Monday, March 25, 2013

Engagement picture ideas

This post sponsored by: Mrs. Maid Of Honor!  
Be sure to head on over to for some no-nonsense wedding planning inspiration, tips and resources!
 It looks like everyone's favorite blog post is on the engagement picture ideas I put together in my last engagement pictures post.  So, I thought I would post some more cute ideas I have seen recently.

{ photo from Benfield Photography }

How cute is that picture!  This is obviously a wedding day picture, but the pose could go for either.  

{ photo from ?}

I really like this pose for some reason.  Maybe because it is the girl admiring the guy, when usually the poses are the other way around.  It's fresh.

{ Photo from Andria Lindquist's blog }

I love that this picture showcases the ring and they are smiling at each other.  Perfect hand placement.

{ Photo from Style Me Pretty by StudioFoto }

Fun engagement pictures are always endearing.  Its neat to see their personalities in the photos.

{ photo from }

It's not very often you see engagement pictures utilizing snow.  I love it!

{ photo from Julie Parker Photography }

This would be such a cute save the date!  Plus it would be so easy to make, you just have to get some flowers and shape them into a heart!

I love when engagement pictures show cool parts of the city where they live/met/are getting married!  I like that they have sunglasses on too! 

{ photo from  tumblr }

Just plain sweet.  

{ photo from google }

{ photo from tumbr }

I cannot get enough of this picture!! So adorable!  It's a sweet intimate pose without being sexual.

{ photo from }

The background and filter on this photo is fantastic!

{ photo from tumblr }

You can never go wrong with some in the moment pictures.  Smiles and having fun always make good photos!

Be sure and comment with links or photos of your favorite engagement picture ideas!  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nehemiah 6

Nehemiah 6
   Wow.  Is this chapter relatable or what?!  The constant plotting and lies of the enemies are one thing that all believers can definitely relate to.  It's no new thing that the devil opposes the Lord's work and uses his own evil followers to carry out his plans.

     1 Corinthians 16:13:  "Be on guard; stand firm in your faith; be men of courage; be strong."

     Acts 20:28-31  "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spriit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on guard!"

     1 Peter 5:8  "Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

     1 John 3:8  "He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work."
                      >the Son of God came to destroy the work of the devil and He most certainly is doing just that!

     Ephesians 6:11-12  "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm."

   Nehemiah knew it was not wise to go to a meeting with his enemy, and besides, he was working on a hard project that the Lord had called him too.  Nehemiah may have been thinking, a days walk there and a days walk back from the land of his enemies would be dangerous and more than likely not accomplish peace.  He definitely made the right decision and followed the direction of the Lord because he soon found out they were devising plans to hurt him.  They were scheming to weaken the leadership of the Jews and slow down or stop the finishing of the wall.  Well, the Lord had other plans and he put a stop to their evil schemes and gave Nehemiah the faith and courage to stand his ground.

   Verse 5- Letters in those days were written on papyrus or leather parchment and then tied and sealed with clay before they were sent with the messenger.  The description of the "unsealed letter" lets us know that it was meant for public access.  This unsealed letter would no doubt start rumors and turn other against the Jews.

   Verse 6-  Boy, can't we relate here!  Have you ever had someone say something about you that was so absurdly false you couldn't believe it.  That is just like this circumstance.  Nehemiah didn't even try to explain the rumors because they were so far beyond the truth.  I love how modern day this statement seems: "Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head."  Can't you just hear someone saying that: "What are you talking about, you are just making stuff up."

   Verse 9-  Oh the power of prayer.  Nehemiah recognized what they were doing, and prayed against it.  Prayed against the evil schemes and the devil's work.  "Now strengthen my hands!"  I can picture him standing there with his elbows bent, palms facing up shaking his hand while shouting this aloud.  Amen, Nehemiah!  Amen!

   Verses 10-13-  There they go scheming again.  This time it was a pretty good plan.  Had Nehemiah not been on top of his game, had he not know exactly what the law states, had the Lord not given him wisdom he might have fallen for it.  With all good intentions he might have thought that message was truly from the Lord and that the Lord would protect him using the temple.
     >It's unknown why Nehemiah went to Shemaiah's house.  The text says Shemaiah was shut up or confined to his home, so he could have been pretending to be sick and in need of Nehemiah's prayers or he very well could have been acting scared and was hiding in his house from danger.  Either way Nehemiah saw right through the acting.  God's law stated it was a sin to enter the temple if you were not a priest.  He would have sinned if he had listened to Shemaiah, and in turn would have lost respect and discouraged the Jews.
     >Shemaiah may have been priest, which would add to the lure for Nehemiah.  If iI had been in that situation and Shemaiah was a priest and said those things to me- I would be quick to believe him.  Just like if a pastor in present time were to tell me something now, I would be quick to believe them.  That is why I have got to stay in the word.  I have got to know what my Lord says to me and commands of me.  I have got to be on guard for false teachers and distorted truths!

     2 Peter 2:1-3  "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them- bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.  Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."

     Proverbs 11:3 "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them."

  Verse 14- I am definitely someone that would want to take action and do something about what was going on with Nehemiah and all of the false things they had been saying.  I'm sure Nehemiah had desires to do the same thing, but he gave it to the Lord and continued his work.  He prayed the Lord would remember their evil deeds and would take action.  Nehemiah knew the work of Tobaih, Sanballat and the rest of the false prophets was not only against Nehemiah but against the Lord.  He knew the Lord would fight for him.

  Verses 15-16 - WOW.  The wall was completed in fifty-two days!  Thats incredible!  If I had been their enemy I would be afraid as well because it is evident the work was of the Lord!  I love when the Lord works miracles like that for His glory so that no one can deny!

  Verses 17-19- HA, there they go again trying to thwart the Lord's work.  Too bad our God is Lord of all and His will WILL BE DONE!  AMEN!

If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 6 then please feel free to leave a comment.  I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nehemiah 5

Nehemiah 5
     It can be a little hard to understand what exactly is going on in this chapter. Basically, the rich Jews were taking advantage of the poor Jews.  There was a famine in the land and the poor Jews could not afford to feed their families, especially since they were building the wall instead of planting crops.  If the poor Jews had homes they were selling them, if not they were selling their sons and daughters and/or borrowing money.  They were being taken advantage of in a cruel way and that is why they started their outcry and were complaining.  
   When Nehemiah is angry in verse 6, he is angry at the rich Jews for using this time of need as a get rich business opportunity.  They knew the poor people were desperate, so they were taking full advantage of that and charging high rates on loans.  This was a sin because the Lord made specific laws against charging interest to the poor in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

     Deuteronomy 23:19-20: "Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.  You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother Israelite, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess."

     Deuteronomy 24:10-13: "When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into his house to get what he is offering as a pledge.  Stay outside and let the man to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you.  If the man is poor, do not go to sleep with his pledge in your possession.  Return his cloak to him by sunset so that he may sleep in it.  Then he will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the Lord your God."

     Leviticus 25:35-37: "If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.  Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you.  You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit."

   Nehemiah and the other leaders had done everything they could to buy the Israelites back from the Gentiles.  So Nehemiah was rightfully angry when he heard the Israelites were enslaving their own brothers!
   Verse 9 struck a chord with me.  "What you are doing is not right.  Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?"  Where in my daily life am I slipping?  Where am I following my own desires and interests and not fearing the Lord?  Do I live with a healthy fear of the Lord?  I so often think of Him as my loving Father who fights for me and died for me on the cross and has abundant mercies everflowing, but I forget to fear Him.  He is the Almighty Lord of all creation.  Worthy of ALL praise and honor.  All His ways are correct.  His laws are just and righteous. He is a jealous God.  He will punish and our out His wrath on sin.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess He is Lord.  Of course these are joyous things, but it helps to remind myself that the Lord isn't a cute cuddly father-figure that listens to my woes and holds my hand.

     Psalm 111:10: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding.  To Him belongs eternal praise."

   Verses 14 -19 shed some more light on Nehemiah's caring spirit and his reverence to the Lord.  It was Persian custom for a governor to provide elegant meals to officials in his land as well as any visiting dignitaries.  Usually these meals were funded by taxing the people. (This tax was in addition to the already high taxes from the Persian government.)  Nehemiah knew the Israelites were poor and struggling to feed themselves, so he provided all these meals for more than a hundred and fifty people out of his own pocket.  Granted, he was more than likely a weathly man- because of his previous position with the King.  Also, because of the king's support Nehemiah may have received subsidies from the Persian capital to help fund the rebuilding of the wall.
   It would not have been wrong for Nehemiah to acquire land and food from the people, it was his pay as their governor.  So we can certainly respect and admire Nehemiah and the choices he made throughout his leadership.  Nehemiah loved his people and his humble leadership shows that.

If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 5 then please feel free to leave a comment.  I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah 4

Verses 1-3: Sanballat and Tobiah were probably governors of neighboring regions and had become rich and powerful by exercising control over Jerusalem and its inhabitants.  Therefore it would make sense that they were opposed to the Jews rebuilding the walls and Jerusalem becoming a powerful city again.  These verses show both the men and the army that was with them  doing everything they could to discourage the Jews.  Unfortunately for them, the king of Persia was supporting the rebuilding of the wall so they could not attack the Jews with their army.  Its obvious though that these men were enemies of God and His people and were serving the plans of the devil.
     >John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Verses 4-5: Nehemiah was coming to the Lord in prayer over the insults and discouragement and relying on God to take revenger rather than putting it in his own hands.  I can totally relate to asking the Lord to take his revenge on some evil, but is it ok to pray that God won't blot out and forgive their sings?  Praying that the Lord will forgive someone that has sinned against you in obviously not a normal reaction, but is it ok to pray that He won't?

Verse 6:  I LOVE that Nehemiah said the people worked with all their heart.  It is so special to hear words of encouragement from a leader about his people.
     >Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."
     >Ephesians 6:7 "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free."

Verses 7-8: Again Sanballat and Tobaih were angry with the Jews progress and had rallied up the Arabs, Ammonites and the men of Ashdod to plot evil together.
     >1 Peter 5:8 "Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
     >Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." 

Verse 9:  A great mesh of prayer and action.  They "prayed to our God" and then "posted a guard day and night to meet this threat."  They had faith the Lord was on their side and would protect them but also took physical actions to protect themselves.

Verses 10-12:  I can relate to the people of Judah on these verses.  It shows their faith wavering, their strength giving out and their fears creeping in.  I so often give in to my fears, or physical discomforts or discontented attitude.  I can be so quick to loose faith and I know I would have been tempted and struggled immensely like these featured Jews.  

Verses 13-14: Again we see Nehemiah as a great leader.  He didn't become angry with the people who were scared.  He didn't scold them for not having enough faith.  He did what he could to meet their concerns and then reminded them of truths and spoke encouragement.  " Don't be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." He prepared them for battle, whether or not it came for that. 
     >Psalm 14:6 "You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge."
     >Psalm 33:10 "The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. "
     >Job 5:12 "He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success."

Verses 16-23:  The workers were vulnerable so necessary steps were taken to relieve some of the stresses and fears of the people.  "Their precautions effectively diminished the threat of surprise attack.  Interestingly, the dual assignments of guard duty and working on the construction did more than provide protection.  It also gave some variety to the workers, resting them and improving their morale.  Militarily, of course, the alliance of leaders mentions in verse 7 could completely surround and overwhelm the Jews,  but the plotters knew Nehemiah had the support of the powerful Persian government, which they feared.  Of course, the greatest protection the Jews had was God Himself, in whom they were trusting." (Quest Study Bible notes)

If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 4 then please feel free to leave a comment.  I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Nehemiah 3

Nehemiah 3

   When I first read Nehemiah 3 I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure what I would blog about.  It seemed it was just a bunch of names and places that didn't really strike a cord to me.  However, after digging deeper and doing a little studying I found that there are some key points to note about this chapter, most of which are shining a light on Nehemiah's great leadership skills.
   141 years had gone by since the fall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah had to be a  great motivator to get the Jews to start rebuilding again after years of devastation and discouragement.  We only get a small glimpse into Nehemiah's motivating speech in Nehemiah 2:17-18, but I'm sure that many more words were spoken.  
   It is also a huge thing to note about this chapter how much coordination it would take to make all of this happen!  There are soooo many different people working on the wall, and all of which are working on different sections.  It baffles me the amount of coordination it would take to 1. train everyone on what to do and how to do it 2. choose who would work on what sections and 3. make the individual parts of the walls run together smoothly when they were connected.
   My favorite thing to note about this chapter is that Nehemiah took the time to notice who was working on rebuilding the wall, write their names down and acknowledge credit towards those individuals.  He even gave credit to Shallum's daughters in verse 12, which wasn't necessarily the custom to do so.  But even more importantly, Nehemiah tells us that they were normal everyday people: priests, perfumes makers, goldsmiths, guards, rulers, and merchants.  They were not skilled wall builders and all of the building they did was in addition to their everyday job.  These men and women served their Lord with hard labor and in turn the Lord blessed them with the skills and strength they needed in order to be successful.

If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 3 then please feel free to leave a comment.  I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon

Monday, March 4, 2013

Curtain Rod Picture Hanger

 (Please excuse the bad picture quality; Its hard to take good pictures in a hallway, haha)

   This is one of my absolute favorite things I have done to decorate our house. I saw the idea on pinterest and just knew it was perfect for the blank wall in our hallway.  Even more special is that the curtain rod was used as part of our arbor at our wedding, so its not just any ol' curtain rod.  Plus, I made the canvas in the middle- so this whole project really is crafted by me:)  Can't say that about too many things!
   Here's how I did it:
   1. I chose how long I wanted the curtain rod to be and then decided how many pictures would fit onto it.  5 fit perfectly for my length.  I knew I wanted the middle canvas as part of the decoration because its my favorite picture of Wil and I, so I needed to get 4 other pictures and frames.
   2. Then I went to walmart and got 4 cheap matching frames.  (I think I paid $1 each for them.) I wanted all of my frames to be the same, but you could always use frames that you already have.
   3.  I had some ribbon left over from our wedding as well, so I used that to hang the pictures.  I had to lay it all out first and choose the length I wanted the pictures to hang.  Once I chose the lengths I hot-glued the ribbon to the back of the picture frames.

  4.  Then I made bows out of the ribbon.  This took some time for me because I had no idea how to make a big poofy bow.  I just worked on it and poofed it up until I was happy.  Sorry, I have no special techniques to tell you, just kind of go for it.  

   5.  Once the bows are just how you like them, hot glue them to the ribbon that is holding the frames.
   6.  Viola! You have yourself a gorgeous, one of a kind decoration!

   I love having this little piece of art in my house because everyone comments on it when they walk in. I guess you could say its a centerpiece here.  All I can say is, thanks pinterest for coming through for me yet again!

*I got the curtain rod picture hanger idea from The Lemond's Family Blog.  You can check out her blog post here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Nehemiah 2

Nehemiah 2

   Just like Esther, we are shown that Nehemiah was right where God wanted him "for such a time as this."(Esther 4:14)  He was the cupbearer to the King of Judah.  He was a trusted protector, confidant and advisor to the king. This position most definitely came in handy when Nehemiah asks for the king's blessing and help on his quest in Jerusalem.  More than likely the king would not have granted this request if just any man had asked it.  It was Nehemiah's position, and The Lord's will of course,  that made the rebuilding of Jerusalem's wall successful. 

Verses 2-4: Servants were supposed to be happy when they were in the king's presence, so as not to upset them or make them angry.  Kings were also not supposed to be bothered with the concerns of their subjects.  So knowing these things, it is understandable that Nehemiah was so nervous and took four months to present his requests to the king, even though he was in good standing with him.  Its crazy how similar this part of the story is to the story of Esther.  Both of them fasting and praying before approaching the king, and then their wisely chosen words when presenting their requests to the king.  A Nehemiah commentary I came across said this:
     "Nehemiah chose his words carefully. It seems that he did not actually name Jerusalem. In the past, the king had been worried about Jerusalem (Ezra 4:19). At that time, the king did not want the *Jews to rebuild the city. So Nehemiah simply spoke about the city where his *ancestors’ graves were. He mentioned the graves for another reason too. Often, people believe that they should take great care of graves, because of their religion. Nehemiah hoped that the king would feel sympathy for him." (

Verses 4b-5: Before Nehemiah answered the king, he "prayed to the God of Heaven." He didn't rely on the past four months of praying and fasting during this moment. He prayed again.  Showing his faith and reliance on The Lord.

Verses 5-9: I would have peed my pants if I had to ask the king for all of those requests!  I'm not sure why the little note about the Queen sitting next to the king is in there, but at the very least it would make me even more nervous.  I have high respect for Nehemiah and the courage this would take!
     -I love that the whole situation seems so impossible.  Where any normal response would be, "You're going to ask WHAT of the king?!", "yea right, good luck with that Nehemiah", "hahahahaha", "Ill be sure and attend your funeral", etc.  And then God steps in.  And it is without a doubt The Lords hand that makes it all possible.  
        >"And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my request."
        > and because the Lord loves to shower His children with blessings, He softens the king's heart to not only grant all of Nehemiah's requests, but go above and beyond them and send army officers and cavalry with him.  WOW.

Verses 11-16: It seems these verses are telling of what a big task Nehemiah had ahead of him.  Talking of all the devastation and how everything was destroyed.  These verses also give us a little insight on the danger the Jews were in.  They had a lot of enemies, and Nehemiah chose to tell noone and to do his detective work at night.

Verses 17-18: Nehemiah gave the credit to the Lord, telling of how "the gracious hand of my God was upon me and what the king had said." In doing so, the people believed him and agreed to start this humungous task of rebuilding the wall.

Verse 20: I love this verse.  I love seeing Nehemiah's faith displayed over and over again.  Believing in the Lord and standing up to his ridiculers with courage.  2 Timothy 1:7 comes to mind when I read this verse.  "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline."

If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 2 then please feel free to leave a comment.  I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon