Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Blessings

Jude Martin - March 30, 2011

Yesterday my cousin had her second baby boy. Collin and I were fortunate enough to be able to go visit them in the hospital during our lunch breaks yesterday. I held sweet little Jude pretty much the whole time we were there. He is absolutely precious and so tiny! He must have been dreaming while I was holding him because his little eyelids kept fluttering and he would make these cute little faces. I can't wait to watch this newest addition to our family grow up. He is such a little blessing and a wonderful little miracle. I'm so happy for Morgan and Ed and Jude's big brother Henry! Holding and seeing baby Jude almost makes me want my own baby. Almost. Not right now though. In a few years we'll have our own pecious little bundle of joy!


The picture above was not taken by me. I unfortunately didn't get to take any pictures during our short visit. I took this from Morgan's facebook page.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

This is such a beautiful song. I'm so glad it's being played at our Good Friday drama this year. It's one of my favorite songs to play and sing. The words are simply pure worship.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ponderings From a Funeral

*This post was actually written on July 2, 2010 before I started this blog. I wrote it because I wanted to share these words and knowing that I wanted to start a blog but it took me a while to do so. I stumbled across it yesterday on my computer and really wanted to share it today.*

I went to a funeral today for a very dear gentleman. I’ve known this man since I was about 4 years old or so. I didn’t know him real well, but because we went to church together I had many encounters with this man growing up. He was one of those older men that always had a smile on his face. It was the sweetest smile and he gave hugs that gave him this grandfatherly quality. He will definitely be missed by his family, church family, and friends. I know I’ll miss seeing his smiling face.

One thing that struck me at the funeral today though was the message the pastor was giving; also someone who is a very dear gentleman. He was my pastor for the first 14 years of my life before he retired and moved to the Eastern Shore. He knew the man well who recently passed and so he was asked to come back and deliver the message at the funeral. Being only 14 when Rev. Kirkley left, I never fully grasped his sermons regardless of how good they were. He made an impact on my life as a friend and I’m sure as a pastor in some ways, but in many I was not spiritually ready for the guidance he gave to the church. I was always told he was a great preacher and delivered a mighty fine sermon but I never understood for myself until today.

At funerals, pastors often speak of Jesus being the way to eternal life. That as long as we accept him as our Lord and Savior and strive to be like him all the days of our lives we won’t die and that’s it, rather that we’ll have eternal life with him in Heaven (John 3:16). They speak about how we’ll see our loved ones again and that they’re in a much better place. They talk about the life that was lived and the testimony and legacy the dearly departed left behind. Their sermons are about comforting the family and friends of the deceased.

The sermon that was delivered today was one of just that, hope that we’ll see our dear friend again, but it was also about so much more. Rev. Kirkley began by reading some passages from 1 Cor. 15. Paul was addressing the questions the Corinthians had about death and what becomes of us. The sermon was a reminder to all of us that this place is only temporary. This body that we’re living in is just that, a body. Who we are, what we are, is not our body. We are a spirit, made fully in the image of God. God doesn’t look like us, we look like God. This earth, this life we are living in, this body is just a stepping stone for the eternal life we’ll have in Heaven. Paul talks about sowing seeds and the plants that come from the seeds. When you plant a seed it is just a temporary body for what is inside: the plant. The seed must die for the plant to come to life. It is just like that with us. Our earthly bodies are like the seed, it must die so that we can come to life. The plant is our spirit, our eternal life in Heaven. It will grow and flourish but only because our earthly body has died.

1 Cor. 15:42-44 says, “It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”

This hit me. I have heard this time and time again; we will be raised after death to have eternal life in Heaven with God, this world is only temporary so don’t become of the world. Today I heard this message in a new and different way. I am here on earth for a purpose, I don’t know what that is yet, I may never know until my death and I meet God and look back on my earthly life to see what good I did. But I have so much to look forward to. Death is not a scary thing anymore. Sure I want to enjoy my life while I’m here and spend time with my wonderful husband, start a family, actually use my college degree/education, grow old, fulfill His purposes for my earthy body, etc, but I’m not afraid to die anymore. It just comforted me so much to know that this body I am in is not who I am. Who I am is inside of me, it is my spirit. Who I am will stay with me through eternity; I will always be a child of God. I will always be loved. I am a spirit not a body. I am currently just inside this seed waiting to die so that the plant inside (me!) can come to life. The life that is to come will be wonderful, so very wonderful and I, for one, can’t wait for my real life to begin!

I will never look at a seed the same way again. Thank you Reverend Kirkley.


Monday, March 28, 2011

I Can't Believe it Snowed!

We went to bed on Saturday night knowing that there was an 80% chance of snow over night. I didn't want to believe it and I hoped that when I woke up on Sunday that it would be sunny, warm and there'd be no snow on the ground. However, I woke up and even with the curtain closed in our bedroom I could tell it was snowing. I looked outside and sure enough the snowflakes were falling ever so lightly from the sky. I was quite disappointed but it was SO beautiful it was really hard to be mad about it. Plus, it was only sticking to the ground and not to the roads, we could still make it to church!

I took those pictures above after we got home from church and unfortunately by then the snow had stopped, the sun was out and most of the snow was melted. I would have taken pictures before church but we were running behind so I didn't have the time. =( It was most definitely a beautiful white morning! The church service was really good. The pastor's message was great and it was just what I needed to hear that morning! Plus, playing with the band always makes me feel closer to God. And the afternoon was delightful as well. We went to lunch at a friend's new house and we celebrated the wonderful milestone of her first house with a bunch of other friends. It was so nice to spend the afternoon chatting with friends. And when we got home we took a nice, long nap that was especially needed! It was quite simply a wonderful Sunday!

How did you spend your Sunday? Did you get snow where you are at or was it nice, sunny, and warm to make me jealous? ;) It'll be warm for good soon enough in our little peninsula!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Favorites - week 12

Found here
I love that tulips are finally starting to bloom around here. The ones in our yard haven't quite opened yet but I see them wanting too. My mom sent me a text the other day though with a picture of hers just beginning to bloom. It made me very happy!

Found here
I am so thankful that I didn't put my scarves, gloves, and winter coats completely away yet. It was COLD this morning! The temperature in my car said 29 when I left for work this morning. What happened to the spring temperatures?

I love that I was able to paint my toenails yesterday. Even though it's cold outside it makes me feel a little bit rebellious to the weather. =) I only wish polish on my fingernails stayed on for more than a day. I don't wear it because it comes off so easy.

What are you favoring this Friday? Hopefully it's not as cold there as it is here, though I've heard some places got snow! WHAT!? I'm glad we didn't. Anyway... I hope you all have wonderful weekends!

Also, I'm submitting this photo into the Live Every Moment Photo Challenge for the week.

Click above to visit the blog and view some of the other entries. This week's theme is "Spring"!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Delicious Soup!

On Tuesday I mentioned that Collin was making some awesome potato soup for dinner and I thought I'd share the recipe with you all. It's so delicious and filling! We had it many times in the fall and finally made it again Tuesday!

This is a recipe he found from Jason Hill on Youtube at Chef Tips. Jason Hill has quite a few other recipes and cooking tips on his youtube channel that you can view and you can view this one as well!

Creamy Potato Cheese Soup

1 tablespoon dried basil **We did not add the basil**
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese **we used Velveeta**
6 small red potatoes, diced and reserved in cold water to prevent browning
2 diced carrots
2 diced celery stalks
1 white onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic-shallot puree (or 2 cloves garlic, crushed)
2 cups heavy cream **we used half and half**
6 cups chicken broth

Turn stock pot on medium high. Melt butter. Add celery, onion, carrots. Cook down until onions are transluscent. Add basil and garlic-shallot puree. After 3 minutes, add potatoes and stir another 3 minutes.
Vegetables cooking prior to adding potatoes
Vegetables and potatoes cooking
Carefully pour in 6 cups chicken broth. Boil for 20 minutes, then stir in a roux made from 4 tablespoons flour and 4 tablespoons butter.
After adding the chicken broth
Wait a few minutes for the soup to thicken slightly. Add cream. Whisk and simmer for 20 minutes.
After adding the roux, cream and cheese
Slowly stir in cheese and melt it down. After cheese is melted, pour into bowls and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Ready to eat!

So yes! It is really quite a yummy soup! It's like the perfect comfort food. I hope that you make it and enjoy it as much as we do! If you do make it, let me know what you think!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

This is our lettuce garden on the back porch. It's so neat to be able to go onto the porch and just pick lettuce out of the pot and eat it right away. And I love how pretty it looks, too!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There's Something Really Nice...

Found here

There's something really nice about
being able to have lunch at home with my husband
in the middle of my work day.

There's something really nice about
going outside after lunch and looking at the garden
and all the veggies growing.

There's something really nice about
knowing my husband is making his awesome
potato soup for dinner tonight.

There's something really nice about
knowing I get to snuggle on the
couch while watching Glee tonight.

There's something really nice about
a cat who loves you so much
he follows you around the house.

There's something really nice about
the temperature and bountiful sunshine outside,
even if I am inside at work most of the day.

There's something really nice about
wearing my leopard print flats and a cute purple top
with my hair nice and wavy.

There's something really nice about
all the trees and flowers
blooming and blossoming.

There's something really nice about
being happy and blessed beyond all measure.

There's something really nice about today.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Friday Favorites - week 11 (on Monday)

I was going to post this last week on Friday but I couldn't find my camera cable. I wasn't sure where I had put it during the move. I knew it was in a certain box but I didn't know where Collin put that box in our new place. BUT, he got it for me last night so here's my Friday Favorites only a few days late. =)

Friday was absolutely gorgeous. It was spring, finally! I was so excited to be able to run errands in the beautiful weather. I drove the whole time with my windows down, my music turned up loud and flip flops on my feet! I can't wait until it's like that all the time.

When I saw that in my car I squealed with glee! 83 degrees can be a little warm for my liking, especially during summer when it's excruciatingly humid here, but Friday it was not humid at all and 83 was so nice!

There are buds on the trees! I pulled up to the bank and parked next to this pretty little tree and I couldn't resist taking some pictures of it. A girl walked out of the bank and looked at me a little funny but I explained I just really love nature. =)

Was your Friday as gorgeous as mine? How is the weather where you are? Today has started out with thunderstorms. Welcome to spring, right? But at least it's going to be in the high 60's! I love spring!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

*Sorry for the picture quality. Taken on my phone*

This is my dear, sweet husband out at the park in our neighborhood flying my kite with me. It wasn't too terribly windy but he was able to get it in the air for a bit. We are such kids at heart. It was such a fun, lovely afternoon!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

There is no Smoke!

I wish we would have listened... I knew about that old adage, but I didn't think too much of it because I figured they'd been changed recently. Well, last night was miserable. Our smoke detector in our bedroom kept going off last night. This is not a quiet alarm either, it is ear-piercingly loud. And I knew there wasn't a fire because none of the ones in the rest of the house were going off and there was no smoke or anything in our bedroom. Though being jolted awake by the smoke detector did freak me out for a little bit. The first time it went off was at about 11:30 (we had gone to bed around 10), so Collin gets out of bed and goes to make it stop but it stops on its own. He gets back in bed and it starts again. So he gets back up and fiddles with it and it stops. Finally. He climbs back in bed and we fall back asleep. Then at about 4:30 this morning it goes off again. Only this time it's not stopping on its own and poor Collin was struggling to pull the thing down to take the battery out of it; poor guy was asleep and not functioning fully. He finally got it down but it's still screaming at us and he struggles to get the battery out and when he does it's finally quiet. Let me just say, that was NOT a fun night or a fun morning waking up for work. From now on I will be changing my smoke detector's batteries every time we change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Moving On Up...

That was pretty much us a few days ago. This past weekend we moved out of our first home together. It was bittersweet. We were both very ready to get out of that town home and the community that we lived in (the leasing office and maintenance left a lot to be desired) but it was still sad to leave our first place. I am so tired today. So, so tired. And quite a bit sore. Last week some MAJOR packing took place and a big thank you goes out to my mom who came over twice last week and helped us pack. We would not have been able to do it without her! She's so generous and I'm so grateful! We had moving help come over on Friday evening and we got all the big furniture and most of the boxes and stuff out of the house. There was a little bit left but Collin and I got it all out on Saturday and Sunday. It was much too late Friday evening to deal with it. We are also so very, very grateful to both of our parents and our dear friend Butch for their help. It was a mostly stress-free experience because of them! Saturday and Sunday, once everything was out of the town home, Collin and I had to do some major cleaning to make it as close to the way it was when we moved in. It took a lot of time and work but we got it done. I am so glad that it's done. Now all we have to do is unpack and find places for our stuff in our new place...

Saturday morning we were lazy, but we needed it after the LONG day on Friday, and we played with our cat and had biscuits and gravy for breakfast. We took a break from cleaning on Saturday afternoon and went to go watch our friend Kirsten (Butch's daughter)'s basketball game. It was so fun! She plays on a 3rd and 4th grade team and those kids were so cute and having so much fun! Then afterward we went out to dinner with their family and very much enjoyed their company. Then yesterday we discovered that Rita's is open again! So we took a cleaning/moving break and enjoyed some delicious Italian Ice. I had a gelati with cheesecake ice and chocolate/vanilla twist custard. SOOO yummy! And Collin had Swedish fish ice. Did you know they had that?! It tasted JUST like Swedish fish. Do you guys have Rita's where ever you may be? It's only been around here for 3 years or so. We don't go often but it's a fun treat to have.

So anyway, how was your all's weekends? It was GORGEOUS! Spring is finally here and I was so excited. Even though we were inside cleaning most of the weekend it was still nice to enjoy the weather while we were outside, and to have the windows open while cleaning! I hope spring has arrived for you, too!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

This is me singing with my friend Brandon at my best friend Amy's wedding. This was a very special moment for me. Not only was I able to be a big part in celebrating the marriage of my best friend to her high school sweetheart, I was singing "Come What May" with one of my favorite male singers from college. It was such an honor to sing that song with Brandon.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Anger Management 101

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

You know, it's something as simple as a quote that makes me think. That quote isn't really all that profound, it's actually quite simple. But it made me think about anger in a totally different way. So in a way, I guess it is a profound quote.

When I get stressed I get upset/angry really easily. And I've been really stressed lately. I'm doing better this week, this past weekend a few of our big decisions were resolved and I'm feeling better but there's still a bit of underlying stress. But last week, I hate to say it, I was not too happy most of the week. I wouldn't say I was angry all the time, but there was this underlying grumpiness that would surface at the drop of a hat. And poor Collin took the brunt of it. I've always heard it's those closest to you that you get the most upset with, and it may be true, but I hate it. I hate getting upset with Collin. Last week I started a few too many arguments thanks to being stressed. I'm not saying it should excuse my being wrong, because even when stressed I should not be taking it out on my husband, but it's just the reason it happened and I want to be honest.

I don't want to be angry, even when I am stressed. I don't want to lose out on any happiness I could be experiencing. It's so hard for me to not get heated though. I think by having little quotes around for me to see or think about when I am getting upset or already upset can help to calm me down though. Just the other day I was really upset with Collin and I looked at this picture frame we have on our end table by the couch, it has 1 Corinithians 13 written on it. For those of you who may not know, that's the love chapter in the Bible. It says:

"Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
always perseveres. Love never fails."

As I was reading it I was really frustrated and then I got to the "it is not easily angered" part and I felt my anger just disappear. I said a quick prayer and then immediately went over to Collin and apologized and gave him a hug. I love my husband and I always want to show him but I'm not doing a very good job of loving him if I'm angry at him.

I hate that I need reminders to either not get angry or to calm me down when I am. But I'm glad I have them. I hate that I have a temper and do get angered easily some days. It's honestly something I'm working on, something I'm trying to change about myself, but it's beyond hard. At least I have an understanding and loving husband, but even better than that, at least I have an understanding and loving God. Neither God nor Collin like it when I get angry but they love me and forgive me. And I am so thankful. Without God though I would never be able to change.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

I know I haven't blogged all week. And I'm sorry for that. I've got a lot going on right now though. A lot of really tough situations that don't have clear answers are hitting us all at once and it's not much fun. But don't worry, I'm still happy and enjoying the parts of my life that aren't causing us major stress. And once things get figured out and situations are decided or settled I'll share some more about those things, but I need to keep them off the blogosphere for now. I hope you understand.

Anyway, those things aren't going to keep me from blogging completely. I may only sporadically blog here and there for a little bit, but it will all depend on how I'm feeling each day. With lots on my mind it's tough to find inspiration for blogging.

I've had some fun the past few days though! Over the weekend Collin and I got to go to a concert at our church of a music ministry team. It was pretty good and we enjoyed chatting with some of the band members afterwards. We had a fun date night on Saturday evening after he got off work and we enjoyed spending some quality time together.
We LOVE Chick-Fil-A. It's actually where we had our first date of sorts. Actually, our date Saturday night was just like our first date to a tee. We met at Chick-Fil-A for lunch and went to Target and walked around. We did the same thing on Saturday, only it was dinner instead of lunch! We almost always get cookies and cream milkshakes because we love them so much and Collin gets my cherry. I don't care that I was shivering while drinking it, it was delicious!

On Sunday I experimented with my outfit a little bit and was a little concerned about how it looked until Collin told me I looked really good. Needless to say I left the outfit on and felt great the whole day! I know I'm not a fashion blogger, but I want to share some pictures of my outfit because I loved it!
So anyway, it may not be all that cutting edge for most of you but I NEVER would have worn a shirt that was long like that with a skirt until I started looking at some fashion blogs and saw that it actually looks really cute. I was proud of myself for trying something new and liking it! And maybe I will post some more fashion pictures if I'm really liking my outfit one day. Who knows. Anyway... Sunday evening we spent over at my parent's house and we had dinner and played Wii. We had a lot of fun and it was good to spend some time with my parents. We actually went over there last night for dinner as well. Lucky us! The cat in my pictures above is my baby boy, Jake. He wandered into our lives when I was just graduating from high school in '04 and he won my heart instantly. He's too attached to my dad to come live with me but he will always be my baby boy. I love that cat so much and I miss him!

So yes, I have had some fun and will continue to! But if you guys could please pray for us, we could use it. Like I said, there are a lot of things going on that are basically major life decisions and need some serious prayer. So thanks in advance!

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