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O.M.G. T.G.I.F. Seriously! I’m worn out from the week, what about you? Ready for the weekend? Yeah, me too. Here are a few shots of our little home and the first bouquet of peonies Jon has ever given me! To tell you just how ridiculous I am, I e-mailed Jon last year when peony season came around with photographs attached, naturally, and mentioned it a few more times, but he never quite got around to getting them for me. Well a few weeks ago I made the decision to finally get baptized (I’ve been a Christian since I was 15, but didn’t decide to make the public profession of faith until recently) so Jon kindly surprised me with this bouquet of peonies and hydrangeas. Beautiful, right? What was even cooler was having my husband baptize me. It was a memorable time for us and it was such a special time to glorify the Lord and what He’s done in my life and hopefully encourage others with my testimony.

Have a great weekend friends. I hope you are encouraged this weekend and I hope you consider encouraging and loving other well this weekend too. If you’re feeling down, ask someone to buy you some peonies. Can’t go wrong with fresh spring flowers!

The above photographs are all from The Boston Globe’s “The Big Picture” column featuring a series of photographs from current events around the world. As you would imagine, each of the photographs you see here are from Japan. Much like you, my heart is burdened for those in Japan and the friends and families around the world that are mourning for those who are missing or who have lost their lives. Paula Nelson from The Boston Globe writes

“The death toll rises, but some hope is realized in the reunions of family and friends.”

Jon and I are in constant prayer for those in Japan and we’re praying for their peace of mind, for abundant provisions, and especially for hope. These photos of houses literally swept away, train carts stacked liked legos, photo albums left behind and empty grocery shelves are not easy to process, but I pray that both you and I would attempt to grasp the reality of what is happening and feel moved to enough to do sacrifice our time to pray and a part of our finances to give.

I’ll be participating in this Friday’s Blogger’s Day of Silence for Japan hosted by Ever Ours and Utterly Engaged who have created a donation site called “For Japan With Love.” The site has been created to connect fellow bloggers in an attempt to take this silence together and in turn, hopefully offer exposure to “For Japan With Love” which links readers to a great disaster relief organization called ShelterBox (click here for more info). For an additional list of organizations to donate to that are specifically helping Japan you can check out this list from the New York Time’s. {thanks Danni for sharing about all of this}

If you’d like to see more visuals the devastation that is being experienced feel free to view the photos they have at The Big Picture. I know our blogger community may not be a very big one, but I trust that it is a community that unites in support of those in need. Thanks guys for letting me share some of my heart with you although this post may be off the beaten track of my blog.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

This is easily one of the most beautiful stop motion videos I’ve ever laid eyes on! Please take two minutes to watch this amazing video by Andrew and Carissa Gallo, the photographer and filmmaker couple who are the eyes of For You Love Me based out of D.C. They are in the process of adopting a beautiful little girl named Rinah from Uganda and need support. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit their adoption site here.

So, I may or may not have updated my Facebook profile pic and then teased some people by telling them to go to my blog to see more photos from our little Christmas card shoot just to allow them to discover I hadn’t posted any photos yet…..yeah…sorry about that. I really did mean to post photographs sooner, but I was lazy. I’m sorry! Please forgive me! Here are a few of the photos that the talented Becky Ellis (wife of Dr. Ellis!) shot of Rachel and Jordan Hamilton and Jon, Hoosier and me. Becky’s family has a beautiful lake house that we were so fortunate to use as our backdrop and the weather could not have been better! Becky was even able to shoot a couple of photos of Jon and Jordan together (St. Jordan’s brew anybody?) and the three girls got a photo together as well. Becky – thanks so much for your awesome eye and blessing us with great photos to put on our Christmas cards.

To see more photos from the shoot (no fibbing, I promise) click here.

Yay for fun photos with great friends and just a great time to make memories together. I’m praying that you and yours have a memorable Christmas and regardless of whether you’re having a holiday surrounded by tons of people or a more intimate family time, my hope is that you know that you are loved by a Savior with whom this celebration is all for. Merry Christmas!

Naturally, everyone is aware of the earthquake in Haiti. If you’d like to read a few blogs on the current situation through the eyes of people who live there or are planning a mission trip there please feel free to visit, read, pray, and possibly donate to these sites.

This is a blog that our pastor is following:  http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/

The following two sites are from a college friend who has been planning a mission trip to Haiti since before the disaster.

http://www.missionaryjames.com/

http://haititeam2010.blogspot.com/

This following site is a friend of a friend so Jon and I don’t know her directly, but she and her husband (newlywed!) recently moved to Port-au-Prince on DECEMBER 29th, 2009.

Here is part of their inspiring bio:

Friends,

We are moving to Haiti! After today we’ve shared our news with both employers, so at long last we’re  ready to share with everyone!

So here’s the story – Ben and I are moving to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on December 29, 2009.

Why?
Jesus said, “God’s spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free, To announce, ‘This is God’s year to act’.”
– Luke 4

Jesus said these words in his hometown to announce the beginning of his ministry. It’s become our theme verse too as we prepare for Haiti. As Jesus-followers, we just want to imitate Him. Love like He loved. Meet needs like He did. We’ve been hearing a specific call to serve overseas for some months and have been praying about it ever since.

http://www.benandkatieinhaiti.com/2009/11/launch.html

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