August 20, 2012

light & magic

sometimes you just have to grab your camera, grab a friend, and head to the beach - and if the light is just right, magic happens.

August 16, 2012

investing in the present

the past few days have been filled with challenge and growth. those close, and not so close, to me have been asking me hard questions, testing my heart, and pushing me on toward greater things. as the summer winds down and my sights turn toward the coming school year, my heart is preparing itself for what's still to come. this summer has been what i would call an 'adult summer.' it wasn't filled with days at the beach, afternoons tanning, fun nights out with friends, movie nights, trips to yogurtland, or whimsical nothing. it was not what you'd picture your typical college summer to be. this past summer was my last 'school summer,' as i prepare for my senior year of college. and though those things seem ideal and fun, they are not what God had in mind for me this year, and i'm so glad He presented me with new opportunities.

this summer grew me as a leader, as a teammate, as a girlfriend, as a daughter, a sister, and a friend, but most importantly, as a child of God. for every moment of it, i'm thankful.

this coming year, many things will be changing. it's so easy for me to get caught up in what's up ahead. i love planning, dreaming, and preparing myself for this to come, but often, i get so caught up in what's next that i completely miss what's now. i need to constantly remind myself that God still has me here, right now, for a very specific and important reason. to brush over the next few weeks and months would be to miss out on things God has planned for me - lessons to learn, adventures to go on, memories to make. the other night, T and i had a conversation about what this next year holds for us and what our goals are. after drawing stick figures and arrows all over his whiteboard, i summed i up with one phrase: "prepare for the future, invest in the present."

God's call to love others and love Him should be the highest priority in our lives. it's a command that often disappears as i place other things in its place. over the last few days, i've re-learned the importance of knowing God and loving others. there is no better place to be.

though God is opening new doors and walking me into new opportunities, i do not want to miss out on what he has for me today, this hour, this minute.

to the people God has surrounded me with, those who challenge me, those who refresh me, and those who i tend to just ignore - am i encouraging them? am i inspiring them? do they see Christ in me? or do they feel forgotten and brushed over as i charge into the next thing?

as God brings new opportunities into my life - am i proud of those? do i place myself above others because i'm doing new things? or do i see them as areas to grow? do i seek circumstances that will humble me and teach me, or do i stay in my safe-zone?

do you ever notice the difference between days where you walk with God, and days where you try to walk alone? unfortunately, my instinct is often just to try it alone, and after a few days of struggling and feeling drained and tired, i crawl back to God. the days that start with Him, that include Him, are days where the ordinary things seem magical. He has life-changing and day-changing power. and His heart is to involved in our life. i recently read a quote though that perfectly sums up our relationship with the Lord: "God is the perfect gentleman. He will never force His will on anyone." God's will is to know us intimately and for us to know Him fully. but if that isn't our desire, He will step back and He will wait - faithfully and patiently. only when we draw near to Him, when we seek His face, will He then show Himself more fully. He never withholds Himself from us, but He will withdraw from us if we reject Him. my desire is to see God clearly, to know Him fully, and to walk with Him intimately. there are days where that desire is not evidenced, and i regret those days.

may i walk more closely with my Father, Counselor, peace-giver, and best friend, each and every day.

baby blessings // gemma shae

oh my gosh it's been a while. between moving and going to china and visiting family up north and working, this summer has just flown by. but i wouldn't change a thing about it, and i am so excited for the coming year and all it holds.

these images are of a shoot i did literally 6 hours before i left for China. baby Gemma decided to wait until the last possible second to make her appearance! i am so glad she came when she did though, because she is the sweetest little girl and was an absolute angel in front of the camera. thank you, kacie (two downings a day) for sharing such a sweet morning with me and your little girl - enjoy!