Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding Dress! :)

I have had my wedding dress picked out and paid for for several months now. But while I have "had" my dress, I haven't really had my dress in my possession. I had to order the right size, wait for it to arrive, have alterations done....but yesterday I finally got to bring my dress home :)

Cell phone pic in bright light, but you get the idea ;)

It was fun and exciting when I picked it out and decided this was "the one." It was fun when it finally arrived in the store and I got to try it on in my size. But it was SUPER fun to try it on after all the alterations were done and I got to walk out of the store with it. Maybe that's silly. But it just adds to the fun of everything and makes me just that much more excited to wear it on my wedding day :)


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One of Those Days...

Have you ever had a day where you just desperately need to go back to bed and start over? Where you just can't seem to get it together? The kind of day where you...

...don't sleep well the night before
...wake up late and miss your quiet time are so tired that you can't put your contacts in
...are a jerk and pick a fight with your mom on the way to work
...which makes you late for work
...have angry emails from clients waiting for you at the office
...are stuck with "are you sick?" questions because you're wearing your glasses because you couldn't put your contacts in that morning
...realize your shirt is on backwards
...go to the dentist and find out you need to have a cavity filled
...your mouth is numb so you can't drink anything without drooling out of the side of your mouth
...all before noon???

Have you ever had one of those kind of days?? I so wish I was kidding about the above list...we've all had days like that, right? (Even if you haven't, please just say that you have to make me feel better haha). Even looking at the list, I can't help but laugh. Maybe at this point I have to laugh or I'll cry. Again. ;)

But isn't it just like our God to take one of those kinds of days and redeem it? Maybe not even fix everything, but just remind me that He's there, His mercies are new, His grace is sufficient, His burden is light. Where He...

...provides supernatural energy to make it through the day
...whispers verses of encouragement to your heart
...reminds you just how insignificant you are, but how incredible He is
...prompts your mom's heart to show love and grace despite how awful you were to her
...places people throughout your day to make you smile
...humbles your sinful heart before His throne and draws you into His loving and merciful arms you the opportunity to laugh at yourself
...reminds you of how His mercies are new every day...even half way through the day?


Friday, April 22, 2011

Mike and Erin in McKinney!

Back in March I mentioned that after we got married, Mike and I would be moving to McKinney with the hope of planting a church. Through a lot of prayer and some guidance from mentors, we have decided that while that is still the plan, we are going to spend a little time getting adjusted to married life before we jump right into the church plant. Taking some time to learn more about each other and just adjust to life together will make the transition a little smoother.

The plan is still to move to McKinney and begin now to learn the community and develop relationships for when the Lord does give us the green light to start the church planting process. But in the meantime, we would still covet your prayers, as we are still seeking the Lord and the details for how He wants to use us. We have been working on a blog, and I am excited to announce that it is finally ready- and we already have a couple of posts!

I will still be posting here as well, at least for now. But if you are interested in following us as we start our journey of life and ministry together in McKinney, come check out our new blog :)


It is Finished

This past week I was in Austin for a work meeting. The trip went well, but as work meetings usually go, I was exhausted by the end of it. All I could think about was getting home. I was overwhelmed by all that I had to get done and the long days I still have ahead with moving. But I had a unique blessing yesterday and was given a sweet reminder by a stranger.

On my cab ride back to the airport, I had the opportunity to talk with the driver, John. John was certainly a character- he had all kinds of funny things to say about everything (government, women, abortion, the military, homosexuality, etc.) At first, I'll be honest, I was a little nervous that he wasn't completely in his right mind, and so I started praying for an opportunity to show Jesus to him as best I could. As I began to pray, the conversation shifted to Christ (such a quick answer to prayer!). He started talking about Good Friday and Easter and the cross and resurrection. When I asked him how he knew so much about Jesus, he started sharing the gospel with me :) Once we established that we were both followers of Christ, it was such a sweet conversation- like reuniting with an old friend, or meeting someone for the first time that you have an instant connection with. And John and I did have an instant connection- the cross and the relationship we both share because of Christ's work on the cross. I was so encouraged and challenged by John's boldness and willingness to share the gospel. It was certainly humbling, as he seemed to have no fear in that, while I all too often sit in silence on my cab rides or make general small talk instead of taking the opportunity to share my faith.

One of the things that John said has stuck with me today and has been a sweet reminder of the gravity and the power of Good Friday. He told me, "Miss, do you wanna know what the best verse in the whole Bible is? I'll tell ya- it's that one out of John 19:30- 'It is finished.' It's a short one, but it's a good one. Yep- Jesus said that. Yes, ma'am, He said that while He died on the cross for my sins, while He died on the cross for your sins. He said 'It is finished' and you know what Miss? That is just about the best thing I have ever heard."

John's right. "It is Finished" is such good news for us. The power of the cross and the atoning sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf is such an incredible gift. And it's final. I have been washed as white as snow. The good news we are able to experience every day as believers is that our sin has been paid by the blood of Christ and we can be in relationship with our Creator for eternity. And that is the best news I have ever heard.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

1 Year :)

One year ago today, I went on my first date with Mike. For our first date, he took me to dinner at Cafe Brazil and then we sat and talked over coffee at Firewheel. I remember how excited (and nervous haha) I was to go out with him. And yet despite my awkwardness he still wanted to go out again...and we're getting married in 3 months :)

I think back over the last year, and I am amazed at how quickly life changes, and I praise God for His incredible blessings. I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am for Mike. I certainly don't deserve him, and I am constantly in awe of the sweet gift the Lord provided in him. He encourages and challenges me in ways no one else can, and probably in more ways than he knows. He is always thoughtful and is incredibly generous with everyone he meets. He makes me laugh and always makes my day better. He is patient with me and he makes me feel safe. He loves Jesus and leads us well in pursuing Him together. I can't imagine my life without him, and I can't wait to marry him!


Friday, April 15, 2011

I Need You

It's Friday. And the weekend can't get here fast enough. My to-do list is a mile long and growing. My completely Type A personality had to map out my next 2 weeks just so I could keep it all straight...and I ended up more discouraged and depressed afterward as I realized how every slot of time is filled. The hours are slipping away and it seems like the only way to get it all done is to eliminate (even more) sleep. I mean, you don't need that much, do you? Sigh. Overwhelmed seems to be the theme for today.

As I work away on quarterly reports, I have my Pandora station playing worship music in an effort to encourage and uplift my weary heart. And God is ever faithful to step in when I need Him. To hold me and offer grace where I so desperately need it. My prayer today has been that I not let Satan steal my joy. Because really I just want to sit in a corner and cry right now (the day's not over and it may still happen haha). And I don't feel very joy-filled right now. Life isn't bad. Life is actually really good. It's just busy right now, I'm tired, and I feel stressed. I haven't felt like this in a long time, and I find myself battling old habits- worry, self-dependence, a need to control things, lack of trust, etc. And I am reminded just exactly how much I need Him...

My wings are all worn out
I’m walking in the wilderness
And I cannot get out

I need You, oh I need You
Blessed savior come
I need You, oh I need You
Fill the every longing of my soul

Oh how I need You Lord
I need Your perfect word
With tearful eyes I see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

And my bed is soaked with sadness
My sadness has no end
A downward spiral of despair
That I keep falling in

I need You, oh I need You
To You my soul shall fly
I need You, oh I need You
Yahweh how I love you more than life

Oh how I need You Lord
I need Your perfect word
With tearful eyes I see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

Your silence is like death to me
So won’t You hear my desperate plea

Today my soul is soaring
Way over mountains high
Though I can see the valleys
They are all just passing by
Its not that I am stronger
Look at my feeble wings
But I’ve been lifted higher
Yahweh’s lifted me in His own strength

Oh how I love You Lord
I love your perfect word
With tearful eyes I see
The God who always will endure
Now I will celebrate
For all the thousand ways
That you have shown me grace

And made my heart in grace to stay
You made my heart in grace to stay
Lord, make my heart in grace to stay
I need You, oh I need You 


Friday, April 8, 2011

God is in Control

Budget cuts. TsunamisFilibusters
Military strikes.  World protests.
Economic crisis. Party disagreements. Nuclear fallout.  Rebel fighting. Government shutdowns. 

It's enough to make anyone crazy and depressed just listening to the news these days. As questions about world events loom, I rest in the sovereignty and omniscience of my God. He isn't surprised by any of today's events. He is not scrambling to figure out what the heck is going on in the world. Instead, 

"God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne." 
~Psalm 47:8

"The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all."
~Psalm 103:19

He is unchanging in a forever-changing world. He is still enthroned in all majesty and honor; He is still ruling justly and rightly from His throne. He is just as holy as He was before all the craziness, and He will be just as holy when things get worse (because prepared or not, it will get worse). I can also take comfort in knowing that nothing happens outside of His authority. He is God over all men and all rulers of the world.

"For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."
~Romans 13:1

I may not like the decisions of our leaders or other leaders around the world. But it is so comforting to know that they only have "power" because God wills it. So I have nothing to worry about. God's got it all under control.

That's not to say that people are not hurting because of current world events. And that's not to say that God is just sitting back watching everything unfold without caring or intervening. He is active and living and breathing and real. He is accomplishing His perfect and sovereign purposes in the midst of it all. There is something bigger going on than whether or not I am going to receive my tax refund soon. He wants us as Christ-followers to be active and living and breathing and real. He wants us to be diligent in the work He has called us to. To love the people around us. To share the Gospel. To introduce them to Jesus. So that He can be glorified and receive all the praise and honor due His name.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let the Countdown(s) Begin!

I have officially gone into countdown mode haha. There is A LOT going on with the wedding, work, moving, 20s, etc. I am definitely having to take things one day at a time. But I realized today that I have a lot of fun things to look forward to in the coming months....

11 days until my first Bridal Shower
14 days until the first anniversary of my first date with Mike :)
15 days until I head to Austin to start a big project for work
18 days until the big Moving Day! (all furniture goes to storage)
19 days until Easter, mom's birthday, and my parents visit
23 days until I get to try my wedding dress on again :)
26 days until the other Moving Day! (I move in with Kelly!)
32 days until Mike and I head to San Antonio for a Couples Shower
35 days until I head to Maine for a work conference
38 days until my brother graduates from college!
46 days until my Lingerie Shower
50 days until I head to Austin for work again
55 days until Memorial Day (and my next work holiday haha)
71 days until I head to Chicago for work
90 days until July 4th (and my other work holiday)
97 days until Nicki arrives and the wedding week festivities begin!!
98 days until my Bachelorette Party
100 days until Rehearsal Dinner
101 days until our WEDDING!
103 days until we're in Cancun :)

Is that enough countdowns for you? :) "Busy" doesn't even begin to describe it. And yet I am so grateful for this time. It can get overwhelming, but I have to stop and remind myself to enjoy every minute. I was talking with Mike on the phone last night and we were just discussing how our days were, what our options are for where we're going to live, etc. It just made me excited about marrying him :) And the list above is just evidence of how incredibly blessed I am. I'm so thankful!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Boo to You Ms. Identity Thief

You hear about it all the time on the news. People warn you about guarding your personal information. And yet when it happens to you, it's still shocking and completely defeating. I had suspected that someone may have stolen my identity a month ago. When I went to submit my tax return online, it came back as rejected because another return had already been filed for my social security number. What? I left it alone and paper filed instead, hoping that it was some glitch in the computer system.

Well, I found out yesterday that the glitch was that someone had already tried to file taxes with my social security number. Boo. The IRS agent was very nice and very helpful; he provided lots of information on where I need to go from here. But anything involving the government is going to be a slow process. Paperwork has to be filed. Fraud alerts have to be flagged. Investigations have to be made. I have to prove who I am.

The IRS agent did tell me that in cases like this, the identity thief usually just wants to work and is not after my credit. But of course, I still have to set up alerts and monitor everything. When I called the Federal Trade Commission this morning to file a report, they asked me if I would be willing to work with law enforcement in the investigation if charges were filed. Law enforcement. Investigation. Charges filed. Gross. I think I watched a Lifetime movie once on identity theft- that's what I am picturing and that makes me sad for what's ahead. (Ok- I recognize that my life is not as dramatic as a Lifetime movie...haha- but my brain can't help but think of it).

God isn't surprised by this. Nothing is outside of His knowledge or control. He knows who I am, and He knows the person who stole my identity. And He loves us both. I'm trying to pray for the right reactions and responses for this process. I would appreciate it if you joined me in those prayers for love, grace, patience, and victory.