25 March 2011

Photo Friday: Move It, Move It

This edition of Photo Friday has been brought to you by Two Men &

A Truck [Dayton North]...and my hubbs. :)

Yesterday, Tony & I went to the Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Celebration for our friends' [David & Laurie] franchise of Two Men & A Truck in Huber Heights. We wanted to show support for them - and who wouldn't turn down cookies shaped like moving trucks!

I got the chance to practice photography in a casual, party-like setting. I knew there would be something special at this party because earlier this week, Laurie was asking around for a transparency projector. When we walked into the office, we saw their company's logo transformed into a wooden cutout for pictures! My hubbs snapped this picture of me with the party planner...

Great job, Laurie! We're excited to use Two Men & A Truck when we move to Indy!


23 March 2011

Details Matter.

In December, I learned about a local ministry that was birthed through some people from our church family. I received an invite on Facebook to vote for this organization, Shoes4theShoeless, so that they could win this $50,000 grant from Pepsi. I hadn't heard of the organization, so I went to their website to see what it was about.

While investigating, I saw this story: [Remember, this is December. It's cold in Ohio in December.]

There are thousands of kids all around us who do not have shoes/socks fit to wear. Just an hour ago a school nurse called me because a little girl walked to school (it is 4 degrees here with snow) in shoes with no soles. No socks either. Her feet were soaked and frozen.
Right now, shoes and socks are being taken to her, along with the 90 other pairs we are delivering this morning to 10 schools.

They give hope. Their mission is to provide properly fitting shoes to children in desperate need. They provide kids with brand new shoes that fit, along with a clean pair of socks. For some kids, it's the first time they have ever owned a brand new pair of shoes.

Long story short, I voted for the organization. A lot. So did other people, because they won the grant. Tony and I were able to go on an outing last week to deliver shoes to some area schools. God reminded me of something last week. I know He deeply cares for these kids, all of us in fact. I was reminded that He doesn't just care about us. He cares about the precious details in our lives...even down to the shoes.

I had the pleasure of meeting this little girl pictured on the left. While I was getting and opening her box of shoes, I was talking with her about different things. I peeked in the box, and oh wow, were these shoes pink! I looked up at her and asked her if she liked pink. Her eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. She excitedly nodded her head "yes". Then, I dramatically shut the box and gave her a confused-like look. I asked: "Are you sure you like pink? I mean, really sure?" She exclaimed, "Yes! Yes! Pink is my very favorite color!" I will not easily forget her huge smile when I showed her the box of pink shoes. She saw another volunteer's shoes [on the right] and was excited that they were "shoe twins". Yes, she would have been happy for shoes that simply fit. But, God cares about the details. He made sure they were pink.

Another little girl really loved the shoes she had and thought they were pretty, but they were just too small. What a God-thing when she opened the box to see the exact same pair, only new! The picture above is of her new shoes [left] the team gave her and her old shoes [right].

Greg & Tony after a successful shoe fitting!

photos taken by Shoes4theShoeless

Are you in love yet? Want to help out with a shoe drive, a shoe delivery, or just want more info? Email Shoes4TheShoeless@gmail.com


18 March 2011

Photo Friday: March Madness

You can disagree with my opinion. It doesn't bother me. I don't particularly care for March. Yes, I just said it.

Before we got married, I did not have a feeling either way about this month. It wasn't until nine whole months of marriage - our first March together - that I realized the horribleness of this particular month.

March Madness.

Basketball is on the television. All. The. Time.

So, in honor of this crazy month.....

Tony & Allen were shooting hoops one afternoon [in late February, can you believe that?] and I captured this swoosh by my hubbs. Here's hoping my bracket beats his. :)


15 March 2011

The Earthquake in Japan

The recent tragic events in Japan have made my mind wonder what this all means biblically. An earthquake so powerful it caused a tsunami and claimed the lives of thousands. I started thinking about what an earthquake is and how we can be prepared for when one hits. The crazy thing is you can never be ready for an earthquake. Sure we can build strong buildings or try not to live near a fault line, but we will never be prepared for when the actual event of the earthquake happens. Scientists can tell us how strong it was, or explain in science terms how it will destruct the area, but they can never tell us on what day or hour an earthquake will hit.

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Matthew 27:50-53

The bible tells us of the very first earthquake and it happens at a time that filled with spiritual battle. During the death of Jesus on the cross we witness victory. I find it interesting that this earthquake hit amidst most likely the strongest spiritual battle in history. I believe spiritual battle is real and it can affect us deeply and personally.

So I might be concluding that earthquakes could be the result of very powerful and scary spiritual battle. Think about how powerful our creator God really is and when He goes to battle against the darkness that is Satan, how much really goes on. I almost imagine the death-match we see at the end of movies when superheroes fight each other for victory. Terrible destruction and casualties even occur during these spectacles of heroes rising to the occasion of fending off evil. Our God is doing the same thing still. He is alive and fighting off evil and darkness.

It is also no coincidence that these scary and tragic natural disasters happen where darkness reigns. I know we have false gods that we worship in our own country, but I sometimes will think that our safety in worship is incidental because we don’t build statues of idols and the like. Then I realize we do, it is just through fame and fortune, or through engineering and technology, or through pride and protection of ourselves. These natural disasters that happen to the spiritually dark countries are horrific and change lives, but honestly we are not that much different. God is fighting hard to defeat the darkness that resides in Satan’s heart. God is fighting so hard for you and your eyes to be open to the truth that He literally shakes things up.


11 March 2011

Photo Friday: Now I Know My ABCs

When it's not raining or snowing these days, which has been very few days recently, Moses & I typically take a walk around the neighborhood. Even though he sometimes puts on the breaks and won't move, he likes it. He does. His tail usually keeps wagging. I'd like to think that he is not overly out of breath, but just taking in the scenery. :)

On our walks, I've recently began to see letters. [I don't care if you laugh; I can't hear you.] I know my brain doesn't usually think like most, but just look around the next time you are outside. I think you'll start to see them, too.

So, I've decided that on my walks, I am going to capture these letters. I'm not sure what kinds of words I am going to make out of them once I get a good alphabet going. If you would like any words, let me know, I can look for those letters first.

Here is my first letter, Mr. Y. [Does anyone remember The Letter People?]


07 March 2011

What is a blessing?

Luke 5:1-12
What is a blessing? Jesus gave us the Beatitudes to help give us a clear picture. Sometimes I still wonder what the core point was of that portion of His sermon on the mount. It is the opening statement in order to catch the attention of those attending. Jesus is describing parts of life and the choices we make that are either spiritual or tangible. He is describing actions and emotions that we encounter as we make daily decisions. Jesus describes a way of living that is upside down to what the world standard is. It is completely opposite to the American dream mentality and pushes the envelope when He shares, “rejoice and be glad” after you have been persecuted for His name. 

Have you ever taken time to reflect if you have actually been persecuted? Have you meditated if you even measure up to the list of blessings Jesus describes? Sometimes the term “I am blessed” or similar phrases get thrown around a lot in Christian circles, but do we really know what the blessing really is? It is easy to see a tangible blessing that makes us live comfortably, or the amazing miracle of growing your family in child birth. Maybe the act of service and sacrifice for others are the blessings you hold onto. But I am still wondering how all this stuff we believe to be a blessing looks like to our Father and his Son Jesus. 

The Holy Spirit moves inside of our heart and mind telling us, yes indeed that was a good thing to do. The Spirit is there to determine and decipher what the Lord desires for us. It even lets us know that our motive behind a blessing is either pure or not. This is another grey area of defining what a blessing is. 

I am asking the question because I believe there is an answer. The four gospel letters include numerous accounts of when Jesus tells us the truth. The truth is Jesus is the son of God and gave Himself as a sacrifice to pay for our sin. Jesus is now seated with His Father preparing a place for us, who know and believe this to be true, in His kingdom. I think that truth is the core to what a blessing is. Knowing and believing absolute truth is the best blessing we could ever have in our life and helps us be confident in salvation. Absolute truth from God is powerful, sharing that truth with others is important. The absolute truth Jesus fills us up with helps us fight against the world. Believing in absolute truth helps guide our thoughts and actions through the Holy Spirit. If you meditate on how truth through Jesus has changed your life, then discovering what blessings are actual blessings might become clearer. 


04 March 2011

Photo Friday: Get Comfy

This past fall, I stumbled upon a half-off coupon for an online photography class through Big Picture Classes. The class, "Picture Fall", was a 31-day class through the month of October. Each day, we were given a prompt to spark our creative juices. Then, there was an online forum that we posted our pictures. I loved sharing my photos and seeing how others interpreted the prompts each day. Granted, I didn't make it the full 31 days, but I saved all the prompts and plan to make another attempt this coming October!

The prompt that inspired this picture was: Get Comfy. This photo encompasses many of the things that are "comfy" to me. Plus, spring is literally right around the corner. Even though this picture was taken in the fall, it reminds me that we will soon be able to enjoy the outdoors without freezing!

-The Velvet Chair. This chair isn't mine, but I seriously hope to own one like it some day. It screams comfy + fun.

-The Mug of Tea. It has to be in the extra tall mug, of course. Hot cocoa would do just fine, too.

-The Book. Growing up, I read for fun all the time. Then college happened. My reading for fun quickly dwindled because all of the reading for classes took priority. I'm finding again that reading can be fun!

-The Outdoors. I LOVE being outside. Walks. Camping. Anything. I constantly tell Tony that when we have our own house someday...I must have a hammock.

What would be in your "get comfy" picture?


03 March 2011

Just The Band Girl

Since this fall, Tony & I have been helping out with a church plant from our local church called Covenant Creek. We both didn't know what we would be getting into while serving there...in a good way. :)

Some weeks while the lead musician is out, I get to be in charge. Pulling music, arranging songs, and leading practices are not anything new for me. Recently, I was on the CCLI website looking up copyright information for a song, and I came across an article. Looking back at my journey of leading music, I can identify with this article. I can identify with it going all the way back to when I was in seventh grade and started volunteering to play on the youth band at my church.

The article, in which I highly encourage you to take a peek here, was written by Paul Baloche. [You may have heard some of his songs...Your Name, Open the Eyes of my Heart, and more.] He starts out talking about his attitude of being "just the band guy". That attitude was mine too starting out in seventh grade! Even though I was the "worship leader" for several groups/events in high school and college, I felt like I was "just the band girl". After all, I'm not a great communicator in the first place, and that is the pastor's job anyway, right? My talents were music, so I played the music. Serve where your talents are, right?

Oh, but there is so much more.

Paul explained that as he led more and more, there was a shift in the "just a band guy" attitude. He said: "As weeks turned into months and months into years I began to grow in my love and concern for the people that I served each Sunday. Instead of fearing their disapproval or rejection of me, I began to realize how important our corporate gatherings were to the spiritual health of our congregation."

When we started helping out with Covenant Creek...that was it...we were "just" helping out, helping this little church with their transition out on their own. Once they figured it out [whatever "it" is], we could move on, right?


But, now I am thinking more along the lines that we [as in Tony & I] are the ones who had things to figure out...not this new little church. We're pretty integrated now. I've definitely grown in my love and concern for the people we serve each week. Over the past 5 months, I don't fear disapproval or rejection anymore. I am not as concerned with a clutch set list. Paul nailed exactly what I have been feeling and transitioning
to..."being more focused on how we could build up and encourage others through music, prayers, and scripture".

So, Covenant Creek. Thanks. I look forward to serving with ya'll for the time we have with you. :)