Fall Portraits

















He Always Shows Up

I thought I'd join in the fun over at YLCF this week, by sharing the mundane details of a day in my life. The main emphasis is on being "real" and since, that is, after all, the theme and "punchline" of this here blog... I thought it would be cool to participate.

I was considering writing about my Monday this week, but then thought “No, I should pick a normal day to share about.” And then I had to ask myself-- what in the world is a normal day? My life is not exciting to the average passerby, but its rarely ever normal.

So without further ado, I am going to tell you about my Monday.

It started off rather normal. I mean its normal for the alarm clock to go off and its normal for me to not want to get up.

5:00 am: The alarm clock went off.

5:43 am: I woke up. If only good intentions counted in the end.

6:00-7:00 am: I was buzzing around getting ready for the day. Read the Psalm of the day. Ate very little for breakfast. Had a brief but pleasant conversation with Dad.

7:05 am: I headed out the door. I stopped in at the coffee shop to get my fix(es) for the day. Chai tea and a quick chat with my dear friend, the barista.

7:20 am: I'm on the road. I work as a care taker for the elderly in their homes. Lately I've been working for a sweet (& spunky!) elderly lady in a town about 40 minutes from mine.

8:00 am: Arrived.

Rest of the morning: I helped her with little projects around her house. She's quite motivated and keeps me on my toes. We took a trip to the post office and grocery store.

Afternoon & evening: she rested some which gave me a little free time. I did some reading and checked email. I read the end of Revelations. I'm also reading a devotional titled 'A Call to Die'. I'm daily being challenged. But its so much easier to read about dying to self and talk about dying to self, then to actually live about dying to self. I also took this free time to talk through some details with client for an up and coming senior portrait shoot.

When my lil' lady woke up, we went for a drive. We found some pretty fall scenes to take pictures of. She gets quite a kick out of my picture taking and seeing the pictures afterwards. Hey, its a win-win situation for me!! I brought the car to a stop and took a picture of an old antique pickup sitting in someone's yard. She laughed and said “You're easy to please!” maybe I am when it comes to that. I enjoy finding value in the simpler things. [maybe thats why I'm writing this post???]

8:00 pm: My sister showed up for her shift. I was looking forward to getting home. I had a lot to do before I hit the sack.

8:10 pm: I was on the road again

8:15 pm: I was randomly singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and thinking how amazing it was that the words never became dull or meaningless to me no matter how much I sing it. I was silent for awhile trying to remember the 3rd verse. And then I remember whispering a prayer. “Lord, thank you for this car. I'm so blessed to have a car that will get me from here to there safely and effeciently.” How ironic I thought later. But really, God was fixin' to teach me something.

8:15 pm: I was about 15 miles from home and had just gone through a small town. I was increasing back up to highway speed when all of a sudden I started losing speed and my gas pedal was not responding. I pulled over and stopped. I shut my car off and tried to restart it. It wouldn't start. I had a fleeting thought, “Thank you Lord for cell phones”.

8:25 pm: I reached into my purse and pulled mine out. No bars. I sat there for a minute, praying and turning the key. Praying and turning the key. Nothing. I hopped out of the car and stood behind my car, checking again for a cell phone signal. YES! One, then two bars. I called my daddy. To make a longer story shorter he was soon on his way. I sat in my car waiting for him. I knew the Lord was teaching me something. “Will you still know I'm faithful when something goes wrong?” “Will you still trust me when I don't provide a car that runs?”

I sang out loud and clear making sure the devil, the messenger of doubt, could hear me.

“GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

O GOD MY FATHER.

THERE IS NO SHADOW

OF TURNING WITH THEE.

THOU CHANGEST NOT.

THY COMPASSIONS

THEY FAIL NOT.

AS THOU HAST BEEN

THOU FOREVER WILT BE.”

8:40 pm: A car pulled up behind me. A state trooper came to my window and asked if I was ok. [had he heard me singing??? ;)] I told him my dad was on the way so I was good to go.

8:43 pm: I had Dad on speaker phone. The trooper came back and offered to stay in the area till Dad got there. He paced in his patrol car between a half a mile in front of me to a half a mile in back of me.

8:50 pm: Trooper pulled up again and offered for me to get in his car with a heater. By this time Dad was close by so I declined but thanked him.

8:55pm: Dad showed up. Trooper shared his flashlight and then was on his way.

9:10 pm: We were back on the road! I actually thought it was a lot of fun being towed- steering and maintaining a speed that kept the tow rope tight.

9:30 pm: I “coasted” into the driveway. It was good to be home!

Sometimes my spunky side tries to find an adventure in everything. I'm a little impractical at times. While I was sitting in my car excitedly plotting what might happen next 'on this a dark and windy night', my mom was at home worrying. I wasn't really thinking about the implications of being broken down in the dark and alone on the side of the road. Looking back I can see that God was showing His faithfulness through the circumstances instead of taking me around them. How clearly this illustrates to me that His faithfulness is unchanging even though life always is. Someone please remind me of this when or if we can't get my car running again!! :)

Okay. So my car stalling on the side of the road, doesn't happen everyday. But if I'd take the time to slow down and think through every day, I think I would find God's faithfulness to be the reoccurring theme. So yes, there is something normal and consistent about my life, but it has nothing to do with me. Only Him.

Whew, long post. But hey. I'll make you a deal. You post about your "normal" day and leave a comment here telling me you did, and I promise to read it! You can enter it over there too. For those who don't have blogs, email me about your day !

How Do You Want to Die?

Then Judas which had betrayed him,
when he saw that he was condemned,
repented himself and brought again

the thirty pieces of silver
to the chief priests and elders, saying,
“I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? See thou to that.”
And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple,
and departed and went and hanged himself.

This was in my Bible reading today. I was slammed with the realization that I once was a Judas. And at times, I allow that old nature to slip in.

To live for myself is to betray my Maker who created me to live for Him.

I had to ask myself and now I ask you. Will you crucify your “self” and serve the Lord; or will you feed your “self” until you founder on the world’s pleasures?

Either way, you die.

The question is, for what purpose will you die? Eternal purpose or the temporal?

For one you live and then die. That's it. The other, you die and then live. Abundantly and Eternally. How can they even compare? How you decide to die, Depends mostly on how you decide to live.

Surely this is what Jesus meant when He said, "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
photo shot by- Soryn V.

"Jesus didn't come into the world to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live!"
- Leonard Ravenhill

Psalm 36:5

For the Chronic Matchmaker

All matchmakers, pay close attention to detail.

...The number of times you mention his name has nothing to do with the odds of me actually falling in love with him.

...The simple fact that he goes to church proves absolutely nothing to me (romantically or spiritually!)

... The fact that you're his grandma, indicates to me I should automatically assume bias in anything positive you have to say about him.

... There is nothing about his dog being the most important thing in the world to him, that touches my heart.

...No matter how many pictures you show he does not grow any more handsome in my eyes than the first one I saw.

... When I say his kindergarten graduation picture is cute, I am referring to the chubby cheeks and big eyes--I am not comparing him to rest the of the men in the world.

... The fact that you care enough about me that you want me to be happily married someday, really does mean something to me, but I hate to see you disappointed.

... The fact that he is shorter than me is irrelevant compared to the fact that I am simply not looking to get married at the moment. (I have a funny feeling this one will come back and bite me someday.)

... The fact that I don't flirt with other men, does not mean I'm already in love with your grandson, whom [did I mention?] I have yet to meet.

Based on (a) true story(ies). Written without cynicism, rather only with affection for the sweet matchmakers-- and smiles for the ways they went about it. ;)

Only One Life...

... Twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last.

"Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity."-John Piper

"Let us lay aside ever weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run, with patience, the race that is set before us."

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation..."
photo of- Alexandria

Happy is She Who Stays Busy

I'll admit it. I like to stay busy. I don't like the repercussions of being too busy for too long though. I'm learning to not spread myself so thin. I think. I still have a lot of aspirations that could cram my calendar, but this week was fairly balanced.

Tuesday and Thursday I took care of an elderly lady in her home. She is adorable. And feisty. I enjoy fiesty. Especially at her age. :) She wanted to take me to the local bank in her sleepy little town. Because "There's young handsome men in there, and you would like to meet them." But we got too busy (thank goodness) with cleaning her crystal and linens; a pedicure; listening to 8 tracks; and trips to the cemetery.

I just started something new that I love. Wednesday evenings I've been teaching English as a second language. SO fun. But do you have any idea how weird our language is? It is. I didn't fully realize it until I tried to explain some of our funny rules and pronunciations. Thanks to my trips to Mexico and now, teaching my [totally amazing, beautiful and bright] ESL student, I've learned a very special lesson. There is a way of communication that reaches beyond languages of the tongue. Its known simply as smiling and laughing. If you don't know how, I highly recommend you learn how. And no, we don't just sit there and giggle. I mean real laughter and a smile every once in awhile that communicates "I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to know you."

Amidst the rest of my schedule I have to find time to study for my online Doula class. Do you know what that is? A doula mothers mothers. Now you know!

Um, lets see what else? Oh yes. I am designing some wedding invites for a couple whom I helped shoot engagement pictures for. Its been fun to get in on a couple projects for my friend's clients. I may help shoot their wedding in December. Fun-ness.

In other news, I know how much you wanted to know that I made my second sale on Ebay today! Delightful day. I was so happy. Its the simple things.

I really like living with my family. They're good people and they are good to me. I wanted that to go down in the records, since I'm not always that great at showing my appreciation. I also miss my Grandma and Grandpa. They did a lot for me while I was there earlier this year, and have been supportive of me. Love you two and thanks again for everything.[ooooh scary shark picture. haha, aren't we cute?]
This post has been rather helter skelter. Wonder if I missed anything. :) Blessings on your weekend!

I have accomplished nothing if I have not taken up my cross.
Matthew 10:38&39 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

You are so patient with me, Lord

My Brain Aches ;-) But My Heart is Full

Written night before last...

My heart is overflowing with a good theme [and my fingers are that of a ready typist :)]

I keep thinking about my last post. There are so many aspects to consider. A comment I received upon posting the link to facebook, provoked even more thought. My friend Brendan said, "It is truly out of love that God does let us to a point 'reap what we sow'. Although we never truly get what we deserve..."

Its the truth. The penalty for sin has been paid in full! We don't get what we deserve at all. To me this is all the more indicative of the mercy of affliction. If its not punishment, what is it? By allowing us to "taste" sin and its consequences He is conforming us into the image of His Son, which has the potential to keep us (if we let it) from going back to the deep turmoil of a purposeless life of sin.

"The world has lost its transient lure— Its evil spell I shun; I've set my course for higher things. Till earth's brief race is run". —Bosch
I would probably be getting in over my head to try and say any more than that. What's the difference between penalty and consequence? And if through Christ we are justified, can the consequences of a saint sinning, still be considered judgment? Your thoughts are welcome. All I know, is that right now I'm just overcome by the mercy of it all. I deserved to die. Christ died for me. I deserve to fail in times of temptation and go straight to the depths of Hell. Every temptation I've ever endured (or caved to!) He's endured too.

My evening is coming to a close. I just came across this simple yet meaningful song. [HT: Bryant] It summarizes my thoughts on the previous post and this one. It expresses the honor I feel in my heart towards Christ Who gave His all for me. Jesus, You deserve to be lifted high. What thanksgiving wells up inside me as I go to bed this night.

And even now that I'm inside your hands
Help me not to grow prideful again
Don't let me forsake sacrifice
Jesus you be lifted high

Can You See the Mercy?

Have you ever stopped to think about how merciful it is, that there are consequences to sin? Maybe I'm the only one, but I must admit to learning as a little child learns. I don't touch the hot stove, because I disobeyed once and know it to be hot.

If I couldn't feel the pain, more damage would be done. I would leave my hand there only to see the effects later. I would be helpless to reverse them.

In His judgement I find mercy. A paradox our human minds wrestle to comprehend. Its beautiful, really.

The incredible thing is that if I do leave my hand there too long, His mercy comes in the fashion of forgiveness. Grace. Grace heals me.

Not all affliction is the result of personal sin. But this kind too, is merciful. Life is good, days are packed with seemingly worthwhile endeavors, when something emotionally, spiritually, or physically disastrous happens. Nonbelievers and believers alike stop and consider. Why?

And thats their answer. They stopped and considered and asked why. In troubled times the lost seek. The believer re-focuses. When He's all you have, you'll realize He's all you'll ever need.

"In all their affliction he was afflicted." Isaiah 69:3

He. feels. your. pain. If He can feel it too, don't you think His reason for the affliction must be of more consequence than the pain?

His mercy endures forever. His compassions fail never.

The following passage is excerpts of Lamentations 3. I highly recommend looking it up and reading it in its entirety. It seems like it could be my own personal testimony... and I'm sure, many others' as well. Pay attention to the detail of this amazing passage.

I AM the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.

He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.

...

And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.

And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:

Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.

My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed,

because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.

...

Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission.

Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven.

...

I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon.

Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.

Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.

O LORD, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.

O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause.




The Face


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When I am faithless, He is faithful.
When mine fail, His plans prevail.
When I fail, His mercy endures.
Without Him, I am nothing.


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