Monday, July 30, 2012

One Year....Already??!!??

This last weekend is one of the only weekends that Adam has off that we would have to ourselves. He's taking some leave, so we'll have my birthday weekend together, and then hopefully one long weekend before he leaves, but this has been the first weekend we've had together in awhile. We spent one day of it with his family in Bellingham, and the other day by ourselves, just enjoying each others company, and the Olympics of course! It was so great just to have this time together. Time for us is gold, which is so precious, valuable, appreciated, and warmly accepted as a blessing.

We had a blast on Saturday with Adam's aunt and uncle and little cousins (slowly creeping out of that little stage) in Bellingham. They had a blast chasing Baxter around the back yard. It was fun to watch for multiple reasons, but mainly because I am happy for any way that will wear out my pup, and I know his aunt was appreciative of Baxter wearing the kids out, too. ;D So glad we all had a great time together.

 **Hello there, Seattle**

**Adam and I with Josh and Jenna, big kids!**

 **Adam and I**

On our drive up there we noticed a set of outlet stores about 20 minutes away from their house, and decided that we would peek in at the Nike store on our way home. We LOVE Nike Factory Outlets stores. They have one in Cali that Adam found great deals on for running shoes before he went into the Navy. We couldn't resist to stop. We both found some great deals, as I am into running now as well. I found a pair for $44, with 20% off that price, then with 10% military discount. It came out to a great price, let's just say that! Adam found a great pair, and I found some clearance shorts, too. So happy we stopped!

**My findings, minus the shirt**

We got a slow start to Sunday, as we had a late Saturday (which is very rare for us!). We slept in, ate brunch, and headed out to Island Lake Park, a beautiful lake just about 25 minutes away from us. We brought Baxter along with us of course, and we all took a run together. It was beautiful scenery for a run together. God's creation is so pleasant and beautiful, why not enjoy it while working out? We then came home and pretty much watched the Olympics for the rest of the day. We had a great day together! We love us some Olympics, and I can't wait to watch them every night. GO TEAM USA!!! 

Before I leave you all for the day, I do want to share something else we were both pondering about this weekend. Yesterday marked the ONE YEAR anniversary for us making the long trek from Cali to Washington, to Adam's first duty station with the Navy, more specifically, with CVN 74, the USS John C Stennis.

 **The last picture of us as Californians (said in Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice), 
right before my brothers graduation party**

We both cannot believe that it has been one full year, but it really has. It has been one year of ups and downs. Of learning to have patience with technology, as that is the only means of communication. Appreciating qualities in each other that we never would have appreciated, if there would be no separation. Of learning new ways of growing closer together, and falling more deeply in love with each other than we would have ever expected. This year has been challenging, not only for Adam, but for myself, as I faced living in a new location all on my own. God has stretched me more than I could have thought possible in this past year. But most importantly, God has been there with me and with Adam, every step of the way, and for that we are so thankful for his provision, comfort and love that He reveals to us when we are away from each other (as well as when we're together). We both cannot imagine getting through deployments without God, and God alone. He is our rock and our comforter, and is truly always there for us when we are experiencing loneliness. He is so good! 

This song by Gungor, Beautiful Things, really has been comforting to be during this last year. The lyrics remind me that I am a beautiful creation of God, but I am still a work in progress. He is still making something beautiful out of me. Isn't that so awesome?!?


All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new
You are making me new
Here is to another year of seeing how God will stretch and use us for His kingdom, here in Washington. 

Happy week all!
 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"...in sickness or in health."

These five words were not included in our own personal vows, since we both wrote our own vows to each other, but that doesn't mean that we don't hold them true to each other anyways. Believe me, we do! I don't get much opportunities to care for my Sailor husband in this way, but yesterday I was blessed to receive the opportunity to baby my man. It's something that I really love doing, although I know that he is bratty and doesn't listen to my knowledge of how much fluids to drink or what to eat. BUT with that all said and done, I am blessed that after over 1 1/2 years of not being able to care for my hubby when he's sick (basically his whole Navy career), it really made me feel honored to be able to. I know this all may sound silly to someone whose husband is around or doesn't serve in any way, but I really do mean all that I say. Although I don't like seeing him sick, I'm happy that I'm his wife and we've vowed to each other that we will take care of each other no matter the circumstances, it blesses me when I get any opportunity to do so (and there aren't that many folks!!)!! 

Our Tuesday night was very scary and very eventful (and not the good kind of events [like ER, excess vomit, etc.]), Wednesday I called off work to just make sure he got better and back up to pace. Prayers for his recovery would be much needed. He only was allowed 24 hours of SIQ (sick in quarters), so he had to go back to work today. He has the weekend off, which is good, but we're also going to be spending time together, so please pray that he feels just fine for us to be able to do some funtivities.

Happy approaching weekend all!! :D

 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Move Faster Weekend!

Ever wanted to have the weekend fly by because you had something planned on Monday? Yup, that has totally been my weekend. I didn't care what I did this weekend, as long as it went by fast. Despite feeling this way, I have gotten some stuff done on my to-do list, craft-wise. Let me share them with you. 

I have been waiting awhile to make my own modge podge to use for some fun craft projects I have found (of course on Pinterest). Today was the day. Why? Because glue was on sale at Staples for .75 cents. Can't beat that price!! So I made one batch, and bought two other glue bottles for when this batch runs out.

 Homemade Modge Podge

Ingredients: 
white school glue, water, and a jar that is two times the quantity of the glue. 

1. Squeeze the glue into a jar. 
2. Fill the now empty glue bottle with water. Seal and shake (you can put on a a fun song at this point if you choose). 
3. Squeeze the water into the jar. 
 4. Seal the jar and shake again (cue song again). 

BAM!!! You are done!! SO EASY!!! 

**I used the Modge Podge for this fun photo-canvas project in my bathroom.**

 **Old display** 

 **New display, with mostly new pictures as you can see, from Snoqualmie Falls, WA, Olympia, WA and Huntington Dog Beach, CA (all pics taken by me).m**

**New Display. The lyrics are from Josh Wilson's song, Behind the Beauty. I will add ribbon this canvas later this week, as it needs a little color touch to it (and because I hate that the thinner paper got wrinkled and it really bugs me lol Hope the ribbon will distract [me] from it ;)**

I also used some Modge Podge to finally make my cell phone a hanging charger case, from this tutorial (but instead of using fabric, I used scrapbook paper.


**Isn't it so cute??!!??**

Happy Modge Podging er'body!! :D
 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Two Years

We have been married for two years as of today. I mean, I can't believe that two years have gone by already. Get out of here! Where has two years gone? Oh, to bootcamp, A school, a deployment and underways. Fortunately, however, we got some great, sweet, precious memories and getaways in between all the bitter-sweet things. 

I did get to talk to him for a bit today after work, but here is everything I want to say to my Groom: 

To the love of my life,

 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!! 
 I love you so much and I hope you understand that I'll be by your side forever and ever, supporting you in your hopes and dreams, loving you and cherishing you each and everyday. I love you more than I did two years ago, on that hot day, outside of your parents house. I couldn't have ever imagined that I would have found such an incredible man or love someone as much as I do, before I met you. But I have you now, to forever grow old with, and to one day love on a different level than I do now. I can't wait for that! I am so glad that God brought us together, and that He chose you for me. Love you soooooooooooooooo much Adam Brent!! 

Makes me think of Song of Songs 2:16, "I am by beloved and my beloved is mine." Forever grateful for who my beloved is!!!

 **Memories from our wedding day, two years ago** 

Our wedding verse remains encouraging to us, even still two years later:

Ruth 1:18 "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."

Haven't posted a song for Music Monday in awhile, either, but will start that back up today on our anniversary, as I have a great song pertaining to our blessed union. It's by Darius Rucker, entitiled This. It goes like this (haha), but the music video is posted after the lyrics:

Got a baby girl sleeping in my bedroom
And her mama laughing in my arms
There's the sound of rain on the rooftop
And the game's about to start.

I don't really know how I got here,
But I'm sure glad that I did.
And it's crazy to think that one little thing
Could've changed all of it.


Maybe it didn't turn out like I planned
Maybe that's why I'm such, such a lucky (wo)man

(Chorus)
For every stoplight I didn't make
Every chance I did or I didn't take
All the nights I went too far
All the girls that broke my heart
All the doors that I had to close
All the things I knew but I didn't know
Thank God for all I missed
Cause it led me here to
This


Like the girl that I loved in high school
Who said she could do better
Or that college I wanted to go to
'Til I got that letter

All the fights and the tears and the heartache
I thought I'd never get through
And the moment I almost gave up
All lead me here to you

I didn't understand it way back when
But sitting here right now it all makes perfect sense

How I cried when my mama passed away
But now I've got an angel looking out for me today
So nothing's a mistake


Love those words, "Thank God for all I missed, Cause it led me here to this." Those are just perfect, perfect words. I love the "this" in my life, even though it's hard to deal with separation, God continually shows me all the ways that Adam is worth the wait. God surely does watch over each of during those hard times and trials we face. So comforting to see Him provide for us in all the ways that He does!

The rest of the day will be spent watching our wedding video, looking at out photo albums, reading cards from family and friends, and reminiscing about our precious union two years ago.

 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Crazy Love, Francis Chan

Right before my road trip back home, I finally finished Crazy Love by Francis Chan. If you couldn't tell by the last book I read of his, Forgotten God, and the review I wrote on it, I really am a big fan of him, and how God speaks through the words he writes. Crazy Love is just as good! 

Chan makes you focus on the characteristics of God. At one point he asks you to put the book down and to go read through the Gospels, so you can really see how God intends the scriptures to be, not how we interpret them to be. When we treat the scriptures this way, by not seeing them how God intends them to be, then we end up falling in the trap of serving our leftovers to God. Chan doesn't intend any of his words to cause us to question our salvation. Actually, his point is far from it. It's to make us realize the elements in our life that we may be "lukewarm" or "serving God our leftovers" or saying, "I'll live my life better later, when I'm older, but now I want to do this and live this way." That is what his intention of this book is all about. 

Here are a few passages from the book that are too good not to share and also give light to the book if you haven't read it yet (which you totally should!). 

"Most of our thoughts are centered on the money we want to make, the school we want to attend, the body we aspire to have, the spouse we want to marry, the kind of person we want to become....But the fact is that nothing should concern us more than our relationship with God; it's about eternity, and nothing compares with that. God is not someone who can be tacked on to our live." -Pg. 96

"But we need to realize that how we spend out time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all?" -Pg. 97

"The answer lies in letting Him change you...His counsel wasn't to "try harder," but rather to let Him in. As James wrote, "Come near to God and he will come near to you" (4:8). Jesus Christ didn't die only to save us from hell; He also died to save us from our bondage to sin. In John 10:10, Jesus says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." He wasn't talking about the future. He meant now, in this lifetime. The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans. Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives." -Pg. 103-104

"When we are focused on loving Christ, it doesn't mean we do less. I used to do many of the same things I do now, but I was motivated by guilt or fear of consequences. When we work for Christ out of obligation, it feels like work. But when we truly love Christ, our work is a manifestation of that love, and it feels like love. In reality, not one of us will ever be worthy. It is useless to attempt earning it; you will never feel ready. It is unknown and uncomfortable. But t here really is a God who forgives everything and loves endlessly." -Pg. 110

"Most of us use "I'm waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life" as a means of avoiding action. Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television yesterday? Or to go on your last vacation? Or exercise this morning? Probably not, but you still did it. The point isn't that vacations or exercise are wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment and priorities yet are slow to commit to serving God....Jesus said, "If you love me, you will ovey what I command" (John 14:15). Jesus did not say, "If you love me you will ovey me when you feel called or good about doing so..." If we love.. then we obey. Period. This sort of matter-of-fact obedience is part of what it means to live a life of faith." -Pg. 169

I hope you've enjoyed these passages from his book, and have found them to be motivational to your life, as they surely have been to my own.

Lots of love to you as you venture out and start this brand new week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

When Life Gives you Lemons

They say when "Life gives you lemons, make lemonade." But what if what life brings you is something like an eggplant. What is something sweet you can make from an eggplant? My purpose in this post is not for you to bring me ideas on making something sweet from eggplants. NO THANKS! That was the best analogy I could think of. And no, I don't have a bunch of eggplants that I'm trying to find ways to use. Quite the contrary. Life hasn't brought me eggplants, rather, life has brought me an unexpected deployment that will last close to 8 months. Do you get my whole analogy now?  Do you see what I mean about trying to make something sweet from something so bland or even sour? (or even worth me screaming my guts over).

Adam is currently on an underway with the Stennis, and the day they left he had heard news of what there schedule for the rest of the year would be. They would be home for the holidays, be going in an out to sea for short periods of time (manageable periods of time that is), and life would be fine and dandy. But being the Navy is "the Navy," two weeks later, on our road trip home that is, Adam calls me, tells me to pull the car over and put the phone off speaker (since it was currently my turn to drive). Fortunately, we were just pass the city of Redding and not miles away from the next exit. My mom, reluctantly took Baxter on a short walk giving us some space to talk. Adam then began to tell me that rumor had it the ship was going to in fact be given the 8 month deployment when they returned home from this underway, since things are heating up with Iran. He just wanted to prepare me for it, before I read it all over the spouse websites that I belong to for the ship. Good idea, right?!? WRONG! Way to kill my mood on our road trip. I mean, how do you keep driving, holding back tears, hearing that kind of news so suddenly, so out of the blue? Well, I did the best I could, and fortunately we had the book on tape to distract my mind, and I'm thankful that it was a good book on top of that! haha. Poor mom did the best she could to cheer me up, but what really can you do? Sure enough, the next day the rumor was confirmed, and by the day after that it was already in the papers. How does news travel so quickly???? Who knows. All I know is that all of our plans that we had begun to think and start planning for, were completely shattered. Like, seeing family for the holidays, finally putting to use all of our camping supplies we received for wedding gifts, starting a family, buying/moving into a house. All torn apart and shattered in that very moment.

I didn't take it as bad as some other wives (not saying I'm perfect by any means), but I've come to realize a few things.

  • All of the things that I just mentioned, were things that were our plans. Apparently, not all of them are currently God's plans for our lives right now, in reference to moving into a house together and starting a family. I think this is a sudden realization and wake up call for us that we need to seriously start praying for God's direction and future for our lives. I've been trying to do better about seeking God's will first, but He needs to be in the center of everything we do. What a wake up call, right?!?
  •  I came across this bible verse when I was praying for Adam the other night, through the book The Power of a Praying Wife, and was completely humbled: 
"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience," James 1:2-3. 

Assuming that God is willing us to have more patience (really, more?? ;) I need to be consistently reminding myself of this verse and applying it to this deployment, and to other trials in my life as well.
  • Something my mom told me has made a huge impact in how I am now perceiving this situation. I believe I have talked about the book StrengthsQuest before, but I will explain it again. At APU, they encourage all of their students and staff to take a test that measures your strengths. The test results give you a list of your top 5 strengths, and gives you ways to build off your strengths, and to manage your weaknesses. I was really hesitant to take the test at first, because I just didn't see the point in it. I had taken plenty of personality tests before, when I was struggling to find a major, and some of them I just didn't find useful. With a sigh, I eventually took it. I have no regrets now, as the information is very useful and beneficial, and I would highly encourage you to take it too! My top 5 strengths are: Input (I'm inquisitive and collect things and knowledge), Communication (I like explaining, describing, and writing), Developer (I see the potential in others), WOO (Winning Others Over (I find it a good challenge to meet new people)), and Positivity (generous with praise, and always looking for the positive in a situation). What my mom had told me is that God must have uniquely designed me with the strength of positivity, when He designed me, knowing that I would truly need to rely on it when situations like this one occur. That really made me stop and think, "That is so true!" What a good reminder she gave me, which doubled as being encouraging! Thanks mom!
  •   Every song on the Christian radio station I listen to, seems to be calling out my name and speaking to my heart. This song by Jamie Grace has particularly stuck out to me the most, You Lead. The chorus is beautiful and provides me hope, that God knows what lies ahead for me and us in our lives. There's no point in being sad that things aren't going according to our own plans, because God promises to watch over us when we're in His will, and that's a promise that we can rely on! The chorus to the song goes like this, but I also posted the song, too.

    You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
    Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
    You guide me tenderly.
     When you lead, I'll follow,
    Just light the way and I'll go,
    Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see.
    So lead me on, on, on and on,
    Just lead me on, on, on and on,
     
     
     
  • How can these words from my love, not just brighten my day?!?
"All I know is next year is going to be an amazing year for the both of
us. If we end up getting the house, with working together outside it and
what not, and also if we have a kid as well. aww man I can't WAIT!" (And no, I did not put the "wait" in all caps, he did!).

So, when life gives you something other than lemons, know that we've got hope in our future, through relying on the strength and the grace of God. It is by His strength, and His strength alone, that both Adam and I will get through these months ahead of us.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Family, Roadtrippin', and Inbetweens

I'm currently in the "recoup" mode from spending a week with family and roadtripping with my mom home, and getting used to my new work schedule: the morning shift. Let me explain. 

Fourth of July is family favorite holiday. There have been traditions that have run through my family since my parents were dating, which is about 34 years ago! You may be thinking, what can be so fun about this holiday? What do they do? We start off by going to the La Verne parade in the morning. We used to show up really early to reserve our spots, but now that spots are getting reserved a week in advance (I'm serious! What do people think this is, the rose parade? Why do people take things to far?), we don't feel the rush to get there as early. ha. Immediately following the parade, we have a potluck picnic at the park, with my family, grandparents, and family friends. It used to calculate to about 15-20 people, plus grandkids. But now it's more like 15 if we're lucky. After lunch we'd play games like Volleyball, baseball, or whatever else. But now that my bro and I are the only "kids" that attend, we sit around and talk with the older folk, and play games while everyone else watches. It's still fun. Then we usually head on home, and either take a swim or a nap. Yes, we need to recoup for the nights events! Then we've been going to watch the fireworks up in the mountains, where we can see the whole valleys fireworks. So awesome! Then we head to my grandparents house for homemade ice cream. Everyone brings it. So yumm! Our favorite part of course! 

Now can you see why we love this  holiday so much?

This year things ran a little differently. Everything in the day went usual, but a couple of things were different.

ADAM GOT TO JOIN US!! 

This was his first year getting to spend the whole 4th with us. We welcomed him with open arms! He just missed last years 4th heading to A school, and the years when we were dating, it didn't work out. The Stennis ported in San Diego for the 4th, so I got to spend 2 days with him. One, celebrating his and his mom's birthday, and the other for the 4th. 

**At the parade (Yes, I did get my bangs cut! Haven't since....a LONG time!!)**

**Our Cooney family (minus my aunt and uncle)**

Since he needed to be back to the ship by midnight, we had our homemade ice cream right after the picnic. Wasn't the same, but at least we got it! Then we headed down to my aunts house in Oceanside and watched the fireworks down there with them so we would be closer to the ship. Yes, it was a long, long night. We didn't get home from dropping him off until 130 AM! That's my latest night in A LONG TIME! Old me, yes I know.

During my trip down to sunny Cali, I had a few goals in mind:
1. To spend as much time with family
2. Try to get time with at least one friend (since it was a short trip, and most time was spent with family, then 2 days with Adam)
3. Go Antiquing
4. THE BEACH!!

I sure did get to check off those things from list

 **I got to have a short, but sweet lunch visit with these girlies. Love them!**

**We went down to an Antique mall in San Bernadino. No finds, but some good looks**

**Currently my favorite beach in Cali: Huntington Dog Beach**

**Baxter enjoying (somewhat) the water with my mom's dog Lucy (I really was taking a pic of the dogs and not the guy. Really!)**

**Yes, he did get on time out, and the leash went on!**

**It was also Adam's 23rd birthday, the day before we got to see him, and we were happy to spoil him with gifts and love during that time!**

Sadly, this was the end of my CALI trip. However, it was the start of a 2 day roadtrip with my mom!! Since my car was still down at my in-laws house this whole time, it was finally time to bring it back because I missed it, needed it, it was just time. 

And so it began. We headed off on our adventure at 5am bright and early, ready or not, on Saturday morning. 

What got us by was the barren scenery that Cali has to offer, the scarce scenery and this book on tape! Didn't think I would be up for a book on tape, but it really made the time pass. Highly suggest it for roadtrips!

We didn't make any fun stops in Cali, which we originally wanted to do, and take the 1 all the way up. But when we calculated the drive, it would have been over 29 hours, instead of 21, so we said HECK NO! In Oregon we made our fun stops. We drove the first day for 14 hours and stayed the night at my Great Aunt and Uncles house in Bend. It was great to see them (get it. ha). Then the next morning we left to see my mom cousin (we I had never met) in the next town, and then made our over 7 hour trek back to my home. Along we way we made 3 fun stops:

**The Tillamook Cheese Factory. We went straight pass the cheese for the ice cream, but OF COURSE had to make our way back to it. YUMMY!**

**Canon Beach, Oregon**


**Olympia, WA at sunset**

**Olympia, WA: our state Capitol**

We arrived back safely at home after 10pm, later than what we originally had planned, but the stops were worth it! My mom stayed a few extra days with me, and it was so nice to have her here! We watched a movie, went on a couple walks, cooked dinner together, and played cards. It was fun! Sad to see her go.

For all of you wondering how Bax did on our roadtrip and plane ride to Cali. Let me just say that he is an expert traveler and I should not have doubted him. I don't think I needed to drug him for the plane ride, but I felt safer doing so (don't judge). And the car ride, he was SUCH A GOOD BOY!! He held is pee well, slept, and enjoyed our company. One word: SHOCKED!!


**Snuggles with Hulk (a gift to Bax from my father in law) after a long day in the car**

Back to blogging, so I'll see ya soon. 
Happy weekend to you all!