Saturday, October 29, 2011

Precious Photos

May I just point out the precious children captured in this perfect photograph??

And may I also point out the status of how valuable a digital camera is with 3 children?? And the sheer beauty of capturing the perfect picture? When you have faces like these ------

With these gorgeous eyes ---------


Or these loving looks ---------




And these award-winning smiles -----------


Or with expert (but unplanned) prop placements ----------------


It's only with the most precious photos that we capture the preciousness of these children ----


6 snaps to get 1 good shot...
can you imagine how much footage I'll go through when we increase the child number to 4??? Although if you evaluate the above, I think it may be one child in particular that I am having the most difficulty with??

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mustard Seed Faith

So it's taken me a good week to write this blog... cause I knew I needed to.

But I didn't want to. Cause it's embarassing. And I knew to tell you the good thing I learned, I would have to confess to you the bad things I said. And that's not easy. But God said 'write' so now I write.

"I just want to stop. I don't want to do this anymore!"

Not the words that any child, anywhere, should have their parents say about them. But words that poured out of my soul 2 weeks ago. Out of a soul that was hurting, that was grieving, that was giving up in a snotty, exhausted fit of tears. So don't judge me too fast. Don't tell me I'm not fit to be her parent. That I haven't fought hard enough - cause let me tell you friends, 2 years is a long time to have your boxing gloves on. How could I give up on my daughter when we are so close??? (All these comments by the way, went through MY mind).

But you see, our baby Olivia, at that moment - didn't exist to me any more. She was a dream. A beautiful dream that God had given me two years ago that was not destined to come to fruition. So to me, it felt like she had blown away like a vapor. An image I had created in my own mind.

I should have ran, without stopping, to my Heavenly Father. Clinging to my current life verse as if it were a small island in the midst of a storm. But I didn't. So much for this strong Christian example.

Isaiah 41:13 "For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you 'Do not fear; I will help you."

Or how 'bout my other current verse of the day - written down in my car and read almost daily?? Did I go there? Nope.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 "Blessed is the (wo)man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. (S)he will be like a tree that is planted by the water who sends out its roots into the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought; but never fails to bear fruit."

But finally, after a day of pouting, and crying, with fear AND worrying (good to know those verses sunk in my thick brain, huh?)... I prayed the next morning on the way to church for God to just talk to me that morning. Let me hear His voice. Let me know if I had heard him wrong 2 years ago. Let me know if we were making a big mistake. If it was time to turn the ship around.

First a great sermon - but nope, no 'ah-ha' moments.
And then after, during the invitation, the pastor goes off to a different tune sung just for me, something to the tune of: "The enemy does not want you to be happy. He is a liar. He wants you to be unhappy. He does not want you to fulfill the purpose God has for you..... stand strong... run from the darkness and into the light."

And then, the next song - again, just for me:



The verses saying "YOU wont relent until you have it all.... my heart is yours...... come be the fire inside of me"

So it hits me.... IF God isn't going to give up until His purpose is fulfilled.... and IF I claim to be His child, with Him taking residence in my heart..... and IF He is the fire inside of me.....

than who am I to say 'I give up'?
who am I to relent and throw my hands up because I am tired?
am I not acting in the face of all I say is true?
where is my fruit in the face of this drought?
and since when did this become all about ME?

So I come home, with the puzzled, slapped in the face kind of heart.

And then my neighbor sends over a big bag of yellow banana peppers. (I AM going somewhere with this, I promise..)

And I like to can them for a salad I make. So I get out my recipe box and start pulling out ingredients. Mainly THIS one:

And then laugh. Cause my Daddy knows I need to be thumped in the head every once in a while just to get His point across. It was just like He was saying to me, "Tracy, you see this???? This is ALL I'm asking from you. This much Faith. That's all I need from you. I've got the rest covered."
Matthew 17: 14-21 "....Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”


And then tonight, as I looked for images for this post, I came across this blog and quote:

•A mustard-seed may in fact be small in size, but the miracle is in the relationship between the seed and the reality of the mustard tree. The seed produced phenomenal growth, point blank. Does your faith produce phenomenal spiritual growth in your own life? Does it produce phenomenal results for God’s Kingdom in the spread of the Gospel? That’s faith “as” a mustard seed.

So yes - my tree did kind of run away from the water... and my fruit kind of stunk... but I needed that moment of desperation to figure out where I was planted was all wrong. As another song says, you have to be at the bottom before you start looking up. So that's why I wrote it all down. So you can laugh at me or shake your head in disgust. But at the end of the day, so you can see what mustard seed you may be holding that needs to be planted and watered - cause God only needs that much from us, a tiny seed of faith - but the fruit He will bear because we allow Him to work in us... that's where the real fire and beauty comes from.

We're just a small seed that has to be plucked in the head once in a while to figure out where our roots need to be firmly planted...