Happy New Year!


I love the velcro family that God has blessed me with. An amaizng kickoff into a new year! Spent it with about 30 of our closest friends/family - laughing until our sides ached and closing up the night well into the dawn of 2011.

Is it seriously 2011?

2010... where did you go?

I don't know that I ever fully recovered time-wise from my February surgery because 2010 should most certainly not be over. But... it is.

I was too busy this year and have missed writing - but am back at it and even have a several writing goals this year.

2010 has had its share of ups and downs, but as always, God is faithful and I am looking forward to the adventure that will continue over the next 12 months.

Highlights of 2010:
- Major surgery kicked the year off in February. January was spent preparing for a full month of downtime. J took great care of me. Friends and family were amazing. Best part of recovery: lemon sorbet made by adorable little hands. Delish!
- J graduated high school. I am still adjusting to having a young adult instead of a student. He is looking for a job/career path and is a bit anxious over this next stage of life.
- Still leading a group of amazing girls that are rapidly growing into beautiful young women. They started 9th grade - making them high schoolers officially. I am truly blessed and challenged by all they teach me!
- Velcro family camping trip in October was amazing. A big group of us headed north for a week and spent it relaxing, napping, eating, and playing Scattergories. Loved it!
- Completed FPU and am on the path to becoming debt free. Love Dave Ramsey!

Wrapped up the year with 15 Christmas services over three campuses and headed in to 2011 just a little tired.. LOL

But here we are - ready for a new year. So let's get into it!

Cooliris Photos Wall

Moving beyond Fear

Fear was the hot topic of conversation today - across several circles. It's always interesting to watch God connect seemingly unrelated things...

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." (Marianne Williamson)

What if God has created me to do something incredible? To be a part of something bigger than I ever imagined? What if those dreams of doing something that really meant something weren't really dreams at all?

I totally agree with the quote by Marianne Williamson. We are not afraid to live a simple, ineffective life - there is some perceived safety in that. It's not even the fear of the unknown that really keeps people from jumping in. It might be the fear of making mistakes that causes us to hesitate at times...

But I think the paralyzing fear that we all face is that realization that we were made in God's image- which means the potential for Him to use us in amazing ways is unlimited. The power that comes from being His is unsurpassed. That kind of limitless possibilities cripples people. Why would we fear being used?

I think of Austin Gutwein - a kid who has made an eternal impact in thousands, if not millions of lives because he dove in and allowed God to take his dream to help kids with AIDS. He did not fear to live and he did not fear to be powerful. He may not have realized the power of impact that was coming as he embarked on his journey - but I think deep down, once we claim our place in His kingdom, we all realize there's a potential to be powerful. As Christians, we all have the ability to leave a powerful mark on this world - a powerful mark in the life of one... or in the lives of millions - but either way, there's power when we allow Him to go before us in our journey.

Don't live in fear. Fear and faith cannot live in the same heart. So what path will I choose today? I choose faith and I choose to live a powerful life!

"Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive - the risk to be alive and express what we really are." (Don Miguel Ruiz)

2009: A Year in Review

I much prefer to recap my year in pictures, but for today, a word recap will have to do. After multiple computer switches, my photos are in multiple places and I've yet gotten them back into an easy accesible place. That is on my to-do this month though.

2009...what a year. It had all the potential to be one of the worst, but it's actually ended up being one of the best. I had lunch with a dear friend the other day and she couldn't help commenting how alive and good I looked and seemed. I have to say - I agree. I have never felt so alive...

The beginning of the year was kicked off with divorce papers being filed after a 13 month separation. There's lots of depressing details on that journey...but the positive out of it all is that when my faith was tested and my obedience challenged - I clung to my faith and the assurance that God was there with me through this entire journey.

My role at work continued to evolve and change and I have loved it. It's challenging and often overwhelming - but I have learned more in past 12 months than I have in my entire life. I have been mentored, poured into and developed like never before. I have a team of family that has played a critical role in my life the past year and I love them.. especially in their brutal but loving honesty.

J has continued to develop into an incredible young man. Senior year has held lots of challenges - questions about what comes next, wondering where he fits in this world. Some dreams have died a painful death while others are starting to come to light. There are just five months left of high school... So much to be determined... so much still to come...

This summer J and I spent two weeks in Michigan and Indiana for Gram's 90th birthday. It was a wonderful time with family. Some I hadn't seen in 20 years - so what a delight to reconnect. Facebook has added another opportunity to get to know family and build relationships. It's been wonderful to get to know aunts, uncles, and cousins!

My health has been an ongoing challenge this year. Diverticulitis landed me in the hospital for 9 days in May and it's been an ongoing battle ever since. Repeat infections, but thankfully no add'l hospital visits. The year is ending with a surgery scheduled for Feb. 1 for a colon resection. I'm not looking forward to it... at all. But the ongoing pain, duration of antibiotics and all the other risks of repeat infections have led to the decision.

One of the most energizing aspects of my year has been the growth of my photography business. I was able to photograph another wedding in February and the past six months have allowed me opportunities for portraits, family sittings, commerical shots, and live venues. I've learned so much about me and my style, my preferences, my strengths and my weaknesses. I know I have so much still to learn, and I am excited to see where 2010 continues to take the business.

It's been quite a year. I am not the same woman I was. I am stronger, more confident, energized, challenged, and alive. I have been shown that when you give yourself away is when you become more alive. And I plan on continuing to join God in the adventure He is laying out for me daily.

Bring it on!

Giving Generously...

How will you respond when faced with a need? This weekend at Central, we were all faced with that question. The sermon, Subconscience: Give Generously. We all want to be known as generous and giving - but at the core of most of us is a selfish nature.

I want to be known as a generous person. I want to be known as someone that shares, gives, and loves without expectations. But it's a challenge. Inside is a selfishness that battles with that want - and often it's fierce.

But today, there was no battle. Today, our senior pastor, Cal Jernigan, presented a message on giving generously. One point that sticks with me, "We are never more like God than when we are giving."

I want to be known as generous, but even more, I want to be known as godly - someone that loves God and loves people. i want to follow the example Christ left for me - and to give without thought of return; without thought of what I might get out of it. Today was a day to act on that desire.

There is a need in our community for shoes. Central's ACTS ministry, which serves the homeless in our area, needs sneakers/comfortable shoes. The Dream Center in Phoenix helps people get off the streets and find employment - so they have a need for business type shoes. So today, the challenge was issued in the form of a call to action - act today by leaving your shoes.

And leave our shoes we did... An amazing experience to witness and be part of. I was able to take photographs during the service, which just topped the weekend for me. To be able to document how God moved in that place today and last night was a true blessing.


I've been pretty quiet from blog-world lately...
Tons going on and tons to process.

I dont feel like I've ever really regrouped since my hospital stay in May... probably because I'm not officially "recovered" or cleared by a doctor, so that weighs on my mind a lot. The what-if's and potential surgery is a huge fear. I need to schedule my follow-up scan (due this month), but the thought of drinking one more ounce of barium... well.. the thought makes ill. I drank so much of that stuff from April-July that I was probably glowing (remember that kid from Sky High?? - yeah that's probably me.. LOL)...

J headed back to school - senior year. Huge sigh. Heavy heart. I've been battling the educational system for so long - I'm just tired. But I realized in August, as classes kicked back into gear, that this is not the time to slow down or stop fighting. This kid is not prepared - so it's back to battling special education processes that really don't exist in any comprehendable format - arguing with overworked and understaffed teachers about classes and why no solid academics in a senior year just doesn't make sense. What post-graduation life will hold for this kid, I have no idea. Prayers right now are for direction for me, for him, and for something to click...

So I've been quiet as there's just been a lot to process and figure out the past few months.