Saturday, December 26, 2009

I can't remember, a more awesome December

I'm a little behind on some of this, but whatever. At least I'm pretty current for Christmas and, well, MY ENGAGEMENT!!

It snowed this month in Katy, something very rare. I was working the entire time, feeling like I was inside a snow globe because of the way the flakes were falling and my view through the front windows. I managed to sneak out on my lunch break to snap a few pics of my car.



Later that evening, we picked up the kids for the weekend. We found this amazing snowman in the neighborhood so we had the kids pose with it.


Since before I was born, we've had a waving Santa in front of our house. Cherie and Owen LOVE IT. The first time they saw it, they went running and now they always tell him hi when we get home. Here's their 1st meeting:


And here's their adorable Christmas outfits. Owen has a reindeer sweater to match my nephew Isaac, and Cherie has a red and black velvet and glittery dress that matches my niece Natalie. Love it.



Christmas Eve was straight out of a movie. Here's what the kids were doing after I let them watch the Santa tracker on norad.org:


And here's what Sheldon was doing after I, I mean Santa, wrapped all their other gifts:


55 screws in that kitchen. His hands were killing him, and it took 4 hours to assemble, but it was totally worth it to see their reaction Christmas morning. They had no idea Santa would bring them something like that and they LOVE IT. It came with dishes and they got a bucket of food. Plus the burners light up and make sounds. They've been playing with it all day today.

Finally, my ENGAGEMENT. On Thursday, Sheldon talked to my dad, got a sitter, and took me out for a nice dinner. Before dessert, he got down on 1 knee, pulled out a ring, and asked me to be his wife. Obviously, I said yes. And not just because the ring is AMAZING. He's also pretty amazing, so it was a no-brainer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blessed n stuff

I wish my life was fully without drama. Its not something that should be blogged about, but its something that is very unlikely to ever not be a part of my life. Blending a family is tough at best. Even fairy tales have drama, remember? Sleeping Beauty grew up away from her parents and Cinderella slept in a fireplace after all! I am, however, so incredibly fortunate that God places these amazing moments in the middle of it that just make all the anger, hurt, and frustration that are at times excruciating and overwhelming totally worthwhile and small in comparison. Oh how He loves us!!!

For Halloween, we went to Dallas. My dear friend Chris married his beautiful bride Karen so the kids got some fantastic Bunny and Fox time. Bunny let Owen eat way too much candy, but holidays are meant for a bit of spoiling, right? I'll eventually post pictures of the kids in the pumpkin patch in their UT shirts (Thanks, B!!) and their costumes (Cherie was the greatest Hannah Montana ever, and Owen was too precious as Optimus Prime) but just know that it was so much fun.

*UPDATE!!* here's the pictures from the pumpkin patch and in their costumes:





November 7th, my hunny turned 30. We were so fortunate to have the kids with us that weekend. They were great sous chefs helping my mom and I cook a big birthday breakfast, and in the midst of it, Cherie and I got matching pedicures of hot pink and sparkly purple alternating toes - hers with white polka dots and mine with french tips. During the day, my brother and his beautiful babies came over and there was mass adorable playing in the house. That evening, we took a little road trip to New Braunfels for some Wurstfest. Cherie was introduced to the Tilt-o-whirl and Owen had his little heart broken because he isn't tall enough. Next year, sweet boy, next year. We rode the Ferris wheel as a family, and I discovered that Sheldon is TERRIFIED of heights so we all laughed at him a little. The time we spent laughing and just being together was perfect. The kids were so well behaved, they can't wait to make it a yearly thing, and I am optimistic that some day, I will get Sheldon to suck it up and eat more of the traditional German food because I love it so much. His Grandma Loebel wants me to win, too!! I want to get Cherie a little maedchen outfit next year. She loved all the costumes people were sporting! Owen just needs one of the super cool chicken hats.



God blessed me in such a powerful way on Sunday morning. During large group at KIDS Place, they had a prayer alter for the kids. When I watched Cherie timidly make her way up there then just throw herself into a passionate prayer, I almost burst into tears. That girl is very smart, very sensitive, and very perceptive. When I look at her, I can see how HUGE the plans God has for her are. He has so much ministry planned for her, and so many souls will be won for Him and His glory through her. I am blessed and HONORED to get to watch that, to be someone that she asks questions about Jesus, and to have God trust me to play a role in her spiritual upbringing. HUGE. My heart and soul cried out huge thanks to Him for that moment. I will tolerate all of that afore mentioned excruciating and overwhelming hurt, anger, and frustration for one more second of witnessing that pure faith of a child.

I am striving to be completely content in the imperfection of my life. I have an amazing man at my side who loves me after he loves the Lord, just as he should. He strives to be the type of man that the Bible commands him to be, as my mate, as a father, and as a man in general. Its refreshing! I'm not sure if that's the best word, but it fits. I get to have these 2 amazing kids in my life to love and build relationships with. I have a job that I enjoy going to (oh, and I got a promotion and a raise). We're looking to have our own home by early December. I have fantastic friends and family. My life will never be drama-free or perfect, but I am blessed with the perfection that comes in the midst of the imperfection. Because oh how He loves us!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Anguish or awesome?

Today I had my first major outing since my 5 hours in the ER in the middle of the night Thursday night/Friday morning. My temperature spiked to 100.2 briefly yesterday afternoon, but has otherwise stayed under 100 for over 24, plus I'd been on antibiotics for over 48 hours (which is the recommendation to end being potentially contagious) so I headed to church. I made it to the zone coach meeting (we only have 2 a year... I can handle that) at 7:30 and taught my class at 8:45. Unfortunately, my lungs started to ache and I started to get woozy during the praise portion of service, so I spent the sermon snuggled up against Sheldon.

We had a guest speaker named Daniel Henderson because today was our church's prayer conference. The part of the message he was preaching that I actually got was to start your prayers in scripture. This is imperative because prayer is meant to be a CONVERSATION with God, and what better place to start a conversation with God than in His word? It's so simple and seemingly obvious, yet we as Christians forget that part all the time. When we pray passionately, and pray scripture based prayers, then God will answer them and delight in them.

There's also a part that emotionally filled me, and I didn't even see it coming. I know Mr. Henderson had no intention of doing this for me, either. But that's part of how awesome God is. He loves to just sneak little things in there for His beloved children. It came out of one small sentence said in passing to kind of stir up images to people to be more compassionate towards each other, to feel their anguish. It had to the total opposite effect on me. He said, "Agony over broken marriages, broken homes, broken families." Until today, every time I've heard mention of "broken marriages", I've felt a little sting. After all, no one actually wants to be a divorcee, no matter how bad the marriage was. Today, instead of that oh-so-familiar sting, I felt something completely different. I was AWED BY MY GOD. My God took 2 people who come from broken marriages, from broken families, and put them together to make a new family. He patiently and painfully watched all the hurt, anger, and pain we went through with our divorces and when we were ready, He put us together. He placed us next to each other and gave us hearts that passionately love each other and more importantly, HIM. He shaped us through those adversities to create us into people who are determined and devoted to making Him the center of our relationship and the foundation of the new family He's building with us. That is AMAZING. There are a lot of people in the church who look down on us for being divorced, regardless of the reasons for the splits or the fact that neither of us are the ones who initiated them. There are people who see us as used and unable to get God's full blessing from marriage because we've been married before. I was scared for a while that I would always be "used" and now I see so clearly how untrue that is. I see how the woman that was in that marriage is no more, just as the man who was in Sheldon's marriage is no more. We're new creations, and we were designed from the beginning of time to walk the paths we have walked to bring us to the present, where we are 2 people preparing to spend a lifetime together, loving each other and loving our Lord.

Getting divorced SUCKED. But then again, it also gave me the greatest gifts I've ever received. So at the end of the day, I guess you could say I'm grateful. :-)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Everybody knows that OU STEALS SOCKS!

I love the rivalry. I really do. I love Sooner jokes. I truly believe that OU sucks.

That being said, I found this video from iamsecond.com on a friend's facebook page and it's a great reminder that there's something MUCH larger than this rivalry.

Watch the video and remember that win or lose, we're all second to God.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why you so smiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiley?

I'm just going to take a moment to count my blessings, mkay?

-I have a great family. Especially the ones who leave snarky comments about adorable shirts on my sweet babies.
-I have a fantastic boyfriend. If only he didn't snore... God, could you help us out on that one? hehehe
-I have the most amazing friends anyone could ever ask for. Smart, funny, loving, talented, generally awesome, etc. They can make the darkest day sparkle like a Cullen in the sun. (Sorry, I just wanted to toss some Twilight in there for good measure.)
-Have you seen my baby kitties? I mean, seriously.
-We have tickets to the UT game this weekend which means 2 MUCH NEEDED days in Austin with some of those afore mentioned friends and that amazing boyfriend.
-Oh, and I got a job today.

I trust the Lord to provide, and He does not disappoint.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prayer request

After spending Thursday afternoon thru Sunday evening with Sheldon's kids, the deal is sealed and my heart is so theirs. Would you please pray for their safety and that God would put the balls in motion to place them in the safest environment?



How could you say no to that?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

clarification

I reread my last entry and realized that it just might appall some real moms. I just want to clarify that I'm not trying to be their mother. They have a mother, and she will always be that to them. My role will be their step-mom, and that's exactly what I want to be. I mean, I obviously want to be more to them than just "Daddy's girlfriend" or at some point "Daddy's wife" (yea, I just said that). We were very clear with the kids that neither of us will ever ask them to call me "Mom", that it will always be up to them what they call me. I'm not trying to adopt them or turn them against their mom or anything like that.

I hope no one took it as anything other than that.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Motherhood 101

Last week, I got to experience being a mom. I mean, I've spent a lot of time with kids (some of them may have even been your kids, in fact), but this was an entirely new arena for me. I was the mom in the story.

Sheldon has 2 beautiful kids. Cherie is 7 and Owen is 4. On Tuesday, we went and had lunch at school with Cherie. SO FUN! That evening, his ex called and said the a/c was broken at her house and could he take the kids for the night. Well, he was on call for work, and I live about 10 minutes from their school so the obvious solution was for them to stay with me. We got them dinner, I made Cherie a lunch for the next day (she said she was just in the mood to bring a lunch instead of buying a tray), got them situated in bed, got them up the next morning (Cherie is an easy morning kid. Owen - not so much.), and got her off to school (Owen only goes in the afternoons). Drinking my coffee while I got them breakfast, doing her hair, etc. was so good. It's a routine I could get very used to. I'm crazy about these kids, y'all. During visitation on Thursday night, I was assured that the feeling is mutual. We went to Target to get Owen a new backpack for school (Transformers, of course) and it looked like his face hurt the grin was so huge. It redefined beaming for me. Before dinner, we were in the car and talking about the future with the kids, and Cherie informed me that she wants to call me "Mom". I thought my heart was going to EXPLODE. There's a Psalm that says "I will make the barren woman the mother of joyful children." I honestly feel like they're the fulfillment of that for me.

Sheldon is fantastic. He's normal and likes the things I do, but he also encourages me to grow spiritually, which is something that's been lacking in every relationship I've ever had. He supports me in every way possible and has all the attributes I know that God has always wanted for me in my match. Okay, he's not that tall, but I can still wear heels and not look silly, so that's an acceptable compromise. Our relationship feels very natural and, quite frankly, pleasing to God. We want the same things in life and for our children. He said the way the kids and I are with each other is more comfortable and easy than any of the other women he's dated since he and their mom split. All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. I believe that Sheldon and I went through our first marriages because they were molding us into who we are now and how we fit together as a pair. All the things that I was insecure about before I'm honest with him about and he takes extra care in those areas, strengthening them and enabling my growth. I'm an individual, with my own interests and activities, but instead of feeling like those things are taking away from my relationship with him, I know that they enrich it. He honestly makes me feel like the scripture about a good wife being a woman who is to be treasured above rubies. He has seen me crying and venting and generally ugly, and he doesn't care. It doesn't bother him that I'm human. So basically, he's exceptionally good for me.

I like being in this family. I like cuddling on the couch and talking about things we want for the kids, how excited we are about getting them into church and raising them with Jesus in their lives. I like when we talk about growing old together. We've decided that our dating time is in dog years or something. We're pretty sure we've been dating at least 6 months now. And we're certain that we're very much in love and blessed by each other.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My new address...

Okay, not really. I swear I feel like I live at the hospital! Apparently, the reason I haven't found a full time job yet is because God still needs to me to take care of my mom a little bit longer. My mom was admitted on Saturday night to the hospital with severe abdominal pain and vomiting. After 2 days, 2 x-rays and a CT scan, she called me Monday night a little after 10pm to let me know she was being taken in for emergency surgery because they found a bowel blockage. By Tuesday morning, they'd removed 8 inches of her small intestine, her appendix (if you're already in there, might as well!) and approximately 2 liters of fluid that were just chillin' in her abdomen. Her small intestine had gotten wedged between some scar tissue and subsequently pinched closed. She's in ICU now, waiting for a room to free up in the med/surge wing (should be tomorrow), but she's feeling wonderful and her gastrointerologist told her tonight she's doing remarkably well. I feel pretty confident that this will be her last surgery for a good long time and that she's finally on the road to independent living again!

The biggest difference between this round of hospital time and the 2+ months in the spring has been Sheldon. After how amazing he's been for me this week (and because I met his wonderful children), there's no hesitation left and we are officially a couple. He sat in the ER with my mom and me on Saturday night and helped me get her settled into her room. We were there until 2am. I was with him when she called me about surgery on Monday night, and he just held me and let me vent about it. He told me that I can always talk to him about it because he wants to be there for me. He went with me to visit her at the hospital last night and is going again tomorrow. I've been taking care of her for so long now and it gets hard and really wears on me. To have someone in my life again who wants to and enjoys taking care of me is so good. He is exactly what I need in my life right now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

why you so quiet?

Every time I've felt a tug to blog in the past 6 weeks or so, the urge has left me rapidly. I was talking about it with my amazing sister in law today and after several people nudged me about my lack of entries recently, the real reason I've been so stinkin' quiet hit me: I just wasn't ready to share with everyone what I've really been up to. I started this blog to force myself to be fully honest, so it's time to rip the proverbial band-aid off and talk about what many people already know.

When D posted on facebook about his new girl-whatever, it hurt me REAL bad. But that announcement was the nail in the coffin of our relationship. I am fully at terms with the fact that I will love him until the day I die, but I'm so not in love anymore. I can't be in love with someone who can do the things to me that he's done to me. I deserve better than that, for 2 reasons: 1. I could not and would not ever do those things to someone and 2. because of Who I belong to. Its just not what God would ever choose for me. When my tears dried and the sting was gone, I knew I was over it. So I've been dating. I started dating a few days after I got back from California in June. I've been on dates with some awesome guys and some, well, not so awesome guys. There was one that I could see a real future with - smart, stable job, respected me, loves the Lord, made me laugh, and was way into family - but that didn't pan out after a few weeks. Now I've been seeing someone for about 3 weeks. My parents think he's great. His parents think I'm great. He treats me AMAZING. He loves the Lord and has morals and beliefs that compliment my own. I'm hesitant to say that I'm his girlfriend, but in practice, I obviously am. I'm not rushing in to things, especially since my divorce isn't final yet, but I'm pretty happy about things.

I'm so ready to be divorced. All that's left is for us to split up our debt for paperwork and then for him to file the final decree. I don't encourage divorce, and I do believe that God has called us to stay married, but I also have come to fully embrace the belief that sometimes things break because they need to be replaced, not because they need to be fixed. God's best for me is to be divorced. I've seen more and more as I've been going through this that there are people that this is true for. I don't regret that marriage because I learned what I really want, what really matters, and that I'm better than the BS reasons I was fed. God was there and God has blessed me through it.

So that's that. Now I just need a full time job (because I do love being with Baby A a day or 2 a week, but...) and to move out on my own again. God has a plan for me, and I know 100% that I am making choices with Him now.

So there you have it. Now I'll do my best to be a more consistent blogger again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We're all just big kids.

Okay, okay. I've slacked. I've given you little nudges and waves, but nothing of substance. Well, yesterday God gave me some substance, so I'm going to pass that along to you. Here's a scripture and some Beth Moore (from her Breaking Free Day by Day devotional) to set the mood, per say.

He has torn us, and He will heal us; He has wounded us, and He will bind up our wounds. Hosea 6:1

Are you beginning to see the intimate activity of Christ when we're devastated? And to think, this is the same One we accuse of not caring when the crushing moment comes.

Perhaps the most profound miracle of all is living through something we thought would kill us. And not just living, but living abundantly and effectively - raised from living death to a new life. Yes, it's a life that is indeed absent of something or someone dear to you, but it is filled with the presence of the Resurrection and the Life. Will you continue to sit in a dark tomb or will you walk into the light of resurrection life?



I was so mad at God for so long, friends. It was obvious. And I'm not going to pretend I don't still have moments where the little girl in me wants to throw a tantrum and be mad at my Father because I'm not getting what I want. There's a reason we're called the CHILDREN of God and not the offspring or some such other word that would indicate becoming adults in Him. You can reach spiritual maturity, obviously, but that doesn't make you any less prone to childish fits and behaviors. The thing that makes us MATURE is knowing that we're doing it and striving to get past it. That's what I feel it means to walk in the Light.

When everything fell apart, I was pissed, but I knew God was there. As it dragged on for a year and a half, I got mad and felt ditched. I was angry that God would leave me in such a crappy position for so long, answering my prayers with resounding "WAIT"s. But He tore me, and now He's healing me.

Going to California got me away from my present. I mean, it took 2 days to get there, so OBVIOUSLY it was a necessary distance. Things were put into a different perspective for me. New things were introduced to my heart, and I got to see that it's not as shattered as I thought it still was. Still a bit fragile, still exceptionally vulnerable, but the wounds are becoming scabs and the scabs are becoming scars. Scars show we've loved. But now I'm ready to love someone else. Someone who won't discard me. Someone who loves the Lord more than he loves me, because I will always love the Lord first, too. Ahhh the maturity.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

let's have a quickie

California was AMAZING. I had the best time with Hayley and those are memories for a lifetime. The trip was very good for my sanity.

There's been other new additions to my life that are good for my sanity, but I'm not quite ready to blog about that just yet. All I'm saying is that God is good.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Transition.

I had fun in Dallas last weekend. I'm excited about California this weekend thru the 21st. In the mean time, I am not excited or, well, happy. Here are some scriptures to sum up my heart.

How long will you forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will you hide Your face from me? How long must I lay up my cares within me and have sorrow in my heart day after day? How long shall my enemy exalt himself over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; lighten the eyes [of my faith to behold Your face in the pitch like darkness], lest I sleep the sleep of death, Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed over him, and those that trouble me rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted, leaned on, and been confident in Your mercy and loving-kindness; my heart shall rejoice and be in high spirits in Your salvation. Psalm 13:1-5

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help! Draw out also the spear and javelin and close up the way of those who pursue and persecute me. Say to me, I am your deliverance! Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek and require my life; let them be turned back and confounded who plan my hurt! Let them be as chaff before the wind, with the Angel of the Lord driving them on! Let their way be through dark and slippery places, with the Angel of the Lord pursuing and afflicting them. For without cause they they hid for me their net; a pit of destruction without cause the dug for my life. Let destruction befall my foe unawares; let the net he hid for me catch him; let him fall into that very destruction. Then I shall be joyful in the Lord; I shall rejoice in His deliverance. Psalm 35:1-9

For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection; [they will be] slanderers, intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. Although they hold a form of piety, they dent and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. II Timothy 3:2-5a

Monday, June 1, 2009

God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy

I heard that song 3 times on my drive to New Braunfels Friday night. It 100% sums up the way I feel about my life these days. I mean, crazy isn't always a bad thing, so it's always applicable, especially on the verge of a summer weekend in the hill country. I think the best word to describe the HC is "simple". Everything is just a little slower, a little more relaxed, and a lot more fun. It's about a cotton dress and sandals as opposed to an outfit and tons of makeup. The #1 cosmetic you need is sunscreen. That and lotion are the only ones I packed, actually. You drink beer, you laugh, and you just enjoy life. It's so easy being there.

I'll be accentuating this post with scoreboards, just be prepared for that. They're a necessity (apparently, so is wearing a rubber at all times. HA! You girls are crazy for the Andy.)

My original plan was to leave early Friday morning and have Hula Hut lunch with Libby in Austin. That didn't happen because, well, I was up until after 5am Friday morning doing stuff around the house. So then I slept most of the day Friday, got up in the late afternoon and puttered about doing the rest of the things that needed to happen before I hit the hill country. I finally left just before 10pm. BALLER, I know.

I took advantage of the drive to pray. I just wanted to get the full effect of the simple easy atmosphere of the HC and recharge. I wanted to really feel Him filling each of us up with a happiness that can really only come from Him. He was faithful and came through, big time.

On the drive, I discovered that someone else was just as crazy as me and started a radio station that fulfills my dream. I discovered 106.7 Santa FM. Apparently, it's a station in transition out of San Antonio, but who cares? I got to listen to a crapton of Christmas music with a bag full of shorts and swimsuits in my backseat. That's a win. Whitney wouldn't let me listen to it on Saturday on our way to the river. She apparently does not appreciate the awesomeness of listening to Sleigh Ride when it's 95 degrees outside. I just wanted to feel like I lived in the southern hemisphere!

About an hour and a half into the drive, I realized that I had forgotten my insulin and subsequently wouldn't have enough for the weekend. Eh, whatever. I knew I could just hit a pharmacy in the morning and get another vial. Easy. When I got to NB, my life was SAVED by Ben C. (who was graciously letting us all crash at his house for the weekend). He is a diabetic supplies salesman, so he just happened to have some insulin in his fridge. AMAZING.

Friday night was all about beer pong and just a relaxed party vibe. Unless you're the birthday girl, Whitney. Scoreboard: driveway - 1, Whitney - 0. She is about as accident prone as she is beautiful. She had been at Ben's for less than 5 minutes when she tripped on the driveway and sprained her ankle pretty good. That stuff only happens to her, I swear.


Saturday we got to the river a good 2 hours after we had planned (no surprise there) and discovered just how bad New Braunfels needs rain. To float the full trip on the Guadalupe river would take almost 8 hours. WHOA. We had picked the Guadalupe instead of the Comal because we wanted to float longer (the Comal float typically takes about 2-3 hours) It gives you more time to drink beer and relax. Kids, there was a lot of not relaxing about this trip. They dropped us off past the main bend and told us it would take us about 4 hours to float. What they didn't tell us was that the river was REAAAAAAAAAALLY low. There were a lot of places where it was only 3 or 4 inches deep. What that means is we got stuck on a lot of rocks. And that I got my butt kicked. Scoreboard: Guadalupe River - 12, Suz - 0. I am so sore and have random scrapes and wounds on my appendages. I got minimally sunburned, mostly in a strange spotted pattern on my legs. Partial sunscreen fail. But it was the least burned I have ever gotten on the river, so I'll make that a tie between me and the sun.

The majority of the party people went to see Cross Canadian Ragweed Saturday night but I said my goodbyes and headed up to Burnet for a little bit of Ross time to finish up my weekend. That was pretty uneventful and just generally relaxing. I like spending time with Ross and his family. They're just such good people, you can't be in a bad mood around them. I got home yesterday afternoon around 4:30, was passed out cold by 10:30 and slept all day today. I'm calling it recovery.

I believe that this weekend was so important for me. I needed to just go and kick back with some friends, laugh a lot, remember why I don't like Miller Lite (it does NOT taste better. Bleh! Bud Light por vida), and generally enjoy life. God was quietly preparing my heart because my divorce papers finally arrived today, 5 weeks after he filed. You know what? I was totally fine. I'm walking with God, and trusting Him to make things work the way He wants, which will always be better than what I want.

So there you have it. God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

happy hour is 2-4.

Last week, the unthinkable happened at the house. I was out of diet coke for 3 DAYS. I know. Instead of being a grown up and going to the store, I just started hitting Sonic for a Route 44 Diet Coke easy ice on my way to and from various places, hence the title. Half price drinks at Sonic from 2-4! GENIUS. My favorite part was when Mom and I hit CVS to get some of her prescriptions and figured we'd just pick up some diet coke there. Um, there wasn't a single diet coke in the entire store. No 12-packs. No 2-Liters. No 16oz bottles in the cold box. It was BIZARRE. So I went to Sonic. I mean, it was raining, and I'm a delicate flower.

In other news, well, there's not much other news. Tonight I'm going to a hockey game with my cousin Hayley. I have pretty much no holiday plans. Next weekend I'm getting my Hill Country on with a Saturday float of the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels/Gruene for Whitifer's birthday and then finishing the weekend out in Burnet with Ross for his birthday. That means I have to miss my sweet niece Natalie's dance recital, but I think she'll survive, contrary to my mean brother's words yesterday. The first weekend in June, I'm headed up to the Big D. Bunny and Silver Fox are closing on their new house on the 5th, and Jen's baby shower is on the 6th. There will be some good times with Liz and the Saucer, too, because that's the kind of girls we are.


Because I feel like I need to include it...
It's been about a month and I still haven't seen divorce papers. I don't know how I feel anymore. I have these moments where the memories and subsequent feelings roll like a slide show across my heart and it hurts so bad that I can't stop crying. Sometimes I just don't really feel anything. And still other times, I'm just mad and over the whole thing. I know for certain that I am better than I thought I would be, blessed by my friends, and strengthened by my Lord.

Friday, May 15, 2009

you can mail that?!

Today, I went to go collect my mom from the hospital. Again. When we got home, I had to wait to pull into the driveway because the mail lady was getting something out of the back of the van, and it would have been rude to just run her down. She pulled a large red object out, and I came thisclose to peeing my pants. My friend Christina is AMAZING. Seriously. I honestly don't know how I lived before I had her in my life. She made me the most perfect gift!














Obviously, she put a lot of effort into it. It's super meaningful yet very simple and extremely effective. The ball really is a ball of joy. It's COVERED in scriptures! I want everyone else to be blessed, so here they are:

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" Psalm 147:3

"You turned my wailing into dancing, You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O Lord my God I will give thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy in His dwelling place." I Chronicles 16:27

"Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

"Let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You." Psalm 5:11

"You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is a fullness of joy..." Psalm 16:11

"He restores my soul; He leads me to the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." Psalm 23:3

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. At His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy..." Psalm 27:6


Seriously, Christina. THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH. The timing was perfect, you are such a wonderful friend, and I am so blessed by you! Love you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

tidings of comfort and joy

Giggle away, kids. We all know I love Christmas music. Moving right along.

I've been working a few days here and there as a nanny. I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but I REALLY like kids. I spent 2 days last week with these 2 precious cuties:



I learned what it's like to have twins! A (the brunette cutie) is 18 months old and K (the blond sweetie) is 21 months old. It's twice the adorable and twice the crazy. Either it was just fun or God is foreshadowing things to come... let's pray over that, shall we?



In addition to finding so much happiness (joy, you could say) in spending time with little ones, I've also been getting SO MUCH out of the current sermon series. We're spending the majority of 2009 doing an intensive study on Genesis. Friends, the lives of people 4000 years ago have so much in common with ours! Oh sure, we have indoor plumbing and diet coke, but the emotions and dreams are the same. While walking through my current valley, I have been uplifted, encouraged, and generally comforted in ways I never could have imagined by the lives of Abraham and Sarah.

Abraham is the father of the big 3 religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. He was not perfect. He did not always follow God's instructions. But he always loved the Lord. It is so comforting to see that he was blessed and rewarded exponentially by a good and faithful God. It is a reminder to all of us that God will never expect us to be perfect, and that He will still bless us and never leave us.

A few weeks ago, the topic was the birth of Isaac. Now, this event has been touched upon in several other sermons, because it was a HUGE part of God's promise to Abraham and Sarah. When my marriage fell apart, one of the things I had to mourn was the very real possibility that I will never have children of my own. My doctors have been telling me since I was 19 that I'm so high risk and when I turn 30, that risk triples so its best to have them in my 20's. Well, I'm halfway to 28 and going through a divorce. That does not bode well for having babies. I completely understand the pain Sarah must have felt. Literally, a DECADE went by with no child. She became desperate, made some bad choices, and paid the price. But then God was FAITHFUL and blessed her with a baby, when she was in her 90's. Sarah lived to be 127 years old, by the way. The point is, she was well past the age when she could have children. Menopause had come and gone. But God can do anything. And so I believe it's the same for me. I no longer feel that I'm lacking in some way, that I'm "less of a woman" the way I've felt for the past 2 years when we had tried to get pregnant and didn't, then when I miscarried. Those situations were my Hagar. I'll get my Isaac eventually.

I've been extremely blessed by a handful of the friends in my life these past 3 weeks. Y'all have lifted me up and meant more to me than you realize. I have not collapsed, and I am, in fact, ready for what's next. Let's go to Canaan, okay?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

the kindness of strangers

I went to the doctor today because the antibiotics I took for the gift of strep I received from my beautiful amazing wonderful sister in law are long gone and my sore throat isn't. Here are a few phrases that were particularly meaningful for me during that visit. "I'd like to check you for mono." WHAT? Grown ups DO NOT get mono, dude. You're ridiculous. Then he looked in my throat. Here's what I heard: "Pustules." That is DISGUSTING. Well, it did rule out mono. Apparently, the antibiotics didn't kill all the strep, that there were some patches of a strain resistant to amoxicillian. He didn't say I was contagious, and I told him I'd been around lots of kiddos (so if that includes your children, keep reading!), and he said they were fine and wrote me a prescription for a different antibiotic to finish the job. (Is it Mortal Combat or Street Fighter where that crazy voice goes, "FINISH HIM!!!"? Insert that here.) Then he looked in my ears. Here's my favorite part of that: "Wow, you had a lot of ear infections as a kid, didn't you?" I'm just upset that Sun Meeeeeee didn't mention my earhole scar tissue when she looked in my ears last summer. He informed me that I have a lot of fluid behind my right ear which means I'm about to have a sinus infection. He hooked me up with some drug samples for that.

Now for the title of the post. Tonight I dragged myself to HEB with Mom because, well, we were out of Diet Coke and life's just not really worth living when we're out of Diet Coke. Let's be honest here. Well, I am, in fact, a genius this week. (Saturday night, I locked my keys in the ignition at Taco Bell. Monday I left them on the lid of my trunk over night.) Tonight, I added to the list leaving my cell phone in the tray of the basket at HEB. FORTUNATELY, God is good and there are still truly good people in the world. I hadn't even noticed that I'd left it when the phone rang at the house. The man who found it scrolled through my contacts and called "Mom and Dad" to find out how to get it back to me. He told me that he'd lost his phone one time and someone had done that for him. How freaking cool is that?!

All in all, I'd say life could be worse right about now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

PRECIOUS! just precious.

I feel like I'm floating along on a bubble of prayer. I know some of them are my own, but mostly, they're prayers that have been said for me. If you're one of the amazing people who have prayed for me, thank you. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I received the most amazing email from a sweet friend of mine from Grace Fellowship. She told me she'd gone to the prayer center to intercede for me, and while she was praying, a couple prayed over her for me (Prayer makes chains like that. It blows my mind in the best way possible.) Jeremiah 17:7-8 was claimed over me. I DO trust in the Lord, and I AM blessed by my confidence in Him.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:12,14

I am commanded in scripture to live as a Christian example to my husband. I believe that this commandment still applies during our divorce. I have been strongly encouraged to continue to bless Denver throughout this process. Subsequently, I have claimed Psalm 112 for him. God began a good work in Denver when he prayed to accept Christ before we were married. God doesn't abandon His works, and thus I believe that he WILL be changed. Not necessarily in time to reconcile with me (although that would be pretty great) but rather in God's time, which is perfect. Every time he says or does something that hurts me, makes my stomach clench, etc, I pray that Psalm over him, inserting his name. God hears and answers the prayers of those who love Him.

Do I miss him every single day? Yes. Do I love him? Absolutely. Is my life over? Not even close. God molds and shapes us through every trial and season of suffering we endure. I know without a doubt that I walk with Christ, so I am being molded and shaped. If I am never as happy as I was ever again in this life, it doesn't make a difference. I mean, OBVIOUSLY I want to be ridiculously happy, but its out of my hands and into hands much larger than my own. So I will wait obediently and pray faithfully.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

broken.

Tonight at Alpha, one of the ministers read cards that the other leader's had written during a prayer time beforehand of words of wisdom from the Holy Spirit. One of them was, "Someone is struggling with a broken heart. I see a picture of a heart shattered into thousands of pieces."

At 2am, I messaged Denver on facebook because an episode of The West Wing we both love was on Bravo. He then informed me that he'd sent me an email earlier but sent it to the wrong address and had just resent it. He informed me that he filed for divorce today and asked me how I wanted to handle service.

On top of that heart warming conversation, I have strep throat.

Jesus, I need you now more than ever.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

heart band-aids?

I love the Lord, because He has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The cords and sorrows of death were around me, and the terrors of Sheol (the place of the dead) had laid hold of me; I suffered anguish and grief. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech You, save my life and deliver me! Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low and He helped and saved me. Psalm 116:1-6

I am continually in awe of my own capacity to endure and love. The grass is not greener, and I don't really want your life (unless you drive an Audi, but then I just want your car) and I don't want your pity. I just appreciate your prayers and supplications. Last night was a pretty bad night for me, and I had a pretty nasty panic attack. I was having a hard time even breathing much less praying. Thank you to Dayna and the Spirit for praying for me. When some semblence of calm returned to me, I was able to pray through my tears and, with the help of a ridiculous assortment of medications, eventually got some sleep.

God heard my prayers and those prayers prayed for me, and today I was not in that awful pit that I was in last night. In fact, my heart which was shattered and trampled last night, was restored to the point that I felt chest-bursting happiness for my sweet Cobbs when Eryn messaged me with their amazing news.

I've been wondering for a while when my love was going to run out, when I was going to bottom out and be unable to keep faithfully praying the promises of scripture and loving the people God's blessed me with in my life. God is so good, and I am completely confident that He is living in me because I now know that I will never run out of love. Now, when I will run out of "IN-LOVE" is another matter that only God knows.

Monday, April 13, 2009

the closest thing to a "free lunch"

It's way better than a free lunch. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a free meal as much as if not more than anyone, but this stuff, well, it's a feeding that lasts longer than the most delicious and satisfying meal ever could. It, in fact, blows that meal to crap. Okay, I have to switch tones now because this is sounding like a commercial and that is decidedly not my intent.

It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on His own, with no help from us! Then He picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:1-10 (The Message)

I love that that right there, in simple terms, is the best part of yesterday. Obviously, the candy is nice, but the fact that we were sin-soaked and obsessed with the world and ourselves, and God MERCIFULLY sent His son to die for us. We don't ever have to be good enough or holy enough or pure enough to be saved. All we have to do is BELIEVE. Have faith! And not even a lot of faith. Nope. Faith the size of a MUSTARD SEED (Matthew 17:20) is all you need. Reading the Bible, going to Bible study or on missions, prayer, etc., is all HIS work that we do to spend time with Him, not work we do to obtain salvation or maintain our places in Heaven.

Our Easter sermon was about imputed righteousness. This is referring to how God made a unilateral covenant with Abraham that He would make him righteous simply because he had faith in God. That covenant was fulfilled for each and every one of us through Christ. It's referenced and quoted in several books of the New Testament, thus it is a big part of the New Covenant. (For those of you who need some background on that, basically the Old Testament and subsequently the Jewish faith is the Old Covenant. Christ coming to die for us was promised in that covenant and so the New Testament and Christianity is the New Covenant.) There were so many things that Jim said, examples of current life that he included, that just blew me away. I mean, a lot of my problems aren't exactly uncommon, and I know that, but I'd been praying extensively about several of them last week so it was good for me to hear them specifically referenced in regards to God's provisions. On the way to church and again after we sang (so right before the message was delivered) I prayed for God to speak to me and keep my heart open to hear His words to me. Well, friends, it OBVIOUSLY worked.

I appreciated the sermon being on imputed righteousness even more because of a scripture I've been praying over Denver for quite some time now. "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife," I Corinthians 7:14a Now, I believe that when Denver accepted Christ before we got married, he was sincere and subsequently the Spirit still resides within him, and he is saved because you can't give back salvation, but since he's currently walking around proclaiming himself to be an atheist, it comforts my heart to the deepest parts to be reminded that he is set apart because he is my husband, despite his current view of himself as an unbeliever. [Note: Yes, I know what that entire passage says. Before you cite the rest of the passage and it's message on divorce to me, keep in mind that when I married him, he was a believer. That is all. :-)] The bottom line on that is, it's yet another free gift the Lord gives us out of love and grace. Denver doesn't have to do anything. My faith keeps him sanctified. That's pretty amazing to me, y'all.

It's humbling and empowering all at once. I'm so in awe of God's hugeness.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

evil in the world

Last night, our discussion at Alpha was about how to resist evil. It was awesome to have this topic after the hugeness of our Holy Spirit Weekend (where 4 people - including Sweet Katie - accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!!) but I came away from this meeting with an general feeling of unrest.

I absolutely believe that satan is real and that there is a tremendous amount of evil in the world. I've seen the evil with my own eyes, and even if I hadn't, it's in the Bible which is 100% truth and God's word to us, so that would be enough for me anyway. I just wanted to get that out there before I wrote about anything else.

Tim Barker was our speaker. He's a pastor here in the Katy/West Houston area as well as the accountability partner of our head pastor Jim Leggett. I have the utmost respect for Jim and thus Tim. I felt like he made some really awesome points, about praying the armor of God on yourself and your loved ones weekly if not daily (the pieces of this armor - the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, The Gospel Shoes of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit - are outlined in Ephesians 6:10-18). He gave several illustrations about the power of Scripture, and he even offered up a very practical way to defend yourself when you feel satan attacking you (pray for someone who doesn't know Christ. It pisses the devil off BIG TIME. He'd rather leave you alone than risk losing one of his souls).

In our small group, Kevin made a great point. Being aware that there is evil in the world and that satan will try to attack you is kind of like being told that at some point, someone is going to hit you in the face, and you need to be ready for it. No one wants to be hit in the face. It sucks. We also talked about if evil comes from God or from the devil. I personally believe, based on the Job precedent, that evil comes from satan. All of those things that Job endured, losing all of his possessions, his entire family dying, getting nasty boils, etc, were the work of satan, and not God. But his faith was STRENGTHENED. I believe that's the point of it. It's like Dolly Parton (yea, I'm gonna quote her) said, "You can't have a rainbow without any rain." Well, Eve bought the devil's lie in the garden and subsequently, we all get to endure evil in our lives. That's just the reality of it. Here's the part I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. Kevin and I disagree on this part. He doesn't believe that your circumstances per say are actually evil. I believe that a large portion of circumstances are rooted in evil. For instance, I don't believe that living with my parents, while I'm not happy about it, is evil, but I believe that the choices Denver made that led to me living with my parents are rooted in evil. There will always be exceptions, like getting laid off because the economy is bad, etc, but I don't agree that it's right to say that circumstances aren't really evil. What do you think? Can someone help me understand this one?


In other news, my mom was readmitted to the hospital Sunday night with an infection in her surgical wound. After a tremendous amount of drama, she had a 2nd surgery this morning to clean out the wound and drain it. We're hoping that plus hardcore antibiotics takes care of it, and she makes it home for good soon and starts the recovery process for reals.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hello from our Alpha retreat!

I love love love my Alpha group. Before the first session, they told us that God puts together the group that He wants together. It's absolutely true. All 4 of the other girls who are in my group and on this retreat are in my room with me right now (Skyleigh is my roommate but Ana, Katie, and Laura are just cool girls hanging out with us) and we're sharing stuff and having a great time. We're having so much fun, in fact, that the people in the room next to us changed rooms because we were laughing so loud.

Earlier today, when I was getting ready to come up here, I was thinking about a statement I heard earlier this week. "Jesus loves you, but He loves everyone." They tried to make it sound like that was a bad thing. That's the point! Jesus loves everyone. He loves every single one of us, regardless of who we are and what we've been and done. We can never be good enough for Him to love us, but He died for us anyway. Just marinate on that.

I'm gonna go have some more bonding time with my girls.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Affirmation

This morning, right before the service I heard some sad news about some friends of my brother and SIL's. When couples split and it's not a mutual decision, it is gut wrenching and awful. That means I started the service out with kind of a lump in my stomach. Then the lump grew when I looked at the bulletin and saw what the sermon topic today was. GREAT. It was Sodom and Gomorrah. That's always fun filled and joyful! Lucky for me, God is amazingly good and had set up a provision for the lump in my stomach. There was a quote placed towards the end of our sermon notes and when it was read, I felt just this huge wave of peace affirmation wash over me and remove that lump in my stomach.

"If lost sinners will not hear you speak, they cannot prevent your praying. Do they jest at your exhortations? They cannot disturb your prayers. Are they away so you cannot reach them? Your prayers can reach them. Have they declared that they will never listen to you again, nor see your face? Never mind, God has a voice which they must hear. Speak to Him, and He will make them feel. Though they now treat you despitefully, rendering evil for your good, follow them with your prayers. Never let them perish for lack of your supplications." -Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, March 28, 2009

* yawn *

Y'all, I'm tired. Physically. I am just exhausted. I have been all week. Its bizarre. Maybe its sympathy for Eryn, or maybe it's just my hormones, but I feel like I'm pregnant! I have cramps and pains in the right places, I'm just tired all the time, and I want to eat everything. Don't start thinking anything - we all know where babies come from and that isn't happenin' for this lady right now. I have a meeting on Tuesday to hopefully get Medicaid. If I get Medicaid, then I can go see a doctor about this weirdness! Wouldn't that be amazing?!

I'm probably not going to blog about extensively about the wedding since it's been a week and no longer feels all that fresh. Sorry, I know you're crushed. Feel free to ask if you really want to know. Basically, we had an amazing time. Everything was beautiful. The DJ was AWFUL and complaints have been filed about him (I mean, he violated the contract, ignored the timeline we gave him 2 months ago which means things got left out, and then had the balls to wait until the morning of the wedding to get the music together so he called Bunny at 10am ON HER WEDDING DAY to tell her there was a problem with the song she and Silver Fox had selected for their 1st dance! WAY unprofessional, pal.) Our airbrush tans looked so gross at the rehearsal but after we'd all gotten to shower and the color had set, we looked bronze and fantastic for the wedding. Pictures will be posted to facebook in the next day or so, so I'll swipe some and post them here for your viewing pleasure.

I've spent the vast majority of my week either passed out, taking care of my dad, or up at the hospital with Mom. Her surgery on Monday went well, she was moved to the rehab hospital on Thursday night, and she's looking at being released on either April 2nd or 3rd. I'm personally hoping it's either the 2nd or before noon on the 3rd, since I'm heading to the Woodlands on the 3rd for our Alpha Holy Spirit Retreat (more about that in a minute). I have to leave Katy between 4 and 4:30 at the latest, so that could be cutting it VERY close!

The Alpha Retreat. God has HUGE things planned for that weekend, and I'm pretty stoked. I mean, He's already shown me so much this far in the course, and that weekend is pretty intense. I had lunch with Kristen (the Alpha Coordinator for our church) on Wednesday to get filled in on all the leader roles and info about it, and I must admit, I'm overwhelmed a little. I've been praying that God would give me the confidence to not let me let myself get in His way, for me to focus on being open and letting the Spirit move through me as opposed to get nervous about praying the right things or having the right words, etc.

And with that, I'm gonna take a nap for a little bit before I make dinner for my dad. I told you I'm tired.

Monday, March 23, 2009

quick update before I fall over

This weekend was FANTASTIC. It was not in any way, shape, or form restful, but it was so much fun. There will probably be pictures at some point, but not today. I got home from Dallas at about 4:30 this morning. I had Mom at the hospital around noon today for her knee replacement surgery. The case before her had some complications so she didn't get wheeled into surgery until about 3:45. At 8:55 tonight, they wheeled her into her home for the next 2-3 days, a room up on the top floor! I finally got home a little after 9:30. Needless to say, I am WIPED. I'll do a better update later.

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs., Silver Fox and Bunny! I love you!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

dum dum da dum

I can't believe it's finally time! At 6pm on Saturday, the wedding of Bunny and Dave will begin. Well, I mean, that's what the schedule says, but we all know how that works... lol She told me tonight it hasn't quite hit her yet. That's totally how she is, though, so I'm not surprised. It'll hit her tomorrow when I get there, or at the very latest Friday when EVERYONE gets there.

I'd appreciate a few extra prayers this weekend, if you wouldn't mind. Pray for Bunny's stress, that this goes as smoothly as possible (because no wedding is perfect!). Also, lately I've been extremely sensative and easily weepy (especially if I have any amount of alcohol in my system. I'm blaming that on my insane hormone imbalance that I will hopefully get to see a doctor about soon... that's another post entirely, though.) Being in proximity to D has an unpleasant effect on me. Pray for my strength, and that God would help me to guard my heart. When I get back on Sunday, there's no time to breathe. My mom is having a full knee replacement on Monday morning. Oh yea, would you keep that in your prayers, too?

GOSH! I'm so needy today! lol Y'all are the best and I'm blessed by you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

forget chicken soup... CHAI for the soul!

For those of you who live in Texas, you may have noticed that the weather has turned to GROSS this week. It is cold. It is wet. It is suck.

Yesterday, I picked up Jackson, Dallas, and Monica from school. They were running through the house like wild animals (because that's what kids do on rainy days) and I put a mug of water in the microwave to heat up. Jackson (who is 10) came in and said, "What are you cooking?" I said, "A cup of tea." He said something to the effect of "old ladies drink tea."

If only old ladies drink tea, then bring on the Geritol!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yunno, Jesus was a carpenter...

I've been furiously working on refinishing my old canopy bed for my sweet niece Natters. I big time underestimated how much it was going to suck to sand that puppy down. My hands feel like shark skin. My nails are scratched up. I feel gritty, but not in the cutting edge tv-drama kind of way. Admittedly, though, while I was sitting out on the back porch, enjoying the beautiful days (before the storms and cold fronts arrived last night/this morning) sanding away on that bed frame, I TOTALLY thought to myself, "Yunno, the Bible says all work is work for Him, and Jesus was a carpenter, so I really DO feel like I'm doing work for Him..." It's okay, I absolutely cracked up afterwards. Today we painted. Unfortunately, I did not get my painting skills from my mother, so there's stuff that needs to be resanded and repainted because, bless her cotton socks she tried. Annoying, but hey, crap happens.


In other news...
I'm SO excited about Bunny's wedding next week! We had her bachelorette party over the weekend and I was reminded, yet again, how fantastic my cousins are. We went out to dinner at Chuy's then had an out of control slumber party at Renee's house up in Magnolia. We laughed. We cried (okay, I cried.). We ate bacon. FLAME ON! I'm heading up on Thursday afternoon and will be there thru Sunday afternoon. I took my dress to get it hemmed and have the boob pads removed (seriously. Who put those in there? What is that?!). Bunny told me a story earlier tonight about how Dave called her this morning and said, "I'm so excited that I'm marrying you in 11 days. I have to get back to work now, I just wanted to call and tell you that." That is AWESOME. I remember how it feels to be loved like that, and I love how much they love each other. Oh no... I think I'm gonna rewrite my toast again. I've been through like 8 versions so far. I want it to be perfect!

Although I'm going up for the wedding, I'm pretty excited to go out on Thursday and Friday nights with my Dallas peeps. I even got a cute new dress for the occasion! Oh who am I kidding. We all know I'm just gonna want to go to the Saucer. lol


Finally, some extra lovin' for my Dallas girls who aren't Bunny.
Megan: congratulations on your engagement. I'm excited to be your Matron of Honor, but I might kill you in the process...
Christina: how did I live before you?
Whitifer: God is good, all the time. Trust Him and seek His will. You can't go wrong if you do.
Jen Jen: I'm still waiting for preggo belly pictures. Put some ketchup on it, okay?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3 years of not so holy matrimony

On March 4, 2006, I walked down the aisle at Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church on my father's arm, my cheeks hurting so bad from my huge grin, ridiculously excited to get to the end and marry the man waiting there for me, with an equally huge grin on his face. We promised to love, honor, and cherish each other for the rest of our lives. It was FANTASTIC.

Fast forward to 3 years later, and well, you know where we stand.

First of all, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you to every single one of you who has uttered a prayer for Denver, me, or our marriage. Its not like he responded to my text today wishing him a happy anniversary, but its not like I expected him to. Things haven't really changed between us, which isn't a bad thing necessarily. What's that old saying, "no news is good news"? I'm not sure if its so much that as that every day that goes by that I don't get served with divorce papers is one more day that God has given me to be Denver's wife. The way I see it, either there's something coming that is HUGE and 100% God-worked or He knows that I'm still not ready to go through it and so He's putting distractions in Denver's life to keep him from filing. Denver's not exactly the most quick-to-act guy out there, so the fact that he's been telling me for a year that he wants a divorce doesn't exactly say much. Wanting a divorce and actually filing for one are not the same thing. However small that chance is, it's still there. And given the fact that I still love my husband and have strong desire to honor my vows to him, that's the chance I'm looking at. That being said, let's talk about some blessings and awesome God activity in my life, shall we?

Have I told you lately that I love you? No? Well, my bad. I have the greatest people in my life. Seriously. God really pulled out all the stops when He gave me friends. Some people have quantity. Other people have quality. A truly blessed few like me have both. Its kind of ridiculous sometimes how amazing y'all are. The way you love me, support me, entertain me, and understand me blows my mind. Thanks for that.

Last night at Alpha, the topic was prayer. I love love love the speaker. Her daughter is one of my Sunday school kiddos, and their family is just precious. She spoke about the basis of prayer being faith. "Without faith, we're just talkin' to ourselves!" Because I have FAITH, I know that my prayers are heard by the Creator of the stinkin' universe. YES. She also spoke about how there's power in persistence and numbers. That's so true. And that is why I thank y'all so so much for all the prayers you've prayed for us. She also spoke about how the answer to a lot of prayers is "Wait." Y'all, that was a HUGE affirmation for me. I mean, she illustrated about how sometimes it takes time to get to where God wants your heart in prayer by talking about Jesus in the garden begging God to change things if there was another way before He finally came to terms with God's will. I've thought many many times that the answer to my prayers about reconciliation and healing was no. But God faithfully nudged me back to "WAIT." Getting that reminder wrapped in a package of "grow your faith and pray without ceasing" was a perfectly timed moment for me. He knows when I need reminders and when I need a little extra fuel for a fight ahead. Today was set to be a battle, and my Lord strengthened me for it. HE IS SO COOL!!

One of the big questions that almost every seeker and/or non-believer ask of Christians is some variation of, "If God loves you, why does He let bad things happen to good people?" Well, the answer is a lot more simple than they think. Its for one or all of the following: to take us away from a bad situation or behavior, to teach us something and help us grow, or to prepare us to help someone else through a similar situation. Scripture tells us that all things work together for the glory of the Lord, so it makes perfect sense. It's become more and more clear to me since I've been down in Katy that God has plans bigger than me for my being here, that there are things He has intended for me through this. Last Spring, I read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. He discussed this "why do bad things happen" topic at great length. The part about it preparing us to help someone else through a similar situation really spoke to my heart. I never ever in a million years would have guessed that God would have planned for me to use my situation this soon. I'm still going through it! However, His timing and wisdom are perfect. I am getting to know 2 amazing women who are facing similar trials to my own but they do not have the advantage I do of knowing the Lord intimately. I may have mentioned them before, that they are from my Alpha group, and I already know that I love them deeply. They are amazing and special and have beautiful hearts. I'm honored to share my faith and my struggle with them, and I'm blessed beyond belief by my Jesus.

So yea. Today could have so very easily turned into a disgusting pity party. Instead, God gave me some awesome love and blessings and rocked my world.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

40 days and 40 nights of consumption

Last night at the Ash Wednesday service, we apologized to God and each other for our failures as a church and as people. With every wrong of the church that was apologized for, I remembered a moment or season at a church in my past that went along those lines. It really was a cleansing moment. My tendency is always to fixate on things in my past that have been hurtful and ignore the more personal issues that I should be focusing on. Luckily, God wasn't having that last night. He got in my heart and showed me the things that I'm doing wrong right now, the things that really no one else sees but Him but that are so against the woman that I'm becoming and that I project in general. How humbling!! When I received communion, I let the magnitude of that (Christ's body broken for me and Christ's blood freely given for me), really sink in before I went and received my ashes. Ashes are a symbol of grief, of remorse for our sins and failures. I've had ashes imparted before, but I've never let their meaning really go past the superficial aspect of showing everyone I cross paths with that I am a believer. The external image is where the problem was when I was younger. I was so concerned with my appearance as a Christian that I didn't grow my roots. I was a seed in rocky soil. Now I'm becoming a seed in rich soil that produces 30 and 60 and even 100 times the original crop (Mark 4:1-20). I am being consumed from the INSIDE OUT by the Spirit.

Traditionally for Lent you're supposed to give something up as a means of gaining some spiritual insight and growth. I don't see how giving up chocolate or french fries gets you any closer to God, though. This year, I've decided to do Lent a little bit differently. I'm giving up making excuses.

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily, as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-34

I'm going to do something every day around the house, a little chore or task that I don't particularly want to do but needs to be done and makes life a little more pleasant for the other people who live here. Its things I would do in my own home (or wouldn't need to do because there are messes that I just don't make or allow to be made in my own home, but that's a different story...) Its getting into the habit of having a home-servant attitude, because it's things done for the Lord, and it's part of our purpose. So I'm making a concerted effort to do it every day (excluding the days I'm in Dallas for Bunny's wedding, of course) so that by Easter, it will just be a way of life. No more being too tired, too headachey, too upset stomachy. Jesus wasn't too tired to die for me, so I'm not too tired to vacuum the living room.

Your word I have laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You... I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law]. I will delight myself in your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Psalm 119:11, 14-15

I have failed miserably thus far at my Bible reading New Year's "Resolution". That's gotta change. The best way to get closer to God is to read the word! Every word of the Bible is GOD BREATHED (II Timothy 3:16) and that in and of itself makes it completely worth my time to read it and fill my heart with scripture. Jesus wasn't too distracted to die for me, so I'm not too distracted to read His word.

What are you changing in your life for Lent?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

oh Christina...

DANG! So I felt like I'd just let a bunch out on my previous post and I set about catching up on everyone else's blog. God went ahead and showed me that I had not, in fact, gotten it all out.

This is a snippet from Christina's blog that just pretty much knocked me on my butt. She was writing about a book called Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. This quote is a direct quote from the book:

"...I have to give him to the Lord regularly...I've told the Lord I want to be an obedient servant, and He shot back, 'And are you willing to face grief and pain or whatever it takes for Me to make you that?' Even though I felt unable, I said, 'what choice do I have? I know too much to drop the ball now. There's no turning back.' I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid. But He has brought me this far and already my joy is unspeakable."

That's the thing about following Christ's will for your life... its not always the easy path that feels nice. But it is ALWAYS the best path. I have faced huge amounts of pain and grief in the past year and a half, but the growth of intimacy between Jesus and me that it has fostered has been the source of my biggest joy. I wouldn't choose to do it again, and I wouldn't recommend it for others, but when things bring you closer to God, how can they not be worth it?

God is so faithful!!

I was praying last night and I started going through the blessings in my life, taking stock of all the steps God's helped me take lately, and I was kind of overwhelmed by the progress and awesomeness of it all. Its a fantastic feeling when you can literally see God moving. It helps keep you grounded in your faith and not feel like an idiot. I must confess, I'd been struggling with some doubt. When you have people in your life who aren't believers and you're going through a course on the fundamentals, I think its only natural to question your own faith: why DO I believe that? Thankfully, I was honest with God about it, told Him my struggle and sat quiet. He took care of it!

I believe that I have finally almost completely (or as completely as I probably ever will) come to terms with my miscarriage. The fact that right now is when I would have been due or would already have the baby has weighed on me. Its not a good feeling. But my bitterness towards others and, well, God, has been removed. That's part of faith. Its knowing and trusting God to bless me in His time and not when I want it. Its being mature enough to be realistic and see the bigger picture of things.

I had that dream about God a few weeks ago, remember? Well, God brought it back up with me last night. He showed me with one sentence exactly why He put me in a situation, and holy moly was it huge. He has entrusted me with an amazing task, and I'm excited for the opportunity to be used by THE LORD like that. ME! Me with all my baggage and flaws and ridiculousness! It's just so big time. Pray for me, y'all, that I will be open for Him to flow through me.

I ran into one of my Sunday school kiddos when I was out and about running errands yesterday. Her mom was like, "She really just loves having you as her teacher," and I said, "Well, that's great because I'm moving up to 1st grade with them in August!" They were both (hooray! The parents trust me with their kids!) very excited about that. It was a great confirmation that I'm doing something right with those little angels every week.

I took stock of the company I keep and can honestly say that I have never had such substantial and quality love in my life. The people who are my super besties are some of the most incredible people you will ever meet, and they all think I'm some kind of special, too. No matter how crappy my CIRCUMSTANCES are, I know that they aren't who I am. They are just circumstances, and they will change. But who I am on the inside is constant, and that's the best part of me. That's the part of me that has made me worthy of such wonderful companionship.

With a prayer full of that stuff, its just about impossible to not feel full, isn't it? I hope your lives are feeling just as blessed!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

just a smidge vague...

This afternoon, I was let in on a little secret. And it was a GLORIOUS secret. Here's why that's news worthy. Its not because I'm trying to be like, "neener neener I know something you don't know!" Its worth me mentioning because of the flood of emotions that hearing it filled me with. I have not felt that much sincere joy and excitement about something in longer than I care to admit.

So dear friend and owner of the secret, thank you. And like I told you earlier tonight, I love you immeasurably.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

So, 2007 was the best Valentine's Day EVER. Denver and I did it low key. We went to Central Market when I got home from work and bought the fixins for a fantabulous multi-course meal. We had salad, avocado crab cakes, beautiful steaks, and coffee ice cream and berries. We turned off the tv and our phones, cooked an amazing meal together, then ate it with wine and candle light. It was so intimate and fun and exactly what a holiday about love should be about - quality time with the one you love.

2008 was the WORST Valentine's Day EVER. At 10pm on February 13th, Kelly and Renee arrived in Dallas, helped me load up my stuff (because my car had died that day) and drove me back to Katy. I arrived at my parents' house around 3am on Valentine's Day. I spent the entire time mostly numb and crying on the couch, my heart smashed to pieces.

2009 has been pretty good to me. I spent the day with my family. We threw Bunny her bridal shower and did it Valentine's theme. What better way to celebrate a day of love than by bestowing huge amounts of love on someone as amazing as Bunny? Well, and Dave is pretty okay, too. Tonight we're planning some bowling and I'm happy. I can think of only 1 thing that could possibly make my day better, but this will just have to do.

And don't you worry, I love you, too. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

gross or awesome?

Or a little of column A and a little of column B.

I just got an email from my cousin and I really feel that it needs to be shared.

www.thisiswhyyourefat.com

Some of it made me wish it was October because Fair Food is so bad for your body and so good for your soul.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What defines you?

Tonight at Alpha, the topic was "Why did Jesus Die?" I am not going to blog about that, but if you ask me, I'll tell you what I believe, and there will be mention of goats and lambs.

No, I'm going to blog about something else entirely. Kevin, my group leader (he is HILARIOUS and my role is to help him keep conversation flowing and pray for the group), posed some interesting questions. Living in the world and sinning is a lot like being in water and getting wet. They are unavoidable things because of the location. So do you live your life from a place of sin or forgiveness? And if you had to write 10 words that defined you, would you include "sinner"? How about "forgiven"?

I personally live my life from a place of forgiveness. I am 100% aware that I will never ever ever be good enough to deserve salvation. I can never EARN God's grace, love, and mercy. I am a perpetual sinner. I sin so many times every single day that I couldn't possibly count them all! But instead of viewing myself as the filthy sin-covered person that I probably should, I view myself as forgiven. I am forgiven for them all: the sins I don't realize I committed and thus don't repent for, the ones that I am fully aware of and habitually commit anyway, and the one time mistakes. I am covered in the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and thus I am FORGIVEN. You can't really wrap your head around the hugeness of that. I mean, I'm a pretty forgiving person, and even I can't really grasp the hugeness of that. But I don't have to. Because I live by faith.

As for the words that describe me... No. I would not list sinner. Because in my mind, I feel like its so obvious. I wouldn't list "human", "white", "American", or "female" either, because they're so obvious. They just go without saying to me. As far as forgiven, I think I'd chose a larger word that encompasses it. I am so completely a Christian. I am a believer. I am forgiven. I am in love with my Savior. I am a servant. I am so many things that go into being a follower of Christ. Forgiven is HUGE, but there's just more to it for me.

So what about you? How do you live? Do you live your life oblivious to sin? Do you live it accepting and "oh well!" of your sin? Or do you live knowing that you are loved by the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE just as much every single moment regardless of what you are doing on this earth?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Seriously, Pancreas?

Okay, twice this weekend (Thursday night and again last night) I have had severe hypo-glycemia.

Here's your lesson on type 1 diabetes for the day!

My pancreas produces less than 5% of the amount of insulin needed to support life processes. Your pancreas (unless you're also a diabetic) moderates your body's insulin levels and keeps your blood glucose (sugar) level between 70 and 120 naturally. Anything below 70 is considered hypo-glycemic and anything above 150 is considered hyper-glycemic. They're both uncomfortable, in totally different ways, and both are bad news for your body. Hyper-glycemia causes organ damage with time and puts tremendous strain on your circulatory system, which is why so many diabetics go blind or need appendages amputated. With hypo-glycemia, it causes systems to shut down (they don't have the glucose - fuel - to function) and lead to comas and death. If you saw Memento, his wife dies from hypo-glycemia from insulin overdosing.

So now that you know all that cool science, you can see why I'm so frustrated with my body deciding to drop me in the middle of the night. Both nights I went to bed in the perfect range - one night was 88 and the other was 95. Within an hour or 2 of falling asleep, I woke up feeling AWFUL and discovered my blood glucose was dangerously low. It takes a huge toll on my body and leaves me absolutely exhausted. Its also super scary! What if I hadn't woken up? I could have died in my sleep!! I have no idea what's going on with my body and why this is happening. I haven't changed my diet drastically recently or anything else big.

Anybody want to volunteer for slumber parties to make sure I don't die or anything? Lucie's a good snuggler...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just a little bit of life

I spent the weekend in Dallas, and lemme tell ya, it was not perfect. Now, I'm not saying that it was awful or that I wasn't blessed out of my mind on the trip, but I am saying that being there was hard for me a lot of the time. That's the thing about me... I love very deeply. I could literally FEEL his presence because I hadn't been in such proximity in so many months. Obviously, that killed me. Thankfully, I was blanketed in prayer the entire time I was there, and so I only cried a little and never for extended periods of time or in public. God is good like that. Renee has a verse she's claimed for me, and I think it helps:

...to provide comfort for all who mourn, and to provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness, instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. Isaiah 61:2b-4

When I wasn't feeling betrayed by my heart, I was filling it with time with some of my favorite people! Friday night I got in way late, so dinner at the Stock's was cancelled. I did get to see Liz and Tom and Shan and Ashleigh (hooray! I finally met her and she is WONDERFUL!!) though, which was very nice. Saturday was my beloved Bunny's 25th birthday. Megan stopped by after class for a little bit, which was fantastic because we never see each other! We did a lot of wedding stuff, which was a huge relief for Bunny. We finalized the ceremony order, picked all the ceremony music, and edited the programs. Then we went to dinner at Cuba Libre with my aunt and uncle. SO YUMMY!!!! Unfortunately, Bunny was exhausted and passed out before 10. Crystal had invited me out for her birthday, so I gladly accepted. Unfortunately, she told me the wrong location, so I didn't see her. But Chris and Karen had already agreed to meet me, then Shan and Ashleigh followed. Jaeger Bombs. lol! SO MUCH FUN! On Sunday, we did more wedding stuff. We picked all the reception songs and filled out the paperwork for the DJ. That may not sound like much, but it took us 4 hours. Then, after a touch of the drama, we established a list of needs and quantities for the bar. That was also no small feat. We rounded out the wedding stuff with a trip to David's Bridal so the bride could see the dresses her maids would be wearing (she is pleased) and a trip to Whole Foods to pick out flowers for the bouquets. We celebrated our productivity with some chicken nuggets watching the Super Bowl (I picked the Steelers last week, so I'm feeling awesome). After the game, I hugged my family (meaning Bunny, her fiance', and his Beast son) and headed out. I stopped by the Stock's house on the way, because I couldn't bear to not see Christina. We planted strawberries and giggled and it was the best possible ending.

God treated me to a beautiful show for almost my entire drive home. There was a thunderstorm passing to the south, which I never hit - I was always just behind it - and the lightning was high in the clouds and just spectacular! It was frequently orange (my favorite!!) and just amazing. I got home, slept a little, and prepped for my day of errands and a night of Ross!

All in all, I would not say that I am feeling particularly happy these days. However, I am striving to feel FULL. I am blessed every single day by the friends and family I have, by the church that I belong to and the involvement I have there, and that helps. I was reminded when I left Dallas how BIG my sweet Lord is. I saw a billboard. Usually I think those billboards are cheesy and ridiculous, but to be feeling hurt and see a reminder that God can do and save ANYTHING was exactly what I needed at that exact moment. Then He put on that show for me, and really, it was a wonderful little drive home.

Next week I strive to put to good use the gift I was given a week ago. One of the sweet ladies in my Bible study group bought my workbook for me. I thanked her by missing class last week and this week. GARK! I need to be a more powerful praying woman, so I need to get my butt to class!

Tonight is week 2 of Alpha. We're praying like crazy for all the seekers who are coming. Last week, everyone in my small group (I'm helping to lead a group) was already a believer. God can and will do awesome work through this course, and we're all praying hard for that. If you have a minute, would you pray for that, too?

And finally, my sweet sweet kids on Sunday mornings. I missed them so much this weekend!! We just finished a unit on the miracles of Christ and now we're starting one on God the Healer. Friends, God is about to blow my mind, I can just feel it. Because WHOA do I need some healing. And He's already shown me how much He enjoys teaching me through those kiddos. Oh, I am as ready as I'll ever be for this.

Have a great week, y'all. And keep drinking water. :-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

the ever popular 25 things...

I did this on facebook, but my darling Christina tagged me on blogger, so here it is.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note/post with 25 random things, facts, opinions, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 (or none, because I tagged people on facebook) people to be tagged.

1. I almost never purchase clothing at full price. Even my wedding dress was on sale.
2. I was recently diagnosed with Raging Awesome. Its a daily struggle, but I'm learning to live with it.
3. I want to expand on the tattoos on my back. I don't really want tats anywhere BUT my back though.
4. I hate onions, but I love onion rings. Oh, and Bloomin' Onions.
5. I have more than 100 scars on my body. Some are big and some are barely noticeable.
6. I love giraffes SO MUCH. Seriously. They make me squeal a little. One of the coolest things I have ever done was feeding one in the petting zoo at the state fair in 2007. I was more excited than the little kids!
7. I fart in my sleep. Luckily, they almost never smell. Yes, I've asked.
8. I believe that I was designed by God to be a mom.
9. Being serenaded or watching someone get serenaded makes me excruciatingly uncomfortable.
10. Denver's smile when his eyes are twinkling still gives me butterflies in my stomach. STILL.
11. I. Hate. Mustard.
12. I think Eli Manning is incredibly attractive, even when making stupid faces licking oreos.
13. I'm allergic to Benadryl. Specifically, diphenhydramine. It essentially gives me a bad trip on acid. No over the counter sleep aids for me!
14. I don't really like margaritas. Mostly, its that tequila doesn't really like me. We broke up long before I turned 21.
15. I don't eat ham if I can help it.
16. I love mushrooms. YUM.
17. I LOOOOOOOVE curling. Yea, with the rocks on ice. Its the best.
18. I didn't see legitimate snow (as in more than a half inch or flurries) until I was 18, and it was in DC.
19. Don't let my dead-on Wisconsin accent fool you. I've never been there. In fact, I've only really crossed the Mason-Dixon Line once, and it was to go to Pittsburgh.
20. On my dad's side, I'm related to Harriet Beecher Stowe. On my mom's side, my family owned slaves. Gotta love the American Melting Pot.
21. I know where in Germany most of my family (both sides) came from, over 200 years ago.
22. My last name was originally supposed to be Halle, but the "e" was dropped and my grandfather learned to speak English during WWI. Er war 8 Jahren alt.
23. Michael Jackson music makes me happy every time.
24. I think laughing is the best thing ever, after kissing. Laughing you can do with anyone, though...
25. I grew up believing in Jesus, but I wasn't saved until I was 14. I didn't fully develop my relationship with Christ until I was in my 20's. Now He is my best friend.