March 31, 2013

easter reflections

'salvation is here, salvation is here and it lives in me. salvation is here, 'cause you are alive and you live in me!'

it wasn't until recently that i realized easter is one of my favorite holidays - the most significant, powerful, and moving of celebrations. christmas is definitely one of my favorite holiday seasons, but easter, in and of itself, is truly life-changing. 

i am so thankful for the oneness we have in Christ, for His willingness to give up His life so that we could have life in Him, that we could be one with Him and the Father. that is powerful. He lives in us, and we live our life through Him, and if we always lived in that reality - how transformative would life be? 

i am thankful for redemption, for freedom, for peace, and for hope. i am overwhelmed by the selfless love Christ reflected toward us. a man who had done no wrong, who lived in constant communion with God...who then willingly suffered separation from God, laid the weight of our sin on His shoulders, endured torment and suffering, and intentionally laid Himself upon the cross for all mankind. 

then there was mourning, grief, silence. 

the promised King was defeated, crushed by death's blows. hope was lost. those who followed Him, lived with Him, honored Him as their Savior fled, hid, wept, and despaired. 

yet, when Satan delivered his final blow and it seemed death had won, then Jesus retaliated. in power, in mystery, in might. 'o death, where is your sting? o grave, where is your victory?' what an earth-shattering day. we serve a God who is alive, who lives in us, who gives us life. 

i love that God is a lover of fellowship and community. and i love the abounding joy that hums throughout the church on Easter morning. everyone is dressed in their best. greetings of, "He is risen!" echo throughout the halls. this day changed everything. 

today, Travis and i celebrated with each other and with those we love. it was a joy to see old friends at church, to have lunch with family, and enjoy an afternoon of rest. even this morning, while Travis was rehearsing for morning worship, i stole a few quiet moments at Starbucks. my heart was reflective and contemplative, moved by Jesus. i soaked in the stillness. relished in the peace. 

today was full of love, affection, and joy, and i love those days. i love that we have been given the ability to love, because God Himself is love. He cannot be anything but love. i love the simple joys of getting dressed up and walking to church with my husband to be, hand in hand, with overflowing hearts. i love extra time to make french toast and eat in the stillness of the morning. today is simply good. so good that i had to just write a blurb. even if it doesn't make sense, it will remind me of today's deep significance and all its simple pleasures. 

happy easter, friends. 

March 28, 2013

7th grade flashback

this semester, as part of my application to the teaching program at CSULB, i need to complete 45 hours of classroom observation. 45 hours is a-freaking-lot, but it has been so fun to be back in the classroom!

yesterday, i observed my first middle school history class - 6th and 7th graders. we played jeapordy and built bottle rockets (isn't history fun?!), and i almost passed out from their overwhelming energy, but it was fun. after 6 periods, as the final bell was about to ring and the students were packing their backpacks and milling about, i suddenly realized that when i was in 7th grade, anxiously anticipating spring break, my dad was living his last few days here.

it's been almost 9 years, to the exact day, and time has healed those wounds...most of the time. all the 'why' questions have faded away with the knowledge that God is our Father, our Provider, our Comforter, and our Lord. i used to fall asleep at night, worrying about my wedding day and what i'd do because my dad wouldn't be there to walk me down the while. actually, in the last few years, that has been the one trigger: weddings. i see daughters, beaming and glowing in their wedding gown, swaying back and forth in the arms of their dads. and i miss him. most of the time, i just sit there, next to the dance floor, squeeze Travis' hand, and choke back the tears. i want to embrace that precious bride and her father and tell them that they are so lucky to have each other, and i want to remind her of how blessed she is to have her dad with her, at that moment, how fortunate she is to have that memory to hold on to. and i pray she will always cherish it.

 now, less than 5 months away from my own wedding, i know that there will be an inevitable hole in our wedding day. people might wonder where he is, where he went. he won't be there to walk me down the aisle. there will be no father-daughter dance. but there will be one big family dance, i'm sure, as we celebrate the man who brought us all here and shaped us into who we are. we will miss him, and there will be a little heartache, but most of all, we will celebrate him and celebrate the life that we are so lucky to live. and i will pray that we each continue to live it to the fullest.

i hope you had kleenex nearby...sorry, i should have warned you.

so there i was, looking at those young seventh graders and i thought about even just one of them losing a parent at this moment in their life. and my heart broke over the thought. and then i realized that i was that girl. surrounded by friends, busy with my fun 12-year-old life, unaware that everything would change in just a few short days. and somehow, i survived. i went to school the day after the funeral, even though a lot of those memories are fuzzy now. maybe i was in shock. but we moved along and we continued living, remembering my dad's last words which i penned in my yellow pleather journal just days later...that we shouldn't cry or be sad, but that we should know without a doubt, that we would all see each other again one day.

more than anything, the last 9 years have taught me how good our God is, how Jesus sustains us, how His love is all we need. and He truly makes all things work out for our good.

March 26, 2013

sweet family // the moffitt's

you guys, this is the most delightful and hilarious family you will ever meet. last summer, Kasey took a huge chance on me and asked me to capture her 'morning of' wedding photos. i am so incredibly grateful to her for giving me that opportunity and trusting me to capture everything she wanted. since then, her family has continued to be so supportive and encouraging. 

when Kasey contacted me about taking the annual Moffitt family photos, i literally freaked out - half in excitement, half into a ball of nerves. but the whole family made their entire shoot so enjoyable and so FUN, and i had an absolute blast working with them. i hope these images express the incredible love these people have for each other and the abounding joy which unites them. 

dear Moffitt family, thank you thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for spending such a fun afternoon with me!


sweet family // the downings

remember this adorable family from a few months back? kacie (who blogs over on two downings a day) & todd were my first return clients, ever, and that in itself is a HUGE deal - so thank you sweet downing family! 

last summer, i photographed the arrival of their sweet baby girl, Gemma Shae. six months later, they asked me to capture some family portraits for the christmas season, and that baby girl is just as delightful as ever. be warned, you will fall in love with her. 

kacie, todd, and gemma - i am excited to see your family grow. you are the kindest, warmest parents, and that is so evident through gemma's constant smiles (which slay us all, seriously). thank you, again, for trusting me with these special moments! 

happy tuesday to you all!