11.10.2013

This.

This is how i want to live each day. This is why i love my Lord. This is why i love clouds. :)


10.15.2013

living

Matthew 23:18-20

"...go ye therefore, and teach all nations..."

"'Go ye therefore...' Go simply means live."

"'Ye shall be witnesses unto Me' in all these places. He undertake to establish the goings. 'If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you...' --that is the way to keep going in our personal lives. Where we are placed is a matter of indifference; God engineers the goings."

*

Go simply means live. Go to work. Go to your home. Go on that trip. Go to the neighbors house. Just go. Trust that today, you woke up exactly where you are needed. Exactly where He has put you.

*

"If I want to know the universal sovereignty of Christ, I must know Him for myself, and how to get alone with Him; I must take time to worship the Being Whose Name I Bear."

How often do i need to hear this in order to know it? How do i rid myself of the guilt of wasted hours...of the need to somehow redeem lost days.

*

"'None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself..." That is how to keep going till we're gone."

In the face of another death, this time in Chad's family, i once again yearn to offer my life. Not as something worthless...why would Jesus die for something worthless? No, that is not what the word is saying. It is confirming my life's infinite worth in the light of what Christ has done. God doesn't deal in "wasted hours", but in what I choose today.

And today i choose to go.


~excerpts from Oct 14th's "My Utmost for His Highest".



10.06.2013

an...idea

i think i have a semi-interesting-maybe-exciting-and-workable idea for a series of paintings.

lemme tell ya...it's been a while since i've had a semi-interesting-maybe-exciting idea. and i'm putting it out there, in writing, to make it SO.

now to overcome the fear-of-failure-crippling-anxiety-mental-monster-of-lameness. 
"arrrgh you're gonna make nothing but crap!!"

also, i need to buy a bunch of new paints. 

so, ask me about it when you see me, would you? keep me on task? thanks. you're the best! :)

9.30.2013

golden


some days one is most content to go out & enjoy the almost-autumnal afternoon with a few of one's favorites: geranium, bougainvillea, lavender, & the lovely lantana.
altadena pickings

9.23.2013

to love children

i get a little ridiculous around babies. i've always been drawn to them. but anything older than 6 months or so? didn't really faze me much until i was in my 20s.

these days people wonder sometimes at how much i "love children". some think it's "sweet", some are convinced it's because i "have a heart for them", and some have made it clear that they "don't get it".
gwennie june!

i guess it's because i've seen what happens when they're taken away. 
i've seen what happens when every day for months or years, they're *almost* taken away. 
not just in my own family, though that's what has contributed to my spirit the most, of course. 

i know i wasn't the same after gwennie was born and she stole my heart, and i haven't been the same since. who knows what's going to happen when i have my own someday...sheesh.

i'm not baby crazy. it's not because i "just looove kids and think they're soooo cute."

it's because i see a fleeting preciousness there i hadn't before, a need to take it in, to be near it.


call it morbid, or pessimistic, call it strange but i always look at a small child through the eyes of loss. always.
ian in the hospital last year
maybe that will change someday, i don't know. it's hard to know how and why we react the way we do to sickness and death in babies.


it's not because i don't trust God, or because i'm pessimistic. i think it's really the opposite. i just don't ever want to miss what these children are, and what they have to show me. i feel like so many people do. and i never, ever want to.


tonight, i read Lilli's Story, and once again, it reminded me of these things. it's a beautiful, bittersweet little read. 
Lilli

9.15.2013

desperately need strength for the week ahead. 
why so much in particular, i wonder...

maybe it's that i'm emotionally burnt out
maybe it's that i'm anxious for the days to come...
...so. many. things.
maybe it's my grandpa's death
maybe it's my aching heart for people around me
maybe it's stress...do i have so much to do?
...or maybe it's just hormones.

i just want to do everything with grace and love.
i just want my savior's strength.


9.08.2013

bye and bye, grandpa...

December 3, 1924 - September 8, 2013
My grandpa Floyd went to be with Jesus this afternoon. Surrounded by 3 of his children, 2 of his grandchildren, and a son and daughter-in-law.

What a strange thing it is, to watch someone take their last shuddering breath in this world...

8.30.2013

sam

Every so often a kid you used to babysit when he was 6 years old turns into a real clever 20-year-old. Sam posted this as his status recently...


7.15.2013

not my might

"Quit praying about yourself and be spent for others as the bondservant of Jesus.

That is the meaning of being made broken bread and poured out wine in reality."

           ~ Oswald Chambers, 
              My Utmost For His Highest

This was so convicting to me after the last week i've had, which,  in short, has been one of extreme focus on my self. on my failures, on my fears, on my grief.

Not entirely my fault, as a lot of it was the result of extreme anxiety attacks, which were not helped by physical sickness and changes in my medications. :\

But nevertheless, as the enemy knows and loves, my panic, as it always does, drove my focus on me, me, me... and it was only when i shifted that focus onto others--while also ignoring the need to analyze how i was coming across--that relief was had.

And then this morning Chad and i read the above exhortation in today's devotion.
"Am i doing anything to enable Him to bring His redemption into actual manifestation in other lives?"

May i find the balance in taking care of my mind, and serving others as i am meant to. May i not be a slave to fear, but a slave to God's perfect love. May i be joyful in His hope, and therefore a source of His sweet joy...

~~~

6.27.2013

it's been a harrowing week for the Adams and the rest of the family. we almost lost Ian again a couple of days ago. life is so precious, everyone. kiss your babies, love your family, pray for your friends.

read the story here.


6.25.2013

My friend Searcy is very, very sick.

Searcy is my dear friend Pip's wonderful sister...who over the years has becom a dear friend to me as well. She has beed plagued and almost killed by this medical mystery for so, so, long now..

She posted this on facebook from the hospital yesterday... 
"Well-I'm back here again. Prayers needed please for complete healing and wisdom for the doctors."

This lovely lady's spirit, wit, honesty and steadfastness over the long, painful course of this illness has been a constant source of hope, humbling and inspiration to so many, as she has done her best to keep people current with the twists and turns and praises and heartaches
For example, a few days ago she posted this...
"Wanna hear about miracles?! The majority of my medical debt from this illness just went from $94k to $1738.16. The reason given on the bill?! "Hardship". God moved mountains on my behalf. PRAISE JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
then today...
"Prayer needed please: All my veins are blown so I'm getting a PICC line today also in prep for tomorrows surgery. Last time there was a complication in inserting the PICC and it shocked my heart painfully. Please pray for peace, protection, agility of hand, and increased trust in our Lord. ❤"


Tonight i sent her an email containing June 25th (today's) devotion from "My Utmost..."...and it so encouraged and quickened my spirit i thought i'd post it here as well...it almost made me cry. seriously...God is so wonderful, and so dear...

6.16.2013

father

happy father's day, my dear papa.
(your 30th one, at that!)


it's been a long ride (see what i did there?) but in countless ways, that is a great and awesome thing, and i am learning that more and more every day and thanking God for it.

i count you as one of the most bountiful sources of blessing and growth on my life. through all the hugs, the tickle fights, the hurts, the joys, the years of butting heads and laughing til we cry, here we are.

i know how many people have no earthly father they feel they can acknowledge today, for whatever reason, and i am all the more grateful to be able to say: i love you, dad, and i'll see you later this afternoon. isn't that wonderful?

6.07.2013

forget the soul mate?

Enjoyed this simple, thoughtful post today. It made me smile, nod thoughtfully, and say "hm". All acceptable criteria for a repost, i think...


just to clarify...i liked it not because i see Chad in it, but because i see both of us in it. I see me in it. 
...i see a lot of what i had to learn for myself to get to a place in my life where i was ready to lay a lot of preconceptions down.



i think it's a worthwhile read. maybe you'll like it, too (:

5.31.2013

so proud of this little one

pneumonia? no way!

lamby, beary + crocodile

mama + twin brother

rest
pictures from May 23rd

5.21.2013

today i...

snuggled with Maela

was delighted to find on our doorstep our first delivery of organic goodness

and every time i walked into the kitchen, 
i smiled at the beautiful blush peonies Chad got me a few days ago


5.20.2013

i've been burdened and overwhelmed to weeping tonight. events surrounding me with friends and family, through the world...and fear and death...have for the present flooded my mind and heart to the brim. loved ones sick with death looming near, and others already gone, people lost and hurt, old wounds bleeding fresh and fast.

i carry in my chest tonight an anxious heart. i don't want to face tomorrow.  i'm afraid to hear bad news, afraid to hope, afraid to disappoint, and be disappointed.

trying so hard to be faithful in prayer. i feel so feeble and weak.
in some ways i'm afraid to pray, afraid to acknowledge possibilities by praying for them not to happen.

loving hurts so badly sometimes.


5.12.2013

mother

happy mother's day, my beautiful mama. 


5.09.2013

hello, conviction.

"Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint." Proverbs 29:18

Today's "My Utmost" kind of...well...stabbed me right in the gut, to be so graphic!

"There is a difference between an ideal and a vision. An ideal has no moral inspiration; a vision has. The people who give themselves over to ideals rarely do anything. 

A man's conception of Deity may be used to justify his deliberate neglect of his duty. Jonah argued that because God was a God of justice and of mercy, therefore everything would be all right. 

I may have a right conception of God, and that may be the very reason why I do not do my duty

But wherever there is vision, there is also a life of rectitude because the vision imparts moral incentive. Ideals may lull to ruin. Take stock of yourself spiritually and see whether you have ideals only or if you have vision."

~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 9th

How much of my life, my goals, my yearnings, are based solely in ideal
How much of my walk and duty to God have i unknowingly justified in neglecting...even in the light of having a right conception of Him?

"Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done?"


4.19.2013

little. bitty. eggs.

Having this little hummingbird outside out apartment has been the sweetest thing. And it couldn't be more timely. Reminding me of preciousness and life and CUTE!!

Took this pic yesterday. isn't she beautiful?
The last couple of days, mama hummingbird has been in her nest every time i looked out for her. I never saw her leave it or move. i knew she had to be laying her eggs, because she wouldn't fly away even when i watered my plants, walked past her to get the mail, or when i would stop to take a picture. It's been magical.
I was starting to worry that she wasn't eating, but i knew that she knew what she was doing.
Then this morning i looked out the front sliding door, and she wasn't there, so i grabbed my camera and quietly stepped out to see if my suspicions were correct. And voila...


2 perfect, tiny little eggs.
I could hardly contain myself. They're about as big as a pinky nail...i went inside squealing and pounded on the bathroom door to show Chad the picture.
When i went back to the window, i saw mommy bird just returning and nestling herself sweetly into place. my heart melted. You guys...i can't...i'm gonna die of cute.

4.18.2013

and sometimes...doors just shut.

I wrote about the impending Russian adoption ban in December, and how it was bound to affect a family very close to us. Read it here.

Jaime, the mother of that family, posted this on facebook today...

I'm just heartbroken. Another tragedy i don't understand. If i can't even conceive that this is good-bye forever for them...how much more wrenching and painful is it for Jaime and her family...??

I am once again overwhelmed. Putin's pride shattering the lives and chances of thousands of children. It's just a nightmare.

And now that Isaac is 5 years old and has down's syndrome, he will likely be transferred to a mental facility, where he will have a very small chance of survival, much less a fraction of care and dignity...and definitely not love. After years of waiting and prayer, tens of thousands of dollars raised, getting to meet him finally this last winter....it's just...over.


They'll have to live and continue on their lives knowing he's alive somewhere, lying in a bed, wasting away, and there is nothing they can do. 

It's just so grievous i can't put it into words. God, this can't be the end of Isaac's story...

4.16.2013

this life

Yesterday...

...just one of those "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO FEEL" kind of days.

My heart broke...again...(for, what, the 4th time in just the past year or so?) for the lives of so many that were literally blown apart.
I just can't even imagine having been in Boston yesterday...especially those who lost a limb or a loved one. The reality and scope of these acts of horrendous violence are beyond me. My mind can. not. understand them.
Whenever i feel like i've been desensitized by movies & tv, something like this--or Newtown/Sandy Hook, or Aroura, or 9/11--remind me very quickly and painfully that i definitely have not.

In that same hour, one of my oldest and dearest friends sent me a beautiful surprise: a picture of her just born baby girl...nestled on her chest...tiny, black-haired, eyes wide with brand-new sight. I'd known it could be any day now, but it was the last thing i expected at that point! My heart mended just enough... enough to finish the work i needed to do.

Over the weekend a hummingbird built a teeny tiny nest right outside our living room.
it's about as big as a teaspoon
took this picture this morning from the window, she totally
saw me spying on her.
It scares me how precious and fragile it is...that there is so much working against its survival...but isn't every day like that? Every day of our lives?

This world is often a horrendous place...but there is still room for miracles. Like a perfect little human being pulled from the womb of a woman who has struggled through so much of her life, but God has held her, blessed her, kept her. And here she is now, a mother. A mother!

Lives ended, lives begun. Mystery. Grief. Joy.

peace? yes, even peace...

4.13.2013

Mental Illness, Hope, and leaving the choices to God

Rick Warren's 27 year old son committed suicide last week. 
He posted this shortly after it happened: 
"[Matthew] struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life."
From what i've heard and learned and read, Matthew Warren was a soft-spoken and warm hearted young man...but his whole life had struggled with mental illness and depression.  

As a tragedy like this is bound to do, countless conversations, tweets, essays, blog posts, etc swarmed the interwebs.
I found interesting this quote from a psychologist who wrote a brief article about the matter: 
"Matthew...died from emotional pain, not from the self-inflicted bullet the autopsy shows. The fatal wound came from a cesspool of emotion and deep personal agony.The internet yak-yak blaming of Matthew’s homosexuality or Rick Warren as Matthews’ source of pain is absurd and should stop immediately.Those who spread such venom have absolutely no factual basis for their statements. Citing Leviticus will not serve to reinforce idiotic blogging."
Thoughts?

Ann Voskamp, author of 1,000 Gifts, wrote about it on her blog. About a half-dozen of my facebook friends posted it to their pages...it seemed to connect with a lot of people. Here is a link to the post: What Christians need to know about mental health

As for myself, i've been quietly listening, reading and thinking. Not ready to address the matter just yet...if at all. For, you see, this issue hits so close to home with me, cuts so deep into my heart, i hardly even know what to say.

I suppose i won't say much, except that i appreciate the growing awareness in Christians of the realness of mental illness...that it's not always a product of not enough faith, or a conscious act for attention, or disobedience, or unacknowledged sin, or whatever label people choose to assign to it. It's a real, viable, thing. And it's out of the individual's control.

I didn't decide to start struggling with depression when i was 13. 
I also didn't decide to allow it, by 15, to cripple my mind and spirit so much that i hated myself, cursed myself, hurt myself. I scratched out more than one blurry, agonized suicide note as a teenager...longingly eyed full bottled of painkillers. If it hadn't been for Jesus i don't know if i'd be here writing this.

I didn't one day think, in my early 20s, "I'm bored. Massive depression just isn't enough anymore...let's add some rapid-cycling mania and turn it into a full-fledged bipolar disorder!" 

In my mid-20s my family (and i) caught on with what was happening. I remember thinking "wait...this isn't normal? not everyone feels this way all the time??" And with the help of this book, by our friend Bob Grieco and a good psychiatrist (who i still see every 6 months to check on my medication) i am generally functional! 

Maybe someday i'll go into detail...maybe not. 
I touch on it every so often here, i know. i can't help it. it's a part of the way i'm wired and i am used to that now. Like having a bum leg or a painful disease, it's bound to affect the way i see the world, see God's work in my life and in others...and when i write that will creep in sometimes. 
BUT it's not always in bad ways. Interestingly enough! 
the first bloom of my little Impatien on
our front stoop

Like being reminded over & over about how hope exists even when i don't feel it. I know that now. And i can minister that to people. Do you know how much that makes pain worth it? To "comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted?"

Some days i still want to hate myself, curse myself, hurt myself. 

Some days (though almost never anymore and, i pray, not as overwhelming as it once was), i just want my life to end. It just is what it is. But...
... “I know Whom i have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
And "that day" is His choosing, not mine.
I hope i will hold on to that for all of the rest of these brilliant, too-short, sad and happy days.

4.10.2013

i think i'm leaving work early

Ever had one of those days that the floor sample perfume bottle shocks you by spraying wayyy too hard so you're plunged into such a musky, flower-saturated never ending haze of headache, coughing, sneezing and nausea that changing and showering tonight can't come soon enough...? 

oh totally yeah me neither.

4.07.2013

how an elderly woman and some shiny unmentionables joined to make me question getting out of bed today

Gas station, waiting for my tank to fill up. 

Old lady pulls up to the pump in front of me, begins to back up. Old lady backs up into bumper, stops. Old lady backs up further into my bumper (crunching sound), stops. Old lady backs up AGAIN, at which point i'm all "HEY HEY STOP". Old lady opens door, dressed in her fancy Talbots best. "Are you okay?" i demand. "Yes." "Are you sure?" Old lady ignores me and looks at her bumper, which is scratched, then mine. I brush off some dirt. "That's not from my car" says the old lady rudely, then turns around and walks away.
Conversation over, i no longer exist. 
Not once did she look me in the eye. No "oh my goodness," or "I'm sorry".

i wish i had taken her license plate number because when she pulls out i see her weave in traffic. ugh.

Later i see a giant black truck with chrome covered balls. i commence asking the universe "why, why, why...?

4.06.2013

this is me today.

upended by

the cart

of

L. I. F. E.

i realize what's going on...and i have a list of what needs to happen...

but feeling a little...ah...frozen.

you think it's okay if i just sit here for a minute until i can figure out a way to get down?

4.01.2013

yesterday.

Yesterday was Easter :)

My sister asked if i wanted to go to Church with her and Alec, Reality LA's Easter service at the Hollywood Palladium. With the ups & downs of the past couple of weeks i was feeling unequipped in nearly every way to deal with hoards of people, loud noises, a long drive into a crowded and broken city. 

But every time i attend Reality's services i am SO blessed...so encouraged...by their desire for the glorification of Jesus and restoration in the city of LA. 
So i said i would go, and i did!

11am saw us walking down Sunset Blvd in a throng of people. Friends meeting up as we went, lots of smiling, greeting, happiness. I saw a hip young guy talking to a man sitting at the bus stop, as we passed i heard the young guy ask: "You got anywhere to go this morning, man?" "No, actually," bus-stop man replied. "Well, you're welcome to come join us this morning if you want!" said hip young guy. We were well past them at this point and i didn't hear the rest of the conversation. But i smiled.
Then we were filing into the building, surrounded by young people. Reality LA has a reputation as being a "young, cool, hipster" church...there are a lot of those kinds of people, it's true...but more and more it's growing into the city, and every time i go there the diversity of attendees increases, and it's encouraging. 
Milling around us were young people, old people, families, every race and color and walk in life, people in wheelchairs, people in their sunday best, people in their weekday coolest.

Then came worship, celebration of the victory of the resurrection, a choir singing praises in harmony. I appreciate Reality's approach to this, as i am not a fan of the "concert-style" worship in many churches...i feel like it pulls the attention away from the content and onto the people preforming in front of you, often seeming to show off how good they are at worship (whatever that means...i think you understand).
Reality has a band, but they remain cloaked in shadow. The only light on "stage" is a dim blue so they can see what their playing. I often forget they are there al all. Your focus is on the words glowing on the screen, all you hear are the voices of the singers, and there is no judgement on how you choose to worship.
Hundreds expressed thanks in their many different ways...some people seated quietly, eyes closed, rocking, just listening, some with hands outstretched, while others were on their knees, holding the bread dipped in wine.

I stood, and sang quietly. Looking at the words, or looking at the people around me. I usually sing pretty loud, because i like to sing, but every time i went above speaking volume i began to cry. So mostly i just whispered the words, or mouthed them...my arms wrapped around me...not able to let any sound out at all. I was overwhelmed with emotion, with so much burdening my heart, so many people heavy on my mind. Oh, God, the hurt and misunderstanding everywhere...I tried to pray, but my mind was a jumble.

In spite of my heaviness i did appreciate the time... all of it. The sweetness of the words, the genuine joy around me. Tim's message was your good, solid Easter message...the gospel. But not coated in saccharine sweetness, rather it was heavy and meaty with truth and importance. The importance of today, of not wasting a single day in fear and dread of suffering, of death, and of the pain of life. In fact, if you have 45 minutes or so, you should go listen to it...


Afterwards there were baptisms. Dozens of Baptisms...right there on Sunset Boulevard. Many had signed up ahead of time, and many decided to do it right then and there, as they gave their lives to Jesus. So with cars driving past, people walking by, the sky drizzling down, the men and women doing the baptizing climbed into the pools in full Sunday-dress...as did many who were immersed. Some people cheered as they came up, some wept with joy, some simply hugged the man and woman who baptized them. And sweetness filled the cold misty air.

A friend of mine named Carmen, who is dating a young man I've known all my life, Dave Meyers was baptized that morning... here is a picture of that (with Dave smiling behind her).
i love, love this picture.


Lots of friends said hello, I saw Pip, Ian, Shelvy and others. They asked if i wanted to come to an Easter brunch at Brad & Ashley's (Ashley, incidentally, is the girl on the left baptizing Carmen). But by this time, i was done. I mean...i was completely, utterly drained. I couldn't track conversations, i couldn't look anyone in the eye, i was shaking (not just from the cold), i was dizzy, my vision was a blur. Too much. I was just...done. I told them i had to get home...to...get stuff done...

Alec and Sarah asked if i wanted to go to lunch. No, i needed to get home...i felt like i was about to implode.
As i sat in the backseat i tried to breathe and relax...
my whole body ached as if i'd just run for hours, my head felt like a balloon, my heart kept skipping beats, and tears kept leaking from my eyes completely without my consent. 
There was joy in me somewhere... there had to be. I had just experienced a wonderful and God-glorifying morning! What is wrong with me? 
I felt broken and idiotic and discouraged beyond explanation. The most pitiful, dysfunctional and useless of Christians. 

I even skipped most of Easter with my family. Chad was home sick, and i used that as an excuse to only have time to stay for a little while then leave to bring him dinner.
little succulent orphans i brought home with me
I did take a walk with my sister, which was a sweet and healing thing. We looked at all the different blooming desert plants in the neighborhood, and rescued little pieces that had fallen off, taking them back with us to plant at home. 


It was soon after that i went home, and all but collapsed into my husband's arms with such depression and disappointment in myself i could hardly breathe.  Maybe if it hadn't been the 3rd or 4th time i had done so that week it wouldn't have been so devastating...but as it was, i was just exhausted.
i cried and tried to explain what was happening but my lack of ability to verbalize my thoughts sufficiently just frustrated me. (which is why most of the time i just don't talk at all...the fear of expressing myself insufficiently often outweighs the need to allow someone else to help me bear my burden. SO LAME.) 

Not even a month ago, he would have been distressed right along with me, trying to get me to talk, getting mad, getting frustrated, needing to fix me, needing to fix something, anything!
But events in the past week have developed a new understanding in him, and in me. On his end, that all he needs to do is be. Just be there. Speak softly, and speak truth. And that is just what he did. 

This morning we read today's My Utmost for His Highest, and it, too, did a healing work in me. For, aside from my over thinking, panic and social anxiety, i realize i was also feeling overwhelmed with grief for those in my life, in my family, who are lost. I knew that, as i stood in the auditorium, processing everything, but i don't think i realized the degree to which i had allowed it to paralyze me with hopelessness. That's right: hopelessness!! On EASTER!! 

Anyway, so this is what Chad read aloud this morning:


When he finished, i simultaneously wanted to jump up in celebration and thankfulness of being so directly spoken to by God, but also kick myself in the head at my weakness to fall into such an obvious trap: 
"Beware of getting ahead of God by your very desire to do His will. We run ahead of Him in a thousand and one activities, becoming so burdened with people and problems that we don’t worship God, and we fail to [be able] intercede." 
The "be able" is my addition, obviously. But that's...exactly...what happened. 
Like being diagnosed with cyclothymic bipolar disorder, simply putting words to something--knowing it had a name, a reason, an explainable existence-- was like dropping a weight from my arms. 

I don't mean to end abruptly...but i just ran out of words! I suppose that's the gist of what i'm thinking about today...i'm not sure if it's properly arranged or coherent, but there it is. I'll probably read this later and say "holy crap i wrote way too much..." 

Just...stop getting ahead of God. Stop deciding it's too much before you even know what He's really doing. He is pretty good at getting these things done. (that was for me, by the way. unless it was also for you, too.)

Here's the little succulents planted in their new little houses:

3.29.2013

ruby jewel for gwennie

Today i finally got something i've been hoping for for a long time...a ruby ring in memory of Gwen.

I've been on the lookout for one for about 3 years now...something sweet and one-of-a-kind. Something simple, understated and elegant...something that reminded me of her. 
I thought i had found one more than once.... particularly last year on Etsy. Sadly, the lovely little antique ring i ordered from a woman in Germany (click the link to visit her shop) got lost in the mail...never even made it out of Europe. Pippa (the woman's name) was so dear...she refunded my payment, and even offered to keep looking, as i had told her what the ring was for. I think it broke her heart a little bit, and we exchanged some very thoughtful messages about many things.
I occasionally continued searching on Etsy, ebay, through antique shops, on overstock sites, etc. once a month or so. But nothing "clicked".


grandma mary-jane's necklace
Back in november i went to a place called Anton's Jewelry Shop in Burbank, a tiny business run by a couple of the sweetest guys you'll ever meet, to have my grandma's antique necklace fixed for the wedding, and did a spectacular job. 

When i went back to pick it up, i told Steve i've been looking high and low for a ring like i described above, and asked if he had anything like it. 
Steve thought for a second, then brought out a box of lovely, thin solid gold bands set with sapphires that he had made himself 30 years ago that he just had "sitting in the back". 
They were so sweet and perfect my throat caught in excitement. He then found me a couple of teeny tiny rubies, told me which were of higher quality, etc...and long story short, he offered me an amazing deal on the little ruby ring of my dreams. I told him, at the time, with wedding expenses and everything, i couldn't afford even an extra $80 of anything...so i would try to come back another time in the future if i still felt like it was the ring for me. "No problem," he said. "These aren't goin' anywhere, i hardly ever take them out."

Yesterday i went by the shop and visited with Steve, and asked to see his little sapphire rings. He brought them out. Then he brought out the rubies, told me which were the most valuable/highest quality (the most "expensive" being $12 as opposed to $5, for instance, which....DUH i'm getting the best one!) So i picked the band that fitted best, and picked ruby i picked the one i wanted. He told me he's try to have it ready early next week, as the setting is so small and fragile he'll have to do it with extra care. I told him noooooooo problem!! I can wait a few more days!
5 hours later he called me and told me it was ready. Ha! But i was at work, so i told him i'd have to come by the next day. 

Well, as you see, this afternoon i got it. And adore it! 

I love that i waited until i found what felt particularly special. Particularly unique, and made with care. I love that i got it on Good Friday. 

Best part of all? It reminds me of her. 

It will always make me think of Gwen's preciousness, God's goodness in the littlest blessings, and Christ's sacrifice. How could such a tiny thing hold more sweetness than that? ~~

(Yesterday i wrote a Yelp review for Anton's Jewelry ShopThey've got some BEAUTIFUL jewelry there, rings, brooches, necklaces--new and antique--and i highly recommend going by their shop if you're looking for something special...big or small.)