Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Importance of Pictures

I forgot that I live in the digital age and no longer print out pictures. I also forgot how much I cherished photos too. See, having all my pics on my fills up so much space. After a while, I am more likely to delete old photos then back then up or print them off. Those are photos I will never get back.

There was this trend going around a while ago, the 365 day photo challenge. To take a photo of something that day that you want to remember, something that tells a story. I love walking into homes and seeing their refrigerator covered in photos of family or just sweet memories. I miss that. I especially miss comparing the difference of an old photo to today, whether its because of who is in that photo or the time, etc.

My parents had so many scrapbooks on their bookcase, each one was of a certain time or occasion. I would always be the one to pull them out and browse through them again and again. I loved seeing my family before I was born, how different they looked, (my dad didn't have any grey hair then!). It's good to look back every now and then

So with the help of Shutterfly for sending me $20 for being a loyal customer, I'm spending the morning catching up on my pictures. (Plus the fact, I have so many picture frames I've gotten as gifts that I have failed to fill out too).

Even with the digital age, it should be easier to capture "moments" since we have cameras on our phones now. I regret the times when I didn't snap a picture of something important. So here's your challenge...whenever something made you laugh, cry, smile, even ponder or just plain tells a story...snap a picture of it :)

...and don't delete it like I did.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Organization: Before and After

Project Organization: Before and After...


 This is our lovely desk... can you see it? I've always wanted to put this to actual use instead of making it the destination to pile miscellaneous treasures.

 And of course our coat rack and all the shoes stacked underneath

 This is our TV stand with the stereo that we barely use next to it. The wires add a nice touch :P


I have so many twist ties that come from sandwich bags and garbage bags that they finally came in handy. I HATE wires with a passion. So after we dug through all of them we found out that 2/3 of the wires that were there, we didnt use. So twist tied they were and put into a basket to conceal them.

We moved the desk. I didnt like it next to the door. I think its place there made it more easy for us to pile all our junk on top. Plus it freed up more space for us to have it here in the corner. I'm all about space when you have little to work with.

One perk about having a husband who works in a cabinet mill is he comes home with random projects like these. I once had this in the bathroom but when he brought home a bigger one, that took its place and it now makes a nice cabinet to conceal computer supplies. 

 Our old TV stand we didnt know what to do with for the time being, so I positioned it next to the arm as a make do end table. The extra shelf helps store extra stuff and those baskets....I get a TON from Walmart...really cheap and really nice :).

Our new free TV stand, courtesy of my brother, looks so much nicer and pulls the room together. Plus the doors can hide so much unnecessary stuff. Love it! And of course...more baskets that hold more wires :)

Where the desk once was is now just a storage bin (which surprised me how much these things can hold) and Bun Bun's food. She was all excited during the moving process. 

 Now this is a whole other project. It's Ashley's man table. I organized it briefly and left it be. He needs his own room for this stuff which someday hopefully he will.

Thank goodness for these....they make organizing just a breeze. 

 And to add a little warm and homely touch...some books and a couple candles to make the evening more relaxing.

If there is anything to do from this, its 
  1. Invest in baskets (Goodwill has good cheap ones too)
  2. Twist tie all wires (even label them with a sticker)
  3. Any unused items can be put away in large storage bins
  4. Utilize shelving space. Don't have any? Go get some. They are great! Even to just decorate for photo frames :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Food for Thought

Working on a new book now, (well not new, just finishing it) The Tangible Kingdom. It was recommended to me by a friend and I started reading but I have this habit of not finishing books. Anyway, I picked it up again and now I am hooked on this one. Stumbling across this chart in the book, I was amazed at how true it was. Here it is comparing the western, eastern, and postmodern civilization to what our Gospel response should be. 

So there's a little food for thought. My prayer is that we can have this Gospel response. From valuing eternity over security or legacy, to measuring success by transformation, it leaves quite the example of how we don't have the right response. Think on this a while. I will keep updating here and there as I read more. I'm quite intrigued :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Romans 12

I don't usually quote out of The Message but I had stumbled upon a verse in chapter 12 while working on another bible study/blog post. I kept reading and reading and really just felt like this was worth sharing. It puts it into a perspective easily understandable to us. Though I don't recommend using this version all the time.

Just take a moment and read this..

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good."

(Romans 12:1-21 MSG)

When You Believe in God but Not in His Church

Once again, The Christian Atheist strikes again. I love the authors thoughts. There's a chapter later in his book titles When You Believe in God but Not in His Church. Immediately I was hooked. He put into words exactly what has been on my mind as of late.

Here are a few examples from the chapter (some are direct quotes, other I shortened to my version)...

The problem thinking "we go to church" is that it gives us a consumer mindset: I'm looking for a church that meets my needs. I need a good church that will help me. The church is actually Gods chosen vehicle to meet - through other human beings - peoples true needs (including our own).

In the first church described in Acts 2, "church" wasn't something people added to their lives. Church was the center of their lives. Church was not a physical building; it was the community of people who shared a belief and faith in Christ. "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). They didn't go to church; they were the church, devoted to God's Word, God's people, and God's mission.

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:36-39 ESV)
....Church allows you to do both.

According to Hebrews 10:24, we're responsible both to hold each other accountable and to encourage one another: "Spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Verse 25 tells us how: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing."

When we hit relational bumps with others, instead of walking away and leaving the church, we can stay and work through our problems, which can help us grow spiritually as we learn to forgive.

In addition to belonging, church gives us a place to grow. Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ". Our faith grows as we hear the message taught and proclaimed. Living it out solidifies it for us. James 1:22 says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

God is not calling us to go to church, He is calling us to be the church.

A Day in the Life, Part lll

 XXI Visual Merchandiser modeling for a day.

model: Alicia :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Day in the Life, Part ll

 XXI Visual Merchandisers modeling for a day.

 model: Diana Biryuk

A Day in the Life

 XXI Visual Merchandisers modeling for a day :)

 model: Ashley Nadeau Belanger

Pursuit of Happiness

I've been going through my bookshelf trying to make up for the lack of reading that has been done. I have so many books I'd like to read. The one I've been reading recently titled The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeshel struck quite an interest and sparked a few thoughts for a blog.

It is astounding how valued the word "happiness" is in our society. If you search "happy" on Amazon books you will get 32,934 results. You can get lost in the self-help section at a bookstore. Now I bet you already know where I'm going with this. You're gonna say "Yes, yes *eye roll* I know, true happiness is only found in God". Wrong. That's not where I was going...kinda. Truth is, it's not about our happiness.

"While it is true that God wants to bless you and has great plans for you, we venture into extremely dangerous territory when we start to believe that God's ultimate plan for us is our happiness."

In our youth group we've been focusing on the purpose of the church (kinda reflecting on me and Ash's Antioch) and the traditions we've kept over the years. It was odd, discussing traditions we have and realizing the reason why we still have them is either to make people happy or we've just plain lost sight of whats important. Or why some folks will just cease coming to church all together because it didn't make them happier. So what is important? What happens when what made you happy, no longer does?

Polluted theology- "I tried religion, but it didn't make me happy. I went to church and it didn't make my life any better. God didn't help me have a better life, so He either failed me or He's not real. Either way, I'm not interested."

God may not want you to be happy. I'm sure Paul wasnt "happy" in prison, or shipwrecked. I definitely sure he wasn't happy when he was getting beaten up. God has a bigger plan for us than we can see. Our suffering, or our joy, or sorrow all has a purpose. The word we are looking for is "blessed".

Psalm 112:1- "Blessed is the one who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands".

Blessed. Joyful. ...I love those words.

Like I said, its not about our happiness or our comfort-ability this world, but seeking out what God's will for our lives is, not our will. We will never discover lasting happiness in the temporary things of this world because we weren't made for this world. Earth is not heaven.

Proverbs 14:12- "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death".

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Beginning of a New Year

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. 

-Joshua 1:5-9 (ESV)

There is no excitement in a new year for me. There is excitement in each day though. For His mercies and lovingkindness is new every morning. I have no resolution, only to strive for God so whatever may come this year, may it be His will. I know certain circumstances are only temporary. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

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