Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why Women Cry

Last night, my husband and I had a fight, and I cried. Three things seem to push and shove their way between us, causing tension. Every time, these three hiccups end up making me cry. 

1. Invalidated feelings
2. A forced apology
3. Awkward endings to the argument

These situations flow one by one when my husband and I fight. And let me add, we rarely argue unless these processions occur after I've expressed how my feelings have been hurt. Hence, I'm already feeling vulnerable and sensitive - pleading for his love. Without going into great detail about the context of our fights (because those serve as bigger and better blog posts), I always end up sulking in the bathroom, watching my snotty nose run in the mirror and choking over sobs. 

The funny thing is, I don’t dramatize myself to try to make my husband apologize faster or make him feel sorry for me. I’m not dramatizing myself at all. That’s just me. I can’t help it. I’m dramatic.

I’m dramatic about my husband. He always asks me why I’m still crying after we’ve made up. I cry over the fact we wasted time fighting and arguing while we could have been spending that time laughing or cuddling or anything else positive. And it makes me sad, so I cry.

I cry because every time we fight, I feel wounded. Those hurt feelings will recover over time, but girls need their men to comfort them and tell them it’s okay. It’s like a mourning period. For some of us – ME – every fight is like that. I hope that men will know that us women only do that because we love our husbands so very much.

Monday, November 28, 2011

50 Reasons I'm Thankful . . . After Thanksgiving

After reading Marv Knox's 100 Reasons to Be Thankful on the FaithVillage blog, I was inspired. I originally wanted to write a long list of things I'm grateful for before Thanksgiving. Once again, it came and went quicker than I'd prefer. But that's okay. I'll make it work.

Thanksgiving is more than a holiday. It's an attitude that we should put effort into maintaining each and every day - not merely once a year. While that seems cliché, it's true.

Here's 50 reasons I'm thankful - even after Thanksgiving.

  1. My strong, handsome, faithful husband Micah
  2. My ever-expanding, crazy and beautiful family
  3. True-blue friends
  4. Bambi & Bananas - the cutest pups in the world
  5. Thanksgiving left-overs. Mmmm :)
  6. Treadmills, ellipticals and stair climbers - especially on days it's too cold to run outside
  7. Gateway Church, Pastor Robert Morris, and all the people involved
  8. Pumpkin spice creamer
  9. Days to sleep in
  10. Frozen yogurt
  11. Kidd Kraddick in the morning
  12. Stevia - my miracle sweetener
  13. Life group on Tuesday nights
  14. Leggings, Jeggings and sweat pants
  15. Jason's Deli salad bars
  16. Facebook
  17. Apple products
  18. Reruns of Law & Order Special Victims Unit
  19. Scented candles
  20. Soft toilet paper
  21. Our Home Depot interest-free credit card (without it, we'd live in a shack)
  22. 89.7 Power FM - The Christian Rock music station
  23. Hot bubble baths and long showers
  24. Eye contacts because I'd break my glasses if I wore them everyday
  25. Photoshop
  26. Chlorine to keep our pool clean
  27. Socks
  28. Air conditioning
  29. Cereal and vanilla almond milk
  30. Baylor University and the people who make it such a great school
  31. The 2011 Baylor Bears football team and what they've done to make up for the four crappy years I cheered them on
  32. Robert Griffin III - I might as well keep it going, right?
  33. BPM on Sirius XM - our go-to techno, party music :)
  34. Sweet potatoes
  35. The colors pink and purple
  36. Pony-tail holders and big clippies - I have a lot of hair
  37. Sunglasses
  38. Warm blankets
  39. TV
  40. Texas professional sports
  41. Permanent markers - My handwriting looks so much better with them.
  42. Flip-flops
  43. Garlic salt - That stuff makes anything taste better.
  44. That my husband can fix anything.
  45. Soap
  46. Self tanner
  47. Cell phones
  48. My wonderful job at FaithVillage and the positive people with whom I work
  49. My parents and the amazing job they did raising four kids up to be strong Christ-followers who know how to love others
  50. My salvation, relationship with God and how He blesses me daily.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Preparing My Heart

Day 23 of my "Devotional Readings for Mothers" ring of cards that I found in my office, probably left by someone who used to work here, includes the following encouragement.

Keep on loving when your love is not returned. Keep on praying when it seems they are beyond hope. Choose joy, choose prayer, and choose thanksgiving in all circumstances. Your faithfulness in love and prayer is a lifeline for your child.

Although I'm not yet a mother, I find myself looking at these inspiring devotionals all the time. Maybe it's the spark of energy I get from reading something positive, or maybe it's a desire deep in my heart to be a mother. All I know is God is preparing my heart to be a nurturer, a prayer warrior, an encourager, and like Him, someone who loves unconditionally.

My own mother has exemplified Day 23's quote throughout my life. I've learned from her example that a mother must put her children before herself. Prayer before, during and after your kids are born is especially important. To be faithful that your love for your children will endure throughout their lives is a reflection of a mother's faithfulness in Christ.

I'm learning to apply these principles in my life outside of motherhood. We can love like Jesus without yet being a mother. I like to think I do this with the babies in my life at this point. Their names are Bambi and Bananas. Their cries wake me up in the middle of the night, as I endure the cold concrete beneath my feet, sleepily encouraging them to hurry up and potty so we can crawl back in bed for a couple more hours of sleep.

I can't wait to be a mother, but I realize God's preparing my heart in His own timing. We all continue to grow, as long as we keep loving and praying, choose joy and prayer, and stay faithful in God's love for us. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Embrace the Season God Gives Us

As the green trees of summer begin to transform into waves of beautiful red and orange and the weather slowly but surely cools off, I think about this time of year and the lineup of events taking over my calendar.

My week days are filled with fall festival volunteer time slots and scheduled dinners with friends. My weekends are filled with birthday parties, holiday gatherings and baby showers. I remember being a kid in school, counting down the days until summer, when life seemed to pause - if only for a few months, it was enough. No responsibilities, no bills, no plans. Just time. Now even my summers are jam-packed.

What I'm learning is that no matter how hard I try to slow down time, I can't. The more I try to make time for this or that, the more stressed out I get because the days never last long enough to do everything on my mental task list.

You know it's bad when set a reminder to "call your friend Kara" in my Google calendar just so I remember to do it on my way home from work.

I truly believe that this upcoming season, despite all of the holidays that accompany it, should be a time of rest and peace. Sure, my plans for the holidays include grocery shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, cleaning and event planning. But I'm going to stop trying to make time, and instead, just enjoy it. Whatever I don't finish today will still be there tomorrow.

God has given us this season to rejoice in His story. Fall is a time to celebrate God's incalculable power, for He knows how many leaves fall from the trees. He designed each and every one of them. Thanksgiving not only symbolizes our ancestors' gratitude for their harvest and new home, but also gives us another excuse to let our hair down, hug somebody and tell them how they make our life sweeter. And what better time to rest than at Christmas? It's cold, icy and everyone's baking something in the kitchen.

God wants us to crawl up in His lap and rest in his arms. His peace is all around us - we just have to embrace the season.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Things I've Learned After 5 Months Married

Reposted from FaithVillage. See original post here.

To some, my husband and I have been married for only five months. To my husband and me, we say, “Wow! It’s already been five months!”

Before our midsummer wedding, which, by the way, sparkled with hundreds of candles, bedazzled flowers and pink glitter, my husband and I dated for five years. Enduring high school, college and post-graduation still standing beside one another, I felt pretty confident I was ahead of the game in the “married world.” I thought I knew everything about my husband – what foods he liked, what made him happy, what made him tick, which teams he roots for, how he likes to eat popcorn every night after dinner… But what I didn’t realize was that after our fairytale wedding ended, I’d begun the real journey to discovering him.

Now after five months of marriage, we’ve bought a house, totally renovated it, and officially joined a couples’ life group at our church. More importantly, after five months of marriage, God has weighted five big concepts about loving relationships on my heart. While there are many, many things I’ve yet to learn, I believe these concepts are continuing to shape me into the wife God wants me to be for my husband.

1. Enjoy each other’s passions together.

“Why does everything you want to do involve either hunting, mud or danger?”  I often ask my husband.

It’s rare for people who have nothing in common to have successful marriages. Yet, that doesn’t mean good marriages involve both parties having exactly the same passions. Despite my initial hesitation to many of the deer lease invitations I’ve received from my husband I’m learning when I spend quality time doing the things he loves, and doing them with a joyful attitude, he expresses his love for me even more. With compromise and humility, God softens both our hearts and makes us more sensitive to each other’s needs.

2. Listen, talk, listen, listen, talk, listen, listen…

One of my biggest struggles is containing the nagging scream in my throat when my husband looks past my moving lips and towards the 60-inch plasma screen behind me.
Men need side-by-side time, and women need eye-to-eye time. Our life group leader shared this little jewel of information with us, and it couldn’t be more spot-on.

 “Eye contact, Hunny,” I say as I force a smile through gritted teeth and gently punch his shoulder.

Both spouses need to actively listen and invite one another to talk. When my husband asks me how I’m feeling or what I think about something, it makes me feel valued and appreciated. I’ve learned that when I listen to him and engage in conversations more on his timing, he feels honored and respected. Communication is huge in relationships – especially successful marriages.

3. Purposefully protect your relationship.

One of the most important tips we took from premarital counseling was to discuss our family’s priorities, values and dreams. It seems so simple but involves serious decision-making.

First of all, we chose to put God first. That means we have to constantly be evaluating whom we hang out with, which movies we watch, where we go, and many other components of our life that sometimes have to change. We plan on spending time together and promise to be faithful to each other in every aspect of our life. We respect each other’s concerns about friends and/or coworkers. We make decisions together and hold each other accountable.

4. Pray together all the time.

Prayer is easily the best way for me to begin the day. It’s how I communicate with God, and if I start the day off that way, then I’m set. Prayer is also the best way to end a fight.

When we were in college (so less than a year ago), our arguments could last for days – you know, the kind that go on because you may have forgotten what you’re mad about, but you know you’re right, so you don’t want to give in?

Now I’ve learned that no matter what you’re fighting about, if your first reaction is to pray, it’s like throwing a big bucket of water on fire. The more we pray together, the more intimate we become. There’s nothing more attractive to me than seeing my husband vulnerably humble himself to the Lord and lead me in prayer.

5. Become his best servant.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned after five months of marriage is that God calls me to be His servant and also my husband’s. I first felt convicted of being selfish in our relationship, when I found myself tattle-telling on Micah to God. I’d cry in the bathroom, watching my pitiful self sob in the mirror, and wait for God to make my husband apologize. Now, it’s definitely a process. I get the urge every now and then to return to my restroom refuge when we argue, but I’m learning to have a servant’s heart – that God’s way for my husband is far better than my own. 

I’m reminded that marriage is the reflection of the holy union between Jesus and the church. Taking that to heart, I naturally want to be the best wife possible. However, my efforts to do so sometimes lead me to be nagging or controlling.

But God is good. He continues to open my spiritual eyes to His desires for me as a wife. Having a servant’s heart is more than just cooking and cleaning and planning. It’s putting your spouse ahead of you in reverence to the Lord, and ultimately, it means trusting God. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Big Picture

Store up your treasure in Heaven.

We've all heard that token of advice before. That simple sentence really came to life in my eyes in all of maybe five minutes.

I didn't want to listen.

A few days ago, I traveled to Atlanta for the Catalyst conference - one of the biggest gatherings of church leaders in the world. On the second afternoon of the conference, some volunteers from a ministry called The 410 Bridge visited our busy booth. I was tired, hungry and sick of talking to people. The last thing I wanted to do was to be caught in a sales pitch by someone else.

But I'm glad I did.

The volunteers explained how they were taking up letters to kids in Africa. All you had to do was write a short line of encouragement on a dry erase board. They took your picture holding up the board with your message, and they'd send it to a child in Africa.

This is the photo of the boy to whom my letter was sent. I received the photo from The 410 Bridge ministry team within about 15 minutes. And all I had to do was jot down a few lines of encouragement.

As a writer (and sometimes over-the-top sappy, sentimental female), the marker kept dancing on the dry erase board, and I didn't want to stop.

In the midst of my pitiful conversation with myself about how exhausted I was, God sunk my heart with humility.

He dropped this beautiful, smiling face in my inbox - along with a humbling sense of peace. By stopping what I was doing and taking a moment to bless someone else, I'm storing up my treasure in Heaven. And there's nothing more important than blessing someone else. After all, that's how we are blessed in return. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finding Your Identity: Breaking the Cheereotype

Reposted from FaithVillage - see original post here.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37 NLT
In high school I was a cheerleader for all four years, spending long hours after school painting signs, selling raffle tickets, and choreographing half-time shows. I absolutely loved being down on the field, looking up in the stands, smiling and yelling with all my spirit. I wore the uniform and carried the pom poms. I led the pep rallies and danced at games.
For two years, I managed to juggle competitive cheerleading with my school commitments, but I decided to give it up for another sport I loved, which happened to be slightly different than cheerleading. In the spring of my freshman year, I tried out for softball, and it rocked my world.
“What is a cheerleader doing here?” one of the girls said as I walked into the locker room on the first day of try-outs. “Is this girl for real?” she laughed.
I swallowed my nerves, pulled up my knee-high, hot pink socks and grabbed my glove. It was going to be a long week.
Jumping FieldsI attended a 5A high school in Texas, a designation given to the largest schools in the state. It’s very rare for students to play more than one sport, if they play at all—much less a cheerleader who wants to play softball too. I found out later that the varsity softball coach had been talking to my club coach about moving me straight to the varsity team as a freshman, which didn’t settle well with the senior girls.
“She thinks she’s going to play with us on Varsity? Are they kidding?” the girls sneered.
Even the other cheerleaders thought I was crazy to go out for softball.
“So why are you trying out again?” They’d ask me at the end of practice, sitting in a circle, giggling about a boy as I prepared myself to morph into my tomboy alter ego.
“I love softball like I love cheerleading, y’all!” I’d say. “Plus, it’s bigger than just making the team now. I have to break these girls’ perceptions of us cheerleaders.”
After three nights of riding in my mom’s car when she picked me up, bawling about how I didn’t want to finish try-outs because the girls hated me, I made it to the locker room on the last day. Ripping out my leopard print bow (from cheer practice before), I threw on my cleats and prayed silently to God.
Lord, I’m not ready to be on varsity. I don’t want to give up, though. Please work this out for me. Give me peace and let me just kill ‘em with kindness.
At the end of the day, they announced who made varsity, and they didn’t call my name. A sigh of relief surged through my body, but not for long. I still wanted to be on the team. I held my breath. Finally, they came to me and asked me if I’d be okay with playing on JV.
Okay with it? I was thrilled! Even though I hadn’t gotten much interaction with the JV girls, I knew it would be a better fit for me.
Looking Past the CheereotypeI played softball through the year and into the next, making new friends and learning about myself through it all—what God was truly calling me to be. I wasn’t just a cheerleader or just a softball player. I was a friend, a learner, an encourager, a stumbler—a girl simply trying to follow Jesus.
High school is tough. There are real mean girls (and boys, too)! Finding your identity doesn’t have to depend on which sport you play or who your friends are. Self-discovery is a process, and it’s accompanied by confrontations that test your faith, determination and trust in God. When I reflect on this memory, it seems so trivial. I don’t know why everything is magnified in high school, but maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it makes you stronger, so that you can look back and know that if God can take you through that, He can carry you through anything.
So, tell your friends, tell your kids, tell your siblings: Don’t judge others. Just because they wear a uniform, play an instrument or study nonstop doesn’t mean that’s all they have to offer. To this day, I continue being a cheerleader at heart and play on a community softball team, hoping to bridge the gaps among stereotypes. My hope is that people will begin to look past the pom poms, glasses, acne, helmet or whatever else we seem to judge others by so that we can see the light inside each and every one of us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When Two or More Are Gathered in My Name

My husband and I had our second meeting with our new "Young Couples" life group last night. The leaders introduced a discussion on why it's so important for married couples to pray together. Although we've valued prayer in our marriage and agree that it's extremely important in fostering spiritual growth, it really hit home last night.

My biggest nag at my husband revolves around communication. Prayer is a form of communication, and while we pray together about once a day, it's usually something quick and detached. I believe our lack of intimacy with God as "one" has made me feel spiritually disconnected with my husband, thus propelling me to nag him that we have to communicate more. Last night, my eyes were opened to that issue in our relationship.

My husband talked to me about how his eyes were opened to a different light - which, by the way, is just so neat - God speaking to each of us with a different message and both bringing us closer together. My husband told me how he felt like God was calling him to humble himself when he prayed. Prayer is the ultimate act of humility. You surrender all your fleshly thoughts and expose your weaknesses to both God and your spouse by communicating through prayer.

I like to remind Micah to try to be in a constant conversation with the Lord, his prayer never ceasing. I guess that's the communication major in me showing up. Yet, I truly believe this helps you as an individual build that foundational relationship with God, which is especially important for men since they're given the role as the spiritual leader of the household.

I encourage you husbands to humble yourselves and pray with your wives. And my hope for us wives is to continually encourage your husbands to lead the prayers and speak openly with one another. In Matthew 18: 19-20, God tells us that He will be with us when we pray together. What more could we ask for? Guys, if it means anything to you - girls are often turned on and highly attracted to their man when they lead a prayer... or maybe that's just me. ;-) 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Making a Comeback

The Dallas Cowboys did it, and so can I.

I'd like to say I've been on a sabbatical, but that'd be lying. It's been two whole months since my last post. Where does the time go, people? I've read all those resources on how a good writer/blogger must stay active on his or her blog, posting articles in a timely pattern and on schedule. I've even tweeted and reposted them. Part of my job at FaithVillage is finding those articles and good bloggers! Nevertheless, I'm making a comeback.

Isn't that a good feeling - getting back up and standing tall after you've felt beaten down, dodging punch after punch, feeling weak and exhausted? Lately, I've felt like I can't catch up. Time just keeps passing me by and the more I try to hold on to it, the more I think about it slipping through my fingers, giving myself a big K.O.

The good thing about comebacks is that you don't have to be the biggest and baddest dude out there to do it. Actually, God calls us to be like children, eager to seek His help and mighty hand. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that life is not a fight to get the most stuff done, but rather a chance to serve others while we're on this earth. Our time should be spent building our faith and surrendering to God, so He can train us to be like Him.

So here it goes - my comeback - at least my comeback for this week. I'm sure I'll have many, many more to report. Remember, God did not make us perfect, but He perfectly made us. And made us to need him. I'll be the first to admit, I need Him all the time.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Praying for My Partner

"How's the married life?"

That's the question I get asked once every two days, and I'll probably keep getting asked that until someone else in our family gets hitched. When I ask myself that, I can honestly answer that it's great - amazing - fun - and exciting.

But I'm not naive. Bumps and bruises are bound to come, and I have to prepare myself as a wife, a woman and a Child of God. Growthtrac.com delights my day with a short and simple list of bulleted notes about marriage. They call them "Marriage Minutes," and every day, they inspire me.

So, I thought I'd share today's:

Praying For Your Husband

 • Pray for him to hear the applause from heaven

 • Pray for his prayer life and for his faithfulness to study the Word of God

 • Pray about ways that you might stimulate him to talk about his faith

 • Pray that he will establish a few close relationships with godly men who will encourage him and hold him accountable, men with whom he can be honest about his heart and his needs, men who will stand with him during good times and bad

 • Pray that God will continue to keep the communication open between your husband and your children, if you have them. Pray that he will be a loving and gentle father. Pray for your own sensitivity in seeing ways that you can encourage this.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Do Humans Want to Be Bad?

I'm a good girl. But I still find myself wanting to do bad things. Why, oh why, do humans want to be bad?

I struggle with road rage and rolling my eyes and rebelling against authority. I let a few cuss words slip past my tongue when I stub my toe. I let Micah take bites off my plate but really I'm bitter about it inside. I get on Facebook too much. I look at myself in the mirror too much. I laugh at movies that I would not want Jesus to watch with me. And randomly, it will hit me -- I'll stop and ask myself, "Why are you being bad?"

Even though I know God calls us to be like Him, and I know what His Word says, I'm still a sinner, and I'll still be bad. The Lord so gently offers me grace over and over again. And boy, am I so thankful for that!

Although everyone has a little something bad inside them, the difference between those who strive to be good and those who just don't give a flip is the sense of conviction that God puts on our hearts. Every time I have one of those moments of reflection, I'm growing. Spiritual movement is very important to me. I don't like to feel stagnant. I want my faith to be moved.

It's moments like these when God's stirring something in my spirit. I can appreciate being bad and know God loves me no matter what.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Renovation Doozies

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes.... a house full of saw dust and half-finished floors and unopened wedding gifts scattered everywhere. Oh, the married life! Micah and I have created quite a set of memories already. This past weekend was very productive for us, as far as progressing our house renovations. We invited some friends and family over to help us paint/faux our living room and kitchen, and let me tell you - it turned into quite the party.

Paint was dropped. Sponges were tossed. Clothes were ruined. Pizza and paint mix pretty well, I suppose.

After cleaning up all the sponges and spilled paint, our friends left, and Micah and I began working on the laminate flooring for our living room. (We got a super-nice deal at Floor Decor - only $0.49/square foot!) And when I say we worked on the floor, I really mean Micah worked on the floor. I attended him with fresh peach tea and arranged my candles, photos and other knick-knacks in our bathrooms, since they're the only half-way complete rooms in our house.

But doesn't that still count? I mean I stayed up until 2 a.m. with him.

Our house is actually coming together now. With paint on the walls and floor beneath our feet, it's starting to look pretty good - if I do say so myself.

God has truly blessed me... us. Honestly, Micah and I have been together so long now, I didn't expect to feel much different after we got married. But I'm blown away by the sense of passionate love I have for him, and him for me. It just goes to show that God's Word is truly living, and no matter how strong we think we are, there's always room for growth and blessing. If we walk by faith and trust the Lord, then it will be reflected in every area of our lives.

Plus, the whole sunburn thing is over - and that really makes me feel blessed. Ha!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Wedding in a Nutshell

December 2010
Raccoons replace Kara, my former roommate, after moving back home.

March - Current
Discover fleas on Bambi and all of the other 102 animals. Tried pills, drops, baths, dips and nothing works. Yes, we are infested.

May 12
Purchased our first house... signing our youth and fun money away forever.

May 14 - Couples' Shower
Spent all night hearing random people being invited to my wedding, consoling my friend in the bathroom, and arguing with Micah over his womanizing brother. Don't mention this one either. It may get ugly.

June 2
Played fist softball game at our city coed league and pulled a muscle in my back. Freaking out because I couldn't walk normal for two days.

June 4
Micah finds out he will be billed $1600 for his roommate's lack of payment from his prior apartment lease that ended in January... He's super pissed and raises he11.

June 6
Sunburn from Texas Tan ghetto beds and my overkill attempts at versa spa-ing make me look like a redheaded Mexican freak child. Oh and I came back from Mexico lighter than I was when I went... dang chlorine.

June 7
Started my period and lasted three days. Scared to go to Dr. Thielen, my mom's OBGYN because I had to go when I was 12 years old, and it scarred me for life.

June 10
Realize only half our flowers were delivered and can't find anymore. Traveled to three different Costco's to get enough random bouquets. Nice.

June 11 - The Day
Mom fell in garage that morning. Dad asked if he can change out of his tux. Half my family left for pictures at the church. Mom told Dallas, my brother, and Stephen, another groomsman, to go to the liquor store after the ceremony, making them late to pictures at reception. I found out later that Mom got in fight with security over a bottle of Jagermeister at reception, and it's confiscated. Best day of my life. Seriously.

June 12
We're approached by a manager at the Hilton telling us about one of our guests - a woman - at our wedding who threw a fit over the Jager. We're embarrassed after she reports that "this woman was demanding that she have her liquor back because she was paying for this whole wedding." Can't find half the decor from the wedding and lost our photobooth scrapbook.

June 13-20 - The Honeymoon
Pouring raining the day we arrive. Flight's delayed. Transportation carrier is confused. Micah gets dehydrated and we spend four hours at the Amerimed Hospital in Cancun. Only brought two tops and seven different pairs of shorts. Rains another two days. Stand in line two hours trying to check out and miss our buss to the airport. Take taxi because the people are freaking us out that we'll b late. Wait five and a half hours at the airport with nothing to do but write this blog post.


Thanks for listening/reading.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pre-Wedding Peep Show

I've recently been told I should write a novel about the events leading up to my wedding this Saturday. I couldn't agree more. However, blogging is free and therapeutic and less stressful (which is my favorite phrase at the moment), and I think I should wait until after the honeymoon to see what kinds of catastrophes will occur in the next few days...

When I say "catastrophes," I know I'm being dramatic. I'm very thankful for all the ways the Lord has blessed me. It's just those little life-pinches that add up to make for a really good, exaggerated story you tell to a friend. That's what I'm referring to.

To relieve myself from the stress and anxiety, I thought I'd express my feelings a little bit here - a peep show into my life. And I thought a list of things would be most efficient.

  • My wildlife rehabber mom's raccoons' cage is right outside my room. Need I say more?
  • My family's seven dogs, three cats, two ferrets, and one raccoon (this one's an actual pet) bark, meow, chirp, etc. every time someone thinks about opening a door

  • How do my de-fatted peanut butter, fat-free donuts, sugar-free almond milk, and organic spinach salad always disappear? Who else eats that besides me?
  • The cat sleeps on all the bridesmaids' gifts and flattens the bows I slaved over
  • My brothers and their friends drink all my diet sodas
  • I have to make myself a new to-do list every couple hours
  • I have to make Micah, my mom and my dad a to-do list every day
  • Staying up until the wee hours of the morning painting, texturing and ripping things out of our new house doesn't help
  • I started my period four days before my wedding

  • I fell asleep in a tanning bed with a mixture of old and brand-spanking-new bulbs, which scorched my back, butt and yoo-hoo and left my chest, arms and legs fish-belly white. Oh, and it's three days until the wedding!
BUT, really and truly, the purpose of this list is not for me to have a pity party. It's a way of me looking at my situation objectively and being able to laugh about it. ...As long as my yoo-hoo isn't still burned on my wedding night - then I can laugh about it. Otherwise, I will be very sad. 

That's why I'm putting my faith in Jesus. I lay it all down at the foot of the cross and will gladly hand over all these "catastrophes" to Him. 

Check back in a couple of weeks to see how things turned out. :) 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What About Heaven?

Ever wish you could just peek into the gates of Heaven? Maybe have a few moments to see God in all His glory? One boy tells how he did.

Read my full review of Kevin and Alex Malarkey's The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven at FaithVillage.com here. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Little Things

Sometimes, I let the little things upset me.

Micah, my fiance, will be the first to tell you I can be a little too sensitive. I can also be a little too analytical, emotional and finicky. BUT, I can say (when I remember) I'm overwhelmed with joy by little things as well.

Is it just me, or does a fresh set of warm socks feel good on your feet when you wake up in the morning? Does your cereal taste better when you add just a little bit of sugar/splenda/stevia to your milk? Does a quick compliment from your boss make your day? How about a smile and wave from a passing car?

These little things simply tickle my heart. I guess that's the good part about being a little too sensitive. I can let the GOOD little things affect me more too. I think that's what God intended when he created this beautiful world full of little things.

One of my favorite little things is my pomeranian, Bambi. She is such a delight. Although, she tends to bark at the slightest spur in the wind, she brings so much joy to my life in the littlest of ways. :)

So... Take a moment. Take a breath. Enjoy your little things.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Holey Donuts!

Sick of watching others scarf down donuts and not even think twice about it?

I know I sure am. And that's why I order from HoleyDonuts.net. It's basically the coolest thing ever. :)

On average, each low-fat donut has about 3 grams of fat and 160 calories - which is nearly a quarter of a regular donut! Get in on the action by e-mailing info@holeydonuts.net, mention my blog and your donuts will come fresh to your door. You can finally have your cake(donut) and eat it too! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Telling Secrets to God

Today, my mind's been going a million miles per hour. Not that that's unusual for me! However, I've also had a few small moments where I've reflected on how God's moving in my life. And man, is he moving fast!

One of the greatest truths I've learned in my journey from "student-hood" to the real, adult-world, is the fact that no matter how much my mind gets out of whack, I can tell all my secrets to God. And He's the only one who can unlock my heart and unburden me from all my stress, fears and anxious thoughts.

I tend to over-analyze the crap out of everything. Although I can usually recognize when I'm doing it, I still do it. The apostle Paul said, "The things I do, I wish I wouldn't do, and the things I wish I would do, I do." We all can relate to that statement. The hardest part for me is letting go, and knowing God is the ONLY one who has control. If I trust Him and take a deep breath, I'll be fine.

So I'm going to continue to give God the key to my heart, and tell Him all my secrets. It's refreshing. You should try it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Here are some of my latest designs, from the wedding rush all the way back to graduation bliss. If you see something you like, I mix up these little creations in my spare time, so give me a shout. Maybe I can help you out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sacred Promises

If you haven't ever read Christianity Today's Kyria blog, you should. It's overflowing with inspiration for women seeking a God-honoring lifestyle. Their latest post written by Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, John Ortberg, explores the deeper meaning of wedding vows and how important it is to fulfill them throughout your marriage.

Ortberg describes how it's inevitable that couples will face potential barriers in their relationship. You can either have big exits or small exits, but regardless, they all lead to loneliness and heartache, he says.

So what does this mean to you?

As a 21-year old who's only a month away from tying the knot, it means a heck of a lot to me. This time two years ago, it would have still been important, but I don't know if the rest of the world values the promise behind wedding vows as much. If I hadn't been raised by Christian hands and hearts, I could be turning up my nose right now. But, I know God created marriage between a woman and man to represent the love between the church and the grace-giving Lord of all Lords.

Marriage isn't merely a label to justify sex, a means to share an income, or even an excuse to reproduce. The oneness and unity marriage represents are of the utmost importance because they're a reflection of God's love for his people. Shouldn't we be so honored to create this holy metaphor?

That's why I promise to take Micah as my lawfully-wedded husband, my best friend, my spiritual leader, my partner in life. Forever. So, thanks, Kyria, for reminding me of the special moment coming up in my life. The moment I say, "I do."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Music Artist, Nate Fowler

Yesterday, I saw Nate Fowler tweeted that he'd give out free downloads of his newest song collection to whomever wrote a review of his music on iTunes. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I drafted up a few lines - short 'n' sweet.

He e-mailed me today and gave me the links to his new song. What a guy!

Honestly, I didn't know who Nate was until he followed FaithVillage on Twitter. Doing my job, I researched him, and I was happy to discover he's a Christian artist beginning a journey into the music industry. Like I wrote on the iTunes review, Nate Fowler's music is edgy enough to get you going in the morning on your commute to work and fluid enough to listen to once you get to work. It's simply good music.

If you're looking for a new addition to your music library, grab a few of his songs. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Days & Bad Days

Today I woke up drowsily as usual, stumbling into my bathroom, tripping over my cat and the sweatshirt I tore off in the middle of my night. But I had this weird feeling my day was going to be brighter than the one before.

It could've been the sweet text message from my fiance that read, "Good morning baby I love u, u will have a great day today!" - which, by the way, is normal because I have the most loveable husband-to-be in the world. However, this energy inside me was burning quicker than yesterday morning, and I liked it.

Why do we feel happy some days and crappy others? I wish I could have that spark of life inside me every day like I had this morning, but I just don't. Some days, I want to crawl in a hole and suck my thumb! Regardless, I think God knows how we feel, and He has a plan for why we feel the way we do.

If it wasn't for those icky, dreary, life-sucking days, I wouldn't know how to rejoice on days that I'm filled with an overarching sense of peace and joy. It's not that these "happier" days are marked with winning lottery tickets or bouquets of flowers. I still face the same humdrum daily routine with the same bumps in the roads - like spilling coffee on my crotch, forgetting my sports bra at the gym, or long and draining traffic every evening.

When we choose to worship God no matter how thick the fog is in the darkest of times, God suddenly sprays me with a good laugh. Sometimes, my heart is moved by something I see, hear or read, and it makes me feel good. Or sometimes, quite often actually, I'm convicted of a wrong I committed, and I can ask God for forgiveness. In an instant, I feel good, so close to God, it's smile-jerking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tick, Tick, Tick... Time Flies Away

What happened to the days when you could stay outside picking wildflowers and playing house in the woods for what seemed like hours and still the sun lingered above the clouds?

It seems like I can barely make it out of bed before two months has gone by, and I'm behind on EVERYTHING! I can remember all the "old" people telling me to slow down as a kid and cherish childhood because it sure flies fast. I would sigh and put aluminum on my teeth to pretend I had braces or wear red lipstick to pretend I was an older woman.

Now I find myself wearing side pony-tails and wanting to take naps during the day. I want to hold on to that child inside me - with everything I've got. You should never get too big for your britches. And you should never get too grown up to run wild through the woods or ride your bike down the street or play "My mother went to Europe..." on a long, long road trip.

Micah, my fiance, and I are in the process of buying a house, our first home together, and my first step outside the nest. It's a bit surreal to think I'll be all grown up soon. But it's refreshing to know that I can always be a kid inside. It's not how old you are. It's how old you feel.

I'll keep jumping on the trampoline and sliding down slides. I'll keep getting lost in mystery novels and try on frilly dresses in the mall. I won't let life get in the way. And time will be on my side.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pressure Makes Us Stronger

I heard those words in a song on 89.7 Power FM this morning on my way to work.

"Pressure makes us stronger."

I've heard this particular song more than once, and being the rock star I think I am, I'm belting out the words in my car. But I've never stopped to think about what that line really means. It's easy to talk about how a blessing can come from something hard - when it's over and done with! But what about when you're right in the eye of the storm, gripping on with all your might, digging your fingernails in to stay on top? Do you always feel... stronger?

Heck no! I know I don't. Actually, I usually feel rather hum-drum and weak and loose and sore and hungry and tired... I tend to be a complainer. What if we had the same mindset during those struggles as we do after they're over?

As I grow up a little bit more every day, I learn a little bit more of who I am and who I want to be. Sometimes, I sulk in every task I need to get done or something I did that I regret. Staying afloat in a storm can be like drawing a perfect circle. You can't do it without some sort of help, some kind of professional equipment. I want to be equipped with the grace of God and the knowledge that I will always be victorious because He is Lord of my life.

So next time you're feeling pressured, know it will make you stronger. It's just the dark night before the bright and glorious dawn.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who's a Working Woman?

Me? No... Couldn't be!

Yes. The rumors are true. I did in fact begin working at FaithVillage on Monday, Feb. 21. And it rocks!

The 10-hour days drag a little long, but it's SO worth the Fridays off. Brad, Senior Editor/COO of FaithVillage - slash, my boss, couldn't be more talented and hip. He's already brought me up to speed on his profound vision for creating an online community of Christians with faith resources. I'm so excited to be part of a plan that engages culture and glorifies God at the same time.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @faithvillage. We're real easy to get along with! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time to Tweet, Tweet, Tweet Away

As the world moves more and more online, social networking becomes more and more important. Twitter is not just for today's youth, nor is it just a network for big-time businesses. In an article featured on PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), Anne McGraw explains the small steps to your company's tweeting success.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not a Twitter expert. Actually, I'm guilty of setting up a personal account, making one tweet, and I haven't gotten on it again. Yep, it's that bad. However, this article sparked my interest in the Twitter universe, and I'm going to try to maintain my account a little better.

Twitter is especially important for a company. It personalizes one's brand name, which in turn, creates a better relationship between one and their clients/prospective customers. And if you are a smaller company or just getting started, don't be overwhelmed. All you have to do is make one tweet a week and comment on one or two of those whom you follow.

Do you have a Twitter? If so, how do you use it?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Big Girls DO Cry, and It's OK

Laurie Dhue, a former news anchor who had shows on big-time networks such as CNN, NBC and FOX, opened up about her personal struggle. (Watch the video for more info).

After battling alcoholism for over 15 years, while at the same time keeping it a secret, Dhue has used her career as a platform for helping others who may have an addiction. What a great way to turn something negative into such a positive.

Dhue seemed to have it all: a prominent name, a stable career, the world's attention... But this example goes to show how all the success in the world doesn't guarantee happiness. Even big girls cry, and sometimes, it's healthy... It's growth, and it's a sign of true character.

Do you think Dhue did the right thing by opening up about her secret?

Getting the Job Done Right

After almost two months of filling out applications, writing cover letters and sending off my resume, I was leaning towards a temporary personnel service. However, God had another plan. Only a week ago, I received a job notification from a Baylor professor about an opportunity as the Editorial Assistant/Project Manager for an up and coming Web site called FaithVillage.

With an inkling in my heart and a spirit full of hope, I took the time to apply to one more job. It's a good thing I did because I accepted FaithVillage's offer just yesterday! Oh, God has a mysterious way to his works.

...So it looks like Micah and I won't be living on the streets for the first six months of our marriage. Thank you, Jesus!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Designed to Dazzle

After many, many hours clicking the "undo" button and searching ways to PhotoShop an image on Google, I've learned some valuable lessons when creating a unique design.

Whether you're a professional artist or a bride with a budget, everyone can take advantage of the elements of design. It's important to keep a few things in mind when creating a unique design.

1. Plan Ahead
Imagine what you want the message of your design to be and which audience you'd like to reach.

2. Less Words, More Visuals
Most of us are visual learners. Use vivid descriptions and specific verbs to create a picture.

3. Stick With ONE Program
If you go with a theme or a color scheme, be consistent. Don't use more than 3-5 colors, fonts and font sizes.

Above, you'll see the front side of a brochure I made for Chaparrel Glass Co. and a business card for my dad. If you'd like more information on either of these businesses, please contact me, or feel free to comment.

Below are invitations I'm in the process of designing for my cousin's baby shower. I'd love to see which one you like more. Let me know with your kind comments! :)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Amber as Always

Dear Friends,

What's a girl to do when her life's a roller-coaster that never ends? Can anyone relate?

It's been exactly one month and eight days since I walked across the stage at Baylor, and I'm living at home, jobless. Well, I shouldn't say jobless - more like jobFULL, but without the full-time pay.

I start homeschooling a friend on Monday. I've recently been asked to become the Account Executive for Creative Man Studio, who's headquarters are in Waco. I'm still doing freelance work under my own name. AND most importantly, I'm planning my wedding!

Lord, please give me the strength to endure these next six months! :)

If you see something you like on my Web site, holler back. Or just give me a shout out just for the heck of it!
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