Make + Listen

(Image Credit: Food52)


Over the weekend I hosted a little mom's night out for the ladies of our homeschool community. I made this Olive Oil Cake and boy, was it ever delicious! It was very easy to make and I love the taste of orange. Orange rind and some orange liqueur make this a lovely treat along side some coffee or tea.


 I was introduced to Ellie Holcomb by Emily of Chatting at the Sky and immediately fell in love with her song writing. I don't listen to very many "Christian artists" because there's not many I like. Besides my staples of Brooke Fraser, JJ Heller, and Sara Groves, there's not many whose lyrics and style I enjoy. If you click over to Holcomb's site, you can preview a good many of her songs in their entirety. I particularly enjoyed "Marvelous Light," "The Valley," and "Anchor of Hope."

What have you been making and listening to recently?

Linking up with Dawn today.

Andrew | Newborn Session

Baby Andrew's session almost had to be postponed due to the winter weather that blew in, but I braved the snow and was so glad I did! Although Andrew was probably the most awake baby I've ever photographed, thankfully, he was a chill little guy. He just enjoyed contentedly being swaddled and looking all around him and out the window. Isn't he cute? Look at that little smile . . .


So cozy.



I think these two brothers are going to be great friends!




When I found out Kindred magazine's fifth issue had "Nest" as it's theme, my thoughts flew right away to a photograph I'd taken some years ago. I had taken the image to illustrate this quote from Joan Walsh Anglund:

Thoughts, rest your wings. Here is a hollow of silence, a nest of stillness, in which to hatch your dreams.


I was so excited when the photograph was accepted to grace the inside cover of the Winter 2014 issue!

The creator of Kindred is Amanda, of The Habit of Being. I have long followed her lovely blog. I count her as a mentor of sorts, even though she is far away and we've never met. As a homeschooling mama of five who also loves words and photography, I admire how she has followed her dreams to create Kindred.

She describes this publication on her website: "At Kindred we believe in the power of story to bring people together. We believe stories are written to be shared, to change people, to shape culture, to spark a desire to know and be known. It is in the creation and celebration of story in all its forms: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual that we celebrate home. In embracing the idea of home, we celebrate the messy, the meaningful, the people, and places we hold near and dear to our hearts." 2014-02-18_003

I was impressed with the high quality and beautiful design of this full-color publication. If you're interested in a creative publication that features original writing and photography/art, I suggest you order a copy to enjoy.


Strength to Rest

Beaufort-062“In repentance and rest you will be saved,In quietness and trust is your strength.” -Isaiah 30:15

I love how repentance is connected with rest.

When I repent I'm done with striving. I admit my sins, failures, and inadequacies and there is freedom in that. I don't have to DO more or BE more than I am. My rest is found in Jesus and He is my salvation. He has done and is all that's needed. I can rest in that fact.

Resting in the truth of Jesus gives me a quietness of soul. As I trust Christ's work in my life I find strength. Strength to be who I am and who I'm becoming. Strength for each day's work. Strength for joy. Strength to love.

Strength to rest.

The Burning Coal


Smoke filled Isaiah's nostrils and burned his eyes. His footing almost slipped as the foundations of the temple shook.

He is overwhelmed with unworthiness. A feeling of uncleanness devastates Isaiah as he comes face to face with the holiness of God. He feels on the verge of death.

"Woe is me! For I am lost;" cries Isaiah falling to his knees. "For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!"

Immediately a seraph takes a pair of tons and from the altar pluck a burning coal. It smolders in the tongs as he flies towards Isaiah, six wings beating.

The coal touches Isaiah's lips with a purifying singe.

"Behold," the seraph speaks, "this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."

Strength enters Isaiah's limbs. An feeling of purity and love fills every part of his being.

The unearthly voice of the Lord speaks: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"

Isaiah's head, once hung low looks up. "Here am I! Send me."

And Isaiah receives his mission straight from the Lord himself. A mission to become a prophet to God's hard-hearted and rebellious people who will not care to hear Isaiah's message.


This passage has stirred me for as long as I can remember. Isaiah's response echoed something in my own heart. A desire to say yes to God's plans for me. To be willing to accept any mission God gives me.

Until I read this passage the other day, I've always focused on Isaiah's response, his obedience.

But the other day something else struck me.

The burning coal.

Prior to the touch of the burning coal, Isaiah was probably a crumpled heap on the ground as he spoke a prophetic woe against himself. And it is the same with me: when confronted with the holiness of God I realize just how dirty I am. And that is an important place to be. For that is when I'm in position to receive the burning coal of God's grace; when I realize I need God.

Thankfully, God never leaves me in a crumpled heap on the floor. But once I finally see what I truly am, that is when grace rushes in.

The burning coal is the remedy of God's grace. It purifies and strengthens. It is plucked from the altar where so many animal sacrifices had been burned and consumed. "Through his seraph, . . . God declares the remedy for Isaiah's sin to be sufficient and instantly effective. Now Isaiah is qualified to proclaim the only hope of the world--the overruling grace of God."*

The burning coal represents Jesus, he is the remedy. On the altar of the cross he too was consumed. He took away my sin so I can be free to accept his gift of grace. And once received, God's grace changes me. I do not stand guilty after accepting it. It is the grace that must come first. It is the grace that gives the power to be able to say, Here am I. Send me. 

*ESV Study Bible note for Isaiah 6:6-7