It’s been a while!

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve blogged! Things get so busy when I’m concentrating on schoolwork and friends. Lots have happened in the last couple months… we moved into a little studio apartment on campus (that I LOVE) and Corey found a great job that he loves that we’re still thanking Jesus for.

I am really enjoying college and all that I’m learning. My favorite classes this semester are Bible Study Methods and Gospels. In my bible study methods class we are doing just like the title suggests – learning how to study the bible.

Now, the bible isn’t exactly a foreign concept to me. I grew up going to church, had Christians around me constantly, and even my grandfather and uncle have been pastors all my life. Yet still, I’ve never really learned how to study the bible. No one’s ever taught me.

I’ve heard that I should study the bible, but never how to actually go about doing it. This class is really helping with that and I’m fascinated with how much I’m learning, and I’m learning how much I don’t know! It’s quite humbling, to say the least.

I’m just about done with reading a book for this class called, “Living by the Book” by Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks.

This book has pretty much transformed how I read the bible and how I understand it. I recommend it for anyone that has never learned how to study the bible or that would just like to deepen their studying of the bible. It’s broken down into three major sections which are observation (what do you see), interpretation (what does it mean), and application (how to live it).

In the first couple chapters, the book explains why it’s so important to study the bible. Now, if you’re like me, you’ve had pastors tell you all your life that you need to be reading your bible…and blah blah blah, in one ear and out the other. However, it’s so true! Studying the bible is essential for our spiritual growth, maturity, and effectiveness. There’s a quote on page 24 that says, “The mark of spiritual maturity is not how much you understand, but how much you use. In the spiritual realm, the opposite of ignorance is not knowledge but obedience.”

Therefore, I’ve also learned that studying the bible doesn’t mean jack… unless I actually put it to use, which is the hardest part! It’s easy to read something and have the knowledge in my brain; it’s an entirely different ballgame when I let it change my actions, way of thinking, and most important of all, my heart.

I highly recommend “Living by the Book” and I’d be glad to lend it to someone once I’m finished reading it. Have a great spring break! =)

Re-visiting 2011 Goals & Making Some New Ones for 2012

Since 2012 just began, I wanted to take a quick look back at my goals from 2011 to see how I did. So, here they are:

1. Read through the entire bible.
2. Deepen my relationship with Jesus.
3. Make prayer a continual thing.
4. Save.
5. Do something crazy.
6. Continue my education.
7. Pray for Corey and I’s future.
8. Be less critical of myself and others.
9. Not get stressed when my house is a wreck.
10. Discipline myself.

I did really good on #2, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10. I feel like last year I got to know Jesus a whole lot better. Corey and I also were able to save money and learned a lot about being good stewards of it. We did something crazy…we moved back to Oregon and took a leap of faith when lots of things were saying that the “smart” thing to do would be to stay where we were. I got my Associate’s degree about 6 months sooner than I thought and was able to graduate in December. I continually prayed (and still do) about our future and where God wants to take us, and he has already taken us so far. I have been much less critical this year and have learned to let go a little more and just let things be. And as for disciplining myself, God has really taught me a lot. My habits with money have totally shifted since the beginning of last year and the things I once thought I needed don’t even come to mind anymore.

I didn’t do so good on reading the entire bible. For one, I should never have put that on myself… the bible is HUGE. Not only that, it is so full of things that can’t be understood with a quick reading. The scriptures are something that need to be dug into, and that is one of the reasons I’m excited to start college at Multnomah University to finish my undergrad. I’ll be able to really learn about what I’m reading and investigate in-depth. I’d like to say that I did well on sticking to my goal of continually praying last year, but I’d be lying. I believe that prayer is an important part of my life, but sometimes I think I underestimate the power that it has. This year I’d like to spend more time in prayer and get to know Jesus more than I do now.

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This year, I looked up some ways to make it easier to stick to my goals. One of the easiest ways to stay on track and to not end up disappointing yourself is to make small goals and deadlines along the way. Here are some of my resolutions that I hope to work towards over the course of 2012.

- My first one is probably the one that is on almost everyone else’s resolution list: lose weight. I would like to lose 5 lbs. by the end of March and 10 lbs. by the end of summer. 15 pounds doesn’t seem like that much weight, and it’s not, but it takes me forever to lose weight so I don’t want to strike a large number and be disappointed in myself when I don’t make my goal. To see results, I am going to start Weight Watchers, use their points system, and join a gym.

- Do at least five things on my bucket list.

- Try one new recipe per week. I love cooking!

- Gain a deeper understanding of Jesus’ love for me, by spending time with him.

- Finish reading the New Testament. I am a slow reader when it comes to the Bible.

- Exercise at least two times a week. Yeah I know, three to five times a week would be ideal, but I’m starting small. A little progress is much better than no progress.

- Be more a more generous and giving person. This is very hard to define with goals, but it is a mindset that I want to grow in over this next year.

- Eat out no more than three times a week. That includes fast food. Now, this will probably actually be the toughest for me. Corey and I eat fast food a lot, and it’s wreaking havoc on our health. It’s been very difficult to eat at home the last 6 months or so and we’ve made fast food a habit. In 2012, it needs to stop.

- Take trips with my honey. Even if they’re small, weekend trips. We really need to see more of God’s creation and enjoy life!

- Pay off at least a quarter of Corey’s student loans.

- Save at least 10% of our income.

- Be a better friend. This is also really hard to define and make goals for…so I’m just going to leave it at that. =)

- Take a risk.

- Volunteer my time to a cause I’m passionate about.

 “I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” -1 Corinthians 9:26

A Day in Southern Cal

Yesterday we visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley, CA.

This is Air Force One – The plane that Reagan and several other presidents flew on.

This is an actual piece of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was tore down in 1989 and was 104 miles long.

Gorgeous views of Simi Valley!

Love me some B & W!

We found a pretty little orange tree.

Corey had never seen a tumbleweed before… so he decided to hug it. Then got a splinter in his hand. Oops!

Hello Pacific Ocean! In Malibu, CA.

We headed on down to the Santa Monica Pier. It was pretty neat.

Saw a man dressed as a Gorilla…swaying back and forth to Christmas music. Not quite sure about that.

My mom & Steve on the pier.

Corey being artsy.

Me being artsy. These people looked cute. =)

Gorgeous beach view.

Corey loves In-N-Out, so after a couple of years he finally got to eat there again. The heavens rejoice.

The end!

Kentucky Memories – Part Two.

I used to love our drive home from work when we’d take the “back way.” There were horse farms everywhere and these original hand-built stone walls that were so beautiful. Sorry the photo is so blurry!

Last year Corey and I became chandlers! Candle-makers, that is. We bought a ton of wax, dyes, scents, and probably made hundreds of candles. Didn’t really make any money off of them, but we loved making them and had really good times together.

Our first pumpkin patch!

In Nov. 2010 I went by myself to surprise my mom in Oregon for about five days. Corey and I had never been apart for more than one day, so when I returned I opened the door of our home to find a runway of candles and rose petals.

He had bought me a beautiful diamond necklace, some pretty roses and some fancy wines. He had our song, Iris by the Goo Goo dolls playing when I came in and we danced together. It was such a romantic night and I will never forget it.

This is from Spring 2011. Here we are getting ready to sell just about everything in our house because we have decided to move to Oregon.

We always have lots of fun at Corey’s parent’s house. Especially when we got to aggravate Sam. =)

The last day in our empty house we took a few pictures. =)

This is the last photo with our house when we moved out at the end of June 2011. We had so many good times in that house and it was such a great experience that I will never forget!

And our journey in Kentucky ended with Corey graduating. He now officially has his BA in Journalism from the University of Kentucky.

This was last night; our last night in Kentucky for a while. These are the people I will miss the most – the people that have grown to be my close family, and I am so thankful for them in my life. Out of all the blessings that I’ve received over the last 4 years, Dee Dee and Richard have been the ones I’m most grateful for.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! I will definitely miss a lot of things about Kentucky, but most importantly I will miss a lot of great people. People that say “warsh” instead of “wash” and “torlet” instead of “toilet.” Regardless of their cooky accents, I’ve met a lot of extremely hospitable people that I have learned many lessons from. One being: enjoy life. Life is so short, it is but a breath. Enjoy it. Love others and let things go. Life will be over before you know it, so live it well.

A new chapter of our life new begins in Oregon. So long, Kentucky!

Kentucky Memories – Part One.

For the last 4 1/2 years, Kentucky has been my home. The entirety of our marriage has been lived in Kentucky, and we have made our life together here. I’m so excited to be with my family in Oregon again in a few weeks, and so pumped to have my amazing friends back, but this transition will definitely be bittersweet.

The last 4 years there’s been many ups and downs, but I’d like to show you some of my favorite parts that I will forever cherish, and what better way to show you them than with some photos!

I love it that I owned my first home when I was only 18. I think it’s a pretty cool part of our story. We loved that house and made SO many memories in it. We purchased it in August 2008, about a year after we got married.

In January 2009 we got our first puppy, Sam. She was so sweet and cuddly when she was little! She was a brat some days, but for the most part she was a super sweet dog.

This is out at my in-law’s house. They live on 28 acres and it’s always so peaceful and beautiful at night out there. I will miss it dearly.

Corey worked so hard at making our house a home. We spent countless hours painting, fixing drywall, updating, replacing flooring, etc. His parents also helped us a LOT with our house and I loved getting to know them so well during those times. This is a before of columns he and his dad made:

After!:

The first Thanksgiving meal I made just for Corey and I. We obviously had a lot of leftovers. =)

It’s a tradition: every year I take a photo of Corey with a nasty face putting the first ornament on the tree. Hahaha!

I loved having fun and goofing off with these two ladies at work!

I learned to really like football these past couple years…. mostly because Corey forced me to learn about it. Hahaha! You can see his Broncos’ schedule on his desk. =)

Almost every summer we go out on the boat on Green River Lake with Corey’s parents and it’s always lots of fun. Tubing is the best!

Last year Corey and I went with his parents to Louisville to see the play “Wicked” which was wicked-awesome. We also went on a lunch-cruise on the Ohio river, which is where this photo was taken. Good memories. =)

Part Two Coming Soon!

One Day At A Time

2011 has been a huge year for Corey and I in lots of different ways. We lost our jobs, finished school, sold our home, got new jobs, quit our jobs, and are now moving to Oregon in just two short weeks.

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned this year is to live one day at a time.

When I live my life one day at a time, I choose not to let the worries of tomorrow or the week or month ahead circle in my mind. I’m not saying that it’s bad to think about the future, but I am saying that it’s bad to worry about the future.

One of my favorite verses about worry is Matt. 6:24, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” If only we all lived like this all the time. I’m definitely not the best at not worrying, but I am getting better almost every day. Worry will never add a minute to my life, but it definitely takes minutes away.

Photo by: Stacee Hord

To me, when worry is in my life, it stems back to not trusting Jesus. If I truly trusted Jesus with my entire life, I would have no reason to worry. So, take Jesus at who he says he is. He will never fail you. He may not respond to your situation in the way that you think he should, but nonetheless, everything he does is done for your ultimate benefit.

So – what about the bad things that happen in life? Jesus is never the cause of the bad things in life. He would never purposely inflict pain on those he holds so dearly. I truly believe that when we cry, Jesus cries right along with us, sharing in our pain and sorrow.

When Jesus created the world, he gave us free will, and with the free will comes sin. Jesus will never cause heartache in your life, but when bad things do happen because of our or someone’s free will, know that everything can be turned around for good. God has a magnificent way of orchestrating your life in a way that will bring him glory in the end.

I have been able to learn to live one day at a time by totally trusting Jesus with every faucet of my life. Once we move, I will be starting a new school to finish out my bachelor’s degree and taking 17 credit hours – which is a crazy amount for me. Corey doesn’t have a job lined out in Oregon, but we are trusting that God will orchestrate our lives in the way he wants. Worry does no good. Just look at Matt. 6:30:

“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”

That’s enough evidence to convince me. Regardless of my circumstances, I will choose to trust Jesus and give him my worries. Living life one day at a time allows me to be present wherever I’m at and whomever I’m with. It helps me to make the most of every moment and not waste the precious time that I have on this earth.

So, my question to you is, what is it that you’re worrying about? What is it that you think is too difficult for God that you think you have to bear the burden of worry?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matt. 11:28.

Give your worries and cares to Jesus. Not only does he care for you, he doesn’t fall short on his promises; he will give you rest and arrange every detail of your life into his masterpiece.

Give Thanks.

I know, I know. I’m terrible. I totally dropped the ball on the photo challenge. What was I thinking though in starting that? I’m moving in less than 4 weeks and my last semester in community college is coming to a close. My life has been pretty busy for the last month and it’s only going to get busier until we move. So, I’m just going to forget the photo challenge and focus on what needs to get done. It was fun while it lasted! Unfortunately, I’ve always had trouble following through on things.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! My second favorite holiday of the year. I love it because it’s a great time to spend some quality time with friends and family without all of the pressure of giving gifts. You simply get time with people you love. Not to mention lots of good food. My favorite being ham and pretzel salad!

This Thanksgiving feels a lot different than the rest. It feels like I really need to cherish this time, since I will be moving soon. This year I’m especially thankful for my family. Both my side and Corey’s parents. This has been a particularly rough year for Corey and I, and our families have really been there for us when we needed them. Their generosity has been such a blessing in our lives and we are so, so grateful!

So, in honor of thanksgiving, here are some interesting thanksgiving facts that I found!

- Minnesota produces the most turkeys in America.

- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade first took place in New York City in 1924.

- Congress declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1941.

- The First Thanksgiving lasted for three days.

- Apparently turkey’s have heart attacks because when the Air Force was conducting tests and breaking the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead.

- Thomas Jefferson said that the idea of Thanksgiving was “the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard.”

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 10 – 13

Ok, so I’ve really been slacking on the photo challenge the last couple of days. I’ve been a little busy, so here are days 10 – 13!

 

A Childhood Memory
When I was little, The Little Mermaid was my FAVORITE movie. After all those years of watching it repeatedly, I can still remember the words to “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea.” And yes, this is the cover with the penis in the castle.

 

Something blue.

This photo is from July 2010 when Corey and I went to Cleveland, OH for our anniversary. We saw Switchfoot & the Goo Goo Dolls in concert and did some fun things around Cleveland. It was a strange city though – it seemed like a ghost town! We were there for 3 days, downtown in this big city and there weren’t very many people around, which we thought was weird. We still had a fun time though and made lots of great memories.

July 2010 Sunset in Cleveland, OH

This photo was also from our anniversary trip to Cleveland. We had just had a nice evening at The Melting Pot, our favorite *special* restaurant, and were driving back to our hotel when we saw how gorgeous the sky was and had to head up to the roof to get a better view. The water you see is Lake Erie… it was a beautiful night!

Yourself with 13 things

These are some of my favorite movies! P.S. I Love You, UP, The Notebook, The Ugly Truth, Elf, Mrs. Doubtfire, My Sister’s Keeper, Ghost Town, Juno, Bridesmaids, It’s Complicated, Eat Pray Love, and Inception!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day Nine

Day 9 of the photo challenge is “someone you love.”

This is my husband and my mom when her and Steve (my step dad) visited us in May of this year. We were playing mini-golf. =) These are two of the best people on this planet!

First off, I love my husband for so many reasons… He’s just a wonderful man in general, and I’m not even being bias! He really is… and he loves me with all his heart. He loves Jesus and wants to live his life for Him, doing whatever it is Jesus has planned for him. He’s compassionate, trustworthy, loyal, smart, honest, and a very hard worker who is such a great provider for me. I’m his number one priority and he would give his life for me without any hesitation. Plus, he’s the greatest friend I’ve ever had… Okay, okay, enough bragging, I know. But I think husbands sometimes get to hear more complaining than compliments and deserve to be recognized more often. So, there. =)

Secondly, my mother is just a beautiful woman, inside and out. She is caring, warm, generous, funny, and would do anything she could for me at any time. I love her greatly and I’m so blessed that God chose me to be her daughter. I’ve learned so much from her and I really admire what she does for a living. I’m surprised she’s still sane! She has run an in-home daycare since I was 1 year old and she’s still doing it. She’s been able to make a difference in the lives of so many children and families and she keeps at it every day. She practically raised me herself and did such a good job at taking care of me and helping me to see who Jesus really is. I love her dearly.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day Eight

Today is “a bad habit.” I could choose many things that are bad habits in my life that I need to break… like eating too much sugar & junk food, biting my nails, procrastinating, being too critical, avoiding things, watching The Office too much, etc. etc. etc.  But, I chose this to represent my bad habit:

I probably spend way too much time surfing the internet and it’s become a bad habit. I read a lot of blogs, foodie blogs, and my new love is Pinterest! After getting sucked in to a really good blog or Pinterest rant, I can spend several hours browsing without even realizing how much time I’ve wasted. I think I really need to start managing my time spent online better, and I think a good way to do that may be to set myself a time limit and when the time’s up, I have to stop browsing and start doing something productive. I think I’ll try it tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be able to get a bunch of homework done!