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. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Life Ever After

Sometimes I hate time. Nae, always. 

It's this restrictive force that has its' grasp on all humanity and we all do it's bidding. Everyday. 

I long to be free, unhindered, eternal. To simply LIVE. To exist in harmony with the Creator, my sole responsibility worship. To bask in the presence of all He is. To forget the dishes, the bills, the war vying for the life of every soul. To spend all that I am uncovering the mystery of Him that my brain cannot seem to fully comprehend. 

To be where He is, where time cannot be Master. To not hold my attention like a prisoner. 

Oh, to have nothing else to think of! To not live a waking dream, completing tasks. I want to live awake, searching out His heart, enraptured by His creation, his blessedness, his grace. 

For I fail everyday, at finding perfect harmony between truly living and paying my dues. 

Not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. 
My weakness, boasting His strength. For surely we are weak, finite. 

So I must think upon Perfection, for surely He bears a Name.
Relentless perfection. 
Relentless love. 
Relentless grace. 
Thank You God for being nothing different, nothing less. 

"...for not by might shall man prevail." (1 Samuel 2:9b)


Stuff Christian girls say

You're welcome.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recent Adventures

Second Anniversary Day-Adventure to Put-In-Bay Island. 
AKA "Midlife Crisis Island"
We were much too young. 
And sober.
Apparently we didn't get the memo. 
ah, well. 
Made for some good memories and great laughs. 

On the way over

This is what two years married looks like. 

Profile shot!

We obeyed. It was nasty. 

Oh you know, just waiting. 

Catching a breeze. 

My favorite. 

Second favorite shot of the day. :)

If the Lord wills...

It's definitely summer! Today is exactly as a June day ought to be in the might midwest. Upper 80's and scorching with sunshine and humidity. We lay by the pool for most of the day and both received lobster-esque sunburns to show for it. (Although I got off easy, just one shoulder and a part of one leg.) Not to shabby! Trying to get a nice base tan before we head off to the lake in NC for my cousin's wedding in 2 weeks. The goal was to prevent sunburn then. Fail.

A lot is changing here. For all of us. We just received news that our Head Pastor for the last nine years has resigned and is moving on to another church. This is quite a shock and an emotional time since we are personally so close to him and his family, his two eldest sons and their wives are some of our very close friends. Jesse being on staff at the church, we're not too sure what all the changes will bring for us, and specifically him. We know that we want to be here to help ease the pain and difficulty of the transition. I can honestly say I love my church and these people and I desperately do not want to leave them, but I do not know what the Lord wills for our future. 

We've been feeling like the tides were turning even before this announcement and didn't really like it or know what to do with it, since neither of us is really itching to move or leave. Ha, the irony. That we should finally be desiring to STAY in our cozy little home and community of friends and of course God wants to shake it up. Honestly, we don't know what's next. We just know we're not shooting down opportunities and being willing to have open hands with all our plans, and even committed to making plans for the next step if that's what He so chooses. 

Pray for our church, the body and community, that we would come together in unity and perseverance as we wait on the Lord to appoint us a new leader. Pray for grace, that we would be gracious with one another, patient and kind. Pray for wisdom for the staff, the board and the members as we come together in the decision-making of applicants for the position. Pray for peace for those on staff who are uneasy and fearful. And most of all, pray that God's work would continue on, stronger and more poignant in the lives of all who call our church home. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Latest Learnings

We've  been learning a lot. I feel like the season we are in right now is one of "watching" if that makes sense. Not a whole lot of strife, struggle or tragedy going on in our life right now [THANKFUL]. I feel like it's going on all around us and we are learning from the example and experience of others. Good and Bad. I feel like we are there to be supportive of a lot of other people, which is great! Emotionally draining at times, and that feeling of not really knowing what to do that would be comforting/helpful. 

I know we are inadequate, but our God isn't. That's a lot of what we are learning. How much grace we need. How awesome we AREN'T. How much we can't do and how much we need God. As we are faithful in the work that He has called us to do, especially with Crave [College Ministry], I know that God will bring the increase, depth, growth and faithfulness in others. We are still striving to get the core group together and strong, but this much I know for sure, we MUST be faithful with the few has given us. Again, all by grace. I read this today and thought it was very fitting...

1 Samuel 2:9
"He will guard the feet of His faithful ones,
 but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, 
for not by might shall a man prevail."

In all this: ministry, comforting, challenging, counseling, I know it's not by my might that anything shall succeed. In fact, I pray that I will not succeed [in ruining everything] but that any success will be the result of God's blessing and hand in the lives of others. 

This is all very humbling. A killer to pride, which is the greatest, sneakiest enemy/sin of all. That was one of the themes in Luke 13, which we discussed this past Tuesday at Bible Study. Pride really is destructive in every sphere of life, and unless we are conscious of that, we are likely to go on sinning in pride and asking for God to knock us down a notch in humiliation versus walking in humility by the power of the Spirit, and being lifted up. 

So here's the Pride Test we all took this week. [And Failed. It's okay, you will too.]

Pride Test
  1. Do you long for a lot of attention? Spiritual gift of freaking out, needy and desperate, pushy, demanding attention. 
  2. Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed? 
  3. Do you always have to win? (Cheat at board games?)
  4. Do you have a pattern of lying? Under lying is pride, its hiding things that might not put you in a favorable light, to be perceived as someone who you truly aren’t. 
  5. Do you have a hard time acknowledging you are wrong? Not confessing sin, getting caught. Then putting up a fight. Getting emotional, changing subject. Can’t say you are wrong. 
  6. Do you have a lot of conflicts with other people? Proud and Proud fight a lot. Very rarely is there massive conflict between the humble and the humble. 
  7. Do you cut in line at the store, airport, freeway, etc? 
  8. Do you get upset when people don’t honor your achievements? When people don’t thank you or good job. 
  9. Do you tend more toward an attitude of entitlement or thankfulness? We deserve hell, everything else is a gift. Proud people feel like they deserve good. Humble people say thanks. 
  10. Do you honestly feel you are basically a good person and superior to others? Smugness, superiority. 
If you scored 1-10 you are proud. If you scored 0 you are very proud. 

Haha, I like that last part, about being scored. It's so true though. 

May you go, not in discouragement, but knowing that by God's grace we pursue humility for the rest of our lives, and that it's a miracle he works into our lives. Humility is not something we can accomplish or "do" for then it would really be pride anyways. "Hey, look! I achieved humility!" [Think about it...] Pride is natural, humility is a miracle. We'll fail this test often and need to focus on Christ, for He is the ultimate example of true humility. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tonight My Heart is Heavy

Received news today that an old classmate of mine from my college in Germany passed away this morning in a tragic car accident. 

It's kind-of surreal actually. Not that we were all that close, but we had some really good memories, and he actually travelled through the country and stopped in my town to preach and be involved in what God was doing here. I think more than anything it's hard to comprehend, I just think, oh yeah, I know all my friends are spread out over the country, but they're still there. And in some small way, that's comforting, knowing they are just there. But this is very different... I don't think I was prepared for any of my classmates to die. Especially given how young we are. 

It is comforting to know that he lived fully unto the Lord and spent these past few years loving people and  doing God's work. To be honest, I'm sure he's gleefully enjoying himself and rooting us all on now that he has the privilege and joy of being united with the Father. In reality, we ought to be jealous that he is surrounded by the company of the Trinity! :) 

It gets me thinking though. Taking stock of really where I am in life. Not that I'm really doing anything "bad" or "wasteful" or whatever it is people think we ought not to be doing. It's just... am I REALLY living for the glory of the King and taking every moment I can to spread His love? Is there more of myself, my heart that I can offer up to my God? I just want to please my God and not waste my life on endless, worthless endeavors. So much of my time gets filled with never-ending chores. Whatever my hand finds to do, may I do it wholly in a manner that praises God.

It's about a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit, a fruit of HIM. 
Not a fruit of me.
Not even close. 
Not of works, for then we all could boast. 
But of grace. 

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gap is expensive.

BUT! It doesn't have to be.

We just bought, wait for it, $307.70 worth of clothes. 3 shirts, one belt, two pairs of pants.

BUT. We only paid $46.63.


That, ladies and gents is a savings of a whopping $261.07.

Talk about shock and awe. Needless to say, I'm stoked. We got some great finds at their clearance/Presidents day sale tonight. Go to your nearest Gap and take advantage! I mean really, can you pass up $5 jeans? Nope. Neither could we.

You can thank me later. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life Verse

Ever since I could remember people have been asking me, "what's your favorite verse" or "what's your life verse?" and all I could say was, "All of them?" 

To me, I guess I just felt like they all should be verses to live by and I couldn't pick just one. A few weeks ago I was in Exodus and I found the most beautiful portrayal of life and God's intention for us. I guess you could say this verse embodies what I see as God's intention for my life. 

My "life" verse. Finally. [Not that I really needed one. It just touched me in a deep way.] 

Exodus 13:15
You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by strength to your holy abode.

Isn't that a glorious picture of the Christian life. It's not religious or ceremonial or works. It's just being led by His unending love to His holy abode. Being redeemed, falling in love with Him and letting his loving strength guide us down the path that leads straight to His arms. This is his heart. His intention for us all. And I can think of nothing more beautifully simple. 

May you all experience this life, this love, this simplistic glorious experience with the Loving Eternal King of your heart. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Homestead

so I realize I'm wayyy behind on posting pics of the new place. 

so, here you go. 
for your viewing pleasure. 


More kitchen. [notice the ginormous pantry to the left. makes me happy.]

Dining area and viewing into the entry-way.

My craft desk and antique refinished mirror.

Living Room. [Outside the windo we have a large patio overlooking the courtyard.]

More of the living room peering into the dining area.





It's actually quite spacious

Our Canopy we created. :)
[a little out of order] Blanket box beside the couch. 

Hope you enjoyed our home tour! Come over and see us sometime. :)