You will notice a new “quote of the month” (yeah, it’s been a few months…) and a new banner in my sidebar.  I’m not much of a banner person, so when I put one up, it is usually something very near and dear to my heart.

I spent quite a while tonight reading through the blog of Katie, a young woman who left everything she knew and, in the name of Christ, started a ministry in Uganda called Amazima.

Since 2007, Katie has brought food, teaching and the Gospel to over 300 children, including 13 that she now calls her own.  Did I mention?  Katie is 20 years old.  Praise God for people like her, who live in faith and stir it up in us by how they live.  If you want to read more about the history of her ministry or the ways you can donate (anywhere from a $10 chicken to sponsoring a child for $300/yr), click on the Amazima banner on the right.  You won’t be sorry.

And if her story touches your heart like it did mine, spread the word.  It is, after all, The Word.

An Ab-Fab Weekend

Hi everyone!  How was your 4th of July?  Mine was fabulous.  In no particular order, here are some of the things my family partook in over the long weekend:

  • Ate at 5 Guys, per BooMama’s suggestion, and my stars, was it ever yummy!  Husband declared it just as good as Red Robin, and that’s saying a lot!
  • Walked through beautiful gardens of roses and fountains and trees.
  • Read on a blanket under one of aforementioned trees.
  • Sat in the breeze by a beach (not on it, however) in lawn chairs and ate snacks and read the Bible.
  • Had a lovely pot-luck picnic with Husband’s extended family.
  • Walked by Lake Como and went to part of one of the free concerts offered there.
  • Went to a flea market (just me) and bought a custom-made harvest table, which should be ready this fall.
  • Went for walks.
  • Worked out.
  • Introduced Husband to the magic that is Maggiano’s (his first time!).  We’re not big into Italian food (too bland, too the-samey, too Chef Boyardee), but even he was impressed with this place.
  • Slept.
  • Read some more.

It was so relaxing, the best weekend I’ve had in a long time!  How about you?

Independence, Mr. Smith-style

Husband and I just rang in the 4th of July by watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  It’s been years since I’ve seen that film, and it was even better than I remember it being.

Political machines are run much the same today–powerful lobbies, bribery, blackmail–and we have few people in Congress like Jefferson Smith (the film’s main character) to stand for truth and “loving thy neighbor.”

When Smith took the oath of office* to become a senator, I turned to Husband, shocked, and asked, “Is that still the oath they use today?”  He nodded affirmation.

“But they said he had to support and defend the Constitution; hardly anyone even knows what it says!  It’s like a joke!”  He sadly agreed.

I am thankful for a day like Independence Day, when we can look upon the oppression from which our ancestors came, no matter what their origin, and embraced the ideals of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  I am thankful for the many, the brave, who defend those unalienable rights to this day in combat and on peace-keeping missions around the world.  I am thankful for the few, the brave, who have kept their oaths of office and defend those same unalienable rights before the wolves in Washington.

Please, take some time today to be thankful, and to pray for our country’s future.

*I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.


Edited to add: I don’t necessarily support any of the bills proposed in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; it is moreso the “standing behind what one believes is right with one’s entire being” to which I relate so passionately.

Also, my hyperbole gets the better of me: certainly most Senators know, or have at least read, the bulk of the Constitution; it is simply ignored or treated as obsolete.

2009 Goals Update 07.02.09

1. Spend daily time in prayer and the Word (I used to do this no problem, but since Anja was born, my discipline in this area has slipped)
Off and on.

2. Read 2 photography books
Finished with one. Started a second.

3. Read 1 Photoshop book
Started it!

4. Book an average of 4 on-location sessions and 1 wedding each month
Have booked more weddings and more sessions. Praise God!

5. Sell our townhome and purchase a home with a $500 less per month payment
Got a yard sign and a tube for flyers tonight.  Still no legitimate bites from our online ads.

6. Organize an office for myself (instead of using the dining room table…)
Still waiting for the house in which to do it.

7. Have a baby or get pregnant
Second part of this goal attained!

8. Lose 10-15 lbs.
Um, not really worrying about this anymore.

9. Make healthier meals most nights each week
Depends. Most of the time, when I’ve planned, we eat well, but sometimes my cravings get the better of me and we’ll have pancakes (though I do throw some fresh berries on them at least) or order a pizza.  I’ve also been on a big Mexican kick, whether it’s some guacamole for a snack or Gluten-Free Chicken Enchiladas or Chicken Flautas (Mom, you should try this one–I used up the rest of the corn tortillas, and they were yummy!) for supper.  Thankfully, most Mexican recipes can be interpreted in a healthy fashion.

10. Reduce grocery bill to $250/month (this could be the hardest one…seriously)
I have a feeling this is just a big FAIL for the year. Nigh impossible unless we plan on cutting all fresh produce out of our diets (which is not happening!).

Prayer for a Friend

Hi everyone,

A friend of ours recently emailed with some news, and I would like to ask you all to say a prayer on her behalf.  Since I don’t have permission, I won’t be sharing her name, but she is about as far along as me in pregnancy, and she was just diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  They may have to do treatment while she is pregnant, so please pray not only for her full recovery but that the baby will come through any treatment unharmed.

She is currently in the hospital being monitored until they can determine if/when her symptoms have plateaued.

Thank you for your prayers!

Anja, 22 mos.

As I write this, you are in the middle of one of your I-don’t-want-to-go-to-bed meltdowns with Daddy, a recent trend.  Here are some other notables about this month:

  • You are becoming increasingly affectionate.  We get hugs all the time, and now kisses and snuggles, for no reason we can decipher other than you might be figuring out that you like it.
  • Your temper tantrums are becoming more frequent and more strong by the day (twos, I am NOT ready for you!).
  • You still love to color, and you highly favor your red crayon.
  • You have figured out how to let yourself into and out of the screen door to the deck, so Mommy has to keep a pretty close eye on you.
  • You love kissing the baby in Mommy’s tummy already.  I show you pictures in my pregnancy books, and you legitimately seem to understand that there’s a baby growing in me.  I didn’t really expect that.
  • You are bored with all your puzzles because you can put them all together in under a minute.
  • We think you’re about to hit another growth spurt, because you’ve been teething and fussy and eating like crazy.  When Grandma was here, she couldn’t believe how much food you can put away.
  • You love going down any slide at any park at which we stop.  Mommy and Daddy get good work-outs climbing after you on the play structures.
  • You are starting to make your stuffed animals interact with each other, carrying on conversations.
  • We leave your fake cell phone (one of our old ones) in the cupholder of your carseat, and almost every car trip, you are “on the phone” the entire time, giving play-by-play of the scenery.  Yeah, basically, you talk non-stop all the time.
  • One of my favorite things to watch you do is “read” to yourself.  You really grasp the storyline; I can pick up words here and there that match what is actually written on the page.  Your daycare provider has noticed the same thing when you “read” her books.