Wednesday, August 22, 2007

School is upon us

So this is only about... well my second post. I just really haven't taken the time to sit down and blog this summer and Mary has done such a good job of keeping things current so why worry about it.
Well I start school this week and I imagine it will be a little something like this

Well maybe not exactly exactly like that, that was only about 18 years ago when I was in second grade (cute huh)
I will be starting classes at Philadelphia Biblical U, on my way to earning two degrees, one in PE and a second in Bible. I have been thinking a lot this week about the amazing work God has been doing in my life. Only a few years ago I was thinking I wouldn't go to college at all and just yesterday I thought "Wow, I will probably end up with two master's degrees" Amazing! God has been so good to bring me from where I was to where I am. And He is not done, never will be, until perfection comes.
So I have a full class load, 18 credits (yikes) I am excited and probably a little nervous. I have never taken that many credits in one semester before and I will probably have the same load every semester from here on out. I know I'll get through it, lots of work though.

In other news, I was ordained as a deacon in our church two weeks ago. Yet another example of God's faithfulness and sovereignty. Everything in our lives works according to His plan. Even when we are far off from Him he is working bringing life events our way that will mold us into the person He has called to serve Him. Amazing God!
I have been teaching a really interesting Sunday school class this summer to 5th-7th graders. It is a video series that explores ancient Israel to see how Jesus impacted the culture of His day, and how understanding that culture can help us to understand the Bible better, and how Jesus' ministry can effect our culture today. There have been some really interesting lessons that deal with David and the places where he fled from Saul and how those experiences may have shaped his writing in the Psalms. Or the woman subject to bleeding (Mark 5) reaching for what our English Bibles call the hem of Jesus' garment. But really she is reaching for the "sisit" or tassels of his clothing. She knew that it was said the Messiah's sisit would be able to heal. So more than just believing him to be a prophet or a great man she is saying she believes Jesus to be the Christ, Peter's own confession does not come till Mark 8. As always when I teach a Sunday school class I end up learning more than anyone through the whole process of preparing for and teaching a lesson and the feedback I get from students. It has been a great blessing.


The first wedding Mary and i went to together

Me Reading at my friend Doug's wedding

Our Wedding

Mike and Jenna's wedding this past weekend!!!

We all had a great time at the wedding! They did such a good job putting it all together. The weekend was actually pretty action packed it included:

A groomsmen golf outing

Last minute alterations

An intense game of Guess Who

A little pre wedding bike hike

Our church providing the wild section

And the party afterwards

It was such a great day and we are so happy for them

Well it is time to go I have made about the longest post in history here, make up for lost time I suppose. BYE!

Their Wedding

We had such a great weekend celebrating Mike & Jenna's wedding. We stayed at Jenna's parent's house in the Bedford area (in PA) last Thursday night and helped tie up some last-minute wedding stuff. I had a little deja-vue over the weekend, remembering wedding planning . . . it was just 7 1/2 months ago. On Friday, the groomsmen golfed while the girls did girly stuff. It was so nice to have a day off from work . . . and to spend with girls . . . and to get pampered. It was also fun getting to know Jenna's extended family more, quickly becoming friends. The rehearsal and dinner went well on Friday night. I had Jenna's camera all weekend so I was a picture-feind.

On Saturday -- the day of the wedding -- Brian and I enjoyed a more leisurely morning, knowing that the wedding wasn't until 2pm. We got up and headed to Panera (which I had hunted down in advance). I of course had a coupon for us to use too -- saving those pennies :). We then got ready at the hotel, got food for the bridal parties to eat at the church, and made our way to the church. It couldn't have been a more perfect day weather-wise: sunny, no humidity, and low 70s.

Cheese'in for the camera

I became the official boutenierre and corsage pinner . . . needing to pin about 40 people. And, I was doing finishing touches around the church, helping whoever needed help, and clicking pictures. The ceremony was wonderful -- totally them. They walked out of the church to a song from Shrek. You must know Jenna is a Disney LOVER!!! There were numerous Disney-touches.

The cute flower girl and ring bearer
The bridal party
The Hand Clan
Us, pre-dancing

The reception was at the hotel where all the guests were staying -- we loved that. We got Mike and Jenna checked into their hotel suite and took their bags to their room before the reception. Then, the celebrations began -- lots of food, dancing, chatting. It was great to see some old friends too. Then, everyone went to the indoor pools and hot tub after the wedding ended. I sure needed that hot tub for my sore muscles -- too much dancing (combined with high-heels).

Bust'in a move with Joy and Megan
Me and Jenna
Us, post-dancing :)

Sunday, we headed to the bed & breakfast in Ephrata. It was a dreary day, but we didn't care. We definitely snoozed a bit. We ate at a great restaurant and saw Bourne Ultimatum. It was truly relaxing. And, we had a jucuzzi tub in our suite -- absolute bliss. We enjoyed the homemade breakfast on Monday too.

Monday, we stopped at my grandparent's house on our way back home. We had a chance to have lunch with my grandfather while my grandmother had speech therapy (a result of her stroke). It was great to catch up with him.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend -- rich with family, friends, and relaxation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

the quilt is finished!

Within the last week or so, I was able to finish the quilt I have been working on (all summer) for Brighton Smith. It was strangely (and perfectly) timed for his 2nd birthday. I don't think I ever had intentions of it taking me two years to finish it. It was so fun to celebrate Brighton's birthday with the Smith's last Friday night. It was hilarious to watch Brighton -- enthralled with the littlest things and just happy to be with his little buddies. It was also a nice surprise to see Rachie-Racherton (Rachel Watanabe) there -- a friend from Covenant who recently moved up here to attend Westminster Seminary. It was such a fun time.

C'mon, everyone blow!

Ahh, birthday cake!

Me and Levi

AC and me

Rach and me

This past weekend

I had a chance to do some cooking -- made a fruit pizza for our church picnic. And, we made some yummy blueberry pancakes for breakfast on Saturday.

I also had a chance to spend some time with my sister, Joy on Friday night. We hunted for some fabric -- that I could use to make her a duvet for her comforter. For her polka-dot room! It will be her birthday present. Then, we got some Starbucks drinks and headed home to watch Nannie McPhee. It was a fun sister night.

Brian and I also finished all of our wedding album selections, and I very happily dropped off the pictures to our photographer. It had been hanging over my head for a while. I'm excited to get back our finished product . . . about 8 months later.

A Hair Cut

So, I took the plunge and got a few hairs snipped . . . or maybe 5 inches. The before and after: (you can't really see the difference all too well here)

Well, we are off to Mike and Jenna's wedding this weekend. We can't wait -- it will be such a blast! Brian has been perfecting his best-man speech. After the wedding, Brian and I are headed to a bed and breakfast (Donecker's) -- Sunday night into Monday. (It's our first B&B together). Here is a picture of the room we will be staying in . . . and we're getting it 50% off -- better yet!

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Us Time

Memory Lane: The first picture of Brian and me together - July 2004

It seems like life blazes by sometimes and schedules can be so busy. And, I am so thankful for the times that Brian and I decide to spontaneously throw our schedules out the window and do something fun together.

Last Thursday night, on my way home from working out, I called Brian knowing that he was probably starting dinner for us at home. But, just before I called I was thinking how we both wouldn't get to see each other much over the weekend because of Brian's brother's bachelor "party" or weekend really. (The guys did stuff together Friday night and all day Saturday . . . a movie, poker, and paint ball . . . I'm glad they had good bonding time together . . . they loved it).

I can't help but share a picture of Mike with his groomsmen from Saturday:

But, knowing that the weekend would blaze by, I thought why not have a "date night" tonight? Forget my schedule. I could get my stuff done on Friday night. So, we enjoyed a wonderful chicken parmesan dinner and some homemade cookies and milk. Somehow, cookies and milk are so wonderful on a hot summer night.

Afterward, we headed to the movies and saw I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It provided some good laughs (and little skweemishness at times), but we enjoyed it. Since we don't have central air conditioning in our house, any place with air conditioning can be a blessing in this humidity.

Another time that Brian and I get to enjoy together is breakfast and devotions every day. I get up before Brian right now with our schedules (but that will change in a few weeks when school starts for him again). I get the coffee going and get breakfast on the table, while catching a bit of the news. Then, Brian and I enjoy breakfast together and have devotions. Right now we are reading through Luke. I treasure this time together so much -- starting off the day in the Word, praying for our work ahead, sharing things on our hearts, challenging each other, . . . I am so thankful that we are committed to this early morning time. It's neat to see how the Scripture passages comes to mind in different ways throughout the day.

Here's a view of the usual 6:45am breakfast time:
(sometimes I'm more creative, but we sure love Kashi Go Lean :)

I am so blessed by Brian . . . and couldn't be more thankful for a godly husband. God is good!

For other couples out there: how do you balance time in the Word and praying together . . . and time in the Word and praying in a personal way? Being married, I often find this balance has new dynamics . . . which can be a blessing and a challenge. When do you usually spend time together or individually reading/praying in your day?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Chocolate chip cookie, anyone?

On Saturday, we had the end-of-the-season softball picnic at our house. Little Sarah definitely enjoyed her chocolate chip cookie. She's the coach's daughter, and she is such a cutie.

The softball team this year was unique -- our church combined with another church's team. I really enjoyed getting to know the other wives and players. And, it made for a large group of guys to draw from for players. So, on Saturday, it was great to hang out with these new friends -- about 50 of us in total. On our 2.5 acres, we had 2 volleyball nets, a horseshoe pit, a wiffle ball game, 2 tents, and picnic tables. This was really the first time we utilized our backyard. This is more land than Brian and I ever dreamed of. It looks like we have wheat fields futher back, and I always joke with Brian that he should go harvest me some grain.

Last week, Brian helped with our church VBS. This year, it was at a local park, and we sought to draw out children from a local apartment complex. We had a good number of kids who joined us, and one family who joined us for worship on Sunday. God is good! Too bad we don't have any pictures of Brian -- all decked out in his hill-billy gear for the different skits.

This week, we've been helping Mike and Jenna with some of their wedding preparations. On Monday night, I went through a big check list with Jenna, and then we picked up her altered dress. It looks great! We're so excited for them -- just 17 days away. Brian is the best man, and they actually have the bachelor party this weekend. This is a picture for our wedding with them: