Sunday, November 29, 2009

LuLu Certified

LuLu Photography Gift Certificates Now Available!!

Did you avoid Black Friday like the plague and now you realize you don't have a single gift bought? Christmas is in 26 days! But, don't panic. Have you been harrassing family members to give you some photos? Are you stumped at what to buy the person that has everything?

Give them memories. Priceless. Timeless. Easy.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Yesterday during church, the worship was just awesome. I wanted to be transported straight into the throne room of God and fall at his feet in adoration. I long with every fiber within to hear Him call my name and be in his tangible presence for all the rest of eternity. We sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," a hymn that has such profound and lasting words:

"Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood."

Ebenezer. Did I just sing about Ebenezer? I have to admit that when the line "Here I raise my Ebenezer" comes up, I always get a mental picture of Scrooge. Sure, God, if you want Scrooge, you can have him: "Here he is!" I remember wondering what on earth that line meant, but I don't remember thinking that I would go actively search it out! Amazingly enough, when I was reading in 1st Samuel today, "Ebenezer" made its appearance! Folks: "Ebenezer" only shows up in this book! How awesome is the Holy Spirit?!?

Picture this with me: The Philistines have returned the ark of the LORD back to the Israelites. (Apparently, things weren't going so well for them while it was in their possession.) Samuel, the prophet, is the leader of Israel, since at this point in history, there has never been a king. (God was their King, until he gave into their ill desires for a human king.) Samuel instructs the Israelites to commit to the LORD and serve him only. Then, perhaps the LORD would look on them with favor and save them from an impending attack from the Philistines.

I just love it when God shows up at a battle scene and delivers the enemy into his children's hands. This time, He opted to send a huge explosion of thunder into the Philistine's camp, which created a mass panic. In the confusion, the Israelites were able to kill the enemy right and left and secure the victory.

Right after the victory, Samuel sets up a single rock at the place where God met with them. 1st Samuel 7:12 says, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the LORD helped us.'"

The Hebrew for Ebenezer is "Even Haazer" and literally means "Stone of Help." Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee. Samuel wanted to physically mark the place of God's help. It symbolized a fresh beginning for the Israelites: the Philistines would not mess with Israel again for the rest of Samuel's days. Samuel wanted the Israelites to have something to look upon to remind them of God's faithfulness and tangible aid.

So, back to the hymn. Now when I sing it, I think I can visualize something better than Ebenezer Scrooge. When I raise my Ebenezer, I can raise up a stone of remembrance for God's restoration in my life. I can praise Him for his mercies that are new every morning. He has been my "Stone of Help" and words cannot express how passionate I am about Him.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We had ourselves a merry little time last night, putting up our Christmas decorations! Andrea Bocelli's new Christmas CD was playing in the background while we unpacked numerous boxes finding all sorts of treasures. Some things were a joy to unopen because I had totally forgotten about them in the span of a year!

We kicked off the night with our favorite meal: Giada's Chicken Florentine. (Well, Eric and I love it and we enjoy laughing at the boys choke down their spinach...but we made it up to them later with sugar cookies!)

A couple of years ago, we bought a mini tree, which houses all the froo-froo "Mommy" decorations. The large tree is our family tree which the boys get to decorate. It hosts all of the kid ornaments through the years. This first cross is, no doubt, on the froo-froo tree and serves as a constant reminder that Jesus came to this earth for a sole purpose: to restore his Father's children back to Him.

The above is our meek and lowly Christmas tree star. I used to want some huge shiny star full of bling, but God showed us that this star, made out of wood, is the perfect reflection of Jesus entering humanity. In his humility, Jesus left some of his glorious "bling" in heaven and entered a world full of sin and disorder so that he might be Immanuel, "God with us."
I can remember my first Bible study by Beth Moore, called, "A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place." It is still one of my favorite studies because it showed me how the Old Testament points to the revelation of Jesus. How beautiful! While studying the Tabernacle and items placed inside, I learned that many of the objects that pointed to Jesus were made out of wood and then dipped in gold. Wood represented his humanity and gold his deity. So, I cherish my little wooden star. If I dipped it in gold, I might even like it more! HA!

Sometimes, it takes 2 kiddos to get the star on top!

So, we are decorated for the holidays and ready to enjoy the month of December. But, first things first: Thanksgiving!!!

New Sessions Up!

Check out these fun families!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

Cade's class had an awesome Thanksgiving Feast/Celebration Friday! They ate chicken strips, mac n cheese, fruit salad, rosemary rolls, pumpkin pie and sugar cookies. They all dressed up like pilgrims and indians and managed to run an obstacle course in their costumes. Fun was had by all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Shipping!

I noticed on "Blurb" today that shipping is free through November 24th! If you are going to order a Testament Focused book, now might be the perfect time. The shipping is good for up to 5 books, if mailed to the same address!

Use promo code at checkout: HOLIDAY

Want to win a free copy??? Go to my sister in law Kelli's blog and enter her first giveaway!!!

To Him Who Sits on the Throne

This morning at the breakfast table, Sam broke out in song. He sang this:

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come.

And then he repeated it. In the sweetest, most innocent voice you have ever heard, he repeated it over and over again.

And it gave me a picture of Revelation chapter 4.

"Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

'Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come."'

I think for a brief span, human time joined with the eternal lack of time and one song of praise was given to our King.

You are worthy, Lord. Receive the praises of a small boy and take all the glory today in our lives.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dazzle Daze

Every year at Dazzle Daze,

Junior Auxiliary sells wreaths made by local companies and contributors for a fundraiser...
and my friend Casey asked "LuLu Photography" to contribute...
and I about wet my pants because "wreath making" is not my "spiritual gifting" (ha)...
but I knew that my mother-in-law was fully equipped with this talent, so I said yes, hit her up for help, and voila...isn't it beautiful?!
If you visit Dazzle Daze, be sure to visit the Junior Auxiliary Booth and buy yourself a gorgeous door treatment!
And thank you, Barbara!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mt. Nebo

Roadrunner! He started running straight for me after I snapped this shot. Do roadrunners charge at their enemies?

Mount Nebo is beautiful and made the "twilight zone" house worth the trip! Good times.

New Sessions!

New Sessions are up here!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Go Saints!

Some church gals went on a trip to Mt. Nebo this weekend. We rented a huge house and piled into every nook and cranny of it! It was a great time away, complete with hiking, reading, sunshine, girl time, games, fire/smores and m&ms. But, we couldn't help but notice the odd decor of the home. Here are some examples:
1. Mary and Baby Jesus refrigerator magnets. The cheerleader outfit says, "Go Saints!" Is this just a tad sacreligious??

2. Elvis in his underwear/framed in a bathroom. I am not sure I ever wanted to see Elvis in his underwear, but alas, I have.
3. Kitchen mural. I like to call it: "Burial cloths of Jesus meets decoupage and painted wood paneling."

4. The painted ceiling of the porch and the ceiling fan. The thing actually works!

5. The biggest lazy susan I have ever seen attached to a table. Comes in handy.

6. Navajo Sink: Might be neat in the right location, but this was, um, in the living room.

7. Brady Bunch Double Doors.

8. Roman Arches Painted Mural: I bet you thought those were real arches and mountains, didn't you?

9. Front Entry Chandelier: Love the Melted Wax around the sides.

10. Metallic wallpaper: I can actually see this making a comeback.

11. Brown Shag Carpet: Don't know how long it has been there or what has occurred on it.

12. Master Bed Draped in Curtains: Need I say more?

13. Watercolor Paintings for Sale throughout the home: This one is circa 2000 and still available if you are interested...

14. The color combinations: hunter green, lavender, baby blue carpet, and ice blue comforter.

Well, there you have it. And, "Go Saints!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

21 months

Thinking of you, today, Kiley. I don't know that any of us are looking forward to the holidays and I am just ready to not feel that way. How many years will that take?
Here we are doing our Saturday Night Live "Who's That Spartan Cheerleader" routine. (Nice.)
This picture for some reason reminds me of the woman at the well in the book of John, whose eyes are opened to the One who gives eternal life/living water. I think of you in the presence of the One who has quenched your thirst and crossed you over from death to life. No more sorrow. No more pain. Just everlasting refreshment and rest. We can't wait to join you in your bliss.

We miss your zest for life and your ability to turn the mundane into a party.

Kiley, would you ask the King to heal our hearts and set us free? You can be pretty convincing; maybe you could encourage Him to come steal us away from this dry and weary land.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cousins and Teeth

Eli lost his second tooth the other night. Knowing that his cousin Sloan, who is only 6 months younger lost one on the same day, I encouraged Eli to call him and converse on such amazing events.

Here is how the conversation went:

Eli: Hi, man. Pause. I'm watching Sports Center. Pause. And I lost my tooth when you did. Pause. I lost my second tooth today. Pause. I lost mine (first tooth) a long time ago, when I was like 5.

Cade decides to talk to Sloan: Hey Sloan. How ya doin? How's that tooth going? I've lost ten teeth. Pause. Yes, ten. (insert loads of hilarious laughter here.) OK, bye.

Oh, the conversations of grown men trapped in little bodies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The WINNER is:

According to, the winner of the "Beauty for Ashes" giveaway is:


For those that don't know Libby, she was one of my sister, Kiley's bestest friends!
I will mail them to you when they come in!


It is here!
To preview:
Go to
Go to "Bookstore"
Type in "Testament Focused"
or see if this link works!
There are almost 70 images, each combined with a very fitting scripture. You can preview some of those on the site! I am so excited that it has arrived just in time for Christmas. I think it will make a great gift or a great conversational piece for your own home. I hope it blesses you and those you send it to!
Soaring Wings Ranch will receive 100% profit on the sale of the first 25 books.
If you want to share the release of Testament Focused on your own blog, then please feel free.
And, don't forget to sign up for the giveaway in the below post that ends in 5 hours!
Love you all!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Post #500 and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Here I am. Post #500. I don't think it is ironic that I started this blog about a month before Kiley died. I believe God knew I would need some sort of therapeutic venue to get out my thoughts, frustrations, and confusion. God knew I wouldn't speak of these things out loud, but I might be able to write of these things, and so the blog became a written look into my heart these past 21 months.

In the Bible, all numbers have significance. I don't understand the ramifications of each number and what it portrays, but it gives me comfort knowing that our God is perfect and that everything He does has meaning and order. Nothing is born out of chaos or thrown together in a random fashion when God is the orchestrator. While each number has significance, multiples of that number will bear the same meaning. For example, when we hear the number "490", we probably think of "70 x 7." So, in dealing with the number "5," it is OK to assume that "500" will have a similar meaning. Have I lost you? Please don't leave yet, I promise there is a giveaway! (Is that bribery? That is pathetic!)

"5" is a fun number to study because it is all about the grace of God! Most of the information I learned is from the book, "The Biblical Significance of Numbers," by Roger Hicks. He says that "when God is released to work in our lives, the boundaries on earth and heaven are removed by His grace." He says, "Five can be considered man's weaknesses perfected in God's strength and power, which is nothing less and nothing more than His grace."

There are some amazing examples with the number "5" that show "God manifested on earth because of grace." When God graciously calls out Abram to be the start of his chosen people, he breathes the Hebrew letter "h" into his name, changing "Abram" to "Abraham." Cool fact: the Hebrew letter "h" is the 5th letter of the alphabet!

Moses penned the first five books of the bible referred to as the Pentateuch. If God hadn't revealed Himself and the way He desires to be known in these first 5 books, then we would be forever without the grace to know Him. (His grace was manifest later in Christ, but His essence was on display in these first 5 books.)

In Leviticus 26:8, God tells the Israelites that "5 of you will chase 100." Sounds like our human weakness supernaturally goes out the door when God's grace visits us.

David took with him 5 stones to slay a giant. With grace, the small boy snatched up the victory.

When God was giving instructions on how to build the Tabernacle, almost all dimensions are multiples of 5. The very fact that He would want to dwell among us is the epitome of grace.

At Calvary, Jesus Christ had 5 wounds (back, hands, feet, head, and side) so that we might experience freedom from death and sin. By his stripes, grace was able to visit us in our weakness.

I think "5" and multiples of "5" can represent God's favor shown to the weak and unworthy.

In this 500th post, I praise Him for his grace on my life that has been a roller coaster of weakness and unworthiness. I praise Him for giving me an outlet to release some angst. I praise Him for giving me the grace to continue getting up each morning and for the grace to praise Him in the storm. I praise Him for His favor in allowing Testament Focused to become a reality. I praise Him for grace. Period.

His grace allows us to trade in our ashes for beauty. His grace clothes us with praise instead of a spirit of despair. His grace declares that everlasting joy is our inheritance. His grace proclaims freedom and sets us free from captivity. His grace plants us as "oaks of righteousness", to display His glory and splendor.

I wanted to have a giveaway that celebrates His grace and favor on our lives. I chose the Testament Focused picture, "Beauty for Ashes." I am so excited! I ordered notecards that have the below image imprinted on the front of the cards. The bottom of the inside of the cards say "Beauty for Ashes" along with the Isaiah reference.

I think the cards will minister to a wide range of people: from those grieving to those who just need an encouraging word. Even if you aren't the "sending cards" type, or you are a male (ha!), go ahead and enter the giveaway because if you win, you will have one (free and unique) Christmas present for someone special already taken care of! If you don't win and are interested in purchasing your own set (for yourself or a unique Christmas present), let me know.

So, here is the giveaway! A set of 10 "Beauty for Ashes" custom made notecards!! Giveaway will end on Tuesday, November 10th at 10 pm. will assist me with the winner! Praise God for his favor and thank you for reading this to the end; you are the best blog readers ever!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Sessions!

New fall sessions are up!


(And the next post will be #500! I ordered the giveaway...stay tuned!!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

He'll Always Be My Baby

I think I was about two in the above pic. The below is Eli at about two. I think I will always be able to claim him as my own, don't you?!
I just love me some Eli! Still, at the age of 6 and 3/4, he will come cuddle in my lap and snuggle. He'll always be my baby, I don't care how much time goes by.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Bugs! It has been nice knowing ya! Thanks for always putting a smile on my face and a happy place in my heart. Love ya.