Tag Archives: easter

Hand Made Smocked Clothes and Gowns for Preemie or Premature Babies

Hand Made Smocked Preemie Premature Clothes

This is slightly off-topic for my blog (hence my need and reason for having a Sidenotes Category), but well worth some publicity to lovingly brag on my wife, Deborah. In case you didn’t know, Deborah is about the best seamstress I know (just check out her blog or her custom made items on the Etsy store), and her work is in the category of heirloom clothes, depending on the particular project she’s working on. She has made, and is making, everything from Easter (see Easter Order) and Christmas gowns (see here), to fun football dresses (here) babies and girls can wear to any worthy SEC game, though she doesn’t discriminate against any school. If you are looking for an incredible dress or gown, get in touch with Deborah for details.

All of this is custom made to order per each individual, and all is hand made one individual stitch at a time. The most amazing work I’ve seen come out of her sewing room lately are these preemie clothes I photographed above. While each ministry is different, specifically because God has gifted each one of us in totally unique ways, this work is over the top awesome. Deborah started making these hand-made smocked (the crinkled stuff around the chest area for the guys reading this post) preemie gowns and clothes for parents who would normally never get the honor of having something special for their own child.

You can’t tell from this photo, but these clothes are teeny-tiny. Deborah even included one for a boy, which most of the time parents never have any clothes for at all. It is just amazing to me to think that somewhere, some as of yet unknown parents, are going to be presented with one of these gowns to put on their baby, probably during a very difficult time in their own lives. For parents to be able to receive something like this (for free), of this quality, hopefully says to them, God loves you, and He loves your child as well, no matter what happens.

This set of preemie clothes was just shipped this week to a large hospital in Miami where the need far exceeded the supply. If you are at all interested in helping with this type of ministry work I am sure Deborah would be more than happy to talk to you about it. For today, it is my Photo of the Day, and quite a challenging photo to take at that.

Blessed Are Those Who Believe Without Seeing :: Easter Sunrise

Easter Sunrise Service at Cornerstone Church

Easter Sunrise Service at Cornerstone Church

This morning we started off with an incredible sunrise service, of course just at the time the sun came up over the trees. It really was something to see. God’s creation displayed for all to see while we worship our risen Savior. That is my photo of the day today (and my P365 photo as well [Day 132]), looking right into the sunrise, glorious. I took a bunch of shots this morning, but I love the shot of Deborah and Bart with the sunrise in the background, and still a little cool for an outside service.

Today of course is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are several accounts on the resurrection in Scripture, the classic Synoptic Gospels account like Matthew 28 and Luke 24, (see Why do You Seek the Living Among the Dead? but in John 20, Jesus makes two statements that I find really amazing. The first, in John 20:16, he calls Mary, by name, showing that after the resurrection, Jesus knows us, by name. The second is when Jesus was talking to Thomas and he says in John 20:29 “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Both of those statements show God’s care for those of us who are celebrating the resurrection in 2012.

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross :: Photos

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Last night was our Good Friday service, one that contained a combination of worship and examining confession at the foot of the cross. It’s hard to put into words what that means, and Brian said it best when he told everyone that the cross speaks for itself, and it does. There really aren’t words that are sufficient enough to describe the power of the cross and what Christ did on that day. So, in keeping with words aren’t needed, I’ll let the photos here speak for themselves as well, which is one of the reasons I love photography as much as I do.

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

Good Friday Confessions at the Cross

A Good Friday Feet on the Farm with John Deere

Friday Feet on the John Deere Tractor

This is a very late version of Friday Feet today, but it’s technically still Friday. This late post is because We had an incredible, very humbling, Good Friday service today-tonight, (a post which will have to wait until tomorrow when I can get to the images). After finishing up a book review for Liberty this morning, my Friday-day-off became a mow as much grass as can be mowed in one afternoon. That’s not as bad as it sounds, I actually like getting out on the tractor, it gives me an escape of sorts to be able to listen to a book or something like that.

I know many people who do their thinking while they run, or ride, but I do mine while I’m on the tractor. It takes just about as long (that’s a good thing) to ride 30-40 miles, or run 10-15 miles, as it does to mow acres of grass. All that and I have less of a chance to get run over by a passing car too. It’s hard not to think about Holy Week, and the significance of it all, but I’ll elaborate on tonight’s service in the next post.

For now, the grass is green and growing fast, and the garden is about to be washed in purple. Our purple Iris’ (photo below), are about to bloom surrounding our red Double Knockout Roses. You may not look for the symbolic among creation, but I do, and I love the fact that we have purple flowers about to bloom, the day before Easter, surrounding blood red roses… royalty of a King, surrounded by the blood shed for me and you, all displayed in a tiny little flower garden in south Alabama. The larger version taking place on Auburn’s campus is seen just below, but then again, all of creation proclaims the Glory of God (Romans 1:20 and others).

Purple Iris About to Bloom

Azaleas on Auburn University Campus

Cutting the Pasture on the John Deere Tractor

Lent Has Brought Us To This Maundy Thursday Prayer

Maundy Thursday Chalkboard Prayer Vigil

Every year, on this day, Maundy Thursday, we come to the Lord in prayer, as Jesus did with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. On that night, Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray… because our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:36-46), and then Jesus was betrayed by one of his own inner circle friends. Every year at our church is slightly different, but each year, this evening is set aside for prayer, the Lord’s supper, and meditation on what our Lord went through on Good Friday. I love that image above from last year (see also Messages from the Heart to God in Chalk Board Prayers :: Photos) where everyone wrote their prayers in chalk as they moved through the night.

I looked back over and read some of my journal entries from that night a few years ago, and it’s amazing what that great spiritual discipline of meditation can do for the soul.  In my entry from 2009 I wrote this sentence after being there for an hour or so.

It is almost impossible to wrap your mind around what everything here tonight represents in history. I understand nothing, but I love what I don’t understand.

There are only a few more days of Lent for 2012, today being Day 44 (if you count Sunday’s), and our reading today came from the Book of Common Prayer (only $2.99 on Kindle by the way). Something I don’t get a chance to read all that often, but love its wisdom.

Almighty God, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May that be the prayer for today.

Most Beautiful Dogwood Blooms of any Recent Spring in Auburn

Dogwood Flower Bloom in Spring

OK, so this will probably be the last post of the Spring showing our Dogwood bloom or our Wisteria, but I just love the colors so today it’s my Photo of the Day and my P365 :2012 photo [Day 114]. I don’t know if it’s all the rain we got over the winter or that I’m just another year older, but this Spring has been the most beautiful I can remember in a long time. The Dogwood blooms around Auburn were, and still are spectacular this year. The one pictured above is from our yard and is just screaming of the beauty of creation.

This photo was taken handheld, and is seen basically straight out of my Nikon D7000 camera body, with a little added saturation processing from Adobe Lightroom. You can see the full exif data from over on my Flickr site. The background blur comes from the lens I was using, a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G version (a very fast and inexpensive prime lens), shot almost wide open (i.e. f/1.4) so the depth of field was very shallow. The purple and green, two incredible contrasting colors for a white flower, come from our purple Wisteria blooms and the trees in the background. This wouldn’t necessarily be considered macro photography (see my previous examples here), but it was shot at the lens’ minimum focal distance.

Hope you have been able to get out and smell the roses this Spring, even if they are in the form of Wisteria and Dogwood blooms.

Ash Wednesday Breaking Routines with a Lenten Reader

It’s already that time of year, Lent is here. Today is Ash Wednesday (see also history), marking the beginning of the season of Lent, which then takes us to the Passion and into Easter. There are many things our church does that I really like and producing a Lenten Reader for the past few years is one of them. It is such a great tool, especially how we use it in our particular church, where it ties each day of the week to the message being taught on Sunday.

If your church doesn’t put out a Lenten Reader there are plenty of other options, YouVersion has two great Lenten Reader plans, Lent For Everyone and 40 Days of Lent. A Lenten reader is more than just a daily devotional, it is intended to be a meditation, a call, to pull us out of our daily routine and refocus our lives back to Christ and His sacrifice. Lent is more than a time of self-denial, it is a time we can use to get back to the spiritual disciplines like worship, confession, meditation, fasting, study, and prayer.

In our culture of busyness to excess, these disciplines become the most expendable. When time is short, these are either the first to go, or denied their proper place at all, and a Lenten Reader is a great way to pull ourselves back into the fold. Our American culture seems to have no problem celebrating the over indulgence of Fat-Tuesday, (see a great post by Beeson titled, Fat Tuesday And We’re Running Out of Options) but there is rarely a mention of the ashes of repentance on Wednesday. Ultimately, even though the world may not take notice, we do, and we look through this season of Lent, and the next 47 days, to celebrating the greatest event even known to history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter Sunday Morning at Cornerstone 2011 :: Photos

So today was finally the day we have been leading up to since Ash Wednesday, more than 40 days ago, Easter Sunday. This is the great day on the Christian calendar where we celebrate Christ as the risen savior and Lord over all creation. It was an exhausting day, but a wonderful day filled full of Christ’s redeeming work. It is always a fantastic site to see so many people gathering together that perhaps normally wouldn’t even know each other except for the common bond of Jesus.

Easter Sunday is always an extremely busy day of course and today was no exception. But because Easter is one of those days on the calendar where many people come to church, perhaps out of a mental obligation to the date on the calendar (or any number of other reasons), it’s also a day where staff and volunteers in the church are on their game. Not out of sense of trying to paint a pretty picture of life, but out of an attempt to fulfill the great commission and point people towards the cross and away from themselves. I only wish many of them could have also shared in the days leading up to Easter as well since it is all part of the story of God’s work.

Our sunrise service for the first time in several years was almost completely covered by clouds, but it wasn’t freezing outside, which was nice. There was some sun as you can see from the shots below, but it didn’t really matter, the important part was the celebration. I hope this season of lent has been meaningful to you and your family. Below are some of the photos from this morning, you can see the full gallery of the whole weekend on the Holy Week 2011 gallery.

Messages from the Heart to God in Chalk Board Prayers :: Photos

From my previous post you might have seen some of the photos from our Maundy Thursday prayer vigil. These photos here on this post are the images that were left off that post, because until the morning of Good Friday, they were incomplete. Along side our different I AM statement boards were some pieces of chalk where people could write anything that came to their heart as they went through their time of meditation. They ended up being giant pages in a book of prayers from a collective body of believers, and to me, one of the most powerful components of the last few days.

Scripture tells us that what comes from our mouth (or fingers in the way of a pen, keyboard, cell phone, text messages) originates in the heart and that’s why I love what these pages represent. Untarnished by consumerism or commercialism, unfiltered by a greater governing body, just raw messages from the heart, to the fingertips of believers, to the all-knowing God of creation. To see all the images from Holy Week so far you can visit my Holy Week 2011 gallery on Flickr.

The Cornerstone Maundy Thursday Pray Vigil 2011 :: Photos

Last night from 8pm to 8am (that’s Maundy Thursday from 8pm until today, Good Friday at 8am) our church, Cornerstone, had its annual observation of what Jesus and his disciples did on that Thursday night as explained in the Gospels. Our observations follow that tradition with communion, feet washing, and then an open area for prayer and Christian meditation similar to what Jesus and his disciples did in the garden of Gethsemane.

It is actually hard to explain. I was trying to find words, and obviously some photos, to explain the night to someone who wasn’t able to be there in person, but nothing I can think of gives an adequate representation of the night, and the experience I believe is different for each individual who moves through the worship setting. Each year I come expecting, expecting something specific, some preconceived notions of what the night will bring, and each year those are basically thrown out the window by the time I get in the car to come home. Last night was no different. While I didn’t spend as much time in the “garden” area last night, I did experience something new as a believe, and I had the privilege of helping others come into the worship experience who had never been here before.

Something interesting happens when we as believers take a moment to set aside time to spend with God without distractions, without cell phones beeping, without people running about. Our lives are so busy, so hurried from one thing to another that we rarely have time realistically observe Psalm 46:10, to just “be still and know He is God”. That is what last night typically tries to achieve. It isn’t something that just pops out of the air, it takes a lot of preparation, and a willing spirit.

Below are a few photos of what was the main part of the room. The photo above is Rusty preparing to serve communion and out of the photo behind me is a foot washing station. After communion people were able to proceed into the main area through the garden around the “I AM” statements of Christ where they could read scripture, contemplate on information about each area, write on an adjacent board with chalk, feel the grass of the garden, or just sit and pray.

Tonight, on Good Friday, we turn our eyes towards the cross and the amazing sacrifice Jesus made by dying for the sins of the world. It’s all connected, all part of the same story, part of my story.