Monday, November 4, 2013

Two Thousand and Fail

So 2013 has been a failure in the blog dept. Woops! Does anyone even still read here? [Not that I would have blamed you if you had abandoned me lonnnnng ago.]

I guess lately I've just felt like nothing's really been going on that seems blog-worthy. I mean, really, my life is not all that exciting! 

This year has sped past me faster than any in my memory. It seems crazy that we are into November already and the year is fast approaching its' end. My days are long and the weeks are fast as I continue to work full time and delve into ministry, social life and the simple responsibility of home and marriage. I am so blessed to  have married by best friend and I love living life with him. There has been no finer example of a godly, loving man I could conceive of. 

My Bible study is plugging right along. We are nearing the end of Proverbs. It has been such a fulfilling, challenging book that always seems to meet us where we have needs each week. I cannot begin to tell you all the stories of triumph, transformation, and joy that have come through this past year studying this book of wisdom. I get the awesome pleasure of watching God move in all of their lives and so many times am humbled by the wisdom and sincerity of their hearts as God teaches them how to live their lives after His own heart. I have no greater passion than this, watching the Kingdom come to Earth, filling my home and the hearts of such beautiful women. 

With them, this year has been busy! Two weddings, an engagement, a baby, and one has a new boyfriend! There have been graduations, a marriage healed and miracles worked in the lives of one who is a nurse. There truly has been a great deal to praise in this year of God's faithfulness towards us all. I am so grateful for these friends, this community of hope that they have created. I am so proud to live life with them. 

I mean, how could you not love these beautiful, moustachioed faces?
[BTW, Shout out to Mallory for singlehandedly supplying enough hair for this photo.]

For me, Proverbs touched me more this time around seeing the character of God. A couple of weeks ago in chapter 28 He showed me the relief, the answer and the death of condemnation of the ever-present Guilt that so many of us struggle with. 

"Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy." Proverbs 28:13

Grace is the answer to guilt. We will never deserve it, we will never be able to pay for it or obtain it, it is simply there in response to our confession. In our need, God supplies it, maintains it and pours it out on us in the most desperate times. Condemnation seeks to tear down and destroy, to remind us of those awful, unpleasant sins we have committed (some even long ago). Grace is the resounding answer to our souls. We are free. We are forgiven and we are reinstated in relationship with Him because that's where He wants us to be. Mercies that never end. Beauty we do not deserve. Love that never gave up on me. He truly does love me until I am lovely. And there's no condemnation in that. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cruise Highlights

We escaped the cruel harsh winter for the week to head off to Jamaica and the Grand Caymans. It was definitely good timing as it was snowing right as we left. And by the way, you're all welcome for the sunshine we brought back with us! :)

It was kind-of an early anniversary trip since Jesse had a bunch of vacation days to use up before May or he would lose them. Soooo, we had to go on vacation. 

Carnival Victory

Some of the highlights were of course  the food! Fantastic entree's and even better desserts. And somehow there soft serve ice cream was even better than anything I've tried yet. It could have been the 90-plus degree weather, but all the same, delicious. 

We loved climbing the Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rio's Jamaica. Sadly, no photos as we would have never been able to keep the camera dry. We were up to our waists in water, and had to form a human chain to get our whole group up the falls. Filled with lots of laughs though! Strangely enough, we saw a woman climbing up in her wedding dress! Daring! 

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The shows were fantastic. Well done with sets and lighting, live band and singers. The singers were absolutely phenomenal. The woman could sing everything from Shania Twain, to Madonna and finally Elvis. Flawless. One of the funniest nights was the marriage show, Newlywed style, where they bring three couples up and ask them all questions to compare the answers. A really good laugh, and an older man named Albert totally stole the show. Props to him and his wife for having a happy 49 years of marriage! 

We found a mermaid that looked like Liam Neeson. See below. 

We sunned ourselves a lot on the deck of the ship. Even watched some "Dive-in-Movies" on a giant screen over the pool. There was also a dance party and midnight Mexican Buffet one night. That was interesting...

The trip back ended up taking around 15 hours and was pretty exhausting, but we are back home safe and sound from an amazing time at Sea! Definitely had an enjoyable time detaching from work and responsibilities. These will be good memories for us for ages to come!
Our Favorite Place on Board, a double sized Hammock!

Cheers to nearly 3 years of marriage! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Heart Month

You may or may not know, but the last few months have held quite a health scare for me. Shortly before Christmas I had a fainting spell at home that appeared to be a seizure, and Jesse couldn't get me to respond, so he had me rushed to the ER. 

Where they ran a battery of tests but found absolutely nothing. I am apparently in mysteriously good health (PTL), yet somehow still managed to completely lose consciousness? Other than finding out my blood pressure runs typically low, they came up with little to no information about what was going on. While they were running tests, it mildly happened again, my blood pressure dropping to 40 (should be closer to 120) and they got me to breathe through it so I didn't lose full consciousness. They suggested I follow up with a cardiologist. 

And I'm thinking "a cardiologist? I'm too young for that?!" 

Turns out it was a good idea. He had me set up for a tilt-table test. They strap you to a table and lean you back about 70 degrees. Imagine, leaning backwards against a wall. They let you stay there for a half an hour and watch what your heart and blood pressure do. Apparently almost anyone will pass out after this much time. They were essentially trying to induce the episode to see what's going on. 

Well it worked. A little too well. Right around 22 minutes, I started to feel myself pass out so I let them know. Less than 30 seconds later I had completely lost consciousness and went into the convulsion thing that Jesse had seen at home. Usually when they do this and then they lay you back down, most people don't go out all the way, their heart rate rises and they recover. Instead, my heart stopped beating. For roughly 30 seconds my heart was completely flatlined. (I am glad Jesse wasn't there. He probably wouldn't have handled it well.) I scared all the nurses and they were all a little freaked out, because they had never seen this before. 

They had to give me medication to get my heart rate back above 80 because it was having a hard time rising above 40-60 beats per minute. And my blood pressure was still out of whack, not regulating itself back to normal yet. A few bags of fluid and about an hour later, they released me to go home and rest. Also forbidden was working and driving until they knew more about what was happening and how to treat me, as the Dr didn't want to put me on a pacemaker. (Thank God!) So for the last 21 days or so I've been on a leave of absence, unsure of what's been going on. Thankfully it was very restful and I enjoyed myself immensely. 

Largely I feel completely normal. These spells don't happen frequently, but they can be life threatening. They put me on a simple medication that will regulate and dull the reaction so that if it does happen again it won't be so severe and the heart won't stop. It is mostly an issue with the Vagal nerve being overactive, and shocking the heart too much, which causes it to stop. So we're working together to find out what triggers these reactions and avoid them (such as pain, stress, standing in one place too long, etc). Add that to the medication, and I will lead a completely normal life!  I will still be able to work and exercise and enjoy myself. He released me today to return to work, which is a huge relief! 

The biggest blessing of all, is that he said most young people who have this issue seem to outgrow it. By age 30-35 we will reassess and hopefully it will no longer be an issue, and the nerve will be calmed down a bit and not so easily triggered to stop the heart. 

I feel thankful. Thankful that they know what's going on and it will (hopefully) be easily managed and not happen again. Thankful that I have insurance. Thankful for a good and caring Doctor. Thankful that we haven't been bankrupted or financially burdened by this beyond measure. I am thankful there is hope for healing! I am thankful to lead my life, working, driving, and that it won't restrict me in ways that would have been really difficult. Thankful I don't seem to need a pacemaker for this issue. Thankful for my life, that God saw fit to leave me on this Earth a bit longer. Thankful for my supportive and loving Husband. Thankful for family and friends who have prayed for me and walked through this with me. 

Thankful you all chose to finish this extremely long monologue!
Seriously, thank you for taking an interest in my life. 
Hope you all have just as many reasons to be thankful!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Normal Family Christmas

I was thinking today about the website, My Life is Average [mlia for short]. It's where people post normal, average, everyday things that happen to them simply because, let's be honest, we all live average lives. For the most part, exciting and unbelievable things don't happen to us all everyday. 

This is my tribute to mlia. My average, normal, family Christmas. It was wonderful!

A smaller than average tree for a smaller than average apartment.

A normal photo of us on our Christmas Date.

Christmas Eve Service.

The totally normal candlelit hymn singing.

An average sisterly bond.

Our inability to take a normal photo...


A cat in a bag. Totally normal. 

A young Santa. 

And the always-fun torture of the kitten with a laser. 
Perfectly average. 

Annnnnnd, Lord of the Rings.

Last, but certainly not least. McGyver. Take a look at that hair, Ladies and Gentlemen. Take in its' full glory. I bet you wish you had hair half as good as my brother-in-law. [Also notice the I heart Justin Bieber bracelet.] 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Monday, November 26, 2012

What had happened was...

Jesse and I set out to take this round of Christmas photos on Thanksgiving day. Of course the sun was shining, it was a balmy 65 degrees and we were exuberantly awaiting the feast. Only one small problem, this time of year the sun begins setting at, let's see, 3:30 pm. 

And we thought to ourselves post-turkey food-baby, SERIOUSLY?! Dark already? 


By the time we finished eating at an early 4pm the sun was down and our window of opportunity shattered. No worries, we'll take them Saturday. 

NOPE. I don't know about you, but 32 degrees and windy isn't exactly my favorite time to get family photos outside. So, Sunday would be better right? 

NOPE. It might have possibly been colder and windier. Fast forward a few hours and we settled in front of our tiny, apartment sized tree, set up a tripod and hoped for the best. Here's a few of the good ones. We only had so much to work with, people!

Monday, September 3, 2012

School of People Management...

School of People Management is a training program we use at work. It's a handy way for the company to train their managers in how to run a business, hire employees, handle conflict and inspire good work. I find it interesting timing for such a tool in my life. I have recently accepted the Assistant Manager position at work.  Woo hoo! Big-girl job. It's much more responsibility than I ever truly wanted to take. Let's face it, I have enough responsibility on my plate, thankyouverymuch

I digress, it had been plaguing my mind for some time and it was becoming a real source of anxiety because I simply felt unfit and weary. After much prayer and discussion I came to realize what was being asked of me. To have faith that in the midst of what I perceive as chaos, that God would be faithfully by my side to uphold me, strengthen me and be my peace. (Typically this is something I fail daily at and retreat to be alone instead of allowing the Lord to be strong in my weakness.) I had to come to my decision based not out of guilt, but out of conviction. I didn't want to be guilted into taking the job simply because the offer was on the table, or because we have student loans to pay off. There's something to be said for quality of life and the ability to have a sound mind! 

I have peace doing the very thing that I fought hard against! He has given me faith. He has given me peace. And daily He has given me grace to do the things that I am insufficient in myself. 

Anyways, through all of this I am learning in leadership. Humble, servant leadership. Learning to train and equip others, to counsel, to rebuke and correct gently. The best thing we could possibly ever do to prepare for whatever is next is that our character might be strengthened in godliness. This is just that for me, a school teaching me about people. How to lead them in ways that are inspiring and uplifting. How to encourage in a way that brings out the best work a person can do, and that they might enjoy it in the meantime! Many lessons for me to learn. 

As always, needing His grace and peace. 

Colossians 1:9-14 
"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, 
asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will
 in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
 fully pleasing to Him, 
bearing fruit in every food work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 
May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, 
for all endurance and patience with joy
giving thanks to the Father, 
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness
 and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Summer Snapshots

Some photos from my cousin's wedding a few months ago. 

All the cousins except the Bride. 

The Happy Couple.