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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

crazy beautiful

I just can't put into words how awesome God is. But I'm gonna try.

Today while Jonah napped, Dave and I worked on weeding out and organizing our abundance of "stuff" in the garage. As we worked we got to talking. And it started to hit me. We're moving. We're not just going on vacation. We're leaving our home and everything that's familiar and driving 1,155 miles (give or take) to a new home. (Pause here for dramatic effect).

As I started to talk about all of the people being negatively impacted by our calling/decision I started to get a little depressed. I'm going to miss my family. I'm going to miss my friends. And they're going to miss me. How will the holidays work? We can't come back for every one of them. I'm so used to being with my family for every holiday. We have traditions here. Heck, I miss walking around downtown Geneva at night with Dave already and we haven't even left yet.

I let myself go down that path for a few minutes, but then God reeled me back in. "Was Abram thrilled about having to leave his home?" God reminded me. "How 'bout his friends? No. But I had bigger plans for his life. And I have bigger plans for you. Trust me."

So I continued with my work in the garage. Shortly thereafter Dave headed inside to fetch little Mr. Jonah who was waking up from his nap. As he headed inside, my heart was still heavy.

But I continued to organize and condense, looking around and feeling a twinge of pride over our accomplishments that afternoon.

Both my face and my heart smiled as I listened to Dave and Jonah over the monitor. Jonah was squealing and giggling as Dave changed his diaper and they sang and babbled, carried away in the most amazing father-son moment.

I wish I could just pluck up those moments and put them in a box somewhere safe where I could always visit them. I have to believe that cherubs' voices all sound exactly like Jonah's little 13-month old voice... so sweet and pure.

As the giggles faded away a song came on the radio. I was pulling random items out of a box marked "camping supplies" and wasn't listening too closely until these words jumped out of the speakers and bit my ear drums...

whoa you’re oh so beautiful
you don’t need anyone’s approval
you’ve got to believe in yourself
you know you are
you’re crazy beautiful
Seriously. God. That's exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you. I am crazy beautiful. You made me this way. And therefore you're crazy beautiful too.

Now if I were an author and this was a book here's how I'd wrap up this little anecdote...

When Lisa came inside after hearing that song, she sat down at the computer to look up who wrote that song (it's Chasen's Crazy Beautiful btw). As she typed she told her husband about the whole experience in the garage and how she had teared up listening to those wonderfully encouraging lyrics.

At that Dave began to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh a bit more. He laughed this particular laugh that told Lisa something ironic had just happened.

Apparently as Dave headed inside to get Jonah he could sense Lisa's heavy heart and as he stopped to watch the beautiful sunset from the kitchen window he had asked God to send her some encouragement.

Yep. If I were an author that's how I'd write it.

Crazy beautiful.

Crazy Beautiful

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Hitch up the wagons. We're headed south.

In just 6 short days we'll be heading south. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. It seems like just the other day we had so much time to get ready and pack and everything and now our countdown has entered the single digits. It's bizarre.

I mapped out our route and booked our hotels last night. We're going to make the 18 hour drive over the course of 3 days. Partly for Jonah's sanity and partly to help me stay awake behind the wheel... always a bonus. Dave and his dad will drive the 24' truck with Dave's car in tow; Jonah, Deb and I will follow in the Envoy. The first day we'll travel to a Hampton Inn just outside of St. Louis, which is about a 5 hour drive from Sugar Grove. The second day we'll travel 7 hours (plus stops) to Oklahoma City where we'll be staying at a Comfort Inn. Which leaves us with about 6 hours on the third day.

Both hotels have pools, so we're planning on bringing our swim suits. I figure that will be a great way to let Jonah get out some energy after sitting in the car all day. He just adores the water!

Well, I think that's about it for our travel plans. Dave and I are making progress on the packing. We've got the front hall closet done (well except for a couple weird-sized items). Saturday my friend Tanya came over (love her!) and helped pack up 9 big boxes of kitchen stuff. It's a bit of a challenge when we want to cook something, so we just pretend we're camping... I hope the next tenant doesn't mind the fire pit in the middle of the dining room.

I finished packing up the china cabinet on Sunday. Dave has packed all of his clothes other than we he'll need to wear until we get down there. We've weeded out of a bunch of books and papers, but still have a ways to go with all that. Sunday night I organized all of Dave's tools and what-not in the garage (a huge task, but wow! does it feel good). I've been doing A LOT of organizing and weeding out. Last night we pulled everything out of our attic and have added a significant amount to the YUGE and steadily growing Goodwill pile. It feels really great to not be moving a bunch of junk we don't need one more time. Yeah!

In related news we found out that our neighbors are selling their houses for what they paid for them 3 years ago or in some cases selling for less than what they paid. Well isn't that just a kick in the teeth!? So in lieu of bringing a five-figure check to closing we're going to rent out our townhouse. So if you know of anyone looking for a lovely "two-suite luxury villa" in Sugar Grove please send them our way. You can see details about the listing here. More photos and details coming soon... as soon as we get all of these boxes out of here!

Well I'm off to the garage for some more packin' fun!

Monday, November 12, 2007

We're moving to Austin

I just wanted to share this letter that I wrote to our friends and family just in case anyone missed it...

You may have heard that our family has some big changes ahead of us. Dave and I have been discussing, thinking about and praying about the possibility of moving to Austin, TX for almost a year now. Then at the end of September Dave was laid off from his job. Dave's parents live in Austin and they've offered to let us live with them until Dave finds a job and our house sells. So it's official. We're packing the truck on the 18th and heading to Texas on November 19th, the Monday before Thanksgiving.

So why Texas? Well first, with our decision to have me stay home with Jonah we've been looking at ways to decrease our expenses. We've checked out other areas locally like NW Indiana, Wisconsin and further south in Illinois, as well as other states with a lower cost of living. In researching Austin we've learned that their overall cost of living is about 20% lower than Chicagoland and housing costs are about $100,000 less for the same type of home. But we aren't making this decision for purely financial reasons.

I know it might sound crazy to some of you, but we truly believe that this is where God wants us. Dave and I both have a very close relationship with God and we trust that he has a plan for our lives. So we do our best to follow His will and for that we know we'll be rewarded, maybe not in this life, but some day. Sometimes the choices God asks us to make are easy and clear cut. Sometimes they're difficult. We've been praying about this for a while now. I really dug my heels in at first and didn't want to move mainly because a majority of our friends and family live here. I'm comfortable here. I know my way around. Faith was born here. The list goes on and on. But God persisted... and He's been slowly changing my heart.

In February on the way to work one day I was really struggling with this calling. I asked God to show me a sign if we were supposed to move. Literally a few seconds later I started gaining on a truck stopped in the other lane. It had the outline of the shape of Texas on the back of the truck. As I got closer I realized what was written inside the outline... "Lisa". Lisa in Texas. You've got to be kidding me!!! Seriously. I didn't think it was for real, but here's the logo: I've never seen this before in my life and never again since. Um, that couldn't have been a sign for me. Just a bizarre coincidence.

Then a few months ago I really felt like God was telling us to go. I prayed, "God, I really think we're doing fine here. We seem to be making ends meet (barely), but we're fine. We don't need to move. The only reason I would consider leaving is if Dave lost his job, which isn't going to happen. Everyone at Dave's work loves him. He's doing great. Ok, well if you really want us to go please let us just stay until Jonah's birthday." Dave lost his job on Friday, September 27th. Jonah's birthday is September 28th.

So for fear of lighting striking (j/k) we're going. No more signs. No more tests. I can't ignore it anymore. I thought I would be a lot more anxious and scared about the move, especially with Dave being out of work going on 6 weeks now, but God's just given me an amazing peace about it all. That's how I can tell we're on the right path. It's the same "peace that transcends all understanding" that I felt after we had Faith (Philippians 4:7).

We know that our news may have already found its way to you or you might be hearing this for the first time. Either way, please feel free to contact us with any questions. We also wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how much we love you. We're so blessed and grateful to have you in our lives! We'll definitely be back to visit a lot and once our house sells we're planning (God willing) on getting a house with room for guests. Hint hint. So please keep in touch and plan your next vacation for the Lone Star State!

This is an exciting time, but it's also a little scary and there's lots to do! So we would really really appreciate your prayers. We could really use prayer specifically 1) for getting our house ready and packed (especially with Jonah around it always takes three times longer to do everything than you think it should... that crazy little monkey =), 2) that our house would sell quickly and in this market that we would at least make enough to cover moving expenses and a few months' living expenses since Dave is out of work, 3) that Dave would find a good job quickly (he's got quite a few leads so we're hoping something happens quickly with that), and 4) for God's peace to rule in our hearts as well as in the hearts of our family and friends that are here in Illinois.

Thank you again so much... for everything! We are so blessed to have you in our lives! We love you and we'll miss you!

Blessings! Blessings! And more blessings!

Lisa, Dave & Jonah Hackbarth

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jonah's 1st Birthday Party Slideshow

It took me a little longer than I planned, but I finally got around to putting together Jonah's 1st birthday party slideshow.

I don't think we could have asked for more beautiful weather. Jonah had so much fun! Thanks everyone for making it such a great memory!

Friday, November 09, 2007

My lil punkins

Back at the end of October, Dave and Jonah and I met cousin Kylee, Aunt Sheridan and Uncle Jeff at A-1 Pumpkin Patch in Aurora for some pumpkin pictures. Grandma and Grandpa were able to meet up with us, too. It was a chilly, but beautiful afternoon.

Here's cousin Kylee
My lil punkin

Awe! Hugs!

I'll take the stripey one!
Me and my boys on the hayride... we got a flat!
Watch out! He bites...
G.R.O.S.S. Somebody needs to clean the port-o-potty! Hope you can hold it.
Aunt Sheridan and Kylee
This picture makes me tired.

Grandma reflecting on her loved ones.
I'll be your seatbelt!

Where's Waldo?
The xbox 360 poster child... or at least his daddy would like to think so.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Monkey on my back: a social experiment

At first I just thought this was going to be a video of some funny monkey hijinx with my kid, but after watching the video again I realized there was a deeper meaning hidden under the surface.

Sometimes life puts a "monkey on our back". At first it doesn't really bother us too much. It's kinda funny. We think it will fall off on its own. When we finally start to try to get rid of it ourselves, it's just no use. We can't reach it and all of our flailing about just wears us out.

If we would just stop and ask for help, someone from the outside with a better view of what's going on would probably be able to help us if we just let them.

Or maybe it's just a video about a crazy kid with a stuffed animal in his hood. You make the call...

Jonah's 1st Steps Caught on "Film"

Before you're married people ask, "So when are you getting married?"

Before you have kids people ask, "So when are you going to have kids?"

After you have a kid people ask, "How old is he?"
Answer: "One."
Follow up question: "Is he walking yet?"

Well guess what everybody... he's walking!!! Oh yeah, there's no stopping him now! Jonah has been taking one or two steps at a time for a few weeks now. But this past Sunday at Grandma and Grandpa Gurbal's house was the first time he took more than 3 or 4 steps at a time. I think we counted 10. And today we managed to get him on "film".

So his first steps came at about 12 1/2 months. In this video he's 13 months and 1 week old.

And without further ado, the moment we've all been waiting for...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

well yeah, you're not a jedi

Dave was working on painting our back hallway tonight. I was upstairs putting Jonah to bed. When I came down Dave was in the living room twisting violently. No, not the Chubby Checker dance.

Dave: My back needs to crack.

Lisa: You're going to hurt yourself.

Dave: I just don't have the right force to make it release.

Lisa: That's because you're not a Jedi.

Dave: Oh, come on now.

Lisa: Sorry. You're just not a very good Jedi.