March 20, 2011

Spring on the Farm

It's finally Spring. The warm sunshine, fresh air, budding trees, little green plants shooting up....ahhh...such a wonderful time of year! Every season of God's creation is beautiful in it's own way, but Spring is unique in that everything starts coming to life.

(my sister working on planting)
We've been doing quite a bit of outdoor work lately, as there's a lot more motivation to get out there when the weathers nice than when it's below freezing! This past week has been in the 50's and 60''s so nice to be able to go outside without having to bundle up. The one hard thing about Spring is that I'd rather be working outdoors than sitting inside at my desk doing school :)

I'm guessing that we'll be ordering chicks soon. It'll be fun to have baby animals around here again, although I don't think they are as cute as other baby animals. We might also have some little pigs soon if I decided to show one this year. Even though they're 3 months old when we buy them, they are still pretty adorable...

We've also started some of our garden produce under grow lights this past week. On our farm we do a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which people can buy shares into and then we provide them with fresh produce for 18-22 weeks. Last year we did a 5 member CSA, but this year we are going up to 20 members. It's going to be a big project, as the garden will be about an acre, but many hands make light work!

And now for some "non-farm" news: I'm finally taking driver's ed! Some of you may be thinking, "isn't she already 16??"...and yes, I am. Getting my permit was never high on my priority list, so I didn't get it until last fall. This Spring we decided that it would be helpful if I had my license so that I can help out with errands or driving kids to activities. Driver's ed starts next week, though drive time starts this coming Tuesday. I'm a little nervous, but thankfully there are several other people I know that are also doing it and my driving partner is one of my close friends. I've driven a lot with my parents, but I'm hoping and praying that everything goes smoothly!


Everything about Spring declares God's glory. With flowers budding, green plants springing up all around, baby animals, and everything coming to life, how can you not help but see the hand of the Creator everywhere you look? His creation is so beautiful! 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
Psalm 19:1 

What's your favorite thing about Spring?

March 15, 2011

52 Photo Challenge (Weeks 9 - 10)

This photo is my first one for the unedited photo challenge.
{Week 10 of the 52 Challenge - Week 1 of the unedited photography challenge}

This one was not part of the unedited challenge, so it got some slight contrast.
{Week 9 of the 52 Challenge}

March 13, 2011

Stepping out of my own little world

I'm sure that most of you heard about it.
A couple days ago an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, and the people living there lost so much.

Family members.
Their way of life.

As of right now, all we can do is pray for the people of Japan. Pray that God would use this disaster to bring many people to Himself, that families would be re-united, and that He would provide for all of their needs.

This earthquake has been a reminder to me that there are people all over the world that are hurting. I would love to go on a missions trip sometime, as I think it would be a wonderful opportunity to share the love of God with others who may have never heard. But for now, God has placed me where He wants me to be. There are people right here in my own community who need the Lord, so why not start there?

God has been challenging me to start going beyond my own little world. It is so easy to get wrapped up in everything that's going on in my life that I forget that there is a hurting world all around me. People who just want someone to show them that they care. People that need the Lord. 

So whenever I think about Japan, I'm not only going to use that as a time to pray for the people there, but also ask the Lord to open my eyes to the needs of people that He places in my path from day to day and I would be willing to share the love of Christ with them.

- "My Own Little World"  by Matthew West -

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world, population: me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give 'til it hurts
And I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
Yeah, it's easy to do when it's population: me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Stopped at a red light looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said, "help this homeless widow"
And just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, God, what have I been doing?
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh, how many times have I just passed her by?
I gave her some money than I drove on through
And my own little world reached population: two

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world
My own little world

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now
I don't want to miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now

Outside my own little world
My own little world
My own little world

We as Christians have the love of Christ in our hearts, so why not share that love with a hurting world?
(All photos in this post are from various sources, found using Google Images)

March 12, 2011

A Horse and a Camera...

...make a very fun combination on a beautiful afternoon!
And for once, I wasn't the one behind the camera :)
(all photos taken by my sister, Hannah)

{I love my horse!}

March 5, 2011

One year of blogging!

365 days ago I stepped into the world of blogging.

This little blog has been in existence for a full year!
(I think that's a good excuse to go grab yourself a big slice of cake!)

(photo credit - Google images)
As I looked back to my first post, I realize that some of my goals for this blog have changed. When I first started blogging it was partly for the BG magazine that I edit/write. But now that the magazine has it's own website, the purpose of this blog has kind of changed.

This blog is a place where I can write my thoughts, post pictures, and tell a little bit about my life. But, more than anything else, I pray that everything posted here points to one thing...God...and God alone. I pray that Beautiful Gems has been of encouragement to you in one way or another, and that it has given all glory to the Lord. Even though one of the purposes for Beautiful Gems has changed over the course of the last year, the main goal continues to be glorifying the Lord. Without Him, I am nothing. He is truly worth living for!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I also want to thank all of my followers. Your words of encouragement and sweet comments mean so much to me. Thank you! I've also enjoyed getting to "meet" some of you through your blogs or e-mailing, as it's always neat to hear from other young ladies who are seeking to walk with the Lord and grow in Him.

And now, just for the fun of it, I have a quick question that I'd love to have you answer!

 If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?

If I could go anywhere on vacation, I would love to visit Europe! But even more than that, I think it would be so neat to go on a missions trip to Africa. I guess any location would be fine, as there are people all over the world who need the Lord.

I hope to hear back from you and see where you would like to visit!

March 2, 2011

Keeping it Simple (A Photo Challenge)

{I forgot to mention this in my last I guess I'll just do two posts today!}

Do you ever feel like photography isn't what it used to be? When there were film cameras, you took a picture to the best of your ability, and it was what it was. Don't get me wrong...I love playing around with photos on the computer and seeing how I can edit them, but there is always that feeling of accomplishment when you download pictures from your camera to find that some of them don't need editing! The color is right, the angle is perfect, and no cropping is needed.

So that is where this challenge begins. I'll admit, almost all of the photos that I've posted for the 52 photo challenge so far have been edited a little bit in one way or another. So I've decided that for the next 4 weeks, my photos for the 52 challenge will be unedited. No contrast. No color correction. No editing. And cropping. I'm kind of freaking myself out because I have no idea how I'll do this, but (I think) I'll manage.

Keeping it Simple {A Photo Challenge}

I'm doing this challenge beginning March 6th and ending April 2nd. 

This may be rather "informal" link up, no button...just a simple photo challenge, but I'd still love to have you join me (and if you want to spread the word about it...)! You don't have to be doing the 52 Challenge to do this...I just chose to do it along with that challenge to encourage myself to get out and take some photos, while really focusing on the lighting, camera settings, and angles. And photo editing :)

Let me know if you have questions or want me to clarify something that I didn't explain well enough. I'd also love to know if you are planning on taking the challenge!

Catching up on the 52 Challenge

 A photographer's fear:
Downloading pictures off of the camera only to find that they didn't turn out as well as they had hoped.

Well...I sort of forgot about the 52 photo challenge, which means that I didn't get as good of photos as I would have liked. I'll try much harder over the rest of the year to actually make a point to go out and get some good please bear with me :)

Week 6 {52 Challenge}

Week 7 {52 Challenge}

Week 8 {52 Challenge}