Saturday, May 31, 2008

other people's kids

It is so much fun photographing other people's kids! Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day:

A few more will follow in a future post.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

a new music video

You Reign by MercyMe

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what, was I living under a rock?

How could I have missed this movie? I only just discovered it by looking further into a song by NEEDTOBREATHE (it's called "More Time" on you can listen to it on their MySpace page by clicking HERE).

Has anyone ever seen it (the title is P.S. I Love You)? If so, what did you think about it? I'm thinking of picking it up...

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

his new little buddy

Pippy invited Ren to a special birthday celebration which included a trip to Build-A-Bear at the Mall of America. This is Mike, Ren's creation sans his Minnesota Wild uniform.

My son was so excited about the party that when I went in to check on him at 5:45 am, he was under his covers fully dressed (the party wasn't until 9:30 am). Not only did Ren gain a new buddy, he experienced his first roller coaster ride at Nickelodeon Universe and had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.

By the time we made it over to my folks' house later that afternoon, Ren was still smiling! (An auntie even commented on how extraordinarily happy he seemed; roller coaster rides will do that sort of thing.)

It's kind of funny because we sent Pippy home with a treat bag and pocket full of worms after Ren's party. They sent Ren home with a cute critter and tasty morsels. (No wonder Ren was smiling.)

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my kids ask a lot of questions

May I be excused?
Could I have my video game time?
What are we having for dinner?
May I go outside?

And then there are the reflective questions involving faith, Jesus, and the world in which we live. Deep stuff.

It happened again last night. Though I won't get into the nitty gritties of our conversation, I would like to share something I was reminded of in my evening reading sprint.

Did you know...

The Old Testament, written over a one-thousand-year period, contains nearly 300 references to the coming Messiah. All of these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Many of the prophecies were totally beyond the human control of Jesus, for example:

1. Place of birth (Micah 5:2)
2. Time of birth (Daniel 9:25; Genesis 49:10)
3. Manner of birth (Isaiah 7:14)
4. Betrayal
5. Manner of death (Psalm 22:16)
6. People's reactions (mocking, spitting, etc.)
7. Piercing
8. Burial

The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science Speaks to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability.
We find that the chance that any many might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing we take the same number of silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them according to their own wisdom.

Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ. This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 of being absolute.
This is just one of many fascinating perspectives shared by Josh McDowell in this book. Josh was a pre-law student who'd been challenged by his college friends to examine intellectually the claim of Jesus Christ as God's Son. Josh became so irritated at their insistence, he accepted the challenge. He decided to write a book that would make an intellectual joke of Christianity.

Quite the opposite happened and he surrendered his life to the Lord.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

much needed prayer

For those of you who haven't had a chance to check out Angie Smith's (a.k.a. Bring the Rain) blog posting for today, you will find some very sad news regarding another loss in their family. Click HERE for details.

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a walk on the *wild worship* side

In case you hadn't noticed, I had myself a case of brain-freeze last week. The "going to bed at a reasonable hour to get up at an unreasonable hour" I'd mentioned in Sunday's post seemed to do the trick.

I'd begun a post last week that just wasn't moving (brain-freeze does that sort of thing). After looking at it again, I thought I'd give it a second shot. The post might be a tad outside your comfort zone, especially if you consider loud music and hand-raising living on the edge...

Speaking of The Edge, we're now back to U2 and rightly so! Many, many, many years ago I saw them in concert; the show was INCREDIBLE. I'm sure many of you can relate, having seen your favorite artists performing live; the experience likely mirrored this:

The hootin' & hollerin', tears, and screaming are just par for the course. At least at a rock concert. Pull something like that in church and people call you FREAKY. Interesting, isn't it? We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27)... yet, we'd best not be gettin' too excited about it.

At least, that's what our culture says.

In my quest for all that is hip, cool & extreme, I haven't always followed the conventions of society. Perhaps that's why I dyed my hair orange and stole my dad's clothes in high school, wore bedhead as a fashion statement in my early twenties, and endured four hours of torture annually to achieve a look similar to this in my late-twenties/early thirties.

As for music, having been involved in the local band scene for many years I'd grown accustomed all sorts of creative expression. Dancing, clapping, singing along, swooning, and an occasional squeal of delight were commonplace. I never bat an eye at any of it. That is, until I saw it in church.

And then God began poking at me. Why can't I be as excited about Him as I am my favorite band? Over time, I began to realize there were many styles of worship; some more expressive than others. I stopped looking at what others were doing and instead began to focus on what God wanted me to do.

Of course, the Bible has a lot to say about praise and worship as well; here are several verses that speak to me:

I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:2

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:1-3

I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever. Psalm 45:17

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:4

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:5

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. Psalm 135:3

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. Psalm 149:3

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

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2

With that being said, try taking a peek at this music video with fresh eyes:

Blessed by Darlene Zschech

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

have yourself a friendship reunion

As I mentioned in an earlier post, last week was a week of friendship reunions. We all have them, those friends who've been around FOREVER though you only see each other sporadically. You were likely very close at one time, possibly even roommates. You've seen each other at your best and worst. Even though you may hook up only once a year, it feels just like yesterday.

Matt is one of those friends for my hubby. He and his family put many miles on their vehicle to stop by last weekend (I suppose a visit with his mom might have had something to do with it as well). It was wonderful catching up on the ins and outs of life. Though it had been a very long time since our last visit (they even have two beautiful grandchildren now!) - it was as if time stood still for my hubby and his friend.

During our visit, Matt's family kept making reference to The White Book (e.g. "...we'd be lost without The White Book"). My curiousity was piqued and I just had to ask, "What in the world is this white book you keep talking about?"

Turns out, I was in for a big surprise. (And now by virtue of our blogging connection, so are YOU!)

The White Book is an incredibly detailed travel companion created by Matt in his disappointment over AAA's newly-revised TripTik. The White Book consists of the following:
  1. A blank calendar page for month of travel (click HERE for a printable version);
  2. Tabbed divider sheets for 3-ring binder.
To assemble The White Book, use a blank calendar page to outline the vacation, using it as the first page in your binder. Then, create a tabbed divider sheet for each state you plan to travel through (each state will have its own section). There are a variety of free online resources to help you map out your trip., MapQuest, and Rand McNally are just a few. Matt highly recommends to help you locate food, gas, and lodging along the way (it lists the highlights of every exit for each highway you travel). Be sure to including sightseeing opportunities along the way. Just Google "what to see in ______" (inserting your state of choice) to locate points of interest along your journey. also has great travel information, including snack recipes and printables to help make your journey more enjoyable.

Be sure to include state maps and hotel reservation information as well (just insert maps into the binder pockets and create a special tab for all of the hotel confirmation numbers).

It was mighty impressive. And despite its great marketing potential, Matt has graciously allowed me to share it will all of you! Now, that's friendship.

Journaling Ideas: Create a scrapbooking layout regarding one or more of your friendship reunions. A fun way to do so might be to compare and contrast the "then and now" of your relationship. When you first became friends, what were the music and fashion styles of the day? How do they compare to now? Was your friend easygoing or energetic "back in the day"? How does that compare to now? What were your common interests and how do they compare to today? What things have changed about your lives and relationship? What has remained the same?

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i SO cannot wait...

and neither can they!

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Monday, May 26, 2008

a new toy

Tilly recently shared with me the glory of using a polarized filter. I picked up one today; here's my first official shot:

Here's a similar shot, unedited and without the filter:

The color is a little more consistent with the filter. I've heard it works well in outdoor shots, best without a wide-angle lens.

On a side note... have you heard about the Crayola 3D sidewalk chalk? I am very curious to know how it works in person.

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heard about some wacky weather last night...

If you missed the news, Mellissa has a link and tornado preparedness information on her blog. You can get to the post by clicking HERE.

Too, if you haven't had a chance to check out Angie's recent post it would be well worth your time. You can get to it by clicking HERE.

Need a good laugh? Check out Melanie's recent post (a.k.a. Big Mama) by clicking HERE. And I thought my kids were funny...

And last but not least, a link regarding Memorial Day. So many of our traditions have been watered down over time, I thought it might be helpful to have a little background information. Click HERE to learn more about this special day of remembrance.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

a flurry of friends and family

This week has been full of reunions: my old friend L last Sunday, high school BFF on Monday, and the hubby's college roommate yesterday and today. Plus, a very pleasant visit with the grandmas at McHatties Victorian Times (an annual tradition).

A flurry. Don't get me wrong, the time was well spent but I haven't even given myself a second to reflect on the visits. Many wonderful moments I haven't yet had a chance to SAVOR in my journal. (Which also means I haven't had a chance yet to share them with you!)

My goal this week is to GO TO BED at a reasonable hour so I can GET UP at an unreasonable hour. I'm weird that way, needing quiet time alone to process life.

Too, today is Sharon's birthday! If you've been following this blog long enough, you might recognize her as my hip & cool friend from THESE POSTS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHARON!!!

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Friday, May 23, 2008

In Memory of Maria

Most of you have likely heard about the tragic accident that took the life of five-year-old Maria Chapman (daughter of Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman) earlier this week. For those of you interested in expressing your condolences, the family has a page set up in memory of their daughter; you can get to it by clicking HERE.

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U2 fans

I stumbled across this in my "research" for another post. It brings back so many memories...

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another cool promotion...

This one also ends May 31st! Just choose a photo and pair it with one of eight frame/mat combinations and add one of eight assorted quotes. You'll find details by clicking HERE.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

great idea for parties!

You can order a variety of cool new wall prints through the Creative Memories Photo Center. They are available in a 16x24 and 20x30 inch sizes and are ON SALE THROUGH MAY! There are lots of different themes - wedding, graduation, Disney - and are very easy to create. The website requires registration (and in doing so, you'll receive 20 free prints); information is HERE.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You're Invited

I realize we Minne-SOH-tans are still waiting for weather that resembles summer (or spring, for that matter). Some might even be offended by my talk of fall plans in this post.

Sorry. It's for a good cause.

Registration is now open for our fall bible study and a discount is being offered for ONE WEEK ONLY! The study will begin on Wednesday, September 24 from 9:30 am-11:30 am at Hosanna! Lutheran Church. We will kick off with Wising Up, a series of DVD teachings from the book of Proverbs (there will be no homework with this one) before moving on to Beth Moore's brand new study on Esther. The cost for both is only $25! Simply register for Wising Up and you will automatically be registered for both. I'm guessing the two will likely take us through the 2008-09 school year.

The group includes women of all ages and backgrounds (longtimers and first-timers alike). You do not need to be a member of the church to participate.

If you are interested in receiving the early-bird discount, let me know ASAP.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

my high school BFF

In the summer of 2004, I was serving as a table helper at our church's Alpha Course. This 12-week program includes a one-day retreat that takes place around week seven. The topic of prayer had been introduced a couple of weeks prior (the same day I'd been asked to sub at another table).

At the retreat, our table leader brought up the subject of prayer and we shared our requests in the small group. The leader offered to pray for a couple of the ladies and asked if I would pray for one of them as well. Unfortunately when Angela B. mentioned her prayer request, she'd assumed everyone had known the details of her situation from a prior session (the day I'd missed by having to sub in another group). I asked for details and she told me that her grandma was very sick with cancer and things were not going well. Her grandpa had passed away a year earlier and the family was hurting.

I began to pray and as I did, her situation seemed strangely familiar. After all was said and done, I reached over Angela B. and asked for her grandmother's name. She told me, "Theresa."

"Theresa VonBank?" I asked, the tears already welling in my eyes.

She looked at me incredulously and began crying herself.

Theresa VonBank was the mom of my very best friend from high school. This friend, living in another state at the time, had sent me an email one month earlier asking for prayer. I'd already been praying for Theresa and the rest of the family (which included Angela B., my BFF's niece).

Theresa VonBank has 21 grandchildren. The odds of me connecting with one in a church of 5000+ members in a suburban area of who-knows-how-many churches can only be attributed to God.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

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Monday, May 19, 2008

the kid is MOSTLY okay

Instead of our usual Sunday venue, the boys and I decided to check out a church much closer to home. Just as the sermon was about to begin, Ren leaned over to tell me he wasn't feeling well.

It figures. He'd just had his first dose of amoxicillin only two hours before.

The poor little guy was blindsided by vomiting and diarrhea. His symptoms were so sudden and severe we ended up in Urgent Care. Needless to say, that will be our last experience with amoxicillin.

I'm on my way out the door but hope to have more than a second or two for tomorrow's posting - so much to share, so little time! Have a great evening...

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

the cutting edge of fashion

My friend Kristen introduced me to the shower cap last night. I can't even tell you exactly how we ended up on this topic, but I was intrigued. After an in-depth investigation I uncovered THESE, THESE, and THESE. One thing led to another and I found THESE cute swimming caps.

I love them all!! Urban Outfitters carries a handful of shower caps but most are either from the UK or Australia. Kristen was completely unaware of the shower cap's trendsetting potential; now if only one of us could sew...

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the kid is okay

He made it to school and I had an entire day to take care of business. In addition to unpacking from last weekend's faithbooking crop I pruned the rose bushes, assembled a small table, AND removed three inches of dust from Ren's room. (Perhaps a contributing factor to his breathing issues.)

After engaging in a deep time-management discussion last night, I am reevaluating my use of the electronic calendar. I pulled out my old paper standby this morning and began transferring dates from the Pocket PC. Thankfully so, because I realized two appointments overlap each other this week! In addition to Amy Knapp's Family Organizer, I am quite fond of the monthly At-A-Glance planner.

Ahhhh, the simple things... I feel like I'm at home again.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

this is getting *really* old

My poor little guy is sick again and it's made for several rotten nights due to sleep apnea (he wakes constantly, snorts, and gasps during sleep). The doctor thought it could either be an allergy or a sinus infection. He's been on a nasal spray for the last few days and began having problems with stomach pain and vomiting last night (I believe a side effect of the medication, this happened last month with amoxicillin). Ugh.

He finally fell asleep at 1:00 am. A fitful, snorty kind of sleep.

The plan was to try the nasal spray for a few days before moving on to an antibiotic (amoxicillin, of course - the doctor said it would be much more effective in relieving a sinus infection). This means another night of pure joy.


Looks like the boy will be missing school again and I'll be making another call to the doctor.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

apparently, this is our next sermon series

Church really can be fun. This sermon series is to start in a couple of weeks; you can find more information by clicking HERE.

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May Faithbooking Lesson

It has been said we carry on an inner dialog of between 150-300 words a minute, up to 66,000 thoughts a day. Most thoughts are likely neutral, such as reminding ourselves to TiVo "The Office" or sketching out weekend plans. Others, may actually be quite corrosive:
  • You have no will power.
  • You're a horrible friend (daughter, wife, mother, sister).
  • You're weird.
  • That was really stupid.
The bottom line? Words are powerful. They can build up or tear down and bring life or death in the way we think and live our lives. God wants us to be deliberate in both our thoughts and words:

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. Proverbs 21:23

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25

For as he things in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

It is not enough just to stop the faulty thinking; we must replace destructive thoughts with truth! We created a scrapbook page using scriptural affirmations in place of journaling (see Mellissa's page HERE). The lesson was inspired by Jennifer Rothschild's new book Self Talk, Soul Talk.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Did you see Angie's surprise???

For those of you who've been following her story, go to her blog now by clicking HERE (don't read any further, SPOILER AHEAD).
Angie lost her baby daughter shortly after delivery only a short time ago. Her daughter's lungs were not fully developed and Audrey died 2-1/2 hours after birth. Another women (Sara) was going through the very same situation, her son's due date was even around the same time. They connected through Angie's blog and have been supporting one another although they'd never met in person. Angie surprised Sara by showing up at Elliot's celebration of life service! The photos (and story) are unbelievably moving.

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