March 22, 2012

This is Dedicated...

To the one I love...

Today we celebrate our 9 year anniversary. We are officially stepping into our 10th year of marriage. I'm taking a journey down memory lane....thinking about who we were back then.

I was the girl that got married before many of my friends. I was the girl who had a big career planned, in addition to an even bigger plan to eventually be a mommy. Funny, I never introduced those plans to each other. I was the girl that took a huge "risk" marrying him based not on our history, but on our future. Based on trust, not in my future husband, but in a God that I knew had it all under control.

We didn't have the perfect love story. Parts of it were sweet and sappy. Take our family history for example. Our grandparents regularly met each other for breakfast at the local Hardee's restaurant back in the day. Awww. So sweet. But our actual relationship? It really had not proven itself to be ...sturdy. I'd say rocky at best.

In fact, I was dating someone else when he decided he wanted to marry me. We had the young and crazy on again off again relationship. I wouldn't exactly call it a "fun" game, but it was the one we played. Back and forth. Eventually I grew weary of that game, so I moved on. Dated an old boyfriend. Ara decided to join a young singles group at a church we didn't attend. They were doing a study on courtship, and he asked if I would come too. Ha! I told him I would come, and bring a friend with me. But I was not going as his girlfriend. I was going as a friend. That lasted about 3 or 4 weeks....each week more intense than the previous one. He would walk me to my car, ask me a bunch of nonsense questions about my future plans... Then one night after the class, he told me he thought we should get married. He knew I was who he wanted for the rest of his life. Did I mention we weren't dating? I said, no way. I'm not even sure I want to date you again...I'm dating someone else. Two days later I broke off the deal with the old boyfriend, you I could sort things out in my head. And less than a month after that, I had a beautiful diamond ring on my left hand. The history.

Little did I know, that our "history" (to date) would include many more heartaches and struggles than I ever could guess we would endure. This man, that I was praying I made the right decision to trust with my the same man that has shielded my heart from so much. He has held me up when I literally couldn't stand anymore. When I thought I might die from anxiety. We've laughed together...probably an unnatural amount of laughter. No really...he's SO. FUNNY. And we've cried together. Happy tears. Sad tears. Tears of devastation... tears of disbelief. We've celebrated huge milestones. We've moved 300 miles away from the only home we've ever known. Away from all our extended family. We've battled health struggles. We've conquered debt. We've survived devastating losses. (Yep...more than one.) We've remodeled an entire house together. We've watched in awe as our oldest started Kindergarten just this year. Through all of these moments, he has been my constant.

He's gonna be thrilled to see this pic. :) Love you honey!

Going out on a limb with this man was the best thing I could've done. Even then, knowing it was a big step to jump into a relationship that was yet to show stability, I still knew he was a great guy. I had no idea he would be the man he is today. I'm so proud to call him my husband. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am that he's mine.

I love you, Ara. Thank you for being the most wonderful husband and father a girl could ever ask for. Here's to many, many more years of laughs.


March 19, 2012

Blog Following and a few pics

I just realized recently that many people, including those I do and do not know, read my blog. This is not really accurately reflected in my "followers". I started thinking about this for a while, and after a discussion with a good friend I realized something: they may not know why it is favorable to "follow" a blog. After further reflection I realized that at one point I didn't follow other blogs myself. SO. Here's a few random thoughts from me... maybe it will help clear things up.

My previous thoughts regarding why I didn't commit to "following" other blogs I read:

1.I don't really have the time for all that hassle, first of all. (This one is really silly, since it takes only minutes to sign up for blogger or some other rss feed. Even sillier considering the amount of time I actually used to sit at my computer and read these blogs...but I digress.)

2.I don't know this person that well (or in some cases I didn't know them at all!) and they might think it strange for someone like me to be reading their stuff. Awkward! That might be uncomfortable for both of us.

3.I'm doing just fine finding the blogs in my bookmark section on my browser.

I'm sure I could continue on with other reasons why many people don't "follow" publicly. But those are just the random thoughts I once had on the subject. You might think its not even important, and wonder why I may be bothering to actually create a post on the subject. Well, please allow me to shed a little light on the subject.

First, it really doesn't  take that much time to create a google/blogger account. Many people also choose to sign up via rss feed and have blogs sent directly to their email or a reader. Regardless, it is so much more convenient to scroll through the blogs that interest you and have them at your fingertips. Occasionally I'm not in the mood or don't have the time to read all of them at once ( I follow waaaay too many for that) but I can quickly see the subject lines and determine which ones I want to read immediately. I have a few favorites that I read, regardless if the subject looks catchy. Sort of my "go to" reading. A friend of mine once said that each morning when she pulls up each blog, if they haven't posted that day its like getting the voicemail of a friend you were really hoping would answer the phone. I feel the same way!
Second, let's talk about the awkward thing. While at first glance you might think it weird to publicly admit to reading a blog of someone you've never met, or someone you've met but barely know, believe me when I say its not! Don't let that assumption stop you. I speak for most bloggers I know when I say that if they are putting it out there for public access, its because they want you to read it! There are private blogs. You know, ones that you grant access to each reader individually. Still think it's weird? Think of it this way: I have the option to write in a private journal the old fashioned way and slip it between my mattress if I choose. I choose to write publicly for a purpose. That purpose has recently become very clear to me, and I will be sharing more on that in the coming weeks. For now, suffice it to say that I'm not putting this out there to keep any secrets. With that said, if you want to read my thoughts and take interest in what I have to share, then PLEASE read it! And if you are willing to let me know...even better!
Finally, whether or not you have these conflicting whirling around in your head like I did, you may not be following the blogs you read. Can I just tell you that for me, personally, it is so encouraging to know that my friends support me in what I am doing. I had someone the other day tell me that she reads my writings and it encourages her. How awesome to know I have that influence on her day! Made me want to go write another post right then. Seriously, if I didn't want to encourage (or entertain at times-haha) others then I wouldn't waste my time here. This is very therapeutic for me, true. But I could just as easily save a Word document and call it a day.
I don't say all of this to beg you to "follow" me. I mean, if that's what it takes, I will beg. Just kidding. I say all of this to encourage you to let your favorite writers and thought provokers know that they are helpful to you. Its what keeps them going...honestly. I like to know who I'm talking to, and I know many others feel the same way. Ya with me?

So now that everyone clicked "follow" on their favorite blogs, (wink wink) how about a few pictures to brighten your day, huh? They sure brighten mine.
First, some pics of my little Cowgirl and my sweet Ansley before preschool the other day: (Adalyn lives and breathes to make faces. I think being dramatic is some sort of requirement for her. )

 Here are a few pics from our banana pudding masterpiece when Baba and Pop-pop visited last weekend:

Knock-knock. Who's there? Banana...
Banana who?
Banana Ice cream head.
(this is the new thing around here...telling knock knock jokes.)

So heeeere's Adalyn:

And Ya-ya, doing a little quality assurance:

And Ansley... High five anyone?

Let's do this again soon, okay?


March 18, 2012

He Makes All Things New

I wanted to share a song with you that we sing somewhat frequently at our home church. If you click the title below, it will take you to a YouTube video as well. I believe it is written by Clay Edwards? It's absolutely beautiful:

Restoration song

You bring restoration
You bring restoration
You bring restoration
to my soul

You've taken my pain
You call me by a new name,
You've taken my shame
And in its place You give me joy

You take my mourning
turn it into dancing,
You take my weeping
turn it into laughing,
You take my mourning
turn it into dancing,
You take my sadness
turn into joy

You make all things new
You make all things new

Isn't that great? If you've never heard it, I highly recommend checking out the video. 

Part of my own "restoration" has been the commitment I made to get back to this blog. Because I believe He really does make all things new, and because of the inspiration I received during The Pearl Event, I think this is a valid place for me to share my heart. 

I'm still soaking up what I experienced during my weekend in Nashville. I've seen several people already starting to write about the weekend they had. I guess comparatively that may make me seem a little behind, but I am really pondering the details. 

In addition to that, my hubby's parents just left this morning. I arrived home last Sunday evening, with anticipation of a busy week. I was right! Monday, Tuesday, and  Wednesday had packed schedules themselves, and then his parents arrived on Thursday to spend the weekend with us. For the few of you that don't know me personally, his parents (especially his mom) keep us hopping while they are here. She LOVES to hit a few places that she doesn't have addition to spoiling my girls absolutely rotten. We typically have a good visit, but I'm usually exhausted by the time they leave. And this time is no different. (Wink wink) Anyway, all that to say that although I am slow to process my Nashville weekend, I am not avoiding the subject and plan to share very soon. And since it has prompted my thoughts toward this blog, I'm positive that it will require multiple posts to keep you all from snoozing by your computers. 

More soon....



March 6, 2012

Love Notes

Where have I found encouragement, specifically?  I believe it started with a conversation with a person I barely know. She spoke some very strong words over a situation I've been facing with my health. (Random issues that no one could explain...very frustrating.) Sounds crazy, but things slowly began to change after that discussion. Hmm...

Then it was just another Sunday morning worship service (yeah right...its never "just another") that just really resonated with me. So encouraged by the music, connecting with old songs that go waaay back. Worship leader speaking powerful and uplifting words, the ones I needed to hear Right.Then. More change....

Little rough situations worked themselves out beautifully with no effort on my part. Even in the form of random blessings bestowed upon our family, I have seen His hand. Love notes. My girls have dealt with a virus the past 2 weeks, ending up with 2 of the 3 having walking pneumonia. Could've been so much worse, and while it was tough and scary at times I have surely seen God's hand on us, protecting them and granting me grace and strength just as I needed it.

 Oh, and let me tell you about the friendships. This has been an area that I didn't even recognize as an issue until recently.Moving here was such a peaceful decision for us, which is hysterical since I have only known my hometown... But recently I have suddenly felt kind of empty, craving close friendships like I had. Missing my partner in crime that did decorating projects for hours on end with me. Wishing I had someone to come over and hang out, that didn't mind if my house was a disaster. That didn't find it necessary to put on the fake polite show and only connect on a surface level. I needed a REAL friend. I just knew as we left the church we'd come to know since we moved here that I'd be lonely.

 Wouldn't you know that God would work it out to replace those "empty" spots in my life in a more incredible way than I could've envisioned? Its like a breath of fresh air. There's so many instances that I'm sure I could attempt to list them but a. You'd be bored to tears and close this page before I got 1/4 of the way through or b. I'd never be able to list them all anyway. 

But for a few examples... I have a good friend who is incredibly shy so she can remain nameless. :) The fact that she is shy even is so funny to me...that God would line me up to befriend such a reserved person. I tend to be rather chatty (you didn't notice, I know) and I also somehow am painfully honest at times. Not qualities that shy people are usually drawn to. And I am usually so uncomfortable around someone who is soooo quiet.  Not her. Its truly a match made in heaven. Our entire families love each other. Hubby included. I am so grateful to have a friend like that in my life. Makes the day go by so much easier. On top of that I have a few new friendship buds blossoming with fellow crafters, blog junkies, "home decor girls", etc. Its just amazing the way God heard my prayer and answered so quickly to put these people in my path. Honestly if I didn't know better it would seem like it was out of the clear blue sky. But I know that He had His hand in this all the way.

Even down to continued financial provision, I'm finding my strength and hope to be restored. Amazing amazing amazing stuff.

I think I've slowly typed my way in to that "this is so long that everyone quit reading two paragraphs ago..." zone. Ha! Oh well...if anyone is still with me.... (anyone????)

Now that I am feeling a little more like myself with my health issues, and feeling encouraged by all of the evident work God is doing in these areas of my life, I'm starting a new journey. Getting back into shape. Health. Which, for me, equals counting calories, drinking more water, and becoming more active. Gonna need lots of encouragement with all of the above, ha! I know many people are constantly dieting and doing the on again/off again exercise thing, but that's not what I'm going for here. I just want to continue what I feel God has stirred in me, and do my part physically to continue to feel better. So, here's to an awesome weekend at the Pearl Event, meeting Paige and Edie and many other fabulous ladies; and catching up with an old friend, and restoration and encouragement! I'll be back soon to tell you all about my weekend. I am so excited! (Oh, and then to start on my workout routine...hold me to that!)

I'll leave you with one of my most favorite verses (it was one of my Dad's favorites too):
"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31


Thankful for:
5. The old and new friends...
6.Financial provision in multiple forms this week
7. Taking a GIANT step in our Dave Ramsey journey this week!
8. The discovery of my fitness pal app on my phone!
9. Our random visit to Passion City Church this past Sunday
10. Hubby's sacrificial support of this upcoming weekend. :)