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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trusting God In the Desert

So, in a couple of months, it will have already been 1 entire year since I moved here to Arizona. I can't believe how quickly time has flown by! I recently found a ring that I used to wear when I lived in California that has some pretty significant meanings behind it for me.

Let me give you a little history of the ring....

It's a cheap, $7 ring that I purchased from Disneyland years ago. When I purchased it, I prayed, "God, this ring represents all of my hopes, my wishes and my dreams." Each sparkle of the heart-shaped center rhinestone reminded me of the dreams that I had for my get married, to have kids, etc.

I wore that ring for probably about 5 years, everyday, all day and all night long. Even though I stopped wearing the ring about a year ago, there is still a light imprint of the ring on my skin from where it used to be--I wore it that long and that often. But even after wearing it for so long, it was in good condition and my little cheap ring lasted for all those years.

Well, flash forward to my last night in California when I spent some last quality time with my dear friend, Julie before moving away. I was eating dinner with her at one of my favorite restaurants, when all of a sudden, I felt a sharp jab in the side of my finger. I looked down and discovered that the larger heart-shaped rhinestone was suddenly gone! All these years with being fine and on my very last night in California, it was suddenly gone!

I felt a flutter in my heart as I realized the significance of the symbolism of what had just taken place. Months prior to that, I had felt God start to call me to come and live in Arizona. But me, being ever persistent and stubborn, I refused. I dug my heels in, shook my head and said, "Uh-uh. Not me. That is NOT home for me." Well, after a lot of praying and a lot of confirmation and verses pointing me to Arizona, I finally decided to start trusting God in what He was doing and go with the flow. I started to read about Abraham who chose to follow God to a place he did not know and to just trust God in the whole process. So that is what I decided to do: trust God.

Those that know me know all of the seemingly miraculous events that led up to my moving here. The significance of the ring was so powerful to me because it was a way of me saying:

"God, I'm giving up my dreams for Your dreams. Have Your way in me. I'm doing what You called me to do. Take me where You want me to be. Have Your way in me."

So, I am here in Arizona. I still do not know why I am here. I have been asking God why, but haven't been shown yet. But I do know that I am here because He has called me...and I want to be as obedient today as I was a year ago. So, almost 1 year from then, I say again:

"Here am I Lord. Have Your way in me."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Simpler Times

Did your grandparents ever say, "Well, back in my day...." and then proceed to tell you about "how they used to roll" way back when? Although not perfect, life sure seemed a lot simpler in those times gone by.

How is it that we've gotten so busy? The more conveniences we have, the busier we get, it seems. Do you remember those hot summer days, licking popsicles with your friends as a kid and doing nothing but playing at each other's houses and swimming in the pool or riding bikes? Do you remember feeling like it took "Foreeevvverrr" until Christmas or your Birthday came rolling around? Yet now, at least for me personally, it sometimes seems like life is whipping by me at breakneck speed. It's already the end of July? Christmas is only a little over 4 months away? Where on earth has this year gone?

Although I can't stop time, I can take a moment to be like my grandparents and how I was as a kid and slow down long enough to enjoy the simple pleasures in life that usually escape our notice. I challenge you--take time today, for just a moment to stop and see those beautiful treasures hidden in your life:

Watch a sunset.
Sing in your car.
Take a bubble bath.
Savor each bite of food.
Run in the grass and turn cartwheels if you can.
Smile at the people you pass by.

If only we could stop and remember to enjoy these "little" things, we could have a little bit of those simpler times interwoven into our lives again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Library

So, I think that I single-handedly drained Arizona's libraries of all of their books. Well, no, not really. That's an exaggeration, but wow! I was surprised at just how many books I checked out after visiting 3 local libraries. I didn't see the amount I had on hand until I stacked the books in a pile on my desk.

I checked out 27 books in 3 days. What can I say? I love reading! : )! I checked out all sorts of books. Books on business start up, organization, fashion, dog training, dog breeds, healthy living, photo editing, inspiration, etc. Some I chose because they're directly applicable to my life. Others I chose because I'm interested in learning more about the subject.

Perhaps my favorite book though, is one that I return to over and over again for it's incredible motivation and inspiration. It's a book written by John C. Maxwell titled, "Today Matters--12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow's Success." Talk about a good swift kick of motivation in the backside! I love Maxwell's direct/to-the-point encouragement that basically says, "Today Matters! USE IT and USE IT NOW!"

What books do you like to read? Any favorites you'd like to share?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dreams Are Meant For Coming True

I started creating a dream book a few years ago, filled with the dreams and the goals that I have for my life. Some of those dreams have been fulfilled and others fill the pages, still waiting to happen someday, Lord willing.

Most important to me, is to keep God at the very center of my life. I want to wake up every morning and have Him as my focus of the day.
I also want to make a good impact on this world. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus here on this earth. I want to inspire, to motivate and to encourage other people. I want my life to count towards changing this world and making it a better place. I am so inspired by ordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives. People who have risen to the challenges that came their way and have found good treasures out of the debris of broken circumstances. People like:
Anne Frank
Walt Disney
The Wright Brothers
Thomas Edison
Bethany Hamilton
Scott Hamilton
People who did not let challenges get in their way. People who were regular people like you and me who refused to give up. Who refused to let a roadblock keep them from pushing through and finding another route. People who had the tenacity to follow their heart's calling and to not give up. I want to live with that kind of attitude. I want my life to count for something bigger than me.
I love this quote by Bob Pierce that says, "Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything." Years ago, in a training class, I was told a story about a man who was walking along the beach and was surrounded by hundreds of starfish all around him. He bent down to pick one up, looked at it and then threw it out into the ocean. He bent down to pick up another one and repeated the same action, throwing it back into the ocean.
His friend jogged up next to him and asked, "What on earth are you doing?" The man bent down, repeating the same action as before of throwing another starfish into the ocean and said, "I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. If I don't, they'll die." His friend stood there, looking incredulously at him and said, "Well...that's impossible! There's too many of them to save! You can't rescue every single one of them."
The man kept throwing starfish into the ocean and said, "No, that's true. I can't rescue them all." He picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. "But to that one, it matters."

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the problems in the world. The sick, the hurt, the broken, the dying, the starving. I want to help out each and every one of them. I want to wipe the tears, heal the hurts, feed the empty bellies. I may not be able to help everyone, but just because I can't do everything, I don't want that to keep me from doing something.
Of course, one of the ways of helping other people out is following the purpose that God has placed inside my heart. For years and years, I'd searched for what my life calling was. I knew that my purpose here on this earth was to honor and glorify God in my life. But what avenue did He want to use to reach other people? What giftings did He put into my life that could be used by His hands to touch people's lives?
I wrestled for years (about 10 years!) about what I was supposed to do. I was certain that I would be an animator, but tried my hand at it and did not like the tedious drawing of picture after picture. I tried life drawing, interior design, acting, group leadership and painting. And while each one was enjoyable to a certain extent, none of them provided that sense of satisfaction that I was searching for. Nothing quite "clicked." Until photography, that is! Picking up a digital camera was like magic in my hands...and when I learned Photoshop, I felt like some sort of secret magician and I was hooked! : )
But something still did not seem right. Photography was fun. But what else? What purpose did God want to use it for? I truly believe that He puts gifts and talents into our lives to use them for some good here on earth. Well, what was His purpose in using my gifts?
I started to pray and write about it while I was sitting in a mall's food court over lunch and almost lept out of my seat! Something jumped out at me and I started saying, "Thank You God! I know why You want me to do this!" I felt it so impressed on my heart that one of His missions is to drawer people closer together and closer to Him. With the heart of 1 Corinthians 13 beating in my soul about loving other people...that's what I feel my photography is supposed to accomplish: To help people see those in their lives as beautiful creations, handmade by God and breathed to life by His creativity and love. I want people to value those in their lives and to value God for creating them. I want to inspire people to hold their loved ones closer more dear. I want them to thank God for blessing their lives with such wonderful people to share it with.
My dream book includes those big goals that are too lofty for me to achieve on my own without God's power causing it to happen. But I also included those small, everyday goals that I always daydream about. Things like getting organized and having my paperwork and closet in control and in order. I work best in a neat and clean environment. It helps me to stay more focused. I'm definitely more of a "Martha" than I am a "Mary" (referring to the Bible characters).
Whether following a big dream or a little dream, I want to follow and pursue something that's bigger than myself. I want to say at the end of my life that I spent my life for God, on God and on other people. I want to live with God's Kingdom in mind and see His "big picture."

Some people might call me fanatical for talking about my faith so much. Yet...have you ever been in love? When you are, you can't help but think about that person and talk about him or her. Why should it be any different with God? He is my passion and the One that my heart loves the most. : )

Whatever dreams I have for my life, I feel a deep sense of calling to use it for something bigger than what's around me.
What dreams are beating there inside your own heart? What would you do if you had all the talent, energy, everything to accomplish them? What would you choose to do? What would you willingly do for free because you love it so much? I'd love to hear! : )!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I am back!

Hello all,

Wow! Time has certainly flown by! It has been a little over 1 year since I last wrote a blog! I took some time to develop my photo website and to pack up and move here to Arizona. But now, I am back! ; )!! And boy, does it feel good!

I find blogs...or rather, the people who write them...fascinating. I follow a few blogs almost daily because the personalities of the people who write them really shine through and I find myself wanting to read what is going to happen next. Almost like reading a good novel, only it's in real life.

I'm a visual person, so this blog adventure is going to includes lots of pictures for you to see. There may even be more pictures than there is text at times, I'm sure.

I'd love to invite you alongside me in this beautiful journey called life and share with you the ways that I see life. Come peek through my glasses and see what I see. From my vantage point, it's pretty beautiful! : )