Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Royal Celebration!

Yesterday, I woke up bright and early at 3:30a.m..... why?  THE ROYAL WEDDING, of course!!!  Some may find it silly, but I couldn't help but dream of the big day.  I have often heard my Mom tell me about how she was working at a hospital during Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding, and she remembers the excitement and anticipation of watching the event unfold.  Since she was about my age when she saw that royal wedding, I somehow felt connected to the 20-something Mom (who wasn't a mom yet) when I got up in the wee hours for this royal wedding.

Thankfully, I didn't have to wake up to celebrate on my own.  My beautiful friend Elizabeth has been dreaming about the royal celebration along with me, and a few weeks ago we decided to have a royal wedding princess party!!  The difficult part about this is that I live in Chicago and she lives in North Carolina....... but no worries!  Technology saved the day, and around 4 a.m., a grand Skype party commenced.

How does a royal Skype party work, you ask?  For 3 hours 32 minutes and 13 seconds we watched the wedding festivities "together," and it was fabulous!

Inspired by Kate, or shall I say Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Lizzy and I dressed in our finest... well, our finest headgear, anyway.  Elizabeth broke out her wedding veil, I clipped in my feather fascinator, and Monty (her Scottie) put on his top hat (Darcy couldn't join us because she had spent the night at the vet while I was out of town the day before... which is sad, because I would have made her wear a fascinator along with me.)

So here is a little taste of our morning:
We took pictures of each other on the computer screen.
Doesn't Monty look dapper?  And Lizzy looks gorgeous, right? :)
We took pictures of the wedding on the TV (yes, I do have a post-it prayer reminder on my tv).
We got a little teary when we saw Kate for the first time...
We discussed the wedding attire (good and bad).

We somehow stayed awake until the two balcony kisses.
All wedding photos from
And then we crashed... but that was after the party.  I don't know how long Liz napped, but I definitely rested my eyes for a couple of hours.

Another thing that happened at our little party was reminiscing... I distinctly remember saying, "Elizabeth... Did you ever think when we were four years old and in ballet together that we would be doing this twenty years later?"  And, of course, neither of us thought about that then... but I was being sappy, and Lizzy was patient with me (and possibly a little sentimental too... how could you not be with a friendship that's lasted this long? :)  Which is why I should probably post a few pictures that just so happen to be on my hard drive....
Junior year.... I was Cindy Lu Who for this particular party...
Senior year... our friend Caroline's senior party
Prom!  This is our tradition... taking pictures of ourselves, by ourselves since the 90s.
Right before Liz moved away for college
(Too bad I don't have any pictures in my apartment from the awkward-almost-adolescent stage....)

Needless to say, Friday morning was a blast and a joy, and I am SOOO glad that I got to share the event with dearest Elizabeth.  If you want to hear her take on the morning, head over to Liz's photography blog (she is an awesome photographer, by the way). 

I hope everyone is having a royally wonderful weekend!

"Every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future."
(the quote from the wedding that gave me hope of a royal wedding for myself :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

And the winner is....

You are the new owner of my cross painting.  I hope you enjoy it! :)  I will be contacting you shortly to get your address. 

I wish with my whole heart that I could give everyone a gift!  But since I probably can't do that, I decided that I could give away a little something extra to a couple of my new friends. So, I drew two more names from a hat (or cardboard box, actually...).
Lynn from Rocky Creek Scottie Adventures 
Jennifer from Studio JRU 

will each be receiving a pack of six notecards that are prints of this watercolor (and please excuse the glare... it's the best picture I have with me!):
The actual notecards (which are kind of dark in this picture)...

Thank you SOOOOO much to everyone who entered and left such precious comments!  I really didn't expect such a great response, and I am humbled and honored by everyone's sweet words.  So THANK YOU!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Becoming grateful... An empty tomb. A full heart.

In the wake of Holy Week and Easter, I am reminded of the humbling beauty of Christ's life, the tragic pain of his death, and the glorious joy of his resurrection.

Sometimes it is easier for me to think of the divine aspects of Christ... his perfection and holiness, sinlessness and power.  I diminish his humanity.  And it's when I minimize his human qualities that I also diminish his role in my life.  

I forget that he understands my pain because he was human, too.  He knows what it feels like to be tempted, because he was tempted, too.  He understands the pressure to meet others' expectations, because everyone put pressure on him.  He understands the sharp pain of betrayal, because his closest friends betrayed and denied him in the very moments when companionship was most needed.  He has felt the pains of hunger and known the weakness that comes with sleepless nights.  
He felt the human things of life, and he dealt with imperfect humans.  He was in this world of brokenness just like I am.

He understands.
He hears my heart, and nothing is lost on him, because he was once here, too.

By his earthly humanity, he gives his comfort when I ache.
By his understanding, he gives undeserved grace when I err.   
By his voluntary death, he gives this sinner hope.  
By his resurrection from the grave, he gives me life and eternity.

God emptied the tomb to give me a full heart, and my gratefulness can never fully be expressed in words or prayers or deeds.  

"To read His message in the moments, I'll need to read His passion on the page; wear the lens of the Word, to read His writing in the world.  Only the Word is the answer to rightly reading the world, because the Word has nail-scarred hands that cup our face close, wipe away the tears running down, has eyes to look deep into our brimming ache, and whisper, "I know. I know."  The passion on the page is a Person, and the lens I wear of the Word is not abstract idea but the eyes of the God-Man who came and knows the pain." 
~Ann Voskamp~

I am continuing my count of God's gifts in my life... Here are a few from this past week:

389... Packages from Mom
390... Cracker Barrel Sour jelly eggs.... the. best. ever.
391... Painting!
392... Running with Darcy
395... The Resurrection
396... Finding a rawhide hidden in my pants... (I wonder who put that there??)
397... Darcy "bopping" me with her nose as she follows me around
398... Easter basket skype date with Mom and sister
400... A single daffodil
402... New ESV Bible
404... Easter "box" of goodies (sorry about the scary/over-excited face...)
406... Easter grass in puppy beard
407... Self-timed pictures with the "Easter box" (at the request of little sister) and Darcy
410... The mentorship of a professor
412... Bittersweet endings
416... Darcy and her dragon

And this pictures is an oldie... but definitely a goody.

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter!  

And a special thank you to all of the sweet people who have commented on my cross painting.  Y'all are such an encouragement, and I honestly didn't expect such a great response!  I wish I could paint crosses for each of you!!!  Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner next Friday. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

A royal giveaway!

"...God, the blessed and only Ruler, the KING of kings and LORD or lords."
~1 Timothy 6:15~

I have wanted to share some of my art on this blog since the beginning, but in the craziness and busyness of school, it has been difficult to have the time to finish a painting.  So this morning, I made time. 

This past week, I have excitedly anticipated the upcoming royal wedding, often watching the specials that are airing with the "inside scoop" on wedding details... but I have also spent much time reflecting on the meaning of being a child of THE King of kings. 

Today, I'm remembering the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for my brokenness.... He wore a crown of thorns to make me an heir to the throne.  

God sacrificed His holy and perfect Son so that I can become like him, 
a child of the KING.

I was a commoner, but thanks to Christ's death and resurrection, I am a princess.

(excuse the red fingernail...)
Because Christ has given so much to me, I want to give a little gift to someone special... and that special someone could be you!

My gift is this little 12 x 16 painting of a cross (with 1 Timothy 6:15 "hidden" throughout).  Some of the color is distorted in these pictures, but if I can get a picture in better lighting, I will definitely post it  (the colors on the blue, for instance, are gold and a shiny brown... but it's just hard to tell in the photos). 
 Clearly, this is nothing compared to the beautiful gifts of God, but I hope it can be a reminder of these gifts. 

If you would like to have a chance to win this humble little creation, then do one or all of the following: 

1...  Leave a comment saying that you want to enter the giveaway.  
2... Blog about the giveaway, and leave a comment telling me that you did!
3... If you are new to my blog, become a follower and leave a comment letting me know that you are new.  (And welcome to my place, by the way! :)

**You can enter up until Thursday, April 28th, and I will announce the winner on the 29th.**

Also, I'm linking up with Studio JRU for "Sneak Peek Friday."  Hop on over there to see what other people are doing in the studio this week!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Becoming grateful... blessings in disguise

There is nothing in the world more pure and beautiful than holding a newborn baby close, rubbing the soft skin and marveling in the petite features.  As I held 3-week-old Hannah Leanne last week, I was reminded of this beauty.  She is a life beginning, a story to be written.  She is loved and cherished by many people, but even more so by her Creator.

Most of the night, I cradled her tiny frame against my heart, singing to her while I watched her gaze about the room.  Hardly a peep was made out of her little body until later in the evening, when tears suddenly formed and face reddened and voice cried out.  And as she cried, my anxiety rose.

What does she need?  How do I really know what she wants?
She whimpered, and I did too, trying my best to figure out what I was not doing that she needed me to do, wishing I could know her heart and mind and be exactly what she needed.   But she had to wait for me.. and cry some more.  And in just one night, I failed her more than once... changing a diaper when she wanted food, picking her up when she just wanted to lie still.

And that is just the beginning.  As I stared into her precious, crying face, eyes squinty and nose wrinkled, I thought of the other people who would fail her because none in this world are perfect.  

But then I smiled... oh, how I smiled and rejoiced over that little one and her tears!  Why??  

Because God knows her perfectly. 
He will never fail her.  

He knew what she wanted even as she cried in my arms.   In the years ahead when deeper hurts happen, will she be able to see how God reaches out to her and brings her joy?  Maybe not wiping away her tears right away, but drawing her close in other ways until she realizes that she really just needs Him?  Will she find the gifts that God blesses her with, even in the midst of trials?

As I held little Hannah, kissing those small fingers and tickling tiny toes, I thought about the life she has ahead.  I have no idea what it holds.  
But God does

And she will experience pain.  There is no keeping her from it.  
She will be discouraged.  
Her heart will hurt.
Why?  Because she has entered a fallen world.

  But my prayer for her is that she will be able to see the redemption that God brings.  He despises the bad, but He can make it good.  So very good.

And so many times, His most beautiful blessings are those that come disguised in the ugliness of the world... the blessings that draw us closer to His heart than we ever could have dreamed of on this side of heaven, and the blessings that show us where true joy and love and wholeness is found.
The blessings that show us Christ.
The blessings that can only come through the beauty of God's redemption and healing of an aching heart.

May Hannah learn this, and may I remember it.  

I'm still counting my gifts.  God is so good!
336...  A mom and toddler son walking an old, waddling, white nosed dog outside of my window, bringing tears to my eyes
340... Talking to Adam about his exciting future adventures
343... Teaching my very 1st graduate school class in a professor's place!
344... Making a class laugh
350... Hannah Leanne
351... Last minute babysitting

353... Being Hannah's first sitter
354... Baby feet
355... Pacifiers

356... Changing diapers
357... Baby skin
359... Tiny hands and tinier nails
364... Flower tights, denim dress, and cowboy boots
365... Fishtail braids
366... Time to take the morning slowly
367... A classroom visit from our professor's 4-year-old daughter Chloe, who taught about unicorns (what she knows best)
368... Chloe telling me all about being a cowgirl when she grows up (I picked the perfect day to wear my cowboy boots...)
376... Coffee with Sarah, Rachel, and Anna, sitting in sunshine, laughing and sharing
380... Water drops on grass
381... Snowflakes mixed with water drops
384... The prayers of my supervisor
386... Self-timed pictures with Anna (pretending we are "therapizing" each other) when my client doesn't show up... so professional, I know.  :)  

And in case you are wondering... we don't ever look this silly as therapists... or at least I hope not....  Sometimes you just have to unwind after a very very very VERY long day.  :)  

I hope your days have been filled with blessings!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sleeping Scottie

Could there possibly be anything more precious than a sleeping, shaggy Scottie on a slow, soggy Saturday (who hasn't left her bed since the morning walk)?  

The only thing I can think of is this....

a sleeping, shaggy, baby Scottie.

Or maybe a freshly groomed and not-so-shaggy and limp-noodle-or-flattened on the floor Scottie, who is still growing into her ears... that kind is pretty cute too.

Whatever the age, hairstyle, or sleeping pose, this Scottie is pretty much the cutest... pretty much all the time.
I hope everyone is having a happy and sleepy Saturday!