Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Walk With Me Through 2013...

Another year has flown by, and it's time again for another Year in Review!

I kicked off January with a few new year's resolutions {which I actually accomplished!} and a book list {which I did not quite get through...oh well}. We began our Pray nine3eight campaign, a 100-day prayer campaign for our church in McKinney. Mike officiated an outdoor wedding for a former student, and we hosted our first Celebration Gathering as a church plant. I was able to purchase my DSLR camera {yay!}, and we helped promote Christine Hoover's book The Church Planting Wife. The wedding planning officially began with dress shopping for Laura! I began my journey of navigating life with Crohn's Disease and started my Humira injections. We also used some wedding gift cards to reorganize and re-decorate the laundry room.

In February, we celebrated my 28th birthday with a fun sushi dinner date. We also got to spend a fun weekend with friends at Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma. I flew to San Antonio for Lauren's bridal shower, which also meant I got to spend some time with my parents. I learned that I had a B-12 deficiency {thanks to Crohn's} and started taking B-12 injections. I participated in the MEF spelling bee for work, and we found out that Lindsay and Ben were having a baby girl!

We headed to San Antonio in March for Lauren and Miguel's wedding. Mike officiated and I helped coordinate; it was such a sweet time and we loved being a part of their special day. We also got to spend some sweet time with my parents, and we enjoyed a day shopping in Gruene. I revealed my new blog design {that I was super proud of because I did it myself!} There was a lot going on with our church plant: reading through For the City as a group, hosting an apartment outreach, and having Easter services at the park.

In April, I posted a 30 Days of Praying Scripture Over Your Husband blog series. Work was really busy, as we pushed toward our company's IPO day. We attended an adorable gender reveal party for our sweet friends Becca and Drew, and we got to have dinner with Chase and Julie just days before Julie's kidney transplant surgery. Laura had her first bridal shower in Cleburne, and I was excited about the monogram frame I made for her and David. We ended up at the vet with Sasha for fleas and allergies, and our home group participated in the Go and Be service projects in East McKinney.

I started counting 1000 gifts in May, which has been a good exercise for me to list my blessings and be thankful. I felt really old when I received the invitation to my 10-year high school reunion. My parents came to visit over Mother's Day weekend, and we were able to attend a DBU baseball game. I had a bit of a panic moment when I realized my medication was causing my hair to fall out {fun times}. Mike finished the residency program at Christ Fellowship, and we began officially taking steps toward launching Redeemer Church. This included our Acts 29 assessment, which we traveled to Houston to do. The weather was all over the place, with cold temperatures and thunder/wind storms. I helped Laura stuff wedding invitations, Mike and I enjoyed a fun date night to the Andrew Peterson concert, and we bought a new couch!

In June, we celebrated with Ben and Lindsay at a baby shower for their sweet baby girl. I hosted a lingerie shower for Laura, and was able to attend a family shower for her. We received the official word that we were accepted as Acts 29 candidates, and Redeemer Church became an official 501(c)3 in the state of Texas. We had a fun driveway BBQ with our neighbors and headed out to a Rough Riders game with our church. My baby brother turned 26 and Sasha turned 6. I also enjoyed a fun employee appreciation event at work. Mike started his job with Welcome Mat Services, led worship at a small Baptist church in our neighborhood, and started the Faith & Culture series in downtown McKinney.

July seemed like a celebration month! We celebrated our 2nd anniversary with a trip to Klyde Warren Park and the Perot Museum. It was also wedding month for Laura: from baking day and the bachelorette party to rehearsal dinner and the big day, there was no lack of fun festivities for her! I took my vacation so I could be a part of everything, and I am so glad I did. We also got to see our friends David and Kristina, had a fun dinner date for Cow Appreciation Day, and our sweet niece Presley Kate arrived! I had a little bit of Crohn's drama, as I realized my hair was falling out, I had an episode where my Humira pen misfired, and the cost of my medicine went up. Mike preached at Mercy Church, and we had our second vision night for Redeemer.

I had my 6-month check up with my GI in August. Everything looked good, and I was feeling pretty good too! We set up our family Ebenezer Stone basket, joined Academy Fitness, and I reminisced Baylor move-in day 10 years ago. I received some inaccurate information regarding the cost of my Humira, but the Lord was faithful to encourage my heart. We celebrated sweet Becca's baby shower, spent an afternoon at Top Golf with Ben and Lindsay, and enjoyed a fun snow cone date. We had a fundraising night at Spoons Garage, enjoyed a double date with the Rays to the Rough Riders Game, and my sweet friend Austen won Mrs. America!

In September, we had our first baptism service! Dannie and Sami were baptized, and it was a joy-filled celebration. I received a semi-promotion at work and started taking care of 4 executives instead of two. I attended a luncheon with other Acts 29 wives in DFW, and it was encouragement to get to know these ladies. My sweet husband decorated and made a date night jar, which was a fun surprise! We went to the Plano Balloon Festival to cheer Morgan on in her first half marathon and spent Labor day with my parents in San Antonio. We had a fun family date to the park, baby-sat some of the kids in our church, and Mike got to preach at Chick Fil A!

We attended my 10-year high school reunion in October, so I reminisced with some fun photos and memories from my high school years. I finally got to use my birthday gift of a trip to the Ft. Worth Zoo, and we had our second annual Pumpkin Carving party with our church. I started trying essential oils, we got a new phone system at work, and Mike rocked a {brief} mustache :) The Taylors joined our church, and we got to enjoy a fun birthday celebration with their family. We also had the beginnings of a worship team, and the Lord provided a space for us to meet at First Presbyterian Church!

In November, we had our first Redeemer Women's Retreat; we stayed at the Overby's cabin in Blue, OK, and it was a fun {and adventurous} overnight with the ladies of our church. We officially announced our February 8th launch date, and we got our sunflower photos back from Ben and Lindsay. I finished transferring all of my Xanga posts to this blog, we got a new rug for the living room, and we enjoyed a fun date night at Starbucks with the continuation of our ongoing Rummikub game. November is also when all of our crazy critter adventures began as well! We celebrated Mike's 32nd birthday at Uncle Julio's and spent Thanksgiving with Michael at Mike's parents.

I participated in Crohn's Awareness Week the first of December by posting my story. We had a crazy ice storm blow through Texas, which left everything covered in ice for several days. We went to a beautiful wedding at Union Station, had our Redeemer Christmas party, and attended the 75/380 Chick Fil A Christmas party. We spent Christmas with my brother and Mike's family, but were able to head to San Antonio after Christmas to celebrate with my family.

We are thankful for 2013, and we're looking forward to 2014!

{iPhone Rewind} :: December

We have had several random critters living in and around our house. We caught this little guy, and he was NOT happy! We apparently have a zoo over here ;) {P.S. This was 1 of 2. The second one was smaller but meaner}

I got to have dinner with my sweet friend Morgan, and since it was a Tuesday and we didn't have Bible study...there was no other choice than Taco Tuesday! I was so excited when they put this one in Frisco; it brings back memories of my college days.
Laura made me these super cute boot cuffs for Christmas, and I felt so stylish wearing them! :)

My bosses and co-workers got the homemade hot chocolate gift this year. I think they turned out pretty cute, and they were super simple to make. I wanted to design my own tags, but just didn't have the time. So I was glad when I found these editable ones from Lia Griffith.

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation had a free webinar on managing the costs of IBD. It was a great and informative webinar, though I didn't learn anything I hadn't already learned in the past year. But it was a good reminder of what my options and rights are as an IBD patient.

Our friends Chris and Erin got married, and they had a beautiful reception at Union Station.

Mike is unofficially the store pastor for the 75/380 Chick Fil A. He was invited to give the opening prayer for their Christmas party this year. {Photo stolen from his phone :) } 

Opossum #3...playing opossum. Don't you want to come to our house?? :) Too bad they're not worth anything!

Sasha got a new bed for Christmas, and she is definitely a fan! We have one happy puppy :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

I had to work on Christmas Eve {which I have decided that I am not a fan of that, but people need their money and loans, right?}, but they did let us go at noon, which was really nice. My brother had come to stay with us through Christmas, so we got to hang out with him that afternoon. We went to the Christmas Eve service at the First Presbyterian Church to worship with the sweet congregation that has opened their building up for us to hold our church services. After the candlelight service, we headed to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Christmas morning was relaxing, with a waffle breakfast and a Skype session with my parents. Mike and I had decided to buy a joint gift this year, so we didn't have gifts to exchange that morning. We had already received our Nespresso machine before Christmas and have been thoroughly enjoying it!

Nespresso Pixie
Ya'll, I love this machine. Lattes and cappuccinos on demand? Yes please! We use it with our Starbucks milk frother, and it's awesome.  :)

We then headed over to Mike's parents for Christmas lunch. I was really proud of myself for remembering to charge and bring my camera, but when I pulled it out to take photos of my adorable niece opening her presents, I realized I had forgotten to put the battery back in it. Blah. I was so upset that I forgot it, that I didn't even remember to take photos with my iPhone. So I have zero photos of Christmas. Sigh. We headed over to my brother-in-law's for Christmas dinner and a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" party.

I had to work the day after Christmas as well {the downside (??) of working at a bank and having to coordinate with the other assistant}, but I was able to take Friday and Monday off so that we could head to San Antonio to celebrate Christmas with my family. We decided at the last minute to drive to SA on Thursday after work, and I'm so glad we did because it gave us the entire extra day with my parents. 

Saturday we had our family Christmas and opened presents. Excuse our pajama looks :)

Michael got new pots and pans

Gift cards are always a winner

My mom loved her new Kindle case- handmade on Etsy

My dad is excited about his new study Bible

My parents knew we are assembling a home coffee bar, so I was really excited about this shelf!

Saturday night we headed downtown to the Riverwalk. It probably was the worst time, since all of the Texas and Oregon fans were in town for the Alamo Bowl. So it was CROWDED, to say that least. But it was still fun to walk down the river and see the Christmas lights.

Sunday we had Christmas with my dad's side of the family, and we enjoyed a yummy lunch and some fun time together. My parents gave everyone a photo frame with a picture of my grandparents in it, and it was a hit!

We loved the time we had in San Antonio, and were thankful to spend time with my family. But we were also excited to get home. We both work tomorrow, and then we'll be looking ahead to the new year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Resolutions Update

In January, I decided to go ahead and make a few resolutions. So how well did I fair? I actually accomplished all of my goals! At least a portion of each of them :)
Goal 1: Intentional and Deep Time in the Word - CHECK!
I wanted to start {and actually finish} a Bible reading plan in 1 year. I found the perfect plan for me, and I made it through on time! The bookmarks were perfect for me, and I liked how each month was broken down into 25 days...so if I had an off day, I could still catch up and not feel so far behind that I couldn't get back on track. I am excited to use this plan for many years to come! Our women's Bible study finished up the study of Genesis and made it through Exodus as well. I am so thankful for those ladies and how they kept me accountable in the Word!
Goal 2: More Intentional Prayer Time - CHECK!
I started off the year with the Pray nine3eight campaign for our church plant, which was a great way to have some focused prayer time. With so much happening with the church plant this year, there was certainly no lack of things to be in prayer over. I think I did a better job of updating and referencing our prayer board, and Mike was great in establishing time for us to pray together every night before we go to sleep. I certainly don't have the prayer life I desire, but I did spend more intentional time in prayer this year.
Goal 3: Be the Best Matron of Honor I Can Be! - CHECK! {I think....Laura??}  :)
I was so blessed to be a part of helping my best friend get ready to marry her love! Laura was super organized and even more laid back, so I felt like my job was a breeze! I loved being a part of everything- from dress shopping and invitation assembly to bridal showers, the bachelorette party, and the wedding day...I loved being by Laura's side. It was a beautiful wedding, and I am so excited that she is enjoying married life with her love!

Goal 4: Become a Crohn's Expert - CHECK! {At least as much as I can be}
This year has been a year of learning, for sure. And while it felt like a lot of trial and error, ups and downs, I was reflecting the other day on how far I have come in just one year. This time last year, I was facing a lot of question marks, and now I feel like I have a better handle on what I am dealing with. I probably can't say that I am an expert, but I certainly understand more about my body and my disease than I did a year ago. It will be a lifelong learning process, but I am so thankful for how the Lord has taken care of me.
Goal 5: Develop my Photography Skills - CHECK! {but still in progress}  :)
Early in the year, I was able to purchase my DSLR camera, which was step 1 of working on my photography skills! Mike was really sweet in helping me get my camera earlier than I had expected, and it has been fun to tinker with it. I played it safe and just learned the basics of the camera and re-familiarized myself with photography basics, so this year I am looking forward to challenging myself and learning how to use my camera in manual mode :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Redeemer Christmas Party

This weekend we had our Redeemer Christmas party. The Taylors were sweet to open their home and host the party, and we had a fun time with friends and neighbors.

We enjoyed appetizers and desserts, and we also sang Christmas carols and played some games. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the time with friends.

Of course, singing Christmas carols would not be complete without a 12-person acted rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas :)

Sam gave a message on where to find our joy this season. I am so thankful for such a wonderful church family!

Merry Christmas from Redeemer Church! :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Win My Soul

I have mentioned Ross King before; Mike has known him for a few years, often organizing concerts at our church. We really enjoy his music, particularly his poignant lyrics. He released a new worship album this year, and I LOVE it. We sing a few of the songs at Redeemer, and I am just so thankful for how the Lord has gifted him with words.
You should check out his music. He's even having a sale! :)
I have had this one song running through my brain for a few weeks now, and I woke up with it on my heart this morning. You know those times when you just feel broken and defeated, and when you come face to face with the cross, all you can do is sing with all your being to Jesus? I probably need a lot more moments like that, but I am so thankful for the Lord's grace. And this is a good song for those moments.
In evil, long I took delight, unawed by shame or guilt
My soul as cold as black as night, my heart so unfulfilled
Until I saw Him on the cross, in agony and blood
I knew His pain, His death, His loss, were evidence of love
His broken flesh, His lowly state, I never will forget
This humbling truth I can't escape, I sentenced Him to death
My sin, the crime, that led Him there, my punishment He bore
But by His wounds, my life was spared and freed forevermore
Praise the One who climbed the hill, and stormed the very gates of hell
Went to war with death itself to win my soul (x2)
And sin no longer rules my heart, it has no hold or sway
For Christ controls my every part, and guides me in His way
I'm free, I'm free, I will proclaim, awakened by His love
My life, my all, for Jesus' name, there is no name above
When finally I complete my task, I'll stand before my God
My clothes shall be as spotless as the Lamb who spilled His blood
And when I hear the voices raised of all the saints as one
I'll gladly join to should His praise...and this will be my song
Praise the One who climbed the hill, and stormed the very gates of hell
Went to war with death itself to win my soul (x2)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ice Days 2013

We had a lot of freezing rain and below freezing temperatures move into North Texas. I was able to make it to work on Friday, though there were like 5 people at corporate haha {I guess that's the one downside to living only 5 minutes away...no ice days!} 

Don't be fooled...that is all ice in our backyard.

Leland on Ice :)

Poor Peabody is covered in ice too

Our entire fence is covered in icicles

The trees are so heavy with the ice, especially because most of them still have their leaves. Many branches have broken off and litter the roads.

We have been holed in the house the last few days, enjoying a lot of rest, movies, hot coffee, and games. We are so thankful for the provision of a warm house, heat, and food. We are thankful for some forced down-time, though it's weird to have everything at a stand still. 

We did make it out for a walk around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon, though that was pretty short lived due to the icy ground and cold temps. Even though I couldn't feel my feet, it was nice to get out of the house for a little bit!

It was slow going but we managed to make our way safely

It's all so beautiful!

It should warm up a bit this afternoon, and hopefully the ice will start to melt by tomorrow! I'm ready for it to be back above 30! :)