Birthday Week Fun

Last week, I posted all of these things that I was looking forward to accomplishing this week.  Well, why I tried hard to make those things happen, God had other plans :).

For instance, I planned on going to Wake Tech to meet up with our faculty member who is leading things there and to meet with some students.  Long story short, the one meeting I had scheduled got canceled and I wasn’t able to get things scheduled with anyone else.  Like I said, the Lord had other plans, and it looks like the meetings may happen this coming week.  I also planned on doing this fun activity with Kinsley fishing for magnetic letters (which I envision being lots of fun) but then discovered WalMart was out of magnetic strips which I needed to attach to the fishing pole.  I didn’t feel like driving around the world for these and because of a great deal I got online at JoAnn’s, I ordered them and they should arrive this week.  I did review a leader’s application, but it didn’t go AT ALL like I thought it would, and I actually finished reviewing the application having more questions and hesitations that I did to begin with.

But, with all of that being said, it was my birthday week and I had a great time celebrating with family and friends.  My birthday evening, Kinsley and I went with my good friend Kai to eat at Olive Garden.  I like love their unlimited soup and salad and I think that if my stomach didn’t tell me to stop, I would never stop eating the chicken gnocchi soup….I am drooling just thinking about it right now.  I also was showered with lots of Facebook love!!

I also carved out time this week to clean the house (aren’t you just dying for me to go into detail about this??!!??), sew some potholders, and complete a reference for one of our students from Kentucky who is applying to be an intern (this took forever! but I am excited to see how the Lord has grown this lady the 3 years I have been discipling her and to see her being used to reach other students, even after graduation), attend a spin class at the Y, and scored an amazing deal on cereal (I got 10 boxes of Kellogg’s cereal for $7.50 total – which is less than a dollar a box!), and attended staff meeting with our team (this happens every week but it makes me sound more productive to mention it 🙂 ).

Here are a few pictures of the potholders I sewed.  I used fabric scraps I had from other projects which made them free to make!  I like the final result even though Ed is skeptical they are thick enough to be super useful.  Special props to Ed for helping me with Kinsley when they took longer to complete than I thought they would.  One thing I am learning is that all DIY projects take longer than I think they will, especially when it involved sewing.  It inevitably happens that the sewing machine decides not to cooperate or human errors are made, which results in more time to complete things.  I don’t know if I will ever learn to allot more time than I think I need.

On the agenda this coming week?  Ed’s mom is coming to town for a few days while Ed’s dad is out of town on business, so we are planning on spending time with her.  She is also willing to watch Kinsley one day so that I can go to campus, which I am hoping will be when I go to Wake Tech and meet with students and our faculty member.  I am in charge of planning and buying meals for our spring retreat coming up in two weekends, so I need to plan that out.  Some other things on my schedule:  the fishing activity with Kinsley, talk to our student about her leader application, fix a meal for a friend who just had a baby, and much more!!

A Look Into Last Week

So remember how I said I wanted to try some DIY projects?  Well, I actually did it!!  This past week, I decided I would attempt to make bagels using my bread machine from a recipe I got online here.  We love bagels at our house and since they aren’t the most cost effective thing to buy, I thought I would give a hand in trying to make some cheaper.  The result?

They were delicious!!  And, honestly, they weren’t very time consuming to make either!  There are three drawbacks to them though, that will probably limit how much I make them:  1 – they don’t have preservatives so they don’t keep super well (probably only best to make when we have company and will be eating them all) 2 – they are so good you are tempted to eat them all in one or two days! and 3 – they call for bread flour, which I couldn’t find in a generic brand so it cost over $3.50 to buy.  While I didn’t use all of this bread flour, I did use a good chunk and am not sure how many recipes I could make out of this flour.  If I can make multiple recipes, then it is definitely more cost effective.  If I can’t, then buying them is more cost effective.  I would love to find some bread flour that is generic and much cheaper.  So, we shall see.

Other things that contributed to this being a great week:

1 – Great sermon at church!  I love when the Lord shows you amazing truths through this Word and through a preacher of His Word that He brings to remembrance throughout the week and causes you to mediate on.

2 – Using freecycle (a email group that seeks to recycle and give away things that you don’t want but don’t want to end up in a landfill), the Lord gave us a playhouse for outside that just needs a good scrubdown.  And did you catch the part about FREE?  It is faded for the sun, but considering the price we paid, and that we will also be putting it outside, we could care less.  This will be a great present for Kinsley’s birthday next month!

3 – It SNOWED!!  Yes, you heard me right.  It snowed in North Carolina.  When everyone keeps telling us that NC never gets snow.  Here is a picture of our deck with the snow on it.  Granted, it was just a light dusting, and there wasn’t much left in the morning, but hey, I will take it.  It definitely make me like North Carolina even more!!

4 – A great coaching appointment with our faculty volunteer at Bladen Community College.  It is fun to hear how the Lord is working and moving on their campus with both faculty and students!  I was also really anxious about this appointment because there were some hard truths that were going to have be discussed but our faculty volunteer was super receptive and teachable, and I am so grateful the Lord worked it out!

On the agenda this week:  Birthday celebration (last year in my twenties!) with Kinsley and my good friend Kai (since Ed will be on campus leading Bible study and hosting an info meeting for starting Impact at Methodist University), sewing some pot holders (never done this before!), doing a fun activity with Kinsley involving fishing for magnetic letters, reviewing a leader’s application (yah for new leaders being raised up!), potentially meeting with some students and faculty at Wake Tech, and much more.

I will try and post updates on some of these things.  Not because I think you are on pins and needles to hear what is happening in our lives, but because writing and posting about these things keeps me accountable to following them through.  Thanks for holding me accountable, even if you didn’t know you were doing that!

Wedding Festivities

Well, the weekend has came and gone.  The weekend that my little brother, Alex, gets married to his girl, Kristin (in this picture with Kinsley over a year ago).  Even though he is 26, it feels like he is way too young to be getting married!!  But, none the less, get married he did!  It was a great weekend (not very restful though!) celebrating Alex and Kristin and spending lots of fun time with family.  Here is a rundown of the weekend, including fun moments and highlights.

Friday, while Kinsley was napping (and after she called the front desk from our hotel room which we only found out about after the fact from the front desk staff who loved their conversation and had a great attitude about it), I helped my mom set up the meeting room in the hotel for the rehearsal dinner.  It was a HUGE task, especially when we only had about 2 hours to do it!  We got ready for the rehearsal in 5 minutes which is an all time record for both of us!  At the rehearsal, Kinsley ran down the aisle (the same thing she did at the wedding she was a part of in October), only stopping to wait for Elijah Brooks (the pillow bearer) to help her down the steps.  The rehearsal dinner turned out so well, from the decorations to the food to the fellowship.  My mom is brilliant about decorating, and it showed. Here are a few pictures (be sure to take a look at that awesome cake!):



Saturday, wedding day, started out with a family breakfast at the hotel, swimming at the indoor pool for the kids (talking time for the adults), and then the WEDDING!  We arrived early for pictures and to get Kinsley dressed in her pretty flower girl dress (which we do not have pictures of on our camera because she got sick as we arrived at the reception and threw up on her dress 🙁 – we are most definitely done with vomit!).  I was anxious about whether Kinsley would walk down the aisle and whether she would stay quiet with us for her to stay in the ceremony, especially since it was her nap time.  Well, to make a long story short, she didn’t make it down the aisle by herself (Ed walked with her part of the way) – and we think it was because the photographer was right in front of her, flashed the camera, and blocked the handrail for her to hold on to get down the steps, which caused her to freak out.  We know she can do it because she has before, but for some reason, she got stage fright.  She did manage to stand still for family pictures, which didn’t happen at the last wedding.  She did stay with us and played quietly for the whole ceremony, thanks to new toys and M&M’s to bribe her.

The reception was on the air force base in Charleston, and was really nice.  The food was yummy, the dancing was fun, and they even had a photo booth, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed!  Here are some pictures from the special day:

Here are some pictures from the special day:

#1 – Kinsley, Ed, and I at the reception

#2 – my grandmother (mom’s mom) and grandfather (dad’s dad)

#3 – their wedding cake

#4 – my dad making his best man’s speech

#5 – Kinsley dancing on the dance floor.  She danced the WHOLE time, even if nobody else was on the dance floor.  Everyone was entertained watching her, but we weren’t surprised since we know how much she loves music and dancing.  All the dancing might have contributed to her throwing up the second time that night.

#6 – This is unrelated to the wedding, but is a picture of her goofing around at my parent’s house the next morning.

Overall, it was a great weekend and everyone had a great time (minus the many trips to the bathroom to clean up vomit)!  I am so happy for Alex and Kristin and that I finally have a SISTER!  I also loved getting to see family, especially those that traveled from afar for the occasion.  Our family has problems like everyone’s, but it is so fun and easy to be around them, and we always create memories!  There’s just no place like home.

Oh, and next to the wedding, my favorite part of the weekend was going to eat at Miyabis Japanese        Steakhouse with my family on Sunday evening to celebrate my birthday early.  I LOVE that place and can honestly say that I haven’t found another Japanese restaurant near as good as that one.  Every chance we get, we travel to Myrtle Beach and eat there – and a birthday coming up seems just as good of a reason as ever!



Erasing Hell by Francis Chan

I am still reading this book, but I wanted to share some quotes from this book that have stuck with me.  No commentary, because I think they speak for themselves.

“I don’t God wants our church life to be centered on buildings and services.  Instead, God wants our churches – whatever specific forms our gatherings take – to be focused on active discipleship, mission, and the pursuit of unity.”

“Isaiah 55:8-9: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are yours ways my way, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts than your thoughts.’  This means we think differently than God!  He hasn’t asked us to figure out why He does the things He does.  We can’t.  We are not capable.  Our thinking if inferior to His.  Our God is not a person who is slightly more intelligent: His thoughts are infinitely higher than ours.  Knowing that the gap is so large, shouldn’t we put our energy toward submitting rather than overanalzying?  It is natural – no, it is expected – that there will be times, many times, when you won’t figure Him out.”

“Throughout history and throughout Scripture, godly men and women have embraced the God of Job and Jeremiah.  They hold onto a God they didn’t always understand:  a God who is immeasurably good, even though circumstances in life seem to suggest otherwise.     Years ago, I came across an article entitled “Two Minutes to Eternity” by Marshall Shelley, one of the editors of Christianity Today at the time.  In the article, Marshall tells the story of the miraculous birth of his son.  When the child was in the womb, Marshall and his wife, Susan, found that their child had an abnormal heart and would probably not survive the birth, if he even made it that far.  And so the Shelleys wrestled with God.  ‘This was a design flaw,’ Marshall write, ‘and the Designer was responsible.’ So they prayed.  They prayed for a miracle, the prayed for survival, they prayed that the God of all compassion would give the child the breath of life.                                                                                   Then the day of birth came, and the child was still alive.  The child had survived the pregnancy!  God is so good!  As the child was born, Marshall looked upon his beautiful son: “He was a healthy pink, and we saw his chest rise and fall.  The break of life.  Thank you God.”                                                                                                                             And then the child died.  Two minutes later, their son turned from pink to blue, and he died.  The miracle of life was followed by the mystery of death.  And as far as the Shelleys were concerned, the Designer was responsible.  When the nurse asked the Shelleys if they had a name for the child, Susan responded: “Toby.  It’s short for a biblical name, Tobiah, which means ‘God is good.'”                                                                                                God is good?  How could they say that?  How could they believe such an unbelievable attribute of God, when everything in that moment seemed to be proving the opposite?  Because the Shelleys believed that God is good not only when He makes sense to us, but even when He doesn’t.  God is good, because God is God.  Goodness is inherent in who He is.  And the Shelleys believed this.  “The name was what we believed, not what we felt,” Marshall writes.  “It was what we wanted to feel again someday.”                                 And so it is with many things about God that don’t seem to add up.  And so it must be with hell.  As I have said all along, I don’t feel like believing in hell.  And yet I do.”


Curtains and Eagles: They are in no way related.

Every year, we have a conference that is for juniors and seniors in college that are involved in our ministry.  This conference, called Preview Weekend, is a chance for students to hear from God’s Word as well as process what their next steps will be after graduation.  For some, they are considering full-time ministry with us or a short-term international trip called STINT (which lasts a year or two) and for others, they are considering going into the work force in which case we talk about how they can become life-long laborers there as well. There are usually only a select group of students who go from each campus(es) and only  a staff or two.  This year (last weekend to be exact), Ed went with our students to Charlotte, NC for preview weekend.

My mom decided to join Kinsley and I for a FUN girls weekend while Ed was gone!  Have I mentioned how I love living closer to family and having these impromptu trips?  Well, our girls weekend was complete with food, crafts, and watching girly TV shows!  Oh, and laughing!  For food, we cooked and ate things that Ed doesn’t like that I only get when Ed is gone and I am with my mom.  Think shrimp and grits (he family is northern so he doesn’t like grits), egg salad sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches (my mom seriously has the best recipe EVER!), ramen salad (Ed doesn’t like this girly salad with coleslaw).  For TV shows, we watched Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings.  For crafts, I enlisted my mom’s help in finding the perfect fabric for our guest room/office which we used to make curtains and throw pillows.  My mom is a master in sewing and as I only recently started learning (I figured I better take advantage of her expertise in this lost art while she is still around), I tap into her knowledge base every time she comes here.

So, what was the final result?  They both turned out amazingly!  I should also mention that when I was decorating our guest room/office, I had to go with burgendy/red to match the Ohio State pictures that Ed brought into our marriage.  He did try to get me to buy Ohio State specific bedding, but you see who won that battle :).






Completely unrelated, let me share about the educational fun Kinsley and I have been having.  At the gym a week or so ago, an older gentlemen shared with me about this project by NC State in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers that served to let people in the Triangle area know that bald eagles were nesting nearby at Jordan Lake.  So, they posted a camera above the nest before they laid their eggs and for the past few years, you have been able to see the eagles lay eggs, see the eggs hatch, see the eaglets grow and be fed and protected by mom and dad eagle, and then see them fledge the nest.  It has been really interesting (and addicting) to watch!!  Kinsley loves to see the mom and dad fly in with a fish to feed them (which sometimes can be way graphic!) and see the baby eaglets fight with each others.  If you want to check it out, here is the link:  It has been offline today, but they will get it up and running soon.  Let me know if you check it out and like it as much as we do!

“The Excellent Wife” – Is there such a thing?

One of the things that we are required to do with Campus Crusade is come up with a Personal Development Plan (PDP) every six months.  Essentially, this is a plan that lists goals that we have in regards to growing in our walk with the Lord, friendships, marriage, ministry, personally, etc. and challenges us to list very specific steps to meet these goals.  I LOVE that we are required to do this and I think it would benefit everyone to have these types of goal lists.  To quote Zig Zigler “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

One of sections of my PDP is marriage and lists very specific ways that I can work on maintaining and growing our marriage.  Here are the three goals that I have listed:              1 – At least once a month date nights with Ed                                                                     2 – Pray together at least once a day                                                                                   3 – Read “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace (which is on my reading list as well)            Well, today I finished reading that book.  We actually got this book free from the church we are now attending as a gift for visitors the first time we attended (thanks Redeemer Community Church!).  I had heard mixed reviews about this book and while it was not my favorite book ever, I will say the Lord has taught me a lot through it and it is a must read for wives.  Here are a couple of things I learned:

1 – Submission.  Before Ed and I got married and even the first year we were married, I honestly thought this was the dirty “S” word!  I had been taught through school, friends, etc. that women are equal with men and no woman should submit to a man, even her husband but should pursue a career, having her own opinion, etc.  The Lord really brought great women of God into my life that have shown me what true submission is and that by submitting to Ed, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a voice but that if we have a difference of opinion, I defer to him and trust Him that the Lord is leading him to make a wise decision.

This book carried this even further for me by comparing my submission to Ed as how Christ submitted to God.  Here is what she said: “Jesus Christ is not inferior to the Father, and the wife is not inferior to her husband.  Christ subordinated Himself to the will of the father in order to carry out the plan of redemption.  So, too, the wife submits herself to her husband so that God’s plan for the family can be carried out.  She is not inferior but her role is different.  The wife’s role is one of a “helper suitable” to her husband.”  Just a great picture of submission and following Christ’s lead in this area.

2 – Control of the Wife’s Tongue.  I felt conviction before I even started this chapter.  I am truth oriented versus grace oriented meaning that I have no problem speaking truth into people’s lives if it is needed, but I do struggle with speaking that truth in love.  While the Lord has grown me a LOT in this area the last 4 1/2 years or so, Ed will sometimes bear the brunt of this honesty and truth speaking.  In “The Excellent Wife”, she says “A wife is accountable to God for every word she speaks.  ‘And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgement.’  Matthew 12:36-37 ”
Ouch!!  I am still hurting from that one.  That scares me to no end!!  She also says that “wrong words begin with wrong thoughts.  If you are saying wrong words, take the time to realize what you are thinking.  The Lord Jesus’ standard of holiness is not just outward conformity but inward transformation by what you think.  Renew your mind with Scripture and change your heart.” and  “A godly wife is wise and kind.  When she opens her mouth to speak, wisdom and kindness flow out.  Her wisdom comes from the Word of God and her kindness from the Holy Spirit.  Her words are not rude, terse, harsh, or wounding, they are edifying and helpful.  If you are to be wise and kind when you speak to your husband, speak your words in a soothing tone.”

This is by far the area that I need the Holy Spirit to work the most in my life.  The area of controlling my tongue, to Ed and to others, but mostly to Ed.  Thank you Lord for convicting me, challenging me, and giving me the power through the Holy Spirit to change!
3 – She says “Save some of your energy each day for your husband.  Ask him what are his goals for the week, how can I help you to accomplish these goals, and rearrange your schedule if needed to help them get accomplished.”  Since I am a goals and a to-do list type of person, I normally rearrange my day around getting my to-do list finished.  This challenged me to think about how I can be a “helper” to Ed.

4 – She says “You can know you are receiving reproof from your husband sinfully when 1 – You become angry and lash out at him 2 – You feel hurt, resentful, and unforgiving 3 – You focus on the things he is doing wrong 4 – You suffer intense personal hurt.”  I have been blessed with a husband who will give me reproof and speak the truth in love and while most of the time I am grateful for that, I know there are times when I react sinfully, except I have never thought of it as sin.  This will definitely make me think twice of how I react the next time he corrects me in love.

Overall, it is a great read.  While some people may read it and feel beat down, I was grateful that the Lord used it to convict me and show me specific ways I can change to grow our marriage and to grow closer to the Lord.  Ed – if you read this, please know I am a work in progress and will fall short of perfection in all of these areas so thank you for your grace ahead of time!