Friday, February 24, 2012

Our not-so-traditional photo shoot

Compliments to our lovely, talented photographer, Mandy Fiock!  This photo shoot was a hoot and a memory we will cherish for years to come...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent: a season of gifts

I love the season of Lent.  Unlike Christmas, it's not been drenched in commercialism.  It feels almost untouched by the culture of consumerism - a welcome breath of fresh air.  Lent is a season of passion.  Of conviction.  Of re-thinking the way we do life and realigning with God's way of doing life.  It's a season of pursuit, of humble restraint, of extravagant feasting on love.  For forty days leading up to the great celebration of Easter Sunday, anticipation mounts in my heart as the cobwebs are cleared away and I focus on what - Who - is really important.  It's all about Jesus.

Perhaps this is one reason I am excited to be getting married in April, following on the heels of Lent's close.  What better gift have I been given right now than the gift of focusing my heart and mind on Jesus, the one Ricardo and I honor as the center and foundation of our relationship, and soon, our marriage?  The opportunity of pursuing Christ together in the final weeks leading up to Easter and to our wedding?  The pure joy of allowing Jesus to capture our hearts in a deeper way before we exchange our vows of love to each other?  

These are gifts beyond value.  I hope and pray I can hold them with great care and attention.  


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The good land

Being a city girl, I don't always notice the moon until it hits me square between the eyes, bared in its otherwordly glory. Like tonight. I'm cruising up 46th Ave toward Fremont , and just over the crest of the hill, I see something so enormously bright and round hanging in the sky. The moon. It seems like a rare moment to catch it like this, and I'm unprepared for it. So overcome by wonder, I proclaim in my car to God's ears alone, a thirty-one year old wide-eyed toddler: "Look Papa... the moon!"

It's gifts like these that bring me to my knees, make me feel so small and yet so significant. Tonight, I saw the moon and captured it in my heart.

I read a verse yesterday from the bible that I've continued to read and reread, so profound it is: "And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you" (Deuteronomy 8:10). I've heard a lot of talk in churches, in songs, in conversations over the years about this notion of "God has been so good to me." It sounds right, but over time I'm slowly getting it, that it's not about my perception of God's goodness toward me that makes him good. He just is good. When the moon rises full and ripe, he is good. When the winds blow and the rains drench, he is good. When I have a job, he is good. When I collect unemployment, he is good. When there is war, he is good. And when the troops pack up and go home, he is good. It really doesn't have anything to do with circumstances. The trick for me is learning to see the landscape of my life as a "good land," be it dry and barren or rich and fertile, and to thank God always.

Right now, I'm in a particularly sweet season of life. I can readily identify with the idea of eating until I'm full and blessing God for this good land he's given me. The beautiful Ethan Allen dining table and chairs, which we named Henry, found on Craigslist for fifty dollars. My friend's excitement, creativity and generosity, making us a wedding cake as our gift. Another friend with a passion for wedding coordination, helping us with all the nitty gritty details. A check arriving in the mail from a dear friend, a large sum, to donate toward helping Ricardo's friends make the trip to Seattle for the wedding. A church, whose pastors were friends with my dad when he was alive, letting us rent the entire building for a minimal fee and treating us like family. Our photographer, also a friend of ours, providing us with a highly personalized engagement photo shoot as our wedding present. The owner of my favorite goat farm, allowing us access to all her animals for the pictures. Another generous check arriving in the mail from old family friends, to help cover expenses. Five days of straight sunshine in February. Breakfast with one of my closest friends and free babysitting so we could enjoy this rare occasion. A dear friend flying out for the weekend from California to spend time with me and celebrate my engagement. Ricardo's sister, designing elegant wedding invitations as her gift to us. An equisite wedding gown, in my size and my price range, on the first day of looking. A fiance who works diligently with me and on his own to plan our wedding and prepare for our life together. A mom who has saved up and invested to help us pay for this celebration.

The list rolls on and on, trust me, but I think we get the point.

God is good and I thank him for this sweet season and this good land - and I thank him for the moon. But really, it's not about the gifts themselves. It's the love behind the gifts that gets to me. They are all unnecessary, and still, he gives.

He is the good land.