I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

10 Feb

photo session in exuma

Moms … don’t let moms take photos of their kids!  You know how Oprah coined the “ugly cry?” … well, I think I may have just coined “ugly mom taking photos!”  Why in the world is it so difficult to take photos of your own kids!  And I guess it doesn’t help that there are four of them!  These girls made me work for each and every photo!  Enjoy! ;)

:: subscribe to {tsj} photography :: join me on twitter :: find me on facebook ::

Posted in exuma, family photos, girls, photography

28 Jan

outreach, prayer, and fasting

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
Matthew 9:37

In this little pink house, nestled not too far from the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas, lives a 95 year old man … Brother Clifton.  You see, in the Christian community in the Bahamas, there’s an old school respect for addressing their brothers and sisters in Christ. I love that!

The girls and I went on an outreach program one morning with Clear Water Assembly of God, where we visited a couple other brothers and sisters in Christ, but first I’d like to tell you about Brother Clifton.

As I mentioned, Brother Clifton is 95 years old.  He’s also blind and bed-ridden.  He’s also alone.  He’s also hungry.  He’s also filled with a deep love of the Lord.

There’s a story in Luke 2, where Jesus is 12 years old and stays behind in the temple to learn from, and talk with the religious leaders of the time.  Mary and Joseph couldn’t find him and were worried.  When they found him, Mary basically scolded him and explained they were worried.  Jesus’s reply was, “Don’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?”

So as the girls and I were visiting these houses that morning, I would ask them excitedly … “Whose business are we doing?”  And they’d reply, “God’s!”  Why do I mention this?  Because when we walked into Brother Clifton’s small home, to find him bed-ridden and hungry … he was ALL about his Father’s business.

The church does this outreach once every week.  And they found out that Brother Clifton hadn’t eaten since the previous week they were there.  So when we arrived, we immediately asked if we could feed him.  But no … he told us to “take care of business first!”

He wanted us to first be about our Father’s business.

He wanted his spirit fed … before his belly was fed.

We read from God’s Word.

We sang worship songs.

We prayed over him.

We fed his spirit.

Then, we fed his belly.

Brother Clifton lives in this small house.  It consists of one main room and a couple of small bedrooms.  He is bed-ridden and blind, so stays in this bed all day.  I simply can.not imagine that.  His sister lives just down the road from him.  She’s blind too.  But she’s in a home being taken care of.  I’m not sure of the circumstances surrounding them and why one is being cared for and the other isn’t.  Right now the church is working to reunite them and get Brother Clifton into the same home as his sister.  At the very least, get them together for a visit.

Again … I simply can.not imagine.

After our visit with Brother Clifton, we went down the street to visit Sister Mary.  I simply fell in love with this woman!  Although old and living with not much of anything … she was full of spunk and a love of Jesus!  She’s one of the very few in the area that has been blessed with fertile ground.  She literally lives off the things she’s planted near her small home.  In one of the photos below, you can see where she has a mango plant literally growing from the rock!

Sister Mary was proclaiming the Word of God … singing His praises and goodness!  At the end of our visit, we asked her to lead us in prayer, which she did … and left me with tears rolling down my face.

The faith … grace … love that shines through.  We were on a mission to bless others that day … but God, in His infinite wisdom, blessed us!

And then there’s Brother Deacon.  I’m smiling just thinking of him.  He didn’t want to talk about anything else but Scripture … and he could quote it with the best of ’em!  The first thing I saw when we walked into his tiny home, was his well-worn Bible sitting on the table.

Brother Deacon loved the girls.  He told them repeatedly to “Honor your mother and your father.”  He read Scripture to the girls and explained to them over and over how they’ll live a long and healthy life if they obey their parents.

I was so proud of my girls.  Even though they felt uncomfortable and out of their element, they were gracious, kind and caring.

The day before we went on this outreach, I talked to the girls about fasting.  I explained what it was and it’s purpose … and that there are many different ways to fast.  But the most important thing in fasting, is to know why you’re doing it.  Then I asked if they would like to join me in fasting.  It warmed my heart to hear them excited to do it.

We agreed that we’d do the fast the day after this outreach and we decided that we would be fasting breakfast.  I also explained that Hunter, being four, doesn’t understand fully what we’re doing … that I didn’t expect her to … and that she’d probably be eating something while the girls were hungry.  They bravely said they could handle it.

After this outreach, I talked to the girls about the people we visited that day … how they didn’t have much of anything … how Brother Clifton hadn’t eaten in a week and the pears we had just fed him would be his only meal that day.  And as we went into our fast the next morning, I asked them to remember the people we visited.  When their bellies would growl, or when they had the desire to eat … to instead pray for our new friends, to pray for strength and to give thanks for what we do have.

At one point, Hunter asked for something to eat so I took her into the kitchen and again explained what the girls were doing and that I’d like her to eat what she wanted in the kitchen, so the girls weren’t tempted.  Hunt was asking for some goldfish crackers and after I explained it to her, she said, “Well, I’ll just have one goldfish.”  So sweet to recognize the sacrifice she was willing to make in her four year old mind! {I gave her more than one}. ;)

We prayed the morning of the fast and even though the girls played and watched TV most of that morning and I would check in on them and ask them how they were doing … it wasn’t this great-big-drama-fasting thing.  It was a small … intentional learning moment in Christ.

:: subscribe to {tsj} photography :: join me on twitter :: find me on facebook ::

Posted in charity, exuma, inspiration, parenting

26 Jan

wordless wednesday :: sandmen

:: subscribe to {tsj} photography :: join me on twitter :: find me on facebook ::

Posted in exuma, wordless wednesday

19 Jan

wordless wednesday :: my kinda crazy!

Posted in exuma, wordless wednesday

18 Jan

train them up

Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

So … we’re in Exuma and have had some not-so-hot {literally} days!  And while the girls could be inside vegging out … instead they spent a couple of hours putting together …

A Manager Scene
complete with Mary & Joseph {coconuts}
3 wise men, bearing gifts {conch shells}
the North Star
barn animals {in the way of an elephant & cow}
and of course, none other than Baby Jesus, wrapped in a swaddling towel!

Join me at the MODsquad today and read just how proud this mommy was!

Posted in exuma, family photos, family thoughts, modsquad, parenting