Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy 25th Birthday Sweetheart!

This is a very special day. Today is the 25th birthday of me precious husband, Chris.

The past few days, as I’ve been anticipating his birthday and thinking about how much he means to me and how thankful I am for his life, my heart became so overwhelmed with how GOOD the Lord has been to me in allowing me to be a part of this incredible man’s life. I not only have the privilege of knowing Chris, but I get to see his character and precious heart up close and intimately every single day.

How did I get so lucky?

To describe the character my husband possesses is one of my favorite things to do. From his integrity to his honesty, the man is a rarity for sure. I have often cried in thankfulness to the Lord that I can trust my husband to be an honest man, at his work and at home. When he is given a job to do, he does it, and takes no shortcuts. He would rather work twice as long and do something right, than do a job half-way. And this is in big and small things. I thought I had integrity, until I married Chris.

(Chris hard at work painting our bathroom)

And example of this is one time he was supposed to put in a certain amount of hours on a project and had come up 15 minutes short. We were out of town at a dear friend
s funeral, so needless to say work was not our main priority. He mentioned needing to finish up that 15 minutes and I was like “’s 15 MINUTES. It’s not that big of a deal.” and he just shook his head and said “What’s your integrity worth? Mine sure isn’t worth 15 minutes.” And I had to swallow hard, realizing just how right he was. AND HOW IN THE WORLD DID I SCORE THIS NUGGET???

(Fixing the sink late one night)

Chris is also honest. I can trust him completely. I am one of the few blessed women who doesn’t have to worry about my husband keeping secrets from me. He has told me everything about his past--from little stories that made us laugh at youthful foolishness--to things that we have both cried through because they are so heavy. And as a result he has given me a safe place to bare my heart and soul show him my “ugly” and find that I am still just as loved as when he thought I was a “good girl.” We truly know each other inside and out...and somehow he still manages to love me!

Loyalty doesn’t even begin to describe Chris. I have thanked the Lord COUNTLESS times that He blessed me with a man who only has eyes for me. I know it is Divine Intervention! I have watched him countless times...just to see...and his eyes always return to me, or the floor (ha) when there is an opportunity for lust or even just curiosity. He doesn’t “window shop” while we are out in public and knowing that he is keeping his eyes on me has given me such a sense of security...I’m so thankful for a man who has trained his eyes!

I didn’t realize it at the time, but when we got married, I got a man with a huge servant’s heart. We have not even been married a year, and when most newly married men are enjoying home-cooked meals, undivided attention, fun romantic getaways and such, Chris was holding back his pregnant wife’s hair while she threw up, eating Mexican food for the 6th time that week because that’s all she wanted, having to go grocery shopping with her because she couldn’t carry the heavy bags, massaging her back for the billionth time that night because she couldn’t sleep, and not even getting to cuddle in the bed because there was no room due to the massive amount of pillows she uses. 

(massaging his pregnant wife's feet while watching football)

Throughout my pregnancy, Chris was AMAZING. And it didn’t end there...I know for a fact that I would not have survived the birth of our child if it had not been for this precious man. Through 60 grueling hours of labor, he was right there beside me, holding my hand...or more like letting me break the bones in it...and breathing calmly with me to keep me from hyperventilating. I still cry thinking about how wonderful he was. In my hardest and weakest moment, he was my rock. He told me I was so strong when I cried out “I can’t do it!” He prayed for me out loud through every contraction and it kept me from losing heart. He would cry with me when I couldn’t handle the pain, and say he was so sorry I was hurting so bad. He thanked me over and over again for being willing to do this so that our son could be born.

(our little family)

In a time that should have been the worst experience of my life, he made it beautiful. We survived that battle together and because of his precious heart and serving attitude, he made it such a beautiful experience for us both. Something that connected us deeply and something we will never forget.

So...I could keep going on forever. But I’ll end here for now. Basically, I have the sweetest, most loving, silliest, most handsome husband in the whole world, and I am SO thankful for today and for his life!

Happy 25th Birthday, sweetheart! Thank you for all you do and for all of the love you give. 

I love you more than you’ll ever know. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm No Longer A Hopeless Romantic

Well, it’s Valentine’s day. And before I met you, I hated this day...mainly because I was a bitter single woman (you think I’m kidding). It seemed every where I went, I was reminded of how alone I was.

You see, I have always been a hopeless romantic. Even as a tiny little girl, whenever I saw gestures of love, I would sigh “It’s soooo romantical.”

I couldn’t wait for the day someone would buy me chocolates, a big huge teddy bear and a dozen roses. For someone to surprise me with a piece of sparkly jewelry and take me out on the town. Someone to love me.

But darling, it was only after marrying you and becoming your wife, that I realized just how much you really do love me. And none of it has involved tacky red and pink stuffed animals or chocolate.

You have shown me that love is jumping in the car as I’m trying to drive away after a big fight, and not letting me go. 

Or eating Mexican food for the billionth time this week, because you know it’s my favorite.

You’ve shown me that love is simply holding each other and letting the tears do all the talking when we lost our first baby. No words needed to be spoken between us.

True love is when you held back my hair while I was throwing up my guts, and always had a wet rag for my face nearby.

You have shown me what true love is by still finding me attractive when my tan skin and smaller waist gave way to puffy fingers and chalky white skin, speckled with stretch marks.

Or by saying “You are so cute.” when you wake up next to me...matted hair, sleepy eyes, morning breath and all. 

You have loved me big in so many small ways.

And because of you I am learning for the first time what real love is. 

Love is not mere sentiment and feelings. Love is doing the hard thing...and loving the unlovable. Love is choosing to have mercy on the one who deserves judgement. And forgiving when you have the right to stay angry. 

And the way you have treated me every day has taught me this.

Thank you for being willing to love me...craziness and all. And being a daily reminder to me of what the Gospel is--real love. You are a heaven sent blessing in my life, Chris, and I don’t know what I’d do without you!

I’m so thankful you are the person I get to learn to love better for the rest of my life.

Monday, January 6, 2014

3 Things I've Learned Through Pregnancy

So I haven’t blogged much about my pregnancy...mainly since I’ve been so sick. But as I’ve now entered into my 3rd trimester, and have spent a lot of time on the couch resting, (you think I’m kidding...) I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on these past few months, and all of the things the Lord has taught me through this precious little life growing inside of me.

So with that, here are 3 things I’ve learned through pregnancy.

1. I’m not as strong as I think I am.

So I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a wife and mom. Seriously. Since I was like four years old, I wanted to have babies and rock them to sleep. I was the girl who made the “Awwwww.” face any time I saw a pregnant woman shopping in Walmart. I could not wait for that time in my life! And as I grew older, I *thought* I had a more mature and realistic view of pregnancy and motherhood.

“It’s not going to be easy. It’s a sacrifice.” I would tell myself...somehow thinking that brought the appropriate dose of reality to my little fantasy world.

And yet I had this arrogance, yes arrogance, about how I would handle being pregnant. “I’m not gonna get fat, and I’ll keep working out the whole time to stay in shape!” I told myself and other people. I remember thinking how pregnancy can’t be THAT bad and I would not make excuses for myself. I’m tough. And pregnancy was not going to interfere with that.

It makes me laugh just writing this now. Boy was I wrong! (of course pregnancy is different for every one...I do have friends who did CrossFit while pregnant and ran 5k’s like no body’s business...and I secretly hate them. haha Just kidding!) For me, pregnancy revealed just how completely weak I am. And that was a hard pill for me to swallow.

About a week after finding out we were pregnant, the wondrous thing they call “morning sickness” took over my life. I would rather call it “throwing-up-every-two-hours-and-wondering-if-you’ll-ever-survive-sickness”...but that’s just me. ;) I have NEVER experienced nausea to that extent before, and it really took me by surprise. After two weeks of it, I remember feeling hopeless that life would ever hold joy again. (dramatic, yes. But true nonetheless.) People would tell me, just make it to week 12 and it will get better! 

The thought of living like this for 6 MORE WEEKS was enough to make me cry. And throw up again. But I really had no choice. 

Well week 12 came and went...including week 13,14,15....all the way until about week 24. I’m SO thankful the Lord didn’t let me know that I would be sick for that long. Otherwise I would have lost hope all together. But He really did sustain me through that!  

But what I gained through all of those weeks of sickness was a good dose of humility! I am NOT as strong as I think I am, and I’ve learned to be much more careful about voicing my “tough opinions” on situations I’ve never walked through before. Boy, have I learned...

2. I can be quite vain.

Okay, maybe I knew this before I was pregnant. But I always excused it with “Who isn’t?” But as this sweet baby is growing inside of me and completely changing everything I once knew about my body, there have been some days where I burst into tears...just wishing for my “old” body back. Which is funny, because I was never content with my body before (and it wasn’t so impressive that you’d cry missing it for sure! ha) but it was better than whatever this thing is!

Clothes don’t fit the way they used to. Okay, nothing fits the way it used to. And as I’ve had to go up in sizes...not once, but several times, I really have to swallow back the feelings of discontentment I feel upon seeing myself in the mirror.

When I cry and tell my husband “I’M A WHALE.” He lovingly tells me “You’re pregnant! You’re growing a baby!” And yet somehow this doesn’t change the fact that I still feel absolutely unattractive.

This got me to thinking about how wrongly I’ve been viewing my body for all of these years. As if it belongs to me. We all know the verse:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the 
Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, 
and that you are not your own? For you have been 
bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

And I’ve read it countless times, thinking that I understood this concept. But this pregnancy has revealed that that is SO far from the truth. If it is a struggle for me to “sacrifice” my body to grow a precious human selfish am I?! I see just how nasty my heart is...I want to be in control of my own body, and when that control is taken away, I am not a very happy camper.

This is just one of the reasons I so desperately need Jesus!

3. Tears are okay.

This may not be a big deal for most, but for me...this is HUGE. I have always hated crying! I ridiculed those who cried during movies and commercials. Those weepy women who were always crying over the silliest things. What pansies!

And now. That’s me.
Blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but goodness, I’ve cried so much these past 7 months! I’ve cried when I was making dinner and realized we had no taco seasoning. I cried during a commercial. And I’ve cried when Chris leaves and goes to work...and also the night before because I can’t bear the thought of him leaving in the morning.

But I’ve also cried when I heard that strong heartbeat on the ultrasound for the first time, realizing that that was my baby. I cried months later when the lady said “It’s a boy!” and I could see his silhouette on the screen, with perfect little arms and legs wiggling like crazy. I cry as I lay awake at night, hands on my tummy, feeling my son moving around and even responding to my touch.

Life is so beautiful. I can’t help but shed a tear over just how wonderful carrying this life inside of me is. Yes, it’s hard and a sacrifice, but those moments of complete awe far outweigh the difficulties I’ve experience...and they definitely make it worth it.


So these are just a few of the things I have learned so far during this pregnancy experience. And I’m so thankful the Lord is using it to refine me and make me stand in awe of His goodness. 

There is so much nastiness inside of this heart of mine, and yet He still chooses to bless my life so abundantly. 

What a wonderful Savior we serve! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Goals for the New Year

Well, it’s a new year...which means everyone and their mother have been talking about the year past and how great this new year is going to be--that “this is going to be their year!”

Quite honestly, all of this kinda makes me roll my eyes...yes, I would love to see everyone succeed at their new goals, but why can’t we all have goals and be motivated all year???

But nevertheless, this year I decided to give this whole “new years resolution” thing a chance and use this time to ask the Lord to show me some areas in my life and heart that needed to be changed or improved. And I found it to be a very refreshing and enlightening time for me. I made time to just stop, be still, and reflect. 

So after that long and drawn out are a few of my “resolutions.”

Goals for 2014:

Read through the Bible this year
I used to do this every year, and then I began to let other Bible studies I was doing be an excuse to keep me from doing this reading. But I have really missed getting that “whole picture” view of Scripture, so I’m determined to keep that up this year.

Pray more consistently for people

A dear friend, Mrs. Debra, shared a very practical way to pray for people with me last summer. She told me that she was at a friend’s house and noticed a basket full of cards on the coffee table. She looked into the basket and realized it was Christmas cards. She asked her friend why she kept them on the coffee table (when it was no where near Christmas) and her friend said that she keeps every Christmas card that people send to her, so that she can pray for them throughout the whole year.

When she shared this with me, I was like “I am SO gonna do that!” So this week we have taken one Christmas card and Chris and I are praying for that family this whole week. I even have a reminder set on my phone so that I remember to change it out the next week. (because these days I can be rather forgetful...I blame pregnancy. ha)

Plant a garden and can some produce

If any of you know me, you know that if this happens, it will be a miracle from God. Because I literally have killed every plant I’ve ever come in contact with. But I still want to learn! So I am reading up on how to garden, starting with this book Chris’ dad let me borrow. And thankfully he has been gardening for over 20 years, so he’s gonna teach me to mend my killing ways. ;)

Write more encouraging cards

You can never underestimate the power of a hand-written and encouraging card. I keep every card I receive...yes I’m a pack rat. ha But they just mean so much! When someone takes the time to write out something thoughtful and mail it to me, I feel so special and encouraged! So I really want to get better about doing that for other people. And I even bought some cute little cards from Walmart to start with! :)

So those are just a few of my goals for this new year! I’m asking the Lord to be the one who helps me stay motivated to carry this out, especially when the “newness” wears off. ha 

So what are some of your resolutions?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grieving America

As I’ve been sitting on the couch this morning, watching news coverage of the tragic events from 12 years ago, my heart is grieving for my country. Not just for the families who still bear the heart scars from having their loved ones taken from them by merciless terrorists, or the countless firefighters, policemen and rescue workers who gave their lives for the benefit of others, or the mothers’ who are left holding a folded flag instead of their child today, because they gave their lives to protect mine. 

But today my grief is much deeper. I am grieving over America, not just for America. 

I am sometimes astonished at how much change has happened in my beloved country in just 12 short years. Just days after the attack on our country, there was not a street you could drive down where you didn’t see American flags hanging proudly from each home. Churches were full, because for the first time in a long time we had our priorities straight. People were kind to each other, and stood proudly in support of our boys who were fighting against the evil that had attacked us. And I will never forget what that felt like. United We Stand actually meant something to me.

I felt like we were standing together for what was right. No, we definitely weren’t perfect as a country, but when shaken, American’s still had a moral core and did what needed to be done to assure we got the job done.

Today, I don’t feel that way. 

I no longer feel that Americans have strong morals deep in their core. We no longer know what is right and what is wrong. What is justice and injustice. Truth has stumbled in the street.

“Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; 
For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter.” 
Isaiah 59:14

What determines what is right today in our culture is what you see as right. And no one can judge you for expressing yourself. And as a result, so much evil and immorality is tolerated in our society. Things that are appalling and should bring shame and embarrassment are displayed on television and radio as the norm or at the very least “someone expressing their individuality.”

I am astonished at how much immorality can be displayed on channels like HGTV. My husband and I have to turn the channel to something else countless times because of couple living together who aren’t married, or homosexual couples being featured on the show. Yes, many would call us intolerant and judgmental, but my God is the one who says its an abomination and sin, and we both would rather err on His side than the world’s. 

When did we become so immune to sin? When did we lose our conscience and morality? When did such abhorrent things in the eyes of our God become the norm? So much so that no one even gives it a second thought? This country was founded on Christian there is no one to blame but ourselves. We as Christians have dropped the ball big time. 

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil 
is for good men to do nothing." 
Edmund Burke

I think it is a shameful thing for a Christian nation to turn pagan. For those who have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord, to then reject it. What judgement we are bringing upon ourselves! I don’t even think we can comprehend what is coming. God is a merciful God, but He is also just, and will not tolerate sin.

My heart grieves over America because we know the truth, and have chosen to throw that away and create our own truth.

As Christians, we must repent first of our own contribution to the sin of our country. And we need to repent of our tolerance of the things God hates. We need to stand for truth, no matter what ridicule or consequences it may bring. We need to stop being afraid of being viewed as intolerant or bigots, and stop caring what others think more than what our Lord thinks. He is the one we need to obey and please!

Will you join me in praying for our country? And not just in praying, but in living out the truth before our fellow American’s? 

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; 
Who substitute darkness for light and light for 
darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet 
for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes 
And clever in their own sight!” 
Isaiah 5:20-21

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Do It Yourself Tuesday ::: Dining Room Chairs

Project #1 is complete in our dining room renovation! I have started many things in that room, but this is the first that is completed! Woot woot! :)

I didn't think to take step-by-step pictures...oopsey. But I will tell you how I got this look and show the products that I used...I know if you're a visual person like me, you'd rather see it than read it, but it's all I got right now. ha

Step 1: 

I went to Hobby Lobby and found this yellow fabric. Normally I'm not a huge fan of polka dots, but it went along with other fabrics I am going to use in the dining room, so I got it. I checked Hobby Lobby's website to check their in-store deals and fabric was 30% off. SCORE.

Step 2:

I primed the chairs in this oil based primer. The lady was very helpful at Lowe's and explained why I needed oil-based primer. Because my chairs were originally stained wood, with some kind of clear top coat, an enamel or latex paint wouldn't "stick" unless I sanded or stripped them. So go with the oil-based primer I did.

Oh, and be sure you are using a brush meant for oil-based paints. There's apparently a difference. haha

Step 3:

*drumroll* Now it was time for the beautiful black topcoat! Yay! I got a glossy black enamel based paint. And surprisingly the chairs only needed one coat of this.

Step 4:

Last and final step! I cut the fabric to fit the cushions, and used this stapler to attach it. The staples I used may be a little heavy duty for fabric, but my husband had already bought these for another home project and I didn't want to spend any more on new staples. ;)

And there you go! A completely different look!

If you have any questions that I didn't answer in this post, I'd be glad to try and answer them!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Broken Words from a Mother's Heart...

Sweet child of mine. With a broken and grieving heart I write this on paper--words I will never get to whisper in your ear. 

You brought so much joy into my life...even for those 3 short days I knew about you. My heart was full and the love that I have for you was from the moment I saw that second pink line on my test. You are and always will be my first baby.

The sorrow I feel from losing you cannot be described with words. The fact that I will never hear your first cry, hold you in my arms and count your tiny fingers and toes, is at times, unbearable. To never know if you are a boy or a girl, if you look like your daddy and act like your mommy or if you’ll be outgoing or shy. I’ll never get to see you take your first steps, read you bedtime stories, watch you graduate, get married or become a parent yourself. 

Despite these heart-wrenching truths, there is still joy. I DID know you, even for a short time, and my, what joy you brought to all of us! And I know my love for you pales in comparison to the love your Heavenly Father has for you...He knew you even before the foundation of the world! I trust Him to know what He’s doing. He is sovereign over my life, and He was sovereign over yours. And now you are with Him.

I love you sweet baby. Goodness how much I love you. And I will see you one day.

I cannot wait to meet you.