Monday, December 31, 2007

it's a cozy coop christmas

everybody: jingle bells! jingle bells! jingle all the way! oh what fun it is to... have a one year old in the house for Christmas!

seriously. it makes you feel like a kid again. and i'm sure it's only going to get better. as a parent, i totally comprehend the giving is more exciting than receiving concept.

jonah didn't totally get the present opening thing this year. he was pretty much more interested in the wrapping paper, ribbons and boxes than the actual gifts. oh well, it's still really fun to watch him discover.

my favorite memory from this year was watching jonah walk into the room with the tree and the gifts and discover his new cozy coop. rachael and allan had given it to us for jonah as a hand-me-down before we left for texas. (love them!) so dave and i decided we would give it to jonah for Christmas.

when daddy put jonah boy down he didn't stop, he didn't pass go, he just made a bee-line right to the car and started trying to climb in.

"no, i don't need the door! i'm just going to hop in all dukes of hazard style!"

wait, what am i blabbering on about. just watch this...

pictures from christmas day 2007

this is my favorite picture from the day. the falling out of the car. that look. just perfect!
a kiss for mickey
merry Christmas, jonah! gosh, i could just eat that face. it's so cute.
ok, it's a tie. this picture and the first one are my two favorite pictures from the day. this one just says "oh glorious Christmas morning". the sunshine. the bubbles. the arms back. the smirk. what fun!
jonah loves his new magnet alphabet toy. although we haven't made it past the letter 'h' yet because he keeps pushing the button which starts the alphabet song all over again.
so much fun! thanks aunt bekah and uncle jim!
silly katarina
all of the cousins
nana and carter
papa and carter
leah and scotty-dome and [d]... self-portrait of course.
happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

new years resolutions

i attended our new church gateway this morning. have you ever had it happen where you go to church and you think that the person speaking is talking directly to you? you actually think that they wrote their message just so you could hear it? well that's what happened to me today.

i know that everyone else probably had something similar on their minds seeing as today is the 2nd to the last day of the year. as the year comes to a close you kind of get nostalgic and you think ahead to the upcoming year. you think about your accomplishments and failures. you bring to mind your resolutions from last year that fell off the radar before january even came to a close. you think about who you are and who you'd like to be...

at least that's what i've been thinking about these past few days.

i guess since i officially quit my job and as we close in on 6 weeks here in austin it's beginning to sink in that we're not just on vacation, i've been ruminating about my purpose. why am i here? on earth, but more specifically in texas. i'm away from most of my friends and all of my family (except for dave and jonah) and i'm really really starting to miss them. i ache just to hang out with some familiar people. my family, my best friend. it's lonely down here. i mean, don't get me wrong, i love dave's family, but i also miss the folks back home. and as i watch jonah grow up a little more every day i'm sad that they're missing out on those everyday moments, too.

on top of that i've also been struggling with "who i am hates who i've been", and by who i've "been" i mean last week, yesterday, this morning even. i have this saying about hard times: "they can either make you bitter or better". it's a choice. i don't want to be a bitter person. bitterness is ugly. bitterness is not loving. bitterness leads to regrets. and the fact is i just don't really love the person i've been lately. i'm not spending the time with God that i should. i'm allowing petty things to make me bitter. it's all just... yuck! i don't like it. not one bit!

so anyway, today's message really hit home for me. it was the story of the woman at the well from john 4:4-29. (you can listen to the message here if you're interested).

so. new years resolutions. will my life actually be better if i make and keep them. why do i make them anyway?

the woman at the well was a samaritan, a half-breed, half jew, half asserian. an outcast. not only that but she had a bad reputation... married 5 times and now "with" a man who wasn't her husband. which made her an outcast of the outcasts.

so there she was... at the well... at noon. everyone else came for their water in the morning before the sun was straight overhead. but this outcast would rather endure the blazing glare of the sun, rather than those of the other villagers.

enter jesus. he asks the woman for a drink. shock. jesus was a jew. jews don't associate with samaritans. she protests "you are a jew and i am a samaritan woman. how can you ask me for a drink?"

jesus answered her, "if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." "sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. where can you get this living water? are you greater than our father jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" jesus answered, "everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. indeed, the water i give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."(john 4:10-14)

the awesome thing about jesus is that he doesn't start spouting religion at this woman. instead he pursues her heart. living water? that's interesting, she thinks. where would i get this living water? no more trips to this stinkin' well. no more having to go into public and try to avoid the whispers of the other villagers. that sure would make my life easier.

the woman said to him, "sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." (john 4:15)

so now you're saying "what does this have to do with new years resolutions?" well here it is. i have been making my lists (mentally)... about who i am not. things i want to change. things i want to do. the person i want to be. once these things are accomplished and i become this perfect person my life will be easier. (::cough:: yeah right ::cough::)

just like to woman at the well, i want jesus' "living water" in order to make my life easier. i want the magic pill. just like this woman it's really about self-condemnation, people-pleasing, and other selfish motives.

jesus created me. the person i am. the characteristics i have. he created them all. he delights in me. just as i am. and jesus' motives are not necessarily to make my life easier, but to help me to become a part of the bigger picture... his picture. it's fine to try to be a better person, but we have to examine our motives. am i letting God lead? or am i trying to take the wheel by making my lists and missing the adventures he has for me?

God is the living water. he'll provide. he treasures you. gives you worth. peace. and joy.

part of me thinks i want to be this great person and do these great things in order to please God. it's true. i do want to please him. but a lot of it is about me and my selfish motives.

jesus tells the woman: "a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." the woman said, "i know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. when he comes, he will explain everything to us." then Jesus declared, "i who speak to you am he." (john 4:23-26)

worship is about a soul approaching God in spirit and in truth.

after hearing what jesus had to say the woman went to find the other villagers. she told them "this man told me everything about me". she left off... and he still loves me. see she had been looking for love in all the wrong places (bad. i know.) the ironic thing was that in the beginning of the story she was all about getting the water. it was the reason she was at the well and her whole conversation with jesus revolved around it. but when she left to tell the villagers about this supposed messiah she left her water jar. that's a really small detail with huge implications.

so as i make my resolutions this year i'm going to meditate on this...

cs lewis talked about primary wants and secondary wants. he said that if we focus on primary wants we'll get our secondary wants in the process. if however we only focus on our secondary wants we will get neither.

matthew says something similar is chapter 6, verse 33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

if i seek jesus first my "lists" will take care of themselves. it's just like the fact that i can try all i want to be a good person, but unless i let jesus change me from the inside i will fail. if i pursue holiness i will be made holy.

i love the way God works. as i finished this note here's the song that came on...

david crowder band - "oh praise him"

turn your gaze
to Heaven and raise
a joyous noise
oh the sound of
salvation come
the sound of rescued ones
and all this for a king
angels join to sing
'all for Christ our king!'

how infinite and sweet
this love so rescuing
oh how infinitely sweet
this great love<
that has redeemed
as one, we sing...

He is Holy

i love that song!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

don't you just have to squeech 'em?!

jonah was so excited about taking a bath this morning. it was tres cute! what is it about neck-ed baby butches that just makes you have to squeech 'em?

Monday, December 17, 2007

santa crafts with katarina & carter

we had so much fun making santa crafts over at cousins katarina and carter's house today!

i think you're missing your beard, mr. santa...
perty snowflakes
miss katarina putting on make-up
awe! little mr. carter man
carter & mama bekah
auntie leah helping dry a hand print
carter's definitely a boy... he loved getting messy!
jonah had so much fun playing with the finger paint. and he was so cute keeping that little fist under his cheek the whole time.
jonah & me
and here's jonah's finished work of art
the rest of the santa craft pics are here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

photobooth: lisa & the pink sequined cowgirl hat

photobooth: jonah & daddy

oh my goodness, do i love my boys!

my favorite quote of the day

your hair is very floory.

party in a box

my mom and my best friend rachael sent me a "party in a box" for my birthday wednesday. there was a mylar balloon, a STUNNING pink sequin cowgirl hat, a 30th birthday lei, a cake pan and recipe for pineapple-upside-down cake, a gift card for a cake from Cold Stone, presents, lots of cards... and this sign.

thanks you two! i wish you fit in the box.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the big three-oh

well, it's finally here... the big three-oh.

today started out as one of those days where i wished i could have just stayed in bed all day. i woke up tired, cranky, pms'ing and missing my family and friends back home. we've been in texas for 3 weeks and a day and I was feeling quite homesick. and to top it all off the first thing on my agenda for the day was taking a trip to the dmv to get a new drivers license since mine expired today. oh joyous day!

while I was there I was asked by a state trooper to please step out of the way. he then proceeded to arrest someone right in front of me. you should have seen the illegal aliens scatter. now you have to say the following with a texas accent... it was like watchin' the cockroaches scatter when the lights come on. whoo daw-gie! so that at least made my errand entertaining.

p.s. i'm working on expanding my truck stop diner talk lingo so i can come up with more clever and colorful analogies.

for my birthday dinner we went out to benihana for dinner with the whole hackbarth gang. the food was delicious and jonah calmed down fairly quickly after the crazy "japanese cowboy" chef lit the table on fire right in front of us.

eyebrow check. yep, we're all good.

here are a few pictures from dinner...

the whole crew
me and my boys
dave & bekah holding the happy boys - jonah & carter

365 project

in honor of my 30th year of being alive and to challenge myself as a photog, i've decided to do a 365 project starting on my birthday... um yeah... that would be today.

the plan is to take a picture every day for a year. no rules. just one photo a day.

this is gonna be interesting.

365 project link

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

happy birthday to me

for jonah's dedication back in october of last year (2006) nana joy got our family this beautiful willow tree figure...

when i opened it after jonah's dedication, it immediately brought tears to my eyes. the figures don't even have faces, but you can just feel the love and pure wonder pouring down on that tiny baby. that's exactly how i feel when i look at jonah.

so when i saw the willow tree nativity set at a nativity show that my mom helped organize at her church i immediately told dave that i would like to start collecting that set... someday.

well guess what? "someday" has arrived! my most awesomest amazingest wonderfulest bestest friend in the whole world read my mind and got me the set for my 30th birthday!

her gift was such a wonderful "i'm sad that i'm down here in texas all alone and need some cheering up" present!

here are some pictures that i took of the set...

i especially loved the card...

notice the zero. very realistic. anyway, i like myself in pigtails and it made me feel young... so i guess it worked.

Friday, December 07, 2007

table of contents: illinois to texas to today

wow! i can't believe how long i've been away. here's the problem... so much has happened in the past few weeks i just don't know where to begin.

instead of getting caught up in words, here are all of the new photo galleries i've added since i've been away...

jonah's november gallery

kylee & jonah at the gurbal's house

our house with the noe's and grandma & grandpa

our community group farewell party

moving/packing day

visiting faith's tree at great grandpa arbizzani's park before we hit the road for texas

our road trip from illinois to texas including jonah's first hotel stays

jonah's newest cousin carter

making ornaments with aunt bekah, cousins katarina & carter & some new friends

and today's trip to the outlet mall with auntie leah, aunt bekah, katarina & carter. i wore flip flops... weird.

Friday, November 16, 2007

speaking of Faith...

as dave and i were cleaning out and packing up our bedroom tonight we came upon this dvd.

it's our story of Faith. Our church christ community church did a series back in 2005 about noah entitled "faith in the midst of a storm" and they asked us to tell the story of our most recent "storm".

God has blessed us in such abundant ways. he carried us through that storm. he kept our boat afloat. i loved this one line the visiting pastor shared during his message. now in order to get the full effect you have to picture this large overly enthusiastic african american preacher. yes, just like on tv. here's what he said:

i'm too blessed to be depressed! and i'm to anointed to be disappointed! hallelujah!

amen! you preach it, brother!!! yes! that's awesome! two years later i can still hear him in my head. i loved the vibrant-ness (is that a real word) he brought to the Word that morning. i'll have to look up my notes. he said so many other amazing and quote-worthy things.

so here's the video. we are so grateful that we had the opportunity to share what God has done in our lives. we hope this brings you encouragement today, especially if you're in the midst of a storm yourself...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

one of Faith's songs

i was just sitting working and listening to pandora and of course 10 minutes into it my recently acquired A.D.D. starts to kick in.

this is one of the songs we sang at faith's memorial service. it seems i've been thinking about her a lot lately. i miss her. this song reminds me to praise God. he's in control. he's holy. he's almighty. the joy of the Lord IS my strength.

he understands...

he will always understand.

jonah spent the afternoon at my parents' house with grandma so that dave and i could get some more packing done. as we drove over there, dave and i were talking.

i was sharing with dave about this amazing new friend i'd made through my mom's group. it's kind of sad yet exciting all at the same time.

last week i attended my last "farewell" event (sniff), a mom's night out at graham's 318 in geneva for chocolate fondue with the ladies... yummo! it was so fun. i'd never been there before and i'm so sad we're moving away because i now find myself daydreaming about that creamy sweet bowl of melted chocolate so tasty that when we ran out of things to dip we actually considered asking for straws. could i just pour the rest into my pocket to take home with me?

but i digress. so the other day i signed on to our mom's group website to check the boards. i figure i can still see what everyone's up to and maybe offer some advice about where to buy cupcakes for that upcoming birthday party or whatever. when i went to check out my post about inviting everyone to join me on facebook so that we could keep in touch, i found the most wonderful note! it was from an amazing fellow photog mama named rosie. we've never officially met and we've only emailed back and forth once or twice, but i already feel like we've known each other for years! we're just soul sisters in christ i guess.

so i was checking out rosie's blog when i came across this post about the american child photographer's charity guild.

i almost couldn't believe what i was reading. back in february i wrote about how God was inspiring in me this idea to start some sort of ministry that would provide this service for people... to go into hospitals and photograph children whom God had called home. the trouble was i didn't even know where to begin. so there it remained... in my head. just an idea.

as dave and i discussed my new friend rosie and this amazing new opportunity she has revealed to me, dave said he wasn't sure that he could do what i was proposing to do. he also said that although he tries to be supportive of me and my work, he wasn't sure that he could handle me sharing the images that i take with him. sometimes he said he still has trouble looking at pictures of our own daughter. i know what he means.

but i don't know. i just have this complete and total peace about it all. and that's how i know it's from God. the same way that i know this move to texas is from God. i know it will be difficult. will i go in and most likely cry with the family for their loss? yes. is it possible that i won't even be able to do my job? yes. but i believe that if God calls me to it, He will bring me through it.

i also feel that this will somehow be therapeutic for me. i never got to photograph my own daughter. her tiny tiny hands. her sweet little lips. her dark brown wavy hair. her itty bitty ears. her little feet with the baby toe that was raised up above the others so that the nurse had to push it down to get her complete footprint... that's why when we doodle faith's footprint when our family signs cards we only draw 4 toes. :)

ah... our girl.

so i really feel like this will be my opportunity to capture those special little things for hurting families and in doing so i will get the closure i've been seeking as well. plus what an amazing opportunity this will be to be able to share my story of Faith and how God comforted me through the hardest trial of my life. this is such a crazy time in my life, but when we get to austin i'm going to apply to the guild.

as we approached my parents' house, dave and i were wrapping up our conversation when the dj came on and said she wanted to play this amazing clip from her friend's radio show. a 13-year old cowboy named logan had called in and had something he wanted to share.

here's the clip:

i almost can't comprehend the wisdom that this young man possesses. God draws near to those who are hurting... we just have to be willing to listen.

"he understands. he will always understand. he will always. just run to him."

right on, logan!

4 square

i did this shoot with these four energetic kids at the end of october down at pottawatomie park. when people say "it's like herding cats"... well, you should have been there. it was crazy fun!

our first shot. i think they thought i was a little crazy... laying on the ground, but look at that tree! don'cha just love fall!

mom brought a photocopy of a picture of her mother and her siblings. i wish i had a copy to see the comparison. the kids were set up just like this. two older boys, two younger girls. i made mom make silly faces to get the kids to all look in the same direction and smile. go team!

Can you say personalities!

i totally love this shot. this captures the kids exactly how they are in "real life". notice how he's trying not to smile, but just can't help it. i know you love getting your picture taken. come on. just admit it.
now who doesn't love a good kid sandwich?!

check out that custom nail polish.

crazy. see. i told ya.