really 3?"
"Yes, you're really 3 now."
"(disappointed) But my friends didn't come."
"Honey, it's still early. You will see your friends in your Sunday school class."
"But you have to sing. My brothers have to sing to me."

She got sung to a lot.
And she's proud to be 3.


Can you guess what kind of gifts she got?
(hint: look at the difference in how she looks in the picture above, taken before she opened her gifts, and below, taken after she opened her gifts.)  



And we're so excited for what 3 years old will hold for you.


An Appointment with God in Seattle - part 2

>> May 26, 2010

Part 1

After I spent a fabulous afternoon with the Jones family, I headed to the airport to pick up Leslie.
We had spoken on the phone a few times, but had never actually met in person.
She was one of those gifts from God to get me to this workshop.
I had no idea where I would stay in Tacoma.
The hotel that the workshop was being held at was way too expensive for me - even at the special rate we would get. I still had to make reservations at a hotel when we got our first email with instructions to introduce ourselves. After a couple of email exchanges, Leslie had offered to share her room with me and I would be her transportation for the weekend. God is so good.
(And what's even cooler (and I believe another God thing) about that set up is that a couple of weeks before we actually met in Seattle and after we had made our arrangements, Leslie called me to tell me she just realized that I was the Rhonda from Exposing Grace - a blog she had been following for awhile because she saw one of my posts at I Heart Faces. She had even been considering joining us at Through The Lens of Worship.)

Ok - back to the story...
I picked up Leslie, and after driving for an hour and a half for what should have been 30 minutes, we were already have a fun adventure and getting to know each other. (Seattle and Tacoma aren't the easiest cities to drive in. If you miss your turn-off there may not be a way to turn around for quite awhile, especially in rush hour traffic.) We checked in to the hotel and headed out to the meet and greet at MeRa's house.
And that began the appointments with people that God really took me to Seattle for.
Some of those appointments were so that I could minister to others and some of those appointments were so that others could minister to me. God showed me in no uncertain terms, many ways that He has been using me in the lives of some of these women that I hadn't ever met. One of the ladies wasn't even someone I knew of by name from the internet, but she knew me and God had used me in her life.
Can I just tell you what a gift that is?
God didn't have to do that.
Yet he chose to bless me and encourage me.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

We left MeRa's house already filled and our workshop hadn't even begun yet.
Leslie and I shared a little more adventure finding a drug store so she didn't have to pay $15 for the hotel toothbrush, because she broke hers that morning. Then we got to the hotel to try to get some sleep and be ready for the morning.
Saturday morning started off with some worship music (there was an ipod player in our hotel room), a cup of Starbucks and an eagerness for what the day would hold.
Really, it doesn't get much better than that!

MeRa and her husband, Brian, are amazing.
They are gifted as photographers and teachers.
They are funny.
And they are humble.
The things they taught about the camera were basic things I mostly already knew, but what they taught in the in-between moments about who God made me as a photographer and dare I say, artist, was priceless.
God used them to teach me to trust Him and let go in these areas.
Don't get me wrong here. This was a photography workshop, not a Christian conference of some kind.
MeRa and Brian didn't talk about God, but God used them to teach me and help me grow as an artist.
Another aspect of my appointment with God.

I just LOVE how God works.
He brings me to Seattle to a photography workshop that focused on a lot of stuff I already know, to teach me things that weren't even the focus of this workshop so that He could get the glory.
Does that make sense to you the way it does to me?
He does things in such a way (if we will let Him) that He will be glorified.
He is showing me this a lot lately.
When I applied for the Soar scholarship and didn't win, God told me that He didn't ever want anyone to say that my opportunities as a photographer were because of that Scholarship.
He wants and deserves all the glory for anything He works in and through me.
And even if I would always point to Him, others wouldn't on my behalf.

So after our morning session on Satuday, we got to actually photograph some beautiful models.
My favorite part of the photo sessions we did was watching MeRa at work -
Watching her see light and work with the model, posing them and interacting with them in such a way that they relax and enjoy their time.

Here she is at work, along with many of the girls I shared the weekend with.

And once she showed us how she goes about setting up the shot, she set us off to take some pictures ourselves.

We finished up the day with a fabulous lunch and some more learning and then headed off to dinner at a fabulous Thai food restaurant, where God had yet another appointment for me.

But that is for another day, as I must get my tired body into bed. 
You can see the Mommy & baby shots I took here.

Part 3
The End


An appointment with God in Seattle

>> May 23, 2010

Have you ever had one of those moments that, although it was planned for one purpose, God intended it for His purposes? That's what last weekend was like for me - an appointment with God.
When I was praying about whether or not I should go to Seattle for this workshop, I knew that God wanted me there and that He had a purpose bigger than the workshop, but I could have never anticipated all that the weekend held for me.

When I got off the plane on Thursday and got in my rental car, I was excited about what God wanted to do that weekend.
I was excited to spend time with friends from Epic that had moved to WA.
I was excited to learn more about photography.
I was excited to spend time with friends that I had met via the internet.
I was excited to meet all together new friends.
But I was mostly excited about the unknown stuff that I knew God had prepared for me.

Some of you understand this and some of you are wondering how I knew that God wanted me there.
I just want to share a little about that.
I had been praying about going to one of these workshops for over a year. For one reason or another there was just no way I could get there. And when it came up this time I wondered if it was even a wise use of my resources. I mean, a trip and workshop like this isn't cheap. But I couldn't get over the nagging feeling that I had to be there. I even sensed God telling me that He would provide the money if I would just sign up. So I did. I signed up on the payment plan (to give God time to provide.)
I don't know why I had any doubt. God is so good and came through in ways that I could never have conjured up myself. Half of the cost came from a job in which I still don't even know how they got my number. He not only provided for the workshop, He provided the airfare, the rental car, the hotel room.
He had a purpose for me being there.

I didn't have to be in Tacoma until Friday so I drove to Bellingham to spend the night at the Jones' house.
They had other company in town and were already planning to visit Seattle on Friday, which was perfect for me. I not only got to hang out with some of the coolest people I know, but I got to experience Seattle with them. AND I got to meet their cool family members that still live in Hanford and are considering coming to Epic. Yay!

On the way to Seattle, I drove alone because I had to leave them early to pick up a new friend (my room mate for the weekend) at the airport and get to the meet and greet for my workshop. The drive to Seattle was a little over an hour and a half and I had the sweetest time of worship during that drive.
(God even gave me a new worship song that I might share with you some time.)
God was meeting me there in that rental car and preparing me for what was still to come.

I'll share more tomorrow.

Part 2
Part 3
The End



>> May 20, 2010

I spent last weekend with an AMAZING group of women.
(more on that in my next post)

Friday was the first day I met some of those women, and some of them I met via the internet a while ago.
I believe the internet can be a tool of the enemy, but I also KNOW that God uses the internet for His purposes as well. And this past weekend was such a confirmation of that for me.
I don't even have words to express the extreme gratitude I have towards God for the gift He gave me last weekend.

Ladies, it was an EXTREME pleasure and blessing.
Thank you!

MeRa and Brian, you two are such a gift!
Thank you!

There is a song that God brings to my mind often and I want to share it with you ladies.
(If you just want to read the lyrics, I posted them below the video)

© copyright 2001 Brian Ray, Crystal Lewis
Dirty devices, divide and devise
A plan to diminish our creative minds
Distorting our views, of ourselves and our minds
Destructive dirty devices; destructive dirty devices

We are more than we know
We are more than we know
We are meant for more than this world would suppose
We are more than we know

I believe in all things spiritual
That God is in this place
Always watching, guiding, knowing what the look on my face means
Knowing every thought before I think it and it's gone
Knowing each word I'm gonna say before it rolls off my tongue
Knowing each word I'm gonna say before it rolls off my tongue

We are more than we know
We are more than we know
We are meant for more than this world would suppose
We are more than we know

Listen and let go, You will hear and know
You'll see and believe, You can walk on water


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