Saturday, January 12, 2013

Photo booth fun!

While I was hanging out with my most awesome nephews over the holidays,  we decided to play around with the Photo Booth program on my computer and had a great time making faces and giggling like crazy! John Michael and I have a tradition of making silly faces together...apparently I missed the memo that this would be a walrus-esque themed photo shoot. My bad. Carter was pretty cute about the whole thing...I think he was slightly nervous that he was actually turning into an alien, or bug, or twisty nose (or chipmunk, check out those cheeks!)...but he warmed up to the fun after a bit. Ah, love these boys!

Faces with Sissa

Um, Sissa, what are you turing me into? 

hehehe :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Peaks and valleys

"It seemed to her at that moment that all the pain and postponement, all the sorrows and trials of the long journey she had made, were as nothing compared to the glory which shone before her"

"Much-Afraid stood still and stared. The more she looked, the more stunned she felt. Then she began to tremble and shake all over, for the whole mountain range before, as far as she could see to left and right, rose up in unbroken walls of rock so high that it made her giddy when she put her head back and tried to look up to the top"
                                              - from "Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard

Peaks and valleys. The emotional and spiritual roller coaster of a trial. At times, the challenge seems conquerable, buffered by peace and quiet joy, and reminders of His faithfulness. Then the sudden drop. A frantic scrambling to grasp that which one knows to be true, fingers slipping on the slime of fear and doubt. The war rages. Whispers of hopelessness, lack of strength, and weakness weave their way through the mind, each whisper thread is challenged by Truth, speared intentionally and sometimes unintentionally from the foundation on which the heart rests. He is my hope. He is my strength. When I am weak, then I am strong. The battle continues, a finger slips. A cry for mercy. And the Word provides:

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" - Psalm 56:3-4

The whispers splinter, shattered by the light, a toe-hold is caught, the fingers renew their grip, the tired arms relieved, uncaring for how long, for the rest is welcomed without restraint. The spirit refreshed, still tired, still old, but now set with renewed determination, a jaw stubbornly jutting out, strengthened by a Power outside itself, by Him.

"When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you" - Isaiah 43:2.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


*I wrote this a few weeks ago and debated about posting...but I hope that someone is encouraged by this and that He will be visible through this post and the posts to follow about what He is teaching me*

It started with a phone call. A phone call that reported the results of a recent test were normal.


Who would think that the word "normal" would bring on tears of frustration and despair? That it could create a gut-tightenen fear that it was back to the beginning, that the past five months of pain and suffering hadn't accomplished anything, that the same questions were still open, unanswered...maybe not answerable? Ever?

If the test is normal, why the pain, why the nausea, why the vomiting? That's not normal. How could the test be normal?

And then, bleakness. A stretch of gray, of fog. Numbness settles in. Not numbness to the pain that increases when eating, forcing a diet of liquid and pureed foods. No, it is a numbness to feeling, to processing the potential of what lies ahead - the continued journey to answer the questions. To find the source of the problem, of the pain. The inability to comprehend that a journey that had been seemingly coming to a close, HAD to be coming to a close, was torn wide open again. The threads of new healing ripped apart and the wound made red and raw.

I am not strong enough. Why does God think I am strong enough? I'm so tired. Surviving yes, but not thriving. Not moving forward. Stagnant. Perhaps trudging at times, but still the slowness, a fading.

How do I live a life I never wanted or asked for? How do I reconcile my hopes and dreams with His plan for me?

I know the answer. I fear the answer.

There is no reconciliation. Only change. He must change my heart.

I read the words "Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge" - Psalm 16:1. Preserve me? Is that really what I want?

Further study reveals the definitions of "preserve" - "to keep safe from injury, harm, and free from decay" - no, that's not right...and then there is this: "to keep up and reserve for personal or special use". Yes. That's it. I am being "kept up" - not free from harm or injury, but sustained. For His purpose. Looking up "refuge" reveals "shelter from danger and distress, something to which one has recourse in difficulty." What's recourse? Recourse: a turning to something or something for help or protection. A source of help or strength. Yes, that is it as well. I seek a source of help, strength, and protection.

I find I can say those words now, "Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge" - or rather, reworded per their definitions:

Keep me up, Oh God, and reserve me for your use, for in you I seek help, strength, and protection.

It's not an answer. But it is a start. A lessening of the numbness.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New art for the New Year

I figured a gray, drizzly, cold New Year's Day was just perfect for working on two new art projects for the dining room.

The first was inspired from something I saw on Pinterest. The person had put all the coins she had collected during her travels into a photo frame. I've collected quite a few coins from my travels and rather than storing them in various jars,  I decided to hot glue mine onto a 5 X 5 inch canvas.

I cut some brown cardstock to 5 X 5, hot glued it to the canvas, and then hot glued some ribbon I had on hand around the edge to dress it up. After coming up with a design for the coins (the coins are from Lativa, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, and Italy), I just hot glued those and voila! Art.

The second piece is comprised of pieces of terra cotta tiles I collected while on the beach in Cinque Terre. Same thing here - leaving the canvas bare, I glued a ribbon trim, came up with a design for the pieces, and hot glued those in place. 

I had already removed two black and white canvases from the dining room wall to make room for that oil painting you see in the bottom left's done by a local artist in Cinque Terre and it's of the town (Riomaggiore) that we stayed in.

Now every time I look at this wall, I will be reminded of the awesome travel adventures I have had thus far.

Christmas decorations put away for another year and new art up on the walls. Good start to the new year :).