Saturday, November 30, 2013

{iPhone Rewind} :: November

Only in McKinney do you see policemen on horses in the Walmart parking lot. I love McKinney :)

We had our first women's retreat at Redeemer! It was quite the adventurous weekend...we had trouble getting into the house, but managed to find our way in through a window. Not exactly something I would want to admit for a church retreat...but we had fun with it :)

I am LOVING the new Chai Spice tea that Mike brought me. I was excited when I found it at our Kroger, so now I won't have to hunt for it :)

I stopped by Walmart on my lunch break, and when I came back out to my car, I found this fun note from my hubby. Apparently we both were running errands! :)

The owner of the Sweet Spot in McKinney has been gracious to let us use her space for our Faith & Culture events. We found out that she happens to be a singer, who has a few albums, so we asked her to give us a preview!

Sasha has no shame in being a heater hog. Seriously, she sat right in front of it the whole weekend. And when she is blocked from it, she whines. Haha.

With the onset of the colder weather, we had some furry visitors. We knew that something had been living in our attic space, and had even set mouse traps in our laundry room. When we came home one night, we realized why the tiny mouse traps were not working...we had rats! This was our attempt at closing up the HUGE gap in our door before the pest control people could come out.

We got to enjoy Mike's birthday dinner with my brother. We enjoyed some yummy fajitas from Uncle Julio's.

While Mike and Michael went to play some football, I enjoyed a cup of coffee and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Advent 2013
Last year, I posted about following an advent devotional guide from the Village Church. I wanted to spend purposeful time reflecting on the coming of Christ. I love this time of year, but my heart can be easily distracted by the busyness of the season. I was thankful for the daily reading through the month of December, and it definitely helped to keep my heart a little more focused. So now that the Christmas season is upon us again, I was on the hunt for another advent devotional.
Well, it's a good thing I'm married to a pastor! ;) This year, Mike will be releasing a daily advent devotional on our church's website. Each day's post will highlight one aspect of Jesus' beauty in anticipation of celebrating His coming to us. I have already had a sneak peak at some of his posts, and I'm excited to walk through this devotional each day!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." 
~Psalm 9:1-2

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." 
~Colossians 2:6-7

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." 
~Psalm 107:1-3, 8-9

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." 
~Colossians 3:15-17

I pray you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with good food and the ones you love. God is good!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, My Love!

Today you turn 32. And while I joke that you are an old man, you are my old man, and I am so incredibly thankful for you. I hope you know today how much you are loved and appreciated. I am incredibly blessed to be your wife!
I love that I get to live life with you. As crazy as our life is sometimes, I am thankful that I get to live it by your side. From the adventures of church planting to chasing out furry critters in our drafty old rent house, I wouldn't want to do any of it with anyone but you. And just think how uneventful and boring my life would be without you ;)
God knew what He was doing when He gave you to me, and I am constantly humbled by the fact that He did entrust me to love, honor, and serve you. Thank you for loving me, leading me, and always pointing me to Jesus. I love you very much and hope you have a blessed birthday.
Happy Birthday, My Love!

Monday, November 25, 2013

{Date Night Jar} :: Games at Starbucks

It has been awhile since I posted a Date Night Jar idea. I promise we have had date night since September :)
There are some repeats in the jar, and I happened to pick out all of the movie ones first haha. So we have done a few movies, both at home and in the theatre. But this past weekend, we had a Starbucks date. We packed up our games and spent the evening hanging out at Starbucks.
It was fun to do something a little different, but still have it be relatively inexpensive. Mike was sweet to share his birthday reward with me :) The weather had finally turned cold, so enjoying a hot cup of coffee was perfect!

Friday, November 22, 2013

High Five for Friday!

{one} We acquired a new-to-us desk from some friends, so we rearranged things to make the front room more of an office space for Mike. In the transition, Mike said he would be willing to part with the rug we had in that room: a dingy used-to-be-white rug with a former youth student's face on it. It was sentimental from his youth group days, but I was never a fan of this rug. I have complained fairly vocally made my opinion known about this rug since we got married, and he was finally willing to part with it. That's love :) We decided to move the blue rug in the living room {that does not match our new couch} into the office and get a new rug for the living room. I like it when things match.

{two} Yesterday was a humid 78 degrees. This morning, I woke up to a rainy 35 degrees. I think my warmer fall days are finally gone and the cooler weather is here to stay. I suppose it's time...especially since next week is Thanksgiving! :)

{three} next week is Thanksgiving. I realize it's a little late this year, but I still feel like the holidays have snuck up on me. Things have just been so busy, and it seems like it was August like yesterday. While I am ready for the breaks and the time to enjoy the festivities, there is a part of me that is just not ready for the busyness of the season. But ready or not, it's arriving next week!  

{four} We continued our Faith & Culture series this month with the topic: "How would Jesus vote?" I really enjoy this event our church does every month as a way to engage publicly on varying topics. Mike does such a great job of guiding the discussion and helping us navigate some touch topics, while encouraging us to have a {biblical} answer for what we believe.

{five} I recently realized I had a few extra vacation days left this year; I had saved them thinking I might need them for doctor appointments, but thankfully I haven't needed them for that. The days don't rollover for us, so I knew I needed to try to use them up if I could! As I was planning out the remaining vacation days for this year, I realized that I only have 1 more week in 2013 where I work a full week! The rest of the weeks, I only have a 4-day work week. Not bad. Not bad at all :)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Xanga Posts

Before I blogged here, I blogged on Xanga; anybody remember them? Well, they did away with the site {sort of} so I lost all of my links to that blog. Thank goodness I had copied all of the posts into my files! I have spent some time uploading those posts to blogger, so that I can have everything in one place {and so I can reference back to those posts}. I didn't edit any of the content, though it was pretty tempting at times :)
While adding my Xanga posts here on this blog, I had the opportunity to read back through everything. Entertaining for sure! I realized a few things about myself in my early blogging days:
  • My writing was bi-polar. No joke- one post I was down in the dumps, the next I was happy as a clam. Talk about all over the place! If you feel that way when you read my posts now, I'm sorry! I will try to be better about that :)
  • I complained a lot. The time in my life is not one I am proud of as it relates to my spiritual journey. The Lord was teaching me a lot of things, but I was pretty stubborn. I read through those old posts and just shake my head at myself. Hindsight is 20/20 :)
  • I used a lot of dramatic wording. Again, if only I had the wisdom and maturity to see how ridiculous I was. It encourages me that I can look back and see my own immaturity; I hope that means that I will only gain more wisdom the older I get!
  • I didn't have many photos. Of course, those were the days before phones had cameras. It's crazy to think about how much blogging has changed.
I started blogging in 2006, mainly because I felt like I needed an outlet for the struggles I was facing at the time. I didn't know how to put into words the things I was struggling with, and somehow blogging made sense {?}. I eventually realized that my old blog had taken a tone I didn't necessarily want to continue forever, which is part of the reason why I moved to blogger in March 2009. I wanted to redeem my writing. I don't always post the most spiritual and/or redemptive posts; but I do try to be mindful of the things I do write about. And even writing this post reminds me of why I started blogging and even titled my blog the way I did. 
I love reading back through my blog; it's a great thing to have a record of your life, and it helps me reflect on where I have been. The Lord has certainly done a lot of work in my heart, but I know He still has so much more left to do. I love being reminded of how good He is: what He has done in my life, the prayers He has answered {and even graciously NOT answered}, and all He has taught me. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Sea of Sunflowers

During the summer, I noticed a HUGE sunflower field just off the highway in Allen. It just seemed to pop up overnight, and it was absolutely beautiful! My husband noticed it too and decided to recruit his sister to take some photos with us as a fun date night  :)

The sunflowers were SO massive!

We even got my brother in on the photo fun! :)

Many thanks to Lindsay and Ben for taking these fun photos for us!

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." ~ Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Friday, November 8, 2013

High Five for Friday!

{one} All I really want to say is Sic 'em Bears! I was proud to wear my black at work yesterday, and I loved that my bosses were too! I am SO proud of my bears and how they are proving all the critics wrong. They are undefeated at 8-0 and ranked #1 in the Big 12, #6 in the BCS.  :)
{two} There are just some Fridays that you seem more thankful for than others. The last few weeks have been incredibly busy at work, and I have been working a lot of long hours. So when Friday comes, I am definitely thankful. Now if we can just get the rest of life to slow down, then it might actually feel like I can look forward to a real weekend or a break! ;)
{three} We have some big news to announce at Redeemer...
The Lord has been incredibly gracious to us and has provided a new place for us to meet! We have been meeting in our living room since January of 2012, but we don't quite fit anymore. Mostly, we have run out of space for all of the kids in our church. So we have been praying for a larger space, and the Lord has provided! We will move into our new home in a few weeks and will publicly launch in February. We are so excited about this partnership, and we can't wait to see how the Lord continues to grow our church family!
{four} It has been WAY too long since I have hung out with Laura. Our schedules have just not matched up, so I am really looking forward to catching up with my sweet friend over breakfast tomorrow. Definitely a highlight of my weekend!!
{five} While we still have a lot planned over the weekend, I am looking forward to a 3-day weekend. I really enjoy having bank holidays! Monday is Veterans Day, and my plan is to spend it in my pajamas. We'll see how that goes! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Redeemer Women's Retreat 2013

This weekend we had our first women's retreat! We traveled to a cabin in Oklahoma, which was a sweet blessing from a generous family. It was quite the adventure as we traveled into the backwoods of Oklahoma, but we made it safely without too much trouble.

When we first arrived, we decided to go exploring. We took a walk around the area and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Going for a walk

Climbing rocks

Sweet friends!

We headed back to the cabin to grill up some dinner and start a fire. We enjoyed dinner and some s'mores by the fire. It was a fun evening of laughter and fun!

We were so proud of our fire! :)

S'more time


I was up before any of the other girls, so I spent some time out by the river with the Lord. It was some much needed time in the Word, and I was thankful for the beautiful and quiet place.

We had a relaxing morning, making breakfast and hanging out on the porch before we headed back home. 

I am so thankful for the sweet women in our church and for the opportunity to spend a couple of days away.

Love these ladies!

Friday, November 1, 2013

1000 Gifts #550-642

550. Orange fall decorations.
551. Orange sunsets.
552. A sweet and thoughtful surprise from my Bible study ladies!
553. The leaves {sort of} falling for fall.
554. Catching up over warm soup and a potato with Laura.
555. The falling temperatures.
556. Thankful for vaccines to prevent the flu.
557. Letting go of heart desires to trust God.
558. First night of pre-marriage counseling with a couple in our church.
559. Thankful for was a tough week.
560. The reminder that this world and life are temporary.
561. BOGO free ice cream with my love at Baskin Robbins!
562. Thankful for the Spirit's restraint in frustrating situations.
563. An encouraging lunch with a family from Wind River Ranch.
564. A night at home alone.
565. Forgiveness and grace for when I am short with my husband.
566. Exciting announcements in our church!
567. Visitors to our home group.
568. Grilled quesadillas for dinner.
569. Stirring the pot of cilantro lime rice.
570. Eating a home cooked meal.
571. Praying over the women in our Bible study group.
572. Meeting a new family that has moved to McKinney.
573. Hearing answered prayer shared throughout our church.
574. Praise for sweet prayer partners.
575. Praise for dinner with supporters.
576. Praise for the gifts the Lord uses in each of us.
577. A sleepover night with some kids in our church.
578. Sacrificing time to serve others.
579. Long days at work that leave me dependent on Him.
580. Change of seasons.
581. Change of responsibilities at work.
582. Change of schedules.
583. Enjoying a day out with my husband.
584. Enjoying the zoo and the creatures God has made.
585. Enjoying the beautiful sunshine after the rain.
586. Pumpkin carving with our church family.
587. A house full of laughter and friends.
588. New friends in the neighborhood.
589. Bank holidays!
590. A day to sleep while it rains.
591. Dinner with friends and celebrating new babies.
592. Thankful for protection from sickness.
593. Thankful for sweet neighbors who open their homes.
594. Thankful for a fun movie night with my Bible study girls.
595. Leaves scented candle burning.
596. Conversations with my husband before bed time.
597. My husband heart in wanting to lead our relationship well.
598. Thankful for all of the rain to replenish the earth.
599. Discussing hard but timeless truths in a public setting.
600. Thankful for assistance with projects at work.
601. A win for Baylor homecoming.
602. Welcoming the newbie at work...and realizing how not too long ago it used to be me.
603. Coffee/Dessert with sweet supporters.
604. A morning to learn about holistic medicines.
605. Lunch with my aunt and the restoration of relationships.
606. Dinner with Mike's parents.
607. The Lord's constant provision.
608. Non-territorial churches in the city who want to partner together to spread the gospel.
609. A place to meet for our growing church.
610. The "problem" of too many women planning to attend our first women's retreat.
611. A sweet and generous vet who takes good care of our puppy.
612. The blessing of having our sweet puppy.
613. The calming silence in the mornings before the busy day.
614. Being still, knowing He is God.
615. The strength to make it through a long day.
616. Still thankful for much as I get frustrated with its cost.
617. Finishing {most of} my work before vacation.
618. Catching up with Laura...always an encouragement to my heart.
619. Time off work to visit my parents.
620. Travel safety to San Antonio.
621. Thankful for Mike's parents loving and taking care of Sasha.
622. The blessing of still having all 4 grandparents.
623. Enjoying dinner at Alamo Cafe with my parents.
624. Enjoying yogurt outside in the beautiful weather.
625. Breakfast with Lauren and Miguel.
626. Time spent catching up with high school friends at our reunion.
627. Thankful for all the Lord has done in my life since high school.
628. Humbling to spend time in prayer over the building.
629. Honoring to partner with other churches in spreading the gospel.
630. Happy for the partnerships in the gospel through the Acts 29 network.
631. Rest in Christ.
632. Comfort in Christ.
633. Freedom in Christ.
634. Thankful that getting to work before-the-sun-comes-up early is no longer a daily occurrence.
635. Thankful I am no longer dependent on caffeine.
636. Thankful for protection from the sickness around me.
637. Rainy days.
638. Feeling better.
639. Getting rest.
640. Generosity of church supporters.
641. Prayers of church supporters.
642. Encouragement of church supporters.