Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wedding Reminders

Tonight we had a Jr High Staff wedding shower for our pastor and his lovely bride-to-be.  It was so much fun watching them laugh together, try to answer the gum quiz questions, and open presents for their new home.  We have a lot of young couples on staff, and so we have these showers fairly frequently.  They are always on the night of a staff meeting and we do the same thing at all of them, dinner, admin items, the how well do you know your fiance gum quiz, and present opening.  

This one was especially fun for Stephen and I because the last jr high shower we had was our very own!  And since we do the same things at all of them, it closely resembled our very own shower.  We had fun talking and laughing about our own experience.  

Stephen has the record for most correct answers to the questions.  He took the game pretty seriously...  And I am remembered for my answer to the question "What does Stephen do that embarrasses you the most?"  Of course, I answered "Nothing" because he is just that perfect (cough, cough).  Apparently that answer got a few laughs from the married couples on staff.

Anyways, we really enjoyed reliving those moments through Vanessa and Kelly tonight.  I can't believe we were in their spot only 8 short months ago. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008


We had a great surprise this weekend! My brother, David, was in San Diego for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, so Stephen and I ran down to see him play and hang out with him for a few hours.  It was great to see him...Colorado is way too far away!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


“An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” Proverbs 31:10

God has really been working on my heart and attitude over the last few weeks. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going through an Excellent Wife study with some other Jr High staff wives. I’m beginning to realize that when we started this study, in the back of my mind I was thinking,

“Stephen and I are newlyweds and our marriage is pretty much perfect. I’m probably not going to find a whole lot that I need to work on during this study; I’ll probably just gain some practical wisdom from the material and from the other wives.”

Yikes! Now, I wasn’t honest enough with myself to just come right out and say that, but it really is what my sinful, prideful little heart was believing.

Now that we are five months into our Excellent Wife study and nearing the end, I’m realizing just how much I don’t have it all together and how in need of God I am.

Stephen is still pretty much perfect and I am still amazed that God blessed me with a husband who is more wonderful than I dared to dream, but I’m discovering there are many little areas where I fall short as a wife and often am in downright sin. I could write out a pretty long list of my shortcomings, but that would take a while and right now I don’t want to focus on those. Instead I want to focus on the tools God has given me (US!) to overcome those moments, and sometimes habits, of sinfulness.

Here are a few things I am continuing to be reminded that I need:

Number 1: I need God to give me guidance through His Word (“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

Reminding me of what my role is in this life (“Everyone who is called by My name and whom I have created for My glory...” Isaiah 43:7)

And in this relationship (“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’” Gen. 2:18). As my husband, Stephen is my first and primary ministry. He even comes before our children (the future ones, cause we definitely are no where near that point in the present!). Before my ministry to my Jr High girls, before my friendships with girlfriends, Stephen is my priority.

Reminding me of what my life is supposed to look like as a follower of Christ (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” Gal. 5:22, 23).

And calling me to repentance and a greater foundation in the Gospel of Christ, where my salvation is found (“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8).

Number 2: I need the Holy Spirit to continue to guide and convict me as I go through day to day tasks. And also to speak wisdom and truth into my life as I am faced with choices and opportunities to act and react towards my husband in the right way.

Number 3: I need the accountability of both my husband and other believers to help me see when I am stepping out of line and not glorifying God with my actions, thoughts, or words. Obviously I think I’m pretty great and don’t do much wrong, and obviously that is no where near the truth. I need honesty from those around me to keep me in check with God’s word.

I need it from Stephen, because he is my husband and sees pretty much every little nook and cranny of my life where sin still has a hold. He loves me, and a part of that love is rebuking me when I am in sin. 1 Corinthians 13:6 says, “[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” Even though it may be hard to hear at the time, I know that a reproof from my husband is an act of love. He cares about me and my relationship with the Lord and does not want to simply overlook unrighteousness in my life because it is the easy way out, but wants to see me made more and more into the likeness of our savior, Jesus Christ. That is love.

And as a woman of God, another place that accountability should be coming from is an older woman in the faith (not necessarily OLD, just older, a.k.a. wiser, more mature). This is actually commanded in scripture: “Older women are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:3-5

I think I’ll stop here. I know this has been a long post, but it’s been good for me to write out some of what I’ve been learning. Most of it I have been taught before, but now that I’m actually married, it’s taking on a much greater and more practical meaning for me. I hope it’s been encouraging to you, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

One of My Fav's: Heather Hendrick

One of my rituals when I open up our laptop is to check Heather Hendrick's blog.  It is fantastic.  She is the wife of the worship leader from Living Hope, the church I went to in college.  She challenges me so much just through her online blog entries.  And I also usually end up laughing with her about some crazy thing she or her boys say or do.  If you're curious, just click here to read her blog.  I specifically like her posts on baby showers and hospitality (look for the links to those on the right side of her blog).

Things We Love

I love this picture.  It's from the Bridesmaid's Luncheon we had for my bridesmaids, mom's, and grandma's the day before Stephen and I got married.  It was such a great time of the ladies from both sides of the family spending some quality time together right before the wedding.  I absolutely loved having all of them together and getting to listen to some funny stories.  The picture is of me, my sister Emily, and my former roommate Alison.  I can't believe how Emily is growing up so fast.  I'm missing so much of it...her teenage years.  But I'm thankful for such a terrific, cool sister and love the brief chances I get to see her and be around her.  And Alison is getting married in 2 months!!!  I get to be in her wedding and can't wait for her to begin the wonderful journey of marriage!  

And just for fun, here's a yummy pic that Stephen's mom took at The Cheesecake Factory as she was getting the cheesecakes for our wedding.  Don't they look delicious?!  Stephen decided instead of a traditional cake, he wanted cheesecake for his groom's cake at the reception.  So one evening we took on the oh-so-hard job of taste-testing various cheesecake's to pick out our favorite three.  That was definitely one of the highlights of wedding planning :-)  And since we've been in California, Pasadena has become one of our favorite places to walk around and shop, and there's a Cheesecake Factory right in the middle of Colorado Blvd, the main shopping area.  So there's always the temptation to stop in for a good meal or a little cheesecake.  We've only give in a few times.  We took Sara and Emily when they came to visit, and it was a hit as always.  You really can't get much better than cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Providential Protection

Tonight was another great night of junior high ministry across the country, and for us, at Grace Community Church.  We have been study through the book of 1st Samuel and are getting close to the end.  I've loved studying the story of God's leadership, judgement, and protection found in the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David as they in turn lead the nation of Israel through it's first years of transition from a theocracy (led by God) to a monarchy (led by a king).  Tonight I was reminded of God's protection in the life of the believer and His power to bring about His will no matter what man tries to do to thwart it.  

Specifically, I was reminded of a skit that Student Life did back in 2003.  I believe it was called "Struggles" and it opened with a dark stage and three kids each doing their own monologue weaved together with a song.  Each kid was dealing with a different, very real struggle that left them crying out from the pslams asking where God was in the midst of their trial, "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?  How long will You hide Your face from Me?" (Psalm 13:1).  As the skit continues, they move through the psalm to declaring the power and salvation of God, praising God that He has delivered them through the trial.  It was an incredibly powerful skit and I wish I could remember more of it, but the impression it left on me is still strong five years later.  

Tonight we read Psalm 54:4-6, which is the psalm David wrote after God delivered him from the hand of Saul when he's being chased in 1st Samuel 23.  In verse 4 of Psalm 54, David cries out, "Behold, God is my helper, the Lord is the sustainer of my soul."  This is pretty incredible if you look at it in context.  

David is running for his life and becomes trapped on a mountainside with Saul and his men bearing down on him to kill him.  Just as it seems that there is no hope for David, a messenger calls to Saul telling him the Philistines are attacking Israel and Saul must come fight them off.  At the perfect time, when he is facing capture and certain death, God provides a miracle and a way out for David. 

I was reminded through these verses that when we are going through the hardest of times, God is still the sustainer of our souls, our helper, and He will carry out His plans for our lives no matter how hard man may try to change them.  God had a plan for David to be the next king of Israel.  Even though Saul pursued David with the strength of the army of Israel, God protected David and would not allow Saul to kill him.

I can trust in God.  That His plans for me are good and for His glory and to accomplish His purposes.  Sometimes the trial may last longer than I can bear and I may not be able to see the way out, but when troubles and trials come my way, I can cry out to God and find reason to rejoice.  I know He is in control.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Fun Day!

Stephen and I had a great day today.   First he got to sleep in while I went to my Excellent Wife study.  I had a great time of fellowship, learning and discussion AND got to see Hillary's brand new baby boy!  Talk about a cute, sweet baby.  

Once I got home, Stephen and I went out to run some errands and ended up spending the day walking around the Northridge Mall and REI (outdoor camping world galore).  We had a lot of fun walking around, looking in stores, and just being together.  Stephen ended up getting a new pair of workout shoes (he's been looking around for a while and finally got some!).  These great new shoes came with a condition though.....working out on a more consistent basis.  

So we stopped on the way home and bought a jump rope and Stephen started breaking in his new shoes pretty much as soon as we got home.  Then he decided he was in the mood for some competition, so we went over to the racquetball court and put them to the test.  

It was definitely one of the best and most competitive round of games we've played.  We both had a blast, and of course Stephen beat me like crazy, all the while telling me what a great job I was doing. Haha.  I've always said that one of the first things that drew me to him was how encouraging he was.  Guess that still holds true!

Then we finished the day off with a great dinner of salmon, broccoli, and caesar salad.  Heatlhy, yummy, and I cooked it...Hooray!  I'm definitely not the greatest cook ever, but I know with practice it will keep getting better and this one turned out pretty good!  Hope everyone who reads this has a good weekend too!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sister Pictures!

Finally, some pictures!  I blame Sara for the tardiness of these :-)  And I guess I blame myself for not posting anything else in the last 2 weeks...  Stephen and I are sitting at the kitchen table right now, each on a laptop and being semi-productive.  I say only semi because Stephen keeps cracking jokes and breaking out in random song, and I can't help but laughing, which then breaks my train of thought... Anyways, back to the pics.  Sara and Emily had a good time while they were here and we loved having them and getting to spend some quality time together.  

We went shopping in the Fashion District in downtown LA:

Went sightseeing and stopped to take some pics by the Hollywood sign:

And Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills:
And relaxed in the evenings at the good ol' apartment: