Wedding Bells

My cousin Kris got married in May. The whole day was beautiful. I loved both of her dresses, and all the meaningful things that were done throughout the day were superb! This is one of the few pictures I took from the day, during toasts at the reception. Kris loves her family so much and it was evident with how she and Austin put so much thought into what would be them AND what the wide range of guests would enjoy. They spoiled us all! It was hard going back to work and PBJ sandwiches after the whole weekend of such GOOD food!

Kris’s mom, my aunt, made most of the decorations and worked so hard to make them simple and elegant. She highly succeeded! Crave catered the food and everyone was so friendly! One of the waiters went over and above filling up water and was by every 5 minutes to give me a refill! That’s hard to find… Chenoweth Floral & Greenhouses did the flowers. Dad and I made boxes for centerpieces and they were completely simple and elegant when Chenoweth was through with them!

{N.E.C.} Playing Pretend

Well, you’ve already met N, E, and C. These are from before Mother’s Day when we started work on some Super-Secret-Projects for Mother’s Day. Which were ready a couple weeks early. And were also made for a *really* early Father’s day (pictures at the end of this post).2NEC1N wanted to be dressed up in her ball gown for the pictures. She was sooo excited to make a special project for her mom that was a secret!

2NEC2 E was very silly that day. She changed a few times and ended up in this outfit, a little ballerina!

2NEC3C was diggin’ his sister’s shades and played with them for quite a while.

2NEC4N was having fun telling E a story from the Zoo of Far Far Away with her horse and dolls. E had fun throwing her penguin up in the air and then jumping after it.

NECN and E are BIG into mermaids and princesses right now. And were VERY tired of all. the. snow.

happy mothers fathers dayHere are the Super-Secret-Projects made for King Daddy and Queen Mommy. Each girl picked out the colors and did the painting themselves. N did all her own gluing too. 🙂 They picked out C’s colors also.

{Advent} Operation “No More Tears!”

“Poor Isaiah. He read God’s letter over and over to God’s people, but no one listened to him – at all. Ever. They didn’t want to hear God’s promise. They didn’t believe it. Did it sound maybe too good to be true? A story that ends happily ever after? Well, it does sound like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? And, as anyone will quickly tell you, fairy tales aren’t true.
Or are they?”

A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.
Fear-of-God
will be all his joy and delight.
He won’t judge by appearances,
won’t decide on the basis of hearsay.
He’ll judge the needy by what is right,
render decisions on earth’s poor with justice.
His words will bring everyone to awed attention.
A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.
Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots,
and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.

“Comfort, oh comfort my people,”
says your God.
“Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem,
but also make it very clear
That she has served her sentence,
that her sin is taken care of—forgiven!
She’s been punished enough and more than enough,
and now it’s over and done with.”

_MG_4715Isaiah 9, 11, 40, 50, 53, 55, 60

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.

{Advent} The Good Shepherd

This past month I got to work at the Minnesota Processing Center for Operation Christmas Child. Each morning is started with staff devotions. One day, Pastor Tomm talked about biographies. Pastor Tomm quoted Ernest Hemingway’s biography:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

He also talked about King David’s 6-word bio:

A man after God’s own heart.

And asked if we could write a bio for ourselves in just six words. Pastor Tomm suggested ‘Once lost, now found. Eternally grateful.’ Some came up with amazing ones. I could not still can not. Well, maybe

Loves photography, nature, quiet, music. Happy.

What would your six-word biography be? How would you interpret Ernest Hemingway’s?

“Inside, my heart is very quiet.
As quiet as lying still in soft green grass
In a meadow
By a little stream.”

“So here is what you are to tell my servant David: The God-of-the-Angel-Armies has this word for you: I took you from the pasture, tagging along after sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel. I was with you everywhere you went and mowed your enemies down before you. Now I’m making you famous, to be ranked with the great names on earth. And I’m going to set aside a place for my people Israel and plant them there so they’ll have their own home and not be knocked around any more. Nor will evil men afflict you as they always have, even during the days I set judges over my people Israel. Finally, I’m going to give you peace from all your enemies.Furthermore, God has this message for you: God himself will build you a house! When your life is complete and you’re buried with your ancestors, then I’ll raise up your child, your own flesh and blood, to succeed you, and I’ll firmly establish his rule. He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom’s rule permanently. I’ll be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I’ll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I’ll never remove my gracious love from him, as I removed it from Saul, who preceded you and whom I most certainly did remove. Your family and your kingdom are permanently secured. I’m keeping my eye on them! And your royal throne will always be there, rock solid.”

_MG_4635Psalm 51, 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 23

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.

{Advent} The Teeny, Weenie…True King

“‘He has a heart like min,’ God said. ‘It is full of love. He will help me with my Secret Rescue Plan. And one of his children’s children’s children will be the King. And that King will rule the world forever.’ God chose David to be king because God was getting his people ready for an even greater King who was coming. Once again, God would say, ‘Go to Bethlehem. You’ll find the new King there.’ And there, one starry night in Bethlehem, in the town of David, three Wise Men would find him.”

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, “God hasn’t chosen any of these.” Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?”
“Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.”
Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.”
Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking.
God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”
Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.

_MG_46371 Samuel 16

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.

{Advent} 10 Ways to be Perfect

One of the (many) blogs I follow is One Hundred Words. Jan writes new stories that are all exactly 100 words. I like reading her blog because all the posts are short’n’sweet and make me think. A story from last week goes with this post, I think. Go read it, then come back to finish reading.

Sometimes Christianity seems like a different country and it seems we are known for what we dislike, rather than what we like. I imagine that the second citizen Christine met also rolled his eyes…

When we forget that loving God first and then others so the Commandments just follow naturally we can hand out lists of ‘Things We Love. Things We Welcome. Things that Make us Dance’ instead of making life all Burdensome Legalities, Rules of Don’t and No Fun.

“And still God’s children didn’t trust him or so what he said. They thought they could do a better job of looking after themselves and making themselves happy. But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him. So God led them to a tall mountain. God wanted to talk to his people and show them what he was like. He wanted to help them know him better and tell them about the special land he was going to give them.”

God spoke all these words:
I am God, your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of a life of slavery.
No other gods, only me.

_MG_4638Exodus 16-17, 19-40

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.

{Advent} The Girl No One Wanted

For the past year, I have been thinking a lot about Leah, because I’m not particularly pretty. Yet, even though people did not find her attractive, God used her in such a HUGE way. It is through her son Judah that the line of King David was born and through this heritage that Jesus was born. Through someone who was not considered beautiful and who was not loved by her husband, God did great things through.

“‘No one loves me,’ Leah said. ‘I’m too ugly.’ But God didn’t think she as ugly. And when he saw that Leah was not loved and that no one wanted her, God chose her – to love her specially, to give her a very important job. One day, God was going to rescue the whole world – through Leah’s family. … You see, when God looked at Leah, he saw a princess.”

“[God’s people] wouldn’t need to be beautiful for him to love them. He would love them with all of his heart. And they would be beautiful because he loved them.”

When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It’s-a-Boy!). “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.”She became pregnant again and had another son. “God heard,” she said, “that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also.” She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). She became pregnant yet again—another son. She said, “Now maybe my husband will connect with me—I’ve given him three sons!” That’s why she named him Levi (Connect). She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son. She said, “This time I’ll praise God.” So she named him Judah (Praise-God).

_MG_4328Genesis 29-30

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.