Monday, August 29, 2011

Live Like You Were Dying

Sometimes the world gets the best of us. We get so easily caught up in it, believing that nothing else matters, that we are the center of the universe, and that the world is never-ending. Until that little thought in the back of our mind comes full circle, front and center: reality. And we then realize that one day, and that one day is unknown, that the world is going to come to an end. And then suddenly, our mood goes from awesome blossom to down in the blues in the matter of 10.5 seconds, when the reality of it all kicks in: there is going to be a day where we are going to be accountable for all of our actions here on earth. From the beginning of our lives to the very last and final breath we breathe. It makes me put my life, time, and energy into perspective and think "Am I using my time wisely?" and even "How am I using my time?" It almost seems like some days just slip away, they go by so fast, I can't even remember what I did during the day. My memory is only a blurred memory, when I have days like these. Is it not bad that we can't remember what we are doing during the day? I think that is bad, yet so many times that is the case. I seem to have time to do a bunch of non-sense things, yet I can't make time to read my bible, say a meaningful prayer, or advance God's kingdom somehow. Is advancing God's kingdom not the purpose/calling of our lives here on earth? Why is that not my top priority?

God calls us to live our lives like every day is our final day. To live it out so well that we would be satisfied if God were to call us home to him right now. We take advantage of the fact that we are here on earth. We want to go here, do that, see Taylor Swift in concert, wait for Mr. Right, have the perfect number of kids, go on the perfect vacation that everyone will talk about, be famous, win the lottery, all before Jesus calls us home, yet where is God in any of those things? Shouldn't our list be: Tell that one friend of ours that seems curious about religion about Jesus, share the news of the gospel with our neighbors, live out our faith and proclaim it loud and proud, to stand up for what is right in our community, and to make God the center of our lives and family? Yet so many of us (me included) cringle up, become ashamed, or get shy when God's name is spoken in an unpleasant, wrong, and deceitful manner? What lies in our hearts should be shown for everyone to see, yet so many of us store the good news in our hearts and keep it from those who desparately need it. We have good intentions, but sometimes we get naive, blind, lost, or confused. Mathew 5:13-16 says,

"“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

People are not only supposed to be able to see our good works in our lives, but see the good works in our own lives to the point that they are turned to God because of them. Isn't that powerful?!? That really convicts me. It's verses like these and previous thoughts from above that really get my mind spinning out of control, because I know they are true. I want to make this my mission and goal in life that I strive for, yet it is so hard! However, it is very important to remember that God never said following him would be easy, but it definitely is not incapable!

What inspired these thoughts was a song that I heard on the radio earlier today by Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying. The lyrics to the song are powerful, and encouraged me to think even further, in a more Godly and heavenly sense (not that the song is ungodly, it just encouraged me to think past the lyrics). Here are the lyrics to the song, or watch him perform it beautifully here (he seems to perform live so well!!).

Verse 1
He said I was in my early forties, with a lot of life before me
And one moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking bout' the options and talking bout' sweet times.
I asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end
How's it hit 'cha when you get that kind of news?
Man what did ya do?
He said

Chorus
I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin'

And he said some day I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin'

Verse 2
He said I was finally the husband, that most the time I wasn't
And I became a friend, a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden goin' fishin, wasn't such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
Well I finally read the good book, and I took a good long hard look
At what I'd do if I could do it all again
And then

Bridge
Like tomorrow was the end
And ya got eternity to think about what to do with it
What should you do with it
What can I do with it
What would I do with it

The bold part of the chorus is what really stuck out to me the most in the song. So many times I feel as if I hold forgiveness from people in the palm of my hands and offer it at my own will. However, God THANKFULLY does not treat us that way!

These are just thoughts for your brain to think about this week. Glad I started my week off in a refreshing way!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Excited Happenings

I just want to share with you all some exciting things that have happened around here lately.

1) Baxter was feeling extra adventurous and decided to play with an insect that has a stinger (probably a bee or wasp). I didn't notice until about an hour after it happened, when I was getting ready to take him on a walk and saw his face thinking, "Why do you look like a pitbull right now?" Long story short, he's ok now with a shot of whatever the vet gave him!

2) Our stuff finally arrived! Who would ever have thought that my bed would look so appealing to me?!? I was so excited to see that darn bed, you wouldn't believe (after spending half a week on the floor, a very hard floor). So excited to unpack you wouldn't believe it (I don't know if I'll ever say those words again)!

3) My friend Demi and I went to the Kitsap County Fair here in town and it was so fun! It was half-off military day, so we thoughtwe would take advantage of that (and give us something fun to do, too). We got to ride a few rides that looked pretty fun and a few others that made us pretty motion-sick. This leads to number 4,

4) Where I got to see my first country concert! Lee Brice was performing there and we got to see him for free in behind the priced seats, which was A-Ok with us. He has such good stage presence and has such an amazing voice. I only knew two songs of his, but that was just fine, his other songs were pretty funny, which made for a good laugh. It was a success! :D

5) I should be hearing my hubby's voice real soon, so I am still counting that as exciting news! :)

I hope you can think of 5 things from this past week that make you smile; I could. :)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

End of Summer/Beginning of Fall Reading List

You might remember this post at the beginning of summer when I posted about all the books I was planning on reading over the course of summer with all my spare free-time, being a graduate and all. HA! I should have known that the list was too good to be true! I mean when I was with Adam all I wanted to do was spend every possible moment with him that I could get, and who could blame me? I mean, I would rather stare at his face when I'm with him than stare at the pages on a book! So, I think you know where I'm going with this. Yup, my new revised end of Summer, beginning of Fall reading list. Here is what I finished, what I added, and what's left.

Finished:
Married to the Military, Meredith Leyva
The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard
Twilight, New Moon, and Breaking Dawn of Twilight Saga, Stephanie Meyers.

Added:
Heaven Is For Real, Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

Next up:
New Moon, Stephanie Meyers
The Sacred Romance, Brent Curtis & John Eldredge
Forgotten God, Francis Chan
Crazy Love, Francis Chan
The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen

I guess I didn't do too bad, but the next up list looks pretty big. However, with all my new hubby is deployed spare time, I have a pretty good chance at accomplishing this list. Wish me luck!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Rain Drops

Life lately has been filled with family, friends, a puppy, long-distance love, and chaos. I guess I need to unravel this chaos.

I've spent the last week and a half with family and friends in the sunny California hot weather, packing up the last bit of our stuff and trying to rush it along to our new home in Washington. I am very grateful that friends were wanting to visit, made the time to visit, and still have the same dedication as ever before. Isn't God so good that he knows the people that allow you to get through life with your head still attached and well!?! He still seems to amaze me and makes me stand in awe!

So anyways, I got to spend time with a lot of different friends; friends that I have met from different areas of my life: work, church, family friends, high school, and college. Which meant that with my work friends, we ate Thai food and watched Twilight: New Moon (ps. I'm almost done with reading the series, one more book to go!). With my college room-mate, we played with our dogs, watched a movie, and caught each other up on small details of our lives.

With my family friend, we had dinner and she got to meet Baxter.


With my church friend, I got to meet the newest addition to her family, Josiah. And boy is he cute (even cuter in person!)!



Life at this point, was looking up. However, reality is starting to kick in. The fridge is not as full as when you prepare for two. The house was livelier when there was another person to talk to. There is no chanel on T.V. that looks a tad bit entertaining (I guess that is a good thing). To top this list off, tonight I am spending the first night by myself in our new home. It's not as if I didn't know that this was going to come eventually or if when I was at my parent's house I was not aready sleeping alone in bed, but something about tonight I feel reality, uncertainty, and anxiety all the more. Although I haven't been drowning in all the despair of my reality since Adam has left, that will end right now, I just had to get that out.

Current blessings:

1) My hubby has such a great attitude about his job that makes me feel so proud of him and his service to our country! Just love him! ♥
2) Have an amazing/understanding new friend here in WA that is making this transition very pleasant!
3) I originally thought that the veggies I had planted would not last being unwatered while I was away, but came home to the surprise of them being about 2-inches tall!! Now that is a blessing! :D
4) I have Baxter to keep me company. Currently he is falling asleep over my leg. Really makes a mommy's (pet-owner's) heart skip a beat! ♥
5) Experiencing my first rainy night in WA; exciting!! :D (Although I did miss a rainbow).
6) I found a grocery store with great produce prices (this has been a silly concern of mine :)
7) I went to the gym and ate healthy meals today! A great way to get back into the grind to a healthy lifestyle!

I am learning one step-at-a-time how my personality is alllowing me to get through this long period of time away from Adam. What really helps is reading the Bible, which I am trying to make a habbit and a part of my daily routine. There are two verses that really stick out to me right now. The first one is Jeremiah 29:11, "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." And also, 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." Isn't that a pretty sweet reminder?!? I sure do think so! God knows what we can handle, knows our personality, and also knows what our future holds; don't you think He will walk us through our times of despair? Why do we so often forget about this important detail. When we forget about this, we are missing out and are choosing to believe the devil's lies. I don't want to forget about God's promises to me! I am trying to remember them daily to help get me through each and every day. What are you doing to remember God's promises in your own life?

My first rainy night has me thinking of the song, "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head." I didn't realize this was a published song, until I heard this guy sing it online, B.J. Thomas (see him perform it here). Although I probably won't blast this song in my car up here in WA, I do like the lyrics to the song!

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

But there's one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me won't defeat me
It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me


Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me


Hope you all don't let a little bad weather ruin your week; I sure ain't! :D

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Heaven is For Real

Today I decided to read since I had nothing planned to do, however, I had no books with me since they are packed up and ready to go to our new house. So, I read a book both of my grandparents have been telling me is a great book: Heaven Is For Real, by Todd Burpo. Let me tell you, this is a great book and such a great read (I read it in only 3 (I had some interruptions)).

I have been a Christian since I accepted Christ into my heart since I was five, and have always believed in heaven, but this book offered us a "real" life experience, with a refreshing experience of a three year old. I have always been an analytical thinker, and have thought of believing in heaven this way: if we are eventually going to die and if we do accept Jesus into our hearts, then God says we will live there for eternity. Eternity is forever and ever and ever. If I was not to accept Jesus into my heart, then I would be living for eternity in hell. Why would I choose that option? To me, it doesn't make sense to believe any other way (this is just one basic example for me). I won't give away the whole book (because I think you should read it) but the authors son recalls things from his experience in heaven that you could only know from actually being there (since he is only three and hasn't been taught these things in Sunday school).

Do you believe heaven is for real? If you are having some doubts about it, this book is a great read for you, showing you a child-like faith. Even if you do believe, you should read this book for a refreshing approach on heaven.

Happy week all :D

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baking For My Sailor

Today has been a great day. Today was one of the only days of the week that I didn't have visits with friends during the day time, so I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and bake my Sailor his favorite cookies: Snickerdoodles. :D

Since I do not have my cook books around (they are finally on a moving truck ready to be shipped to our new home. Yes, I too am confused why they cannot just leave right after they pack up your stuff, I found this really great recipe online. Seriously, I loved the outcome of using this recipe. One thing I really liked about the recipe is that you chill the pan for 10-15 minutes instead of greasing the pan, and it worked well! (Sidenote: I did do two things different. One, I slowly mixed in the dry and wet ingredients, and two, I baked them for fifteen minutes not ten, and they came out perfect!



So after the cookies cooled off, I put them inside a gallon size bag, went to the post office, and sent them on their way to meet up with my hubby, with an encouraging note. I reminded him of Mark 12:31 "to love your neighbor as yourself," with orders to share these cookies with guys that haven't got much mail or felt much love. Hope he listens. :D

What are you doing to reach out in love to those who don't receive much love? Baking cookies is such a simple gesture, think outside the box! :D

Monday, August 15, 2011

Celebrate!!

There are many reasons to celebrate today:

1) I got a call from my Sailor today!! Although it was at 12 AM, I still remember the call and what we talked about (or do I?).

2) Our stuff is officially out of our storage unit and onto a moving truck (although that does NOT mean that it is heading up to WA today. Yes, I too am confused at those logistics. But wait, we are talking about the same military aren't we?).

3) I got some much needed shredding done today that I have post-poned for awhile (no wonder why I neglected or shall I say, ignored it!!).

4) I am spending the evening with my in-laws (that's always a reason to celebrate!).

5) I completed all of these task without complaining!!! :D

And there you have it 5 reasons that I am celebrating today. Today I chose to see things in a positive manner and NOT the negative ways that so often tempt me (even though I was waiting at my storage unit for 6 hours!!). BUT NO, I am positive today, and am glad I chose to be. YEAH FOR ME!! :D

That's why today's song is Celebratione, by Kool and the Gang, because who doesn't love this song?!? Watch it here (I LOVE how their feet are moving the whole time!! :)

Happy week everyone!! :D

Friday, August 12, 2011

An Update on Adam

Man God does work in myserious ways. I was just feeling down in my blues, waiting anxiously inside for a call, text, email, anything, when I realized I hadn't checked my email in an hour. I went to check my inbox, and to my lovely surprise, Adam had emailed me!!!!!!!!!

1) He made it to the ship safely on an aircraft, which he said was cool and scary all at the same time.

2) He is working with the bombs, which he loves doing. (At least they did not put him on a crappy job since he arrived late). They work from 0700-1900 (from 7am-7pm).

3) It's cool to see the planes take off, the whole ship rumbles.

4) They are stopping in their next port in two weeks.

5) He wants everyone to have his email address (prime way of communication) and address.

Email: adam.zickefoose@cvn7​4.navy.mil

Address:

Ao Zickefoose, Adam
Uss John C. Stennis
Box 23
AP/fpo 96615-2874

Please continue to pray for him! Thanks all! :D



Life Does Go On

A lot has happened in our lives since my last post 13 days ago. I wanted to spend every moment I possibly could with my hubby instead of being on the computer. With that said, this is a long post, since there is a lot to update on. So let's start at the beginning.

I was blessed to be able to spend 19 days with my sweet heart, which translates to spending each and every day with each other, all day long. Yes, that is a blessing when you're married to a military man! Not only was that time used to spend with each other, but with family as well. Adam really wanted to ensure that he got to see his family before he wouldn't be able to see them for awhile, so that wish was granted of course.

But in the midst of spending time with family, we also wanted to ensure that we had a couple of days of spending undivided, quality time with each other. So, Adam booked us at the Terranea Spa & Resort which resides right on the ocean, in Rancho Palos Verdes. Let me just tell you that it was so beautiful to wake up and go to sleep with the amazing view that we had. We saw whales and dolphins throughout the day! Just look at this view!





We spent two days there soaking up this view. We walked,





lounged,





ate all with this view!






How much better could life get?!? We also walked along the Redondo Beach Pier which was fun, we even saw a seal there!!






If you asked me at this point of our time together, life was perfect.





Upon our return to Adam's parents house, where we stayed, our sister in law Laura and her precious daughter Emma were in town visiting for the last few days we were in town. This was great because Adam had not met his niece since her birth almost six months ago, so it enabled him to meet her before she would be one year old. Here is a lovely picture of them and us together.




Adam and his first niece ♥




Us both with our first niece, Emma Grace.

We originally had planned on flying to Adam's new station at Bremerton, WA, but in the midst of our time we thought we should drive up there so we could have a car and not have to rely on a taxi, since we did not know how long Adam would be there before he left. So, we packed up Adam's car with things that would get us by: sleeping bags, pots & pans, silverware, crock pot, T.V. & movies, and towels & pillows, and headed to my brothers graduation (and you thought I was going to say the road).

My brother now joins our family has a college grad; congratulations bro! We went to his graduation party and left his party around 8:30pm to our family tradition of waving tissues. It felt like we were leaving our wedding reception all over again! And there you have it, we were off on the road, heading to new beginnings that await for us in Washington.





A family photo after the Graduation

Adam drove from the first leg of the trip, from La Verne to Shasta. Boy, our view of Shasta Mountain was pretty in Northern California.



Then I drove the second half of the leg, from Shasta, all the way through Oregon, on to Bremerton, WA. On Sunday we met up with Adam's Uncle Marty and his family in Pikes Place, and we had fun with each other. We hadn't seen them since the wedding and it is a great treat that they are close to us now!

We then headed out to Bremerton and stayed the first few nights in a hotel that actually ended up being down the street to our future home. To skip forward, yes, we found the place that we will be living for awhile. It is off base but still military housing. It's in a perfect location, in-between the two bases that Adam will be working at, close to all major stores, and has more storage and shelving space then one woman could ever dream of! Adam and I got quite a bit of stuff done there before we left. We cleaned, vacuumed, trimmed, and pulled weeds to get the house ready for when the rest of our stuff would be moved up there. We also made some big purchases that we had put off/had not needed in our prior apartment. The house is fully equipped with all appliances except a washer/dryer, so that was big purchase #1. Adam was too excited to wait until he got back, so he bought a 47" flat screen T.V., big purchase #2. We then had waited to buy a desk top computer until we moved, so that was big purchase #3, a Gateway desktop set. Another reason why we love our new home, is for the big patio area it has, which is perfect for the new addition to our family, BAXTER!!

Baxter is a black & white Pomeranian, Pug, Terrior mix, who is now 10 weeks old. He is lovable and a handful all in one! We got him at an adoption festival in Tacoma. We did not go to the festival thinking we would get a puppy, but it was love at first sight. So we puppy-proofed our back yard, by blocking all the holes and gaps between the wood fence and the side of the patio door. We will appreciate this work when Baxter gets more curious with his growth!





Our little family ♥






Look at his cute little dog tag just like daddy's. :)

We spent the last couple of days checking off a few items on our adventure list. We went to the space needle in Seattle, which was a fun trip.






We also explored a city about 7 miles away, Poulsbo, which is the cutest little city ever. Adam and I really enjoyed it and can't wait to go back on dates when he comes back!



If you keep asking yourself why I have stated numerous times "once Adam is gone" or "once Adam leaves" and wondering what that is all about, it is because Adam station of the USS John C. Stennis left for deployment on July 25th, and since Adam was on leave during that time, he met up with the ship this last Wednesday, August 10th. It was the hardest thing for us both to have to say "so long" to each other for an unknown (at this time) amount of time. I am thankful that I got to get a visitor's pass and see him off past security, but it still was hard. The hardest part was the last view of Adam that I have in my head: with tear-filled eyes, him saying "I love you so much" as he walked down the terminal to his plane. Man, I can't even describe my emotions, so I won't even try. I do have some things that will remind me of Adam and will help me through.


My Build-A-Bear, Sailor Adam, which says in Adam's voice when you push it's left hand, "I love you so much, Jasmine Melinda Zickefoose." This bear will definitely be getting its share of hugs!


Adam's wedding ring, which we cleaned and engraved to say: Always & Forever, A.B.Z. We got Adam a more sturdy ring that will last him the rest of our lives. ♥ I plan on either wearing his ring myself or puting on a bracelet. We'll see.

The same day Adam left, Baxter and I headed on a plane, trading the cloudy skies of Washington for the blue skies of sunny California. We are here for an unknown amount of time, as I am planning for the moving company to move the rest of our stuff. It will be nice to visit with family & friends before we head back to Washington and fully settle into our new home. If you want to hang out, just call me! :) In addition, I also did not want to be home for another reason...





MY 23rd BIRTHDAY!




Although it wasn't a very exciting day, it still would have been a drag spending it alone. I am planning on celebrating my birthday over the weekend with my family, since they all are available then, so that's why it was more of a quiet celebration. My day was filled with puppy kisses, walks, relaxation, movies, traditional requested meals for the day (coffee cake, tomato soup & grilled cheese, and home-made Sloppy Joes), card games, and reading through my old childhood Bible. The day was nothing like my 19th birthday of sky-diving, or my 20th of para-sailing, but given the circumstances, it was just an average day. I think next year is calling for some thing exciting, but we'll have to wait and see!





Me with my traditional birthday flowers that have been given to me for 23 years. A flower for every year I've been born. I hope to keep this tradition running if I ever have a daughter. ♥





And there you have it, a current update of my life in a nutshell. Please be praying for Adam and I as, given the circumstances, life is going to be hard for us both for awhile. Please be praying for his adjustment to life on the ship and to the other sailors, for his amount and/or lack of sleep that will probably await him, for doing his job well and with a good attitude, and for the ship's safety as they head out to unknown and troubled waters. Please also be praying for me as I find ways to keep busy and keep my mind distracted (which I don't think will ever fully happen). Help us both to remember that God is with us and is on our side, and promises to protect and guide those who choose to follow after Him and his ways of grace and love.

I think it's time for some new creations here soon...

Happy weekend everybody!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy

A lot has happened in a week, I can't even describe (more of that in a blog tomorrow). However, I did want to explain to the world how I am feeling. I know what lies in my future, and I am taking everything with a grain of salt, looking up to God for support, and taking things one thing at a time. I'm living life to the fullest, thinking positive, and enjoying every minute I am blessed to have Adam still here with me!

I was talking to my mom on the phone this evening, updating her on the many details that have come by, and she asked me a very simple question: "Are you happy, because you sound very happy?" And I said "Yes, I am very happy and excited about our future." And she said, "That makes me happy."

A lot of people might think that I am starting to get sad, realizing that Adam is leaving me soon for a long period of time, but it's quite the opposite. It's not that I am happy to have Adam leave, but more like I am happy that we are getting things figured out, one step at a time. Even more so, we are growing closer together in the process. I know that I am closer to him today than I was a year ago, and that makes me happy just in that single thought.

Adam and I have been talking often, asking each other, "How are you feeling about all of this." And our answers to each other have been helping me get by. It helps to know that he doesn't want to leave me; he would rather be with me, his wife, than on a ship with 4,000 other people. It makes me happy to know that he will be missing me just as much as I am missing him. It also helps to know that we both are confident and trusting of each other. We were talking over our anniversary weekend(s) and we both happened to say that we couldn't imagine our lives without each other; we feel that God created each of us, with each other in mind: we were meant for one another. For that reason alone, I am the happiest woman on the planet, for I know that I have indeed found my soulmate, and I continually have to remind myself to thank God for that!

I have mentioned before that I love the genre of oldies, so in honor of my favorite genre, the song by the Turtles, Happy Together , fits Adam and I perfectly! You can listen to the song here, but here is one verse and the chorus to the song:

I can see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life
When you're with me baby the skies'll be blue
For all my life

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice
It had to be
The only one for me is you
And you for me
So happy together

I hope that you all are finding happiness in your life, but know that you don't have to search far for happiness, you can find all the happiness in the world through the love of God.

I wish you a happy week!