Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Freedom of My Chains

I’m a slave.  A servant.
It’s not a slavery that I’ve been born into, forced into,
or even coerced into.  It’s a choice I’ve made.
My Master offered and I accepted.

And there is freedom in my chains!
The Dixie Chicks (I’m not a D.C. fan, but their sound back
in the day was hard to beat J) had a song called
 “Loving Arms” that has the line,
lately I’ve been longing for the freedom of my chains”.
The song was the cry of a woman’s pain and loneliness
after leaving the promises of marriage to a man who loved her.
Those chains of marriage had given her love, comfort,
and protection -- things that give the heart freedom.


The act of giving my life to Jesus Christ is has given me freedom.
A freedom of resting in His love. 
Knowing without doubt that He cares about me, 
and that in His almighty power
is entirely capable of carrying out His will for my life.

When I was watching an online photography class taught by photographer,
Jazmine Star, she quoted her father who said something like this,
“You’re going to be a slave to something.  Either you will be a slave
to brushing your teeth, or you will be a slave to cavities.”
So simple and so true.
We have the choice.

We like to think that we are completely free.
That we are a slave to no one.
But reality says something different.

It goes way beyond brushing your teeth.
It goes deep into human nature.

The fact is, there is evil in this world.
And there is good.
We are on one side or the other.

The chains of the one bring a longing for something more,
of never being satisfied.      Ever.

The chains of freedom bring peace, rest, and joy.
Even when life isn’t going so well.
Jesus is enough.

The first step to this freedom is surrender.

 "For God so loved the world that 
he gave his one and only Son [Jesus], 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish 
but have eternal life.
 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
 but to save the world through him.  
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, 
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already 
because they have not believed in the 
name of God’s one and only Son."
John 3:16-18

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ethan & Rachael's Wedding -- Part Two

Here is the second part of Ethan and Rachael’s wedding.  
All the pictures you see here were taken by the photographer, Marla Martin.  
Thank you, Marla, for allowing me to use your beautiful pictures!

The wedding ceremony and reception was held in a small community lodge building in the town of Orange, VA.  The guests sat at the tables with the chairs facing the stage during the vows and then turned them to the tables when it was time for the reception.  The room was all wood with exposed beams and a cozy rustic feel – just what Ethan and Rachael wanted.

Mason jars wrapped with a bit of burlap and holding a few sprigs of forced Flowering Almond blossoms, along with trailing Ivy on a burlap runner, made the centerpieces.

The ceremony begins.

 The bride’s mother made the burlap isle runner.

 This beautiful lady is the mother of the bride.

 A backdrop of birch trees was hung on the stage for
 the ceremony.  My mamma created it with chalk 
on heavy fabric.  It was gorgeous!

 The bride and groom re-enter for the reception!

 While the guests waited for the meal, the band 
"Free on the Inside" played.  Ethan is the drummer.  
And that handsome lead singer is my husband! ;)

The cake was made by Amanda Glenn.  
It was lovely – a piece of “birch bark” tree trunk with
 Ethan and Rachel’s initials carved in it.   
Two carved wooden birds perched on the top 
that Ethan had made.   
Icing mushrooms around the base looked so real 
the littlest flower girl refused to eat them.  
“But I don’t like muthrooms,” she insisted!

 The four little flower girl baskets held Ivy leaves 
and were made by my mamma with birch bark.
 One of Rachael’s talented friends created this 
art of the bride and groom with spray paint!

Little nests from my mamma’s nest collection were
 tucked in among the Ivy vines on the tables.

 The favors were made by the bride’s mother 
and each little pouch of burlap contained 

Ethan and his new bride pose for a picture with his
 buddies from Asia mission trips (EDGE).  Some of 
the guys wore flannel in honor of Ethan.

The Best Man and Maid of Honor both gave a speech.

 The Happy Ending!!!

My little brother and new sister, 
may you always be as much in love as you were on this day.  
May you seek to follow God’s path and none other.  
“seek the Lord your God and you will find him, 
if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  
I love you both so very much!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Smile -- I Heart Faces Entry

This beautiful bride has been my sister-in-law for thirteen days now.
Her smile is one that shines through her eyes.
It was especially radiant on the day she married my brother!!!

I love you, Rachael.  You are beautiful inside and out.

To see more "Smile" entries, just click on the 
I Heart Faces button.
Photo Challenge Submission

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ethan & Rachael's Wedding -- part one

Ten days ago my little brother got married.
Be prepared.
I completely gave up on narrowing the photos 
down to “just a few”!
It was just such an awesome celebration!!
I love how Ethan and Rachael’s personalities shown through on their wedding day.

Our cousin, Marla, was the photographer, and I was one of the
assistant photographers during the portrait time before the ceremony.

 Rachael had a small wreath of Flowering Almond blossoms in her hair. 
Her mother had brought branches indoors and forced the blooms.

The first look.

 The flower girls love their Uncle Ethan!
These are my two girls, Kadence and Cassia,
And their cousins, Skylynn and Jenika.

These boys felt so cool all dressed up that they
 broke into a pretty awesome version of “Lean on Me” right there in the alleyway.

 I love these four guys.
They’re my brothers. 
Two are blood brothers and two are brothers
because they’ve been my little bro’s best buddies since way back.
(Not to mention they both somehow wound up as my brother’s-in-law!) 

 The bride and her three sisters
who were her bridesmaids.

 The bride’s family.

 The groom’s family (also my family!)
photo credit: Marla

 The little wooden box with leather hinges 
made by Ethan for their vows and rings.

Coming next week:
The ceremony and reception!

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