Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Wonder

I think a lot.
Not like in a I'm-so-intellectual kind of way
In a I-think-everything-can-be-analyzed type of living.

This is good.
....and bad.

I savor moments to the richest and most delightful detail.
I revel in the meaning of every person and interaction.
I see the value in so many things.

And then....

I ache with the knowledge of the ugly-truth behind every corner.
I cannot side-step the realities that my mind MUST uncover.
I long for days where peace reigns over process.
Yet that is not my lot.

I wonder.
and wonder
and wonder
about everything.

But I would not trade that
I wonder...with wonder a world that bows at the very presence of its Maker
every day
without even knowing the beauty behind every corner, every crack, every heartbreak.

I see the pain...yes...even feel it keenly...and yet...the wonder makes me know that there IS a better tomorrow.

So I'll keep the wonder.
I'll keep it.

Join me, friends, won't you, for the last Five Minute Friday of 2012....??
Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Tears Come...

Sometimes the ache is so big you can hardly breathe.
Sometimes the sorrow feels so real you cannot separate it from your skin.
Sometimes the movement in your soul
violates the peace,
the joy,
the radiance
He longs to display
within all those broken pieces.

Like a warrior
you fight
Hard and strong,
Swift and sure,
Noble and steady
in your aim.

And then there are days,
seasons where
the emptiness is too great to carry,
and you hide away,
fragile from the touch of the world,
lost in a sea of faces,
even the beautiful ones that hold you so dear.

The anguish burns away your passion,
your dreams,
your destiny.

Nothing to hold close
Nothing to draw near
to your heart,
your hand,
your cheek.

And there you stay
for awhile,
as sorrow burns pupils
begging to be released
from the torrent of angst that rages inside.

Until rebelliously
one tear
finds its way
down the curve
of your downcast cheek
past the carefully constructed walls
your heart has long held high.

When tears come,
words fall.

When tears come,
prayers spill forth.

When tears come,
peace floods the abandoned corners,
filling every crook and crack,
lifting shame and condemnation from the shoulders of the weary,
splicing pride and comparison with the very sword of truth,
breathing life into marrow
and felicity into dry bones
where dreams seem lost
and promises seem all-but-about-to-come-true.

And there the still small Voice speaks
with groans that flout intelligence
with whispers that quiet the dissonance
with Light that defies the darkness...

May it be well with your soul, My child, 
right where you are,
right in this season,
right in this moment.

May it be well with your soul.

"Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he’ll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: 'This is the right road. Walk down this road.'” 
~Isaiah 30:19-21 

Also linking up with these beautiful communities....
 Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Playdates with God,
 The Soli Deo Gloria party, and In, On, and Around Monday 

and with....
Jennifer, Mary Beth, Ann, Duane, and Heather
and the encouraging communities they have created here on the web.

also with Michelle and Emily at Imperfect Prose.

So thankful for places like these to share our words together...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Graffiti: Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street {A Review}

When I saw the opportunity to join Alene as a part of her launch team for her latest e-book, Graffiti: Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street, I quickly jumped at the chance and was delighted to be accepted to share in this amazing story in just a small way.

Graffiti is a book written not only by Alene, a self-prescribed suburban girl, but also by a homeless man, Rick, who was not always that way.

Graffiti is the story of two very different shells but two very similar hearts, two opposite sides of the street but two identical desires, two contrary points of view but two passions cut from the same cloth. Graffiti challenges your thinking, shifts your paradigm, leaves you breathless, and praying, "Dear God, how can I get out of my comfort zone right here, right now, in this world you have placed me in?"

And I do.
Feel empowered by the story in the pages of Graffiti.

"When nothing is different, there is no difference. How vanilla! For when everything is the same, we experience the same over and over. Talk about mundane! For you and me to leave a mark as difference-makers, we will have to be willing to embrace who we are and be different."

As we count down the days to Christmas and closing out 2012, we usually allow our minds and hearts time for more introspection and analysis. Graffiti is just the book to inspire you not only for the holiday season or for 2013, but for life.

How will you cross over to the other side of the street in your neighborhood, in your community, in the world that the Father has placed you in?

I can tell you this.
I am working on that, wrestling through what that looks like for me.

I hope that you will join me on this journey.
Here's how you can do JUST that!

Alene is selling the e-book for just $3.99 today!!!

But wait there is more!

If you act soon, {this week!}, specifically from November 26th-30th, you will not only get Graffiti: Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street but also $75 in FREE resources along with it!

Want to hear more?
Head over to for more details on how to get these amazing deals as well as to learn more about Alene and her personal story!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Project 365 :: Day 315-328

Outdoor walks, a movie date, visits with old friends and little goddaughters,
 an 80th birthday, Black Friday shopping and more!

Happy holiday month!

Day 315 :: My boys chillin' together 

Day 316 :: Hanging with my Gran-Gran Betty Lou 

Day 317 :: We all need a little Paris in our lives, right? 

Day 318 :: Yeah. We own this place. :-)

Day 319 :: Movie Date with my favorite man!  

Day 320 :: Yeah it was just this kind of the day -- 
the-finish-the-ice-cream-right-out-of-the-carton kind of day!   

Day 321 :: Love her -- little Mace girl

Day 323 :: Yay! A visit from "Bames"
It had been over 5 years!

Day 324(1) :: Skyping with my mom in Haiti for Granny's birthday 

Day 324(2) :: Granny with ALL her grands and great-grands 
on her 80th birthday 

Day 325 :: A fall walk 

Day 326 :: Happy Thanksgiving Day from the van Niekerks! 

Day 327(1) :: A 3 am Black Friday photo opp during my first time
Black Friday shopping ever
#SisterFun #NoWeDidNotBuyThisChocolate

Day 327(2) :: I'm always saying what great teeth he has.... ;-) 

Day 328 :: A little more shopping with two of my favorite people!!

I'm on a journey, chronicling my life with a picture a day for a year. I am nearing the end of my journey {less than 40 days left!} and have delighted in the consistent discovery of the world around me in my day-to-day life in a uniquely different way as well as learned more about my DSLR to better capture those precious moments. 

{Update: Currently taking the 2nd of two photography classes 
with my sister this fall/winter 2012...very exciting stuff!!}

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five...ahem TEN....Minute Friday :: Thank You

Thank You!

I woke up yesterday, looked out the window to Thanksgiving world, and felt a burst of gratitude well up in my soul.

It surprised me really because thanks in the hard seasons, the hard journeys that have no easy answers and no quick outcomes, finds me more often breathless than thankful.

So I am learning to choose.
It has been a-several-year-pilgramage.
One in which I am still traveling.
Probably always will.

But on this day where we remember the day our ancestors broke bread with the original Americans, I pause in my heart and draw thanks, bubbling up like a well in my soul.

Thank You!

....Sis, for spending this Thanksgiving with me. It has been so long and I forgot how much fun it is when you are around. I had learned to accept "the way it was" and thankful this year for the gift of you.

Thank You!

....Family, for an amazingly, beautiful, NO-DRAMA day. The pleasant vibe throughout the meal, the easy conversations, the feeling of REAL blessed my heart so much! I left thinking, "That was really lovely!"

Thank You!

.....Cousin, for hacking into my Facebook page as we planned our Black Friday shopping outings. I do think you are "the best." At least one of the best in my world anyway. And I love that you "include" me in the planning of the shopping day, even though I have never actually attended before today.

Thank You!

.....again, Sis, for being there, because going Black Friday shopping without you would not have been the same. C'mon, let's face it. I would probably never have gone. I love that I got to share that first experience with you and auntie and cuzzie and cuzzie's girl. The NFL corner of Wal*Mart may never look the same again. Hopefully the people that shopped with us were too delirious at 3 a.m. to even remember our turkey-druken stupor of nonsense and loudness...okay, okay...MY loudness! was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever.
And that was a treat, a gift, a surprise.

So, Jesus, thanks for that gift.
It was super special.

Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When You Just Cannot Make Sense of it All

Maybe you just lost someone.
Someone you loved with all of your heart.
Someone who meant the world.
Someone whose presence the world is now oh-so-empty without.

Maybe the dream that you have longed for
The one you imagined as a little girl
The one that would make life just perfect
Has all but broken your blooded hands
As the doors have slammed over and over again.

Maybe you just feel desperate
The walls are closing in
The bills are piling up
Your health and mind are not what they should be, what they used to be
You wonder if healing and breakthrough will ever come

The kids have destroyed the house, the car, the yard, the neighborhood.
The man you loved, and to whom you gave half your life, walked out the door
The woman who pledged I'll-keep-your-secrets-and-you-keep-mine friendship just broke your heart
The believers, the brothers and sisters of His body, turned their back on you in your hour of need.

When life is just so hard
And you wonder how to make sense of it all.

Cry hard and deep and long and good.

Run fast and strong.
Beat your chest.
Raise your fist to the sky.
Shout up at the heavens
and scream, "Why?"
Fall into a puddle.
and cry some more.

Sit with your grief
Your questions
Your anger
Your heartbreak
Feel them deep
Deep into your soul
In the place where deep cries out to fathomless deep

Embrace your sorrow
Your should-have-beens
Your wish-it-could-haves
Your want-it-back-that-way

And cry.
Cry some more.

Let yourself mourn.
Give space to be broken
Let go of perfect
Release the noisy pressure of "Its-time-to-let-go!!" pounding in your head
Breathe deep again.

Grieve hard and strong and long, if needed.
Throw out the timelines.
Forget the try-hards.
Abandon should-bes.

Let yourself be human

Scream into the pillow
Or punch it.
Let the rage run its course.

Walk out into the crisp cold night.
Let the tears come
Draw ragged breaths over and over again
Let your soul mourn.

Cry again.
A lot.
Until you think there are no tears left to cry
And then ...
Cry some more.

And day-by-day
As you let the anger and hurt and disappointment and frustration out,

Breathe in grace and truth and love and mercy
Let it wash over you
Let the contours of your soul find rest


Exhale hurt.
Inhale grace.

Exhale heartache.
Inhale joy.

Exhale injustice.
Inhale mercy.

Exhale brokenness.
Inhale healing.

And one day...
you will begin to see
that the grace....

May it be well with your soul

As you crawl into the arms of the Father.

May your scars remind you that you are real
As you see the miraculous signs of healing.

May you be patient with your heart in the process.

Also linking with Jennifer, Mary Beth, Ann, and Duane 
and the encouraging communities they have created here on the web.
So thankful for places like these to share our words...

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I Am Into These Days :: Fall 2012 Edition

Listening ... I haven't been listening to any one thing consistently recently. A few months ago, I purchased Deluge's latest album, Swell, and my favorite song there that stirs my heart is He Rose. Mandisa JUST released a Christmas album this year which I place to break out after Thanksgiving. {Review on that coming soon!}

Watching ... I absolutely ADORE The Voice. I will admit that I am quite often teary at a beautiful performance or watching an artist be praised for their efforts. I love to see a dreamer see some of their dreams coming true. Arno and I have been watching Alias together as neither of us saw it during its 6(or 7) season long run. Gotta love Netflix! I have also been catching up with Doctor Who on Netflix which I truly love. And of course, I could not wait until Downton Abbey was released in the U.S. in January, so I all caught up along with my U.K. friends in the current season. Love Mary and Matthew and I can honestly say shot that I STILL get a thrill of excitement every time I hear the musical intro. #MustDownload My interests are teasingly diverse...yes..that's me!

Reading ... I really did a lot of fictional catch up over the summer but seemed to have paused in that endeavor as of late. However, I am in the middle of Ted Dekker's {my favorite Christian fiction author}latest release, The Sanctuary. {Review on that coming soon too!}.  I am also really excited to be a part of the launch team for Graffiti by Alene Snodgrass. Stay tuned on my Twitter feed for more details about this amazing book from BOTH sides of the street. So amazing!

Pinning ... I recently bought Pinterpretation by Holly Gerth and Stephanie Bryant at Squee. I haven't written down all of my answers yet, but it was SUPER fun to go through my boards with all of the questions that they have AMAZINGLY come up with to figure out more of how I am wired! {I totally recommend it!}

Eating ... Um. Salted Caramel. EVERYTHING. The end.

Drinking ... See above. {Thank you, Starbucks, for this --> Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate}

Wearing ... Bought some fun random items recently :: sleeveless tuxedo dress, three-quarter length sleeved sheer white top with ruffles, a red ruffled skirt with blue flowers, a polka-dotted scarf, a maroon cotton dress, oh..and..two new pair of jeans. {Taking cute & comfy shoe suggestions for boot cut jeans. Criteria :: Must be able to wear "cutely"WITH socks and MUST be tennis shoes...comment below PLEASE!!}. Fall is my favorite clothing time of year with tights and boots and scarves. #SoFun

Feeling ... Winter weather is a bit tough on my body with recurring chronic pain flareups and insomnia issues. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf that it would be an AMAZING winter and not a painful one. Scared a bit about our foster care journey...some technical issues have put a pause on the progress but more on that at a later date.

Weather ... This week the forecast is sunny and high 50's -- just beautiful! Should make for perfect Thanksgiving weather!

Wanting ... A new telephoto lens for my DSLR. My current one is twelve years old and is slowly "giving up the ghost." Also for my oven to be fixed soon...looking forward to baking some yummy things this season...hopefully!

Needing ... to learn balance in my schedule, in my personality, in my goals, in my approach to life {creativity vs practical}

Thinking ... Christmas! Yay! My absolute favorite season and with this great room, I plan to have the BIG tree of my childhood dreams. #WhoSaysYouHaveToGrowUp

Enjoying ... fireplaces in our new-ish home, visits from long-time college pals, photography classes with my sister, time to learn and grow and process, and as always...His never-ending grace.

What about you? What are you currently up to?
Would love to hear your life-song in this season.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Stay

Will you sit with me here for awhile, My child?
Stay here beside Me.
Crawl up into my lap.
Quiet your heart.
Rest in the questions.
Embrace the unknown.

For you are safe.
Safe in My arms.
Safe in My heartbeat.
Safe in the shelter of the wings of My almighty arms.

Come to Me.
Stay for awhile.
Quiet your heart and soul
To the rhythms of Me
and my plans for you.

Rest in the knowledge
That I have you
I want you
I know you
I long for you.




Will you stay?

Will you allow Me to share with you
the unspeakable things that the universe cannot contain,
the secrets of a world beyond this one,
the understandings of the place where deep calls out to fathomless deep?

If only you will stay for awhile,

Trusting in My promise
To never leave
To never forsake
To never abandon.

Always to stay.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to my (in) This Season pals and ANY fellow bloggers really...would you share YOUR 5 minutes with me or maybe just a recent post that really speaks to your heart or a lesson that Jesus has been teaching you? I would love to read along...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Learning to Quiet

Last month, I wrote for 31 days straight -- more or less.
That was twelve days ago and I have only written four times since then.
2 photography posts.
1 guest post{with a giveaway that is still OPEN, by the way!}.
And a Five Minute Friday.
I could not even manage another five minutes this past Friday.

It is not that I have nothing to say.
It may be that I have too much to say,
Or that I am just tired of writing,
Or just I needed a little break.

Emily P. Freeman, author of Grace for the Good Girl {which impacted my heart like crazy}, and Graceful {which is in my reading pile now}, wrote her 31 days on hush -- a journey in quieting her heart and soul to listen first. Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday prompt last week was the word quiet. My dear friend, Annie Barnett, just launched her Etsy shop called, Be Small Studios. Even Alene's words on how to find quiet in the midst of this noisy life showed up in my inbox this morning.

And at Allume this year, I felt like God was causing me to be still, to be small, to quiet my heart for at least THIS one special moment.

Or maybe just to do a deeper work still.

I have so many beautiful take-aways from that conference.
Some powerful personal lessons learned in the past couple of weeks
And just life ... beyond the lens.

I will get to those.
But for now, in the midst of the day-to-day busyness, in the chaos that is my brain,
He is teaching me {I think!} to still my soul, to press into the anxiety of the moment, to sit WITH my questions {thanks for that advice, Emily}.

So I am here.
And hopefully...

Pray for me?

Are you finding quiet moments in your day/week? 
Do you have a busy mind like mine? 
How can I pray for you today, this week?

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.

Also linking up with these beautiful communities:
 Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Playdates with God,
 The Soli Deo Gloria partyand In, On, and Around Monday

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Project 365 :: Day 307-314 {For Your Weekend}

Embracing the cold, spending time with the family and friends, finding moments in the busyness of each day....this is my ongoing journey of 2012's Project 365...

Thank you for continuing to share this journey with me...

Day 307 :: Arno playing his favorite game 

Day 308 :: Sis helping me tape out stripes to be painted soon!
Cannot wait to show you the finished results once the room
is completely done! #SoMuchFun 

Day 309 :: My bokkie getting ready to build me a fire

Day 310 :: Little Liv - 
"I know I am hot mess 
THAT is why you LOVE me!" 

Day 311 :: Advanced Photography Class
Love our instructor!

Day 312 :: Arno posing with his new water board for 
kite surfing #Summer2013 
P.S. Great looking fire too, right? 

Day 313 :: Girls Night Out
It had been way too long!
{I love these girls SO much!!} 

Day 314 :: My laptop background screen
reminds me of what my mom always told me
"Be true to yourself and to the Lord."

I'm on a journey, chronicling my life with a picture a day for a year. I am nearing the end of my journey and have delighted in the consistent discovery of the world around me in my day-to-day life in a uniquely different way as well as learned more about my DSLR to better capture those precious moments. 

{Update: Currently taking the 2nd of two photography classes 
with my sister this fall/winter 2012...very exciting stuff!!}

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