Holy schnikes! November has been one jam-packed month. I haven’t updated a lot because I haven’t had TIME to do so! In the interest of keeping my blog up to date (and in trying to NOT bore my three faithful readers to tears!), here’s a recap of my month.
It started on November 2, when Dan demolished the shower in our master bathroom. It was necessary, because the shower tiles had started coming loose a few months ago and we knew water damage was close behind.
After twelve days and LOTS of caulk and time with one of Dan’s best friends, the project was complete and we got to use our new shower! It really looks fantastic and I’m proud of the hard work Dan put into it. And I’m REALLY happy about the money he saved by doing it himself. (Can you believe one of the quotes we received to fix this little shower area was THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?!!)
And here’s one last shot of the shower, before I move on to another topic. The reason this is important is because it’s typical of DIY projects in our house. Starting way back in 2004, I have been writing messages or quotes underneath and behind the background of projects. This photo shows the wall behind the shower tile, where I wrote scripture about singing (which I often do in the shower!), water, and love. Now when I shower, I remember how Jesus’ blood cleanses my soul while the bath water cleanses my body.
On November 12, I was asked to photograph an event that turned out to be pretty special. My church has a refugee ministry, and they help immigrants who have just arrived in our country and are lost in the new culture and surroundings. Every November, the ministry has a Thanksgiving meal to share our American custom with the refugees. Since most of these families don’t own a nice camera and don’t get family portraits taken, I was asked to photograph the families. At first, I said no because I didn’t have anyone to watch Jackson while I worked the event. The friend who invited me said I should bring Jackson because there were so many kids coming to the dinner too. So I did, and it turned out really well! I got to photograph the multi-national blessing of the meal, which my friend says is what Heaven will look like: so many different people worshiping God together. This photo looks like a bunch of people holding hands around a big room, but it’s so much more than that! It’s Americans and Bhutanese and Burmese and Burundi and Congolese, all asking for blessings from our Creator.
The very next day, I got another chance to witness worship with my camera. I volunteered to photograph the grand opening of my church’s third location.
I love God. I love photography. I love Revelation Song. This photo captures all three of those things in one moment. The entire church was worshiping God while the praise band sang Revelation Song and I was capturing it all with my camera. It was a thin spot for me, meaning I felt Heaven in the very air I breathed.
The middle of November brought an end to a Bible study class I’ve been taking since the end of August. I studied a book called A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God with about 15 other women. The book is about finding contentment no matter what circumstances you face in life, and was a study of the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians. This class was such a blessing to my life for the 12 weeks I attended. I struggled with some hard things during that time, and met some women who are struggling too. We encouraged each other, helped each other see truth, and I was so moved by the Spirit in this class. I was truly sad to see the class end.
For Dan’s birthday this year, I bought concert tickets to see Chris Tomlin perform. The concert was on November 18, and we had a fantastic date night. Chris Tomlin is an amazing singer, and his songs so beautifully capture God’s heart. Christy Nockels performed with Chris, and a pastor named Louie Giglio spoke too. When it was Louie’s turn to speak, I was kind of bummed because I wanted to hear Chris sing more. But by the time Louie was done, I wished I had a copy of his sermon to hear all over again! He spoke of the Psalms and how God’s creation proclaims His glory: the stars and the creatures join His angels to praise Him. Louie is an astronomy buff and talked about stars emitting unique radio frequencies. He showed us photos of stars and clusters of stars, and let us hear what they sound like. Then he talked about animals, whales specifically. He played clips of the songs whales sing to each other. Then he took the star sounds and whale songs and played them together. The keyboardist came on stage at that point and added a melody, and it turned into the song “How Great is Our God.” The entire crowd stood and sang along with the stars and the whales as we all praised God. It was one of the coolest worship moments I’ve ever witnessed.
Next up in our crazy month of November, my wild little boy had surgery. He has failed five hearing tests since a regular screening in May, and the doctor thinks it’s because of fluid he’s had in his ears for months. The day before Thanksgiving, we took Jackson for surgery to put tubes in his ears. He did very well with the surgery, although we all got pretty impatient since we had to wait two and a half hours for the surgery to start. That’s a long time for a four year old to wait in a sterile environment with an empty stomach! He was his usual goofy self, as you can see in this photo. He was making his favorite face (complete with crossed eyes), and wearing his comfortable Santa costume. As I write this post, it’s been a week since the surgery. We haven’t noticed a huge change in his hearing, except he has covered his ears a few times when there is a loud noise (a child crying or my hair dryer blowing). At bedtime prayers the night of the surgery, he prayed and asked Jesus to “fix my ears.” I told him we already had surgery to fix them, and he responded that he can’t hear anything now. Sometimes he gets his absolutes mixed up, so I think maybe he means he can hear everything now instead of “nothing.”
My sister, brother-in-law, and two nieces arrived the evening of Jackson’s surgery and stayed for four days. The weather was pretty decent on Thursday, so we had their annual family photo shoot. Then we hung out, talked, looked at old photos, watched old family videos (the girls *loved* seeing the videos of themselves when they were two and six), shopped a little, went to church, and ate some MORE. (Ugh!)
The day after Thanksgiving was the culmination of almost three months of work for me and a team of volunteers at my church. We had our annual Thanksgiving Experience event at church, and it was really fantastic this year. The theme was [Worship Fully], which is one of the four tenants of the Advent Conspiracy movement. One of the main doors of the church was turned into a modern “stained glass” panel.
There was an actual Living Water well pump that pumped video “water” out on a screen, giving participants a chance to feel what it’s like to pump clean water.
It was a really good day, and I was especially happy that my visiting family finally got to go through one of the Experiences that I’ve been telling them about for years now.
Last but not least, November ended with one more big event. This time, it was surgery for me! I had a Morton’s neuroma removed from my left foot. It happened just earlier today (the day I’m writing this post), and the numbing medicine is just now wearing off, so I haven’t really started getting into the hard part of post-surgery pain. So far, all is well and the worst part was having to sit through TWO blown IVs until the third one finally took. That was extremely agonizing, but the poor nurse felt horrible about it and I know she would have crawled under my bed in shame if she could have.
I am praying for quick healing from the surgery, a chance to get back on my feet without pain once I am released to exercise again, and a quiet and uneventful December!
Oh NO! I was LITERALLY about to hit publish on this post when I heard Dan’s car pull onto our driveway after picking up Jackson from Grandma’s, where he stayed today during my surgery. I heard wailing, then Katie ran into the house and yelled, “Mommy! Jackson barfed!” My poor husband cleaned puke up from all over his car; it was so bad, we decided to just throw the booster seat away and we’ll buy a new one at Walmart tomorrow. I gave the barfy boy a bath, and we’re praying it was just car sickness and nothing worse.