Monday, February 28, 2011

behind the scenes: butterflies & origami = new creation!

as our family anxiously awaits the arrival of SPRING, we decided this past weekend to fieldtrip into the peggy notebaert nature museum of chicago to get a glimpse of the color and wonder that is soon to come to the chicagoland.

one of our favorite spots in the museum is the butterfly house of course! to see them fluttering all around us is magical. then, once you step out the exit, you get to see the full display of cocoons & chrysalis, labeled as to what they will become someday.

the entire process of caterpillar to butterfly is completely amazing to me.

now, what does origami have to do with butterflies you may ask?

well, a few months ago i wrote a post about how our house was literally FILLED with bugs.

now, it is FILLED with origami. my son is obsessed.

both origami & butterflies make me think of change. new life. creation. possibility.

it is a sight to behold my 7 year old take a normal, flat piece of paper & create a new, marvelous work of art out of it! just as it is a wondrous thing to grow butterflies & watch them eat as caterpillars (so MUCH food!), spin their chrysalis, the shell starts to thin, then, as we all love how eric carle tells the story, "a beautiful butterfly!"

Jesus Christ has done this transformation with His followers.
He offers us new life in Him.
the old, all of it has left. gone. been forgiven.
the new is here for us to experience fully in Him!
and, this promise of the Word is for anyone.
no matter what you have done, or where you come from, it is His Word of truth that offers this new life by His grace alone.

i think of Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
not by works, so that no one can boast.

may these words encourage your hearts as you live as a new creation in Christ Jesus who offers us all new life, new beginnings, new hope.

grace & peace,

Monday, February 21, 2011

NEW! 4 new lovely lockets now available

i am so happy to announce 4 NEW lovely lockets in the shop!

{the nest}
just in time for spring!
or for you mommies who count your blessings with a full nest.

{abundant life tree}
may you have abundant life,
as symbolized in this beautiful, strong tree.

as we are all in the process of growing & reaching out somehow
(and for anyone who really knows me,
i LOVE branches, twigs, trees, leaves...)

{sisters or daughters}
for all of you out there who have 2 lovely little girls (like moi!)
a dear sister whom you hold close to your heart
or a best friend, who is like your sister

this is also perfect for mother's day coming up this spring!
love the vintage look of this

here are the other styles already available in my shop
or at the jeweler's shop:

{if they are out of stock in my shop, feel free to buy from lori's!}

OH! and i must mention that they open to frame 2 small images
to wear close to your heart.
i have the 5 of us on 1 side & the 3 kids on the other.

all of these lockets have been created
from my 8x10 Scripture or Inspirational prints in the shop.

cannot wait to share the COLORS of spring & summer.

grace & peace,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

winter maternity shoot

last weekend, i photographed my first official maternity shoot OUTDOORS
here in the chicagoland area!

it was so fun for a number of reasons....

the couple are friends of ours from church. the youth pastor & his wife.

they are GREAT. totally in love.

they were troopers for many reasons,
one of which is it was about 23 degrees out.

but, it was totally appropriate for us to be outdoors
as the mommy-to-be is a forest ranger.

we did the shoot at the danada house property
in wheaton, illinois.

the other reason is that the daddy-to-be
was just in a major sledding catastrophe at
winter camp in which he BROKE 2 of his vertebrate.

{he took his brace off for the shoot,
which made me soooo nervous
& DON'T TELL his mom!}

it is truly a miracle that he is:
a. alive
b. not paralyzed & should fully heal just fine!

so, if you think of it, pray for a quick recovery
as baby is due in about 3 weeks.

congrats you 2 & thanks for letting me create some memories for you!

grace & peace,

Friday, February 11, 2011

in complete AWE of GOD & my favorite little mister

{my favorite little mister
at "our tree" in the morton arboretum}

ever since his birth, i have pretty much been in awe of my favorite little mister & how God has created him. he is the most tender-hearted boy i have ever met. insightful, sensitive, wise beyond his years, kind, servant-hearted, creative, smart, and compassionate. all of these qualities make him a great big brother to 2 little sisters.

i have been in awe of seeing God growing his faith & love, and this week, i was simply put over the edge with wonder at what is going on in his little heart.

{my favorite little mister's reflection on what love is}

today at school, they had an ALL SCHOOL assembly. the second graders had to get up and read a portion to THE ENTIRE SCHOOL on what they thought love is.

he read the above statement:
"love is how Jesus was crucified for our sins"



OK, first of all, i would NEVER have even spoken in front of my school as a second grader (even if they tried to make me talk), much less witness to them about my Lord & Savior!

(& btw, he goes to a public school :)

{this was written on the front of one of his tests lately}

you can read my "behind the scenes" creation of john 3:16 here

{this was an answer to one of his
social studies questions about

"writing a story about someone who has a service job"}

just in case you cannot read his handwriting (which is VERY possible):

"my mom is a photographer. one time she took me to starve rock! I got to see eagles! After, she does a verse from the bible. like when she took a picture of me holding blueberries she did Galations 5:22-23. I've already memorized it!
But the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, paitents, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self controll. against such things there is no law."

{you can read my "behind the scenes" of isaiah 40 here}

{you can read my "behind the scenes" of psalm 34 here}

(i actually did not use his hands for the fruit of the Spirit,
as you can see!)

{you can read more about the
fruit of the Spirit art here & here}

all this to say, my favorite little mister: God has big plans for your life. keep your tender heart & deep yet simple faith always. be bold, brave & courageous in all you do. keep true to who you are.

God: thank You for allowing me to be a part of this awesome life. thank You for making me his mommy. help me to guide him, love him, and nurture him for whatever you have in store for his life.

i think i shall now go check on him sleeping...

grace & peace,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

year of the rabbit.

{3 crazy half-chinese kids are wishing you
a very happy chinese new year!}

yes, the year of the rabbit has officially begun. i am blessed to have married into a chinese family (you see, i am not chinese & it's been fun to meet people in person when they are expecting me to be chinese :)

sam's family has such a rich heritage & it has been so fun to learn about the culture (i LOVE different cultures & always tease him that i often thought i would marry someone from a different ethnicity, but i thought he would be french!)

2 things i have learned in the culture which are of utmost importance: food & family. or should i say family & food? oh, my. they still have a hard time with how little i eat. and, i have come a long way baby. when we were first dating, i came to his home for dinner & there on the middle of the table was a bowl full of chicken feet. yes, a claw sticking out. i think i ate rice that night & totally (unknowingly & without meaning to) offended his mom (at that time i had NO IDEA what a big deal food was!) (i may have even asked for salt for my food... oh no!)

in any case, another fun tidbit is that sam's great, great grandpa had the first bike ever in his village in taiwan & was somewhat of a celebrity because of it.

sam was born here in the burbs & hopefully we will travel to the far east someday (i will pack a lot of snacks!) another funny thing is how often i was asked when i had my chubby newborns "when did you get them?" or "how long have you had them?" or "isn't it neat when you get them that way?" what?! they don't look like me?! ha. i always say they have my ears & that's about it. {and by the way, can i just say here & now that adoption is an AWESOME selfless thing which we both admire so much}

ok. gotta go work. just wanted to say happy new year!

grace & peace,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snow day fun!

no school ... let's play!
the kids were amazed this morning to wake up to this! we are in the chicagoland area & received about 19 inches of snow in about 19 hours. the city literally shut down, but here at the chen's the party is just getting started!

this is my neighbor's yard across the street
(yes, the same neighbor who has amazing landscaping which i sneak over & shoot photos of in the summer time!) notice the yellow fire hydrant & how high the snow is?!

and, here are my 3 happy children,
waiting to explore & create in the snow

pumpkin-poos in a sea of snow out front.
she had followed in her brother's footsteps so she wouldn't sink in the snow.

my favorite little mister in the backyard on a huge drift

sunshine girl sits in a drift out front.
(btw, she LOVES her new coat i bought her because her old one was pink & puffy & she "was embarrassed wearing it because all boys think girls like pink, but she does NOT, but i made her wear it!" & she thought the puffy coat made her look fat. ugh. really?)

welcome to the chen library!
after the snow, their other fun was creating an entire library in their bedroom. they pulled out (almost!) all the books on their shelves, arranged them along with stuffed animals so that when you came in their room, you could pick a book & stuffed animal to snuggle (just like at school!)

another view of their bedroom, aka "the monkey room"
as of 2 months ago, all 3 kiddos share a room. we live in a capecod & my favorite little mister & sunshine girl have bunks (shown above) that cannot be bunked in their room due to the low ceiling. they have shared a room since they were almost 2 & 4 yrs old. pumpkin-poos moved in a couple months ago when we fixed all the cracks in her walls. she decided to stay.

we call it the "monkey room" for a few reasons: 1. they are monkeys. 2. we have a million ty beanie baby monkeys. 3. their bedding is hula monkey (girl) & safari monkey (boy) quilts from target. so cute. love them.

another interesting fact about their room: see those 2 awesome paintings (1 above each bed)?! they are ORIGINALS by laura huliska beith, one of my favorite children's book illustrators! you MUST go out & get her books. our paintings come from "the book of bad ideas" (very fun) & "favorite things" (very sweet, esp for you mommies :) i am honored to have 3 pieces of art created & signed by her in our home (the 3rd piece we have is of a crazy french chef which we have in our kitchen.. doesn't match anything else, but makes me smile every day!)

sunshine girl & her handiwork
notice her lipgloss?! she's into it. she bought it with some christmas money. i am talking real l'oreal lip gloss, not lip smackers. and she chose RED of course!

OH & 1 more cool thing about their library: almost ALL of those books (& magazines) were given to us for free! amazing gifts!

sunshine holding one of our favorite books
it's the "pumpkin-poo's book!" & we love it because it is what her teacher writes in every school day to let us know what activities she did that day. so important to me since pumpkins cannot tell me on her own, due to her speech problems. now, we have a better way to communicate about her day & she LOVES to get it out of her giant backpack everyday to show me what she did. then, i can ask her more direct questions. she is so proud of her book.

pumpkin-poos, my 3rd bookworm, in her new owl bed!
so, for the first month of her being in the monkey room she had a mattress on the floor (which she actually loved); then a good friend gave us their toddler bed (so sweet) & target had this adorable owl bedding. i had looked for the hula monkey on ebay, but could not find it. love the owl though & it still has the same art style & it is a quilt. her bed is at the foot of big bro's bed.

last, but not least... my favorite little mister has a new passion: origami. it has even replaced LEGO's for the last 2 weeks (gasp!)

his 3-dimensional building skills just kill me. okay, he is 7.5 yrs old & making things i could never do: that panda in his hand, snake, bat, swan, frog, etc... his entire class will soon enough be getting his homemade origami valentine cards. i now wake up to origami creatures on my nightstand. so cool.

oh, & one more thing i want to always remember about this photo is that he gave me photography credit on his cute little note! love you my favorite little mister.

well, that's our day in a nutshell, along with hot chocolate & marshmallows, of course!

stay warm!

grace & peace,