27 February 2012

[talk: Living Our Stories.]

So I was away for a few days last week ... thus, the silence on this blog *grin*.  And I'd love to share with you all about that ... but I've already done a massive post on my RedHanded Photography blog on the whole thing.

If you're interested in reading about it, and seeing a whack-load of "my trip" images - head to my RedHanded Photography blog HERE.  Leave a comment ... would love to know you stopped by :-) ...

I do have a lot on my mind ... a lot of triumphs and a lot of disappointments ... but last night was a powerful one for me.

* * * * * * 

Tonight (it's Sunday as I type this ... ), I led worship for our church's Recovery Service.  I've written about this congregation many times ... and it's a place where I feel freedom and I really, really love being apart of the music team there.

The worship segment went well ... God never fails to show up as He promises in His Word, but the speaker tonight was what really hit the mark for me.

See ... during the worship, I felt it strongly that I was to say something about the loss of Shalom.  And the truth is, that every time that kind of feeling comes, my heart starts to pound and I have a little battle with the Lord.   I'm, like, "really?  no time to prepare?? I have no idea what to say?"  I usually can't hear much except the pounding of my heart - and all I'm aware of is the instant sweat on my palms.  I am not a good public speaker - but I was obedient.  

I have no clue what I said ... maybe 3 or 4 sentences and then I went right back into worship.

They were an emotional few minutes - and I always feel a bit self conscious when tears happen - but as the guest speaker came up to the platform he grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes and said, "please - I need to you to keep playing."

So.  I played background worship for the entire time he preached.  I found out later that because I spoke of Shalom, he felt compelled to speak of his family life - things he rarely talks about in front of a congregation.

But all of that isn't really terribly important ... but what he said during his 20minutes was powerful.  Remember - he's talking to a room full of people who society labels as "losers", "addicts", "wastes", "untrustworthy" and a host of other things.

This man said, "... when you meet God, he lets you have a NEW story."

What a fascinating concept ...  That whatever our story is, God gives us a new one when we let Him.  The enemy likes to remind us of our past so much - because he knows that if our future is in Christ - he doesn't have any new material.  

I looked out into the crowd and the unknown stories.  The shame, the guilt ... maybe even the pride in just how "bad" they were.  And it made me think of my own story, and the stories of others that I know.

I've had people comment on my own story.  I've had people suggest that I don't use the word "terminate" or "abortion".  Of course, my situation was extremely unique - but I find it interesting how the enemy likes to rob us of the freedom of the truth in our stories.  He knows that when we speak the truth, that it doesn't just bring US freedom - but it paves the way for others to walk in freedom too.

Obviously, there needs to be privacy and respect for people's stories.  It's not our place to tell other's stories.  But as I listened to this Pastor last night, I couldn't help but wonder what the church would be like if we were simply open and honest about our own stories.  We would never be afraid that someone would "find out" and judge us.  

Maybe someone gave up a child for adoption 20 years ago - and the enemy tells them "you can't tell that story ... it's your failure."  Or maybe someone chose to stay with their spouse after an infidelity and even though there has been healing and restoration -  the enemy tells you, "you can't tell that story - it's shameful.  it was your fault ... "   Or maybe you have battled an addiction of bulimia or alcohol or are having an inappropriate FaceBook relationship or secretly shopping online or - or - or - or ... And the enemy says "no - you can't tell that story - there isn't freedom in that."

Well ... I can tell you that what the enemy convinces us of, is a lie.  Being real, being honest - it's what makes our light shine even more.  It's what sets us apart - the GRACE that we've received in our story makes it not about the past, but about the NEW story he's given us.  Oh, how I think the world just wants the church to be real - to not be perfect and self-righteous - to not have it "all together".  And we've been taught about grace from the very beginning ... and yet (as the Pastor said last night ) we seem to put grace in a box and tie it up with a pretty bow and put it under our pew.  


Not sure where I'm going with any of this ... but it's where my mind is.

So that's what I wrote.


16 February 2012

[worship: God I Look To You.]

A friend of mine was sharing with me about a difficult journey of an acquaintance of hers.  And ever since we chatted about how yucky life can sometimes be, I've had this song running through my head.

I haven't posted a worship video on this blog in a loooong time ... I almost forgot how.  And this was recorded last night, after a long day and I'm feeling like I need to explain why I look so disheveled *smile*.  But the truth is, it's about the song - not about my lack of make-up or presentation ... and I'm hoping that it'll penetrate your heart, as it does mine.

This song is from Jenn Johnson from Bethel Church in the US.  There is some really great music out there ... maybe it's time for a new inspirational album *smile*.

"God I look to You
I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision
To see things like You do
God I look to You
You're where my help comes from
Give me wisdom
You know just what to do

I will love You Lord my strength
I will love You Lord my shield
I will love You Lord my rock, forever
All my days, I will love You God."

I hope you have a great one, despite the rain - despite your circumstance - despite whatever is thrown at you today!

14 February 2012

[digiscrap: Happy V Day - oh, and Some Pages.]

First off ... my entry for this week's "I Heart Faces" contest on my RHP blog HERE.  Go check it out :-) ... 

Second.  Valentine's Day.

It's funny - but it actually brings up some not-so-great memories, along with some really great ones *grin*.  It's probably the same for most people - unless you were lucky enough to find your soul mate as a teenager and never face heart break :-).

Growing up, Valentine's Day was a bit yucky for me ... especially before teachers got smart and made it mandatory for every child to give every kid in the class a Valentine.  I remember being in grade 4,  feeling that stomach-dropping feeling as people would pass my desk and drop their Valentine into the most popular kid's bucket.  I was the new kid that year, new school - new everything - and it was hard.

I remember being in Jr. High and how the school would have a fundraiser with students purchasing and sending out "secret" roses ... all being delivered by the most popular gr10 guy/girl in a cupid's costume *grin*.    Ahhhhh ... the things they thought of.   And my two besties were the most popular ... and I?  I just smiled *grin* ... 

Once I started dating, Valentine's Day wasn't nearly as painful ... in fact some of those memories are really sweet.  Slow dancing in the street with the music blaring from the truck ... surprise picnics by the ocean ... day trips to the States to visit quaint little towns.  

But once I met my hubby at the age of 23, Valentine's Day began showing up all throughout the year - in little bunches of joy and sweet things.  The actual Valentine's Day became less important - and living life daily together became of utmost importance.  

Although I DO admit to love a date-night and a treat on February 14th.  I'm still a girl *grin*.  

Well, last night I finished putting together my boy's Valentine's for their classmates.  My boys aren't terribly interested in making little things, so it lands on me.  And as I went through the class list and placed their name on their little bag of candy, I wondered which child this meant a lot to.  I imagined that this little gift would light up the day for one little guy or girl who was having a rough time ... 

Now.  Maybe that's too dramatic for Gr2 *grin* ... but never-the-less, I find myself continually teaching my kids about what it feels like to be picked last, to be left out, to feel alone.  And to remember that God calls us to be kind to one another, to love one another - in real love.  Not this Valentine's makes-ME-feel-good kinda love.

Mark 12: 30-31 says:  "Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these.”

So.  On this Valentine's Day ... I hope you are with someone you love, whether it be a spouse, a family member, a friend.  I hope someone is kind to you, and that you feel valued for who you are.

If not, you need to know that there is no better love than the one that comes from our Heavenly Father.   The love He gives is really all we need ... we just need to be reminded of that every now and then *smile*.

Oh - and lookie here ... some digiscrap pages I've been working on, of people that I love.  Not just on Valentine's Day *wink* ... 

Click images to enlarge.

Have a great one!!

13 February 2012

[digiscrap: Iphone PIcs.]

Well ... I'm frustrated.  After 2 weeks of consistent running (3-4x a week), Jillian DVD's on opposite days ("No More Trouble Zones" is my absolute 40minute favourite and can be downloaded in ITunes), watching what and when I eat - drinking buckets of David's Tea green tea and water, adding digestive enzymes to my diet (yay for that, I've noticed such a difference) and ...

I'm up.


I weighed 137.8lbs today and I just don't understand.  Perhaps I'm packing on muscle?  Is that really possible? Losing a pound of fat and gaining a pound in a week?  Pretty sure it's not, although I have no idea how long it takes to gain a pound of muscle. (I found THIS ARTICLE to try and find some answers). I definitely see the beginnings of springtime toning ... but still.  The ongoing battle continues ... how on earth I've gained 7lbs in two months .. and how I haven't been able to take an ounce off over the last two weeks, is nothing short of baffling to me.  I'm actually up in numbers after all of that?

Dang.  And I had felt pretty yesterday ... which proves that if I don't get on the scale, and my size 4 clothes fit, that's enough.  But I also know that my doctor wasn't happy with me at 132lbs this past summer.   Apparently, I should be, like, 118-125lbs for my height (ok - I actually find that amusing ... losing 20lbs?).   And the truth is, is that I feel like if I don't get my numbers down a bit - and as I continue to get older - I'm going to just keep packing on the pounds.  And eventually be a circle.  *grin*.  A circle.  That's kinda funny.

But it's frustrating, and I'm pretty sure most of you feel the same, because it always feels like I'm starting over from the very beginning.  Like all the work of last year means nothing ... and here I am back at the starting point.  I seem to find myself at this place too often.  It seems like it takes a month to lose 2lbs and a meal to gain it back ... 

Well.  There's always this week, right? *smile* A new day to try and get healthier and stronger.  And that's one thing that I'm always amazed at.  That If I didn't reach my goals yesterday, I can try and reach them today.  And if I miss the mark today, as long as God gives me breath, then I can try tomorrow.  The point is to never stop ... you don't ever "reach" your health goal without effort, even in maintenance (not that I've ever been at the maintenance stage). Being healthy, having my body function well and being strong,  it will be something that will be ongoing for the rest of my life.  Hmmmm.  Unless I give up and indulge myself into being content with not being those things.

I sure hope not.

Ok.  That's my Monday's weigh-in rant.  Beh.  NEXT week will be better *wink*.

Well ... let's see ... how about talking about PICS?  Oh - how I love pics.  But maybe you're not sure what to do with those hundreds of pics on your Iphone?  Well ... they can be loaded onto your computer, sorted, saved, burned and digiscrapped - just like any other image *grin*.  But you already knew that - right?

I have a few bazillion Iphone pics - but now they're somewhat sorted, some burned to disk, some deleted ... and most are awaiting their place in my digiscrap album. 

Well, here are a few that I've been working on as of late, using the only templates I ever use from my friend Yin at SimplyYin.  She is so incredibly generous with her freebies - and I buy her template packages all the time.  She has even showcased some of my pages on her site, like HERE and HERE.  Eek ... that's always exciting to me.  

These pages were from templates she designed specifically for IPhone pics ... brilliant.  Click the images to enlarge.

Have a great one!

10 February 2012

[redhandedphotography: CONTEST!]

Ok ... you need to stop what you're doing (oh wait - you've already done that and come here ...) and head over to my RedHanded Photography blog.

There's a 24hr contest happening.

Winner will be announced TOMORROW (how's that for quick??).

There's a NEW prize that will be awarded to one lucky person, randomly chosen.

You need to follow the rules, and leave a COMMENT at the bottom of the RedHanded Photography blogpost.

You can do that all HERE.

Please ... I need your help.  SO ... go on.

Thanks so very, very much!!

Have a great one!

06 February 2012

[digiscrap: And More Than That.]

Oh wow ... somehow this got lost amongst all of my "to-be-posted-posts".  Another set of digiscrap pages ... double click images to enlarge and view.

I'm currently working on last year's Santa Monica trip ... I've only got a few more pages left to do - I'm so excited to get that done.  My plan is to put it into a book, this time.  Like the ones I make for my mom & mom-in-law every Christmas.

I'm also getting excited for my Las Vegas trip coming up in a couple of weeks.  I'm heading to the WPPI Convention (wedding photographers) - and will be gone three nights.  EEK.  And my roomie is the lovely Melody Davis Photography ... well.  Melody Davis ... but you get the idea.

Yesterday she came over and as our kiddies played, we dreamed of locations and ideas ... scanned the internet, made notes, dreamed some more.

Yup.  Can't wait.

I've got a few other things on the go too ... like my first race since my 1/2 Marathon last September.  I'll be doing a 10km on the 19th ... but I'm nervous that I've got shin splints after running 20km total last week.  Beh ... if it's not one thing, it's another.

I must be getting old.


Oh man ... don't get me started on that now.  I'm feeling the suffocation of not being able to stop time, as of late.

But that's another post *grin*.

Have a great one!!

03 February 2012

[make: New Blog.]

SO.  For years I've thought my friend, Char, had it going on with her "Entertaining My Way" blog.  It's a place where she uploads recipes - so she has access to them wherever she may be.  She doesn't publicize them ... it's for her.  And anyone else who's lucky enough to know the site's there.

You should check it out ... her recipes rock.  

Well.  Last night, I spent my quiet evening trying out my own little "recipe box" online.  And by the end, I created "MAKE by Homemakingirl".

The idea is that this will be where I upload recipes from now on.  They will all be tried and true. They will be recipes that I've had in my recipe box, or stolen from my mom's ... or maybe even from you *grin*.

I do not claim rights to these recipes, nor to the photos that I found randomly online.  Again, this is for me - so I can have my recipes wherever I may be - but you are WELCOME to come and check it out ... 

The link is:  http://www.makebyhomemakingirl.blogspot.com

I'm kinda excited about this ... mainly because it means I can do away with the "re-writing the messy cards of my recipe box" project that has been hovering over me for years.

Obviously, it's still in the baby stages.  Last night I put all the recipes from THIS blog, onto that one.  And over the days and weeks, I'll be continuely adding recipes from my recipe box at home.  I'll be sure to let you know when new recipes have been added.

If you stop by, please let me know what you think *smile* ...

Have a great one!

02 February 2012

[make: Apricot Ginger Chicken.]

** written on Tuesday ... obviously *wink* **

It's Tuesday.  I like Tuesdays.  It usually means there's fresh produce in the house, my hubby doesn't have hockey, and we don't have to rush anywhere ...

On Tuesdays I actually enjoy cooking - and it's usually the night that I put the most effort into during the week.   My hubby really likes this one, and so I thought that I'd delay in getting to my photo-editing for the night, and share with you tonight's recipes.  

I like to call it "Apricot Ginger Chicken".

If you're like me, you follow Pinterest.  It's a cool way to see what people are into - and recipes are no exception.  I saw a recipe for an apricot chicken ... and then I found another and another.  After some humming and hawing, I came up with my own version.

I've made it 3x now ... and it is a massive hit around here.  (This is NOT my image ... but it kinda looks like this when it's done *grin*)

Apricot Ginger Chicken

1 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 chicken breasts


- Preheat the oven to 325, prepare a 9x9 baking dish lined with foil.
- Combine the jam, soya sauce and ginger.  
- Arrange the chicken and pour over prepared mixture, being sure to lift up the chicken and let the mixture coat the bottom.
- Cover with foil.
- Bake for 1hour.

It's fall-off-a-log easy, and yummy enough to serve for company (which I have - including my parents).  Tonight I served it with steamed broccoli and jasmine rice (cooked in coconut milk - amazing.)

Let me know if you try this, and how it worked for you :-).

Have a great one!