Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the thankfulness post

Since I’m 25 and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are 25 of the things I am the most thankful for:
  1. The love of my life. I keep thinking that I couldn’t love him more if I tried… but then I end up loving him more anyway.
  2. My wonderful family. I’m so blessed to not only love but actually LIKE my mom, dad, and sister!
  3. My cozy house. I’m loving making it ours. I never seem to be done with it… but I’m enjoying the ride… and the progress.
  4. Our little pup. We rescued him four years ago now, and he is just a great little dog. Until we have babies, he is a great substitute baby!
  5. Our church family. We are so blessed to have friends of all ages (most miraculously – our own age!) at our church. It genuinely makes it feel like family.
  6. My now-paid-off car. It keeps the rain out (the Saturn did not) and gets great gas mileage. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
  7. The basics. I am thankful that I never question whether I will have anything to eat for the next meal or whether I will have a place to sleep that night or whether I could get very sick and not have access to healthcare or anyone to take care of me. As much as I complain about the costs of food and housing and healthcare, I wouldn’t trade it for the alternative.
  8. Our health. We have gone through seasons of poor health, and I am thankful to be healthy and strong.
  9. Music. There is something about music that just speaks to my soul… and nothing blesses me more than a Rich Mullins/Third Day/Casting Crowns/Mercy Me/Nicole Nordeman/Caedmon’s mix.
  10. My job. Although still trying to determine my trajectory in life, I am incredibly thankful for my job. I am a happier, less-stressed person because of it.
  11. Opportunities. I feel like the Lord is really putting me in positions where He can use me. I’m certainly a flawed instrument, but I am thankful He is using me!
  12. My friends. I feel so blessed to have friends that genuinely care about me. Some are college friends, and I am pretty much positive that we will be pals forever. I love that.
  13. The holidays. I am thrilled to have a few days off work to spend with family and doing fun holiday-ish things like I love. Plus we have like 4 or 5 different Christmas parties this year.
  14. Our upcoming trip. I haven’t taken a vacation in about 16 months now (it will be almost 2 years total by the time we leave), and I am looking SO forward to our trip to Europe . It gives me something to hope for and dream about.
  15. Chapstick. I would be absolutely miserable without it. When my lips get chapped, I purse them and stop talking. Without Chapstick, I might be mute. (Others might be thankful for that, but I would certainly not be.)
  16. Affection. I don’t think I would survive in a world without hugs and physical touch. It is absolutely essential to my existence.
  17. Other ministry families. It has been an incredible blessing to spend time with some other youth ministers/wives that understand what this crazy life is like. I am so thankful to have that network and support.
  18. Kids. I really love children… and most of the time, they love me back. I love that. That blesses my heart.
  19. Sunrises and sunsets. I think they are just incredible evidence of God’s creativity. Every one is unique.
  20. A happy marriage. (I know this seems tied to #1, but bear with me.) Lately, I have been saddened to realize how many marriages include putting each other down and treating each other badly… even in public. Lance and I are not perfect, but we are happy… and we try to reflect that in the ways we talk to each other and about each other. I am thankful for that.
  21. Acts of service. I love the opportunities that arise even in small acts of service. For example, last week, I took dinner to some friends that just had a baby. I ended up talking to them for almost an hour… and I put that sweet baby to sleep in my arms about 10 minutes into the visit and just snuggled her for the rest of the time. I went to bless them but ended up being blessed myself!
  22. Modern conveniences. I am so thankful to have a nice washer and dryer and microwave and cell phone and computer and DVR (oh, I love DVR!) and a Scentsy pot and a dishwasher… my life would be even more complicated without the little things I sometimes take for granted. (Okay, my life would not be any more complicated without a Scentsy pot, but it is a nice addition anyway.)
  23. Maturity. In no way am I through growing, but I am thankful that I can see progress in myself. It lets me know that all of the things I experience really are shaping me.
  24. Others’ sacrifices. I’m thankful that soldiers have given their lives to protect me and shield my freedoms. I’m thankful that my parents sacrificed to put me through Christian school and through a private college. I absolutely would not be where I am today (or who I am today) if others had not paved the way for me to be here.
  25. A lot of things about God:
  • His faithfulness.
  • The way He listens to my prayers and answers them specifically.
  • His sense of humor.
  • The way He pursues and romances me. His grace.
  • The way that He knows me intimately and desires for me to know Him intimately.
  • His Son.
  • The way He speaks to me.
  • His love.
  • The fact that He gave us the Bible (and the fact that I have access to it).
  • His justice.
  • The freedom we have in His Spirit.
  • The fact that the Spirit intercedes (I know the Spirit has had to intercede for me a LOT).
  • There’s more. I am thankful that there is even more than THAT to be thankful for about God!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

smiles in my heart

Well, the last few months have been a roller coaster, and I have very little doubt that the next few months will continue to be a roller coaster, but let me share some things in my life that cause me to praise the Lord:
  • We paid my car off this week! I am thrilled about that because that means we are making progress toward getting out of debt… and it also means that we are inching ever closer to being able to start a family. (I’m assuming that the like 3 people that read this know me quite well… but I long to be a stay-at-home mommy when I have little ones, so we are working very hard to make that happen, and we have to get some of this stuff paid off to achieve that goal.)
  • My shoulder is doing much better! I still have “on” days and “off” days, but overall, I am feeling MUCH better, and I have even been able to hold babies without pain. Thank you, Lord! (Just FYI – I still have the divot and probably always will… but I am fully content to be pain-free and divot-ful.)
  • I ran two miles a couple of weeks ago! Granted, I’ve been a lazy bum for the last couple of weeks, so I have only run one or two days since then… but I had never ever run that far in my life. Also granted, I think it took me 30 minutes to run 2 miles… but let’s not talk about that. [Writer’s note: A few months ago, I said I was praying for the day that I could say, “I went all day today without pain AND I ran two miles.” Praise the Lord! That day is here!]
  • I am officially started on my Christmas shopping! I’m done buying gifts for Sister’s fiancĂ©, I’m almost done with Mom, and I’m making progress on Dad and Sister. Lance isn’t sure what he wants, and we have NO idea what his mom and brother want, so I’m nowhere near done… but progress is a good thing!
  • I have two days off work next week! I’m very excited to have the Thanksgiving holidays coming up. I love spending time with my family and having some time off work… and it means I get to set up my house for Christmas! HOOOOOray!
  • Our house is getting prettier! This past weekend, my friend Corie’s dad (who is a general contractor) came and began installing crown molding at our house. While he did that, I painted in our bathroom. The weekend before, we painted trim in our entry hall. Things look all construction zone-y at our house right now, but it is looking more like we want it to look… and closer to actually being DONE, which is pretty remarkable. I’m starting to believe that we’ll never actually be DONE, but I am excited about crossing a few things off the list.
  • We are at peace. We have had a lot of things going on the past few weeks. We’ve had some big decisions to make (we finally made them – hooray!), and we have felt a constant sense of uneasiness as we tried to make the best decision possible. We finally have some peace back. I have to say, though, that I am incredibly, overwhelmingly blessed to be married to Lance. In the midst of constant strife, we did not fight with each other. We never went to bed angry. We were each other’s support and encouragement. It is a tremendous blessing to be married to someone who views marriage as a priority and a ministry.

Thanks for all the blessings, Lord. I appreciate them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

the countdown begins…

There are only 42 days until Christmas! Oh my word, I love Christmas. I am so excited to drag out all of my decorations and begin my Christmas shopping… well, continue my Christmas shopping, I guess. I already ordered my mom’s gift (super cute! I would post it on here, but I think she checks this thing sometimes…). Lance has a guys’ night at church tonight, so he will be gone until midnight, so I am taking tonight to do a little shopping on my own. I prefer to already have gifts purchased by Thanksgiving so that I can put up my tree the day after Thanksgiving and not have it be all nakey underneath. In order to achieve that, I try to do at least half my shopping in November and have the gifts already wrapped before Thanksgiving. I may be a little obsessed… I am much more interested in the interior of my house than the exterior. We usually wrap our tree trunk in lights, but that’s about all we do outside. Inside, though, we put up the tree (always with gifts!), decorate the mantle, hang stockings, burn Christmas candles, have a Christmas centerpiece on the dining room table, hang up all the Christmas cards we receive… Well, I say “we,” but I guess that’s really me. Lance just indulges my Christmas obsession and helps out where he can (or where he has to since I’m so short and he’s so tall). Anyway, I’m excited. I already numbered my calendar to count down to Christmas, so it gives me something to look forward to every day.

And I know Christmas is kind of consumery now (okay, really consumery), but I love the time with family, and I love seeing people’s faces light up when you get the perfect gift or completely surprise them. I love eating cinnamon rolls with Lance on Christmas morning. I love hearing Christmas songs on the radio and (sometimes) singing them in church. I love hearing “Happy Birthday, Jesus” from time to time (cheese, I know). I love wearing scarves and coats and going to the mall and seeing all the little guys waiting in line to see Santa. I love making lots of fudge and cookies (I bought cookie cutters for this year… something to look forward to!). I love wrapping gifts. I love opening gifts. I love buying Buddy Christmas gifts even though he has no idea what’s going on. I just love it. And I love that everyone knows the story of Jesus’ birth. Whether they heard it from Linus or a Sunday school teacher, they know the story. I love that.

Basically, I’m counting the days. Very literally. Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

catching up still - state fair

Lance had never been to the State Fair ever in his life! Isn't that crazy?! I just HAD to take him, and I took a Tuesday off work so we could go on Dr. Pepper Tuesday ($3 instead of $15 to get in!). Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it rained that Tuesday. A lot. Ha. We had fun anyway though. We stayed at the fair for a couple of hours and then decided to make the most of a free day and went and saw a movie and just had fun all day. Here are some State Fair pics...

Us in front of Big Tex. Lance was a bit underwhelmed by Big Tex talking... but we listened to his whole speech anyway!
Lance's favorite part was sitting in all the new Chevy Camaros...

We got fabulous fried State Fair goodness - corny dogs for Lance and funnel cake for me!

There's no place I'd rather be than with my sweet hubs... even in the middle of the fair in the pouring down rain. We really had a great time. And then we got in the car and immediately shed our socks and shoes (they were nasty wet)....

Hopefully we'll get to go back again... in the sunshine this time!