Nov 9, 2011

Dear Blog,

I have missed you. Promise to write soon. Love, R

Jun 8, 2011

the promises from your Word are enough ...

So, I have shared this song before on the blog: Blessings by Laura Story

I was listening to this song in the car the other day and a few lines resonated with me.

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And it just struck me how I live my life this way. How I can still struggle with my faith, my circumstances, my joy. I know God loves me. I know he wants the best for me. But sometimes I still pout when I don't get 'my' way. I am glad that God reminds us through the Bible of his promises for us.

Here are some promises to cling through as we do this thing called life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (CEV)

1Everything on earth

has its own time

and its own season.

2There is a time

for birth and death,

planting and reaping,

Hebrews 13:8 (CEV)

8Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Philippians 4:13 (CEV)

13Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

1 John 4:16 (NIV)

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

John 3:16 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Monday Minute: Swivel Store

Okay, this is one of those As Seen on TV that I actually want to buy.

You can buy it here: Swivel Store

Am I the only one whose "spice bottles are out of control?" Or are there others out there?

May 16, 2011

Monday Minute: Sparrow Keychain

How cute is this?!?

The Sparrow Keychain doubles as whistle and then when you get home you put the bird in its birdhouse. Super cute. I think this would make a fantastic housewarming gift.

May 11, 2011

Parenting is Hard

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

The other day my children's school sent home the weekly newsletter. In it was a short article titled, "WANTED. Understanding children who talk back."

This caught my eye. Why would an understanding child talk back?!? And who wants a child that talks back?!? So I read through it. It was then that I realized that the WANTED banner was just part of the fancy clip art associated with our wild west theme of our school mascot, The Rangers. The article was about understanding why your children might talk back and some advice on what to do. Here's what it stated.

It is normal for children to talk back to their parents at different stages of their development. If talking back seems to be a concern, consider the following ...

- Don't get into a power struggle with your child. An angry response from you may result in more back talking.
- Let your child know in a calm manner that you are not happy with the way they are talking and that the conversation will continue when they are ready to talk in a respectful and calm manner.
- Acknowledge when your child speaks in a respectful manner.
- Model the way you want to be talked to when you are talking to your child.
- Use wait time. Take the time to listen and show your child you will consider their thoughts and concerns.

Uggh. I need to print this out in poster size and hang it in every room in my home. To be completely honest, I have a roller coaster relationship with my son. We are either on a big high and getting along fabulously or we are in the pits. It is so hard. When I look back at a conversation, I can see where it went terribly wrong. But in the heat of the moment, I just can't see my mistakes. Sometimes I'm not a crazy Christian girl. I'm just crazy!

Now, I know that this is not a one sided equation. I know that my son is responsible for his attitude and actions. But, I can't help feeling that if I were a better model of how to respond, and not react when frustrated, he would be better at it, too.

So, I went to Scripture to see if this advice is supported. Here's what I found.

- Don't get into a power struggle with your child. An angry response from you may result in more back talking.

Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Ephesians 6:4a (The Message)

- Let your child know in a calm manner that you are not happy with the way they are talking and that the conversation will continue when they are ready to talk in a respectful and calm manner.

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. Ephesians 5:21 (The Message)

Respect your father and mother—God, your God, commands it! You'll have a long life; the land that God is giving you will treat you well. Deuteronomy 5:16 (The Message)

- Acknowledge when your child speaks in a respectful manner.

Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Ephesians 6:4b (The Message)

- Model the way you want to be talked to when you are talking to your child.

1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:1-2, 6-7 (New International Version, ©2011)

- Use wait time. Take the time to listen and show your child you will consider their thoughts and concerns.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19 (New International Version, ©2011)

My prayer is that I will respond to my child in love and grace, the way God responds to me when I act badly. Thanks for letting me be transparent with you. I hope that you are encouraged by God's promises to us (like the unconditional love he has for every single person on this planet) and that like me, you can ask for forgiveness for past mistakes and move beyond them into God's plan and purpose for your own life.

Matthew 3:17 (New International Version, ©2011)

17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

May 9, 2011

Monday Minute: kelly & katie Wedge

So, now that I live in a warmer climate, I need more than one pair of flip-flops. I needed some cute sandals that added a touch of style to my outfit while still being comfortable. These wedges by kelly & katie totally fit the bill.

I actually bought them while we were out on our date night - we drove past DSW and couldn't resist - and wore them out of the store! So comfortable and so cute. That's win-win.

Apr 25, 2011

Monday Minute: The Help

Last summer, this was on everyone's reading list.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Well, now this summer you can see the movie.

But I would suggest you read the book first.

Apr 20, 2011

Preparing for Rain

Leviticus 26:3-4 (New International Version, ©2011)

3 “‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.

The other night when I was putting my son to bed, we were praying. I am trying to teach my children the ACTS method of prayer.

A - Adoration

C - Confession

T - Thanksgiving

S - Supplication

This is not the only way we pray but I do think it's important to remember that praising God and thanking him need to be a big part of our prayer time. Prayer is not just about asking God for things and that can easily become our focus. To help them out I start and they finish. What I mean is that I'll pray, "Dear God, You are great because ...." and they'll come up with a reason. I try to encourage them to not thank God at this part. Just try to recognize a different quality trait or the character of God. Something that is independent of his actions. Then we go on, "I confess my sin today when I ...." I tell them they can pray this silently but often they choose to confess their sin out loud. "Thank you for ...." and we finish up with, "I pray that ..." Again, not that I want my kids to think their is some magical formula to prayer, but I just want them to include some praises and thanks in their prayer time.

To get back to where, I started, I was putting my son to bed the other night. We prayed and he thanked God for letting him get some good hits at his baseball game. This struck me because I would have thought that my son would think that good hits were purely the result of his own efforts and skills. When we finished praying, he elaborated on this prayer. He told me that every time he gets up to bat, he prays to God that he will get a hit and then he prepares for rain. Now, if you have seen Facing The Giants, you know what I am talking about. If not, take a minute and view this clip.

Okay, are you with me now? My sweet son told me that he prays for a hit and then he prepares for rain. He keeps his eye on the ball, he steps towards the pitcher and he swings hard. He does his best and leaves the results up to God.

And if that just doesn't make my heart burst with pride. Well, it does. I love my son deeply and my prayer is that he will prepare for rain and wait on God to answer.

Jeremiah 14:22 (New International Version, ©2011)

22 Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, LORD our God.
Therefore our hope is in you,
for you are the one who does all this.

Revelation 3:7 (New International Version, ©2011)

To the Church in Philadelphia
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Apr 18, 2011

Apr 11, 2011

Monday Minute: Camera Lingo Necklaces

I want one of these.

Buy the Camera Lingo Necklaces at the Photojojo Store!

And if you don't know what this is in reference to, then you're not as cool as I thought you were and your pictures are probably not as good as they could be. And yes, that is rather snarky of me but it's Monday morning and I slept lousy last night. We had this crazy, windy rain and lightening storm that kept me up all night. And then we overslept because the power went out. And that's my excuse.

But seriously, I think after I save a few pennies, this will be a little splurge that I use my allowance on. I think I'm a big enough dork to pull it off. And it would look super cute with a few of these ...

Buy the Lens Bracelets at the Photojojo Store!

photos courtesy of Photojojo

Apr 6, 2011

Mr. Bananas

Philippians 4:6 (New International Version, ©2011)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Who is Mr. Bananas, you may be wondering? He is this little man who is the newest addition to my daughter's stuffed animal collection.

And why would I bother to blog about Mr. Bananas? Because he taught me a little lesson on prayer. Well, technically, I think God taught me the lesson but he used this orange monkey to do it. Here's the story.

My daughter and I ran up to the grocery store to grab a few essentials: chocolate pie and chocolate syrup. In my defense, they were for the boy's birthday. But anyhoo, the girl had just gotten her allowance and she is the type where money is burning, I mean burning, a whole in her pocket and just needs to be spent. First, she went on the carousel ...

and then this flashy, money waster caught her eye.

Yes, both of my children are drawn to these claw games. I try to tell them that these games are set up for you to plunk your money in and walk away with nothing. But they never listen. So, it's 50 cents a grab but the girl only had dollar bills. In went the first dollar and two tries later at a stuffed star, nada. So, she popped in another dollar and made two more tries on an orange animal. Since it was face down, she wasn't even sure what it was, but she knew that she must have it. She tried the head first and then the bottom. Again, nada, because of course it's head is wedged underneath a stuffed bear so as to make it impossible for you to win. Have I already mentioned how these are just money wasters?!? As she readied her third dollar I dragged her away in search of our pie. As we were walking through the store she claimed she was going to try one more time and she was confident she would win. I told her I was confident it would just be a waste of another dollar. Then she looked up at me with a smirk on her face and said, "Well, I'm going to pray I get it." And then she closed her eyes and squinched up her eyes and nose and apparently made a silent prayer. This prompted me to make my own little prayer that she would win this cheesy orange animal so that God would get the glory. Yes, this is the way I think these days. I look for any opportunity to glory God and make him relevant in the lives of my children. Hence, Crazy Christian Girl (CCG).

So, we pay for our pie and chocolate syrup and head out. We get to the claw machine and she shares her strategy. She's going to make another try at the head to loosen it up since it is still under that bear. Then she'll make a grab at the bottom since it's more up in the air. I made one more attempt to talk her out of wasting her allowance but she claimed it was her money to spend how she wants and since technically it is, I didn't stop her. With complete confidence she made her first claw drop at the head and it did move a little. Then her second claw drop went right for the bottom. She got a hold of it and it started to lift. I knew it would fall before getting to the chute. So, I silently watched on as this orange animal made it's way to the all the way to the chute and dropped right in and out the bottom for the girl to scoop up into her arms.

She shrieked with joy and I thanked God for answering my little girl's prayer about an orange, as it turns out, monkey. She jumped up and down with excitement and we praised God together! A worker happened to walk by at that moment and commented how he didn't think anyone ever won and she told him how she prayed she would win. It was adorable. God was glorified right there at the claw machine at Albertson's.

Now, you might argue that it wasn't God that won her that monkey, that it was her smart strategy. Fair enough. But I would argue that God thought that strategy into her head and made that orange monkey light enough to not slip out of that hook as he made his way into her arms.

And I was reminded about how God cares about every aspect of our life. How he asks us to bring everything to him in prayer and give thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version, ©2011)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Even orange monkeys who get the clever name of Mr. Bananas.

Apr 5, 2011

Monday Minute - Laura Story, Blessings

photo from

If you haven't heard this song yet, you should.

But I'm going to share this video clip here, so watch this first ---

Then go listen to the song. Trust me, it's a good one.

Blessings, Laura Story

And if you're reading this off the feed from Facebook, you'll need to click over to the actual blog page to view the video.

Double And, if you're reading this and want to comment, please click on over and comment on the blog. I'd really appreciate hearing your feedback over there. Thanks!

Mar 23, 2011

Moving Day

Nothing to write here as we are moving in today. I'll be back next week!

Mar 21, 2011

Monday Minute

Still on the road. Enjoy this video. My mom posted it on Facebook. Wow, that's something I didn't ever think I'd hear myself say.

Mar 18, 2011

Friday Foto Tip

As you read this, I am on the way to TX!!!

So, just a quick tip for you this week.

Try a different viewpoint.

At my daughter's birthday party, all the girls were signing a ceiling tile that would be put up in the store after the party. Here's the typical shot.

And here's what I got from a different viewpoint.

I simply held the camera up over my head and took a couple shots until I could see mostly everyone's face. To me, this image is a bit unexpected and therefore a lot more fun.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Mar 17, 2011

God is our Master Planner ... and why I affectionately call myself a crazy Christian girl

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Many Christians are familiar with this verse. And it’s a good one to mediate on when life gets a little bumpy. When life gets a little messy. When life just doesn’t seem fair.

These were the words Jeremiah sent to the Israelites that were in exile. The Israelites that were taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. These were words from God to encourage his people. But I was never aware of what came just before this verse. If we look back and read Jeremiah 29:10, we learn a little bit more.

10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.

What is key here is to remember that God had plans for his people that would be carried out in his time. I like the way these verses are worded in The Message. (The Message is a modern day translation of the Bible. It doesn’t pretend to be the inspired words of God but it does intend to make Scripture easier to read. I like to keep it on hand as I read through the Bible and you can always look it up on

Jeremiah 29:10-11 (The Message)
10-11This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

… and not a day before.

God does have a plan for us. We just can’t always see the big picture the way God does and can’t always understand the timing. As some of you know, I am in the midst of moving for the second time in two years. Trust me, this was not my plan. My plan was to stay in our home in Michigan until the kids graduated from college then my husband and I would buy a nice, little condo in a cute downtown area. But two years ago, God moved our family away from our cozy life in Michigan surrounded by friends and family and great home church to Binghamton, NY where we didn’t know a soul. And now two years later God is moving our family to Roanoke, TX. Roanoke is just north of the Dallas/Fort worth area. It’s a long back story but let me just share this with you today.

I was struggling, I mean, really struggling with moving from NY to TX. I had gotten very comfortable here in NY, made a lot of great friends, had a beautiful home, and was involved in many different volunteer opportunities. I had even started substitute teaching and earning a few bucks. I was content to stay. When my husband told me it was likely we would be moving to Dallas, I just felt like it wasn’t a move we were supposed to make. I prayed over it constantly and asked God to give me peace about the move. Just days after getting the official word that we were indeed moving we visited family in Michigan. After spending a few days at my in-laws, I woke up and prayed to God that he would show me why I was struggling with this move. What came to mind was pride. In NY, I was a big fish in a little pond. When we moved to TX, I’d be a little fish in a big pond. I wasn’t sure how I would make my way or where I would fit in. And here’s where it gets even better. I went to, um, use the facilities. And I happened to notice that the manufacturer of the toilet bowl was Mansfield. Ladies, as it happens, Mansfield was one of the two cities we were looking at for a home in TX. That blew me away. Then I went to jog on the treadmill and noticed a ladder leaning against the wall. The manufacturer of the ladder was Keller. Remember I said we were looking at homes in two cities. Want to guess what that other city was? You got it. Keller. Oh, and I won't even mention that the manufacturer of the toilet seat was Church. Oh, wait, I just did.

And here’s when I started calling myself a crazy Christian girl. I decided right then and there that the God of the Universe, the Master Planner, was speaking to me through a toilet bowl and a ladder. Years ago when my in-laws purchased these items he already knew our family would be moving to TX. And he knew I would need a little confirmation that it was the right move. And here's a little proof so that you you know I didn't just make this up in my head. I'm not really crazy. I'm just passionate about Jesus. But I know to a lot of people that can look a little crazy.

I know that God has a plan for me. And that plan right now is TX. So, tomorrow morning my family of four will load ourselves into our car and begin our four day road trip to Roanoke. And I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us once we get there!

Isaiah 25:1
LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.

Isaiah 46:10-11
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do.

Mar 14, 2011

I'm doing it ...

I've had this idea percolating around in my head for the past year or so to do something different with this blog. You can see my original post here. Wow, time really flies. But now is the time to put some legs to this dream. To put my neck out there. To be stretched by God. For now, I am only going to commit to two posts a week. One will be taking a look at my walk with Jesus. The other will be some kind of photography related post. Yeah, nothing like drawing two completely different audiences. I'm sure this is a really bad idea. But, it's my idea. And I'm running with it.

So, to that end, I am applying for a scholarship to She Speaks, a conference to grow and stretch women who feel called to share Jesus. Here's what I wrote for the scholarship, so might as well share it with all (I think at least one person still reads this blog) of you.

Oh, and I can not post with out a photo so here's one for you.

I am officially a crazy, Christian girl sold out completely to Jesus Christ.

~ Your speaking dream–when it began; where it is now.

Wow. Nothing like starting off with a prompt that will make me bare my soul. Just the idea of having a dream is scary. The idea of actually going after that dream can paralyze me. But, in the last few years I have felt a prompting from God to reach out to other women with God’s truth. I went from being a participator to leading, leaning on God throughout the process. It seems as though through every day life happenings, I see Jesus in them. I am becoming a crazy, Christian girl and couldn’t be happier. I want to share that with other. I want Christian women to see Jesus in their every day lives. To experience Jesus daily. To get a little crazy in the eyes of the world. There is nothing better than having a close, intimate relationship with God.

~ Where is my dream right now?

Well, this post is the first step at making this dream a reality. I had a blog for years with my photography business and now I’m feeling led to use that space on the web for God’s business. I keep coming up with reasons not to pursue my dream. Who will read my blog? What will I say? I’m no Bible expert. Blah. Blah. Blah. I’m going to start pursuing my dream, or is it a calling, today. To take a line from Facing The Giants – my job is to do my best and leave the results up to God. I won’t fear of failure. My dream is to blog with purpose. I’ll leave the results up to God.

~What it is you feel God calling you to speak on:

I definitely feel led to speak to women. Not so much on any one topic, but just living a daily walk with Jesus. On seeing Jesus in the every day. I struggled for so many years about worrying whether my actions were lining up with God’s will or not. I’ve realized that my focus was off. My focus needs to be on knowing God better and as a result, my actions will line up with his will. I want my blog to be an encouragement to women in their every day lives. As a Christian wife and mother, there are so many ways to be discouraged. I want to be a voice of encouragement. A voice of friendship. A been there-done that-or in the midst of it right now. I want women to know they are not alone in this walk with Jesus. The other piece of the puzzle is how to incorporate my photography into my blog. My photography is such an extension of who I am that I know it will need to be a part of my blog for my blog to feel real. See, I just gave myself another excuse for not pursuing my dream! Well, I am going to get over myself and try a few things and see what happens.

~Finally—and now this will be a stretch for some of you—why should I choose you to win this scholarship?

Honestly. I need someone to push my out of my comfort zone. I need someone to make me put some legs to my dream. I need someone to start me through this process. You should choose me because I would have never chosen myself to be used by God, to blog about being a crazy, Christian girl, to encourage women in their spiritual lives. Yet, that’s exactly what I feel God is whispering into my heart. So, with a trembling heart I pray – choose me.