Thursday, November 20, 2008

Winter is Here

Last night, I went outside to water the plants. Apparently, I was too late. I gasped in horror and started to recount how many days had passed since I paid the hanging plants a visit with my gas station jumbo-sized plastic cup of water. Surely not THAT many...

Then, I saw my breath and remembered. We are having a cold snap, we are under a freezing warning, we're enduring a break-out-the-gloves-AND-scarf kind of week. And now my plants are dead!?
This is my first ever home that I (we) own, with my first ever porch with real live hanging plants. I even picked the plants out to match the living room since you can see them through the windows! (I can't help it; I am obsessed with decorating.)

It's my first time. I never knew that beautiful hanging plants are KILLED when the first 20 degree winter wind comes blowing on their little branches. I feel so guilty. Like I left my babies out to be frozen to death, while we huddled inside under extra blankets, sipping hot tea and cranking the heat so high we had to use a humidifier to keep our skin from turning to leather.

Poor Babies!

What little surprises has winter brought your way?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not a Newlywed Anymore...

One year ago today, I awakened before the sun. My heart began to race as I realized what Day it was. Soon after, Julie arrivedto transport me across town to the salon, where she supplied me with coffee, pastries, and chirpy conversation while I sat nervously in the chair and began the transformation. 1,000 bobby pins, a bottle of hairspray, and a veil later, we raced to the church, where my best friends were milling around excitedly. One by one, red dresses filled the bridal room, plus a 6-year old angel in a white dress and crown made of flowers. My mother and lifelong best friend helped me into a white dress of my own and fastened me in tight. Then with a basking glow of motherly and sisterly pride, they released me to the flashes of the camera.

Before I knew it, I was hiding behind a big oak door, listening to the music fill the sanctuary and taking deep breaths. It was really happening. I joined my Daddy on his arm and we drifted down the aisle. My Beloved was waiting there for me. At that moment, I embarked on a beautiful journey.

It has been a special year of companionship, romance, excitement, travel, and laughter. We have also endured family heartache and the stresses of life. But being in it together makes all the difference. Knowing that you have found that partner...

...a friend to talk to each night over dinner.

...a playmate to giggle with each morning over toothpaste.

...a traveling companion for the long flights and roadtrips.

...a voice of reason and steady wisdom.

...a calming voice on the other end of the line.

In his book The Mystery of Marriage Mike Mason writes, "We are not simply moving in with someone we think would be fun to live with. Rather, we are giving our prior assent to a whole chain reaction of trials, decisions, transformations, and personal cataclysms that, once they are done with us, may leave us not only changed almost beyond recognition, but marked nearly as deeply as by a religious conversion. And this is just as it ought to be."

Today, on our first wedding anniversary, I thank God for his gracious gift of marriage and all the ways it has and will surely mark my life for His purposes. Dean, Honey, I love you dearly and cannot wait to share many more beautiful years together.

(One year ago last our rehearsal dinner. )

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Day After

Today, I have been checked on. Several times, a co-worker or friend has asked me, "Are you okay?" Both times, at first I didn't realize what they meant. Then I remembered that today we have a new president-elect, and I had cast my vote for The Other Guy.

But today, mostly I have been at peace. Riled up for weeks, but today, at peace.

This passage from Scripture has steered, cheered, and set my heart straight. Take a look.

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another..." Romans 13, NIV

If you are like me, you probably believed that by living in a democracy, we, the people would be determining our next President by our votes. But did we?

There is no authority except that which God has established.
This is a profound truth! And mindboggling for my political mind to accept. There is no authority, no President, no Congressman, no Governor in existence that God did not establish.

The New King James Version puts it this way: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. " (Romans 13:1)

I imagine that some of you take issue (even Scriptural issue) with the results of some of the election races. But we are told that God, for reasons that are His, has established the governmental authorities that we will live under. This applies to our new President-elect, Barack Obama. This also applies to President Bush, to his predecessor President Clinton, and even for those who live in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Please remember that when the New Testament was written, many Christians lived under governments that were hostile to their faith, and shortly thereafter, early Christians were fed to lions in the Roman Coliseum.

Nevertheless, even these authorities were put in place by God.

He is God. We do not have to understand His mind or His ways. But we do have the privilege of resting in His Sovereignty, especially on the day after Election Day.

Peacefully yours,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Napa Valley, Here We Come

This afternoon, My Honey is taking me to San Francisco and Napa Valley to celebrate our One Year Anniversary. I am so excited - I have never stayed in a Bed and Breakfast before!

Don't miss me too much...when I return, I will be writing more on this blog. I am coming to realize that this blog is the perfect place to stay in better touch, to exercise my writing voice, and to communicate what He puts in my heart. While I am gone, if you have been to San Fran or Napa, leave me a comment in the comments section telling me what we need to be sure not to miss while we are there!


PS - Don't forget to make the election a matter of heartfelt prayer. Pray for the hearts of your friends and family and the whole nation. It is our hearts He is after.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Smoking Guns and The Election

"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." {2 Timothy 2:23}

It sounds like Apostle Paul is talking to me. During Election Season.

I have had a hard time this year. I have come face-to-face with my passionate personality, a critically-thinking mind, an affinity for debate, and a natural bent towards politics of any kind. Add to these an intense election process in our country for the White House for the next four years, and I feel like an explosive being introduced to a lit match.

Let me admit, I have fed the flame.

I have faithfully listened to political coverage on satellite radio all the way to work. Once in my desk, I have hopped online to screen numerous political and news sites for latest polls, predictions, and wild stories. Then I open my email, and I usually receive around 10 new political commentaries, articles, jokes or new conspiracies a day. On my lunch break, if I am in my car, I have the chance to tune in again, and on the way home, I catch up on what I missed. (What could I possibly have missed?) Over dinner, my husband will brief me on political news or conversations from his day, and for dessert, we find ourselves checking in with the talking heads on satellite tv.

I know this year's election is hot, and many of us are feeling the pressure building inside as we head toward election day. But how to not combust and take those around us out in flames is the question.

On this month's retreat with my best friends from college, I feel I combusted during our political conversation. This is one incident with gun-powder that has caused me to evaluate my methods, my motives, my thoughts, my heart.

Then I found the rest of this passage:

"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth..."{2 Timothy 2:23-25, NIV}

Be kind! Don't argue. Do not quarrel. (But Lord, have you been following the 2008 election?)

If someone opposes you, gently instruct them. Gently instruct??

Oh, the restraint required.

Oh, the freedom and life this could breathe into my relationships. And perhaps the discussions could be just that...a healthy discussion. A chance to dialogue over ideas and our future without the heat and the smoke.

Girls in San Antonio, I am sorry for heat I let off during our debate. Thank you for bearing with me when my political passions got the best of me...I am learning by grace how to feel strongly but speak gently.

Praying with you for the ability to talk, share our concerns and views, walk alongside, and share life with those across the aisle...


without setting off smoke alarms.

Hang in there, only one more week til Nov. 4th!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last weekend, Dean and I headed up to Boston, Massachusetts. It was a first for me. Dean had been there a handful of times, but by the look on his face as we toured around, it struck him with its beauty all over again.

There are dark, beautiful, historic buildings everywhere, with long-established educational institutions on every corner (Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, Berklee College of Music, and many more). Our hotel was directly beside the campus of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Think Kevin Spacey & the brilliant card-counting students in the recent movie "21".)

But best of all, the city is on the water!

(Credit for this image.)

We took a run one morning over one of these scenic bridges over Charles River that connects Cambridge to downtown Boston. Beautiful!

However, the purpose of this trip was not primarily to see the city. We had come for the memorial service of Dean's 'stepdad'. (He was married to Dean's mom for most of his childhood, and will always be remembered for raising her children like they were his own. )

This is a relative's authentic Bostonian home, where we gathered to prepare for the service.

This is Josh, Dean's brother. Dean's stepdad was his 'real' dad, and he looks so much like him. We had the opportunity to go through old pictures and reminisce together.

An interesting note: Stepdad was a gifted singer, recording with his own album reminiscent of Frank Sinatra. We discovered that when Stepdad performed in Vegas during his youth, he opened for Jimmy Durante!

This is Josh's wife, sweet sis-in-law. She was a Rock of support to Josh and all of the family.
Dean getting a haircut from our cousin Denise.

The service went well, and both Dean and Josh shared from the heart about the blessing of their Dad. Afterwards, we went out with the whole family...everyone was new to me but felt like instantaneous blood...I like that about Dean's family...

Denise, Jason (He is Josh's nephew, can you imagine?), and Jacquie.

Everyone! A whole lot of love...Stepdad brought everyone together one last time at his death.

On our night downtown, Dean, Josh, Jacquie, and I discovered Boston's Little Italy...
Uh Oh....
A street lined with beautiful Italian restaurants, espresso cafes, gelato, and...

Hundreds of Italian pastries!!!!!

I decided on tiramisu AND a husband rightly predicted I would make myself feel sick...

He told me he was so HAPPY in this pastry shop!! We all were...
Vist Mike's Pastry's website: there is a glossary of all the Italian pastries!!

Look them up on Hanover Street when in Boston! We liked this Little Italy (Italian neighborhood) better than its counterparts in New York and Chicago!

Everyone enjoyed each other so, we know it won't be the last time we pack a bag and head to Boston.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

For the Love of the House

Hi, Friends! I haven't kept you as up to date as I would like...I have been busy adding more 'feminine touches' to our home (formerly his home). I am having so much fun decorating our house! I am not quite ready to show you the Before-the-Wife and After-the-Wife House Tour pictures, but we are getting close :) In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the projects that I (we) have been working on.

The first good news is that I have finally been able to introduce my husband to the joys of yard sales!! He thought I was crazy before, but after running across two great sales this weekend, he is starting to be hooked. I can't say what he bought though...he may be planning to give it to one of you for Christmas! Ha! Here are my treasures...

These pretty fleur de lis sconces will be the latest addition to the animal print master bathroom.

These finials make me so happy...just knowing that I will discover the perfect home for them somewhere in our house.
Oops, this image is sideways. These are a few of the black and white plates that will be hanging in the black/white guest room along with the collage of old family pictures! (Dean's Dad, if you read this, we would love to have a few old pictures of your family to add to the collage. Pics of Dean's grandparents or even great-grandparents, if you have any!)

Then for $4, I found this plate hangar at a yard sale! Perfect, after a coat of black spray paint.

These were a few dollars a piece at this awesome Ballard Designs furniture warehouse I discovered!! I love the square hand towel holder. So unique.

They are meant to look antique...

Which will be perfect for the guest bathroom since we're using the old black/white pictures theme.

This next project: I found this small baker's rack at Ross Dress for Less, no less!

And spray painted it black. It's amazing what a can of black spray paint can do!
It is now waiting to greet you at the top of the stairs when you come by to visit us...

Lastly, here is a peek into the master bathroom. Over the garden tub we put our favorite pictures of us with our wedding party.

Animal print-ish frames, of course...and when I found this lamp, you know I fell in love!!

I love to turn off the bright overhead lights and switch this one on in the evenings. (It gives a soft light, which is hard to tell from this picture.) It is peaceful and calming after a long day.

We are having a great time redressing our home...stay tuned for the before and after tour. It is coming, I promise. In the meantime, how are you? Do you have any home projects you are working on?
P.S.- I am on the lookout for another yard sale partner. My current one (husband) will only hit yard sales after 10 AM...way too late for the good stuff! All early-rising, coffee-drinking, Craigs List-scouting, Mapquest-following, bargain-hunting and thrifty females should apply!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We're Going to See Jonny Lang!!

Wednesay night, Dean and I will be going to see JONNY LANG in concert!! We are so excited. If you haven't heard of him, you are hearing him now playing on the blog.

He is the most talented, electrifying musician I know-- he has the voice of a 50-year old blues singer, yet he's only 27. He recorded his first album at the age of 13 and went on tour with the Rolling Stones shortly after at 15!! A child prodigy, he has shared the stage with B.B. King and toured with Aerosmith and Sting...quite an impressive list for a guy without so much as a driver's license.

Touring with Rolling Stones as a teenager opened him up very early to the world and its wildest. He was an alcoholic by age 17 and using a variety of hard drugs. Then in 2002 at the age of 21, he was with his then-girlfriend (now wife) Haylie's family during the death of her father. It was then that 'God introduced himself to me.' He was overcome with a force he could not explain, and he says his body began to shake until he was overwhelmed with the power and peace of God. He says he heard God say, "'You don't have to have this if you don't want it.' But I wanted it more than anything I've ever wanted in my whole life."

On that day, his life was completely transformed, and he hasn't had a single craving since.

He is now such a humble and good-hearted man, with the same undeniable gift that made him famous at 13. Except now he knows the One who gave it to him.

I so wish you all could be with us Wednesday! He wails on that guitar with such power, and now, purpose. Check out his latest album, aptly titled Turn Around, and imagine you are there, front and center!

Click here to read more about his amazing transformation. And here to watch him perform.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cruisin' with my New Family

Well, we've almost made it through the peeling stage and are still enjoying our is time to tell you about our vacation at sea!
Dean and I just got back from a cruise with his family...

- his dad and his wife, Jill, his brother, Sal; and his fiance', Samantha (Sam). We set sail out of Miami...

With our first stop: Key West, Fl.,

the southernmost tip of the country.

Took a bus tour of the sunny island famous for President Truman, Ernest Hemingway, and yes, Jimmy Buffet.
In the evenings, we ate...

and ate...

And felt the cool breeze of the water on the deck at night.

Cozumel, Mexico was Stop Two on our magical trip...

It is actually an island off of Mexico's coast...and a gorgeous one.

with the FRESHEST, most delicious guacamole, salsa, and homemade chips. The Real Thing!

After buying Mexican silver jewelry (but, of course!), we joined the family for dinner...

Our big crazy family...

Our last day was a "Day at Sea"......a full day of relaxation, reading, tanning (er, toasting), listening to my ipod alongside my Honey atop a boat coursing through the Caribbean. Now you know my Dream Day. What is yours?

New to this blog?

Welcome to Beloved and So Are You ~ I am glad you are here! You are invited to join this blog community - just click on Followers on the right. Come along and enjoy!