Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A beautiful poem that my precious friend Trisha wrote for me last Wed. night.

From the moment she was conceived,
she was loved.
From the moment she was created,
she was beautiful.
From the moment she was discovered,
she was longed for.
From the moment she was imagined,
she was amazing.
Through the moments of shock,
He was holding.
Through the moments of pleading,
He was listening.
Through the moments of grief,
He was peace.
When the moment came to deliver her,
He brought deliverance.
When the moment came to hold her,
He brought joy.
When the moment came to say good-bye,
He brought hope.
When the moment came to heal,
He brought comfort.
Through all the moments...
He was there.
In the moments to come...
you'll be together.

Wipe. the. tears. off. my. cheeks. so. I. can. type.

Let me back up and tell you a little bit about why this poem is sooooooooo special to me.
It was Wednesday evening and Luke and I were excited to leave in a few days for Santa Cruz. We had one more day of "real life" and than could relax together and be with our family. Before we could "check out," we had a couple of things to do...including get all of our tax stuff together and go in for our annual appointment. This was kinda my job to do during the day, but I didn't really know what that all entailed, so I waited for Luke to get home and we started on it together. We had most of our documents in a tax08 folder, except for Olivianna's medical bills.

We could not find them. I could not remember where I put them back 8 months ago when I was not thinking about taxes. So we began to search....in her memory chest.

We pulled everything out. All of the cards we were given, the journal I kept, some photos that were taken, her medical explanations and appointments, her outfits that I put her in, the bracelet she wore around her sweet wrist, the beautiful quilts and blankets that were made for her, the clay prints of her hands and feet, and the sweet curls that I cut from the hair on her head.

All of the memories flashed back in an instant. She was real. It happened.
And now I have a 3 foot memory chest that holds all of the most important things to me.
....and it sits on the bottom of my closet with shoes piled on top.

I went to bed very sad and lonely.

Thursday morning I went over to Trisha's house to hang out and talk "photography" shmoshmum (not a real word). When I arrived, Trish told me that she had something for me. She explained that the Lord told her to do something for me. After praying about it, her husband suggested writing Olivianna and I a poem. "A poem???" she thought to herself. "I don't write poems." But she did. and she does. and they are absolutely beautiful. and it absolutely blessed my socks off.

The cool thing is...we were looking in Olivianna's memory chest the same time that the Lord told her to do something. What a caring and gracious God I serve. And what an obedient and loving friend I have!
Thank you Trisha. You are the best.
***Trisha started up her beautiful blog recently, take a look http://www.trish-duds.blogspot.com

A quick rundown of this last week...

Adi and I went to the Amgen tour of California in Modesto on Tuesday. It was pouring down rain but Adi and I braved the cold! She had snow boots on and was looking stylish! Here is a sampler from some of the shots I got.

Oh yah, my dad and I even made it in the Modesto Bee the next day. That was kind of fun. Section A12. We are in a small group of people who were standing on the corner of Sycamore and Coldwell (which was the sharpest turn in the Modesto part of the race). Pretty exciting stuff!

Our weekend getaway to Santa Cruz was very lovely! Luke's parents give the family a weekend getaway for part of our Christmas present each year. This is the second year staying at Terrace Court together (although Luke and I have stayed there alone, and Luke's family and his dad's family grew up going there.) It is totally 50's style and is just now starting to be remodeled. Quite the cozy little place to lodge!!!!

I woke up early on Saturday morning (early like 6:40 a.m....hey, that is early on vacation) and hopped over to the beach to take some sunrise pictures. The air was crisp and the ocean was very peaceful. As I was snapping away, two people from up on the pier started talking to me. I looked up and immediately tensed up. I thought to myself....I have a choice right now. I can continue to do what I came out here to do (learn and have fun), or I can STOP, listen and let the Lord work. I followed the holy spirit and had a great time making two friends that morning who are very very very different from me. Here is Laura and E.D. He lives on the streets of Santa Cruz. She lives in her car. God loves them and has a plan for them. And He wants me to love them too. He used my camera to bridge the gap. I praise Him for that.

The first shot after talking with them for a few minutes. (I was on the sand below the pier)

The second shot (clearly more comfortable and relaxed)

That afternoon, after all the girls went shopping downtown, Luke and were able to get out for a walk with our cameras. I LOVE that my husband likes photography too. I LOVE it even more that he supports my passion for it!!! Thanks babe!The previous post documents the weekend well (okay, I couldn't decide which ones to show...I am bad at that!!!).

Well, I am tired and probably need to be off to bed. Luke has been "fixing drains" in our house for over 3 hours now. The water will not go down in the tub and something is seriously messed up. I am sad that he had to spend his evening doing such a yucky job, but thankful that it kind of falls in the "husband category of things to take care of." If there is such a list!

I will blog later about my experience at the Art Gallery Walk and having my photo displayed at the gallery, as well as all the other things that will take place until I sit back down and think of something intelligent and/or witty to say!

Until then...

Christ be lifted High!

"Never lose the heart & eyes of a student."

Gavin Sein

From our weekend in Santa Cruz....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Adi and I had a fun morning shooting some pics for Luke for valentines day. I wanted to take her out at the beginning of the week to some cool locations, but she got an ear infection and has been much under the weather all week. The antibiotics finally kicked in and today she was feeling well enough to get out of the house! It was raining about 30 minutes before we took these, and when the sun popped out, we jumped in the car and headed down town. Adi was really only interested in the candy that I bribed her with. She ate probably half a bag of hearts, including a couple that fell on the ground in the alley. (yummy!)

Adi and her 90 year old great grandma (she came over to play)

This afternoon we tried to come up with some creative ways to tell Luke that we love him and think that he is the most amazing man alive. Here are a few of our creations....

1. My love for you is on display...

2. My love for you is hot....

3. My love for you is rooted in Christ...

4. My love for you is yummy....

(We made the cookies into heart shapes...but ate them before we got a pic of them!!!!)

5. My love for you is relaxing....

My love for you is real!
I love you Luke. Madly. Truly. Deeply.


This last week at Perspectives class, our speaker Jeff S. really convicted me of my view of the christian life. He talked about "Cat & Dog" theology, and how followers of Christ today fall into one of these categories. Cat theology is when an individual follows Christ but it is all about them. All about their needs, their wants, their comfort. Cat Christian's praise God when good things happen, but when "life" happens, cats complain, cry and their world comes crashing down. But dogs, they know that it is all about their master. They live to meet their masters desires, and live not for their own comfort. They want the greatest glory to go to God, and will live a life that resembles that. Dog Christian's praise God when good things happen, and when "life" happens, they bring God glory in their hurt, sadness, & disappointment. They live to give God the greatest glory.

And this is my desire. That I will live to bring God the greatest glory. That I will not strive to get people saved from hell, but that I will strive to bring Christ the honor that is due. That whether I am working, or staying at home, or cleaning, or babysitting, or loving my husband...I will do it unto Christ. That I will show others that God is worthy of my praise...and the nations praise.

I have been blown away by the love and generosity that people have showed toward the ministry of Olivianna's Closet. Our church kicked the ministry off 3 weeks ago by announcing (and having a flyer in the bulletin) about Olivianna's closet. When I walk into the church and see play pens all around full of new and gently used items that people have donated to the ministry, it truly makes me emotional. It is not about Olivianna. However, it is about the importance and sanctity of life. ALL life is valuable, no matter how short or long. This ministry is to show our community that God's people value life and that we want to be a blessing to moms in times of need. We want to show families the love of Christ by meeting their needs with the resources that we have graciously been given. If you would like to be apart of Olivianna's closet, here is some information and way that you can be involved.

Olivianna's Closet
The purpose of Olivianna’s Closet is to meet the needs of single mothers through the collective resources of the people of Big Valley Grace.
We intend to gather gently used clothing, blankets and other necessary supplies for infants up to 24 months. The goal of Olivianna’s Closet is to assemble care packages that will be available to single mothers in our church and community. This is another opportunity for the body of Christ to reach our community, being salt and light as we meet real, practical needs.
Gently Used Items:Blankets Sleepers Onesies Apparel Socks/booties Burp cloths
Newly Purchased Items:Diapers Wipes Bottles Pacifiers
Sizes: 0-6 mo; 6-12 mo; 12-18 mo; and 18-24 mo
Contact: 209.577.1604 x210

Speaking of Olivianna...

I miss her. Like crazy.
I look at pictures of her every day and hold back tears. "Not now," I sometimes tell myself. She was so beautiful. So peaceful...so sweet...so still. I think of peace every time I think of her short life. I picture holding her for the first time, praying out to God, looking into my husbands eyes as we both knew what was going to happen. I remember her sweet smell and soft skin. Her dark hair and dainty hands. I remember her button nose and her chin that looks like daddies. I remember praying for Dr. Altman as I held my baby. Praying that he would know Jesus the messiah. Praying that he would know the truth.

But I also remember the emptiness when they took her from me for good. The darkness my soul felt as I could almost hear the ripping of my heart. I remember trying to sleep that night and asking for a pill to knock me out. And mostly...I remember leaving the hospital empty handed. Completely broken. "COME AND MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL...." I would beg.

Thank you to all who still talk about her. You don't know how much that means to me. So often I feel that I can't bring her up anymore. Like people are thinking..."It's been 8 months Amber, get over it." It hurts just as much today than it did than...I just know better how to deal with the pain now. I know how to ride the wave of sorrow...and float on Christ's saving grace.
He truly keeps me afloat!
Well, Luke and I are just about to sit and relax together for awhile before we have to go to bed. We are getting up early in the a.m. to pick up missionaries from Indonesia at the Sacramento airport. We will spend the afternoon with them (eating lunch in downtown Sac) and then will be going to the in-love's house for dinner with a group of people/pastors from church.
It is going to be a good Valentines day!

Oh yeah...we bought Coldplay tickets today. The concert is in July and we are excited!!!!!

Until next post...Christ be lifted high!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

#11 of my previous post: Blog once a week.
Does this include my photography blog????
-I posted a couple photos of the sweet baby boy I watched today!

(Check em out!!! -Grover Photography)

Here are a couple photos my beautiful friend Trisha took of me a couple weeks ago.

Thanks Trisha

.....remember this scale????