Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future

We never really seem to end up where we think we will in life.

God has such greater plans that we know, and we make so many more mistakes than we think we will. It all evens out to mean that we can never predict how our lives will turn out.

I grew up thinking I would always live in my hometown. Nate has thought that we would move to Colorado for a long time. Neither of us thought that where we live now would be the place we would end up.

We still don't know what God has in store for us. We looked at a house in town yesterday, but Nate is also checking out some possible jobs in Colorado to see if he would still want to work out there.

I can see our lives going both ways. Do you stay with what's familiar or do you go for something new? What are pros and what are cons? What will you regret in the future? Where will you be able to serve God the best? Where will you be able to afford life?

There's a lot of questions. However, I have to say that I'm glad that God is in control. I don't how people live without believing in a heavenly father who loves them and is in control. I wouldn't be able to live without knowing that I have someone who is bigger than me, because I suck at making decisions. I need someone to guide my life and make sure that it turns into something, that I make a difference somehow.

So any prayers for our future would be appreciated, clarity to know where we're supposed to go and what we're supposed to do.

Wherever we end up though, I'm just glad that I have Nate by my side.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sermon notes

This is an interesting sermon, so I wanted to share while I'm learning.

"Again Jesus spoke to them saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'" John 8:12.

This doesn't jump out for us - it seems pretty self explanatory. However, one thing I love about our pastor is he delves beyond the surface of what we usually see. This isn't just a saying that tells us Jesus is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

John 8:20 says, "These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come."

The comment about being the light of the world should have gotten him arrested.

The Jews at this time were celebrating a feast that remembered the pillar of fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt. And Jesus was saying that he was that light; he was God and that light was back in the world.

Although those Jews realized Jesus was claiming to be God and to have been the light of the world in Moses' te as well as today.

The Old Testament and New Testament are connected, because Jesus is in both sections even though his name is not used in the Old.

"Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus who saved people out of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe." Jude 5

The Israelites had to choose to follow the pillar of fire each day, and we have to choose to follow the light of the world each day as well, "whoever follows me will not walk in darkness."

One conclusion from the pastor connected the Old and New testaments - both which are testaments of Jesus. The pastor said, "Jesus saved God's people from slavery and death in the land of Egypt. On the cross he saved us from slavery to sin and eternal death in hell."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Exceptions to no sex on the first date

I was reading FoxNews today and came across an article titled, "Four exceptions to no sex on the first date."

I almost thought it was a joke. It's not. The writer says the four exceptions are:

1. You've been friends for a while and want the same things from the relationship.
2. You don't open up easily.
3. You need to get over an ex.
4. You're on vacation.

Basically the premise she touted was, just have some fun. The only reason not to sleep with someone on the first date is because 80 percent of surveyed guys say that they don't see a serious relationship with a woman they sleep with on the first date.

I guess I was just flabbergasted that a writer would encourage people to sleep around. Perhaps it's my Christian upbringing and small-town mentality coming out now, but I have never heard someone blatantly say it's OK to sleep with someone you just started seeing.

Sex isn't just about having fun. It's a serious bond between two people, or that's the way God created it at least. It's the most intimate thing two people can do together, and it means something.

The fact that this article was published in a magazine, even an online magazine, just shows that this is the way most of society views sexual encounters. They're no big deal. It's just like going to a party or out to dinner - it's just fun.

I am scared of what God is going to do with this country, with this world. This is obviously not what he wants for us, but our darn free will has just gotten in the way as we decide we can do whatever we want.

With the world's morality going down the toilet, I'm afraid to see what it's going to look like when we hit the sewer.

Side note: I am far from perfect, God surely knows. But I just couldn't believe this article.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pass on your blessings

I believe in blessing other people, sometimes telling them about it and sometimes doing it quietly so that you don't receive the credit - even though it's human nature to want to.

My best friend is going through a rough time in her family, and it breaks my heart to see her having to deal with so much. However, it's not really something that I can help with. If I was a medical professional, maybe. But I'm not, so I can't fix the situation.

However, I want to do something. So instead, I've tried to write her letters, call her to show I'm praying for her, send her text messages and flowers to brighten her days when everything else seems so dark. I don't do it for the thanks but to make her feel supported.

The pastor at our church has taken a liking to me and Nate, and we so appreciate his interest in us. It makes us feel bad sometimes to receive from people, even when it was for our wedding. This week, we got a $50 restaurant gift card for us to have a date night with, in thanks for some work that I've done for him. It blesses me to help him out, but we appreciate that he wants to bless us back. We really enjoyed a dinner out last night.

Blessing someone doesn't take a lot of money, or any money at all. Sometimes people just need someone to give them a compliment or a smile. How can you bless someone today?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Going with my gut

Honesty is the best policy.

I've had a couple of moments lately where I've struggled with what it is to be totally honest.

First, I dropped my computer at work a couple of weeks ago. It soon went to a dreaded blue screen and wouldn't turn on. Googling the problem, it said that the "Unmountable Boot Volume" message usually is due to corrupted files. I didn't think what I'd done had anything to do with it, so I didn't tell my boss.

Then talking to Nate, he thought the drop might have cracked the hard drive, so I started to feel guilty like I was lying by omission. I didn't think I should pay for the computer, because it was already on it's way out and it was a work computer, so I wasn't sure if I needed to tell my boss or not. And I can't afford to buy a new computer if I did get in trouble.

After going back and forth and praying, I decided that I should be completely honest. I can't be faulted if I do what's right, and if my boss doesn't, then that is his problem with God.

I had also been waiting on trying to get a refund for a gift certificate I had purchased from American Express. I had called the company at least six times and gotten nowhere, talking to people who obviously weren't really named Valentine and June. I finally turned the issue over to the Better Business Bureau.

As I had contemplated the computer issue, I decided that I couldn't expect God to bless me in resolving the American Express situation if I wasn't being honest in other areas of my life.

A woman at American Express called today and resolved the issue.

I shouldn't expect God to bless me just because I think I'm doing the right thing. However, we also can't expect God to bless us when we aren't following what we think is right.

My gut isn't always right, but I've been trying to follow it more lately and really listen to what God is telling me to do, even if it's not comfortable. Even if I don't reap any rewards on Earth, pleasing God is all I can ask for.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Going for a walk

It's nice to just get out of the house sometimes.

This afternoon we had an hour and a half after I got off work and before Nate had to get ready for work. So we bundled up and went for a walk with Novie at a local park.

It was chilly and windy, but our Under Armour did its job and sealed in body heat.

We shared some conversation, laughed at Novie as she ran, listened to pelicans' wings whoosh as they flew overhead and just had a relaxing time.

It's nice to get out of the house and share some time together not in front of the TV. I really enjoyed our afternoon :) and it didn't even cost anything!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A shot at humility

On Monday, Nate and I took part in one of the local police department's youth classes.

The students were given airsoft guns, and we acted like bad guys inside an abandoned building in order for them to learn how to apprehend us. I really didn't know what I was doing, but hid and tried to shoot them before they shot me.

It was a lot of fun, although it was obvious that the kids didn't know what they were doing.

Talking to the officers that waited outside with the kids in between scenarios, they said that the kids were cocky and arrogant about their abilities. Instead of learning the tactics to take down targets and save hostages, they saw everything like a game. It was fun, but they weren't exactly learning what the police department wanted them to learn.

God puts us in a lot of scenarios where we don't really know what we're doing, but we're supposed to be humble and take those moments to learn lessons about what to do in the future. We can be loud and cocky about the abilities that we really don't have or we can be quiet and learn what God wants us to learn.

Teenagers often think that they don't have anything to learn and that adults are just harping on stuff that they already know. I remember thinking like that when I was younger, and I guess I still do every now and then.

However, everyone has difficult abilities and experiences. If someone is taking the time to teach you what they know, you should be appreciative and try to learn something new even if you don't think it's important at that moment.

Simply put, we should all be humble. None of us knows everything.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Loud life

I think that my life is too loud.

I've noticed that my prayer life has been virtually non-existent lately, and I think that is because I have something going on pretty much all the time so I don't have time to think let alone pray.

I don't really like the quiet. I think it started when I began to live alone, and I would get scared. In the quiet I would hear strange noises and would start to imagine all these terrible things, like someone stalking around the house, trying to get into the door. Even Novie is such a scaredy-cat that when the house is quiet she starts to growl and bark when she hears the smallest sound.

In order to combat the scary silence, I began to just leave the TV on all the time. My biggest prayer time growing up was when I was lying in bed, but then living alone that was when I would get most scared. I would fall asleep with the TV on and then that would take away my prayer time.

It's gradually expanded so that I have the TV or radio or Internet playing something constantly. I think I'm a little bit addicted to the TV. It has crept on me, and today in the car I realized that it has adversely affected my prayer life.

I know that I really need to set aside a time for God and to make it part of my daily life, and Nate and I need to find a time to do devotions together too. We have to schedule something in our daily lives to make sure we're doing it.

I just have to actually start actively being quiet. And that's usually the hard part.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What will I think when I look back?

I've been flipping through a lot of my wedding photos, deciding which ones to print out. Right now, I have 450 photos uploaded online and am sorting through to see which is the best of each pose.

Looking through them, it reminds me of looking at my parents wedding photos. When we look through those, we talk about how young they look, the crazy dress my mom chose, my dad's bowl cut, the weird bridesmaids dress colors. As I look at my own, it kind of makes me wonder what we will think in the future.

I chose my dress because I thought it was classically beautiful. I think the style will withstand the test of time, but will I someday wonder how I could have chosen that?

My favorite color has been teal/turquoise for years. Will I someday hate that tone?

Will I laugh at how young I look as I gaze down at the flowery bouquet I made?

How will life have changed by the time I look at these photos and this day seems forever in the past?

It just makes me wonder.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stuck on the bad

I really hate needles.

When I was little and had been in the hospital at least once a year before kindergarten, needles didn't bother me. I was used to having IVs. However, the older I've gotten, the more I've hated the little pieces of metal.

Yesterday, Nate and I had to have physicals at home to qualify for life insurance. One of the requirements was a blood sample.

That included a needle, of course.

I knew that if I dwelled on the needle that was going into my arm that I would get more and more anxious, so I just tried not to think about it. All-in-all, it wasn't bad because I didn't really think about it, although I did get a little weak when the needle went in.

I guess I've been a little bit at a loss as to what to write on here lately. However, thinking about this it kind of made me think about the bad things in life. If we dwell on the bad things or the uncomfortable situations coming up, it makes them even worse. When we expect the worst, I think the worst will happen.

However, if we have positive attitudes, it can make even an uncomfortable situation a little better.

Positivity isn't the only answer though. Really, we can't think all that positively on our own. The best way to beat anxiety is through trust in God. When we put everything in his hands, there's no need to dwell on the bad.

That's because God will work everything out for the best. It might not be comfortable here on Earth, but following God's will ensures that in the end (even if it's not in our lifetime) everything will turn out OK.

Friday, October 5, 2012

More than a wedding

It seems like a whole lot of things on TV revolve around weddings.

There's movies in which people get married. Shows on people looking for the right person to marry. Shows on women looking for the right bridal gown or bridesmaids dress. Shows on bridezillas. Shows comparing four different weddings.

These shows usually end the day of the wedding though.

And for as long as I looked forward to mine, I'm surprised to find that I'm glad it is over.

You see, when you look forward to a wedding, it's just a day. When it's over, it's like there's a contentment inside that is excitement for a whole life.

I think my favorite part might be that I have someone to share everything with. We're still getting used to saying "ours" instead of "mine." But I'm more talking about sharing life instead of things.

I like that although we're not really sure where we are going to end up, we at least know that we will have each other to share it with.

It's a simple thought, but I wanted to share that the peace and contentment I have inside is more than the excitement I had for that one, single day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insured for real life

Talk about entering the real world.

So, I've thought of myself as an adult for a few years. I rent my own place, pay my own bills, own my own car.

Today though, I think adult, married life really hit.

I ended up getting off work at 2:30 p.m. to head to the a local insurance office to talk to an agent. Our current car insurance ends on Friday, so we knew we had to renew. However, we've also talked about the need for life insurance, renters insurance and other such items. So we decided this week to just sign up for it all.

It took about two hours to talk through the variety of different insurance varieties, premiums and coverages. I can't say I went into it knowing much about insurance but the agent walked us through so we knew what we could get.

I don't know how people become insurance agents, ugh. It wasn't bad, but I can't imagine dealing with that every day!

Now, we have a folder with all of our insurance policies inside and we have a nice payment to make to them each month to prepare for the worst. I hope to never have to use the insurance but I'm glad to have protection in case something happens.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy one month, beep

A month ago today, Nate and I got married.

I have to say, marriage isn't exactly what I thought it would be.

It seems normal.

I kind of thought that when I got married life would completely change. I would feel like a different person and our relationship would be different and life would just feel odd.

Life has been beautiful over the last month, but it wasn't exactly what I was anticipating because it just seems so normal to be marrying Nate. I thought the same thing on the day of our wedding. I thought it would just be crazy that it was actually our day, but it seemed completely normal too.

I guess that's what life is like when you're meant to be. Life just fits.

It's a blessing to be able to wake up with someone and go to bed with someone - when our schedules line up that is. It's a blessing to watch TV together, eat dinner together, play with the dog together, sit and gaze at the lake together.

Life isn't always about exciting moments, like a wedding day you look forward to for years. Instead, as I have always said, it's a series of moments.

This weekend, my parents are celebrating 33 years of marriage. Yesterday, I talked to a couple that has been married for 49 years. When I think that Nate and I have been together a long time - eight years - I see that it really hasn't been that long. We have so much more to look forward.

A month in, I'm excited about the rest!

Monday, October 1, 2012

My husband is a real man

I can't believe it was three weeks ago today that we were flying back to Miami from St. Lucia. In some ways it feels a long time ago, and in some ways it seems like just a couple days ago.

Perhaps it's time though that I start talking about real life, not our escape from reality in St. Lucia.

Side note: Our trip back to the airport was in an air-conditioned bus with other resort guests, so it went much more smoothly than the trip to the resort!

Reality hit right when we got back home. We got back at almost midnight on Tuesday, and I started work the next morning. I didn't have much time to catch up as I started teaching dance on Thursday, and Nate ended up getting sick so we didn't get any packing done before we moved on Saturday. Then on Saturday, the sickness hit me and got worse as the horrible moving process just kept droning on.

I've known for a long time that I'm a sick weenie and Nate is a tough sick guy, but the moving process told me even more about it. When I woke up on Sunday morning and felt horrible, I just asked Nate if I could stay and unpack while he finished moving everything else, and he agreed.

However, he had felt sick the day before and didn't complain once when we were moving, and he even moved all the heavy stuff. He has back soreness and he moved a couch all by himself without saying a word.

I have one tough man, and I'm so thankful for the true grit in him that makes him suck it up and do over-and-beyond what his duties are.

As I watch TV shows, I think that real men are lacking as role models in the media. Most men on TV are soft, feminine and push-overs. The women are often domineering and walk all over men, who take it. It's probably a true reflection of our society, but I don't think it's right.

Men should be tough enough to take charge. They should suck it up when they have duties and promises to keep. They should be men of courage and men of their word.

I'm thankful that I have a husband who is a real man. Even when real life hits and troubles arise, I know that my man is there to take them on with me by his side.