Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baptism Through My Zoom Lens

If you could see what I see through my zoom lens on baptism day each year, you would walk away from the pond a changed person. Here’s what I saw this past Sunday:

An army of baptizees cresting the hill in exuberant abandon, while a watching crowd cheers them on with colorful fabric waving high.


A man being laid down in the water, dying to himself and rising again as he allows Jesus to make him into a new creation.IMGP7544

The sweet preschool girl who tenderly placed her hand on her mommy’s face and hugged her tight in celebration.IMGP8097


The water witness who stood behind her daughter, with a look of pure emotion on her face.


Humble heads that bowed in awe because this gift REALLY is for them!IMGP7556

The high fives and jubilation of baptizees as they hugged their pastors and water witnesses._MDS6860

A grandson unable to contain himself as he rushed into his grandmother’s arms._MDS6893

Brothers baptized with arms intertwined._MDS6794

Pastors who, over and over, figuratively (and literally!) pointed to Jesus all evening long._MDS7368

Rocks, laid down and no longer used for hiding behind - or throwing at others._MDS7491

The hands clasped in prayer the moment they emerged from the water, praising God for such an extravagant gift of grace._MDS7204

The wife who watched her husband surrender to his Father._MDS7017

The innumerable arms raised in victory, knowing they have an eternity to look forward to with Someone who adores them._MDS7146

The earthly father who hoists his daughter in the air and celebrates Father’s Day knowing that their heavenly Father is pleased with His Beloved._MDS6975

The trembling chin of a burly man who was Just. Trying. To. Keep. It. Together! so he didn’t burst into tears.

Husbands and wives who clung to each other.

The grown man whose lips said the words, “I’m ready” in response to his baptism time.

The tear-filled eyes of a woman who doesn’t feel alone anymore.

The baptism of the person who was one of the first links in a chain of people responsible for inviting me to a church where God finally became real and personal to me._MDS6818

And the arms of a friend outstretched to the pal who is the latest link in that chain of people invited to a church where Jesus has become real and personal.IMGP7441

Amazing grace. Unshackled chains. Freedom in Christ, finally!

Monday, June 17, 2013



First off, I’m going to tell you that my life is totally awesome BECAUSE YOU ARE IN IT! Ten years ago today, you came screaming into my world. I held you for the first time, and I was speechless about the magnificent daughter God had given me to raise and watch over. First and foremost, you are God’s child. He allowed me to “borrow” you from Him so I could teach you to be His disciple and follow Him. I am honored that I get to do that!

You are a source of deep joy in my life, sweet girl. You have changed immensely this past year. You have gained courage as you learned to become a leader at church. Your heart has become more tender for Jesus and helping others. You have grown smarter, more beautiful, and infinitely more kind.

Happy birthday to the sweetest 10-year-old I know. I adore you and can’t wait to see where the next 10 years will take you!

I love you! ~Mommy

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Better Than Christmas

Tonight is Baptism Eve. My church baptizes believers once a year, and it is such a holy and magnificent celebration of Jesus’ redemption and restoration of our lives.  It is better than Christmas!

For the last 4+ years, my family of four has been going to church services on Saturday nights. Starting next weekend, we are going to change things up and attend on Sunday mornings at the location where I work. Tonight was a goodbye of sorts, and I have mixed emotions about leaving the building where I first began seeing Jesus in a personal light. However, any doubts I had were dashed tonight.

I looked down the row where I was sitting, and this is what I saw:IMG_2745

It looks like nothing spectacular, right? This is one of those instances where a picture is worth a thousand words, at least to me. The orange shirt in the foreground is my husband’s shirt. He was sitting to my left. To the left of him is a man wearing a striped shirt. In 2008, Striped Shirt and his wife invited me and Dan to that church for the first time. I started inviting another friend of mine (for 526 days, to be exact) and she and her husband finally came in 2010. In that photo, 526-Day-Husband is the man with a beard and his wife is the one with sunglasses on her head. Beside her is a woman in a pink shirt and then a man with his hand on his face. That’s a couple that 526-Day-Couple invited. And here’s the best part:

Striped Shirt and Pink Shirt will be baptized tomorrow.

Do see the links in that chain?

  • Striped Shirt invited me and Dan.
  • Dan and I invited 526-Day-Couple.
  • 526-Day-Couple invited Pink Shirt and Hand-On-Face.

The first link in the chain will be baptized the same day as the latest* link in the chain.

Before you think I’m boasting, PLEASE hear me on this: none of this is because of our imperfect human actions. The only reason this chain has any strength is because of the saving grace given by an incredibly merciful God. He forges the links of salvation heart by heart, and soul to soul.

When I looked down this row tonight, I saw walking miracles and tangible proof of a magnificent Love. God winked at me and reminded me that any future step I take is guided by His hands alone. Thank you for the personal way You love us, God!

*Notice I didn’t say “last” link in the chain, because Pink Shirt is only one of countless many in a chain that will go on for God knows how long!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First Camp for Jackson

Last year was Katie’s first week-long sleep away camp, and this year was Jackson’s big break. He begged to go last year, but wasn’t able to until he finished Kindergarten. We sent him to the same camp for a three-day/two-night session called Pre-Camp, and he had a blast!

It took a lot of preparation for him to go to camp, since we have a gluten allergy to work around now. I packed seven meals for him, plus snacks. The camp nurse sent me a list of the food that would be served in the mess hall, so I tried to send similar foods so he wouldn’t feel left out. Here’s how my kitchen table looked as I packed meals.IMG_2462

And here’s the final result: everything in its own container and labeled by day and meal. Whew! Glad that’s over!IMG_2463

Dan and Katie dropped Jackson off at camp, since I was in North Carolina for Hannah’s graduation. Katie showed Jackson the ropes and got him settled in and ready._MDS6673

Jackson’s buddy was in his cabin as well, so he was anxious for Dan and Katie to leave so they could have camp fun together._MDS6672

Through Facebook, we were able to see a few photos of the campers while Jackson was gone and we could see that he was having a great time with shaving cream wars and canoe races and campfires. It made us miss him a lot more, but also made us happy to know that he was happy.

He must have had the time of his life, because he cried when we picked him up. Apparently he didn’t want us to take him home! All three of us were happy to see him, and Dan hugged him for an extra long time.IMGP7360

The first thing I noticed after I hugged him was that he was still wearing his pajama top. Ha! And then I noticed he was sweaty, stinky and DIRTY!IMGP7367

He walked me to his cabin, since I didn’t get to see it at drop off.IMGP7370

We said goodbye to one of his counselors, then made the hour drive home.IMG_2584

The ride home was horrendous because he smelled like a latrine, and his luggage was full of wet and stinky clothes. Eeeew! It all went straight into the washing machine the moment we walked in the door. I dug through his papers, and found the mail he received at camp was still sealed. He was excited to get the mail, but never opened it (except for one letter from Katie). Ha! I also found his Bible class notes, and this piece of paper made me smile. I love that he has different influences in his life to teach Him about God’s love. Camp rocks!IMG_2585

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hannah’s Graduation

My oldest niece graduated from high school in early June. I got to be there to celebrate with her (which was pretty low-key because she doesn’t like being the center of attention), and it was so nice to see her and my family. Here are a few photos from my weekend away.





Sunday, June 2, 2013

Laumeier Sculpture Park

At the start of summer, I made a list of things I wanted our family to experience. There’s an incredible park in the St. Louis Area called the Laumeier Sculpture Park, and it was high on my list. I had heard about it but never visited it until today. We had a blast running around the park seeing the sculptures and enjoying the weather. Here are photos from our great day together.IMG_2340




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