Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not So Girly Maggie

I've been wanting to post something like this for a while now...to show a little passing of time and how much Maggie has grown! I generally wish that puppies would just remain the size they are, so cute and cuddly, and I was convinced that Maggie wouldn't be as cute when she got older. But amazingly enough, I believe she has grown more and more adorable. It may be due in part to the fact that she still thinks she is the size of a puppy. She'll jump into my lap to cuddle and try to squeeze onto one of our love seats when there's already two or three people sitting there with absolutely no room for a dog of her size. Oh boy do we love her!

A little over two years ago



Last night

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Anonymous,

1 Peter 3:15 "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."

About a week ago I noticed a new comment on a previous post. The post had to do with Jesus' second coming. I have come to realize that I have been a tad naive in thinking that only my friends read my blog. It turns out that, at least occasionally, people that I don't even know read my blog.
The comment that I recently discovered was from an anonymous person, and they questioned how I know that what I believe is true. Have I studied all religions? How do I know that my faith is the true faith and not something else?
Well, I want to attempt to answer that question. I'm obviously not in seminary...I don't have a Bible degree...I also could in no way be described as eloquent, however, as the verse states above, I always want to be ready to explain why I believe the Bible is true. The following points are in no particular order.

1. To start off, to place our hope and trust in anything requires faith. Although there are plenty of evidences that the Bible is true, it still takes faith. The Bible also says that the Holy Spirit gives us faith as a gift. So no matter what I say, I can't fully convince anyone to believe the same thing. That power belongs to God alone.

2. The Bible begins before the world was even created. If I believe in anything, I want to know that it starts at the beginning of history.

3. My faith is based on authority not of my own, or of any human, but on the authority of God. The Bible itself says that the entire thing is written by God. He inspired men to write HIS words.

4. As far as I know, all other religions, at least the ones I know of, include some kind of human work for salvation. But the Bible says that salvation is in Christ alone. "And there is salvation in on one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 I have definitely lived long enough to know that I am a sinner. I can try as hard as I can on my own to not sin, but it doesn't happen. I know that I don't have any power to save myself or have any part in it except for faith, which as I said earlier, is a gift of God's grace.

5. Creation. There's really not much more to say to say on this one. Romans 1 tells us that just by looking at creation we know that God exists and we are without excuse. And seriously, just looking at the complex way we are made. That didn't just happen.

6. Ezekiel 36:26 says, "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." I love the words from a certain song..."The mercy is more that a match for my heart, which wonders to feel it's own hardness depart." Besides experiencing my own heart melt before the Lord, I have witnessed numerous changed lives. What else can explain Paul's immediate change from a man who persecuted Jews...one who stood by watching people stone Stephen for his faith in God, to one who went around spreading the same gospel and being persecuted for it himself?

7. Our natural instinct to worship. If you don't worship God, you worship yourself or something else. We all start off worshipping ourselves. Yet there is never satisfaction in this. If you worship yourself, you can never receive enough praise, enough attention, enough money, enough things, enough of anything to make yourself happy. The times I am most joyful are the times when I am dwelling on God and who He is and praising Him with my heart. And I can't do that perfectly on earth because I still have sin, but there is GREAT JOY in knowing I will eventually worship Him with NO SIN in Heaven! We were created to worship Him.

Well, this is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact the real list would be inexhaustive because God is eternal and infinite. But please, feel free to leave comments, especially anything obvious that I am not mentioning...like for instance, all the prophesies in the Bible that have been fulfilled...that sort of thing.

Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you."

Friday, December 04, 2009

Mad About...

Interior Decorating

If I could have any job in the world, it would be to be a wife and mom. But considering I'm not in control of that, teaching assisting is wonderful! I really do enjoy teaching this year. I'm growing more and more convinced that I would like to stick with it. The little Kindergarteners have stolen my heart!

That said, if I wasn't a teacher, I think it would be a blast to be an interior decorator. The great thing about interior decorating though, is that anyone can do it for fun...in their own home or room! ;) And I get to redecorate my old room again! When I moved out and lived with some friends for awhile, Dany moved into my old room upstairs. When I moved back, I converted the sewing room/den downstairs into a bedroom. I took most of what I had in my room at the Valley house and stuffed it in there, and painted the back wall...what else? Red!

Here's some pics of my current room downstairs:











Well, this little room has served me well, but it's time to move on. Dany is getting married on December 28th and so she and Thomas are flying to Germany on the 18th. That means my old room upstairs is free. I contemplated staying downstairs, but I absolutely love my window upstairs! It has a beautiful tree right in front of it, giving the feel of living in a tree house...and it has a ledge wide enough to be a window seat. Perfect for reading! In addition, how can I pass up the chance to decorate a room again?!

So right now, I'm trying to decide what to do with it. I love red, but it's time for a new shade. I think I'm going to paint the back wall a bright blue/tealish color...move my black rolltop desk up there...maybe use one of my larger paintings that Amber gave me as a headboard, and besides that...the sky's the limit!

Here are some pics I found as inspiration online:






The pic of the mirror and little dresser are to prove to my mom that teal and black work together.



Tell me what you think about the above wall color. Now mind you, it would just be my back wall...a small wall. My mom LOATHES the idea. :(

And to finish off; some pretty knobs for my dresser:







Yay for decorating!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful


"The gifts of grace are not enjoyed all at once by believers. Coming to Christ we are saved by a true union with Him, but it is by abiding in that union that we further receive the purity, the joy, the power and the blessedness that are stored up in Christ for His people. See how our Lord states this when He speaks to the believing Jews in the eighth chapter of John: 'Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye coninue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (vss. 31-33).
"We do not know all the truth at once: we learn it by abiding in Jesus. Perseverance in grace is an educational process by which we learn the truth fully. The emancipating power of that truth is also gradually perceived and enjoyed. 'The truth shall make you free.' One bond after another snaps, and we are free indeed. You who are beginners in the divine life may be cheered to know that there is something better still for you: you have not yet received the full reward of your faith. You shall have happier views of heavenly things as you climb the hill of spiritual experience. As you abide in Christ you shall have firmer confidence, richer joy, greater stability, more communion with Jesus, and greater delight in the Lord your God. As physical infancy is beset with many evils from which adulthood is exempt, so it is in the spiritual world.
"...You have to live with Christ to know Him, and the longer you live with Him, the more you will admire and adore Him. Yes, and the more you will receive from Him, even grace for grace...Oh that we may continue to grow up into Him in all things who is our Head and prize Him more and more!" - Charles Spurgeon

Yesterday, I think everyone in our family was dreading the point at which we would go around the table and thank God for the ways He has blessed each one of us this year. It may be a bit of a cliche thing to do, especially considering that we should be thankful all of the time, but nonetheless, I enjoy hearing the hearts of each member of my family. Not many other occasions afford such an opportunity. But anyways, like I was saying, things were a little different this year. We all knew it would be a particularly emotional time. How do you thank God for your dad's death? It sounds wrong to say so, but I think that's because if it was up to us, we wouldn't have chosen it. However, he's in Heaven, with God! And although we miss him, we have the hope of seeing him again. So it was interesting to see, we often go on about the various aspects of our lives in which God has blessed us; job, home, etc...and while we are thankful for these things, as Jeremy put it, those are all the more obviously temporary in light of the ways God has shown us His love, protection, provision and ETERNITY this year. The section from Spurgeon above reflects what I have been learning through it all.

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation." Psalm 68:5

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mad About...



TARGET!

Or as it is properly pronounced...Tar-djay. That's kinda hard to type out phonetically. I pretty much call it that without fail and a couple of years ago my mom told me that my Grandma Shaw also called it that without fail -- only she seriously thought that's how it was meant to be said. :)

Anyway folks...think about it. Necklaces, purses, wedding presents, birthday presents, baby shower presents, eggs, milk, chocolate, make-up, shampoo and conditioner, tents, sleeping bags, paper, sweaters, opaque stockings, umbrellas, sunglasses, pillows, blankets, mp3 players, novels, sudoku, Starbucks, pasta, candles, cd's, wrapping paper, gum, underwear, cereal, pots, pans, mulch, tennis shoes, scarves, wallets, greeting cards, puzzles, bathing suits, Pizza Hut, nail polish, photo albums, Sudafed, Hello Kitty diaries, cacti, Burt's Bees products, clocks, storage bins, strollers, dvd players, hair straighteners, dog food...

Name me one other place where you can find such a pletheora of items under one roof.

A few other reason why I love the Bullseye:

- It's favorite color is red.
- I can ALWAYS count on seeing a friendly face. Even when I've just left the checkout line and think I made it through without seeing anyone I know, there Summer Paige will be opening the door. (I seriously used to run into Summer everywhere!)
- (I have this thing where when I'm making a list, I have to have at least three bullets.) But the whole post is about how I can find almost whatever I need at Target, so there you go.

I LOVE Target! But I won't marry it. Although I could get married in it...or not.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mad About...

I have always enjoyed blogs in which the writers have a little special somethin' that they post weekly. For example, Lisa Martin has her www.wednesday.what? Girltalk has Friday Funnies. I enjoy things I can count on. So, I have decided (in keeping with my thankfulness theme) to post things that I am "mad about" on Fridays. Probably not every Friday...but I would like to be optimistic about it. Without further ado, today I'm Mad About...

CINNAMON!



I have recently decided that cinnamon makes almost anything taste better. I think I actually heard that in a movie a couple weeks ago. Although, I think they were talking about butter. But in my book, it's cinnamon. Cinnamon is delish! This might be the very reason why Cinnamon Toast Crunch is my favorite cereal, and maybe just maybe why I eat it every morning.
After I saw the movie Ratatouille for the first time, I had this overwhelming desire to start cooking. I wanted to come up with my own recipes or add secret ingredients to favorite meals in our house. I made a salad one night and added...you guessed it...cinnamon, and it really made a difference!
A few nights ago I went to Coldstone's with a friend and thought, why not add some cinnamon to my cake batter ice cream? Let's just say, it was dangerously delectable.
Have you ever added cinnamon to your coffeemaker before you started brewing? If you haven't, go ahead and try it. I doubt you will ever turn back.
All this to say, I'm thankful that God created cinnamon. In my opinion, its the best spice out there!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Retraction

Wow, here I said a few posts back that I would, EVERY time I post, list three things that I am thankful for and in the last three posts, I failed to do so once. So, to make up for it, here are some things I have been thankful for recently:

~ A short, relaxing vacation in San Diego with my Mom, Emily, and Erin. I particularly enjoyed swimming in the ocean for the first time this year, watching the surfers and the gorgeous waves at San Clemente on the way home, and for just a fun time hanging out with three amazing people!

~ A fresh reminder of where my dad is and most importantly, WHOM he is with. Is that right? Whom? or Who? I never know. It made me long to be with Jesus more.

~ I am still enjoying those Kindergarteners. They bring so many smiles to my face. I enjoy going to work each day.

~ God reminding me of how much I need to depend on Him alone.

~ Sisters and Mothers. I mean, I only have one of each obviously, but sisters and mothers are wonderful in general.

~ Cooler weather.

~ Becky and Hannah. They are so fun to work with! And drive to San Diego with! And yes I am ending my sentences with prepositions! Is that not grammatically correct?

Monday, September 14, 2009

San Diego



This past weekend I went to San Diego with some people I love! Here is a smattering of pictures I took. I could't stop, it was so beautiful there. Lately I have been obsessed with Alicia Bock's photography. Her pictures have a vintage feel. From what I can tell she likes to use a polaroid. Or else she gives her photos a polaroid feel. Either way I love the light, pastel colors in her photos and I must admit they influenced my editing of these shots.
The weekend was so nice and relaxing! A perfect chance to get away, think on God's power by watching and swimming in His mighty waves and to look at His dazzingly beautiful creation! He is so awesome and I long to see the Creator face to face!
















Surfer Em

I LOVE my cool sister!







Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dany and Thomas

As I have said in the past, I am by no means a great photographer, but I have always loved photography and enjoy any opportunity to practice. So I was extremely excited when Thomas agreed to Dany's plan for me to take their engagement pictures.
Dany is from Germany and I first got to know her eight years ago when she came here to live with us my senior year of high school. Dany wanted to live with a Christian family with daughters that went to a public school. So, our family was a perfect fit. I was devastated when Dany went back home because I felt that she had become a sister to Emily and me. Thankfully, God provided for her to come to Master's two or three years later. She would stay with us over summer breaks and she has been living with us again since she started the teaching credential program. She now teaches German to Kindergarteners!
Dany and Thomas met at Master's and started dating over two years ago. Thomas is from Zimbabwe and they plan on going there after he finishes seminary at TMS. They are getting married in December, most likely in Germany. I'm still attempting to make it there, but we'll see.
Dany and Thomas are both very kind and humble people. I learn so much from their gentle spirits and I am SO GLAD that God has brought them together and has allowed them to get married!
Here are the pictures. I promise this is not becoming a photography blog. I feel ridiculously pretentious enough posting these. :)

















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