Thursday, April 30, 2009

Left or Right

" When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy one of Israel your savior"
Isaiah 43:2-3
We have been attending a new church, and love it. A couple of weeks ago the pastor stopped and chatted to us as we came into church. My first random thought was "that's cool", (the last time we spoke to him was a year ago when we were introduced, and he remembered us). Somehow our conversation led to South Africa, and before we knew it he asked if we would be interested in incorporating our trip back there with a missions trip, as they are sending some people back this summer. He gave Josh his e-mail and told us to go pray about it and talk about it and then let him know. We were both very excited about the prospect. We had originally wanted to do a mission trip as part of our trip back to South Africa, and this seemed to have landed in our laps. We talked and prayed.
My prayer went something like this: "I don't know how, or if this will pan out like my deepest desires hope that it will, but what it reminded me of is your faithfulness and provision, always. Lord thank you for the reminder. The reminder that you are faithful, and that when we go to South Africa it is because you provided for us to go." I realized whether this trip happened or not, this would be what I was walking away from it with. An awesome reminder. An awesome promise.
So Josh sent off the e-mail. And then we waited.......and waited. By the following Sunday we still hadn't heard anything. During the sermon my friend Jess wrote me a note saying "Jim didn't get the e-mail". So after church we tracked Jim down to make sure he was aware that we were really interested. Josh gave Jim his number and he told us to think of dates that will work for us, and then he would call later that afternoon before the board meeting to talk more about it. So we figured out the dates that would work, chatted to Jim and then waited....again.....
Monday afternoon Josh got the call.....and..... we are not going. This trip is apparently a scouting trip for the church, and the board felt that the four people already going were enough to scout. However Jim assured us this is not a "no" but a "on pause", if the church decides to get more involved in doing more missions in South Africa, then there would be more trips. And so we are back to our original plan of saving and hoping to go in December.
I was not as bummed as I thought I would be. In fact I felt totally at peace. And when I was puzzling over the whole experience, like why would such an exciting opportunity come along only to immediately fall through. I could say I don't get it.....but I kinda do, cos I am walking away with the knowledge, peace and complete confidence that God is in control, He has a plan, and He IS faithful. And so if the sole purpose of this experience was to remind me of that, then that's worth it to me.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28
So our summer plans remain to head up to Canada for a couple of weeks. Our good friends, Jess and Dave may be joining us, with our puppies, Moose and Emmi....watch out Canada!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

new and old

Our new old chairs.

Our new lawn.




Monday, April 27, 2009

I survived. The morning of, anxiety rolled in and sat like a rock in the bottom of my belly until I arrived at the venue. Once the bride arrived and the day got going I got into the zone.
Now I am exhausted.
I am ready for next weekend already.

Friday, April 24, 2009

shoot.


Tomorrow Josh and I are shooting a wedding. So I dug out an old prayer journal. Almost a year ago I started this previous prayer journal, the day before we shot a wedding. A year ago since we last shot a wedding. A year ago since my tummy was so twisted in knots of anxiety and butterflies. So this year, before this wedding, I anticipate feeling the same knots, but I don't yet, I just have a bad attitude about it (just don't wanna), and I have been feeling heavy since last night, but no anxiety yet. That all might change when we go to the rehearsal tonight to check out the venue.

I thought that in preparation for this wedding I would look up some verses from previous "day before the Shoot" journaling, that I clung to for courage, encouragement and any kind of peace (and calming of nerves) I could get. I figure anxiety or not at this point, I need God to do this no matter what! Without Him I am nothing, with Him I have everything I need. My 'time, talent and treasures' are all His.

So whether I want to do this (wedding shoot) or not, it is an opportunity provided by God, for which I am thankful for, for so many reasons. One reason is that it causes me to reflect on my life and question where my passions and desires lie. For years now I have wondered and wished I had a passion and a desire that would drive me, and for many more years then that I have battled with insecurities and self consciousness. I think I am finally beginning to slowly dig up and discover a passion, and contrary to what some might think it is not pursuing photography professionally at this point. I think there has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders in just admitting that to myself, and being OK with it. Maybe this is the reason I don't feel that anxious yet?

Another reason is that I am thankful for the little bit of extra income it brings in, especially at this time. The third and final reason is that doing these weddings always makes me lean on God more, cling to Him, seek Him out and rely on Him. I WISH I could say this for everyday of my life, and to an extent I can, in that I know and realize I cannot even do my everyday existence without him. But it is different in that when doing a wedding, I physically, spiritually and emotionally cannot go forward without Him. The comfort of my everyday life allows me to move forward by holding onto things other then God, that surround and cushion my existence, like a cup of tea, or friends (both the show and the people in my life), or my husband, or dark chocolate, or a run, or shopping, or.......So I am thankful for the reminder.

These are some of the verses I wrote down a year ago and clung to a year ago. And they speak to me just as strongly and as relevantly as they did last year. How awesome is our God and His word, as relevant today as it was a year ago, and thousands of years ago.

"But he said to me, ' My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness '. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

2 Corinthians 12:9


" Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"

Proverbs 3:5


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ."

Philippians 4:6-7


"It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord you are safe."

Proverbs 29:25


I LOVE the images of Gods Power resting on me and his Peace guarding me! The seeming contradictions make so much sense.

So here I go, letting the ultimate creator guide me in my creativity......

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lily

Happy Easter.

In its time

Today I was getting myself organised, replying to e-mails I hadn't replied to and other fun stuff. Getting organised is addicting, once you start and feel like you accomplish one thing you want to do more. One of the things on my list was to write about my memories of my wedding day for our photographer, James Moes', blog site. It was fun to think back and remember that special day.

Another thing on my to do list was looking up immigration forms to change my residency status from conditional to permanent. The whole immigration process is so wrapped up in my wedding memories too, so I thought I would post what I wrote for James today. Seemed appropriate......

The memories of my wedding day are so much more then just the one day itself. There was so much leading up to our day that shaped and strengthened our relationship and contributed so intricately to the memories of that special day.

Unlike most people, Josh and I had to conquer the boundaries, known as US immigration before we could have a wedding day. I am still surprised at how easy it is for other people to just get married without the immigration process in the way.

After getting engaged we hoped and prayed to be married 3 months later. It ended up being a nine month, long-distance engagement, with 3 dates set and changed for the wedding. The hardest part about waiting was never having a set goal or date to work towards and wait for, it could have been never ending for all we knew. We clung to this verse: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Eccl 3:11, and trusted.

Finally we received a letter with an interview date to receive my fiancĂ© visa and our wedding date was set for 2 weeks later, the same day as my parents 29th anniversary, on a beach in California. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Eccl 3:11

Leading up to our wedding day, California was dreary and rainy. My friends and family who came from Canada joked about the Californian weather. We stocked up on rain ponchos and umbrellas, the rain would not deter our beach wedding.

The morning of our wedding day the Sun broke through the dreariness. We had perfect skies for some great photos. Full sunshine amidst looming clouds.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time” Eccl 3:11

Our wedding day was a simple day on the beach surrounded by a few close friends and family. Getting married on the beach was my only wish and dream for my wedding. And it came true. It truly was a beautiful day not because of months of planning and organizing finally being realized, but in its absolute simplicity and perfect timing. We were finally together forever, no more boundaries separating us. The first day of growing old together. The ocean crashing in our ears reminding us of Gods sovereign power in our lives.

I remember my Dad telling me a funny story as he walked me onto the beach towards my groom. I remember Josh’s smile reserved only for me. The tears and laughter as we exchanged vows.

We ran with the sea gulls, we could have taken flight with them and soared.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

dreams of flying


A friend directed me to this site and I thought I would share the smile too.

http://www.janvonholleben.com/dreams_of_flying.php?n=1

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

phamily photo

Manresa Beach California, 5 April 2009.

collecting more memories



Why do weekends have to end. Amazing Saturday at the beach, the beach we got married on, Manresa Beach California. I didn't want to leave. The weather was perfect. The company was awesome. The day was wonderful. Collecting more memories.

(featuring Ross and Angie Turner all the way from SA. A curious Seagull and a shy pidgeon)

Friday, April 3, 2009

playing catch



So I want to try and be better at posting on this thing. The whole point for me to start it up was to take the place of my giant general e-mails, and now I don't do either blog or e-mail. For some reason the whole blog thing is intimidating to me, I feel I have to have something profound to say (and to say it well) and I never do. So yesterday I decided I needed to write more, profound or not (well said or not).

So to sum up 2009 so far......busy.

Good busy, but busy none the less. This final semester of Josh's credential program has been the busiest for him, so time together has been scarce which has been hard. I am looking forward to it all being over.

The credential program even encroached on our second year anniversary. We had already decided that we couldn't go away for it, due to finances, and instead wanted to go out to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. But then Josh had a meeting for his class that was very important, so we had to postpone our date to the next night. We still had an amazing time celebrating our two wonderful years. Josh surprised me, and really did take me to a fancy restaurant. After finding out about the meeting he pretended that we would just go to another restaurant, that I still love but it wasn't super fancy or anything. I was OK with that. Little did I know that he had already booked the fancy one....and had to get me to dress nicer without giving it away....cute boy.

This is turning into the year of visitors for us. We are loving it, and what a blessing to have the house and a spare room. First was my family over Christmas (hence the hectic two week rush to get things ready for them), then at the end of February we had Dans best friend Pierre come stay for a weekend with his girlfriend and her best friend, who they were dropping off at the San Fransisco airport to continue her world travels (her next stop was the Cook Islands....jealous!). So they "flew" through, driving up through the Thursday night and leaving the Sunday Morning. We had a lot of fun and laughter with all of them.

Then my Mom came to stay for a few days with a good friend of hers from work. Their main mission and goal was to help us tackle our yard, which had been a landscape of weeds. Their other mission was to relax....which apparently gardening is that for them? So the Saturday before they arrived we spent the day doing the back-breaking work of pulling all the weeds out of the beds. I don't remember ever being that sore in my life, but it made me feel better that all my Mom had to do was help pick the plants and plant them. The fun stuff. I had go to work unfortunately, but Josh was off on his spring break and was a great helper and driver for them. The yard is on its way to looking lovely, I am excited about all the plants we have put in, mainly roses....can't wait to see how it all looks in a few months, and hoping I don't kill them in the mean time.....

On the Wednesday we got up at 1am to take my Mom to the airport to catch her 6am flight! And then continued up to Canada to surprise Dan and see him in his play, which may be the final play he is in at Trinity. We were there for 3 wonderful, short days then drove home again bringing with us Ross and Ang Turner, friends of mine from South Africa. They are now staying with us for 2 weeks before they continue on their American Adventure. During the day while we are working they have been exploring Modesto and seeing its "sights"....which are few and far between. Mostly they are getting to do life with us and then on the weekends we are going to make up for it and take them to San Fransisco, Santa Cruz, and to Yosemite hopefully.

Then we might have more guests coming from the UK in May and from Canada in August. So much fun!

We are hoping to head back up to Canada this summer, probably the beginning of June for a longer trip to see my family and Dan before he goes to work at Barnabas summer camp this summer. The plan is to stop off in Seattle on the way up for a mini vacation together and to drop off my Canadian Residency card (the end of an era). Then we are hoping and praying to be able to make a trip back to South Africa over December or January. We had originally planned to do it this summer, but buying a house set us back on that a little bit. So depending on Josh's Job situation (due to economic situations here, there are major cuts in schools and mainly the art/music programs so we are still uncertain where and what Josh will be doing next year, but we trust the Lord has a plan, he always does. He is always faithful to provide) we now hope that December will work, we won't be able to come for as long but it will be better weather in SA for us. So we will see.

So that is a bit of a catch up on us at the moment. Busy with life, friends, family, fun, school (not as much fun), the house, yard, our lovely pup, and looking forward to summer and warmer weather.

Now that I am caught up on life ramblings, maybe my next entries will be more profound and interesting......

"Strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at the future" - Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, April 2, 2009


"Embrace the ordinary reality of waking up each morning with a heart refreshed, willing to go where God calls you and do what God requires in the smallest of details"


From an article in the Jan 09 Relevant Magazine about Radicalism

Musings of a Moose

Meet Moose.

Our beloved addition to our little family.


Moose was sick when he came to us, with kennel cough and then as soon as he got better we whisked him off to be fixed....poor pup.

So far Moose's favorite chew toys are:
my kitchen curtain teddy bears (or anything stuffed, hasn't chewed our pillows yet though) plates the bible electric cords fruit from the fruit bowl

Moose has a best friend, Emmi Blue, she is a couple of months older then him.

One Friday evening our friends Jess and Dave just popped in to say hi, and had brought Emmi, so we let the two pups into the yard for a while. When Jess and Dave were ready to leave, we called the dogs to the back door, and along came two muddy pups. They had found the broken sprinkler head and dug a nice mud bath for themselves. So Dave passed them through the bathroom window to Josh and they got a bath (see photo below). Bet they weren't planning on that for their Friday evening activities.

Moose loves people. And watching out the window.

He loves exploring the great wide world of our back yard. He will stand in the middle of it with his head held high and just let the wind blow all the smells and sounds into his face. He loves this more then playing ball at this point.


He is a good pup.

Endless fun and companionship.