Thursday, December 29, 2011

do you see Him? He's here with us....

before i begin i want you to know,
i humbly took these images of a gorgeous new home around the corner from my own home.

i contacted a family member related to the home owner & 
asked if i could have permission to write about what i saw.
the images & the poignancy of this site.
these images break my heart...
however i also see HOPE here.
& that is exactly what He wants you to see too...

this was obviously to be someone's dream home.
i envision plans & details layed out on a kitchen table for quite sometime
until this gorgeous home came to fruition.

it was stacked stone & gorgeous
a circular drive
a large pool in the back.
i had never gone inside but knew it was to be on the tour of homes
for the highschool my girls attend...
then just before thanksgiving, it burned to the ground.
all those dreams, all the newness

it's truly a horrific site to see the remains of a fire.
it's frightening and dark
it hurts your heart whether you knew the home owners or not.
years of personal belongings & dreams

a few weeks after the fire
dan asked if i had noticed the manger scene.
i was quite certain it had not been up prior to the fire.
sure enough, it was built after the home burned down.

the sides of the structure....were the sides of her grandchildren's bed...after the fire.
(the grandchildren also put up the Christmas tree for her after the fire)

the thought that a nativity scene was built
the fire.
after the horrific incident.
out of the mess
out of the seemingly hopeless situation
there sat the manger.

right in the middle of all the mess
sat the manger.

 i pondered on how symbolic that scene was.
how powerful.
what a true picture of how He came.
He left Heaven's throne
where angels sing Holy Holy Holy to Him
never ceasing praise.
He left that
to come into our world
your world.

if you have ever thought your sin was too big 
or your past was too dark
your heart was too far gone
or the things you've done are too messy for Him.
it's not.
they're not.
is too far gone for Him.

she was an unwed pregnant teenager
he was a simple carpenter.
he figured he'd honor her & go ahead and marry her
but divorce her quietly later.

she claimed she was a virgin
& that the Holy Spirit came upon her
& that she would deliver the savior.
the one they had waited long waited for 
to free her people.
no one believed her.
of course no one believed her.
what a scandal.

they thought their savior was to be a mighty warrior
that he would come to the golden power city Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was the holy city where the temple was located.

they sure weren't expecting a baby...
in Bethlehem.
nothing good came from Bethlehem.

mary & joseph were traveling & realized she was soon to give birth.
it actually didn't happen in a barn
it was a hollowed out indention in the mountain
where animals could hide for shelter.
there was yuck there, messy smelly animal yuck there.

it was not clean nor was it quiet.
it was dark and messy.

an angel shows up to shepherds.
shepherds were smelly & dirty & poor.
the shepherds were tending to the sheep
that incidentally were being raised and would be taken to Jerusalem
for sacrifice for people's sin.

are you following this?
how amazing is that detail.
the first people that found out that their savior
promised about 400 years earlier
had been born
were the shepherds tending to the sheep
that were the sacrifice for sins.
yet HE was to be THE final sacrifice for sins.
i love that detail.

the shepherds weren't even allowed in the temple
HE came to them.
not in a fancy church with perfect pews & a steeple
to them.
out in their filth & dirt.
on a dark night.
THE light came to them.

majesty in the mess.
that's how He came.

if you have ever felt you couldn't make it to God
please know 
that Jesus 

& that my friends
is the HOPE of glory.
the HOPE that all will be made right one day.
the HOPE that you were never alone.

as i drove around the back of this home that dark dreary rainy day
it took my breath away
to see the cross from the church across the street
through the burned down ruins of this home.

the cross, the scene of his death, on one view.
the manger, the scene of his birth on the other view.

the cross
the reminder that HE came
oh He came alright,
not to who "they" thought
or to where "they" thought
but He came
& then He gave His life.
no more slaughtered sheep
no more blood of any clean animals.
He was the perfect sinless one.
He gave His life for us.
& love
all right there
to view
through the dark charred mess

He was there all along.
majesty in the mess
hope in the midst of a storm
or a fire
or cancer
or divorce
or unemployment
or famine
or fear

God with us.

do you see Him?
He is Emmanuel
He is here with you...

& to the homeowners
my prayers are with you
as you rebuild your home & your hearts

my prayer for 2012 is that my life, my words & actions, my home
glorifies the Lord.
that whatever glimpse you get into my life
through reading these simple thoughts i have
while somedays it's a silly thought
somedays it's heartfelt
that He is glorified.

isaiah 61.3
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

luke 2

one of my most favorites! {catherine ~a senior session}

since it feels like i'll never get all our christmas photos
edited & a 'final christmas post', or 4 written
i want to share one of my most favorite sessions from this past fall.

catherine is one of my precious abby's best friends.
i was thrilled to be asked to shoot her senior photos.
she is gorgeous & such a "just as beautiful on the inside" young lady
who just so happens to be headed to UGA in the fall...
& i think i know a certain AXO who is hoping to see alot of her during rush ;)

i had searched high & low for a fabulous vintage suitcase for her session.
i knew i wanted to capture the 'going away'-ness of her senior year
& thanks to the magic of facebook, a friend scored one at an estate sale & 
even swung by to drop it off as i was walking out the door to photograph her!

we headed over to the tracks which incidentally are across from the police station.
adds an element of fun to a session when you incorporate an illegal walk on the tracks.
is it illegal? anyways.
as i began to talk through my plan with catherine we could hear a train coming in the distance.
i figured we could go ahead & get started but her mama would have nothing to do with it.
i was momentarily frustrated with the train's poor timing
& then i realized what fabulous shots it would be
to have the train moving in the background!

catherine is laughing so wonderfully because her mama was freaking out.
freaking out i tell you
that we were too close to the train!
thankfully we lived
& she didn't ask for a refund
& we got what i believe are some of my favorites. ever!

congratulations on UGA sweet catherine!
may the rest of your senior year be filled with wonderful memories
& excitement for the future!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

her performance & en pointe

caroline has turned into quite the little dancer

on her last day prior to christmas break,
her teacher told her that she would be promoted to pointe class as soon
as she returned from break!
she is so excited!!

she has quickly made some wonderful friendships with several of the girls
from the studio who are in her grade at school. they are such sweet girls & i'm so happy
to see her so happy!

the fifth grade put on a fantastic holiday musical
& caroline's junior company did a little tap presentation.
super duper cute!!

 i love having a ballerina in the house again.
madison danced for many years & i truly miss
her nutcracker performances.
here are a few pictures from her performance a few years ago...
still so beautiful.