Call Your Sibling Today!

So today is my little brother’s birthday.

Ha. Little. He is now 25 (whaaaa???) and is definitely bigger that I am-but still little brother to me. ❤

David and I have been through everything together. From rough beginnings, through adoption, and all the subsequent trials of life-we’ve not missed a single one in each others journey.

He makes me laugh more than ANYONE else I know. He is caring and sweet, and puts up with SO (soo sooooooo) many of my shenanigans.

I remember being in high school, getting ready for school in the morning, and looking in the mirror at myself, discontent with what I saw staring back at me. I turned to my (probably 8th grade) brother and said semi-defeatedly, “Well, how do I look?” He looked at me and said, “Smile…” I smiled. He responded “There you go! With that smile, you’re BEAUTIFUL.”

All that to say, this morning I was thanking God for my little brother-for the joy he brings into my life, for the care he has for my family. I don’t tell him enough. There’s a lot I am thankful for, but most of all I thankful for David’s salvation and love for the Lord. What a gift that I can rest in, that He’s got David’s soul!

I’m going to call him and be all sappy to him (cuz that’s how I roll on birthdays) and figured I’d write a blog about this to encourage you to maybe call your sibling today too! If you haven’t recently (or even if you have!) tell them what you love about them, a memory you treasure, or something you are specifically thankful for! If they are believers-praise the Lord! If they are not-KEEP PRAYING!

Happy Birthday, David! I love you!

 

Redeeming Sneezes

It all started with this thing I saw on Pinterest:

Fun and Fails I'm totally gonna try this once and see what kinda response I get haha More at Fails and Fun at our blog http://www.fails.ch:

Hysterical, right?

But it got me thinking about training our minds for godliness. What if every time we sneezed, and someone said “God Bless You”, we took time to identify ways that God already has blessed us? 

So I started doing this with the person across the hall from me at work (work is prime sneezing time for me, I don’t know why…). It just so happens to be one of the Senior Vice Presidents at Lancaster Bible College (he drew the short straw and had to let me work across from him! ;)). I asked him if every time one of us sneezes we would share something specific from that day that was a blessing from God. Whether first thing in the morning, or late in the afternoon-there has ALWAYS been blessings to share- blessings about our families, time in the word, general health, co-workers, etc.

It has been really encouraging to take a few seconds out of the day and randomly give God praise for his goodness that often goes unrecognized. It’s just a little thing–but it’s been an added joy to my days.

Also, Calvin and Hobbes is a joyful thing to add to your day too! 🙂 Have a good one and remember to keep Christ ever before you!

calvin and hobbes | calvin-and-hobbes-wind.jpg:

Valentine’s Day Thoughts!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! And this is what it made me think about today:

Imagine the joy you would have if, come February 14th, outside your door is delivered a huge package! In this package are flowers, candies, your favorite (fill in the blank), and a brand new (fill in the blank)! Woo hoo! You love it! You look for a card, but it is nowhere to be found. You have no idea who it is from, who to thank, or therefore who loves you so much to shower you with such affection!

Imagine if instead, you receive that package, and know exactly who it is from! They’ve inserted a card expressing (as they do often) how much they love you, how much they love knowing you and being known by you, and how much joy you bring them.

Which recipient is happier? The one with the anonymous gift, or the one who can thank the one from whom the loving gifts came? I say, the one who can thank the giver-the one who knows what deep love is associated with this present! There is such joy in knowing the thoughts of intentionality and care behind gifts given!

In this same manner, we as believers are able to KNOW the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Though the rest of the world can still experience laughter, Moose Tracks ice cream, sunsets, sleeping in on a rainy day, the smells of Christmas, and putting on clothes straight from the dryer-WE not only RECEIVE those gifts, but we also have “a card” (the Bible) telling us WHO gave us such amazing things and why! We can know that these gifts are given out of a deep love, joy, graciousness, and desire for intimacy. We can be thankful not just for the gifts, but for the Giver.

All that to say, take advantage of the fact that we can be more joyful and thankful for the pleasures of this life than people who do not know God. Whether you have a Valentine or not-you have been given a LOT! Maybe take some time and stop complaining about the ho-hums of life, and be thankful for the extravagant gifts we’ve been given. Focus on the love of Christ. Be amazed at the sacrifice and the care. Be enthralled with His desire to know you completely, and for you to know Him. Be thankful to the Giver.

What Calvin and Hobbes Tell Us About God

My younger brother owns all of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. We’ve spent hours reading them out loud to each other, laughing all the while at these brilliantly crafted funnies. What a great time!  Along with comic strips, I love (appropriate) comedies, the humor section on Pinterest, and friends that laugh with me, at me, and make me laugh.

Don’t we all?

Isn’t there something wonderful about humor?

Scripture tells us that “ever good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17). And I am pretty darn tootin’ sure that includes laughter.

You know, He didn’t HAVE to create us with funny bones; we would have functioned just fine without them. We wouldn’t have known what we were missing if He had never designed us to throw up heads back and roar with laughter, or laugh so hard that we cry, pee ourselves (cough, cough, Carrissa) or until our abs hurt.

But instead he made us to be creatures capable of joy and laughter-solely because of His grace! He made it so “a joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22) and gave us times to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:4)!

God is infinitely more creative, kind, and brilliant that I can even begin to imagine. But today I read a classic comic strip and was reminded of a small part of his graciousness, and so I praise Him for it.

What’s something YOU can praise God for today?

What Photography Tells Us About God

The last few speaking engagements I’ve booked, the organizers of the event have asked me for a bio and a headshot.  Being the unprepared young lady I am, I would quickly jot down a few lines about myself and submit a selfie from Facebook. Real cool. Real professional.

(note the sarcasm)

Fortunately for me, and anyone looking to have me speak, I have a dear, sweet, INCREDIBLY TALENTED friend, Olivia Craft, who took the time to take photos of me for headshots!

Here are some of them:

Isn’t that crazy? What great lighting, shots, poses and angels! Trust me, that has nothing to do with me! I don’t look that fly in real life-Olivia works magic! The session experience was so very pleasant! She was so very encouraging, and kind, and incredibly helpful! She made me laugh, made me feel like I was doing a great job, and gave me lots of tips to help me know what to do with my hands/feet/head/hair/anything!

In the midst of this, you know what I thought?

God is awesome- he thought of photography.

He brilliantly made a way for images to be captured, frozen in time, and printed. He didn’t have to do that-it is out of his abundant grace! Before time, he fashioned the ideas of lenses and flash. He created the ability to zoom and edit. Before matter was formed he had already thought of negatives and dark rooms and film and prints and focus.

Why?

  1. He is incredibly kind (Isaiah 30:18)
  2. He is creative and loves for us to be creative (Ephesians 2:10)
  3. He loves for us to recall, remember, reflect, and look back (Psalm 105:5)

So next time you appreciate photography or a photographer, don’t worship the creation, but rather the creator (Romans 1:25). Take time to thank God for his kindness, his creativity, and our ability to be creative too. Then, think about what He was teaching you, what lessons you learned, and what you can praise Him for concerning the event photographed.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

What pictures do YOU have that you praise God for?

P.S. Do you need an amazing, sweet, encouraging, relaxing, talented photographer? Check out this brilliant, beautiful young lady at her website- http://www.oliviaraephotography.com/