Sunday, October 28, 2007

69 Days ~ Overwhelming Thanks

I thought "Overwhelming Thanks" would be appropriate just in case all of the pictures to follow don't give away how we came away from our shower last night. Our small group from church threw a couples wedding shower TEXAS-style (picnic tablecloth, Texas flag on the wall, and coordinating balloons).

Rene' made red velvet cake! She also administered the "Pre-Newlywed Game" later on in the evening (see below). I was absolutely beside myself when I went into the dining room and saw those scrumptuous, gigantic pieces of red velvet cake.

Courtney provided the punch!

Sina provided the pound cake (oh yes, and we did bring leftovers back to my apartment)!

I had no idea how many people were planning on attending the shower, but needless to say, I was quite suprised!

Dan & Eryn - THE best best man and bridesmaid EVER (she is my sanity when my other girls are hundreds of miles away)

Jay & Lynn - I was given the wonderful honor of singing in their wedding just four weeks ago.

Christina - Also a newlywed as of August 18! Christina and her husband, Ryan, graciously volunteered to take pictures during the shower as well as keeping the list of all the gifts we received.

One of Ryan's pictures in attempt to "capture" the shower decorations. Trust me, this wasn't all of them and Christina had to take the camera away from him after just a few minutes...heehee

The "Pre-Newlywed Game" - I don't remember which question this was exactly, but here are a few that were asked: "Which of your dogs is really Bob's favorite?" "Bob, in one word how would you describe her personality?" - Just so you know, his answer was "her patience" and I thought he was going to say "weird."

There were a couple of moments when I had to fight back tears - I'm so sentimental that even reading the thoughtful, sweet cards was getting to me.

Need I say more? PYREX!

I have the wonderful joy of working with Teresa. She was the first person I met there two years ago and was the very first person who trained me on the job. Her and her husband, Ryan, recently married and I have been so encouraged by how content she is and how good he is to her. We were so pleasantly surprised by their coming to the shower, that I almost cried when they left for the evening (are we starting to see the trend here with my emotions?). And for the record, Ryan is from Louisiana...a fellow Cajun and lover of bayous and crawfish.

And last but not least, the WONDERFUL hosts for the evening, Tom and Nikki. I have been encouraged by them since attending our church, and we were so excited when they offered to host the shower. The evening was so sweet and lowkey, encouraging and overwhelming. Overwhelming because things are so surreal at this point. As I was opening the gifts, each bag and the contents therein, I couldn't help but feel so deeply touched by these wonderful brothers and sisters who so gladly wanted to help get us started as a married couple. I was most moved by the prayers last night, prayers that our marriage would deepen our intimacy with Christ as we enter into and grow in unity as one. I am all the more aware today, after an evening of such love and fellowship, of just how good it is when the body of Christ joins together. I am amazed, and all the moreso knowing that we still have two months until the wedding day!

Friday, October 19, 2007

78 Days ~ Sitting Down with the Calendar

  • October 27th - Couple's Shower at church
  • November 3rd - Bridal Portraits
  • November 9th - Shower hosted by my bridesmaid here in Louisville
  • November 17th - Shower in Fort Worth hosted by my matron of honor
  • November 23rd - Fiance' moving into the townhome while I'm still in Texas
  • November 26th - Final Exam Week
  • December - Work Work Work and moving my things into the townhome
  • December 29th - Driving to back to Texas!
(And let's not forget the little matter of schoolwork due between now and the end of November)
My reaction to my calendar?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

80 Days ~ La-La Land

Day is fading, but baby, I don’t mind
‘Cause sunlight is dancing in your eyes
And time is frozen but somehow flying by
Here with your hand holding mine
It just feels right kissing on a Sunday
I’ll hold you tight as if it were the last day
With all my might, I will keep the world away
It just feels right kissing you on a Sunday
Time is racing to the sound of my heart beating
Can the dreaming escape this life
Unfair, maybe, but know that I’m not leaving
Right now, baby, life is kind
Make this moment last for a lifetime
Don’t let it slip away
Play it over and over like your favorite song
And we’ll fit forever in a day
(Bebo Norman)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

86 Days ~ Immediate Changes for Long-Term Benefits

Time flies when you're having
time flies when you have each hour of the day booked up on the
calendar...time flies when you are staring at your wedding to-do's and your
school to-do's knowing full well that one is clearly more fun than the other.
Yes, time flies. And I even forgot to mention that time flies when you have
planned your wedding immediately following the already crazy holiday season! So,
no, I haven't had writer's block this past week. If anything, I feel like I have
TOO much to write and therefore would struggle to fit it all into one or two
entries. The days feel as if they are becoming shorter and shorter, and I am
having a hard time believing that my first wedding shower is just over two weeks

I made a pretty significant
decision this past week while my fiance' was away, one that required much
thought and prayer. With things being so quiet during the break from school, it
seemed that I was provided just the right time to think through such a decision.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am somewhat of a nerd. I say that somewhat
jokingly, but in all seriousness, I have been academically-driven throughout my
years of education. While I have never been driven to achieve top honors, I have
still wanted to excel in my studies. This is still an important area,
particularly in regard to personal stewardship, but it has proven to be a vice
at times as well. While I savor most of the areas of study I have been given an
opportunity to dive into, I am at times too concerned with the status benefits.
I am that student who immediately goes to the syllabus at the start of a new
semester, marking my calendar accordingly and examining the professor's grading
scale. I am a nerd in how diligently I keep track of such things. If this seems
like a lot of background data for a decision I haven't even mentioned yet, bear
with me.

have decided to change my degree track in the Biblical Counseling program from
Master of Divinity to Master of Arts. What this means is that rather than
continuing in a program that requires upwards of 90 credit hours, I will now
only be responsible for 50 in order to graduate. Some may think I was crazy for
even pursuing the M.Div to begin with, but that would be wrong thinking and
incorrect. I began school two years ago in pursuit of the M.Div because I wanted
to take the additional requirements. After making it through an extremely
liberal school of theology in undergrad, I yearned for classes full of sound
theology, ones that savored and found inexpressible joy in the truth of the Word
of God. I am switching to the M.A. at a good time because I have absolutely no
regrets about the classes I have taken thus far that will not count toward my
new degree track. I am SO thankful I took Greek and Hebrew, even if they won't
count for credit toward the masters degree with which I will be graduating.
(Sidenote: I don't think seminary is the ultimate requirement for ministers of
the Gospel - I have known plenty who only went so far as a bachelor's degree -
but I have serious reservations about someone who desires to lead a congregation
when they have not studied at such a level.) The counseling classes are
virtually the same for both, and all of the classes I have left to take are
requirements for both tracks.

What drove me to
I did not make this decision simply because Hebrew is hard...
No, I
made this decision for myself, and not with an attitude that claims
this should
be the expectation or standard for anyone else in a similar
season of life.
Quite simply, preparation for marriage has compelled me to
re-evaluate pretty
much every aspect and priority in my life. I stepped back
this past week and
honestly asked myself if I need to pursue a Master of
Divinity. Do I need to be
pursuing such a saturated degree when the Master
of Arts is designed precisely
for the area to which I feel called. I have no
desire at this point to pursue a
Ph.D; I have no reason to do so. And I am
not going to be pastoring a church, hehe -- if I had such a desire, I am CLEARLY
at the wrong school! I desire to
enter into a biblical counseling setting
in which I can serve as an instrument
of hope which comes only from the Word
of God. The bigger picture is
characterized by my passion to encourage as a
godly wife and woman in the
church. These are not desires which require a
more prominent degree. The bigger
picture is also achieved by my decisions
in the more immediate future. I would
much rather be finished with school,
not only to be that much closer to actually
being able to counsel others,
but also to help that much more in getting my
husband through school. One of
the many ways I have been encouraged during my
time at Southern is by women
who actually work full-time and see it as the
current way in which they are
serving their husbands. That excites me so! The
Lord has provided a
wonderful season in which I get to serve my husband in such
a way that
allows him more freedom to study and prepare for the position to
which he
has clearly been

What have I learned from all of this?

  • Wisdom is not defined by an academic title or pursuit.
  • I admire women in both the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts tracks.
  • Cultivating a home of Christ-centered love and submission should not be put aside, but rather something which begins from day one.
  • I am thankful more than ever, even on the most stressful of days, for the job the Lord has provided.
  • I am beginning to see the stark contrast between the many definitions of success in our culture.
  • Preparation and focused goals are not easy, and I am incapable of achieving anything of worth in this life apart from the strengthening and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
  • I like Diet Coke with Lime.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

92 Days ~ While trying to be productive...

And no, none of of these dogs are mine! I insist on drawing the line with their Christmas collars that jingle and Nali's Barbie pink fleece jacket that has her name embroidered on the side.

Monday, October 01, 2007

96 Days ~ Witnessing and Sharing in the Joy

Those whom I have seen in the past couple of days are probably getting tired of me saying that I feel like I ran a marathon this weekend. I was so worn out from the weekend that I slept for nine hours solid last night. Nine hours is unheard of in my world. Although I was exhausted, it was well worth the time--and voice--spent. When I was first asked to sing in my dear friend's wedding, along with our praise band from church, I was in disbelief at the song list she handed over. Ten songs! Ten songs instrumental? No no, that would be ten songs she was asking me to sing during the ceremony. Whew...I knew that my pipes were about to be put to the test, and I admittedly don't have a great deal of vocal endurance. The rehearsal was shaky, partly due to feeling like I was having to remind some of those around me that we needed to perform the music as the bride requested, rather than throw in our own renditions.... If she asked specifically for me to sing something acapella at this point during the service, then we needed be willing as a team to serve the bride and groom in that way. If she requested that the key be changed in order that I sing more comfortably, then we needed to graciously agree to do so. I wasn't terribly surprised at the rehearsal being a little scattered, and thankfully the wedding party was not distracted by our practice and working out of the kinks. I was still a little nervous, though, and even moreso as I drove home and felt the tension in my throat.

However, the Lord was glorified and I was more than honored to take part in what was a true worship experience! Even though the ceremony was longer than any I have ever attended, the celebration was glorious. Each element of the ceremony was purposeful, and the transition from one thing to the next was seamless. I was particularly moved when Lynn walked down at the last verse of "Be Thou My Vision," and for a moment we caught a glimpse of that vision glorious of the Bride walking toward the Bridegroom. There were minimal tears shed on her part; instead, she was beaming in inexpressible joy throughout the hour. Our pastor gave an incredibly Christ-centered sermon, addressing first those who may not be believers and then ending with the Church and the couple particularly. The picture before me was the embodiment of Psalm 16, "at Your right hand are pleasures evermore," Ephesians 5, "as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her," the reality of the Gospel, and what better song to sing together as witnesses to this union of two than, "Then sings my soul..." It was absolutely beautiful.

I teared up early in the service as we were leading the congregation in singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness." I happened to look up during the chorus just as Lynn was looking back at me from where she was standing next to her groom. She had an indescribable expression as she sang, "All I have needed Thy hand hath provided," and I was moved to praise for how good the Lord truly is to His children. This marriage ceremony was a reminder of God's steadfast love and how that was poured out through His Son who has provided us riches and goodness measures beyond what we ever deserved. And to think that He specifically designed marriage to reflect and live out such love, grace, and sacrifice for another...

I did not think to bring a camera to the wedding (silly, yes), but here are some from a sweet sister who was also there to witness the joyous celebration. You can also see more details from the wedding on her

The handsome groom ~ The bride's pastor from her hometown who gave the opening prayer and giving away of the bride ~ Our beloved pastor who gave the sermon
"Til death do us part..."

The beautiful bride! I should not have been surprised at how carefully she thought through each detail of the reception, details fitting for anyone present. There was even a children's buffet and corner of the room piled with entertaining toys and games. And I must say, I was also quite impressed by the homemade addition she made to her gown up at the neckline!