Monday, May 28, 2007

Spring Days

The rose bushes in our front yard are in bloom! What a treat to see each day! We regularly have roses for the dining room table.

Well, we've been enjoying the weather and the long weekend. Friday night, Brian worked and I had a chance to have a "girl's night out" with Amy Claire. We both chatted as we endulged in Buca di Beppo's chocolate cake. What a great time! It's such a blessing to share the comfort of friends and share your lives with each other.

Sunday, our college and career group from church had an opportunity to serve in a monthly ministry to local homeless/low income folks. There is a Bible for the folks, then a short devotional before the meal (because not all folks come to the Bible study), and then the meal. I love seeing these familiar faces each month. We prepared and served a BBQ dinner. Brian was the grill man -- preparing all the hamburgers and hot dogs.
Joy, her friend Cassie, and Brian

And, I coordinated the rest of the stuff in the kitchen: fruit cup, tomato pie, pasta salad, carrot salad, chips, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. It's a blessing to see how the community donates food each month too -- tons of bread, tomato pies, fruit, . . . And, it's such a fun time to all be working in the kitchen or eating with the folks. Afterwards, we had a volleyball and pool party at our college and career leaders' home. That was so incredibly relaxing.

Today, we had a relaxing morning. Then, Brian headed to work while I worked out and then visited with my grandma at the Rehab Hospital (as she recovers from her stroke) -- her recovery has been so amazing and such an answer to prayer. Our visit was so encouraging. Afterwards, I got Brian from work and headed out to grab a late lunch with Brian's bro Mike and his fiance Jenna -- both of whom we love to hang out with and live around the corner from.

And, here is a shot from a week ago -- from our Mother-Daughter Banquet at church. This year's theme was: "Someday My Prince Will Come" . . . addressing both our "earthly princes" (husbands) and "Heavenly Prince" (the coming again of our Savior). We had a great speaker and it was such a fun time. I did the opener, and Brian helped me with this fun medieval-sounding speech to welcome the ladies. It was great. We had a blast! Everyone dressed up like princesses :)
Myself, Kim (my step-mom), Joy (my sis -- gorgeous), Joy's friend Megan, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law Jenna

Well, this week brings some more church softball games . . . which we both love. I love cheering, . . . and they keep winning :). Brian hits a homerun at least every game, if not multiple times!

And, I want to share more about the book I'm reading: Peacemaking Women -- it is so excellent, . . . next time. God is really convicting and encouraging me through these women's writing. What a blessing!

Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When we became Mr. & Mrs. Hand

Thought we'd share a few pics from December 30th, 2006. For your viewing enjoyment :) . . .

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Moms

My mom, my bro, and me (4 yrs old).

When I think of moms, I think of endurance -- running the long-distance mile, adjusting to each phase of the run. I think of my mom who went back to school to get her doctorate when I was 6 years old. At that point, she already had her bachelors degree and two masters degrees. But, she realized she wanted to be a child and adolescent psychiatrist. She was a single mom -- spliting custody of my brother and me with my dad -- and had 2-3 jobs the entire time while going through medical school. I have NO clue how she did it. We both graduated within the same week of each other -- her from medical school, me from high school. And, then she went on for more specialized psychiatric training. I've been to so many award dinners and banquets for her, and people are always reminding me how proud I should be of my mom. And, I am! She's had her own practice for a few years now, and she's the Director of Mental Health for the State of Pennsylvania.

Mom and me, last Fall

And, all the while, she would drop everything for my brother and me growing up. And, we were too immature to ever realize or appreciate it. I remember how she would set out our cereal, bowls and spoons for the morning, so she could sleep in. And, I would go into her room and pull open her eye lid and say, "Are you ready for breakfast mom?" She would say, "Honey, I put out the cereal and bowls for you, all you need to do is get out the milk." And, I would say, "BUT, I can't eat alone. Come eat with me." She would drag herself out of bed and sit at the kitchen bar with me, barely keeping her head up. I always kept her running, never letting her have a rest. (I was inevitably ready to go shopping or something after breakfast, or I had some sport to go to).

Kim and me, 2001

But, she has been so patient to love me -- day-to-day, year-to-year. And, I think of my step-mom, Kim also. She married my Dad when I was 7 years old. I was so resistant to her presence in my life for years, but God has blessed us with a rich friendship as I've matured, especially since college. I can't imagine my life without her (and my dad), and their godly counsel and wisdom. I remember how Kim would have me memorize Scripture. Since I went to a public school, and I often wanted to go to dances or other "tempting" situations, and in order to go, she would have me memorize portions of Scripture before any school event -- large portions -- like the whole Ten Commandments or Romans 12. I really appreciate that so much now. I was able to preach Scripture to myself so often. And, Kim (and my dad) have taught me a lot about being hospitable -- having people to our home all the time. We made a practice of having a family over to our house every Sunday for lunch -- whether it was a new family or just a family we hadn't seen in a while. It made Sundays such a fun family day, and I was convicted that it wasn't a time for me to be doing homework. It was a time for fellowship. (Kim even had guests over on the Sunday she delivered my little sister).

Needless to say, God uses people in our lives to shape us, especially our parents, and very much our moms . . . and I am so blessed.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Our House

Well, since I've been sick the past week -- home from work 2 days -- I've gotten to gaze at the walls of our house a bit. It's a place I've grown to love, and it's fun to look around and think about all we've done to fix it up. Brian and I did a lot of work on the house last summer before Brian moved in. It was a great time -- shared with lots of church friends and family pitching in. Here are few pics . . .

Before: Our Living Room

After: Our Living Room

Before: Our Downstairs Bathroom

After: Our Downstairs Bathroom

Before: Brian's area of the office

After: Brian's area of the office

Before: Our bedroom

After: Our bedroom

Well, don't worry . . . I'm feeling better today, after a week of antibiotics. It was a sinus thing.

Anyway, come visit us!!