Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Nicki!!

I just want to take a minute to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet friend Nicki!

Our freshman year at Baylor- we had a bit of a wardrobe switch :)

Nicki and I met at Baylor...I moved into North Russell and woke up early my first day at Baylor to a loud banging on the wall next door :) My soon-to-be sweet friend was up early hanging things on her wall haha. So funny! I was so blessed to live next door to her our freshman year. We learned that we both grew up in San Antonio, and even knew some of the same people, so we made an instant connection. Nicki was always my "twin." We were often mistaken for each other, which was definitely funny to both of us. But I definitely never complained about being mistaken for my beautiful friend :)

Visit in San Antonio!

I am so blessed to have her in my life, and I am so grateful for the friendship the Lord has provided. While it's hard that she lives so far away, I am thankful for the blessing of knowing that she is only a phone call away. I miss her, and cannot wait to see her this summer. I was privileged to stand with her in her wedding almost 4 years ago, and I am really looking forward to have her stand with me in mine!

Happy Birthday sweet friend! I hope you know how much you are loved!!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When Sinners Say I Do

I mentioned earlier that Mike and I would be doing some of our pre-marital counseling with a couple in our church. We are so blessed to be able to meet with Scott and Nicole Stonehouse. They have been married 12 years and have 3 adorable children. Check out how cute this sweet family is:

We have been excited about meeting with Scott and Nicole, and last night was our first official "session" with them. (I feel like that sounds weird and way more formal than it really is, but I can't think of a better word right now). Scott and Nicole are so fun, and I really enjoy our time with them. One of the reasons we chose them was because of how real and down-to-earth they both are. They have so much to offer, and I am really looking forward to gleaning from their wisdom.

For some discussion points, we chose to read through a book by Dave Harvey called When Sinners Say "I Do:" Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage. We discussed the first chapter last night, and I think I am going to like this book. The author started off with an overview of the foundations of marriage, and I like what he has to say so far.

I really liked this quote from the first chapter:

When we begin to orient our marriages around biblical truth, we see something amazing. Marriage is not just invented by God – it belongs to God.  He has unique claim over its design, purpose, and goals.  It actually exists for Him more than is exists for you and me and our spouses...Marriage is for our good, but it is first for God's glory.

I pray that Mike and I can live this as much as possible in our marriage. I can imagine how easy it would be to make our marriage about us. Don't misunderstand me- we should be working to love and serve each other well, in a way that honors and glorifies Christ. But I think living under the reality that the whole purpose of our marriage is for God's glory is a little different than just making God's glory a goal of our marriage. It seems like a simple enough "duh" thought, but I think this will be a good reminder for me as we start to look practically at what our lives together will look like.

We plan to meet with once a month, both before our wedding and even through the first months of married life. I think being able to talk with both before and after our wedding will be so beneficial. I am so thankful for Scott and Nicole, and their willingness to take time out of their busy schedule to meet with us. It is so encouraging to see a couple strive to make Christ the center of their marriage, while loving each other well and serving others around them. I am so excited to develop deeper relationships with this sweet couple!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bind My Wandering Heart, Lord

I think one of the things I love so much about music is how the Lord uses it to speak to my heart. I have blogged countless times of varying songs that the Lord will bring to mind, wake me up with, or use to get my attention on something. Sometimes it's a song in church; other times it's a song on the radio. When the Lord happens to use the words of a song to convict me of something in my life, I am always so thankful for this loving and gracious method He uses to remind me of my wandering heart and to gently draw me back to His. Sometimes He needs to enact more stern discipline- loving discipline, but discipline nonetheless- so I prefer the song method.

This is one of my favorite hymns, and it has been running through my head the last couple of days...

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Life is busy right now, and I confess that I have allowed my heart to wander. Part of my journey back to His heart is confessing that I have not been faithful to the One I love. I have fallen out of my usual disciplines and have not been faithful in my time with the Lord. Work and wedding planning distract my thoughts throughout the day, and the snooze button has all too often taken precedence over my early morning time with the Lord. With my calendar rapidly filling, He seems to become just another line item on the long list of to do's. Ugh. Writing that on paper makes my heart hurt. My recent lack of discipline and focus have led me to slip into a "coasting" mode, which is a dangerous place to be. How quickly my sinful heart wanders and begins to make compromises and excuses. In His mercy, the Lord woke me up at 2am yesterday morning to speak to my heart about some of those compromises. It was a sobering time of confession before my Holy Father, and I praise Him for forgiveness and grace.

I have had my "wake up call" (haha- no pun intended) and would ask you to join me as I pray for the Lord to bind my wandering heart to His. We sometimes cringe at the notion of discipline, because we're just lazy or because we fear legalism. But my sinful heart needs discipline if I have any chance of remaining faithful. I have seen how quickly my sinful heart takes over when it is distracted and wandering from the Lord. I praise God for the conviction of the Spirit and for His constant work to sanctify my wandering heart...


Friday, February 4, 2011

Birthday with Mike :)

Mike braved the roads last night to come see me. We had plans to spend Tuesday night celebrating my birthday, but with the weather we had to postpone. While it made me nervous that he was out on the roads, I am really grateful he came over- I really missed him :) And because he is amazing, he brought me some of my favorite things: Chick-Fil-A for dinner, Dublin Dr Pepper, and enough dark chocolate peanut M&Ms to be dangerous- have I mentioned how much I love this man? He has obviously learned the way to my heart ;)

It's the simple things, really...

He also gave me a gift card to a spa for me and a friend to get a massage or mani/pedi and a gift card to Cantina Laredo to have lunch and make a day of it :) How sweet and fun is that? It was good to spend time with him- even if he beat me (like he always does) in a rousing game of Scrabble. But I can't think of a better way I would rather spend my 26th birthday.

On my 25th birthday, I was single and not dating anyone (well, I guess every birthday before that was the same too haha). On my 26th birthday, I am engaged to the sweet love of my life, planning our wedding, and getting ready to embark on a new journey to follow God's calling on our lives. It's funny how quickly life changes, and I am blown away by the incredibly unexpected blessings the Lord provides.

Mike, thank you for making my birthday fun and special. I love you! :)


Ice Turned Snow Day #4

Yep- the unimaginable has happened- I have officially had almost the entire week off of work :) Well, maybe not off work, but the office has been closed. But today we got a bonus- SNOW!

Not as much as last year, but still enougth to sink in when you walk

Sasha loves the snow too...

So we don't have snow boots in Texas- just rain boots :)

Sasha was ready to head back inside- too cold for this Texas puppy!

San Antonio got a snow day too- which hasn't happened in 26 years (the last time it snowed in SA was when I was born!). My mom sent me this photo- you northerners will find it amusing :)

Now I know how people up north feel about us in Dallas! :) Haha- it's just funny. Is it ridiculous that our entire city shut down for 4 days because of the ice and freezing temperatures when people up north deal with this on a consistent basis? Yes. Is it silly that we get so excited about just a few inches of snow when others get several feet of snow? Perhaps. But let me just remind our northern friends who continue to poke fun at the Texans...your turn will come in the summer when you reach a high of 85 and you feel like you are going to melt because it's so hot. It's all fair game when you're not used to one extreme or the other ;)

Laura sent me this video that made me laugh...enjoy the humor and just let us enjoy our snow day :)


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ice Day #3

No- you didn't read the title wrong. Today marks Ice Day #3! The temperatures here have not risen above 20 degrees, so the ice remains in tact across the city. I realize I am pushing my luck to hope for a fourth Ice Day, but we're not supposed to get above the freezing point until Saturday, so I am just saying...

I am so incredibly thankful for this time off. I have pretty much been going nonstop since Thanksgiving, and then things got crazy with our engagement, and I worked 60+ hours each week for the last couple of weeks. So I guess you could say I was tired. I had literally just asked my sweet Bible study girls and leaders to pray for rest and then the big freeze of 2011 hit. Our office closes only if Dallas Independent School District closes- and they are notorious for never closing. So the fact that they (and we) have closed 3 days in a row is crazy and unheard of. And I couldn't be happier! I have literally been forced to stop and it has been such a blessing. It's cool how God takes care of us even in simple things like this :)

Yesterday I ventured out into the icy abyss because I had some reports that needed to get out for a client and I left my jury duty information at the office (yep, I was summoned for jury duty for today, but that got waived because of the weather! Of course, I didn't know that when I ventured out, so I was still trying to be a good citizen and fulfill my civic, I didn't want to get arrested for skipping out haha) I woke up early and decided to head out before others started venturing out on the roads. I don't mind driving on the ice so much because I know I can go slow and be careful. I mind other people. Because Texans get stupid in weather like this. We don't know how to handle it and somehow turn into worse drivers than usual.

Anyway, the roads were bad- I probably shouldn't have been out haha- but I made it safely there and back home without too much sliding on the road. Unfortunately, I came home to no electricity. Thankfully it wasn't an outage problem, they just performed rolling outages all day across Texas to conserve energy. So I had power on and off throughout the day. While it was frustrating at first, the Lord gently reminded me of how incredibly blessed I was to even have electricity in a warm and safe place to stay. While I did have to work on those reports, I was able to do that curled up on the couch under a blanket and with a hot cup of coffee.

I'm not used to slowing down or having nothing to do. Sure, I have things to do, but I am limited in my little apartment with intermittent electricity. So what have I done? I have done some sleeping, some reading, some wedding planning, some blog-reading, some blog-posting, some cleaning, some laundry, some move watching, some online while these are all wonderful, and even restful, things, I am still doing something haha. See- I can't stop myself! But now with 3 forced days of nothingness, my brain is finally starting to relax and rest. So I am also enjoying some time to drink tea, pet my puppy, read the Word, sit annd watch the snow, and just be still.

Be still. That's a hard one for me. I think it's a hard one for a lot of us. In our fast-paced, instant gratification, ADD culture, the words "be still" probably strike terror in a lot of us. As a Type-A, over-achieving, responsible person, I struggle with it from the standpoint of being unproductive or lazy, wasting valuable time. Those who know me know that I need time to myself to recharge. And I am able to recoginze my limits and when I need that to steal away for some alone time. But lately, when I steal away by myself, I am still doing things. I have forgotten to take that time alone to just be still. To pray, to wait, to listen. To know that He is God...

So again, I thank the Lord for His incredible provision of some true rest. I thank Him for His provision of warmth and food and shelter. And I thank Him for the opportunity to sit and be still and know that He is God..

So if you need me, I'll be here- being still :)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wedding Update

A question I will hear countless times in the coming months will be "how's the wedding planning coming?" My answer? It's coming... haha.It's funny because I have a website that is constantly reminding me of how far behind I am and just how much I still have to do:

I know such websites and checklists are just meant to be helpful, but it makes me think back to my event planning days and how stressed out brides would get. It's funny what happens to a girl when she becomes a Mike commented the other day (obviously not referring to me but to other girls haha)- "girls get weird about weddings." I have witnessed more than my fair share of meltdowns over colors, floral choices, and centerpieces.

Don't get me wrong- there is a lot to do. That's why I got paid to plan events haha. And we all have a tendency to become crazy a little emotional about details for the Big Day. But I am committing to my family and friends (and the blog world) that I won't be one of those brides. I don't want to "get weird" about this process. I want to enjoy every moment of it. So help keep my accountable to that ;) And let's be honest- I love the details; my little planner brain is in overdrive :) It's fun that I get to plan my own wedding now, and it will all get done in the right timing.

So what has been done so far? If you care about the details as much as I do, please read on. If not, thanks for stopping by and remember to keep us in your prayers! :)

For those of you who are still reading- what we have so far...well, as someone pointed out recently, I have a groom and a ring- essentials, really lol...

We have a date and a venue (which provides the catering)...

We have a wedding party. I know, more or less, the wedding colors (teal and ivory).

How I asked my bridesmaids...

This is what happens when I have a whole day indoors with no work to do. And yes- they're all this gorgeous. Pics of the groomsmen best men may or may not be forthcoming. Though I think they need their own bobblehead pic too...

I bought my dress.

You didn't actually think I would post it did you? Look at our moms- aren't they cute? :)

We're working on the guest list, talking with varying people regarding photography, cakes, flowers, rehearsal dinner, and second reception details (yep- we're partying twice). So like I's coming :)


Ice Day :)

(Don't be fooled- that's not snow, it's sleet!)



(At 9am instead of the usual 5:30am)

(Snuggle time!)

(Perhaps a little of this?) 

I have taco soup cooking in the crock pot, and I am curled up on the couch under a warm blanket, catching up on some reading, enjoying a cup of coffee while my puppy sleeps at my feet. I pray for days like this, but hardly ever get to experience them, so I am SO thankful! And I am thanking the Lord for His provision- for a warm and comfortable apartment, delicious food, and the blessing of a job that pays me even though I am not working today.

Now, I recognize the humor in the entire city shutting down due to the sleet, considering what anyone north of here usually endures. But can I just say that I think this Ice Day was meant just for me? Haha- I know that's not true, but I can't help but think that the Lord knew that I needed a forced day of rest and thus provided a forced city shut-down for my sanity :) Regardless of whether it was meant for me or I just get to benefit from it, I am praising Him for the blessing of this day!