Friday, May 31, 2013

{iPhone Rewind} :: May

Yes- it was 37 {but with a wind chill that made it feel like 32!}. In May. In Texas. So this was my sad face for having to pull out my coat and scarf again. Maybe we're just skipping spring altogether and going straight to summer...

I came across FREE tickets to the Andrew Peterson concert and had to get a couple for Mike; he really enjoys Andrew Peterson's music. We were able to have a fun date night and even ran into some sweet friends while we were there!

I got to help Laura assemble and stuff her wedding invitations!! Only a couple more months until the wedding :)

One of the sweet neighborhood kids came over to hang out with us for a little while and decided to add to our grocery list. Apparently we need cookies and...lettuce :)

Our new President and COO is Norwegian, so a customer sent a sweet treat to the office in celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day {May 17} :)
Mike led worship for Woodcreek's youth group and college group; it was a sweet time of reconnecting with his old students!

This particular Saturday was filled with cleaning, laundry, bridal shower prep, etc. At one point I realized it was too pretty to spend the whole day inside, so Sasha and I took a break outside. She loves just sitting in the sun!

Mike sent me these pictures from the crazy thunder/wind storms we had. He and Sasha bunkered down in the bathroom for awhile to ride out the storm. We lost power at work and had to re-latch the rooftop access, but other than that we were ok.

There were down tree limbs all over, several of our neighbors lost carports, and we lost power for awhile. So thankful everyone was safe!

We have watched this tiny building being built and wondered what on earth would even fit in that tiny space...and then we were pleasantly surprised to find it's a drive-thru Seattle's Best Coffee! Opening week they had FREE coffee, so I definitely took advantage on more than one occasion :)
We I finally broke down and decided it was time to get a new couch. We had already decided that we were going to use some of our tax refund for one, but held off for awhile. We got a great deal on it during a Memorial Day sale, and we are excited to have more space for people to sit! {Excuse the mis-matched rug and pillows...we will need to figure out a better color scheme at some point}

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Houston Getaway

Mike and I headed down to Houston this weekend for our formal assessment with the Acts 29 Network. Our interview was Friday morning, so we drove down after work on Thursday so we could get a good night's sleep. We stopped at the Collin Street Bakery for some road trip cookies :)

We met with our assessors Friday, and we think the interview went really well. We felt so thankful for and encouraged by our time with our assessors; we should know their decision with a week or two, so we appreciate your continued prayers!

We decided to stay an extra day and make a weekend of our time in Houston. Since we were so close to the bay, we headed over to Kemah Boardwalk for a little fun. We rode a couple of rides and just enjoyed walking down the boardwalk. 

On the Ferris Wheel with my love!

A view from the Boardwalk Tower...

The weather was pretty humid, but we still had a fun time together :) The rest of the time, we ate some good food {I even braved a margarita!} and were able to relax. It was nice to have a little time away! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Redeemer Church

Yesterday we publicly launched our church name and website...ya'll, this thing is for real. Here we go! :)
As you know, Mike has been faithfully serving at Christ Fellowship for their church planting residency. It has certainly been a time of stretching and growing, and we have spent countless hours in prayer over the direction of the church plant. Through much prayer and conversation with the leadership at Christ Fellowship, we actually decided back in January that we would not extend the residency past Phase 1 {which ends this month}. We are so grateful for the relationships that the Lord has given us, but we know the Lord is leading us in a different direction.
Since the residency with CF will end next week, we have been seeking the Lord on what our next steps should be. We have taken steps toward forming the church's identity {hence the name and website}, casting vision within our group, and applying for 501(c)3 status. We know that we need accountability and oversight as we move forward, so we have re-engaged the application process with the Acts 29 Network. If you will remember, Mike and I attended a bootcamp while we were engaged, but ended up hitting pause on the application process since we got some good advice to not plant a church in our first year of marriage :) We will actually have our in-person assessment this week, so we would appreciate your prayers!
The Lord has been faithfully moving and working A LOT in the last few months. We have seen His provision in countless ways. We saw a member of our home group come to faith in Jesus. We have seen people dig deeper, grow, and commit to the task ahead of us. We have begun developing a clear vision and strategy for the church we feel God is calling us to be. There have been some tough things too, but we know that all of it is God's way of prepping us for what's ahead. We are excited about how the Lord is moving and allowing us to be a part! 

Friday, May 17, 2013


This week, we wrapped up our women's Bible study. We have been walking through the book of Genesis since the beginning of November {I know, awkward time to start a Bible's just how the calendar fell}. I love this book, and I really enjoyed this study. It was a blessing to walk through the "beginning" with these women, some for the first time, most in a deeper way.
I mentioned before how there were some challenges along the way. But I have seen God's faithfulness to perseverance! The fact that we ended strong with 7 women {remember, there were many nights when it was 1 or 2 haha} was an encouragement to my heart :) But more than that, I have seen these women grow in their knowledge/understanding of the Word and, more importantly, in their relationships with God. I thought I would share some of the things that were shared as we wrapped up the study, as a testament to God's faithfulness and a record of many answers to prayer!
Many of the women were surprised to find Jesus in the Old Testament. Whether it was in instances of the Trinity or in Christ-like figures and character, it was exciting to see how the two testaments relate and seamlessly tell the story of redemption through Jesus...even way back in Genesis :) So many times we look at the stories of the Old Testament, with the lists of hard-to-pronounce names and strange-to-us laws, and we can be tempted to skip over them. I mean, those things aren't really relevant to us today in McKinney, TX 2013...right? And yet, we saw over and over how that sentiment couldn't have been farther from the truth. The Old Testament is absolutely relevant to us and is filled with truth treasures. It is something the Lord revealed to me many years ago, but it was so encouraging to see the excitement and wonder from the women in the group!
Another thing that was shared was how God has changed our perspective on reading through His Word. It's not a book about us and the truths we can pull from it to apply to our lives {though application is important!} Instead, it is a book about our loving Creator, His character and how He invites us into a life with Him. So we don't throw application out the window {far from it!}, but we do seek to know who God is and how we can change our lives to fit into His plans. The cool thing to me was seeing the character and nature of God, unchanging throughout eternity. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Genesis is filled with all kinds of crazy characters, and yet we saw over and over God's patience and faithfulness, His grace and redemption. God fulfills all of His promises, and He uses ordinary {and sinful} people to accomplish His good plans. It really gave each of us a "big picture" perspective. As one girl put it, "God is going to accomplish His plans no matter what; how much heartache or joy do you want to experience along the way?" How incredible that God uses us to be a part of what He is doing!
We are taking a short break and then will be starting a new study in June: Exodus. Why not continue the story? :) I am excited to walk through this study with these women, and I cannot wait to see how God uses His Word to teach and mold us into the women He desires us to be!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crohn's Chronicles :: The Hair Loss Edition

I feel like I am getting into a good rhythm with my Crohn's symptoms. I have good and bad days, but overall I feel really good. I am finally starting to feel the benefits of the B-12 injections, so I am getting a good amount of energy back. I still have to be mindful of getting a good and consistent amount of sleep, because inadequate sleep and stress can exacerbate my symptoms, but it's not the worst thing to force myself to get good rest :)

{Sidenote: I told my mom that I now live in this bizarre world of asking for a syringe when I pickup my B-12 prescription at the pharmacy. They cost 25 cents at Walmart, in case you're curious}.

I don't feel hungry a lot of times, so I am learning to intentionally schedule eating. That may sound strange, but my whole life I have only eaten when I am hungry. So to rarely feel hungry presents a problem. It has certainly been an adjustment, one that my sweet husband has been great about helping me with. I still have to be careful with what I eat; I got adventurous and had a hamburger from Sonic a couple of weeks ago...not the best idea. But I guess that's part of the learning process. Even when I say "bad" days, I am not experiencing the same kind of pain and discomfort I was before I was diagnosed, so that in itself is a HUGE blessing.

I have been taking Humira for almost 5 months now. I haven't really adjusted to the shots themselves; they hurt. Like, make-me-want-to-say-bad-words hurt. I definitely have to psych myself up every time. Take deep breaths, semi-close my eyes {it's self-injecting, so I do actually have to pay attention}, remind myself this makes me feel better...haha. So I am very thankful I only have to take them every other week. Many times, I have my "bad" days right before my next dose. So it's helpful to know I just need to make it another day or so before some relief comes. It's encouraging to know the medicine is working, but sometimes it can be hard facing the realization of my dependence on it.

As with all medications, there is always the risk of side effects. Thankfully so far I haven't experienced any terrible ones...except for hair loss. Ya'll, my hair is falling out by the handfuls! :( Not even kidding. I tend to shed a lot, especially when my hair is longer as it is now, but this is an unreal amount. When I first realized it, I panicked and called my doctor, who confirmed that it was a side effect of the medication. I never really considered myself to be a vain person, but the thought of losing my hair is kind of freaking me out. 

According to my doctor, I don't need to panic until it starts coming out in patches {what??}, so I am trying to remain calm and reasonable about the whole thing, trying really hard to keep things in perspective. But I'm really struggling with it. The hardest times are after I shower and when I brush my hair. Seeing the amount lost in the trash can is incredibly disheartening. I would be lying if I said I haven't cried about it on multiple occasions.

My mom joked about how it's a good thing that I have a lot of hair that I can lose haha. Which is true. And I am hoping that it's not a continual side effect. I will talk to my doctor at my next appointment about my options, and I have already started researching hair products to help combat the loss. In the grand scheme of things, it's not the worst that could happen. And it certainly outweighs the alternative at this point...

The bright side? I am not having to shave my legs as often...  :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Weekend

We got to spend the weekend with my parents since they came to visit! On Friday night after work, we headed over to my aunt's house for dinner and to hang out. My mom and I weren't super tired when we got home, so we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking and catching up. Not our norm, but it was fun to have the time with her!
Saturday morning, Mike headed to the guys' breakfast and to work on the church website {coming soon!!} so I got to enjoy a quiet morning with my parents. My mom got a Kindle Fire for her birthday, so I was able to help her set it up. My parents are so funny when they try to figure out new technology :)
We then headed out to meet my brother for lunch at Chipotle and a DBU baseball game. It was a gorgeous day, and I really just enjoyed being outside in the sun. We got to see all of the hard work my brother had put in to get the new stadium ready.
Ahh...gotta love my brother ;)
With my love!
After an afternoon at the baseball field, we headed back to the house to rest and play some games before we went out to dinner. We ate in downtown McKinney, and even enjoyed some gelato. It was a full but fun day together!
Sunday we enjoyed breakfast and church from home before meeting Mike's parents and sister for lunch for Mother's Day. We really enjoy the time we have with our parents and are so thankful we got to spend the weekend with them!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Class of 2003

Nothing makes you feel old like receiving this in the mail:

Ya'll. It has been {just a few days shy of} 10 years since I graduated from high school. What in the world??

In some ways, it actually feels longer than 10 years; high school just seems like a lifetime ago. And other than what you know about someone from a Facebook news feed, I haven't really kept up with too many people. I am actually looking forward to the reunion and hope that we can make it that weekend. It could be fun to see everyone and hear about where they ended up after high school. I'm certainly not where I expected to be, but I am so thankful that the Lord had better plans for me than I had for myself!

Of course, receiving the invitation in the mail got me thinking back to my high school years. So I thought I would let you take a peak at who I was in high school...

Senior pic, circa 2003
Public or private school? I went to a private Christian school in San Antonio.
High school mascot? Lions!
# in your graduating class? 74, so everyone knew everyone.
Class rank? 3rd
Favorite class? Senior Bible/Physics/Calculus. I basically had the same classes with the same 12 people my entire senior year and it was awesome. LOVED Mr. Biddison- such an amazing teacher!
Your "group"? I didn't really have a group, per se. There were definitely cliques in our class, like in every high school. But by the time I hit high school, I seemed to have friends from all of them. Don't misunderstand me- I was far from popular. I just didn't have one specific "group" to call home.
Typical weekday outfit? White collared button down, maroon/white/gray plaid, pleated skirt, maroon knee high socks, penny loafers. Uniforms, baby!
Sports? I played on the varsity girls' soccer team freshman through junior year. I didn't play my senior year; though most people didn't realize I wasn't on the team until half way through the season haha.
Clubs/Activities? I was class president for 3 years (sophomore through senior year). I was also active in my church's youth group.
Voted most likely to be? President. There wasn't much originality, apparently.
High school sweetheart? Didn't have one. I flew solo my high school years :)
Any regrets? To be honest, not really. Though I do wish that I didn't care so much what others thought. It was worse in middle school, but I still worried too much about being popular/liked/accepted.
Would you go back if you could? Heck no. I didn't have a terrible experience, but I was definitely ready to leave high school behind!
Worst memory? Taking my first physics class, answering every question, and getting every. single. one. wrong. Fantastic.
Best memory? Planning Junior/Senior banquet; the juniors plan a grand scaled event for the seniors that is an entire year in the making. Our class did a Wizard of Oz theme, and that is when I fell in love with events :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1000 Gifts #1-90

I follow and read Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. She writes such powerful and encouraging words to women. She introduced the Joy Dare at the beginning of 2012, and it is a way to intentionally count 1000 blessings, joys, or gifts in one year. Since I haven't read her book, I figured I wouldn't start the challenge until I had. But the Lord has been pressing on my heart the need to keep a gratitude list of my own, so I decided to use her format to help prompt ideas on things to look for in the everyday. I am joining late to the game, but I think that's ok! :)

Each month I will start posting my lists, so that by this time next year, I should have a list of over 1000 things for which I am grateful. How cool is that? And maybe I will have some time to add this book to my reading list.

So here we go...

  1. My wedding rings and the love and relationship they signify with my sweet husband.
  2. Cookies. I am thankful for yummy cookies.
  3. Plates that are full of food at every meal in our house and the provision that signifies.
  4. Warm sheets to sleep in every night.
  5. Jesus Paid it All...I am thankful for the reminder this song is to me that "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow."
  6. The beauty of the clouds.
  7. Crohn's. This one has been hard to be thankful for, but I am thankful that the Lord has used it to draw me into a deeper dependence on Him.
  8. Favor with a boss who intimidated {and frankly terrified} me in my initial interview, but who is now one of my favorite people :)
  9. Being a part of a company that is not only growing, but still desires to make an impact in the communities in which it serves.
  10. God's promises can be trusted. Joshua 21:45- "Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass."
  11. God's strength. Psalm 73:26- "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
  12. Knowing Jesus is the ultimate gift. Philippans 3:7-8a- "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."
  13. The Lord helped me complete some reports at work in a timely fashion that helped my boss.
  14. A sweet tea run. I miss Dr Pepper, but am thankful I can still enjoy sweet tea.
  15. Quiet nights at home with my husband.
  16. Our little rent home. Even with all of its quirks, we are so thankful for this little home God provided.
  17. Our "wedding picture wall" {more nailed to the wall, than necessarily nailed together, but close...}- it brings such joy to remember back to that sweet day.
  18. The pavillion in Erwin Park, where we held our Easter service this year.
  19. My husband. I waited a long time for him, and I am so thankful the Lord made me wait. I often think how perfect God's timing is.
  20. This job. Those long months of commuting seemed as though they would never end, and yet God abundantly provided this blessing of a job.
  21. The tea I could have some Peppermint Tea to calm my crazy insides.
  22. Temperatures! I am thankful for the warmer weather that is slowly making its debut.
  23. The prayers of His people. We hit day 98 of our Pray nine3eight Campaign, and we are so thankful for the prayers that have been rising up on our behalf.
  24. My B-12 levels. I am thankful for my GI doctor insisting I take the injections to get my B-12 levels back to normal.
  25. My life is hidden with Christ in God {Colossians 3:3}
  26. Women's Bible study held in our home.
  27. Hearing puppy steps on the hardwood crazy as she is, I am thankful for my sweet Sasha and the joy she brings to my life.
  28. The skies opened up today and we had a lot of refreshing rain.
  29. Humira. Medicine that opened up my ileum so that my insides could function more normally.
  30. Mail that wasn't a medical bill.
  31. Bluebonnets in Texas! Such a beautiful time of year.
  32. The sweet baby girl that our dear friends are expecting.
  33. All of the flowers outside of my office...a reminder of Spring coming!
  34. The pearl bracelet given to me by my sweet friend Lauren that is a constant reminder of her sweet friendship over the years.
  35. My work clothes. The ability to have them and the reminder they are of a job provided by the Lord.
  36. Stretchy pants. Haha- as silly as this one is, I am thankful for stretchy pants and the comfort they provide :)
  37. Bright, sunshiny day!
  38. The bright morning sun pouring into the bedroom that signifies a new day, a new start.
  39. Sunglasses to protect my eyes from the bright sun.
  40. Hope and peace from my Heavenly Father.
  41. Sunshine. I am thankful for the sunshine that warms my face.
  42. A roof over our heads, God's abundant provision.
  43. The bag of granules to rid our yard of fleas. Thankful for a dog, a yard, and pesticides to kill fleas.
  44. The leftovers in a to-go box from a fun dinner out with my husband and my brother.
  45. As we study through the book of Genesis, I am thankful for the reminder of God's faithfulness to His Word, despite our continued disobedience to Him.
  46. The intestinal pain that makes me lean on Him and be thankful for the pain-free days*
  47. Waiting on God's timing, constantly surrendering my will and desires before His throne, because it reminds me of the grace and perfect plan He has for me.*
  48. Surrendering control and security for the joy of experiencing the fullness of His grace and provision as I see His work in my life.*
  49. The quilt hanging in our guest room that is a reminder of the love and prayer committed on our behalf by my mom's sweet quilting and Bible study ladies.
  50. How the body of Christ is woven together under one Spirit and one Lord.
  51. How my and Mike's life were woven together by God in His perfect timing.
  52. Adoption into God's family and all of the inheritance that entails.
  53. My dad's drive to work hard and do my best in everything.
  54. The faith of my parents that is now my own; that legacy of faith is a first in our family, and it is such a blessing.
  55. A small square piece of Ghirardelli chocolate as an afternoon treat.
  56. The year's supply of square heartworm pills that our sweet vet gave us as a gift to help us as we grow our ministry.
  57. A square bag of peppermint tea to soothe my stomach/intestines.
  58. A stack of work to do to keep me busy and productive.
  59. A little bit of savings stashed away {for now}. My husband observed that we have more money now than when we moved to McKinney. Which is true. And a complete blessing from God.
  60. The early morning stillness before the Lord.
  61. Grace. Wonderful, abundant, and ever-present grace.
  62. Love so amazing, so divine.
  63. Indescribable peace and joy from a life with Jesus.
  64. The close relationship I have with my mom, and the encouragement she provides in my life.
  65. Time with my best friend Laura and the gift it is to have her living so close.
  66. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 {NIV}
  67. The ability to look back through old blog posts and journal entries to reflect on all that God has done in my life.
  68. The sun reflecting on my windshield as I drive.
  69. The moon reflecting light through the oak tree in our backyard.
  70. The fragile dried flowers from my wedding bouquet displayed in our bedroom, a sweet reminder of our wedding day.
  71. A fragile friendship that reminds me of God's grace and mercy in my own life.
  72. The fragility of a woman's heart and the blessing I have of leading women to the heart of Jesus through His Word.
  73. The warm bath sheets when I get out of the shower in the morning.
  74. Stainless steel Kitchenaid mixer, a gift from Mike's sweet aunt.
  75. The wooden spoon and fork to serve our dinner salad.
  76. Watching the trees move in the wind and being reminded of God's presence in my life.
  77. Hearing about friends moving homes to pursue Jesus and serve Him all over the globe.
  78. The Spirit moving in the hearts of our church plant members to reach McKinney with the gospel.
  79. The neighborhoods in which we served today, and the efforts of so many to make something that was once ugly into something beautiful; not only the homes we gave a fresh coat of paint, but also the people with whom we desire to share the beauty of the gospel.
  80. The days when my husband says I am beautiful, even when we both know I'm looking closer to a shade of ugly haha; thankful for his love and grace.
  81. The beauty of the gospel in an ugly world of sin.
  82. An orange sunset.
  83. The ability to eat raw orange baby carrots with my lunch because I am not having a flare up.
  84. No pulp orange juice.
  85. Working in the dirt for a Go and Be project to bless our neighbor in East McKinney.
  86. The new bushes and flowers planted in the dirt in our front yard.
  87. The dirt Sasha brings in...because it's a blessing to have her and a yard for her.
  88. The flowers we gave my mom for her birthday, delivered to her house because we couldn't be with her on the actual day.
  89. A handmade gift for my friend Laura and her thankful for their upcoming wedding!
  90. Thankful for the sacrifices made {and still being made} to plant a church in McKinney; sacrifices made not just by us but
*Eucharisteos- grace, joy, thanksgiving