slow change, a slow dance

sometimes I think big changes are easier.

conversion experiences are dramatic and no one is really surprised when you start acting differently, or give up certain pursuits.

What I find difficult is living out the slow changes God is trying to make in my life.  Especially in my attitudes and actions at work. (anybody else with me here?)

I know the economy is bad.  Everyone is freaked out. But I should not be joining in with the crowd of freaked out, worried people.

My husband is prudent with our savings, we have jobs, we have paid down most of the credit debt.

and GOD SAY’S I’M SUPPOSED TO TRUST IN HIM

What must my co-workers think of me if I join in the frantic, worried, stressed out crowd? They will see someone who SAYS she is a Christian, but who doesn’t really trust God.

This is what it means to BE a witness for God.

I don’t want to talk to people about my faith, I want them to see me living a life of Trust in God.  Eventually they will ask.  They will ask me, or they will ask someone else. But they will ask.

I know all this.  I believe it.   But I have trouble living it.  Especially when I’ve messed up before.  These are the same people who saw me yesterday being fretful about the economy.  That makes it hard to come in today and BE different.

But I have to.  Or rather, I have to let God be different in me.

I know God loves me.  Me.  silly, sinful, flawed overweight me.  God Loves Me.

If I can wrap my brain around that, I will be able to live in the surety to His love and care.

I don’t’ know why but for some reason (Maybe it’s Melissa’s fault for talking about high school dances and songs from the 80s)  there is a sappy song running through my head right now and I’m imagining God singing it to me.

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens
I’ve been in love with you.

Stronger than any mountain cathedral
Truer than any tree ever grew
Deeper than any forest primeval
I am in love with you.

Ill bring fires in the winters
Youll send showers in the springs
Well fly through the falls and summers
With love on our wings.

Through the years as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow
I’ll be in love with you.

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens
I’ve been in love with you
I am in love with you.
.

Can we really GET IT? that God loves EACH of us this much.

Journey to Bethlehem

These just arrived from our Journey to Bethlehem photo shoot back in December. Ginny got to be baby Jesus in the official photos

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and then Martin and I (since we were in costume anyway) got to step in a get a couple shots with her as well. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would turn out this well.

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I am so overwhelmed at the GIFT this gorgeous baby girl is in our lives. Thank you again and forever Mel & Stevie for entrusting her to us.

and for all those who are going to ask…no she is not out in the cold. the photo shoot is held indoors.

wake up with JOY

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

I love to plan.

*sigh*

So does God.

I think that no matter how good I am at it…..God’s plan is probably a better deal than mine.  Any day of the week.

God knows everything.  He is a much better planner than I am.  In His plan, I am an instrument made to bring Him glory. How often have I let my own plans or short sighted agendas  keep me from fulfilling my purpose?

How often have I fought God?  No LORD, I know what I’m doing here!  (sound silly?  yup.)

My beautiful daughter doesn’t fight God yet.  So far she starts everyday smiling and with joy bubbling up from deep inside her.

okay, okay, it APPEARS to be drool, but I know it for what it really is.

A joy-filled smile and a joy-filled heart.

Give me a child’s heart LORD.  Teach me not to plan my course in pride and arrogance,  but to greet you every morning with a smile of pure joy.

Knowing that you love me and that we will live each day together.

This verse is part of a scripture memorization plan that I’m doing with about 3400 of my closest friends over on Beth Moore’s ministry blog Living Proof Ministries.  Check it out.

baptism photo session

As promised, here are the low-resolution versions of the target photo session pictures.

We go to pick up the hard copies on Jan13th. I can hardly wait.

Anyway, here are the low-quality “proofs” they are still beautiful.

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Martin, Ginny and Deirdre (we will need to make sure to take this same photo on her wedding day.  Just for fun)

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This is Stevie and Mel (Ginny’s birth parents) who came to be with us for the baptism.  We were so honored that they trusted us with their baby and that they were comfortable enough to want to be there for this event as part of our family.

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The whole gang.  My dad is the man sitting in front.  Martin’s mother Altie is beside him.  Two faces on either side of Martin’s head are Gini and Pete Post.  Gini is who we named our Ginny after.  The young giantess behind me is my niece Ivey and my mom is to Ivey’s left.

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this is the five of US.  I can not say enough how grateful we are for Mel and Stevie and how much we love these two.  Please pray for them.  Stevie still has his job in Kansas, but Mel is having trouble finding work with this economic situation.

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this was an important photo for us to get.  This is all FIVE names sakes in one photo.  Virginia Altie Aspen Gerard Russell.  How cool is that?

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Mama Altie and Grammy (my mother Ann) holding Ginny

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and of course the classic photo of Ginny with the dress.  This picture cracks me up though.  Cause now I know how they get babies to “sit up” for these pictures: they position dad UNDER THE DRAPE, lying flat on his tummy, with his arms out in front of him like superman.  after 5 minutes of waiting for the best shot of Ginny’s smile, Martin crawled out from under there looking MIGHTY disheveled.

Good thing that was the last photo of the day.

airport photos

not really an interesting topic I know.  BUT this particular trip to the airport was to drop off Martin’s mother and Mel & Stevie from the baptism weekend so they could get back to their respective lives.

So we took lots of photos of Mel & Stevie with Ginny.  We want her to know how much she is loved by all of us.

Here they are. Enjoy.

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Oh, and in baby news, Ginny turned over this morning.  From her tummy to her back.

the time to secure the furniture to the walls is fast approaching.  This child is about to be mobile!

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I’m sure we are all agreed that there can never be enough photos of Ginny on this blog.  And I have loads of christmas photos that I haven’t shared with you.

Add that to my total lack of anything inspiration to talk about this morning.  And it all adds up to a photo post about my darling girl.

enjoy.

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that’s my happy girl.

I SERIOUSLY almost called in “cute” to work this morning.  Ginny was just too cute for me to leave the house.  I was 15 minutes late just from playing with her.  If you sit her up against the boppy pillow now she will hold the toy ball and “roll” it back to you.

All she is really doing is letting go of it and letting it fall back to me, but she knows it makes mommy say “wheeee!” and clap her hands.  And she brought her hands together  quickly in a clapping type gesture in response.

She is also leaning forward in a sitting position and propping herself up on her hands.  She short of looks like a tiny, adorable hairless gorilla in that position.  I’ll have to get a photo of it tonight.

that’s all for now.

the human jesus

I have a friend who is going through health and anxiety issues right now. It’s an ugly loop where the physical issues flare up and feed the anxiety, which makes the body tense and creates more physical issues, which causes more anxiety….

anyway, you get the idea.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time recently reminding her that she needs to put herself in God’s hands. This is as difficult for her as it is for me. I CONSTANTLY take stuff back from God and try to fix it. Or at least worry at it. I call it prayer, but really it’s just me stating over and over again what I want God to Do. I sort of give God a “Honey-Do” list of what He needs to do to make my life work out the way I want it to.

how silly is that?

Human beings were created to live in communion with God. But ever since the fall/original sin we have been unable to achieve communion with the perfect Creator God. Because of our imperfection, God can not come into contact with us, with our sin. and let’s face it, we are covered in sin.

No effort of ours can ever wash it off.

No effort of mine can ever bring me even one millimeter closer to God.

now wait, and think about that.

I can go to endless Bible studies. I can memorize the entire Bible. I can spend 40 days in the wilderness begging God to be close to me. I can physically and in my heart keep all the law. I can, through my own efforts do good deeds.

None. Of. That. Matters. At. All.

The ONLY thing that brings me into a relationship with God my creator is the indescribable gift of the blood of Christ.

so this friend of mine is struggling. She feels anxious and unworthy to be loved by God. To which I would submit the following:

Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

and for anyone who thinks that God can’t possibly know or understand their particular problem or situation, there is this delightful passage just before it:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.”
Hebrews 4:15

Now sit back and really think about this one. Did you ever have a temptation or problem and found yourself thinking “God really doesn’t know how hard this is for me!”

um…….wrong.

Jesus walked this earth for the express purpose of being a full human being. Fully God, yes…but also FULLY MAN. Jesus could have come to this earth as a fully adult perfect human man and gone straight to the cross. Instead he chose to fully experience human life. As a child, a teenager, a young adult, and a man with a mission.

I believe that this means that he did experience real temptations. real anxieties, real worries and stresses. Jesus’ palms sweat just like yours and mine. the Perfect Lamb of God was not just serenely drifting through his ministry here on earth. God SAYS that Jesus was “tempted in EVERY WAY, Just as we are”

His perfection was that he placed himself utterly in the hands the of the Father God and was thus able to not fall for any of the temptations. but I believe he FELT FULLY TEMPTED. Tempted to worry, tempted to fret, tempted to cheat, tempted to indulge in excesses, tempted to give up and walk away from his ministry. Those tears in Gethsemane (Matthew 26 and Luke 22) were not just the work of the moment. Christ was in AGONY over the sacrifice he was about to make. Agony is not serene. Agony is not detached. He was in such emotional turmoil that he ooozed blood from his pores. That is not a picture of a detached savant that drifts serenely through his ministry.

Everything we go through, Jesus experienced.

Everything.

Dwell on that today.