Thursday, July 25, 2013

Snapshot Love—from a concert to a baptism

Welcome to Snapshot Love. This is a place to collect and share the moments from the week. Let's cherish and capture them so we do not forget how God blesses us in both the small and big things. May we carry a heart of gratitude with us at all times.

My friend Shannon and a few other fabulous ladies are joining me every week {on Saturday's} and we would love for you to join too (it's a Blog Hop).

Don't have a blog? Share something from your week in comments or on my blog Facebook page.

I'm posting earlier than usual as I will soon be on my way to Guatemala (or possibly already there if you are coming by a few days later) for my first short-term mission trip. I've got butterflies in my stomach but I'm ready to meet Jesus there to serve His Guatemalan people. May the Spirit of God be with our entire mission team throughout this trip.

Let us begin...

We (Jill and I) return to the Farmer's Market.

Our new friend was rather generous and donated two bags of Kettle Corn to us. He's an Army dad and when he discovered we were on our way to a concert being held to support our troops he wanted to be a part of our day!
We loved him!

A concert...
Operation Support our Troops - America
Rockin' For the Troops 2013
An annual fundraising event, now in its eighth year.

Jill and I are representing Army, Navy and Marines. How cool is that?

My way cool Army guy! He's so handsome.

I put Jill to work (I'm a board member so I can!) at one of the product tents.
She appears to be having too much fun.

Jill got me this awesome Navy duck. She is a sweetie! Love her!
I sent a picture to my Navy son via text and informed Jill of the response I would most likely receive from him.
Sure enough, moments later I had a text from my son that said, "You're a nerd!"
(Exact words I had shared with Jill.)

Yep! I love my friend Jill.
I've know Jill since our kids were small ones but once our boys joined the military we became extra close.
We now travel together for most military related events.

Meet Gene! (Jill's husband of course.)
He's a silly man. He and I had a few popcorn fights. The Kettle Corn was put to good use.
Sorry, Kettle Corn Army Dad!

The knee in the background of this picture is driving me crazy but what are ya gonna do?
We are one adorable couple! At least I think so.

One of the glorious things about this concert is seeing our
Red, White and Blue displayed proudly throughout the park. Love, love!

No words needed for these two.

A World War II Veteran bowing his head as we sing our National Anthem.
Wow, I've got tears now.

Our men being lazy.

Do you think we wore the men out? This picture brings a smile to my face! hehe
It was a GLORIOUS afternoon.


Meet our Guatemala Mission Team!
Please be praying for us all.

A total of 26 people will be traveling to Guatemala. God is AMAZING!

A baptism...

I'm unable to look at these next several photos without crying.
There is a story behind these photos that you can read here.

(Btw, there is this new fabulous weekly link up by Crystal Stine called Behind the Scenes
You must check it out. There are so many wonderful stories behind a photos)

What I discovered as I looked at these over and over again is that I am married to a man that loves me deeply. I was overcome with emotions over the look in his eyes. The tears begin to fall once again.

See those eyes? I am so blessed.

I love all the smiles. It was an afternoon filled with smiles as there were 10 others baptized this day.

Pastor Jay is asking me, "Are you declaring your faith in Jesus Christ? "Oh yes I am!

Here comes my tears again...

How do you describe this feeling? I felt God's loving embrace as I came out of the water.
"I'm all in, God!"

I love how I immediately looked for my husband and there he was rejoicing with me.

Friends we must rejoice. I think I knew this day would always come for me but for this man...
as Pastor Jay once said, "It's a miracle." A miracle that only God can perform.


"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice." ~ Philippians 4:4

My favorite! Thank you, God, that your plans for our marriage were greater than ours.

Maybe I'm crazy but when I look at this picture I see Jesus sitting there radiating in all His glory
and rejoicing over the many who had declared their faith in Him.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." ~ Matthew 28:19-20

The rest of my week consisted of preparing for Guatemala so I have no other photos to share. And this seems like a perfect way to end.

I will not be posting next week so please go on over and meet my friend Shannon, if you haven't already, as she will continue with the Blog Hop next Saturday. I'm leaving without any electronic devices so my blog will be silent for now. I'm always grateful for the comments you leave and will respond as soon as I return. God bless.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Story of Transformation

When my son left for boot camp to become a sailor, the only item he was allowed to bring was a Bible. He had never owned one as we had not been a church-going family. I determined that if all he was allowed was a Bible, then a Bible he would have.

I purchased a small Sailor's Bible and stuffed it with photos. Post-it notes were also stuck to various pages telling him how proud we were of him and how much he was loved.

Four months before my son left, my husband had departed to pursue his dream of becoming a soldier. At the age of 41, he was making his dream come true. Never did I dream of us becoming a military family.

It seemed like out of the blue I had become an Army wife and Navy mom.

I remember the letter I received from my husband telling me he had taken a knee for the first time and prayed to God. He was struggling with his weapons qualifications and simply asked God to allow his shots to fly straight. He prayed this prayer because he worried about extending his time away from home. He was worried about me having to manage our home on my own longer than anticipated

We never talked about God in our home. I can't say I didn't believe in Him, however, I was certain if He was real He had forgotten about us. We clearly had not been worthy of His love. If He loved us, why did he allow so much pain in our lives?

Our marriage had been filled with anger and many tears.

Dark clouds hovered over us in what felt like a permanent state. Twice I thought there had to be something better “out yonder.” The first time I was convinced of this, I packed my bags and moved out taking our children with me; the second time I asked my husband to pack his and he moved out. We were both guilty of extramarital affairs and many other hurts. Our broken hearts seemed beyond repair.

I don't know how or why--maybe it was our unconscious obedience not to give up on each other--but God was silently moving in to our hearts. He began to ease our suffering by leading us to a place of forgiveness. We went through months of counseling, but ultimately I believe God was at work in us healing our brokenness and giving us a reason to have hope.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalm 34:18

While my husband was completing his basic training, his bunk mate would stay up late reading his Bible. With no other books available to read, my husband found a Bible and began reading too. Meanwhile, a mother of one of the other soldiers, whom I had bonded with online, shared the words from Romans 5:1-5 with me in an email one day. For the first time as an adult, I opened up a Bible.

Before my husband returned home, we both felt led to attend church. On the very same Sunday, we attended similar Christian churches. Our hearts were equally stirred by the messages we received.

It was April 2011 when my husband returned home. Together, we began attending Living Hope Church.

Several months later, we found ourselves joining a small group. With our newly purchased Bibles, we walked in to the home of our small group leaders rather clueless. They were studying Philippians.

“Where do I find the book of Philippians? Who is this guy Paul?” Though we were out of our element, God nudged us to keep returning.

In February 2012, our church started a study on Romans 12. For the first time I read the words from Romans 12:2:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Most of my adult life has been spent believing I’m not good enough: I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, or smart enough. Who I am could never be enough.

These thoughts have led to an ongoing battle with bulimia.

Romans 12:2 gave me hope—hope that my way of thinking could be changed, transformed.
On February 21, 2012, I sent an email to my pastor that said, “I’m all in.” I surrendered my life to Christ.

Freedom has not come overnight though. Many days I find myself saying, “Here I am, Lord. Change my way of thinking.” My battle with an eating disorder may remain, but I know God wants me to have victory. So again and again, for as long as it takes, I will surrender to Christ and say, “I’m all in.”

Today, Monday, July 22, follows the day when my husband and I together asked God to wash us clean from our sins. Yesterday, with loved ones by our side and in the presence of God, we were baptized.

The transformation for my family began with a Bible and a man kneeling in prayer. It has and will continue to be a journey of transformation and healing—it’s a journey we do not take alone. Because of God’s overwhelming grace we can overcome.

“With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).

Here’s a song that has ministered to me: Healer, by Hillsong

“You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You are all I need
Oh, I believe, I believe Lord
I believe You’re my portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands”

How about you? How did you come to know God?

This post appeared first on Circles of Faith.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

For your Sunday

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, 
and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. 
When he had cleansed us from our sins, 
he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

Hebrews 1:3 (NLT)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Snapshot Love: A Blessed Week

This marks the third week of sharing my week with you through photos. Doing this has truly helped me to be present in the everyday moments God wants to bless me with. It's a beautiful thing! You will see I've convinced the rest of my family to participate. It might be with some moans and groans, but they are sharing a few pictures from their week as well.

So come onjoin Shannon and me. It's a blog hop. Thank you to the lovely ladies who hopped in last week. Don't have a blog? Share something from your week in comments or on my blog Facebook page.

Beware! I'm getting the hang of this and have many more photos to share this week!

Let us begin...

The weekend began with a quiet bike ride through Busse Woods. I took this ride on my own and enjoyed the warm, fresh air and the chance to embrace God's creation.

Stopping for a pretty view as I make my way around the 8 mile bike trial.

Yes, our town has Elk. I wish they weren't kept behind a fence.

Saturday evening was spent with my husband's brother (one of the six brothers he has) and his wife.

I have to point out my husband's way cool tattoo.  It reads, "If the sun refused to shine I would still be loving you."
"Thank You" by Led Zepplin | Our wedding song!
I'm married to an AWESOME man!

She is probably one of my husband's biggest supporters of his decision to join the Army Reserves.

Brotherly love!

Beautiful ladies!

After church on Sunday I returned to Busse Woods. 
Instead of a bike ride I choose a walk with two of my best friends.

There is one of my girlfriends driving in front of me. I'm waving to her but she's not seeing me.
Okay, I realize I shouldn't be taking a picture while driving.

Longtime friends! I love these girls!!

A few random photos from the weekend...

If I had a picture of our old ugly fence you would understand how grateful we are for this new beautiful fence!
The dogs bark much less too with a privacy fence. It is quite the blessing.

I love sharing my love for our Red, White and Blue. This sits in front of our home.
My husband is a bit like Tim from the show Home Improvement.
It must be the biggest, fastest, or tallest, and we by far have the tallest flag pole in our area.

I would not normally share a picture of myself but I wanted to show off my cute top. It's cute isn't it?
Tops are needed for my upcoming trip to Guatemala so off to Goodwill I went.
I snagged this cute shirt and a few others for a total of $16.00. LOVE IT!
(We have a way cool front patio too!)

Enjoying dinner out at one of our local favorites. I'm a big fan of eating outdoors during the summer.
This restaurant allows us to enjoy the warmer temperatures but still have the comfort of shade.

And the work week begins...

I decided why not share with you my home away from home. I'm known for having the coziest office at my company because it's filled with lots of pictures and nick-knacks.
Those I love and a few things I adore are kept close to keep me smiling.
(One must also have caffeine to make it through the day!)

This beautiful vase sits on my desk in my home office. I love the daily reminder to LOVE!

It's a delight when Friday arrives! 

I decided to be my husband's biggest fan and spent my evening watching him ump.

He''s known for this move where he shouts "Strike, Strike, Strike" at the first pitched strike for each team.
It was fun to hear others say how much they love him as an ump. He's way cool!

Too funny not to include. I'm laughing as I type!
He thinks he looks like Igore (some mad scientist).

We've become a family of golfers. 
I'm not convinced yet and neither is my son's girlfriend so there are no pictures of us golfing.

She is by far the cutest golfer!

From the ones who keep us company. (Jeremy and Hayley)

My son's girlfriend makes the BEST cupcakes!

More golf. Geez!

Hanging out with the dogs. Meet Biscuit and Drake!

From the California couple whom we miss much. (Zack and Joy)

I'm not completely sure what is going on there other than to tell you that's my son hanging out in their pool.
They are loving life in San Diego.

Joy says this photo is important because Zack has fallen in love with FETA and they now use all the time.
This is major news I'm told.

Healthy cookies stuffed with fiber. Only three ingredients and less than 30 minutes needed.
Get the recipe from Joy here.

From the California couple's archives simply because the pictures make me smile.

I love his reflection in the car too.

A favorite from my week...

It's not always easy to live in peace with everyone, so I find this reminder is needed.

From the archives...

I'm going to miss him SO much and plan to keep him overly close these next couple months.

Lesson learned and a favor to ask...

Trust in God! 
Many times I still struggle with calling myself a writer.
God reminded me to trust He gave me this gift for a reason and that is to point others to Him.

I submitted a story to where I have the opportunity to get published in a best-selling book and provide clean water for 45,000 people. I'd be honored if you would vote for my story.
It was actually selected as an editor's favorite! God is GOOD!

Thank you friends for letting me share my ordinary, but oh so wonderful, moments with you. I'm so blessed by your visits and hope you leave here knowing how much your friendship is appreciated. If you haven't joined in already, please take a moment to share a little something this time around, or join the Blog Hop.

Be sure to visit those who link up and leave some comment love!

life rearranged