It's pretty cool...

....when you see God's promises active in your life. I see this in so many ways; but a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I had one of those revelations...one of those moments that just make you smile and thank God for His goodness! But first, a little intro...when I was about 5 months pregnant with Pax (May 2007), we had a speaker come to our church who prays prophetic words into people's lives A LOT. He came to teach about the prophetic, how to hear God, and at the end of each session, he'd pray for different people, speaking into their lives what God was sharing with him. One night, as I sat in the audience, he picked me out and began to pray over me. He shared several things about the creative talents God has given me, and how He would use them (this guy doesn't really know me...just knows how to listen to God, so he was right on!). One of the things that stuck in my mind was that God would use my pictures..."Your pictures will set people free," were his exact words. I've pondered this for the past two and a half years, praying about what exactly it meant. I paint a little, but couldn't see how anything I painted would set anyone free. At the time, I had no plans to start a photography business or even to move out of Durango; photography was just a hobby I loved to experiment with.
Fast forward a couple of years +. As I ran around this fall, trying to get all the licenses and taxes figured out to make SunflowerEyes Photography a reality, I've known that it couldn't be just about photography. I felt that God wanted me to use this gift He's developing in me; not only to help provide for my family, but for some bigger purpose in His kingdom. I've prayed and thought about what this meant. I felt that God was leading me to tithe (give 10% or more of the money) off of what I earned from the business; I knew it was to go to orphans or children in need. But where? Here in Ft. Collins? The state? There are over 500 orphans available for adoption in Colorado alone...most people just don't know about them, because they're tucked away in foster care. To one of the many families we have relationship with that do long-term missions? I just didn't know. So I continued to pray.
When Adam and I joined our church here, last September, we went through a series of "classes" about the church. At the first one, the senior pastor and his wife shared about themselves, the church, their individual passions. Bonnie (the wife) is very involved with a ministry called UCOUNT. The missionary our church supports in this ministry (it's much, much larger than just our church) is in India, where she has a home for girls/women/children whom she buys out of prostitution or other kinds of slavery, andvteaches them about God, as well as how to live and provide for themselves in other ways. I became intrigued with the ministry...something about it just tugged at my heart. I couldn't stop thinking of all the women, many very young teens or children, who were in sexual slavery and couldn't leave...couldn't stop thinking of the children sold into slavery so their families could survive, or because their parents were promised their children would have a better life. I began to pray about and research whether or not this was the ministry- and in particular, the missionary- God wanted me to give to. One afternoon, a few weeks ago, I was resting on the couch, not even really praying...and the words that had been prayed over me more than 2 years ago came into my head : "Your pictures will set people free,". It all fell together-my photography, stepping out and starting this business, knowing it was about more than just photography...this woman, this missionary, is the one I am to give to out of God's blessing on my life. And she will use the money to LITERALLY set people free!! Free of slavery of the worst kinds...free to know God and love Him...free, free free!! I couldn't believe it! I'm crying as I write this...overwhelmed at how good God is, how faithful to His promises...this is the last meaning I even looked for in the words prayed over me that May night. But it's so wonderfully RIGHT! I will tithe out of my little and have faith that God will do big things in the lives of women and children on the other side of the world...I believe He will use it to set them free. Not only physically free, but also spiritually free to know Him. And someday, maybe, I'll get to meet some of them and show you just who God is setting free through the gift He's given me.

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me," Phil. 4:13

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD; " plans to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you a hope and a FUTURE," Jer. 29:11


Thankful Thursday

Oh, happy day!! It's Thursday...not only Thursday, but the last day of Adam's finals for the semester, which means he (we!) can just enjoy the upcoming week...#1 on my thankful list for today! I'm also thankful for...
...being 35 weeks pregnant. As exhausting as it is to be this pregnant during the holidays; she's almost here!! Can't wait to meet our baby girl :)
...free hospital tours. New town, new hospital to give birth in...we get a tour tonight to see what the floor is like! And to pre-register, so we don't have to deal with that on D-Day :)
...for my nephew, Ayden. He's coming in on Saturday for a couple of weeks...it's always so fun to see him, and he and Pax have fun together, despite the age difference!
...the ability to take this holiday season nice and easy. I loved the fun, crazy-busyness of being on staff at a small church during the past 3 Christmases; but I know I would NOT have handled it so well this pregnant. We've had such a mellow season so far; it's made it easier to not put so much pressure on myself to do EVERYTHING we usually do for the holidays.
...for having a toddler during this time of year. Everything- Christmas lights, songs, singing "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus, even Santa Claus and wrapping presents...so fun with a little guy who's discovering his world and excited about EVERYTHING!!
...a wonderful, thoughtful, patient husband. Who, by the way, gives THE BEST massages :)
...God's provison in our lives. Always. wonderful. I am amazed at the way He's providing for us- and making my dreams come true at the same time



I remeber when "Mike & Sarah" started...or, actually, before they started...Adam came up to me during the Passion Play last spring and said, "Guess what I just heard? Mike asked Sarah out..." or something to this effect. We weren't too sure what Sarah's reply would be, and Adam didn't want to eavesdrop long enough to find out (why not??), so that was all I knew for the night. But a week or so later, after hearing from my good friend Megan that Sarah had, indeed, said "yes," (don't you just love small churches??) I was looking forward to seeing Sarah at worship practice. She didn't know that I knew...but the way she floated into practice would've given it away, anyway. I oh-so-casually brought up the subject of Mike; she, of course, jumped at the chance to tell me all about it. Listening to her talk, that night and many other Thursday nights during practice, I knew something was happening...a love story. sigh. I looove a good love story. And I knew all that God had worked through to orchestrate their story, which just made it that much cooler! So, this fall, I asked Sarah if she and Mike would do a fun couple's shoot for me during Thanksgiving break, knowing that Sarah wouldn't say no..the girl is so stinkin' spunky and loves to be the center of attention. Plus, who'd turn down free pictures of you and the guy you love?? I knew she'd love the idea-and that Mike couldn't say no to her :) Secrectly, I was hoping it would turn out to be an E-session (engagement pics, that is...) AND IT DID!! (thanks, Mike, for reading my mind!) When they showed up, Sarah was rarin' to go. Mike obviously wasn't as into it...not too sure what he'd said yes to, I think. BUT I have it on good authority (Miss Sarah) that he ended up relaxing and enjoying himself a lot...and I sure had fun with them! They were up for anything and anywhere I mentioned; Sarah had their outfits planned to perfection; and I had peacock feathers! Mike describes himself as "black and white" while Sarah says she's "more of a peacock" in personality...so I HAD to incorporate the two ideas into the shoot. SOOOOOO fun!! These are just a few of my favorites of the day..hard to choose!

This picture is just very Sarah, to me...Fun, spunky, and joyful!

*mike and sarah, thanks so much for doing this shoot with me! I had so much fun with the two of you...I loved seeing your personalities play off each other and trying to catch it! Congratulations, you two!



It's live!! My website, that is. I still need a sweet logo...and I still have so, so much to learn...but I've taken a giant leap of faith and pushed the button! So...go check it out!!


A Christmas tree hunt...

...is a tradition in our little family I was NOT about to miss, even if I am 33 weeks pregnant! However, my husband wasn't so sure I wouldn't go into labor if we hiked much; so we went to

my parents' friends' land (follow that?) and only hiked a bit...the fastest Christmas tree hunting we've done yet, and the COLDEST!! It was 10 degrees in the sun, at 11 AM...Pax refused to walk because he was freezing (me too! can't blame him!), so needless to say he didn't enjoy that part so much.
But once we got it home (or on the car, really) he was so stinkin' excited about our "Kiss-miss Tree!" I'm aware that I skipped over Thanksgiving...I will post some pics of our fun week in Brekenridge soon. But today, I'm pretty proud that I survived the hunt (uphill the whole way back, trading off dragging the tree with Adam and carrying Pax a bit) so I decided these pictures take precidence :) This is Pax in the car, after his mini-meltdown over being cold...see his rudolph nose? We seriously were only out for maybe 1/2 an hour...like I said, it was COLD!!!!