Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friends are a Gift From God

Friends are God's gift to bless us with encouragement, advice, love, blessings, and so much more. A couple of weeks ago, I finally was able to visit with my good friend Christine. I have known her for going on 13 years. As I just calculated that in my head, I realize that it has been a long time! She started out as my a leader on a choir tour that I went on in 6th grade. I got the privilege to ride in her bus. She then became my mentor in junior high, giving me so much encouragement, advice, and always being willing to give a listening ear. I have been so thankful for her over the years! I then had the honor to be a guest book attendee at her lovely wedding, and she blessed Adam and I by being the pastor to marry us at ours. As time passed by, and her family grew in size every couple years, (and is still in the process of growing!!) it's been hard to have regular visits to catch up and chat. Three weeks ago was finally the time to change all of that. As I had babysat her eldest son, Nate, I never had the honor to meet her youngest, Taylor. It was so fun to hang out and play with her kids, have lunch with them, and to also catch up with Christine, which has been way overdue! As time will continue to fly right on by, I still hope we will be able to find time to catch up. Cannot wait for the next visit! God certainly has blessed we with a wise friend! :)

Here are some pictures of her kids:

Lover her in her glasses!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"I Do"

Six months ago today, Adam and I began our lives together with one simple phrase: "I do." Our lives have not been the same ever since. We have experienced growth as a couple in many ways: learning more about each other and falling deeper in love with each other are just two ways.

I know that this is a very "immature" milestone in comparison to other couples, but we find it significant as it begins the many milestones we wish to encounter throughout our marriage; in what we hope will be a never-ending fairy-tale ♥. We do not expect anything to be easy, but as we are both competitive, we face the challenge head-on!!

This past week I came across a quote that I have found to be especially true:

"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly." - Sam Keen

As you learn more and more about a person, especially one's spouse, you come across areas in their life that you do not understand. One may never "completely" understand, no matter how hard they may try, however, it does not mean you love them any less. Everyone has their flaws; no one is perfect, yet we try so hard to perfect every imperfection. I think this quote fits perfectly in what I have learned from God, in the last six months of our marriage. Here are some reflections back on the day that began it all, July 16, 2010.

~~After our first meet~~

~~With our wedding party~~

~~Our first of many, married kisses~~

~~The first dance~~

We pray that we will spend many years together, fall deeper and deeper in love, and learn more and more how to keep God in the center of our relationship. We welcome any and all prayers for our marriage, now and in the years to come. I cannot wait until we reach other important milestones in our marriage, but most importantly, I am so glad that my answer was "YES!!!" ♥


Thursday, January 13, 2011

God Gave me You

I came across this beautiful song while listening to 90.1, Air 1, on my drive home from school today. It's called God Gave me You, by Dave Barnes. I know I sound like a broken record, because I say this so frequently, however this song really explains to the fullest what I feel about my husband. I thank God that He blessed me with such an amazing man. So glad that He thought I deserve him!! Just wished I could have written these words on my own, but he just beat me to them. Here are the lyrics for you to enjoy.

I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm goes through
And I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

There’s more here than what were seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You’ll always be love’s great martyr
Ill be the flattered fool
and I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you, gave me you.
Gave me you.

Love you Adam!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A look back at the beginning

Two and a half years ago, I transferred from Citrus College to APU (Azusa Pacific University) to complete my college journey, by getting my bachelor's degree in Psychology. Today is my last, first day, of my very last semester here at APU!!! I cannot believe that by the end of 16 weeks I will have completed my degree!

So here we go again, starting off yet another semester. I know it's gonna be a great one, I can feel it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year Brings New Beginnings.

Thinking back on this past year, there is a lot that Adam and I have to be thankful for.

~Embarking in the beautiful gift of marriage that God offers to us. It's been (almost) 6 months already!! :D
~Hearing the amazing news of having our first niece on the way!!
~Being debt-free
~Having loving and caring families!
~Having a roof over our heads; whether it was in our first apartment or now in my in-law's house
(These are just the big ones!!)

As always, an end of a year brings about a brand new year. As each year goes by, new challenges, opportunities, and sometimes new beginnings come about. This will be the case in our lives as 2010 has ended and we welcome 2011. We both know that 2011 will bring about new challenges, potential for great opportunities, and a brand new beginning to our lives as a married couple.

We are preparing for our lives to change drastically, as the count down to Adam's basic training is just 6 weeks away! It originally felt like it would take forever to arrive, however, it is rapidly approaching.

What started as a rough journey is now becoming easier to understand. I know my life as a sailor's wife hasn't "officially" began, but I am beginning to learn that this can be a great opportunity for my life. I am trying to look at this as an optimistic, knowing that God can use this to completely revitalize, restore, and re energize my relationship with Him. In this way, I will learn how to fully rely on God and trust Him with all of my heart and nothing less. What I thought at first would be terrible, I now am realizing can be used for the greater good. I don't expect this to be an easy task, but at least I am coming to this realization now.

Not only am I seeing that it will be great for my life, but for Adam's life, too. I know that this will develop Adam into the man that God intended for him to be since birth. God has a plan for our lives, which he developed before we both were in our mothers' wombs. He already knows what this journey will entail, we just need to begin it. I can't wait to look back later in life and say, "This was exactly what I needed to experience to become who I am today. God is good!"

However, as a couple, I think it will be the hardest. This is where trusting God will be the most crucial element for succeeding within this opportunity. There will be a lot of challenges that will come about from Adam joining the Navy, but as a couple, and with both of us keeping God in the center of our lives, we can prevail. As we both will be away from each other for long periods of time, God will never, ever leave either one of us, and that is the reassurance that I need.

Big events we look forward to in 2011 are:
~The arrival of our niece
~Adam graduating from basic training in the Navy
~Finding out where our "home" base will be
~Me graduating from with honors from APU, with a bachelor's degree in Psychology

We cannot be sure what 2011 will bring, but we are trusting and relying in God. We welcome all prayers for our future!

We love you all, and wish that everyone has a healthy and loving 2011!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Reflection of Christmas, 2010

Although this was our first Christmas as a married couple, it really didn't feel like it at all because of our move. Since we were moving, I did not put up any decorations, only festive Christmas hand towels, which is not much of anything. Both Adam and I come from families who put up many decorations and enjoy this part of the holiday season. I did not get around to putting up our decorations early because school was very busy as I was finishing the semester. I hit up Target and got a few more additions to our Christmas decorations, so next year our home will be fully festive. We also decided not to start any of our own traditions until next year. So....we will experience a complete "first" Christmas together next year. We spent Christmas eve night and Christmas morning with the Zickefoose family and spent the other half of Christmas with the Cooney family. Our day was busy but we experienced much love as we love spending time with our families. Here is a picture of us on Christmas Eve, in front of the Zickefoose family tree. As Christmas came and gone, something that had me thinking during this season has been the story of Mary. The passage in Luke 1:26-38 captures Mary very well: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary was frightened at the sight of the Angel that God sent and could not fathom that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah. Even as the Angel comforted her and told her that she had found favor in God, Mary still did not understand. She questioned the Angel even further when she said in verse 34, "how can this be if I am still a virgin?" Despite all of Mary's doubts, questions, and concerns, Mary still believed. Her faith should be a reflection of what our lives should be. God might give light to things He wants us to do, and we might sit back and question Him, forgetting that we are dealing with God, the all-knowing, most powerful and mighty God; the ruler of everything. If He calls us to do something, why do we question him, instead of trusting in Him, knowing that He has a plan and a reason for everything?

Mary's faith is still inspiring to me, two thousands years later. A song on Faith Hill's Christmas album is what started me reflecting on Mary during the Christmas season. The song is entitled, A Baby Changes Everything, which beautifully captures Mary's struggle. Here are the lyrics to the song: Teenage girl, much too young Unprepared for what's to come A baby changes everything Not a ring on her hand All her dreams and all her plans A baby changes everything A baby changes everything The man she loves she's never touched How will she keep his trust? A baby changes everything A baby changes everything And she cries! Ooh, she cries Ooh, oh She has to leave, go far away Heaven knows she can't stay A baby changes everything She can feel it's coming soon There's no place, there's no room A baby changes everything A baby changes everything And she cries! And she cries! Oh, she cries Shepherds all gather 'round Up above the star shines down A baby changes everything Choir of angels sing Glory to the newborn King A baby changes everything A baby changes everything Everything, everything, everything Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

Here is a live performance of the song. Adam and I wish you all a very merry CHRISTmas!