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