“Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won't also cost you yours.”
~Rich Mullins

Jun 27, 2012

My head's in the clouds!!...well...almost....

As awful as the heat and humidity are right now, there is something that I L.O.V.E. about this time of year. It's called "clouds." Arizona is known for its sunsets, so it sounds super cliche, but wow.

This evening, Jessie and I went bike riding while my mom and a friend drove their horses. The sky was a perfect painting of huge dramatic clouds of gold, red, purple, pink, blue, yellow....All I could think about was, "Man, God sure must have fun creating clouds."

I mean, honestly, can you imagine? God must really enjoy it! "Let's see...here's a shade of purple they've never seen before here in Arizona...how  'bout I put that on those  kind of clouds. Ah, and this pink..." How awesome to be the Divine Artist!!!

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.  
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. 
In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.  
His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." 
Psalm 19:1-6

Last night's sunset was so amazing that I ran out with my camera and took some pictures. You know you really love photography when you're down on your knees in the irrigation trying to get the "perfect shot." :) I'll post those pictures later.

Jun 26, 2012

The Blood of Christ

My dad is really good about getting "Days of Praise" from ICR and keeping them scattered around the house. They are these great little daily devotionals put out by ICR and they are just really, really good. There are often things I've never thought of or need to be reminded of.

I really enjoyed today's devotional.

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Revelation 12:11)
This verse is the last reference in the Bible to the shed blood of the Christ, and it is shown as the overcoming blood, enabling believers to withstand the deceptions and accusations of Satan.

There are at least 43 references to the blood of Christ in the New Testament, all testifying to its great importance in the salvation and daily life of the believer.

It is spoken of as

~ "Innocent blood" - Judas said, I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” Matt. 27:4 

~ "Precious blood" - "but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:19

~ "Cleansing blood" -  "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

~ "Washing blood" -  "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood..." Revelation 1:5

~ "Purchasing blood" - "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" Acts 20:28

~ "Redeeming blood" - "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" Eph. 1:7 

~ "Justifying blood" - "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." Romans 5:9

~ "Peacemaking blood" - "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Colossians 1:20

~ "Sanctifying blood" - "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." Hebrews 13:12

~ "Blood of the new covenant" - "This is my blood of the new testament |same as 'covenant'|, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" Matthew 26:28

What an amazing thing His blood is!!

Jun 22, 2012


It's taken us a while, but we finally picked out a name for Treasure's little colt!

I Am A Secret Weapon...barn name "Ruger."

We have a tradition...whenever we have a new baby born here, we have to get a picture of me holding it!!

I am so  in love with him!!!!!!!!!! And so glad we finally have a cool name :)

Jun 18, 2012

Bike Riding Mishap

How do you know if you're cut out to be a bike rider or not?? I'm not exactly sure...but I am sure that if you go to stop suddenly and only hit your front brakes...you're not meant to be one.

Jessie and I have taken to bike riding for exercise lately, but Jessie wasn't able to go tonight. So instead, Mom and I went. We were having a great time, buzzing along; sun was going down so it wasn't too hot.... But as we turned onto the main road to head home, we had to slow down to let a car turn.

And tragedy struck.

I hardly ever ride a bike - I much prefer a good walk/jog to a bike ride. As a result of that, I am not comfortable on a bike and don't really know how to work one.

Sooooo I went to slow down and only squeezed with my left hand.

I've ridden a bucking horse and stayed on just fine, but I couldn't handle that bucking bike.

Right over the handlebars onto the pavement I flew. And all right in the headlights of the turning car. Ouch. Ouch to my body and ouch to my dignity.

I moaned and groaned my way home, my whole body covered in bruises and scrapes. My elbow is bloody, my knees are bruised, my hands are jarred.

Found out that basketball shorts don't hold their own against pavement very well.......

I'm just glad my face is okay!!!

Jun 16, 2012

In which we have a baby horse, fix a flat tire, and go to Shooter's World

The past week has been very, very eventful! It started on Monday with the birth of our newest baby horse!! Treasure finally decided to let us meet her colt, and he is a beauty.

But then on Thursday, he started having troubles, and we were almost sure he had a ruptured bladder. So we packed him up and headed off to Chaparral (vet hospital) fully prepared for a very expensive surgery. Lots of friends were praying, and to our delight, the vet could find nothing wrong. She watched him, and said, "Yep, from what I'm seeing, he should definitely have a ruptured bladder." When she ultra sounded him and tested his blood level for high potassium, nothing showed up.

The vets all loved him!!
 She decided not to take him in to surgery and we left home..very grateful to God!!!

He weighed in at 30 lbs on their dog scale :)

 We left the vet’s around 1:30 PM – right in the middle of the hottest part of the day. As we’re driving down a very desolate part of the highway in the charming 104 degree heat, to our horror, we hear a huge bang from the back of the trailer and look back to see shreds of tire go flying into the air.

Surrounding us was flat, open, hot desert, but, providentially, the only overpass in miles was right in front of us. We were able to pull off in the shade and change the tire without worrying about overheating the horses, or ourselves!!! Amazing!! 

I asked, “Does anyone know how to change a flat trailer tire?” Mom looked at me, I looked at Jessie, Jessie looked at Mom..... “Nope.”
My face is spelling sheer determination.

So, we called my dad, got the general idea, and set to work. About 15 minutes later, we were hot, sweaty, tired, but triumphant!! We headed for home with no more catastrophes or sudden occurrences. God was so totally watching out for us that day. First in healing our little colt, then in bringing us shade for our flat tire!!

Jessie & I....yes, we ended up as dirty as the tire :)
On Friday, we went with some awesome friends to Shooter's World as a father's day gift for my dad and Mr. R. 

 None of us girls had ever been to an indoor shooting range, and had fun with the ear protection, eye protection, and more!

Jessie & I

Anna: "What is their problem??"
Noah ... and my dad....

David :) Camera wars as usual!

Anna shooting....

David giving me a lecture before he lets me use his gun LOL

Me shooting David's gun....I love it!!!
Mr. R
David giving my Mom a lecture before he lets her shoot his gun. LOL

My mom shooting David's gun. I LOVE this picture!!!

They had these targets that had a game mapped out on them that you had to take turns seeing who could shoot it closest. Anna, Noah, David, and I played it. Not very successfully :) (I don't know why I'm making such a ridiculous face...but I thought it was hilarious. Jessie says I look like a frog. haha)

Mrs. R shooting!

Me testing David's shooting skills :) I would call out a number on this target and he would have to shoot as soon as I called out the number. Tough stuff.

See that big hole in the bottom of the number 3? That is at least 6 rounds from David shooting my dad's .380! Impressive!

Oxymoron....the "do not shoot" sign is riddled in bullet holes!
It was a fun evening!!

Jun 12, 2012

Surfing...Arizona style!!

This is how we beat the heat here in Arizona....... (IMHO, this is the BEST video ever!!!!!!!)

Smuggling theology

"Any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people's minds under the cover of fiction without their knowing it." C. S. Lewis

A writer can really use this to their advantage. And as readers, we need to be careful of this. People are so eager to be entertained that they will often easily read a theological book if it's hidden under the guise of fiction. They will do that much more easily than they will pick up a 5 inch thick, 20 lb, scary looking "book of theology."

(BTW, I did a new photo shoot yesterday!!! Check out the rest of the pictures on my photography blog at A True Focus. This is one of my favorite shoots so far!)

Jun 8, 2012

Puppies, Chickens, and other random farm things

This post is just going to be a little bit of catch up on our life of late. Most of it has to do with animals, of course!

Right now, we have two of the most adorable litters of puppies ever!!! The first is from my little Papillon, Joy, and the second is from our huge Lab, Dandy. And the most exciting thing of all is that we're keeping a pup from each litter!!!

This is Lexy, our new little Papillon girl!!

And her brother, Turbo. He is going to live with the lady who is #1 in the nation in Senior Pro Barrel Racing!! Pretty cool!

Our new Lab girlie...Annie. She is going to be one big girl.

And the other Lab pup, Finley.

Lately, we have had quite the boom in our Serama chicken breeding program. Anna and Jessie (and recently, my mom) have lots of these little guys and breed and sell them extremely successfully. I am really not into chickens, but I love this rooster.

His name is Chico, and he is in love with my mom. If she goes to the end of the pasture, he will follow her all the way down and back, running as hard as he can. He is super cute and I love this picture of him that I got yesterday.

Here's some of his babies

 The other night, my dad took me out to the mountain range by our house to try and get a picture of the moon rising over the hills. He had seen it the night before as he was coming back from his mountain bike ride that he does out there, and said it would make a really neat shot. So of we traipsed to try and get a cool picture.

Well, we figured out that the moon does NOT come up anywhere around the same time each night! We waited for over an hour after he had seen it the night before, and no moon. It didn't come up until about an hour and a half later.

The upside of it was that we got to see a whole bunch of deer!!!!

Up in the mountains looking out towards the city.

Just a neat picture I got in the rear view mirror...I'd never tried a rear view mirror shot before, and I thought it was pretty cool.

I have saved the best for last....

Meet Tex!!!!!

The new guardian of our herd. Looks quite ferocious, huh??

He should come on Sunday from some great friends in Colorado!! We are getting him to sadly replace our wonderful Marshall (a.k.a. Dude) who is really hurting from hip dysplasia and will have to be put down soon. He has been such an amazing and wonderful dog, and we are just hoping that Tex will be like him.

Me = EXCITED!!!!!

Tex is closely related to this gorgeous doggie, Dixie, who belongs to our "adopted" family.

This is a really, really gorgeously stunning video that my aunt sent me. These are Fresians that are actually from Fresian, The Netherlands and it just gives me chills to watch these horses.

We are still waiting on that silly mare to have her baby. She is now 11 days overdue, and we are going totally crazy. C'mon Treasure!!!!

Does anyone have any fun plans for the summer? We are just going to be hanging out here taking care of animals and turning misters on and off :)

I hope to take a couple online photography classes now that I'm done with school and have some more time. I also have my senior recital coming up, so I'm up to my eyeballs in music to get ready....a Bach Prelude & Fugue, two different Chopin pieces (the Fantasie-Impromptu, and a Nocture), two different Beethoven sonata movements, two different Brahms pieces (a Rhapsody and an Intermezzo), Etincelles by Mozkowski, Hoe-Down by Copland.....you get the idea :P

We're still loving our worldview curriculum, and are just getting into the American Revolution. Very, very interesting stuff. How many of you have read the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers?? What do you think?? Should America have a standing army?? I'm really excited to dive into this.

Ta ta for now!!!

Jun 7, 2012

Maybe there *is* still hope for America?!?!?

This just made my day.....

I don't know if any of you awesome blog people are from Wisconsin, but if you are, you GO!!!

"In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate -- look to his character." --Noah Webster


"The year-long saga of the Wisconsin recall is, at long last, over, and Scott Walker is still standing. ... Walker's enemies did everything but release the kraken. And yet, he won. ... Walker won because his reform program is popular, and because it is working. ... Walker won because he represented the taxpayer, while his opponent represented the groups whose livelihoods depend on bilking the taxpayer. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett served as less of an alternative than a vessel for Big Labor's unmoored wrath. ... And, most of all, Scott Walker saved his job by being the adult in the room. While Democrats in Washington seem to be relying on their belief that the United States government is 'too big to fail' to justify a program of taxing and spending our way out of debt, the states don't have such a luxury. And so, across the country, in states red, blue, and purple, they have turned to men like Scott Walker -- and Chris Christie, and Mitch Daniels, and others -- to close structural deficits, stabilize out-of-control spending, and break the death embrace between Big Labor and Big Government. In taking this toxic partnership head on, in a state with a rich progressive history no less, Walker became its biggest target. His enemies spent a year and a half preparing to take their best shot at him. And a combined total of $100 million or so later, they missed. They missed because voters are starting to understand that governing through crisis requires someone willing to make unpopular choices, stand up to entrenched interests, and hold the line against loud and determined opposition. Quite simply, Wisconsin voters realized that if they no longer had Scott Walker, they would have to invent him." --National Review

"[T]he political left were trying to demonstrate that power and privileges once granted are eternal. They wanted to run Mr. Walker out of Madison as an object lesson that trying to limit collective bargaining and mandatory dues collection for government unions will end your political career. ... Public unions are never going to cede their dominance over taxpayers without a fight. And it's worth recalling how brutally they fought. They occupied the state capital for weeks. They harassed GOP lawmakers and their families, tried to recall state Senators and defeat a conservative Supreme Court judge, while Democratic lawmakers abdicated their legislative duty by fleeing the state. They lost in the end because Mr. Walker and Republicans rode out the storm, passed their reforms, and are now able to show Wisconsin voters the beneficial results. The longer-term impact of Mr. Walker's vindication will depend on the lesson other political leaders take from it." --The Wall Street Journal

"Scott Walker never lacked courage. It took steely determination not to buckle in the face of militant unions who 'occupied' the stately Wisconsin capitol in Madison when Walker's reforms were first voted on. For two years, leftists have been howling. One of their speakers at a get out the (union) vote rally actually compared Scott Walker's reforms to the 9/11 attacks on our country. And this is the crowd that is forever lecturing us on civility." --columnist Ken Blackwell

A structural budget deficit of $3.6 billion has been turned to a $425 million surplus without raising taxes, gutting programs, or laying off large numbers of public employees.  Townships, cities, counties, and school boards have saved well over $1 billion - and counting - of taxpayer money in less than a year since Act 10 went into effect; property taxes actually declined state-wide for the first time this century. Wisconsin’s business climate has risen from the bottom of the rankings to 20th in just two years, an historic turnaround.  Employers’ right track/wrong track surveys have gone from 90% wrong in 2010 to 90% right in 2012.  Tens of thousands of jobs have already been added in a rejuvenated private sector and another 30,000 openings exist due to a shortage of qualified candidates.  Did you catch that?  We went from a budget deficit to a deficit of skilled workers for high-paying jobs.   ---- Dr. Tim from Moment of Clarity

Jun 5, 2012


Weelll...it's now official! I'm graduated!!

And lately, I've been thinking about how fast time goes by. I know, it sounds a bit nostalgic, but the older I get, the more I realize how true it is that "man's life is but a vapor." 

The things that we get excited about and wait for so eagerly quickly become just a thing of the past. Just a memory. 

I think of last summer...we were waiting and waiting for our trip to Oklahoma last September, and it felt like September was an eternity away. Now it's been just over 8 months since that trip! 

In a few months, I'll turn 19, and then next year, I won't be a teenager anymore!! I remember so well my 13th birthday with everyone asking "How does it feel to be a teenager now?" 

We just have to remember to really enjoy whatever stage of life we're in. Because it'll be gone so fast, and we may just find that we want it back. I really like Trace Adkins' song "You're Gonna Miss This." It's just really, really true.

So anyways!!! *snapping out of whimsical daydream*

GRADUATION!!! It was wonderful! And my mom got to come! YAY!! Some awesome friends stayed here (huge thank you to David and Mrs R!!!!!) and watched our pregnant mare so that Mom could go. My grandparents were also able to come, and it was just a very special time.

Cathi Herrod (President of Center for Arizona Policy) gave the commencement address and did a wonderful job of it! It was a very appropriate speech with a heavy dose of Scripture. And the neat thing was that she is a personal friend of my grandparents, so they introduced me to her after the ceremony and we got to talk for a couple minutes!

The senior address was given by the graduate who won the speech contest...and that winner was the son of the pastor of our sister church, and long-time friend Gabriel Hudelson (check out his blog at www.allauthority.blogspot.com) As was to be expected, Gabe's speech was fantastic!!! We got the first minute or so on video, so I might try to post that at some point....

Here are pictures!
All the grads lined up. I'm somewhere in the third row back on the far side.


Cathi Herrod

A very fuzzy picture taken of the screen while I was getting my diploma...with Cathi Herrod.  You're going to have to please ignore how soft some of these pictures are. We had a technical mishap when the big flash ran out of batteries and the sister supposed to bring new ones forgot, and then the sister manning the camera didn't know how to work it, and it was very dark in there, and...and....and...there's not a lot of clear pictures :)

Another very fuzzy picture of me walking off of the stage


Me & Jessie

Me & Anna

Me & Jessie (again)

Me with my awesome Mom!!!!

2012!! I gotta say, those caps are terrible. They are super hard to make stay one, and they are so awkward and awful looking that it's impossible to make them anywhere close to attractive. Oh well, tradition, I guess.

Talking to friends afterwards

Friends leaving.....


(left to right) My dad, two friends from our sister church, Gabe, ??, our pastor, and another man from our sister church.

Gabe with his dad and little brother, Micah

The very sophisticated and uproariously funny Moriah (Gabe's younger sister)

And these are just random pics from afterwards.

The city at night can be fun for pictures.....unless you have a camera that gets grumpy after you put your ISO any higher than about 800.

On Saturday, my Aunt Lisa (mom's sister) and Uncle Jerry drove up from Tucson to spend the day with us. My aunt is an amazing cake decorator, and made me this beautiful cake....

My mom's family has an awesome sense of humor. While Aunt Lisa was decorating the cake, the rest of us sat around and gave "helpful" comments, and whoever came up with the dumbest comment would get a piece of the extra chocolate. We were in absolute stitches.

Finished product!!!! Isn't she amazing?!?! I mean, she could do this professionally!!

Me laughing at my grandma before blowing out candles!

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend filled with wonderful friends and family and lots of fun. It blows me away how supportive and encouraging people have been of me!!! I love you all!!!!! God has blessed me with an amazing family and very supportive friends. 

Thank you everyone!!!!

In Him!