Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Strong Enough

I've just gotten out of a rut. I mentioned in this post that it's hard knowing that I've gotten through 6 months of my love being gone--but why does it seem like 2 months is hard? I've wrestled with a bunch of questions with God. Like "Why did you choose me for this path?" "What do you want from me." And my favorite "Where are you taking me?" All of these questions I am thankful that God accepts. However, that doesn't mean that He will answer them right away, if at all. I'm just grateful that He allows me to ask these kinds of questions. Actually, He views it as me being honest and open with Him. And oh boy, have I been.

I've been trying to get back to the place I was at before, a place of being positive and accepting ofmy circumstances, but to be quite frank, anxiety, worry, and impatience have crept in and have found a place to take cover. A couple of things I have found work very hard to help get these sins out and let God be in control of my attitude, circumstances, and ultimately my life.

1. Strong Enough, Mathew West. This song is soooo{with a lot more o's than that} encouraging to me. The whole song is just awesome and speaks directly to my heart. 
You must  
You must think I'm strong 
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me  
Forgive me if I'm wrong 
But this looks like more than I can do 
On my own
I know I'm not strong enough to be  
everything that I'm supposed to be
 I give up, I'm not strong enough 
Hands of mercy won't you cover me 
Lord right now I'm asking you to be  
Strong enough, Strong enough 
For the both of us
Well, maybe  
Maybe that's the point  
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally 
Finally at rock bottom  
Well, that's when I start looking up 
And reaching out

Before I heard this song, these words are exactly what I felt. I feel like this song was written for me. I know God knows what He's doing, but more times than not I find myself asking Him, "Are you sure I am meant to go through this/do this??!!? Are you sure you have the right person for the job?" But it's only through His strength that I can do anything. Period. He's the one getting me through, definitely not me and my own strength. So all the credibility goes to Him.
2.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." Nothing beats the power of prayer, which is what I am holding on to. But what I love about this verse, is how it continues. "19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." Remembering that God is faithful is key now, and always. He is so faithful, why wouldn't He be now, all of a sudden?

3. I've been catching up in my devotional {Jesus Calling, Sarah Young}, and man it's been exactly what I've needed to hear. Here are a few personal favorites {Keep in mind that these devotionals are written as if God himself were saying them-she uses scripture to back them up, I just didn't include the scripture for each devotional-but it will be easier for you to know that before you read}:

  • "I am leading you, step by step, through your life. Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide you through this day. Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy-even precacrious. That is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future thing are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine. This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you. Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me. I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that. Relax and enjoy the journey in My presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go."
  • "You are on the right path. Listen more to Me, and less to your doubts. I am leading you along the way I desgned just for you. Therefore, it is a lonely way, humanly speaking. But I go before you as well as alongside you, so you are never alone. Do not expect anyone to understand fully My ways with you, any more that you can comprehend My dealings with others. I am revealing to you the path of life day by day, and moment by moment. As I said to my disciple Peter, so I repeat to you: follow me."
  • When something in your life or thoughts makes you anxious, come to Me and talk about it. Bring Me your prayer and petition with thanksgiving, saying "Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to trust You more." Though the lessons of trust that I send to you come wrapped in difficulties, the benefits far outweigh the cost. Well-developed trust will bring you many blessings, not the least of which is my Peace. I have promised to keep you in perfect peace to the extent that you trust in Me. The world has it backwards, teaching that peace is the result of having enough money, possessions, insurance, and security systems. My peace, however, is such an all-encompassing gift that it is independent of all circumstances. Though you lose everything else, if you gain My peace you are rich indeed."
4. My family and friend have been pretty awesome. I've been so encouraged my talking to different relatives and different friends-it's been a blessing. I can't thank you enough for the support and encouragement you each bring!! 
5. Hubby's ship is officially heading east!!! If you don't know why East is important, this is why: it's the direction of coming home!!!!! :D PLUS!! since they're in the coming home direction, they're out of 5th fleet and officially on their way to 3rd!!! WOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Just a few more weeks. Just a few more weeks. Just a few more weeks. Just a few more weeks. 

I'm on the right track, I just need to keep my eyes on Him.

I'll leave you with the music video to Strong Enough. Listen to it-you won't regret it!

 Love always!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Psalm 91:4

If I got anything done today, I'm glad that I accomplished this: I finally got the tribute wall/shelf complete, in honor of my dear Aunt Sue. I'm happy with the way it turned out; beyond happy! It's a perfect tribute, honoring a woman of faith, love, laughter, who happened to hold the title of aunt in my life. So blessed by that, and always will be.

 Today, I needed to hear/read the verse in the picture below the shelf:

Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you'll find refuge." 

That was absolutely, positively what I needed today. God is soooo good!

There is hope! We just need to take refuge in the One who is our refuge!


DIY Spice Rack

This is the Spice Rack that I finally introduced you all to on my last post. It was a project that has been on my project list for awhile now--and so glad that I got a chance to {finally} get it done!

I found the tutorial here. Yup, if you clicked the link, then you can see that the orginal instructions are in German {so glad that my 4+ years of German came in handy!!}. But friends, DON'T BE SCARED!!! if you're interested in doing this project, just follow the pictures, because they explain it clear as day--seriously!! BUT, if you are like me and like to use what you have to make things work, then you can do this project the way I did. So simple

Items needed:

  1. A shelf {I used 2 different shelves to configure this shelf: a wooden one for the shelf itself {that my husband had before we were married} and used these spunky brackets I got from Ikea 2 trips ago--which I still saw there during my last trip!! I painted the wood white to match my kitchen scheme, and BAM! Together, I think they're rad!}
  2. Jars {Now depending on how many jars you want to hang, will depend on how many jars you need. But when collecting your jars, different sizes really is the key to the whole look of this rack.}
  3. Small Nails {Again, depending on how many jars you want to go with, depends on how many nails you'll need. But when you figure out how many jars you want, times that number by 2, because you'll need 2 small nails PER jar.}
  4. Screws for your shelf brackets (mine called for 4 screws--yours might call for 2}
  5. Hammer
  6. Drill
  7. Level

1. Hang your shelf bracket, using your level and the proper amount of screws required for the shelf you use.
2. Play around with the placement of your jars, using the lids. Once you have come up with the placement you like, hammer 2 nails in PER lid. Repeat this step for each jar you use, until it's complete.
3. Fill your jars with the spices you want. 

And BAM!! Just like that, you have a spunky solution to display your spices!!

 **Side view**

**Angled view**

 **Yes, you need yet another view**

 **My beauty!!**

**If you want to actually make your own, then follow that tutorial I gave the link to. If not, this is a good solution. 

I LOVE mine and hope you LOVE yours!!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Kitchen Full of Memories

So here is the post that everyone has been waiting for, an update on our house's progress. Today is your lucky day, because I'm going to start the treacherous process of catching you all up. So just a forewarning, this will take a couple posts to do. Instead of making it one big, never-ending post, I'll break it down for you. Which will also keep you on your toes and keep you wanting more updates! {tricky me} :D So let's begin, yet again.

Before I started this post, I looked back to see where I left off in my house updates, and I was surprised at where that actually was. My first house update was soooooo long ago, and it was only showing you what I had gotten done painting-wise, when Adam's aunt Marcie came down to be my treacherous painting partner for a weekend...in October!!!!

Then, shortly after Adam's aunt left, I wrote another house update on how my Mom and my Aunt Sue came up to WA, very spontaneously, to help me out. I was/am so thankful for their tag-team effort and all the sweat and hard work they both put into our home; it was so fun to have them up here and it was such a blessing. But I have to pause right here in my tracks and really break that down and show you how much of a blessing that was for me. I couldn't carry on with the updates, and not mention what I'm about to say, so momentary pause on the house updates. 

Like I said, it was such a blessing having my Aunt Sue and my mom come up to help me with our home. I was shocked, quite frankly, that my Aunt Sue would willingly volunteer her time to come up here, but once she was here, I was glad that she came, for multiple reasons. She had a nack for house projects. She wanted to make sure that while they both were up here, that we all were getting done my agenda, and what was important to me, not what might be easier. She got the vibe that the kitchen was important to me, and we spent most of our time preparing the kitchen. I wasn't expecting at all that we paint the cabinets. I initially thought that we would just paint the walls of the kitchen and Adam and I would paint the cabinets once we remodeled the kitchen. False. My mom and Aunt put a lot of their sweat while I was at work that Friday into those cabinets. I couldn't have possibly foresaw at the beginning of their visit that we would have completed the whole kitchen. Nope, not in my wildest imagination. But we did. And quite frankly, I couldn't have gotten that done without them. Blessing #1 why I'm thankful they came. God knew I needed reinforcements to help me with our home, which why I'm so grateful that He had them in mind.

However, the reason why I am grateful the most, and am beyond blessed with their visit, is this was my last bonding time I had with my Aunt Sue, before she passed. I couldn't have imagined for one minute, that this would be my last, fondest memory that we would share together {not the last time I saw her, but good, quality time I had with her}. But God knew that I needed this, which I am so grateful for. 

My Aunt Sue suddenly passed in mid January, just before her anniversary with my Uncle, and her birthday. I still remember where I was in time, when my mom called me and told me the harsh, sudden news. I'm actually sitting exactly where I was when she told me; freaky. I still can't believe it. It still doesn't seem real. But it is, sadly. 

She was one of my favorite Aunts. Not only for the reason that her family was the closest in proximity to ours, and that we did a lot of things with her family, but because she had a great personality and view on life. She was sooo funny. And I put more than one o on so because she was just that: sooo funny! Her laugh was infectious and her jokes were just that: funny. You couldn't help but crack up along with her {if you weren't already doing so}. 

She was such a special Aunt, because she really made me feel special. She really fulfilled her role as an aunt with joy. Like I said previously, I didn't grow up with many of my aunts around, because most lived out of state, so that left her family and ours to be close. She had so many qualities that I could relate with: 

  • She was just the right amount of girlie for me. During our many trips to their cabin, we'd watch a chick flick, do facials, talk about boys, yet we still both loved to be outside in nature and go on long walks.
  • She held the spontenity, adventure, and fun I yearn for in my own life. One summer I spent 2 weeks at their house, while I did yard-work and chores to earn money for my mission trip. During that 2 week time, I think it was one of my cousin's birthdays and she took us all tee-peeing. I had never been before. I remember her telling me to go and cover a bush at the house. I went and covered it. She came over to me as I was just finishing and told me "That's not the right way, Jasmine!" I remember vividly thinking, "Is there a right way to cover a bush with toilet paper??!!?" Basically, she made me redo the bush the "proper" way. I remember thinking after this night, man she's so cool!! My mom would NEVER take me tee-peeing!! She was just that, so cool!
  • She had such a special way of being a giver. She was the best at giving gifts. I still have a lot of her gifts that she's given me over time. Example: when I turned 16, she took me out to pamper me for a day. She took me to the salon her niece worked at to get my hair done, and cut or style I wanted. Then we went to lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory and had a delicious lunch and dessert. And after lunch she took me to Clinique to get a makeover, something I had never done before: get my makeup professionally done. It was the funnest day. She really made me feel special all around.
  • One of her greatest qualities, what that she loved God with all her heart, and a passion that was deep. The greatest gift that she ever gave me, happened to be this last Christmas. While she was visiting me in November, during one of our breaks from working on the house, she was asking me what I did as a quiet time with God. I told her that I was at a place where I really wanted to get back into it, but was very inconsistent. She told me that it doesn't matter when you do it, but to find a time when you are at your best during the day. Whether it be in the morning, on your break at work, in the afternoon, or at night. The time doesn't matter, but it's the fact that you are giving God a piece of your day, when you will be at your best. At Christmas, her gift to me was a one year devotional book and a one-year Bible. I never told anyone that I wanted those things for Christmas, but somehow she knew that that's not only what I wanted, but was something that I needed, most importantly. I am so blessed by that gift.

There are so many things in my life that she has left a big imprint on, whether it be memories or tangible things. For instance,  I have the memory her trip up her, the special 16th birthday I had, but also every time I look at the kitchen, I remember her. Everytime I turn into our drive way and see our house sign that she help me paint, I think of her. Everytime I read from my devotional book or bible, I think of grateful I am to have had someone in my life that led me closer to Him. I am so thankful that she left such an outstanding impression on me. Her memorial service was so beautiful, probably the most beautiful one I have ever been to, in that you could see the outpour of love she had for God in all the stories people shared, and in the fact that people were led to Him through her. Beautiful. I yearn for a faith as she had, and am so blessed to have been a part of her life. I'm truly missing her! I'm currently working on a memorial shelf in our house for her tribute, can't wait to complete.

Anyways, sorry if you weren't expecting that, but I had to share that, being that that is where I'm at in the updating process. So in light of what she helped me with, the kitchen, I'll show you all how the kitchen is decorated thus far {it's almost complete--decoration wise}.

 **Of course I've gotten up all magnets!!**

 **Heart decor above the cabinets with a messy counter**

**Clean counter**

 **My DIY Spice rack. I'm absolutely in love with it!! 
{my next post will have this project link :D}**

**Window sill of antique bottles. Swoon**

**Updated window sill, --put rocks in one of 'em! and a glance at the Cardinal bird 
my dad drew for me as a Christmas gift!**

The kitchen is coming along, just a few more decoration projects on my list, and then it's pretty complete!! Lovin' it's look thus far!

So happy I have a kitchen full or memories!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

6 months down, 2 months to go

Last week we hit the 6 month marker. Yes, you read that right, 6 months. And yes, you got that right, I CAN'T BELIEVE I'VE BEEN AWAY FROM MY SAILOR FOR 6 WHOLE MONTHS: HALF A YEAR!!! That just does not seem possible at all. Yet it is. You'd think I'd feel better at this realization and this milestone in the whole deployment, yet sadly I am not. Although this means we only have 2 more months to go of this dreadful deployment, we still have time left on it, which is killing me and which consists of my negative view of it only being 6 months. It also makes me sad, because yet again he's missed 6 months of my life. And yes, that's a long time if you were wondering!!

It kills me, because this whole deployment I've been mrs. positve. THE WHOLE TIME! Yet now with only 2 months to go I turn negative. Pondering on this fact today, and re-reading some of my early deployment posts, I've come to the realization of what it is that has made me so negative recently: I've drifted a little further from God the last couple of weeks, and it's slowly catching up with me. I was doing really well at keeping up with my daily devotional (because I'm reading through the bible in a year) and sadly folks, I've gotten about a month behind. That's  one month of not making time for God in my day. Yes, I may still be talking with Him at points in my day, and praying for patience at other moments, but that's not enough. That's not all that He wants from me. It's not that He's expecting more from me, but He deserves sooo much more than I have been choosing to give him lately. My fellow 7th grade girl leader put it in perspective for me during our lifegroup on this past Thursday night. We were explaining to the girls how God wants a relationship with us, and if they knew what that actually looks like. And then she said, 

"Think about our relationship with God as a friendship. Do you want your friendship with one of your friends to be one sided, where they're just talking, and never take on the role of listening? No. None of us want that. It's the same with God. There are moments in our friendship with Him, where we need to listen to what He has for us to hear." 

This blew my mind away. I mean, I've always thought of my relationship with God in this way, but hadn't really realized that I've been having a one-way friendship with Him recently. This realization hurt to my core. I don't want a one-sided relationship at all, in any aspect of my life, yet alone my most important relationship I have. It was never my intention, but it's what was happening, ever so slowly. And this is how my negativity has been slowly creeping into my life. By drifting away from Him, I was allowing myself to fall into satan's trap that I can't make it through the rest of this deployment, instead of realizing that I have made it through this entire deployment, with GOD'S HELP AND NONE OTHER!!  

Rereading my post from the day he left, I can't believe that I was so positive on that day. You should read that post after you read this, and you'd be like, "Is this the same person?" And sadly, I'd have to {humbly} respond, "Yes it is. I promise that's me. Pinky-swear! I'm her!!" 

So with this all said and done, cheers to making it 6 months and for only having 2 more months to go!!! With God and distractions, it will go by so fast!

{ps. I know you all are wanting house updates. Check back tomorrow! :D }