Saturday, December 31, 2011

Walk With Me Through 2011...

2011 has certainly been a year to remember! :) I said that 2010 was life changing; this year has just been a continuation of that change. And I know there will be lots more change in the years to come. But it's all good change: some of it I prayed for, some I didn't expect. But all of it is in God's hands. I just pray I can walk humbly and remember to lean on Him through it all. Each year, I am more and more amazed by the blessings the Lord provides. And this post is always a good exercise for me to stop and realize all that the Lord has done...

In January, we began the wedding planning process. We had decided to hold off until the beginning of the new year so we could enjoy the holidays and truly enjoy the precious first days of being engaged. So when January hit, we got started right away! We picked a date, started talking through pre-marital counseling options, and tackled the budget/size/guest issues.

Dallas was hit by a huge ice storm in February. There was a lot of snow and ice, and I got a pass on jury duty and 4 days off work! The unexpected time at home offered me some much-needed rest. I was able do some wedding planning, reading, napping, and snuggling with my puppy. But it also afforded me some extended time in prayer and study in the Word. Which was restoring to my soul, since I had felt like my heart had been wandering a little. February also brought my first non-single birthday celebration and the decision to meet with Scott and Nicole for pre-marital counseling.

March was a bit of a whirlwind month. We were able to check off a lot of "to do's" from our wedding checklist: we completed our registry lists and chose our cakes, my wedding dress and shoes arrived, and we booked our honeymoon! I finally paid off my hospital bills (woohoo!) and celebrated my 2 year blogiversary. March turned sobering when a dear family friend was killed in a car accident. Dr. Chuck spent his life serving Jesus and the people he met, and the Lord reminded me that I needed to make my life count for the kingdom. I publicly shared how the Lord was calling me and Mike to plant a church in McKinney, and we also attended an Acts 29 bootcamp conference. While we are still at the onset of that whole process, I am amazed at all the Lord has already done in the short time we have been in McKinney.

Unfortunately, it wasn't an April Fool's joke when I found out that my identity had been stolen. Despite the un-fun revelation, there was a lot of things to look forward to, so naturally I began counting down toward all things wedding related :) Things seemed to be a bit crazy and overwhelming, both around the world and in my personal life, but I was repeatedly reassured of God's sovereignty and care for His own. Mike and I celebrated our 1 year dating anniversary and launched our new blog!

In May, things just got busier! Sasha and I moved out of my apartment and into my sweet (and gracious) friend Kelly's house. I learned that my Vitamin D deficiency worsened and my cholesterol was still elevated, which prompted a stockpile of Cheerios and the need for some supplements. For Mother's Day weekend, Mike and I headed to San Antonio to see my parents and to attend a fun couples shower that the BSF staff hosted for us. My brother graduated from DBU, and I got to spend a few days in Maine for a work trip. We found our sweet little house in McKinney, and I got to enjoy a fun night out for my lingerie shower!

June was what I like to call "wrap-up final details month." We got our marriage license, I had my makeup trial, and we had our final confirmation meetings with vendors. And the countdown began :) Mike headed to Mexico for his last mission trip with the youth group, and I had my own "lasts" with my beloved 20s group. We finished up our Bible study in the book of Acts, and I fulfilled my final leadership duties. So bittersweet. I made a trip to Chicago for work, celebrated Sasha's 4th birthday, and finally shared our engagement photos. The excitement was growing, and we were MORE than ready for July!

We finally made it to July: Wedding Month! Not much outside of wedding things occurred in July. While there were some last minute details to focus on in the days leading up to the wedding, I was really thankful for all the help I had to get things done early so I could just enjoy the fun festivities. We had our bachelor and bachelorette parties (respectively), with Mike hanging out with his guys for grilling and laughter, and me heading to Painting with a Twist with my sweet girls. Rehearsal Dinner was filled with sweet friends and family. And of course, I would personally say that July 15th was the highlight of the year :) We were so incredibly blessed on our wedding day...I am still living in the glow of the day haha. After we said "I Do," we celebrated with 2 wedding receptions before we headed to Cancun for our Honeymoon!

In August we began settling into married life in McKinney. I began my new commute to work, and Mike persevered in his search for a new job. We began meeting our neighbors, and even had some over for dinner. We said "see you soon" to our dear friend Laura as she moved to Nicaragua to begin her ministry there. We also saw the Lord provide in incredible ways for the In Chains documentary film project, which Mike's brother Bryan is heading up. I decided I wanted to freshen up my blog design and got a template over at Laura Jane Designs. My dad celebrated his 52nd birthday, and I was reminded of how incredibly blessed we are to have my job and my boss.

Our wedding photos arrived in September! And so commenced the endless blog posts of all things wedding-related haha. All but one of my posts in September was devoted to wedding pictures. And that one post was kind of sad when I described how we lost the top to our wedding cake (you know, the one you freeze and then open on your 1 year anniversary). While it was incredibly sad, and there were definitely tears shed, it was a good moment for me to realize how utterly out of control I had felt the weeks prior. Not in a bad way (if anything, in a good way!) but in a way that the Lord reminded me that He is in control... But there was still a lot going on in September...we headed to Austin for a friend's wedding, I started a BSF class in Garland, we had a an Open House for some friends and former ministry partners, and Mike got a job at Starbucks!

In October, I started feeling the weight of my new commute to work. Things were super busy at work, and there was even a period of several days when I never saw the sun haha. But the Lord offered some relief in a visit to see my family in San Antonio. It was our first trip to see my parents after the wedding, and it was good to see them. We actually got to see my parents twice in October, because they made a trip up to Dallas a couple weeks later. I headed to Wausau, WI for a fire training school, got to spend a day at the Texas State Fair with Laura, received word that I was officially a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and made the shift from Blackberry to iPhone :) We welcomed Jackson Odell Parker into the world and continued making connections with varying ministry leaders in McKinney. As we reached 100 days of being married, I was reminded (yet again) of how incredibly blessed I am to be married to Mike.

Things remained busy into November, so I didn't blog as much as I had wanted to. We did head to Austin for a friend's wedding, and then I headed to Vegas for a work trip (no really, I did!). We got to celebrate the engagement of our dear friends Clint and Kelly, and I got to spend a day decorating for a wedding with Mike's mom. We celebrated our first married Thanksgiving, Mike's 30th Birthday, and decorated our first Christmas Tree together. We also had a fun hangout night of fajitas and games with some of Mike's co-workers.

As is usually the case in December, the month was full of parties and festivities. We celebrated Mike's birthday again with a fun 80s-themed surprise party. We hosted our first Neighborhood Christmas Party, complete with homemade hot chocolate and cookie-decorating for kids. We celebrated White Elephant-style with college friends, as well as Tacky Sweater-style with sweet 20s group friends. We were so blessed to be able to spend Christmas this year in San Antonio with my family. While the weekend was short, it was full of family, and I am so thankful for our first married Christmas!

It was a good year- full of many blessings and new adventures! We are so thankful to Jesus for everything, and we look forward to growing closer to and serving Him in 2012!

Happy New Year!


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