Saturday, March 30, 2013

365 People Pictures: Day 21--God at Work

Today our family visited my mother-in-law for the first time in her new home in a memory-care assisted-living facility in Kansas near the family of one of her sons.

Seeing Grandma allowed us to witness for ourselves God's special care of this widow. Her blue eyes revealed so much. They reassured us that the Lord has her in the palm of His hand. She has been through so much since mid-January--the sudden death of her sister which necessitated her leaving her home of 33 years. But we saw this afternoon that as she has been leaning on God from day-to-day, He has been with her, just as He promised. The strength she is radiating tells the story of God drawing her to His heart, giving her peace as she walks through grief and change.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

365 People Pictures: Day 20--A New Role

Today is my husband's birthday. Since his last birthday, he has become a grandpa. God gives me much joy in watching my beloved husband of three decades revel in the glorious gift of a granddaughter. There is now no quicker way to get a smile out of my man than to mention his little Brielle to him.

Brielle--8 months

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

365 People Pictures: Day 19--Silly Uncle John

Brielle is John's first niece. He seems to have taken on the role of teaching her silliness. When John returns home from work at night when Brielle is visiting, we hand him the baby and enjoy the antics. After being blessed to be a large family for some time, we're learning now what fun it is to have the next generation with whom to laugh and play!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 18: Puppy Revenge

This photo makes me laugh. Aaron and Anna's dog, Spurgeon, seems to be sticking his tongue out at Brielle. In turn, she seems to be full of consternation at the canine's impudence. Soon she'll permanently have the upper hand through size, maybe Spurgeon knows now is his chance to make his stand!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 17: Baby Bliss

Our 8-month-old granddaughter, Brielle, sound asleep in her car seat following church and lunch:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 15: A Pink Tutu

Not many words this time...just a baby, itsy-bitsy shoes and the curves of a bed frame:

Brielle--8 months

Friday, March 8, 2013

No More Excuses

Even if I only read one book in the entire Bible, one thing would become clear. Proverbs leaves no doubt that those who belong to God are to have self-control over their feelings, their thoughts, their actions, their words, their eating, their drinking, their use of time and their use of money.

Jesus was the ultimate demonstration of this self-control. I will fail in my efforts to imitate Him and demonstrate self-control unless I am "actively dependent upon God at each instant and in each endeavor," (John Kitchen, Proverbs, pg. 237).

How can I be dependent on Someone I don't know well? I can't be. This moment-by-moment dependence on God demands an intimate knowledge of God. The only way I can hope to achieve this level of intimacy is by becoming a person of the Word. His thoughts must become my thoughts. His ways must become my ways (See Isaiah 55:8,9). This means investing time and energy in reading and rereading and rereading and rereading His word. I must stop making excuses and memorize His word, and this must be life-change memorization, not the kind of cramming that prepares a person for a quiz. This will take hard work. There's just now way around it. This will also require cutting something out of my life, probably spending as much time at my computer.

I've spent my life telling people I wish I had more self-control. It's time to stop wishing. It's time to consistently invest myself in knowing God so well that I can be actively dependent upon Him--moment-by-moment--no matter what life throws at me. It's time to control Self, instead of letting Self control me. It's time to demonstrate enough self-control to hungrily seek God through His word, today and tomorrow and the next day and the next... It's time. No more excuses.

(Many of these thoughts have crystallized after listening to Jim Berg's message: Eagles and Turkeys. Many of the terms are his.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 14: The Other Woman in Her Life

The beautiful woman in this photo who is holding my granddaughter is Brielle's other grandmother. In other words, she is the mother-in-law of my daughter, Anna.

Tina is beautiful from the inside out. She loves Jesus and that love motivates how she lives. Tina is caring and giving. She is truly a servant whose home is warm and inviting because of her spirit of hospitality. I look forward to my visits to her home each time I visit Anna and her family. Tina isn't just Brielle's Nana and Anna's mother-in-law, she's my friend. God has been so good to give me that gift through Anna's marriage to Aaron!

Monday, March 4, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 13: Baby Grin

Brielle--8 months

Day 12's photo was a contemplative capturing of my granddaughter's features. That picture didn't, however, capture her personality. This photo taken just half an hour later does a better job of that. Brielle has unusually large eyes that grab people's attention both in photos and in person. Recently, I've come to the conclusion that her eyes are captivating because there is happiness behind their blue color. Brielle's mommy, Anna, says that she prayed for a content baby. The Lord most kindly did above and beyond Anna's request. Brielle is a happy baby who blesses with her big grins, cheerful chattering and beaming eyes.

One of the pleasures I find in baby photography is that little ones don't yet have the inhibitions that we seem to inevitably grow into. They'll smile at the shake of a set of keys or a quick game of peek-a-boo. Perhaps youngsters' easily-encouraged delight is one of the traits that led Jesus to insist that we must be like little children to enter His Kingdom. After all, God is worthy of our deepest delight. He is the Giver-of-All-Good-Gifts. The long list of ways in which He meets our needs should keep each of us grinning with joy. When I have my camera in hand, I'm going to keep watching for Brielle's big smiles that I might be reminded to be like a little child in my appreciation of my Heavenly Father.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 12: Watching a Watchful Baby

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting Ohio, my offer to Aaron and Anna to babysit for them opened up the treasured opportunity to take photos of her Brielle again. For eight months now Brielle has repeatedly been a willing model as her grandmother practices baby photography.

That morning Brielle turned her attention away from me just as I was getting started with our own private little photo shoot. Her eyes were transfixed on something outdoors as she looked out the large picture window in her family's living room. This twist of her head proved fortuitous; it gave me the blessing of a perfectly lit and tilted little face. Even the catch lights in her eyes (the white reflections of light) were perfect. To top it off, the family's brown sofa made a lovely background that virtually disappeared while setting off Brielle's fair features and blue eyes. Even her pensive facial expression seemed to fit the scene just right.

Psalm 139 says that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God . Isn't the beauty of babies a powerful testimony to our Creator's wisdom, creativity and majesty?