Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pray for Kate McRae

For the past month or so I've been following the care page for little Kate McRae which I found on the Stuff Christians Like blog. I clicked on the link curious of what the prayers were needed for, and inside her care page site I met the story of this beautiful little girl in the fight for her life. Although I've missed some posts or early explanations, she has a form of brain cancer and has been undergoing surgery, chemo and radiation. And now it's time to wait and see how the treatments worked.  The last post on her care page asked for specific prayer requests, so I thought I'd post it here for any of you to read and perhaps say a prayer for her tonight.You can visit for more information.


Here's an excerpt from the latest post and the prayer requests:

As much as we are nervous for the upcoming days, we also relish in looking over the past year and clearly seeing God's hand. We have seen answers to the many prayers. And so we ask for your very specific prayers in the future. 

-Please be praying for for no evidence of cancer on Kate's scans ever, and that there be no cancer in her body,

even that which is undetectable.  

-be praying for protection for Kate's hearing from the chemotherapy and the radiation. 

-be praying for protection for Kate's vision from the radiation

-be praying for healing for Kate's kidneys from the large amounts of chemotherapy

-be praying for protection for her liver

-be praying for protection for the healthy parts of her brain from the radiation,

for no long term brain damage or learning difficultie

-be praying for protection of her hypothalmus from the radiation

and all of the many functions that it effects 

-be praying for protection from any secondary cancers that could

result from the chemotherapy and the radiation

-be praying for protection of her heart

-be praying for improvements in her right sided weakness

-be praying for God's protection of Kate's

reproductive system from the high dose chemotherapy

-be praying for protection for the artery that is encased in the tumor

that it would not be weakened from the radiation

So we wait. But we knock as we wait. Pleading for God to be gracious to Kate. Thank you for persistently knocking on the door of heaven with us for Kate.

To Photograph Such Things

A favorite pastime of mine these days is studying photography. Usually after Isaac has gone to bed, and Alan and I are in our wind-down mode, I get online and search through local photographers and national photographers and their sites to get inspiration, to learn new tricks, to challenge myself to improve, to see what subjects other photographers are capturing and learn how they get those crisp black and white images or that perfect lighting technique, and learning who is behind the lens of these amazing pictures.

I've been wondering for a while what would be a good verse to go with my design and photography business. God has been very gracious to me to allow me to work from home doing what I love. Yes, at times business can be slow, but I'm still new to this and do not have a lot of money for advertising. But God is good, and knows that my desire is not to make tons of money through this, just enough to help support my family while doing what I love. And when things are tight and we that extra penny for something, He always comes through and someone books a session at just the right time.

When I was studying communications in college, I loved to write. Writing was my passion. Or so I thought. I started out as a music major, with emphasis on piano, which not many people know, but decided that I didn't like to perform (which also required living in a big city and spending my whole life practicing!), and I didn't want the politics of the school system if I taught, so I realized what I liked most about music was all of the behind the scenes and decided to change my major so that I could one day work in some form of music marketing, producing or publishing.

But the Lord laughs at our plans :). And in my case I had to laugh at myself a little-I hated performing, so it was no surprise to me that I switched, although I still have a love for music. But funny thing-writing wasn't his plan for me either. I walked into a job interview at a local newspaper in which I thought I was applying for their local feature column as a writer, and walked away with a job there as a graphic designer. Playing with the photos each editor brought in daily is what spiked my interest in digital photography and photography in general. I think that's why I love photojournalism so much, from spending hours editing the photos that the editors took depicting the happenings in daily life around them-nothing posed.

So God took me on a journey and brought me here, to Manhattan, and with that the possibility to work from home, which has always been my dream. And with every session that I've done I have come to love the people that I photograph, who let me in on their lives and intimate moments between family, between lovers, between grandparents and their grandchildren, with seniors on the cusp of the adventure of their lives. I am priviledged to be a part of these moments. I am honored to be asked to capture them, that these photos may be treasured for generations to come.

And so that brings me back to finding that verse. I am currently redesigning my photography website...again. I know, I've had the business for only two years, and yet have gone through about five site designs so far! The reasoning is, well, there isn't any reason-I just love designing so much that I'm not content very long with one design. One way to get design ideas for a photography site is to view other photographer's sites, so last night as I researched some websites for inspiration, I came across this blog post written by a young photographer:

"I am anointed to take photographs at a level this world is not familiar with. All for the glory of God."

I had to read it a few times to really let it sink in. Don't get me wrong, this photographer has a lot going for them, and starting young, has many great opportunities in store in this field, and I truly wish them the best. However, and I say this not in criticism, but in humbleness to my friend in Christ: God does not anoint us to do the things in which we do, but gives us the skill needed to carry out His purpose. In the book of Exodus, it is written that the Lord gave the skill and knowledge needed for various tasks:

“…and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship… He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.” (Exodus 35:31-35)

Nothing is said that God anointed any of these laborers personally for His needs. He did not anoint the designer or the craftsman, the wood worker or the weaver, but He filled them with the knowledge and skill that they would need to carry out His elaborate design for the Tabernacle which would hold the Ark of the Covenant. This was some pretty serious stuff to design and construct, and yet He did not anoint any of the workers.

That brings me to the second half of the quoted sentence above, “…at a level this world is not familiar with.” I’m not quite sure where the blog writer/photographer is going with this, but the way I read it I see them being prideful in their work, as if to say that no one else in this world understands the depths of skill and ability that this photographer has.  Personally, I feel that God probably laughs at our attempts at art. If you have ever seen the beauty and majesty of brilliant magentas swirled into fiery orange hues while dancing with the navy sky at dusk, then you have seen God’s paintbrush. But to try to paint that image ourselves, we would be more than unqualified to try to master the Master’s hand.

Last night I was up late looking at photographs on a photo contest sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, and they have a site for their “Photo of the Day”. As I looked through them, I was amazed at the vast array of images, of the quality and nature of the photograph, and I felt more than unworthy after looking back then on the images I had just entered for this year’s contest. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the five years since my first photography class in college, it’s that I can aspire to be a great photographer, but I will never accomplish being a great photographer. There will always be another photographer out there that is better than me, and I am ok with that because I know that the skills I need, the Lord will provide as long as I am willing to learn what He wills to teach me.

So I guess that if I were to rewrite that blogger’s sentence, it would be something like this:

“I am honored and privileged to take photographs of all of His creation at the level and skill that God has ordained for me. All for the glory of God.”

And back to finding the verse for my business-I found it last night in Paul’s letter in Philippians 4:8,

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

It is my desire to photograph such things. Soli deo gloria!


Friday, May 28, 2010

To Know Him More

It's been awhile again since I've written. Life has a way of getting crazy now that Isaac has come along, but I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. I have loved spending every minute possible with my little man. He giggles now-amazing! He's definitely getting bigger :). He's almost able to sit on his own!!! Still not quite rolling over yet though, too many little rolls in the way I think. He's also learning to get my attention.

The other day he was pouting, not like whiny but sort of, and with the bottom lip all puckered out. No tears though. That was my sign to know that it wasn't for real. I'd walk over to him, while he played in his feeding chair, and play with him for barely two seconds and the pouting would stop and instantly turn into a grin and giggle. Then I'd walk away, and almost instantly he'd start in again. Seems he just wanted attention; he just wanted me. So I'm learning, slowly, when to give into him and play with him, and when it's ok to wait and let him play alone so that I'm not at his constant beck and call.

Lately I've also been really frustrated spiritually. I'm craving God-I'm craving His word, knowledge about Him. I'm thirsting to learn more of the bible and to know the depths of His teachings, that I may better understand, that I may pass it on to my kids one day, that I may share it with others. I'm wanting to grow in Him, but I've been distracted, distant and very unfocused when it does come to 'quiet time'. I think I'm like Isaac, and God is like me. I pout and whine and want Him there immediately to teach me, but just as I'm teaching Isaac by not holding him constantly that I'm still there but not on his demand and time schedule, that God is teaching me that He's there, but He'll reveal what He wants to reveal to me in His time. I know He has a reason for this, that He will teach me what I need taught when I need taught, and in the way that I'll best understand it. No amount of begging Him to speak to me will help. But at other times, it's like when Isaac really does just want me, and I pick him up, and I cuddle with him and feel the love of that little creature next to me. I think God is like that too, when I really need Him, He picks me up, wraps His love around me and reminds me I am His, no matter where I'm at spiritually, distant or unfocused, He hasn't moved-He's still there. 

I leave you with this prayer that I read in the Valley of Vision today that I feel truly speaks of what my prayer is right now:



Lord Jesus,

Give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach;

Help me chastely to flee it, and jealousy to resolve that my heart shall be thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being.

Give me a deeper knowledge of thyself, as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King.

Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth.

Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from thee. 

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly Husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until thou alone art seen in me, thy beauty golden like summer harvest, they fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no Master but thee, no law but thy will, no delight but thyself, no wealth but that thou givest, no good but that thou blessest, no peace but that thou bestowest.

I am nothing but that thou makest me, I have nothing but that I receive from thee, I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.

Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Wow. It's been a while since I last wrote on the blog. We've been celebrating graduations and special events, having dinner with friends and attending receptions for the grads. It's been a busy couple of weeks. Fun and activity...going through the events of life...but while celebrating our life moments, I've forgotten to celebrate and praise the One who has granted us those life moments. 


So I come. ...More like come back. Back, humbly, to the cross. 


I've been going through the motions lately, and doing it all in my own time, at my own pace, when I felt like it. But I'm learning that I'm really missing out on Him. So, I'm trying to get back to Him, and I know that it's not something I can do quickly or instantly, or force, but it'll take time, discipline and much, much of the Word and prayer.


So where do I begin? Psalm 139. I watched a video on it today and it hit me that regardless of where I've been these last few weeks, or the lack of time I spent with Him, that He welcomes me back and that just as I am ready to Be Still, He is ready to continue leading, teaching, shaping, molding me into His image. When I listened to that psalm again today, I was moved by the Spirit. It was as if He was looking me in the eye, lifting up my chin to look Him back in the eye from my shameful position, and say, "I know. I'm still here. I'm not surprised that you've been preoccupied/gone/checked out/etc., I know those thoughts, I know everything about you, and I'm still here, and I still love you."


After watching the video I decided to go lay Isaac down for his nap and to spend some time in devotion and to reflect on who I am, and whose I am. I looked at the clock to see what time it was to know what time I layed him down. The clock read 1:39.


Thank You, Lord, for knowing me. For loving me. For leading me. For teaching me. For waiting for me. For not giving up on me. For guiding me. For finding me. And for the fact that I can rest in Your presence and lay my burdens at Your feet.



I looked up Psalm 139 in the version of The Message, and it sums it up quite well:

Psalm 139

A David Psalm

1-6 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. 

I'm an open book to you; 

even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. 

You know when I leave and when I get back; 

I'm never out of your sight. 

You know everything I'm going to say 

before I start the first sentence. 

I look behind me and you're there, 

then up ahead and you're there, too— 

your reassuring presence, coming and going. 

This is too much, too wonderful— 

I can't take it all in! 

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? 

to be out of your sight? 

If I climb to the sky, you're there! 

If I go underground, you're there! 

If I flew on morning's wings 

to the far western horizon, 

You'd find me in a minute— 

you're already there waiting! 

Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark! 

At night I'm immersed in the light!" 

It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you; 

night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you. 

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; 

you formed me in my mother's womb. 

I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! 

Body and soul, I am marvelously made! 

I worship in adoration—what a creation! 

You know me inside and out, 

you know every bone in my body; 

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, 

how I was sculpted from nothing into something. 

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; 

all the stages of my life were spread out before you, 

The days of my life all prepared 

before I'd even lived one day. 

17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! 

God, I'll never comprehend them! 

I couldn't even begin to count them— 

any more than I could count the sand of the sea. 

Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! 

And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! 

And you murderers—out of here!— 

all the men and women who belittle you, God, 

infatuated with cheap god-imitations. 

See how I hate those who hate you, God, 

see how I loathe all this godless arrogance; 

I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. 

Your enemies are my enemies! 

23-24 Investigate my life, O God, 

find out everything about me; 

Cross-examine and test me, 

get a clear picture of what I'm about; 

See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong— 

then guide me on the road to eternal life.