Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Profound Taste of True Salvation and Love

Today at work a co-worker who "happens" to be a Christian said a simple but yet profound statement to me. She said "If we were perfect, we wouldn't need Jesus." I literally stopped what I was doing and just looked at her. "You're right I said, and I'd better remember that". How easily I beat myself up over repeating the same mistakes over and over again, when instead, I should repent and thank God for Jesus and salvation and the chance to again realize how much I need Him. Yes I'm supposed to become more Christ-like everyday, but Christ Himself said we need Him and need to remember our salvation always. So I've decided I don't want to be perfect, I just want to need Jesus more everyday. My incompetence is a cry to Him to be everything for and to me. I think that's something getting married has taught me. Never before have I seen all my imperfections in light of Christ's love. When my husband sees my outright sin and selfishness and loves and forgives me, I'm given a small taste of what it's like to be Christ's child.
Mr. Hudson told us in pre-marital counseling that we need to be a picture of God the Father and God the Son to the world. A picture of leadership and submission. Also a picture of Christ and believers in our forgiveness and love. I thought it was something we had to try so hard to do, and at times we do, but a lot of the time it's simply loving and forgiving each other as Christ has done. If my human sinful husband can forgive me, how could I ever doubt that Christ could? Nothing is new to Jesus, nothing is news to Him. He knows my prayers and my tears before a word leaves my lips or a thought enters my head, and yet, He tells me to bring them to Him. Nothing in this world can replace that. No matter how intimate and close I am to my husband, he doesn't know my thoughts and deepest aches. Only Christ can fulfill that need to be known so deeply. Andy does a good job, but only when I turn to Christ can I find complete understanding for everything.
Lately I find myself thinking about those times in Scripture when Jesus was tired. I sometimes get so tired all I want is to cry and sleep. Maybe Jesus felt that way, maybe He just wanted some peace. I think about how it must have felt to feel so alone on that Cross. Because Jesus was rejected by God and suffered and died, I can always find acceptance and love in the Father. His rejection lead to my salvation and acceptance. How Great A Salvation we really can have! I have a Father in Heaven who rejoices over me personally and knows what my heart cry is. Nothing On this Earth Can Compare. And may I never try to replace it with something else.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Confessions of a Time Addict

I’ve always been a dates and numbers person. Dates meaning dates on a calendar, not boys. Virtually any birthday I knew before I turned 16 is still cemented into my head. Along with my husband’s but that’s easy enough because he shares his birthday with one of my cousins. At sixteen I think my perpetual calendar turned off because I still don’t know 2 of my close friend’s birthdays but I can tell you people’s birthdays who I don’t even know anymore. Times, Days, and events seem to cement themselves into my head and then pop up at various times for no important reason.
For instance, I can tell you that in 2000 I was in upstate New York working at a camp from June 17-August 19. August 19 also being important because I was engaged on that day in 2005. The tenth of any month is now important because we were married on June 10, 2006. It was supposed to be June 17 originally which would have been very ironic with my cemented camp dates. There’s a date in September that I always think is my friend’s anniversary but they moved it to October.
Times are so annoying because every college class I ever took the time and day of it is pretty much there for good. Composition I was Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 8am. History of Civilization the same days only 10:30am-11:30am and 3 years later. I took Algebra at 1pm everyday for a semester...that’s not easy to forget. Phone numbers also seem to embed themselves into my head, even ones that are no longer useful.
I remember laying in bed one night as a teenager wondering what I would be doing 6 months from that date, which happened to be February 13, six months would be August 13 and ever since then I pay close attention to that date. I don’t always remember what I’ve done year to year but I stop and think about it every year. I can tell you that my birthday is 13 days away (It’s July 23rd in case you wish to send flowers). This too is significant because I was first kissed by my now husband on my birthday in 2005, that was also the first time he told me he loved me (before he kissed me). Also next year is my golden birthday, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until it’s so close. I can tell you my boss’s birthday because it’s exactly 6 months different than mine. I was corrected last week about my nephew’s birthday because I thought it was Feb. 2 but it’s actually Jan. 31 which is now stuck in my head because my brother was born on the last day of a month (May) and so was my dad (June).
Don’t be offended if I haven’t mentioned you or your birthday, because trust me, even if I don’t know the exact day, the month or season is in there somewhere. It disturbs me now when I can’t remember people’s birthdays but I console myself with the "logic" that I must have only a certain capacity to remember birthdays and I still have too many useless ones floating around my head to make room for new ones.
It took me a long time in college to get some actual use out of a day planner/date book. I tended to just memorize when assignments were due. Why I couldn’t memorize information for tests no one knows, but I could tell you when the test was 2 months in advance. The farther I got into college the more I relied on my schedule book though, maybe I had again used up my capacity.
In a related issue, I tend to be a bit of a control freak. Okay, not a bit, I tend to go overboard in the control area. I like being in control of my life, knowing what’s going to happen when and where I have to be at what time, etc... Which would explain the obsessive tendencies with dates and such. I like to be able to control what’s going on, so I just memorize where I’m supposed to be and when. Obviously this attitude isn’t in the greatest conjunction with God’s will and letting Him have complete control of my life. When I was 19-20 I guess He decided to get this thought through to me in a big way. It all started with that cute guy I now call my husband. (He actually is my husband, I don’t just call him that.) When he first showed interest in me, I flipped out, quite literally. I was flattered but after 2 weeks was sure he couldn’t be the one and he wasn’t at all like the guy I planned on marrying, etc, etc, etc... So I ended the possibility. Well within 2 months (June 11th to be exact) I realized I was not acting intelligently and He and God graciously gave me a second chance. We were married a year to that Saturday (June 10) that we tried again. I graduated college early and we got married. Talk about changing well laid plans. But I think that’s when it hit me, that my ideas and plans really aren’t always what God has for me. Since then, because of that whole experience and many reminders in most areas along the way, I’m learning to "lighten up". Stuff doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute and the world is not going to end just because plans change. It still irks me to no end when stuff changes last minute and when I can’t control an experience, such as how long the line is for the bathroom when fireworks are about to stop, I still "freak out" over stupid stuff, but now, I hear that quiet still voice (The Holy Spirit) telling me to "chill-out". And if I ignore that one there’s always my friendly Holy Spirit/conscience reminder of a husband who will speak what that voice just told me.
There are some slight disadvantages to being so schedule oriented, I tend to relapse into the total opposite direction and really enjoy my down time with feeling the need to get a thing done, which isn’t good either. I can be a huge procrastinator even though I’m constantly aware of when stuff should get done. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation. I keep putting stuff off when my mind is constantly reminding me how little time I have to do something. I put a lot of pressure for specific days and events on my husband instead of just enjoying the time we have together right now. But the biggest disadvantage is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I get so concerned about my schedule and life events that I forgot that every blessing and morsel of food and knowledge come from Him alone. Then there’s the fact that it’s not supposed to be "my schedule" or "my life" to begin with. I’m supposed to be a vessel moldable in God’s hands. It’s hard to be useful to God when interruptions happen and things don’t go according to schedule. So my exhortation to myself and to you is to be that clay in the potter’s hands. And don’t try to make yourself into a clock either.
And with that I’m off to buy a date book for my once again harried life. Don’t worry, the first thing I’ll plan on is time with my Heavenly Father asking Him to be in control of it. And maybe I’ll start writing in pencil instead of pen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My First Big Gig

As mentioned two previous posts ago, I took photo's for my friends Val & Will's wedding. I thought I would post some of the better ones for you to enjoy/critique/sigh over/and or any other purpose that you see fit. I will also be hopefully posting an update soon on this last weekend which happened to be Andy's and My first anniversary as "we" not "me" (we got married a year ago June 10) We went away for the weekend and had lots of fun. Anyway, here aresome of the photos.

Aren't they cute?
This is one of my favorites, a perfect love moment.

How's that go, Two hearts, two hands, one love? Something like that...
Elegant is the only word to describe Valerie on her wedding day.

Pretty flowers!
And of course, fancy girl shoes. :-)

I had a lot of fun doing this wedding and hopefully it will lead to more. But I don't think many others could top the joy of being apart of your close friends' wedding. I loved being there for Will and Val and sharing all their moments. Now if I could just get Val to call me...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Huge Loss

Many of you in Minnesota know about the storms that we've been having and will have. Last night in my hometown of Ray they had a huge thunderstorm. Lightening then hit my parents church (Northwoods Bible Church) The church started on fire and continued to burn to the ground. I found out this morning from my husband and mom. I feel as though someone has died. It was just a building, but it was the building where I learned to love God and to serve Him. My grandparents helped build it on my uncle's land. I was married in that church. I can't describe my grief but yet I know God is sovereign. He knew that this church would burn, and he protected all human life. He has a plan for this human tragedy. Here are a few pictures, before, during, and after.

This picture was taken almost a year ago on the day of our wedding (June 10, 2006).
Lloyd Steen took this picture of the church engulfed in flames.
These are after shots taken today.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Perfect Match

As previously mention my closest friend from College, Valerie R. became Valerie M. last weekend. I had the privilege of taking their wedding pictures which was a first for me. And yes, the wedding really only went off with only one Hitch, the marriage of Will to Val. It was a beautiful wedding and we had a good time. I worked hard and didn't get much sleep but it was super fun!

Below is Will and Vil enjoying the perks of married life. Next to that is a picture of one of Val's sister's Trisha with her husband Ethan. They were a lot of fun and we really enjoyed getting to know them.

This turkey was on the road to where we stayed for the night. I had to honk the horn to get him to move!

The following are some pictures Andy took of me taking pictures. He thought he was funny. :-P

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A New Home!

So after about 1 month in our first apartment and then moving accross the hall for 10 months to our next current apartment we decided to move again. This time a whole block and a half away. Aparently big moves are hard for us so we're gradually moving farther away. Very Gradually. Okay not really but it seems that way. Anyway, our church purchased the house next door to it last fall/winter mainly for the land so some day when they expand they own the property. This spring they asked us if we would be interested in living in the bottom floor apartment of the house and acting sort of us "property managers" of the place. We said yes and moved in 2 weeks ago today. But first we (and Nicole) did a ton of painting in the place. The people who owned it before smoked ALOT so there was a lot of work that needed to be done. Including taking down some horrendous flowery used to be white but now it's brown wallpaper which the first layer of came down in small pieces we had to peel off. Then the bottom layer came down in bigger strips, then we washed the walls, spackled the walls where it need it, primed the walls, and painted 2-3 coats of paint on the walls. And that was just the small bedroom/office and living/dining rooms. The big bedroom only had a border up and we didn't prime those walls so that was a bit easier. All in all we had 5 weeks to get it done and move. But now that we're in it's so nice to have colors we want and a much cleaner space. The kitchen has tons of cabinets which I love and there's a basement and garage for us to use which is something we haven't had. Also, one of my biggest joys was the purchase of a used washer and used dryer. So now we don't have to schedule in time to go to the laundromaut. I love that! Plus I've planted lots of flowers and we can sit outside on nice evenings. And no more using the top of the fridge and any other open spot for storage! YAY! There is an apartment upstairs that might be rented out in the future but for now, it's just us. We don't use the upstairs at all and we still have so much more room! It's soooo wonderful. So for your enjoyment we'll give you a guided tour of some of our new house.

This is our church and neighbor building. And we thought we lived close to church before! We went for a bike ride this evening so I took pictures of the house and Andy as he went pass.

These are pictures of the outside of our house from the church parking lot and the street. It's a wonderful new home for us with lots of character.

These are pictures of my back flower beds and the side of the house. The fence is all that seperates us from the church parking lot. But that's a good thing sometimes. I loved planting flowers and am enjoying them immensly. The cement patio really is nice for various things.

This is our patio/side yard/clothesline. I bought a bright yellow garden hose to water my flowers with.

Andy found a used t.v. to have in the garage. Sadly, it gets better reception than the house one. So he works on bikes and I watch the news. :-)

These ducks, specifically one of them seems to think he belongs in our yard or the neighbors. Then frequently they use them as a shortcut. This is one of the ducks in the neighbors yard.
Andy was being a handyman for me tonight. The kitchen window looks directly over to the church so he put up a shade for us so we have some amount of privacy.
Here is our kitchen with all of the wonderful cupboards that even I haven't filled yet.
This is a random picture of me in our new hallway. Andy seems to enjoy taking sudden pictures of me. I like the delete key for this purpose. :-)

Above is a view of our dining room from the living room. These pictures were taken right after we moved in so stuff was everywhere. Below is our living room wall. And yes, we did paint them different shades of green and then red. And it looks so fun and it's bright and cheery.
This is our living room from the dining area. The red wall runs all the way from the dining area into the living room then the living room is 2 shades of green and the dining room/kitchen wall is a darker green.


I just looked at my blog today and realized I hadn't posted in almost 4 months! Wow! So if there is anybody left you have my apologies and I'll try to catch you up on life rather quickly. In no random order here are several pictures from the last few months.

These 2 pictures are from sometime in March when we went to visit my parents. Jenn brought her 2 girls, Emma and Alina, over and Christi and Brent came out with Ryan and Quianna to see us. Emma and Ryan just loved the kitty cats and only tormented them a little.
This is our fully decked out Christmas tree. It was definitely full even though it was huge. We loved it though and had a lot of fun decorating it and sharing memories of ornaments as well as creating some new memories.

Sad to say but the tree had to go sometime! It was a big pain to get out of the apartment but we managed. Only about 1000 needles revolted and stayed behind with us.

Here is Sioux Falls Park at Christmas time with all the lights on and the Falls lit up. Andy agreed to smile for a picture, not that he had much choice! He's pretty cute illuminated by all those Christmas lights!

Here is Andy cutting down our Christmas tree and me holding it up. It took forever to find and it was dark outside and I was crabby but it was definitely worth all the work!

These pictures are from Christmas with my family. To the left is Andy opening his gift from my parents (Car stands for changing oil). below is a picture of my dad, nephew Alex and Grandmother. That's probably one of the last pictures I have of my dad weighing what I remember. Now he weighs at least 60-70 pounds less.

So from way back in October here are pictures from the Pillsbury visit. To the left is Valerie R. and I who is now Valerie M. but we'll get to those pictures later. Below is Val, here now cousin Anna who was my roommate once upon a time and our friend Gianni who is indeed Italian and the life of the party.
Obviously we went bowling and had a great time even if I do stink. Andy was with us but he was maning the camera.