Our Life...

Our Life...
...summed up in one photo.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Story - Part 2

We were both afraid of running ahead of God's plan, so we soaked every detail in prayer and asked a few people close to us to do the same.  Amazingly, those people, including our moms, didn't think we were completely crazy. Well, two, possibly three people I can think of thought we were crazy. But we listened to their concerns and addressed each one.  "Is this really how You're working Lord?" I remember thinking that often and surrendering it over and over to Him. I had made a mess of things with relationships in the past and was determined to allow God to be in control of WHATEVER it was that was happening.

Take delight in the LORD,
   and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

(I have to pause to give a loving word of caution to my single friends reading: ALWAYS make sure a family member or a trusted friend is involved in the process, no matter how you meet a potential spouse. They can hold you in prayer, keep you accountable and help you notice any red flags. A lesson I learned the hard way before this point.  Ok, I'm finished. On with the rest of the story....)

Money was tight for both of us, so Chris took the initiative to make arrangements to visit me. He prayed for a plane ticket for the day before Thanksgiving for under $200. He found one for the exact dates that he needed for $198.  He flew into Maryland on a Wednesday and back to Colorado early that Saturday.

He stayed with some wonderful friends of mine, met my family and passed all initial tests. :-) Before he left for Colorado, Chris asked my parents for my hand in marriage. That went well, except for the part when my mom told him, "You're NOT taking my daughter to Colorado!"

We both just grinned.  It was a whirlwind trip to say the least, but it confirmed everything we hoped it would.

Next, it was my turn for a visit. I flew to Colorado for 19 days and stayed with a family from the church he was pastoring. I was a little nervous of the reaction I would get from his mostly older congregation. My worries were put to ease when a little old lady asked me how we met and I told her. Her response?  "How romantic!" I still love that lady!

The visit was further confirmation God was moving us toward marriage. Especially since we spent over 50 hours in his Ford Explorer driving to Texas and back and were still enjoying one another's company! We both thought the only thing left to do was wallpaper a room and we would know for sure. ;-)  (Time didn't allow for that, but God continued to give us confirmation in other ways, thankfully.)

I was able to meet most of his extended family and some of his lifelong friends and felt at home immediately. We even found wedding rings within our budget. I had decided I didn't want/need an engagement ring, but God graciously made a way for me to have one. We found the exact style of ring I had always loved for over 70% off, thanks to Chris' mom's keen eye.  Although I didn't "need" the ring, to this day it's a special reminder of God's faithfulness. During our trip to meet his brother and sister-in-law in Louisiana, they were so kind as to arrange for me to have the ring resized and it was all taken care of before I left for Maryland.


The only thing left was a proper proposal.  On our way back to Colorado Chris pulled the Explorer over to one of his favorite spots, came around to my side of the vehicle, opened my door and got down on one knee to propose. Was this really happening? 






Did I say the only thing left was a proper proposal?  Well, there was the minor detail that I had a month and a half to plan a wedding and pack up my life to move 3,000 miles away.  But other than that... 

We thought God's hand in our relationship couldn't get anymore evident. We were wrong. The ways He would provide in the days leading up to our "small family wedding" were equally overwhelming.


TO BE CONTINUED.....




Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Story - Part 1

"So..if you were living in Maryland and he was living in Colorado, how did you meet?" The question that inevitably comes from ANYONE and EVERYONE we meet. And the question that still, eleven years later brings a grin to our faces (and a blush to one). We could just give a one sentence answer, but we both prefer the longer version, because God's hand is woven throughout it.

So, how did a girl living in a small town in Maryland end up meeting and marrying a guy living in an even smaller town in Colorado? 


  I know, I know, could it be any cheesier?  I'm not sure the site even still exists. Eleven years ago, meeting someone on-line wasn't as common as it is today, I guess you could say we were pioneers. ;-) But, it was the avenue God chose to bring 2 people living 3,000 miles apart together.  An especially large hurdle for the female part of the equation, considering the pond of legalism she was trying to swim out of. I had placed God neatly in a box and an on-line "dating" website was certainly not one of the ways He was going to bring a potential husband into the picture.  Why did I even get on the site?  I'm not sure. Except that I had just purchased my first computer and the site was having a free trial period. It seemed harmless. And besides, my sister had just told me as I celebrated my 30th birthday a month earlier, "You know now that you're 30, you have a greater chance of getting hit by a bus than getting married, right?"  Thanks Donna.  (You have to know my relationship with my sisters to really appreciate that.)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  
Jeremiah 29:11

We both joined the site during the "free trial period" with no intention of ever paying for a membership. We both were living in small towns and joined the site just to check it out. (ok, for me maybe a little because of the bus comment) I actually emailed Chris first because HE was safe, after all he was 3,000 miles away. (or at least that's what his profile said) It was definitely not the way either of us thought we would meet our future spouse. But God's ways are not our ways and as we soon figured out, He will use whatever means He chooses to bring two people together.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways & my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9

Within just a few short days of e-mailing, chatting on-line, talking on the phone, exchanging driver license pictures and resumes (hey, I needed to know he was legit, I thought a photo id would help), we knew we needed to meet. It was obvious to me this was a man worth getting to know a little better. Especially when on the second day of even knowing I existed, he offered to call and pray with me as my mom prepared for yet another cancer related surgery. What in the world were you doing Lord? 



Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
              are the desire of our hearts.              
Isaiah 26:8



To be continued.....

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Love Song for you....

One of these days I'll have time to actually write, for now here's a little valentine's day tune for you from the One who loves you more than anyone on earth. :-)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zqYJj5ucG8

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You Are More

Love this song from Tenth Avenue North. Just wanted to share it today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtcwQwgdsA

Psalm 103:8-13
The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
      slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
 He will not constantly accuse us,
      nor remain angry forever.
 He does not punish us for all our sins;
      he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
      is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
 He has removed our sins as far from us
      as the east is from the west.
 The Lord is like a father to his children,
      tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It Depends

On Thursday of last week, I was a little caught off guard when Chris walked through the door and said, "Why is there a Depends adult diaper box on the front porch?"  After my brain processed what he said, my first thought was, "Oh no, which one of my sisters or friends sent me a very belated birthday present?" :-)


After noticing they weren't my size. ;-) and seeing the box was addressed to Hudson, I remembered we were expecting a package from Chris' dad. (He's currently helping to take care of his mom right now, which explains the box.)  Instead of dreading opening it, we couldn't wait!  One of the most precious items we've received by mail in a long time, maybe ever, was waiting inside.

Chris' mom had made Riley and Carson and their 3 cousins a special blanket. The blankets are "Aletha originals" and dearly loved by all 5. I was actually planning on making one for Hudson, so that he had one too. But praise God, Aletha had already purchased the fabric to start working on it. She just hadn't had a chance to get it started. My super thoughtful father-in-law found it and asked a lady at his church to sew it for Hudson. (All of this overwhelms me to the point of tears, of course.)  So, long story semi-short, that was what was in the box.
Chris opened it and both of us were misty eyed. It was absolutely perfect. And Hudson's reaction couldn't have been any more perfect either. "I love it!! It's so beautiful." He wrapped himself up in it immediately and called his "Pop" to thank him. I'm so thankful that she had bought the fabric, it makes it even more special that the pattern and color were what she wanted him to have. And I'm pretty sure there's a lesson in there somewhere about not putting off till tomorrow what we can do today. Meaning, I'm glad she bought the fabric. Did I already mention that?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hudson

As I was sitting at the computer, my 3 yr. old, Hudson, comes running out of the room because he is scared of something on tv. The kiddos were watching a show about DisneyWorld and I guess one of the rides they were showing was a little too scary for him. Hudson had decided that he didn't want to go there...EVER. While we don't have plans to go in the near future, we would like to go one day. So I needed to get him over THAT idea.

He sat on my lap and I talked him through the typical stuff. We wouldn't have to go near anything that was scary, mommy and daddy would be there...yada, yada, yada. He turns around to look at me with his eyes big and a huge smile and says in his raspy wittle voice, "Heeyyyy, Daddy can kick the bad guys heads off!"

Yep, told you he's our protector.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Anonymous

Still trying to figure out this blogosphere stuff.  A few of you have mentioned you tried to leave a comment, but needed an account to do so and didn't really want to create one. (Which btw I understand COMPLETELY!)

So...I think I figured out how to enable the anonymous option for comments. It was really difficult.  It involved all 2 seconds of clicking a button. :-p

If you would like to leave a comment (hint, hint) it should now give you the option of posting one without signing into an account.  Just choose anonymous under the "Comment as" section under the comment box.

I have to admit I was beginning to feel a little vulnerable after bearing my soul to the world. I guess I've learned now to comment on every blog I visit, just in case anyone else is as insecure as I am. ;-)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Learning to Stand - The Remix

This past Sunday afternoon, I took a little time and looked through some old journals. By old, I mean about 6 years ago.  I was amazed by the similar themes still running through my life today. I skimmed over quotes from bible studies, scriptures and my own thoughts and prayers about being steadfast, genuine, and loving with authenticity.

I was especially amazed as I paged through the journal, to see God's hand. Scriptures which have been coming to mind in the last few weeks, were there on pages dated 2005. I was reminded, yet again, of His faithfulness and thankful that He's not finished with me. ;-) Here are some thoughts from a verse that impacted me the most, it's I Peter 1:22:

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart."

The King James Version uses the word unfeigned, so I looked it up in my good old Strong's Concordance and I LOVED what the Greek word means:

unfeigned - dissembled (without disguising intentions or motives), not concealing one's true nature, without hypocrisy

I long for my love for my family and others to look like this, but so often...OK, most of the time, it falls so short of that mark. My love, apart from God, is full of selfish, hidden motives, insecurity and a boat load of other junk. And thankfully, that doesn't surprise my God. He knows the only way my heart will ever look like that "unfeigned" definition is by, "having my heart purified by obeying the truth". OBEYING the truth. Actually doing what it says. Not in order to be saved, but BECAUSE of the great gift God has given me in Jesus. Which brings me to another scripture that I've been chewing on lately. :-) We are studying the book of James at Community Bible Study and it's been eatin' me up. Steppin' on my toes. Gettin' after me. Makin'... well, you get the picture. The biggest culprit of my uncomfortableness is James 1:22-25:

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."

I've listened to a lot of "the word". I mean, I'm a pastor's wife for goodness sakes. I've had a front row seat hearing the word. I've looked in a mirror many times, only to go away and forget what I look like. I've read the truth about who I am "in" Jesus and experienced the freedom James talks about, only to turn around and be bombarded by who the world says I am or should be and have chosen to believe those lies, forfeiting my freedom.

The passage says "whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it - not forgetting...".  I want to look intently at God's word, because it is the only place in my life I've ever found true freedom. I want to stand still in it and live in it. That seems to be the major struggle for me, the "continues in it - not forgetting" part. So, 6 years later I'm still trusting that this true, unfeigned love is developing in my heart a little more by His grace.

I'm hoping that my heart looks a little less like my own junkyard, scarred by hurts and offenses I've held onto and a little more like God's standard of love from
I Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Thanks for reading - would love to hear your comments if you've stuck with my ramblings for the length of the post. ;-)

Where to start?

I really miss writing. Not sure that anyone misses reading what I write, but I think it will be fun to start putting some thoughts down again. My kids are always doing something or saying something that makes me laugh, shake my head or causes me to examine things a little more closely. That's what I have planned for this. Well, that, and I would like to record what God is doing in my life, personally and with my family. Especially since the writing things in an actual journal and scrapbooking pictures stuff ain't happening right now.

I'll warn you in advance, run-on sentences are my favorite, grammar sometimes falls by the wayside (especially since I'm out of practice with this writing for anyone else to read stuff), and if nothing else, I prefer to be REAL. Sometimes that's a good thing, other times well, I'm not so sure. So, if any of those things are a pet peeve for you my blog probably won't be in your top 10. :-)  But if you can overlook my imperfections or better yet don't mind staring them straight on, please come along for the ride!