At the beginning of this year I was able to get involved in Bible Study Fellowship and study the book of John. I loved the experience and got a lot out of the study even though I was coming in halfway. This month I am excited to be starting at the beginning as we go through the book of Romans, one of my favorite books in the Bible. I sort of got into the habit of sharing bits and pieces here on the blog from the John study and that is probably going to happen again with Romans.

The same day BSF started up I also began a ladies Bible reading challenge with sisters in Christ literally from all over the world. We're following a reading plan to read through the entire Bible in nine months. (It's not too late to take part so let me know if you'd like more information on this! There is a facebook group with all kinds of fellowship and resources.)

Yesterday morning I had an interesting overlap between the day's readings and the extra reading of Romans I am doing. The Old Testament Bible reading covered Genesis 12-15 and then in my reading of Romans I was in chapter 4 both of which coincidentally covers Abraham.

It was interesting to hear the story of Abram in those OT chapters and then to read Paul's description of Abram's faith. If you only read Paul's account you would never think that Abram ever questioned God. But in the Genesis account it's almost as if he whined to God about the lack of fulfillment of the promised heir.

What struck me is that Abram's questioning of God and His timetable was not considered a lack of faith in Abraham. It's more like God recognized the limits of Abraham's understanding. Paul goes on to say that, "No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised."

It's comforting to know that while I may lack full understanding in all that God is doing I can continue in faith, giving Him glory, convinced that He will indeed do all that He promises.

As I added the link in for BSF I realized that not only am I reading Scripture with women from all over the world with the challenge but I am also studying Romans with women all over the world. How amazing that I am reading His words and learning His truths with people I have never met but will one day share eternity with.

My niece had a baby last week and I had the great joy of being there to photograph it. She wasn't the first of my nieces to give birth but she was the first that I was able to be present with for a long day of labor and delivery.

Birth photography is new to me but I am so loving it. There is something so amazing about witnessing a birth but it's also about capturing those beautiful moments between family and friends as they wait together and then celebrate the little one's arrival. It takes on a whole new meaning when it's my family though.

When I saw this interaction between my sister and niece I was quick to focus in and catch it with my camera. But it wasn't until I got home and uploaded the images that I really saw what I had. It literally took my breath away. Because I saw my sister.

The sister who locked me and our little sister out of the house so she and the other older sister could do chores and make peanut butter balls.

It was the face of the sister who played school with us and taught me how to make these little Valentine people from paper hearts with accordion arms and legs.

The one who burnt the pork chops because she liked them crispy.

I saw the same love in that photograph that I remembered from the day she came to check me out of school when my grandfather passed away. She had my future brother-in-law pull the car over and then let me sit in her lap all the way home.

Most of those memories, and thousands like them tucked into my heart and mind, are of my sisters. Rarely are they of just one of them...they're of all three of them.  Even now they play such a role in my life and the lives of my children. Being at volleyball games, texting conversations during America's Got Talent with their nephew, texts and messages of sweet encouragement and funny stuff. Phone calls and prayers. No matter what they are right there whenever I need them.

I don't have any brothers so I don't know what that's like. Maybe it's the same. But what I do know is that my sisters, having sisters...being a sister, makes me the mom I am in way that I can't really explain but just is.

I can't imagine doing life without them.

Photo Credit Cindy Kay Photography

 Because of you, 
I laugh a little harder, 
cry a little less, 
and smile a lot more.

Sometimes, you just have a bad day, ya know?

And it turns out that the exploded can of soda you found in your freezer on Tuesday was just the little tut tut, looks like rain cloud on the horizon because Friday the deluge hit.

You get up at 6:30 to start cooking for a luncheon and everything seems fine.

Until you realize, after you have put the batter into the little silicon mini cake thingie mind you, that you forgot a rather important ingredient. And if you have never tried to remove uncooked batter from one of those silicon thingies you haven't really lived.

But you persevere and fix the batter and get it into the oven. And when it finishes cooking you take it out and you really think you've let it cool long enough only you're all thumbs and drop it. Now the good news is that those silicon thingies won't break when they hit the floor. But flourless chocolate cake? That stuff splatters absolutely everywhere.

So you clean it all up and don't panic because hey, the luncheon is not until noon and you have plenty of time. You start over and it is all moving along just fine and you've got everything under control until you get a reminder text that there is actually a meeting an hour before the luncheon. So you have a minor melt down. But then remember that your kids are watching and you really want them to learn how to handle pressure better than you so you take a deep breathe, apologize to the kids for the minor melt down and enlist some help.

Lo and behold it all gets done and you're ready to leave, not just on time but a few minutes early even. The meeting goes fine and the luncheon is great and by the time you get everything cleaned up you realize you better hustle because you are also committed to cooking some chicken legs for another gathering happening in a few hours.

You run to the store on your way home to pick up some chips and dip that you also need to send with the chicken legs and while you're there you get on the phone to make arrangements for the two children who are not playing in volleyball games and now you really better hustle if those legs are gonna get cooked in time. Because you're pretty smart you call ahead to the house and have the oven preheated. You get home and toss those chicken legs with olive oil and Italian season and pop them in the oven. You're cutting it close time wise but you'll make it.

The chicken gets done and because you're in a hurry you try to cover it with aluminum foil only you're all thumbs again and the pan slips off the counter and the bad news is that 9x13 glass pans
don't bounce the same way those silicon thingies do. And hot 9x13 glass dishes shatter into all the pieces and chicken legs and glass and olive oil make one heck of a mess.

But you get it cleaned up, toss some of the luncheon leftovers together, put it into another 9x13 pan and sprinkle it with cheese. Because you have a really great friend she meets you in the driveway and takes the casserole and gets it to where it needs to go.

You get to where you need to go only a little bit late but things seem to be settling back down and all is well. You get done and pop the address of the girls volleyball game into your phone gps and head over to watch the rest of their game. On the way there there is so much construction on the interstate that you miss your exit and have to cross over the bridge, get off the interstate in order to turn around and get back on in the opposite direction. You make the last game and a half and there is much rejoicing as both girls win their matches.

Life is sweet and on the way home you're relaying the story of your day and in the midst of telling it you remember that you didn't send the chips and dip. Which isn't a big deal really except that when you get home you can't find the chips and dip. Like anywhere.

And that's when you decide to pick up a five dollar pizza and call it a day.

Saturday morning life stays interesting
when a brand new bottle of soy sauce gets knocked off its place in the pantry and hits the floor. You might not be the one responsible for breaking it but at this point it's just guilt by association.

But it's ok because while you're cleaning out the pantry you find a bag from the grocery store where one of your kids, who shall remain nameless to protect their innocent laziness, had put it without removing the container of spinach dip and boy wouldn't that have been a special smell if it had sat for a few more hours?

By Sunday everything seems fine but you still move with lots of extra caution as you chop veggies and prepare for lunch. You even manage a smallish nap.

And here you are greeting Monday with a tentative hello and a cup of tea.

She is something else, this youngest child of mine.

Full of curiosity and questions.

She lives full throttle and sometimes it's a race to keep up.  In a few months she will be eleven and I am just beside myself at the thought.

She has my heart though.

She's a writer, an artist, a warrior, and a pest. I'm not sure where life will take her or what His plan is for her and I really hope I can keep up. Because I think it's going to be something to see.

Freelensing is the technique of detaching the lens from the camera and holding it by hand up to the lens mount and manipulating the focal plane to create an image. It gives a really cool affect and can be fun to mess around with. I haven't mastered it well enough to use with portraits although some photographers do so beautifully. For now I'm practicing on flowers and I gotta say I am in love with the results.






The natural dark edges and light leaks create genuinely unique one of a kind images and the fun thing is that I never know what I'm going to get. 

I think the first two are my favorite. But then again I really like the second white one. And the last one is pretty too so who knows?

Do you have a favorite?

I love taking pictures of people...the happiness, the joy and love, the funny.

But I also enjoying capturing nature be it the beach, a flower or a sunset.

For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made...

I can't help but see God in the physical world around me and when I start nosing in with my camera, start focusing and really paying attention, I am astounded and left amazed at what He reveals to us of Himself...the beauty, the strength, the grace.

The way a flower blooming hints at the divine unfolding right before our eyes...the story of life, death and resurrection told over and over again and again bearing witness of hope.

Today, look around you at the natural world and marvel that everything was made through Him and for Him.

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of heaven, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
~ Job 12:7-9 

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