Thursday, September 3, 2015

I will cry for you

I saw an article today about a young 3 year old boy that had washed up on a beach in Turkey as his family was trying to flee from Syria.  The image, I think, will forever be burned into my mind, a helpless boy lying facedown in the sand, lifeless.  I see that photo and I burst into tears.  It reminds me of Emma when she is sleeping...peacefully.  And it hurts to know that he is not sleeping, but in fact endured a lot of pain before his life ended.  The only peace I find is trusting that God has had mercy on his soul and given him everlasting relief. He is at peace now, he knows a better peace than any of us have ever experienced.  But, oh, the pain we still feel here at his loss.  And the reason for his loss.  He was a citizen of a country that didn’t care for him, fleeing to a place that wouldn’t take him, and finally ending up on the shores of another country that likely would have rejected him if he washed up on shore alive.  Only in his death is he being lifted up as a symbol.  Only in his death am I left in tears. Only in his death...

And I am left thinking, what do I do?  How do I convey to these children halfway around the world that they do matter, that they matter in life and death, and that even though those in leadership have failed them miserably, they still have infinite value?  How do I do that to those close by to me?  It seems like too much for me to take on, but I MUST act.  I have been shown too much mercy and grace to withhold what I have been given.  

"Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom;listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah, 11 “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals;I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me, New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you, even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight;stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet,they shall be as white as snow;though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. " (Isaiah 1:10-18)

I am reminded of the words in Isaiah 1 where God is talking to his people, telling them that their offerings and sacrifices have become a burden to him, that he is becoming weary of them because they are not obeying his commands, he doesn't have their heart.  They are not walking rightly, they are not fighting for justice, they are not defending the oppressed, the widow, the orphan...and I have to add...the refugee.  God, became weary of them...burdened.  GOD. BURDENED.  In my faith, I almost see those two words as an oxymoron, an extreme juxtaposition, the one thing that is impossible for God is to be BURDENED; to be WEARY.  But that is what he is when we aren't following him with our hearts.  That is what He is when we are not defending the oppressed, fighting for justice, taking up the cause of the fatherless, the widow... the refugee.

These things are heavy on my heart today.  These things, I don’t think I will, and I hope I won’t forget.  Little Aylun Kurdi.  I will not forget you.  

Lord, I am grateful, so grateful for the things you have blessed me with.  A loving family, a safe neighborhood, an education, a healthy family, a supportive community, a stable government, a non-oppressive leader, so many more.  I know that any and all of these things could easily be taken away in an instant, so I thank you for letting me have them a little while longer today.  Lord, I am grateful too for the mercy you have show me, for the peace that I feel most days, for the absence of significant strife and discouragement, for absence of punishment I deserve for the things I have done, said, or thought.  I am grateful that you have been withholding judgement a little while longer today. Lord, continue extending your grace, and prolonging your mercy in my life.

But Lord, you know there are those who have not experienced the same mercy and grace that I have.  They are oppressed, hopeless, in despair.  I pray that you would show me how to extend the grace and mercy I have been given and that they would see YOU in my actions.  Help them, for they don't know what to do. And help me, because I feel burdened and weary too.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Beauty in everything

Loved having a little time away from everything and heading up to the Upper Peninsula.  Here are a couple pictures of hearts found in nature.  I think it would be fun to start a photo collection around this theme...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Life so far: 7 months

Had some extra time today to add the next few photos of baby girl into her artifact uprising photo album that will be complete once we celebrate her first birthday.  Can't wait, but can wait.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from each month so far...

5 days old

One month

Two months

Three months

Four months

Five months

Six months

Seven months

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Before & After - Stairwell

So I've been trying to decide what the next project will be in our house (after we figure out the water problem and redo the basement).  While I really love the house we bought, I'm trying to find ways to make it feel more like us.  It has some great elements but is in desperate need of a few updates.

My first idea was to redo the stairwell.  It's a great structure, kinda funky layout and was something that really drew us to the house.  But those handrails? Yuck.  I'm not one to like a lot of ornate things, so those wooden dowels (I think that is what you call them...I don't speak staircase) with their intricate carving was just not speaking to me.  It said Victorian meets Country...and those two things are NOT me.  

So, I decided to snap a photo and head to Photoshop to create a new look....


Wa-la!  An updated stairwell!  I kinda wish I could do all my home improvement projects this way.  No mess, no tools, just some clicks of the mouse.  I love the white walls in this space, but it was too white, even with the two tone stair rail.  It needed some warmth added to it.  I love it!  Now...I just have to wait til we have the funds to actually make it happen... oh, and that old light fixture has got to go...  Not sure what I would want to replace it with though.  Thoughts?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Before & After - Capital Area Parks & Trails Brochure

A fun little project I was given recently was to redo the front cover of the Capital Area Parks & Trails brochure.  It's front cover was a mish mash of pictures and didn't give enough attention to the sponsor logos.  After doing this project, I thought I might start a new series on this blog called Before & After.  We'll see what happens...  For now, here are some pics ('Before' on left):

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Secret Garden Wedding

I recently had a friend ask if I could make her wedding invitations for her June wedding (which I am solo excited about, by the way!). I've had a calendar hanging up in my kitchen from Rifle Paper Co. that I really love, and was the inspiration for these invites.  Check them out: