December 25, 2011

Celebrating the Savior

"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:10-11

(photo from 'The Nativity Story' movie)

Merry Christmas!
I hope that all of you have a wonderful day as we celebrate our Savior.

The Christmas story is pretty amazing. God, the Creator of the Universe, sending His only Son into the world as a baby - I don't think that I can fully comprehend it all. What was it like for Jesus, who was fully God, to become a man and to walk this earth? What was it like for Mary, knowing that she held in her arms the Savior of the world? What was going through her mind?

Not only did Jesus step down from perfect heaven into our sin filled world, He came knowing what had to be done in order to save us from our sin. He came in peace, not war. He brought light into a world of darkness. He brought hope into a world of despair. It's amazing that He loves us so much that He gave His life for us. What a special gift! Not only should we celebrate His birth on this day, but also the gift of salvation that is offered us through the death of Christ.

So whether you have 40 inches of snow or if the sun is shining and it's 45 degrees...have a wonderful Christmas filled with many special memories! May you experience the joy and peace that only the Savior can bring.

December 16, 2011

White Christmas

This is about the most snow that we've had so far...and it's already melted. I've heard that as of right now it doesn't look like it'll be a white Christmas for us. It doesn't feel quite like the middle of December when the ground it bare and it's 35 degrees out!

I feel that sometimes I let things other than the real meaning define Christmas. A light and fluffy layer of snow. Presents under the tree. Christmas decorations. Baking sweet treats. Time of fellowship with family and friends. While all of these things are fun and are a part of the Christmas season, they really aren't what defines it. The true meaning of Christmas was found lying in a manger in a stable in Bethlehem. The true meaning is God's precious gift to us - His Son.

If someone handed me a prettily wrapped present, what would you think if I thanked them for it, admired the beautiful wrapping paper, and then set it on a shelf where I could look at it? You would probably think that I had forgotten about the actual present! But how often do we do the same thing with Christmas? I think that sometimes we forget that decorations, snow, and presents are only glitter and glamor of the wrapping paper. We get so caught up in the wrapping paper that we miss the real gift.

It may seem a little bit different if we don't have a white Christmas, but that's ok. It's not the reason we celebrate. I don't want to get so caught up in the things that are simply a layer of wrapping that I miss the true present.

December 10, 2011

A new day

It was about 7:05am yesterday morning when my mom woke me up, telling me that there was a lunar eclipse going on and she thought I might like to get some photos. That's a normal time for me to get up, but I was still a little bit tired and going out in 10 degree weather just didn't sound too appealing. So I stayed in bed, but as I lay there thinking about it, I decided that it was a rare opportunity and that I should go for it.

Jumping out of bed I grabbed a thick sweater and put in on over my t-shirt, grabbed my camera, ran downstairs, slipped on a coat and boots and went outside. Let's just say that it was cold enough to wake you up very quickly. The only problem was that the best place to take pictures of it was out on the other edge of our property. I may have looked kind of crazy running through the pasture at full speed and clutching a camera bag, but sometimes you've gotta do what it takes to get a good photo, right?

By the time I got up there the eclipse was probably 3/4 of the way done, so I quickly grabbed my camera out of the bag, only to realize that I needed to change my lens to the 55-200mm to get a better photo. It only took me about 30 seconds to change it, but no kidding, just as I finished a cloud covered it up and stayed there until it was over. What a way to ruin my perfect photo taking session! Needless to say, I was kind of disappointed and a little bit frustrated with myself for not getting out of bed only a minute of two earlier!

This is the best (and only) photo that I got of the lunar eclipse. See that little tiny pink spot right above the horizon? Yep...that's it...

Well, even though I didn't get to photograph the eclipse, I did find that early morning is a beautiful time to take pictures! Not often do I go outside with my camera first thing in the morning, especially when it's so cold out. With frost fresh on the ground and a lovely sunrise, it adds a special effect that isn't always available at other times of the day.

It's neat how, even though I didn't get to take pictures of what I had originally wanted to, I was able to see some of the other little details that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. What at first seemed somewhat disappointing, turned out to be a lovely start to my day!

December 6, 2011

Holiday Memories

Last Sunday our whole family went to our friends house to bake cookies. The kitchen island was just big enough for ten kids to squish around as we designed our cookies. We ended up with quite a wide variety of shapes and designs, ranging from a Christmas theme of  wreaths, snowmen, reindeer, presents, Christmas trees, penguins, and manger scenes to other creative creations. There were frogs catching flies, monkeys riding on elephant backs, monsters, pizzas, cameras, fruit baskets, and even a few that were just a interesting mixture of all the colors combined.

Squishing and molding the dough until it's shaped just right...

 I'm still trying to decide what the cause of my interesting expression in that picture is...I think it may have had something to do with the way my reindeer's antlers were turning out. It's pretty safe to say that I'm not the most creative person when it comes to designing cookies.

 Laughter and lively chatter filling the kitchen. The scent of freshly baked cookies drifting through the air. Christmas lights sparkling throughout the house.

I love the Christmas season.

December 1, 2011


Another year has come and gone. 

On Monday I celebrated my seventeenth birthday, and I can hardly believe how the time flies. It seems like just yesterday that I was counting down the days to my tenth birthday, yet here I am celebrating seventeen wonderful years of life. This past year has been a year of learning, growing, laughter, and tears. A year of growing closer to the Lord.

Memories of earlier years come flooding to my mind. Playing spy. Riding pigs. Sneaking through the woods while playing capture the flag. Building snow forts. Those years seemed so carefree. It's interesting to see how priorities change as I've gotten older. In time that I used to use for playing outdoors or having tea parties with dolls, I now spend in school work, planning Bright Lights meetings, working outside, or taking pictures. Yet even looking back at the simplicity of that earlier stage of life, I still wouldn't trade it for what I have now. I've found that getting older isn't just about a change in priorities, it's also about taking on new responsibilities, learning new things, and growing in the Lord.

Growing up can bring mixed emotions. On the one hand, I'm excited about the future and where the Lord will lead me. On the other hand, growing up can be a complicated process! There are so many decisions, unanswered questions, and uncertainties. But the Lord is faithful and I know that He will guide me no matter what I may have to face. I love this stage of life...but then again I'll be saying that 20 years from now too.

"For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:5

November 26, 2011

Christmas Bokeh

Now that Thanksgiving is over, thoughts are starting to turn towards Christmas. The air seems to be getting chillier, radio stations are playing Christmas music, and Christmas decorations are going up all over town. Yesterday was the lighting of the Christmas lights at the county courthouse, and it was a wonderful time to "play" with my camera. This is the first Christmas season that I've had my Nikon, and I've decided that one of my new favorite subjects is Christmas lights...especially when it includes bokeh!

What do you think? Do you have a favorite?

Christmas Lights {growth challenge}

Taken last year...

Taken yesterday...

I'd have to say that there is quite a difference between last years photos and the ones taken this year! Switching cameras probably made most change (up until May 2011 I was shooting with a Sony Cybershot DSC-S700, and now I use a Nikon D3100), but I've also have been shooting in manual instead of auto.

I'm linking up with Emily Grace's growth photography challenge. 
I hope you'll check it out, and maybe even link up!

I just realized that this is my 100th post on this blog - wow! I know it took me awhile to get to that number, but I did eventually make it :)
I also want to say a big thank you to all of my followers, both old and new. I appreciate all of your sweet comments, and have enjoyed getting to know a few of you better!

November 23, 2011

Thankfulness ABC's

 As we approach Thanksgiving I'm reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for. God has truly blessed me with so much, but how often do I thank Him for it?

I'm linking up with "The ABC's of Thanks" at Finding Joy. I enjoyed the challenge of being creative and finding different things that I'm thankful for that each begin with a different letter of the alphabet...

A - Apple Cider...the perfect way to warm up on a chilly fall day

B - Bible...the one book that I could not live without

C - Cinnamon & spice candles that make the whole house smell warm and inviting

D - Dresses...the fancy formal kind that make you feel all dressed up

E - Extraordinary God who loves me unconditionally

F - Fuzzy blankets for snuggling up in while reading a book on a snowy winter day

G - Girls night out with mom

H - Horses...riding bareback with the wind on your face, competing in the show ring, or just spending a quiet hour grooming them...I can't imagine life without horses

I - Incredible Sunsets that make you stand in awe of the Creator of the universe

J - James (the book of the Bible). This is one of my favorite books of the Bible, and we happen to be studying it in Sunday school right now

K - Kindred spirits (a.k.a. close friends) who stick with you no matter what

L - Learning new things

M - Mochas...I know they aren't the heathiest, but they're sure good!

N - Noise...I know that this may sound strange, but when there are 9 people living in one house, there is rarely a time when it's quiet. Now that I'm used to it, I think that it would be hard to adjust to the "empty" feeling of a quiet house. Though there are times that it would be nice to have it quiet, I'm so thankful for the family that the Lord has blessed me with!

O - Our County of my favorite times of the year

P - Photos that capture moments and turn them into memories

Q - Quilting with my grandma

R - Reading a good book

S - Sisters who know you better than anyone else. Laughing so hard that you forget what you were laughing about, spontaneously singing songs while washing dishes, being there for each other when you need it...I can't even begin to tell you how much I love my sisters!

T - Trail Rides on horseback through peaceful woods and fields

U - United States of America

V - Vacation with family - the perfect way to relax after a long summer

W - Wonderful family who loves you and is always there for you 

X - eXcellent home cooking

Y - Yummy homemade bread...especially when it's fresh from the oven

Z - Zippers...buttons are great, but zippers keep all the warmth on the inside of your coat :)

Whew! That was a bit harder than I thought it would be! Especially the X and Z...

Finding Joy | The ABC's of Thanks

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2011

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song,
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied,
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

November 17, 2011

Rachel - Senior Photos 2011

I just realized that I never posted photos of the senior pictures that I took for my close friend, Rachel. I'm no professional...but I love taking photos for friends! It's a great excuse to get together, you can easily re-take photos if needed, and your time isn't limited to a single photo shoot (so far we've done 3...).

I've enjoyed taking these photos, and am quite pleased with how a lot of them turned out. Here are just a few of my many favorites...

Have a lovely weekend!

November 11, 2011

Veterans Day - remembering our nation's heros

We must remember that freedom isn't free. It came with a heavy price.

To all of those who have served our nation in the past - thank you.

To all of those who are still serving our nation today - thank you.

To all of those who have lost their life for this country - thank you.

To those who have have been left behind as loved ones left for war - thank you.

 From the bottom of my heart - thank you
May all that you have given for this country never be forgotten.
Because of you, I am proud to be an American.

November 9, 2011

New name

I finally did it.

Welcome to Treasuring Today...the new Beautiful Gems!
(you can read more about the name change HERE)

I decided that with a name change also came time for a design renovation. Some new colors, a new style...change can be a good thing :) I'll have to admit that playing around with HTML can be a lot of fun!

So...what do you think?!?

(I still have a few things to finish up on the design, so there will still be a few minor changes)

November 6, 2011

A Family Vacation

It's almost always relaxing and refreshing to have a change of scenery for a time. Our family hasn't been on vacation for several years, but we decided that it was time for a little break. Since our CSA was over for the year, last week we packed up our things, loaded everyone into the van, and headed to Indiana to visit some friends. We also went to the Creation Museum for a couple days, which could be a whole post in and of itself! But instead of giving you boring details, how about telling you about it in photos? 

On the 7 hour trip to our friend's house, we stopped at a rest stop that had a covered bridge and a look-out tower. It was a great place to stretch our legs and snap some photos!

- The view from the look-out tower -

- This is the waterfront on a city we passed through -
 - Lovely traveling weather -

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 And then the Creation Museum...where do I start? We were there for 2 days, yet I wish we could have been there an extra 3 days! It was so neat to see evidence for Creation from a Christian viewpoint. There was a walk through Genesis, outdoor gardens and petting zoo, a stargazers planetarium, special effects theater, and many other exhibits, all of which pointed back to the Creator. I'll have to say that I was quite impressed with their exhibits - they were so real and lifelike! All I can say is that I would highly, highly recommend this to any family!
(You can check out the museum website at:

- The Noah's Ark exhibit -

"Here I stand, I can do no other.

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him.

"Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."

Martin Luther, correspondence

- A walk through the Garden of Eden -

 - A fuzzy, friendly camel at the petting zoo -

These two photos (above & below) are just a very small glimpse of the outdoor gardens - it was gorgeous!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On our last day of vacation we visited Turkey Run State Park. It was a beautiful place, and the trail we hiked was breathtaking. We accidentally took the "extremely rugged" trail, but are so glad that we did as each turn seemed to unveiled a view that was even more beautiful than the last.

 Where does one begin to capture the beauty of God's creation? As we walked through the little canyons on Turkey Run, I was overwhelmed by the glorious beauty that surrounded me. I could have spent days photographing the scenery there! I tried to capture the whole picture, but I felt that the photos I took didn't even begin to display the beauty I saw. God's creation is truly amazing!

This part of the trail (above) was quite an adventure - especially since the whole family was along :)

 - I love my sisters!! -

 - A suspension bridge at Turkey Run -

Well, those are just a few of the 1,400 photos that I took, but I'm sure that more will show up in upcoming posts. This post hardly seems to do our vacation justice, as it doesn't seem to cover even a fraction of the the things we did and the beauty of God's glorious creation that we saw. It was so nice to get away as a family for several days, yet it was nice to get back home as well.

After visiting the Creation Museum and Turkey Run, I'm amazed at the beauty and complexity of God's creation. It leaves me in awe of the God who loves us so much that He would send His only Son to die for us. That He who created the vast universe would love me with an unfathomable love and call me His leaves me speechless.