Saturday, November 10, 2012's been a while

Wow. I did not realize how long it has been since I updated this blog. Man! Where do I start?

Well, like I said in my last post we got a dog. Her name is Shiloh & the vet is guessing she is about 5 yrs old. She must have had a pretty rough first part of her life because she has some scars to her back end & a broken rib that has healed but pokes out on her left side. 

She is a great dog & loves us so much. She came already trained at playing fetch & it is definitely her favorite past time...sneaking out of our back yard is apparently her second favorite...not one of our favorites. Yes, the police have already shown up at our house once with her. 

She loved every person & kid she has met (so far) & that, I couldn't be happier about. However, she is not a fan of other dogs. Today we took her to a dog park & she put a pretty aggressive pit bull & HUGE German shepherd in their places when she felt they had gotten too close. 

For the first few weeks we had her she had a terrible case of kennel cough that really worried us & we made a couple of trips to the vet & bought tons of pills that were a ton of fun to shove down her throat. Also, the day we got her we took her for a long walk & I fell in a small hole. I thought I was fine but started having pain in my foot a few days later. Two weeks later, Anthony convinced me to see a podiatrist. I ended up in a boot for 5 weeks for sever posterior tibial tendonitis & plantar faciatis. Now I'm awaiting he wants me to have orthotic inserts specially made. This $25 dog is starting to become very expensive.

On another note, Anthony & I finally found a church (Northview Baptist Church) & have joined it. We found a great Sunday school class and, on Wednesdays, I attend a systematic theology class while Anthony is in choir practice. The church is a little bigger than what I grew up in but still small enough that you won't get lost in the crowd. It think the one thing that really pulled me over was that they had the Institute for Creation Research come every Wednesday & a couple of Sundays in October to speak on creation & Genesis. This topic is a major interest to me & that they were open to speak on a controversial subject really impressed me. Also, the new members pastor teaches the theology class I attend & his belief, teaching, & adherence to solid Bible doctrine sealed the deal for me. I really think this is a place we can serve & be served.

We went to Vegas a few weeks ago. Interesting place. Never was on my list of places I wanted to visit but we had the opportunity & we went. We also got to see Kim & Jonathan while we were there which was great too. I am no fan of Vegas. We did go see Cirque de Soliel's "Ka" & it was really cool, we went to the new Bacchanal Buffet at Ceasar's Palace that was really good, & we also visited Hoover Dam which was the highlight of the trip for us. We think we may go back one day if we find pretty cheap tickets just to see another Cirque show, maybe the Blue Man Group, & take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. 

I have now owned our house for 3 years which means we are released from the First Time Home Buyers Credit. Yay! So now we can look for a new house. This house is amazing. We love it. However, it is a bit small for a baby or toddler, maybe but more than that, no way. So, we want something bigger but for less. Sound crazy? Well, we really would like to find a house with 4+ rooms, 2+ baths, a room that could act as an office/school room, single story, yard big enough to have a garden & play in, very little updating (we could paint or add new carpet), decent neighborhood, reasonably close to Anthony's office & our church, & for $100,000 or less. Now do we sound crazy? hahaha Well, we don't have to move out anytime soon or anything so we can wait till we find the right place & there are always houses coming up for foreclosure. We'll just keep praying about it. :)

For the last two weeks, I have planed out our menu for the week & we have made pretty much all our meals (including taking our lunch). We've eaten out I think 3 times & I've had fast food only once, Anthony maybe 2-3 times. This still may not sound great but it is monumental for us. We've been going to the grocery store on the weekends & only popping into one during the week to grab something that wouldn't have lasted long enough or the store didn't have when we went earlier. We are also starting to watch sales & find decent coupons. I must say, shopping has actually been kind of fun & we are trying so many new recipes. We are saving money, eating better, & having fun. What more could you want?

I think I am slowly turning into a hippie. I am starting to become convinced of some of the dangers of some of the chemicals we use on an everyday basis &, since Obamacare doesn't seem to have any chance of being reversed, I am starting to get interested in more alternative/homeopathic medicine. I really believe that now that healthcare has been socialized, if we have any hope of any kind of healthcare, we will need to seek it other places than in the "accepted establishment." Anyway, I have been researching some "DIY cleaners" &, tonight, we bought the ingredients to make our own laundry detergent. According to this girl, it costs approximately $0.02 per load & costs her about $2 a month for her family of 6. That is a heck of a deal. So, I'll keep you posted.

Well, Anthony has already headed to bed so I guess I'll say good night as well. :D

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

Sooooo...we're adopting a dog! 

She is getting fixed & microchipped today and tomorrow we get to go pick her up. (The photo to the left is the pic that the Denton Animal Shelter had on their website.)

She is a 8 yr or so Jack Russell. They know very little about her except that they found her as a stray in Corinth. 

Anthony went to see her yesterday (thus the picture on the right) & said that she was pretty skiddish & seemed scared but she came right up to him. They said she has been a bit snippy at the smaller, yappy dogs (who wouldn't be?). 

We are also dog sitting for Anthony's parents for the next week+. Sydney is the sweetest pit bull ever & Sasha is a little, yappy pomeranian. So, we'll be spending most of the next few days getting her socialized to other dogs. She will need to learn to love these two since she'll probably be playing with them a lot in the future.

We aren't really sure what we are going to name her but we are leaning toward Shiloh, which is Hebrew & usually means "His (God's) gift."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Heritage Grace Community Church

We visited Heritage Grace Community Church today. First off, I can't tell you how welcoming & sincere everyone was, especially Trisha Ramos (the lady I mentioned in our last blog that we met at the conference in Tulsa...she's also the pastor's wife). 

The second thing we noticed was the worship service. Their website states, "We desire for our worship to be God centered & not man centered. Our songs all undergo a Biblical litmus test so that we sing only that which we believe is truly reflected in Scripture." Many churches today reduce the praise & worship down to songs that are all feeling driven rather than focusing on what Christ has really done for us & who He is. That is the whole point of praise & worship is to focus on what Christ has done for us, for who he is, not how He makes us feel. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" And, Psalms 150:2 says, "Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Another thing we thought was great, was also stated on their website and evident in the service: "Some child care will be provided during service especially for younger ages (3 and under/nursery). We believe the older children at HGCC should be in corporate worship and hear the preaching of God's Word. However our church is not family integrated, family focused, or family centered; HGCC is above all Christ centered." Anthony & I have discussed how many churches are "family centered" & how, as singles, we would hear that, & struggling with not having a family of our own, it made us feel less accepted & vital and that was not the reason we came to church. We wanted a church to preach Christ, not how to be a better spouse or parent (not that those aren't occasionally appropriate, as long as it is turned back to the Gospel; but, for the most part, those type sermons should be reserved for small group studies).

Finally, the sermon. Pastor Emilo Ramos gave an excellent sermon about proper church discipline. Essentially stating that the end purpose of church discipline is to win the sinner back into the congregation; the church to exercise love, compassion, & mercy; and to purify the church. He also stated several times that is is church discipline, not church abuse. Many people who are against church discipline are so due to churches who have abused their authority, their members, & misused/misinterpreted the Word of God.

We are desperate to find a home church but we want to make sure that it is a good, Bible-teaching church. We don't want to get into a church, make friends, make commitments & then discover something that isn't doctrinally sound & have to leave. We have visited SEVERAL churches & have only found, up to this point, 4 that we are interested in. No church is perfect, we know that, but choosing who is going to feed you spiritually is a very serious matter.

We really liked this church so it will go down on our VERY small list of the good churches that we are considering making our home church. Again, we know that no church is perfect & that is because man is not perfect but we want to find the church where we can be fed properly by the pastor, fellowship & be strengthened/encouraged with a warm family of brothers & sisters in Christ, be discipled & disciple others, and serve. This will take a lot of prayer. And just because we eventually choose one church over another, does not, in the slightest, say anything negative about the other churches. It will just be the church we believe God is leading us to.

A Call for Discernment

 Anthony & I traveled to Tulsa, OK last weekend in order to attend the A Call for Discernment conference organized by Grace Family Bible Church of Tulsa. The drive to Tulsa was very nice & we are now a little more willing to going up there for weekend trips more often.

A couple of months ago, I was reading a blog I follow & I saw a link on the side of his blog advertising the conference. I clicked on the link & saw that a guy (Justin Peters) I had heard on Brannon Howse's Worldview Weekend radio show & a guy (Frank Turk) I had just recently been reading his blogs & following him on Twitter would be there. I also noticed that one of the pastors from Voddie Baucham's church (Grace Family Baptist Church) would also be speaking. After realizing this would be a free conference, I decided to send the link to Anthony & see if he was interested. After mulling it over, we decided to go ahead & if it turned out to be a dud, we would just leave & go see what Tulsa had to offer.

I have been to many conferences. Emotional manipulating roller coasters of youth conferences; watered-down sales-pitches women's conferences; and one really good prophecy conference. I really didn't know what to expect. The first thing we were surprised about was the amount of people. 900 people had registered but we are guessing about 700-800 showed up. The place was packed. It is always nice to realize you aren't alone in what you believe & observe in the world. We were also surprised at how many Mennonites were present. I don't know why, but I have such a love for Mennonite people. I don't completely agree 100% with them on how they interpret the Scripture (obviously) but there is something about how seriously they take living for God that makes me want to run up & hug them. (At this point, my husband will look at me smiling & say, "You're so silly." hehehe)

Justin Peters was the main speaker & why the conference was called "A Call for Discernment." He has produced a DVD with the presentation of the same name (that we purchased). Mr. Peters was born with cerebal palsy that mainly just affects his walking. Growing up, he was taken to many "faith healers" for a "miraculous healing." Clearly, his body has not been healed. He was told it was because of his lack of faith. However, God used these horrible experiences to inspire him to form a ministry warning others of the unBiblical teachings these people try to sale. Some of the people he points out are: Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Paul & Jan Crouch, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and several others. You can pretty much bet, if they are promoted by TBN or GOD TV, they would make the list of those to stay away from. Mr. Peters has a very well done presentation backed up by lots of Scripture &, when he names names, he uses actual video clip so the viewer can see these people as they speak the words & can see their facial expressions & hear their inflections. 

Justin Peters admits that taking up discernment will win you few friends & many enemies. Mr. Peters' Facebook site has even been removed by Facebook & when I tried to post a link to his website on Facebook, I got an error stating it was a spammy or unsafe website. I wonder who didn't like what he said. O.o

In between Justin Peters' presentations, we also heard from several others including: Toby Harmon of The Abolitionist Society of Oklahoma (an anti-abortion group), Jack Rawlins of Voice of the Martyrs, Paul Washer of HeartCry Missionary Society, Frank Turk of Pyromaniacs, Stephen Bratton of Grace Family Baptist Church.

Despite my high regard for Justin Peters & loving every minute of his presentation, the highlight of the day, for me, was hearing Paul Washer preach. I had never heard of Mr. Washer before Saturday. I will now list him as my favorite preacher. Sorry, John MacArthur, I still love your preaching. 

Mr. Washer preached for almost 3 hrs. As much as I was dying to stand up & stretch & go have lunch, I didn't want him to stop. It was like listening to one of the old Puritan preachers. He is soft spoken but does not mince words. He is so sincere & so in love with our Savior. I have seen several preachers get choked up in a sermon or tear up a bit, but this man sobbed & it wasn't to make a point or garner sympathy. He is truly grieved by what is going on in the Church & that so few Christians truly understand what Christ has done for us. (On a side note, none of us will ever fully understand what Christ has done this side of Heaven, however, that shouldn't stop us from striving to understand & worship Him properly.) If you are interested in hearing some of Paul Washer's sermons, some of them are posted here on Sermon Audio.

We left for lunch convicted & sore from him stepping on our emotional toes but with an intensified desire to learn more about Christ & more serious in our intent to worship him. On our way back, I was able to "snap" a pic of this awesome police vehicle. Love it.

Trisha Ramos of Fish With Trish was also manning her table. Some of you may know her from her occasionally teaming up with Todd Friel of Wretched Radio and Ray Comfort of Living Waters/Way of the Master. I knew she was from the DFW area but during the last portion of the night, they talked about her husband, Emilio Ramos, & her had just recently started a new church in the north Dallas area. Anthony thought it might be the same church some friends of his had moved to & wanted to ask her. We got to talking to her (it wasn't the same church) & she ended up inviting us to their church, Heritage Grace Community Church. They have only been going for about 8 weeks & only have about 50 people so far. They are currently meeting in another church so their services really don't get started till about 2pm (she assured us this was the only seeker-friendly aspect of their church...hahaha). 

This quote from C.S. Lewis sums up nicely the conference & our feeling regarding finding the right church:
"Spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food & it will gobble poison." -- C.S. Lewis
In addition, here is a picture of the view from our hotel room. If they could guarantee that all their hotels were as nice & inexpensive as this particular Holiday Inn, we would join their membership club without hesitation. Over all, it was a GREAT weekend.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Tapas & Game Night

Two weekends ago we had our friends, Al & Jordan, over for dinner & game night. My sister, Kim, had given me some salt blocks for Christmas this past year & thought this would be the perfect time to try them out. So, we decided to have a tapas night. Anthony titled the menu "Five Course Summer Tapas"

We started out with a salad of fresh spring greens, napa cabbage, carrot, red bell pepper, & cucumber with a fresh Ginger Peanut Asian Dressing. I made the dressing based on a recipe I found at The Cafe Sucre Farine blog. Let me just say, this is now one of my staple dressings. It was AMAZING. I may use it as a marinade for a chicken stir-fry soon as well.

For the appetizer, Anthony made Polenta Pizziolis. He made the polenta himself & then added some marinara & fresh mozzarella. They were amazing. This was my first time having polenta, so, true to my picky palate, I was a little nervous but, oh my gosh, sooooo good. Also, Jordan brought roasted tomato crustini that were amazing as well. She had roasted some super sweet cherry tomatoes. As a person who never eats tomatoes unless they are in ketchup or sauce, these must have been amazing because I couldn't stop eating them.

Then we brought out the super hot salt block & Anthony proceeded to cook the shrimp on it. We had three sauces to dip them in: a basic cocktail sauce that was hardly touched, a honey sriracha sauce that Anthony made, & chipotle barbecue that was another Anthony concoction. The two Anthony sauces were super flavorful & delicious but also quite spicy. The salt block salted the shrimp perfectly & was a very cool process. Below is a video I tried to capture to give you an idea.

For the entree, we used some of our left over wedding beef brisket & made street tacos. They were good, as well, but by this time we were all starting to become rather stuffed. ;)

To let our food settle a bit, we decided to play a few games before the desert of an assortment of Blue Bell ice cream (Kroger had a sale). Also, at this point, I would like to say I am so sorry for those of you who do not live in Texas & cannot get your hands on Blue Bell ice cream. Nothing compares except maybe what Baptist church ladies make for Baptist ice cream socials. 

We played board games the rest of the night, which has become our thing now, & into the the wee hours of the morning...which didn't make getting up for church the next morning the easiest task. ;) Al has begun collecting board/card games so we always get the opportunity to try out one or two new ones & play some of our favorites. 

This night, one of the games we played was a German murder mystery game called Mord im Arosa. Very fun & clever game. 

We also played a firefighting game called Flash Point. It is a cooperative game which means all the players work together, there is no one winner. Not being a super competitive person, I tend to like these games; however, I also don't like being told what to do, so sometimes they can be a bit irritating for me as well when a couple of strong personalities want to play for me. Then I just want to say what is the point of me being here. ;) Just another reminder of the human pride that infects me & that the Lord is continuing to sanctify in me through His grace & mercy. 

Then the rest of the night we played Dominion that has become a bit of an addiction of our little group. Al has now completed the entire game with all the expansion packs. They have an online version of the game, that, if you ask me, stinks. I get ridiculously frustrated with it however, some people seem to really enjoy it. :/ There is an iPhone/iPad app that I enjoy & I also, interestingly, find I am much more vicious in since I'm only playing the computer & not a real person. I wish they would hurry up & come up with a computer game of it though. 

Needless to say, it was a great night with great friends!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bumper Sticker Theolgy

Yesterday I was behind an SUV. Clearly, the driver claimed to be a Christian. He/She had several "Christian" bumper stickers & emblems adorning his/her car. However, one of them stood out in particular to me & made me think a little deeper into what this "proverb" was stating. The bumper sticker read: "Do your best & give God the rest."I got to thinking about what an awful testimony that piece of sticky paper was sharing with fellow drivers.

My first thought was, "'...give God the rest'? Really? God doesn't want 'the rest,' He demands ALL." In Matthew 22:37, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 which states:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV)
"ALL your heart," "ALL your soul," "ALL your might." It does not say, "Whatever you have left of your heart, soul, & might, give that to God." 

And then there is Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

These two verses could be preached on for hours by a God-fearing, Bible-believing man, but I just want to make one point. Verse 6 does not say, "...and your paths will become straight." It also does not say, "...and your life will be easier." It says "HE will make straight your paths." In other words, when you put your trust in the Lord, decisions become clearer. There is less gray in the world. There is a right way & there is a wrong way. There it the path that leads to life & the path that leads to destruction. The choices may seem clearer, however, the consequences may be more difficult. Yes, it might be clearer that sleeping around is not the right choice for a Christian, however, the consequences to a life of chastity often times leads to friends, family, & the rest of the world mocking you, tempting you even greater, & many times your life becomes an offense to the rest of the world & you may be called "holier-than-thou" or claim you are judging others. (I know from experience in this case.) Or, maybe you are given the opportunity to donate to a cause that is contradictory to the Bible. The choice is clear, you do not contribute. However, this leads to coworkers & supervisors taunting you, trying to intimidate you, threatening you, saying awful, hurtful, & often untrue things about you behind your back. In some cases, it can lead to you being fired or demoted. No, the life of a Christian is not always easy but, most of the time, the choices become simplified.

My second consideration of the sticker was of the first part, "Do your best..." What does the Bible say about our works, our "best?"
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)
who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (2 Timothy 1:9 ESV) 
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace(Romans 11:6 ESV)
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. (Isaiah 64:6a ESV)
I've written on Isaiah 64:6a before here where I discussed the word that has, in the ESV been translated to say "polluted garment" and in other translations as "filthy rags." The original Hebrew word used here is "'iddah." Literally translated, that word refers to a used menstrual rag or pad. So, Isaiah 64:6a is basically saying that our good works, our "best" appears as a used menstrual pad to God. Our good works, to God, are useless, are nothing.

I rate this bumper sticker, "Do your best & give God the rest," right there with another popular bumper sticker, "God is my copilot." And, I'll leave you with a great bumper sticker response to the copilot sticker.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Studying To Show Ourselves Approved

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."(2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

About 2 weeks ago, Anthony & I decided that we needed to start a Bible reading plan together, not a devotional or a book study but just reading straight from the Source. There is nothing wrong with (most) devotionals or book studies, we have several that we want to start working through, but we decided that those should in addition to daily reading of The Word. 

YouVersion has a pretty cool (& free) Bible app for smart phones. Typically I use the ESV Bible app (mainly for it's simplicity) but YouVersion's has great functions. One of the best features that I enjoy from the app are the Bible reading plans. 

Anthony & I chose the chronological Bible reading plan. So far we have read Genesis 1-11, then hopped over to Job, & now we are back in Genesis again.

With the YouVersion app, some of the translations have audio with them. We like the English Standard Version (ESV). So, we play the audio while following along on either our phones or the iPad. Then, after each chapter, we talk a little about it & I'll read any notes that are in my Apologetics Study Bible

My grandmother (aka, my Aunt Cynthia) gave us a SUPER cool bible as a wedding present. It is the Life Essentials Study Bible: Biblical Principles to Live By. Throughout the Bible there are QR codes. You scan the code with your smart phone or iPad & it takes you to a video with Gene Getz teaching about a particular passage. Even Christ in Prophecy (aka Lamb & Lion Ministries) recently did a show about this new multimedia Bible that you can watch here. So we want to start incorporating that into our Bible study time as well.

We are loving doing this together. We are going through it fairly quickly. If all goes as planed, we should complete the entire Bible in a year. After we finish, we'll find a plan that goes at a slower but deeper pace.

Currently, I'm finishing up a lesson/presentation/article aimed at Christian youth. I have also started the very early stages of research for the first book I want to write. I plan on it being a very basic/layman's/introductory book of Christian theology. Basically covering some common questions that every Christian should be comfortable explaining or, at the very least, understanding. Such as, "Where did the Bible come from & how were the books that are included chosen?" "Can we trust what the Bible says to be the Word of God?" "What do we believe about sin, God, Jesus, salvation, Heaven, Hell, the unsaved, etc...?" "What is theology, doctrine, dogma, apologetics, polemics, etc... & why should we study it?" "What is 'The Gospel' exactly?" "Why are there so many divisions within Christianity?" "How was Christianity founded?" And maybe a few more. If you have any questions, please send them to me. I'm really just gathering ideas at this point & reading...lots of reading. Also, I am thinking about starting another blog just regarding my writing, a place for me to make some short articles about what I am studying at the moment, to hash out some ideas, to keep me motivated/accountable, & to practice writing. Anyway, any ideas for a title for that blog?

Well, that is how we are trying to lay a strong foundation. Just thought I'd share. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

"In Sickness & In Health"

Well, we are married. :D

But it has been a very challenging few weeks. The wedding itself was beautiful. More beautiful than I could have ever imagined. By Friday, I was done (I'll explain in a min), done with everything. I pretty much threw everything we had made into a pile & told my family to do what they could with it. I felt ridiculously bad for not helping decorate but I was done. I don't think I could have. I could no longer make any kind of decisions. It was the strangest feeling ever. But I have amazing family & I couldn't believe it when I saw it on Sat morning. If I had been able to make any decisions, I think I would have just messed everything up.

I know you want to see pictures & I will post a few here but I'm mainly waiting for the professional pics to come in.

So, let me tell you about how our life has been from the week before the wedding to present.

Challenge 1
My hall toilet has been running for some time & I had bought a new flapper to fix it a while back ago & had just been procrastinating. Anthony & I were going to pick up my sis & bro-in-law the Sun before the wedding at the airport. They live in Barrow, AK & about a week before all this, their sewer had frozen so they had not been able to use the toilet in their house for awhile. So, I wanted to provide a nice, quite, functioning toilet for them while they stayed with me.

On Friday I replaced the flapper; this did not stop the running plus, I noticed the water in the tank had a lot of black stuff floating in it. I quickly discovered that the flushing mechanism had a crack in it, so, on Sat, Anthony & I went to Wal-Mart & found one for $4 & replaced it. When we took the toilet apart, we noticed the rubber gasket between the tank & bowl and the seal in the water supply tube (what was causing the black stuff in the water) had started to deteriorate, but wasn't too bad yet. We put the new flushing mechanism on, put the tank back onto the bowl, & filled the tank with water. Almost immediately water started leaking between the tank & bowl.

After we picked Kim & Jonathan up at the airport the next day, we went into Lowes & bought a new water supply tube (later realizing we had the wrong size & having to go back to Lowes) & gasket. Anthony & Jonathan worked on the toilet only to have the leak still present. We made another trip to Lowes & still there was a leak. I called my friend Thomas & he came over on Monday to take a look at it. After taking the toilet apart & putting it back together about 5-6 times & talking to his plumbing buddy, we finally discovered the tiniest chip in the toilet. Thomas tried some sealant but it still didn't stop the leak. We finally decided a new toilet was going to be the only solution. So, Monday evening, during a big storm, Kim, Jonathan, & I went to buy a new toilet. Jonathan installed it like a pro with only one more trip to Lowes. Yay! Craziness over...not so fast.

Challenge 2
Tuesday night Kim forced me to finally go to bet at about 11:30pm. I walked into my bathroom to find white stuff all over the floor. I looked up & there was a decadent size wet spot on the ceiling & bits of the popcorn ceiling had fallen onto my counter & floor. Jonathan climbed up into the attic & onto the roof but couldn't find any holes. He figured it must be coming in through the vent in the roof. So, the next day, I had a roofer come out & take a look. Sure enough, the sealant around the vent in the roof had cracked & water was dripping down. He fixed it for $75 but also noted I had some hail damage & might start considering a new roof.

Challenge 3
Kim found some mouse dropping in the hall bathroom & hallway. Yay.

Challenge 4
Anthony had been sick all the week before the wedding but hadn't wanted to tell me because he didn't want to worry me. He told me on Thursday that he was starting to feel better. The day after the wedding, Sunday, he started feeling really bad again. On Monday, we decided to leave our honeymoon cabin & drive around Beaver's Bend. While walking around the visitor's center, Anthony became really dizzy & had to go to the car. We drove to Wal-Mart & bought some Tylenol, NyQuil, & a thermometer. He was running about 101 fever. We made an appointment with his doctor on Wednesday & she performed a chest x-ray & sinus x-ray which came back normal. While examining him she mashed on his right lower abdomen & he complained. So, she sent us to the ER for possibility of appendicitis. Naturally, I brought him to my workplace. They did a CT & he was normal. Yay! No surgery! But he still felt terrible for a few more days. He's feeling a lot better now.

Challenge 5
Since Anthony wasn't feeling too great on Tuesday, I drove us home from our honeymoon. I must have hit something because we got a flat & had to buy a new tire.

Challenge 6
Friday night, we were in the hall bathroom putting away towels or something & I looked up at the ceiling & saw this brown stuff that looked like it was growing on the ceiling. Anthony pulled the curtain back & in the tub were lots of dead termites. UGH! So, yesterday I left work early to meet with the pest guy. Very nice, little, old man. So, hopefully that will do it.

Challenge 7
This morning while I was having breakfast, Anthony had finished & was walking through the living room to go take a shower & screamed. Lying on the floor, like he owned the place was a snake! Just a little garden snake but still. EEK!!! Anyway, after a few minutes of what could have been a major laughing point on any prime-time comedy, we caught the snake & through him into the bushes outside. We aren't really sure if he was still alive... Anthony said that "Yakety Sax" should have been playing in the background during the excitement.

Ok...picture time....

Ever After Chapel

Instead of printing programs, Anthony, me, & my dad made a chalkboard & had my cousin/day-of coordinator/insanity preventer/one-of-the-most-amazing-women-I've-ever-had-the-pleasure-of-knowing, Kaylee, write out the actors. ;)

As you can see, my maid-of-honor was celebrating from Mongolia where she now lives. What a blessing technology is today! Her mom brought her iPad & Brandie was able to watch the whole thing via Skype. Amazing!

My dad had been sweeping off the front step & had set the broom down, dusted his hands off on his pants, & looked up to see me standing here. He said, "Oh my gosh!" & immediately reached into his coat for his camera & snapped this pic. It made me feel so pretty. :)

Our Twitter friend Collin played his cello (we actually had never met face-to-face until the rehearsal...that's how we roll). Kim (my sis) sang while her husband, Jonathan (most amazing bro-in-law in the world) played an AMAZING version of "His Eye Is On The Sparrow." While Anthony & I had a private communion. Also in this pic is my INCREDIBLE cousin & day-of....week-of-coordinator, Kaylee (check out her adorable blog "Blue Mitten Green House"). I cannot put into words how amazing this woman is. She is more of a sister to me than a cousin. 

Mr. & Mrs. ..... with Louis Armstrong's "'Bout Time" as our exit music. 

Rev. Bob Oudin, my sister's father-in-law & one of the most sincere men I know, married us. We both love him so much & look to him as a spiritual mentor. He probably wouldn't like that but that makes him even more of an honorable man.

Here we are as a wedding party...sans Brandie, of course (but she was in our thoughts & hearts). Jason, Alejandro, my hunky husband, me, Kim (my sis & matron-of-honor), Anya, & Tanya (Anthony's sisters).

My sister & matron-of-honor, Kim, and her brother-in-law (also the maker of my ring...see his Etsy site) performed Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" with Joshua playing the ukulele that he made himself. What talented family & friends I have!

This is something special our friend Jordan made for us. She also designed our invites. She is super talented. If you have any interest in her designs check out her Etsy site.

I'll post more as soon as I get the professional photos back from the photographer. :D

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wedding Day!!!

Well, today is our big day! 

So many emotions.

I really don't know what to say. 

I'm blessed beyond measure.

I'll just leave this post with some verses about marriage, love, & ones that we are especially fond of.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)
  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

(Ephesians 5 ESV) 
  He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.(Proverbs 18:22 ESV)
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.(1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV)
For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.(1 Corinthians 11:8-12 ESV)
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.(Genesis 2:18-25 ESV) 
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”(Matthew 19:4-6 ESV)
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.(Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.(Romans 12:9-21 ESV)
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.(Romans 15:4-6 ESV)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.(James 5:16 ESV) 
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.(Colossians 3:18-19 ESV)
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”(Hebrews 13:4-6 ESV)
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”(Mark 10:6-9 ESV)
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.(1 Peter 4:7-9 ESV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”(Joshua 24:14-15 ESV)
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 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 3:12-17 ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.(Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)
Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.(Luke 12:31 ESV)
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.(Psalm 25:1-3 ESV)
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!(Psalm 37:3-7 ESV)
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!(Psalm 4:1 ESV)

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.(Isaiah 40:31 ESV)

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.(Proverbs 31:10-31 ESV)