Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[ God's Faithfullness ]

I had a regularly scheduled post for today of pretty pictures and things that I wanted to share, but I'm sorry, this story below blows my mediocre post out of the water!

After taking the dog on a walk this morning with my man, we came home to some incredible news. One of my friends, Jessica, and her husband Dan, who were our leaders for our young married's group over the past couple of years in San Diego, found out they are pregnant this morning. If you know their story, this is an absolute miracle. And not just pregnant, but with TWINS. And they are in the process of adopting a little baby from Africa that will arrive next spring! :)


A little bit about them... Dan is a firefighter, and Jessica is a fitness boot-camp instructor for brides-to-be. Jessica and I were in a women's Bible study over the past couple of years, and all of us girls watched her cry tears of pain and sorrow over not being able to conceive a baby. Her and Dan have amazing hearts and to watch your friends go through something so difficult & completely out of their control is absolutely devastating. They also went through other numerous despairing life-changing events over the last couple of years that left them questioning where God went, even though they knew that He was there all the time and hadn't left them.

Read below for their amazing story, from Jessica's Fit to Wed Blog. I have no doubt that you will be amazed by God's faithfullness & stunned like all of us are. Absolutely amazing.

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Lot of Babies on the Way :) 

from Jessica Thomas, of Fit to Wed

 God heard our cries ...and answered our prayers...and was faithful to provide... a little one inside... Miracles do Happen!       
   
  • In the spring God told me that I should stop taking all my medications, supplements, and crazy fertility diets!  God wanted me to put my hope and faith in the Lord not on these drugs or on my own efforts, so that when I got pregnant He would be Glorified. It was really hard for me, but in faith I did.  I was reluctant to let go of the last prescription drugs to start ovulation, but in faith I stopped taking it.   
  • You probably think I've completely lost my mind, but listen to this. A few month ago, I praying about how I should tell Dan when I am pregnant. He told me I should say this  "God heard our cries ...and answered our prayers...and was faithful to provide... a little one inside... Miracles do Happen!"      
    Lead me to make this shirt.  I was not pregnant, but did it in faith anyway.    
  • God has been telling me I'm pregnant since August 10th,  but every test I took came up negative.  Dan thinks I'm either crazy or pregnant.
  • Everyday in my prayer time the Lord says "I'm pregnant", even though the tests say "not pregnant" only 1 line, I went to get a blood test anyway.
  • Praise the Lord...my doctor called and said I was pregnant! I got to wear the shirt to tell Dan.  He has always wanted to be a dad :)  
  • Doctors have told me I would need infertility treatment to get pregnant, so it really is a miracle.   
Box I wrapped the results in to tell Dan 
  • Due date is April 2012   
 
Our first OB appointment  
  • On 8/18 God also said I'm having twins. Ultrasound is this morning :) Check Facebook to find out the results.   
Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support during this difficult season in our life. 
After sowing tears, there really is an abundant harvest of Joy. 
Praise the Lord!  
We are so happy that our adopted baby will have siblings close in age :)  
 
I feel great & just LOVE being pregnant :) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[ Grace ]

"Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment.  It is the love of God shown to the unlovely. It is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him."
--Jerry Bridges, "Transforming Grace"


Over the last month, I've been pulled over for two speeding tickets. Two. 

The first time around, I was doing 45 MPH in a 30 MPH zone. The second time, I was doing 75 MPH in a 60 MPH zone. Obviously, I have a thing for going exactly 15 MPH over the speed limit. For both tickets, I explained to the officer that I was a.) new to the city and not familiar with speed zones b.) had a new car and didn't know it's speeding potential, and c.) had family in law enforcement. Good job, Heather.

Backing up a little bit... I also got a speeding ticket in March. The day before my 26th birthday. I had just gone out to dinner with two girlfriends, and although the dinner was a blast, I was already feeling a bit emotional about my husband being absent for my impending birthday (he was out-of-town for work training). While driving home from dinner, I randomly decided to take an exit that routed me to one of our old apartments. I was feeling sentimental and just wanted to see it. After visiting our old stomping grounds, I sat at the light waiting to get back onto the freeway and that's when I saw a whole bunch of flashing lights behind me. So there I was, on the eve of my birthday, surrounded in my car by floating balloons and pretty pink bags of presents. Getting a ticket, presumably for my headlight that was out.

But for all three tickets, I was given a warning. 

I'm not writing this to say boast about being that chick that gets out of speeding tickets. I didn't swipe on some lip gloss and try to work the sex appeal thing to get out of it (it wouldn't have worked anyway). I didn't cry so hysterically that the officer felt bad. I didn't make up a story about needing to go to the ER or something.

I just was just simply shown grace. 

Ironically enough, after the second incident this month (from the picture above), I was on my way to church. Guess what the sermon was about? God's grace, of course. 

I think God has been trying to teach me something this month. It's important for me to learn to obey the speed limit in my new town. The rules are there for my safety and for the safety of others. Both the officer, and God, showed grace to me by letting me go with a warning instead of a fine.

As I drove home from church, I thought a lot about God's grace and the compassion that He has shown me in my life, despite inward and outward rebellion. I thought about how God could have fined me with eternal damnation and a lifetime of hell. But instead, He chose to give me grace, salvation, and the promise of a beautiful lifetime in heaven with Him. God gave me not only a warning ticket, but a ticket to forever with Him. Knowing His grace for me-- despite my weakness-- and the love He has for me, despite my sin, is like living every day in the carpool lane. And what did I do to deserve it? Nothing.

"Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus." - A.W. Tozer

The beautiful thing about knowing Jesus is that we are free from a lifetime of guilt. If we confess our sins and come right with God, He is faithful to free us from that constant burden of shame. No matter what your past sin, or what you are currently struggling with, Jesus desires to carry that burden for you. And when you do sin, if you confess, repent, and turn from it-- He will forgive you.

"Where is the god who can compare with you—
   wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
   to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long,
   for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
   You'll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You'll sink our sins
   to the bottom of the ocean."
-- Micah 7:19

How have you seen God's favor and grace in your life? How can you emulate God's love by showing grace to someone today? 


Linking up today with Jami over at Call Me Blessed
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Monday, August 29, 2011

[ Attention! September Swap Meet ]


[ In-Laws Visit ]

My in-laws were just in town visiting for a couple of days. It was so nice to have family visit!
Their trip was a whole new set of "firsts." Reason being, they visited us in our new home-- in our new city and state. They got to see our new puppy, Hartley, our new car and the new headquarters where Joshua is working like crazy. They were able to see that we are making this new place our home; that we are putting down roots, getting planted here, and flourishing.

There is something really special about displaying this new season of our lives. In our case, it represents how hard work, patience and perserverance has brought us to this point. And how making positive choices in life reaps great benefits, even if it takes a very long time to see them. This year, we feel like we are receiving many blessings after an incredibly long season of winter's deafening silence. Sometimes, we have to just stop and take it all in. And maybe even pinch ourselves that things are going to get even better.

We feel humbled. And we really appreciate everything that God is doing in our lives. I think more so than if it had just come easily to us. But that is what working hard is all about, right?  You really do cherish what's yours when you waited a long time for it.

As difficult as it is, 
change makes life a heck of a lot more interesting.





Friday, August 26, 2011

[ Recent Projects & A Glimpse Into Our Home ]

Yesterday, I thought about this post while getting ready for the day (dork moment) and had my ideas all set in motion. Then in the afternoon, I decided I finally needed a break from my errands and sat down to check out some blogs. No joke, it was like every other one I was reading had a similar storyline as the one I wanted to share today. Ha ha ha! Ha. And this was after these ironically similar posts the other day that I had noticed: Ashley had written a post on how to paint Chevron and so had the Coleman's In Love. Ironic, no?

I was reminded how alike we are as humans-- no matter where we are located in the world. And here in the blog world, great minds really do think alike (like Jami said on Twitter ;).

Okay, enough about my irrevelant, unimportant pondering...

Today, I wanted to introduce you to my home and let you come inside and see some of the recent projects I've been working on. Our house is finally 100% complete from the move, with the exception of a few wall art pieces that we want for some of our naked walls (disclaimer: my house is as white as a hospital inside because our land-lords are snobby about us changing the color).

In regards to its contents, almost EVERYTHING we have in our house was either a wedding gift, a hand-me-down, or purchased at a store like HomeGoods or Ross. We really have never wanted to invest a lot of money in good quality furniture until we own our own home. In addition, I do not believe in spending crazy amounts of money on average items, like pillows, candles, etc. I subscribe to Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware catalogs and that works to give me some ideas. And I've learned recently, that it's MORE fun to buy something that looks like crap and restore it. It is such a rewarding feeling to see it do a 360. I included the prices to only confirm that it does not take a lot of money to make your house a home.

Welcome :)


Recently renovated end tables, left picture is the original and right is the renovated. We got two of these tables in a set with our two couches and ottoman for a ridiculously cheap amount of money from my husband's co-worker. He was getting divorced & just wanted to get new furniture & start fresh. The ivory white paint color I purchased at Home Depot for $2 on the "mess ups" table. I replaced the handles with sterling silver brackets from Home Depot for $4.

I was helping some friends move in January & they were going to throw this end table away. Ummm... hello?! It was my friend's grandmother's table, so I don't necessarily know how old it is, but it's great quality oak. Cost: FREE // paint is Krylon spray paint in Glossy Classic Grey from Wal-Mart for $3.97 a can. I used two for extra coverage. // Bracket: Home Depot $4


LEFT, Downstairs guest bathroom: artificial flowers- Target, $16 // CENTER, Towels on clearance at Target $6 for large brown & $4 for embellished white // Shower curtain from Burlington Coat Factory $8 // Bathroom fixtures $3-5 from Ross // Picture: Wedding gift // White Restoration Hardware cabinet, hand-me-down

LEFT, Upstairs den: Candle holders, on clearance at Pier1 Imports, $4 & 6 // White candles, $2 ea. at Wal-Mart // Green & striped orange pillows from Ikea $6 ea // Couch is a hand-me-down. RIGHT, master bedroom: Picture frames from Ikea, $5-9 each // Bedspread, hand-me-down quilt set from Pottery Barn.

LEFT: Mirror is from Ikea (and seriously it's a Pottery Barn replica) $90-- this is the most expensive thing we have ever bought for our house, aside from the used couch set// Hanging candle holder is from Restoration Hardware, hand-me-down // Candle: on clearance at Target $7. CENTER, Kitchen/dining room: Vases, $6 at Ross // Recipe book holder, $4 at Ross // Picture frames: Gifts RIGHT: Ottoman came w/ used couch set // Candle holders, Pier1 Imports, clearance $6 // Candles, $2 Wal-Mart // Green vase, $4 from Ikea // Pillows: Ross and Target $6-$9


LEFT, Laundry Room: all pictures are from Ikea and some of them I tore out of the frames and simply inserted scrapbook paper and added photos, verbage, etc. // CENTER: Dining room table from Ikea (don't remember price) // Wall clock: $12 from Ross // Lamps: wedding gift // Piano: gift from my parents // TV: free gift from car dealership for car purchase. RIGHT, living room view & kitchen: Black floor rug: Target $50 


TOP: all bathroom fixtures from Ross, $3-5 // Candle holder, hand-me-down // Candle, $4 from Wal-Mart BOTTOM: view from upstairs :) 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

[ The Colors of the Sea ]


I absolutely love the colors in the ocean... it's the beach baby in me. I love the greens and the blues and how they swirl together and fuse a beautiful palette. Joshua and I have spent countless dates near the Pacific, whether it's just walking on the sand or standing on cliffs looking out to the sea. Our favorite places to vacation are near the beach. The ocean has always been where we cleared our minds and escaped from the stresses of life that bog us all down so easily.


I remember one specific date where we were overwhelmed by something at the time and he simply said, "Let's just drive to the beach." And it seemed crazy to me because it was 11:30 at night, and I was tired, and the beach would be dark and cold. But it just does something to you. Some of my most favorite childhood memories were with my family, in a little sailboat on the bay or just simply spending the day at the beach.

When I planned our wedding, it was a no-brainer for me that I wanted the colors of the sea incorporated into it. From engagement pictures, to the church we got married at and where we had the reception, to where we honeymooned... everything was near water. My bridesmaid dresses were teal-- a perfect symphony of my two favorite colors: blue & green. I walked down the aisle to a non-traditional wedding march with the name of a certain body of water-- Enya's "Caribbean Blue."


Some things have changed in my life. I no longer live near the ocean. It's a new season of my life. The colors of it are now the gorgeous pinks and purples of the Arizona sky. It's different.

But my love of green and blue has not changed. Those colors are now just incorporated in our home to remind us of our love affair with the ocean. I didn't realize how much they streamed through our home until today, when I grabbed my camera, and just looked for it.









I can't wait to see the ocean in only a few more weeks.
What's your favorite color? :)


Linking up with Gussy Sews today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

[ Me, from A to Z... ]

Happy Wednesday!

I'm feeling a tad exhusted this morning... My in-laws are coming in on Thursday night for a few days and we are super excited to see family. However, this means that their visit has given me some major extra motivation to finalize the house decorating since our move in May. The last couple of days have been non-stop running errands, organizing, painting, house decorating, grocery shopping, you name it = pooped out me.
 
Soooo.... I honestly don't have anything interesting to say today because my brain is D-E-A-D, (other than "Where is the nearest Starbucks? I need some coffee STAT!"). Therefore, I thought I would do this fun little fill-in-the-blank questionnaire...
me from A to Z... inspired by Casey's post.

  
 
(Also, I've been rockin' the side braid lately and my man really likes it... what do you think? Sometimes I think it makes me look like I'm 5... but then again, it's out of my face and that's what's important to me lately... I need a haircut sooo bad (but I'm afraid of trying someone new and I don't know who is good around these here parts... anyone have this problem when they've moved? I'm thinking I will just look like a bum until I return home for a visit in September & can see my trusty hair girl) 

---------------------

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:25 am, thanks Hartley

2. How do you like your steak? Medium-rare

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema: "Crazy, Stupid Love" -- actually a pretty good message!

4. What is your favourite TV show? "The Real Housewives" franchise... sorry, don't hate me, can't get enough.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Right now, Venice.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Fage Greek Yogurt w/blueberries

7. What is your favorite food? My mom's spaghetti
8. Foods you dislike? Anything seafood

9. Favorite place to eat? Lotsa Pasta, Pacific Beach, San Diego

10. Favorite dressing? Good Season's Italian

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Ford Edge SUV --- we just got it and I love it! Never owned a new car before.

12. What are your favorite clothes? Right now, it's anything and everything SUNDRESSES = comfortable when hot = you don't have to suck it in.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Italy/Bora Bora... I can't pick one.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full!!

15. Where would you want to retire? Anywhere warm & near a local pub so we can grab beers after golf

16. Favorite time of day? Dusk, everything looks beautiful wrapped in that light

17. Where were you born? San Diegggoooo.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? None. Except when I get to watch my mom watch the LA Lakers... she wears her own jersey and gets so excited = super cute to watch :)

19. What is your favorite fragrance? Ralph by Ralph Lauren

20. What is your favorite face cream? Classic Oil of Olay, Sensitive SPF 15

21. Favorite baby/kids products? Not quite there yet... lol!

22. People watcher? Ohhhh yes.

23. Are you a morning or night person? Morning.

24. Do you have any pets? Hartley, German Shepherd puppy, 4 months.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I am counting down the days until my trip home!!!!!!!!!

26. What did you want to be when you were little? A mama.

27. What is your favorite memory? My honeymoon. Sounds so cliche`, but it really was a magical fairytale.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog.

29. Are you married? Yes :) 5 years this November! Woot!

30. Always wear your seat belt? Of course!

31. Been in a car accident? Yes = self inflicted, long story.

32. Any pet peeves? People who use the speaker on their cell phone in public... we all don't care to hear your conversation, people!

33. Favorite pizza toppings? Just cheese & pepperoni!

34. Favorite flower? Hydrangea

35. Favorite ice cream? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Chick-A-Fila

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? None

38. From whom did you get your last email? Meredith

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Anthropolgie

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Date night tonight

41. Like your job? Yes!!! It's so much fun being a stay-at-home wife! :)

42. Broccoli? Love it, (thanks, Mom!)

43. What was your favorite vacation? I loved my honeymoon... I've never seen water that electric blue color... ever.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Joshua

45. What are you listening to right now? The sound of my dryer

46. What is your favorite color? The colors of the sea... blues and greens!

47. How many tattoos do you have? None.

48. Coffee drinker? Yes....!!! Now where is a Starbucks?!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[ The Proverbs 31 Woman ]

Oh, to be the Proverbs 31 woman!

Last year, I did an amazing Bible study with some girlfriends called "Beauty by the Book" by Laurie Cole. I had never really studied the Proverbs 31 woman-- I only knew by the quick readings over those verses that I was intimated by her.  

When I studied her more, she became more approachable. She worked, she took care of her family, and she worked some more. She wasn't just a beauty sitting around all day. She reaped the consequences of Godly behavior, kind speech, a good attitude, and working hard. She exemplifies true, Godly, inward beauty... one to strive towards.

 Are you trustworthy?
Are you a bargain hunter?
Are you a planner over your household?
Are you a money saver?
Are you an early riser?
Are you a hard worker?
Are you task-minded?
Are you domestic?
Do you reach out to the needy?

Proverbs 31:10-31, paraphrase


The Proverbs 31 woman...

Is not a worrier.
Designs her family's clothes (heck ya!).
Is married to a respected man.
Is an entrepreneur.
 Is graceful.
Is looking forward to tomorrow... she even smiles just thinking about it!!!

She speaks worth while words & says them kindly.
She keeps a loving eye on everyone in her home.
She's respected by her husband & children.

I definitely want to focus more on being worried less about the future and just embrace every day with a happy heart wondering what the next day will bring. The Proverbs 31 woman sounds like an all around pretty content person, doesn't she?! Fully content in who she is, who she's loved by, and who's she's created by-- her Maker.

What characteristic of the Proverbs 31 woman do you most wish to exemplify? 

Let's smile and look forward to tomorrow-- bumps & bruises, and joys & triumphs! :) xo

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Linking up for "We Encourage Tuesdays" with sweet Jami, over at Call Me Blessed! And also Casey

Monday, August 22, 2011

[ Our Weekend, In Pictures ]

"Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week."  -Joseph Addison

Ha Ha Ha. Ha.

I like that quote. Not that every week is rusty, per say; perhaps just this past week. Was it just me??!

Cheers to a new, unblemished, ready-to-be-amazing week! 

Here are some pictures from our weekend... turned out to be creative, relaxing and fun:

 

Brothers enjoying a play-date :)

 Hubby fixed a drawer that has been broken for over 2 months. Kind of embarrassing that it took us that long to fix a drawer. Wow.



Have you ever tried this stuff with simply a spoon? Insert spoon, place spoon in mouth. Repeat x 241 times. Sorry people, life is too short. I'll just go on the treadmill a little longer. Or maybe not even go at all. 


Dinner at home. Trying to do it as much as possible... it definitely helps save money! 


Carrying our pup up the stairs for nap time!


 Saturday morning <3



 Enjoying an Arizona sunset from our balcony



 We went downtown to run some errands, and I saw this man doing the most extraor
dinary act known to man... He was DUCK-TAPING his newly purchased GUN (still packaged in a box) around his chest so that he could still sucessfully drive his Harley. Only in Arizona, people.



Powerade sale at Fry's (also another name for Kroger's). I never grew up with a Fry's... it was always Vons, Albertsons, etc... Can I just say, Fry's is DA-BOMB... $0.49 Powerade? Joshua drinks these like they are going out of style.
 Grabbing lunch downtown... U of A is in session now and downtown was mayhem. Lots of great people watching and interesting-- I mean, interesting, fashion trends. In the words of my husband: "The romper look must be approached very delicately." :) So cute that he knows the word "romper"! Haha


I was shopping for my friend Aimee's about-to-arrive-baby and found this onesie... so cute!! Hahaha!

 Putting pictures up around the house (only took 3 months)... love this special friend of mine... praise God for life-long friends.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Did you do anything fun? :) xo


[ All photos from iPhone with the Instagram app ]

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