Erin Rachel Photography | Picayune MS High School Senior and Family Photographer serving the surrounding areas Mandeville LA, Covington LA, Slidell LA and the Northshore » Senior and Family Photographer covering Picayune, MS and Mandeville LA, Slidell LA and Covington LA. Offering Photography Classes and Workshops in the Picayune MS, Covington LA, Mandeville LA and Slidell LA area.

past.present.future []

Yes I feel like this is kind of “the-same-old-same-old” as they say.  It’s now January 1, 2013….and yes I’m one to look back over the year and look ahead.  When I say I’m looking back it’s not at what I’ve done or accomplished…it’s what GOD has done for me and through me.  I’m simply amazed…and blessed.

I try to blog this time every year and this morning I looked back at last year’s 2011/2012 post… [here].  It amazes me…the verse that I kept on the forefront of my mind…at the very beginning of my 2012 journal exactly 365 days ago: Luke 1:49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.  I was reflecting on God’s faithfulness.  Little did I know the “theme” that the Lord had given me for 2012 would come to pass only four days into January.  I felt as though the theme for 2012 in my personal life was to see God in the smallest details of my life and time… and time… again he was faithful to remind me of HIM through those small details.

Last year this time I, along with my family, were anxiously awaiting the birth of my new niece Isabella.  My sister was due with their third baby girl and was over-due and so we were waiting…waiting…and waiting.  She goes naturally and quickly…on January 4th I had just gotten home from church…had a little “wind down” time…and had just started watching documentary a friend had highly recommended when around 10:00pm the phone rang.  I knew immediately!!!  I got dressed and we headed to the birth…with much anticipation…excitement as any time!  I will fast-forward about 3 hours later and my sister had given birth.  I am always with her as she wants me to document the birth of her children and I count that a great privilege to be there and witness these miracles.  Everything happened in seconds…literally splits seconds…so fast.  As my niece Isabella was born…it was a quiet birth…in those split seconds I knew something wasn’t right, might you say.  It wasn’t like all of the other four births I have witnessed of my nieces and nephews.  It was a quiet birth…Isabella never took a breath on this earth…she never took a breath…she never cried.  My sister was sustaining her life inside of her but as Isabella was born she could not sustain life on her own away from my sister, her mother.  She was stillborn…a beautiful baby girl, head full of hair, all 10 fingers and all 10 toes and chunky cheeks that looked to p.e.r.f.e.c.t. on the outside was now sweetly in the arms of Jesus.  Prior to this Isabella had a healthy heart beat, moved around everything was normal…everything was good…Rewinding back to a few of those split seconds…I can truly say as the doctors were working on Isabella we all began to pray…I immediately prayed for God’s will for Isabella’s life and apparently God’s will was for her to be with Him.   We cried, we prayed, we cried and cried some more and well a lot more.  This “quick” birth turned into a sorrowful long night…but I can truly say God was good.  Seeing my sister and husband hurting and there was nothing I could do…nothing I could fix for her, broke my heart.  Later days we learned Isabella had a twin who had died in the womb around 8 weeks but was never miscarried…we also learned Isabella’s lungs were  not completely developed and therefore couldn’t live on her own or if she had been in the percentage that could there most likely would have been a lot of health problems.  God truly has been so good.

The next few days were tough…hard…emotional…but seeing God literally provide their every need was priceless…from our church family stepping up and pouring out their love towards them, providing them meals and food, giving sacrificially to provide the expenses that they didn’t expect in the death of a child, the Lord sending them just the right people to encourage them and help them through a hard time just when they needed it, being surrounded by family that came in from out of town, having and seeing the Lord literally direct every step of this path that He took them on…God has been so good to them this past year and all of the firsts…although we still have this week to get through…His grace has been sufficient and his steadfast love remains.

Even though this past year had it’s sorrows and heartaches there have been many blessings, memories and happy times.  Welcoming a new nephew, Josiah into this family and being there for his birth.  He has been a blessing and definitely helped bring healing in our family this year.  Along with making memories with my other nieces and nephews and being blessed to be a part of their lives for yet another year…being with them, hearing their conversations, seeing them try new things and having adventures, taking a family trip to the beach and just spending time together!

Going with the youth of my church as the girls counselor to youth camp and seeing the Lord do big things in their lives and them personally make life changing decisions.  This is priceless and it’s these times I’m reminded of why I love where God has placed me and who He has surrounded me with.  I went on a mission trip with my church to a small church and community in North Alabama where we were able to share the gospel and see souls saved…again a priceless moment.  Directing our churches very first VBS and what a fine time we had…all of the hard work paid off while investing in these young children’s life and making an impact on eternity…while seeing several young children make a life changing decision to trust Christ as their personal Saviour…priceless…there is no price tag.

Having amazing friends in my life has helped 2012 be such an amazing year, it really has!  Making new friendships along with building friendships I’ve had.  I’m blessed beyond measure with my amazing friends…being able to have adventures with them…chat about nothing over coffee..go on a trip and explore something new…try new things…encourage each other in the Lord…have fun and most of all see our lives change because of Christ.

I could go on and on…I really could and like I’ve said time and time again this blog really isn’t for you…it’s just my form of journaling sometimes!

A few personal goals accomplished:

//giving more to missions this year than ever in the past

//spend quality time with my family

//run 3 5k’s

//run 400 miles [I ran 411 to be exact]

//pay it forward

//mission trip

//travel to a new place

and more but I’ll not bore you!!

A few personal goals I didn’t accomplish:

//journal 2-3 times a week [i wasn’t consistent as I wanted to be]

//not work as many weekends

//attend a workshop

As I set my 2013 goals I’ve been working on being much more specific with them and really setting even more…I’ve broken it down into several areas of my life this year: Others, Business, Personally, Travel Goals, Reading Goals, Spiritual Goals…will I win at all of them in the coming year?  NO, certainly not I’m human…but with writing them down and being more specific I know I will win at more than not!

I’m looking forward to 2013 and seeing what the Lord does in my life….and what I can do for others.

1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you.”

I’ll leave you with my favorite image of 2012 and this…at the top of my goals list for 2013 I have a phrase of one of my favorites songs:  “The best laid plans I’ve made sometimes go astray Lord keep me in your will!”  This is my prayer, that although I have ideas, dreams, goals and plans may these not get me off track of serving the Lord, making an impact for Him  and bringing Him glory in all that I do.

The reason it’s my favorite image: adventure, friends, God’s creation, God’s surprises in the small things…this was not a planned event to be able to hop on a boat and go to a starfish cove…this was just a blessing from the Lord to just simply remind me of HIM.  Since this was “so” unplanned I didn’t have my camera…just my iPhone for which I’m grateful!!!!  *smile*

 I’m blessed and thank you all for being a part of my life, I thank the Lord!


Happy 2013 to you and your family!


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