Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter at the Park

We almost had a repeat of last year with our Easter at the Park plans. We woke up to thunderstorms and a full day of a rainy forecast. But the Lord calmed the storms and the sun came out for a beautiful afternoon. It was a little muddy, but we braved the soggy fields and had a great day at the park!

We headed out to Erwin Park for our Easter church service. I love this idea, because it is a fun way to celebrate our risen Savior together as family, as well as a great way to invite others to come celebrate with us. 

We grilled out...

...played some games...

...including some Ultimate Frisbee...

...had an Easter message...

...and just enjoyed running around in the beautiful weather!

We are so thankful for the beautiful day and the opportunity to celebrate with our sweet church family!

{iPhone Rewind} :: March

March means the beginning of Spring and the warmer weather! :)

After 7 long months...I finally got a haircut! I didn't lose any length (I'm still trying to grow it out), but I did get a good trim and new style.
Ok. Let's talk about the 40 degree-in-12-hour tempeature changes we experienced for a few days...ridiculous. So ready for Spring. Real Spring. With fewer temperature shifts.
My sweet husband surprised me at work with an afternoon Starbucks drink to help me make it through my day. Day. Made.

I have read that one coconut macaroon a day helps with Crohn's symptoms. So I decided to give them a try. They tasted SUPER yummy, but unfortunately, I don't think they were a good addition to my diet and might have to be avoided. So sad.

Our sweet home group enjoying some BBQ after church. I am so thankful for this group of people that the Lord has brought together.

We left Sasha with Granny while we were in San Antonio. Mike went to go pick her up and sent me this picture, saying she was waiting for me to get home. Although, I don't think she's excited to be home; I think she is depressed for having to leave Granny's house haha.

Mike has been working on an apartment outreach as part of his residency at CF. We served free hot dogs and cookies to the residents of the apartments next door to the church, and it was a great opportunity for us to invite them to Easter services.

Mike and I have been working on this puzzle off and on for a few months now, and we finally finished it! We enjoy working on them together. Nerdy? Maybe.

And then the temperatures plummeted again at the end of March. Seriously, Texas? 84 to 28. Not cool.

One of the sweet babies in our home group turned 1 and we got to celebrate with her at her bug-themed party :)

The birthday girl!

They had a cute photo booth set up at Addie's birthday party :)  {not an iPhone pic, but still a cute one}

Me and the bro {also not an iPhone pic, but fun nonetheless}

Sasha received a thoughtful Easter basket from Granny...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

30 Days, 30 Verses {Intro} :: Praying Scripture Over Your Husband

Something I was convicted of early in our marriage is the need to pray for my husband. This seems like a no-brainer, but I knew the Lord was asking me to dig a little deeper. What does it really look like to pray for my husband? I should be praying for the obvious things: the things that relate to his job and ministry, the things that he is currently struggling with or needs. Even the things he simply asks me to pray about for him.

But am I praying deeper than that? Am I praying for his heart, for his walk with Jesus? Am I praying for the things he needs to be a godly husband, {someday} father, man?

As a wife, I have the unique opportunity to be my husband's helpmate, not only in the calling for our lives, but also in being his constant support and cheerleader. I believe this most certainly includes {and I would even venture to say, starts with} prayer. Intentional prayer. Deep prayer. To really spend time on my knees on my husband's behalf. To truly commit to intentional, daily intercession for my husband.

One of the simplest ways I thought I could stay focused in my prayers was to use Scripture as a launching point. The idea actually started as a Christmas present our first married year; I bought Mike the new Bible he had been wanting and then added my own personal touch by sticking notes inside next to verses I was praying over him. One Scripture passage for {almost} every day of the month.

So beginning in April, for 30 days, I'd like to share the verses and the prayers that the Lord has laid on my heart for my husband. Some of the inspiration for the prayers came from various blog postings, most came from reading the verses in the Message translation. Your prayers may be different, and I know mine will change throughout our years of marriage and ministry. But I hope this can be an encouraging resource as you find ways to intentionally pray for your husband.

Friday, March 29, 2013

For the City

Our home group is currently reading For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter. This wasn't on my reading list, so I guess it will be a bonus ;)
It outlines the church models of Darrin Patrick's Journey Church in St. Louis and Matt Carter's Austin Stone Church in Austin. Both are well known in the church planting world. And a friend of ours recently became a campus pastor at one of the new locations for Austin Stone.
Mike had asked everyone to read the book so that we could discuss it as a group. As we look ahead to the next steps toward the church plant, we are beginning to re-cast and solidify vision and identity. Mike and I have had these discussions, as we are both in constant prayer over what the Lord has for us. But it is definitely exciting {and equally terrifying} to begin having more focused discussions with the rest of our group.
They outline their individual church planting experiences- vision, identity, successes, as well as mistakes. The cool thing is how they each became students of their cities to identify the best way to reach people with the gospel. They talk about how some churches are (just) in a city, some are (sadly) against a city, and some are (sinfully) of a city. They present the idea of what it would be like to have a church that is actually for the city.
They are not advocating a social gospel. Instead, they are advocating a church that is so centered around the gospel, that the church is motivated and mobilized to make an impact in the city for the sake of seeing people know and follow Jesus.
Can you imagine serving the needs of the city, being so attuned to the common good for the sake of the gospel, that your city would grieve if you picked up and left? If [our church] shut its doors tomorrow, would our city even know we were gone? Would the city leaders celebrate, feeling as if they had gotten rid of a nuisance? Or would the city grieve and mourn our disappearance? We want our church to be a place where Jesus is preeminent, God's presence is obvious, and there is no doubt in anyone's mind...that we love our city.
It is an easy read, and it made me think about what our story will be...and as I read through it, I felt the excitement welling up inside for what the Lord could do through us. We truly want to be a church that is for McKinney. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Blog Design Reveal

I have wanted to redesign my blog for awhile, but just couldn't seem to find the right design at the right price. So I crazily decided I would make it a DIY project. With all the tutorials out there, I figured I could figure it out on my own...  :)

I did figure it out (yay me!), though it turned into a fairly time-consuming project. But I am excited about the fact that I can create my own {simple} blog things for free from now on. I like that a lot.

So I said good-bye to the old design...

...and hello to this new one! My color inspiration came from the following palettes:


I love this website. There are countless color combinations, which takes the guess work out of knowing which colors look best together. But the best part about using the palettes from Design Seeds is that they give you the Hex codes for all of their colors. Which makes it so much easier to apply the right colors to every part of your blog.

I really wanted something fairly simple, with just a little bit of color (hence all of the white and the polka dots). I created all of my images - header, signature, sidebar titles, social media icons - in Keynote, so you don't even need a fancy photo editing program. I have been told that Picnik is a great free resource; I just didn't want to learn anything new right now. Although maybe it wouldn't have taken so long had I used a real photo editing program...maybe next time.

I used a number of varying sites to gather my blogger editing knowledge. I really recommend the following, as they have fantastic tutorials:

Once you get the hang of color editing, sizing, and a little bit of basic HTML coding, you're all set! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weekend in San Antonio

While our main purpose for being in San Antonio was for Lauren & Miguel's wedding, it was nice to have an extra long weekend with plenty of time to spend with my parents. Of course, free food and lodging doesn't hurt either ;)

We rolled into San Antonio on Thursday morning around midnight (we opted for the late night instead of the early morning travel), so we definitely took advantage of our day off by sleeping in and relaxing. We got to enjoy lunch with my dad (since he was working) before we headed out to Comfort for the rehearsal that evening.

On Friday, my dad took off work, so we headed out to Gruene to do some shopping. It was a gorgeous day, and it was just nice to be outside in the nice weather. It definitely made me excited {and ready} for Spring!

Of course, the boys were good sports to follow me and my mom around all of the antique shops. One of the stores we went into had a designated "man cave" which they both enjoyed :)

That afternoon we went to see Oz The Great and Powerful, and then we enjoyed some Mexican food at Alamo Cafe. We were so grateful for the time we had to spend with my parents. It was a great weekend, and as Mike mentioned, I think it will "fill my tank" for awhile :)


Monday, March 18, 2013

{Tying the Knot} Miguel & Lauren

This weekend we got to celebrate with one of my oldest and dearest friends as she got married! I first met Lauren when we were in 5th grade. We were in different classes, so we really didn't get to know each other really well until middle school when my family moved in down the street from her house. We started carpooling to school, and we have been friends ever since :)

Despite not living in the same city for the past 10 years, we have still managed to keep in touch. Lauren is the friend where we you can go long periods of time without talking and yet pick right back up where we left off, as if we talked yesterday. I am thankful for this sweet friend, and I was so excited to see her walk down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams!

Mike and I had the extra privilege of being a part of Lauren and Miguel's special day. Mike officiated the wedding, and I got to play wedding coordinator-for-the-day! :)

The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were on Thursday, so Mike and I worked together to help organize the event. Thankfully it was a small wedding party (MOH, Best Man, 1 Jr. Bridesmaid, and a ring bearer), so the rehearsal went fairly smoothly. For dinner, we headed back into San Antonio for a yummy dinner at Scuzzi's Italian Grill.

Their big day was on Saturday, and the weather could not have been more beautiful. The wedding was held at Spinelli's Hill Country Cathedral in Comfort, Texas...exactly what I would picture Lauren choosing for her wedding day.

Loved this.

Their getaway fun is this?

Beautiful venue...I loved it!

"Reverend" McCullough (at least according to the newspaper haha)

Kissing his bride!

Mr. and Mrs. Ayala!

Sweet moment with her dad...

With the beautiful bride! :)

With my cute hubby :)

My adorable parents...


So excited for this sweet couple as they start their lives together as man and wife!

Just precious.

I am so glad that I was able to be a part of my sweet friend's special day. I wish her all the best in her new life as a married woman!