Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gratitude

the sunset I caught from the other night on my way home


Dear Husband,

You are my favorite person, my fave. Three years ago, we were navigating the waters of planning a wedding, preparing for graduation and wondering what in the world we were going to do with our life post-graduate/wedding. We prayed and searched almost daily as we considered all the possibilities. Somehow, the Lord planted us here, in Norman, our college town. Despite our dreams of returning to our home state, oh Texas how we love thee, or our attempts to look for jobs in the sunshine state, Florida we're coming one day, we didn't move but a few miles down the road from our college apartments. 

In all my day dreaming I never dreamed I'd be living full time in Oklahoma. My life up until college had been primarily lived in the great state of Texas and before my senior of high school I had little intentions of ever leaving my beloved state. Now after nearly seven years in Norman, Oklahoma, I can't imagine my life any other way.

The Lord has truly grown us here. We have gone from bright-eyed eighteen year olds to twenty-something adults. Our hearts have matured, our faith has matured, our dreams have matured, and our love has matured. We've gone from newlweds trying to find the right small group, to leaders of our own group. The relationships we've grown from that one avenue of our life here in Norman alone is beyond my understanding. I simply stand amazed, totally in awe at the work of the Lord. That there is a group of young couples that desire, that want, to come to a group we "lead" is beyond me. That is all God, and not an ounce of us.

anniversary 2


We've also grown our home. We began in a small town-home with four walls, and only a door to our bathroom.We brought Paisley home to that little place. I found ways to squeeze things under beds and behind sofas, and we loved our little home. Now, in our two-bed, two and  half-bath with garage and yard duplex, we have more room that we even imagined. A smile comes to my face as I recall the sweaty and jam-packed wedding shower we hosted a year ago here, and the fourth of july game day, and the countless dinner party nights. This home, God has given us a belonging here in this home. God has given us a place to love, cherish, and grow in.  I adore this little home.

This Oklahoma town that we call home will forever hold a place in my heart. I have no idea how long we'll be here. Maybe, God will call us here forever. But I know that nearly every street here has a story that I'll remember. From our first dates, to our early days of being married, to our first moments of being "real" adults...there are so many places here, so many people here that make my heart ache with joy and gratitude.

anniversary 1


I am so honored that our good King chose to pair us together. Only Him working in you could have brought me to live and truly adore living here in Oklahoma. I love this family He's given us here. I love this home He's given us here. I love the people He's given us here. Sweet husband, thank you for jumping into the unknown so many times with me. Thank you for getting that puppy even though you weren't necessarily "ready," thank you for pushing me to serve at the college worship night, even though I wasn't really "into it," thank you for trusting God with me when we found ourselves as "leaders" of a small group, thank  you for looking at a duplex with me even when you didn't want to move, thank you for pushing me to choose excellence in my workplace when I'd rather be selfish, and thank you for being the most amazing husband to me when I know I'm not the most amazing wife back. You are without a doubt my best friend. I can't imagine doing any of life without you. I love you. -Veronica


wedding

engagements

all photos done by Anna with Birds & Coffee Designs

Monday, February 23, 2015

Steadying the Heart




There have been times in my life that I have greatly struggled with anxiety. I first recognized it in the sixth grade. Every time we'd drive up to school, I'd get knots in my stomach. Through different seasons of life that knot has returned, and caught itself in my throat, or made my head spin. I know I'm not alone in this and I know this feeling is not something that the Lord sets in me. This is a result of trusting in my own self. This is the result of worry. This is the result of allowing the enemy to play with my mind.

The last month has been a season like this for me. Finding myself in these fits of anxiety and praying through them. Sometimes I feel like I'm having to shout over the fits.

Over the last year, I've made it a habit to pray aloud in my car on the way to work. Have you ever noticed praying out loud sometimes makes it more real or more powerful? Lately, that praying aloud has been actually LOUD and very, very bold. I've been commanding God's Word in my life. I've been commanding His power and reign over me, daily. When I say commanding, I mean shouting His truths over me, literally. The louder they are, the more boldly I state them, the more I feel them taking root.

I've noticed anxiety is at it's greatest height when there is a rather large unknown before me and when I have very little that I can actually do to contribute to making that unknown, known. So yes. in other words, when I have little control I am incredibly anxious. Surprised? It's true, I'm generally a type-a, planner.

Every time Kevin and I have gone through a season like this, I've seen God work in our hearts individually. I love this part of marriage. When I'm swimming in anxiety, Kevin has an incredible surge of peace, a peace so profoundly quiet that we both know it comes only from the King of Peace, our sweet Savior, our heavenly Father, our God.

And this is exactly where we are currently. I'm praying desperately for the peace of God to overwhelm my heart, as it has Kevin's. I'm praying for Him to work the miraculous for us in a great opportunity, I'm praying for Him to prepare my heart for the path our life might take. I'm praying that through all of this I might make His name great. That this opportunity wouldn't be about Kevin and I, but rather that it would create a glorious eruption, a miraculous, an amazing love story that we could share.

Bottom line, I want the way I handle this opportunity to bring glory and fame to my Jesus. No matter the outcome, He is still King and He is still reigning in my heart.


I've shared this opportunity with so many people in our life, asking for their prayer and you know how each has responded? Trust your Jesus to do the miraculous! My heart has been in the wrong place. I need to truly example what a heart that trusts Jesus looks like. Anxiety doesn't reign in a heart that trust our Lord.

So how do I set my heart in the right place? Shouting His truths over myself in the car ride. Repeating His scripture over and over again in my head. Staying in continual prayer with my Jesus. That's how.


On Sunday the pastor shared with us the following verse and the worship set really set my heart in place.

And let the peace. soul harmony which comes, from Christ rule, act as umpire continually, in your hearts, deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state, to which, as member's Christ's one body you were also called to live. And be thankful, appreciative, giving praise to God always.
Colossians 3:15 (AMP)

"God whatever comes my way I will trust you...in your everlasting arms. all the pieces of my life from beginning to the end...you work everything for good...God whatever comes my way,  I will trust you" -Sovereign (Chris Tomlin, listen here)


I will not let the enemy steal my joy. I will not let the enemy steal my peace. I will not let the enemy get my spirits down. I trust in the greatest and only God. I trust in a God that promises peace.

My God says:

When I act, who can reverse it?! - Isaiah 43:13

Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a NEW THING! Now it springs up, do you see it?! - Isaiah 43:18-19

I took you from the ends of the earth. from it's farthest corners, I called you. I said. 'you are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; and do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:9-10

The grass withers and the flowers fall but the Word of God stands forever. - Isaiah 40:8

I'm singing this line boldly today:

"This mountain that is in front of me, will be thrown into the midst of the sea...it is well...so let go my soul, and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His Name"  It is Well (listen here)




All of this to say, if you would, friends, please lift us up in prayer today.  Pray for a miraculous working of God today. Pray for my heart to rest in His peace. Pray that His will be done.


Ever found yourself in this place? 
How can I be praying for you?



Friday, February 20, 2015

Sweet and Precious Time



If only you could hold onto weekends forever.

This morning I'm keeping busy at home, trying to put my mind off the fact that in so many hours from now I'll be getting my four wisdom teeth pulled. eeek! The weekend that lies ahead will probably consist mostly of sleeping and eating ice cream (that's all I'm allowed to eat, right? I'm pretending so), but last weekend is still on my mind. The husband and I had the sweetest time, I've been fondly recalling it all week long.

Originally, I would have been getting my wisdom teeth pulled a week ago. Since we had anticipated I would be recovering, we planned on a fairly easy going Valentine's Day.  Kevin got the day off months ago(sweet man, thank you!). My wisdom teeth removal got post-poned but we maintained out plan of all our favorite junk foods, movies and cuddling.



The weekend really started on Friday with a quiet night in playing games.

Kevin picked up our favorite sparkling juice(I like the occasional glass of wine but Kevin just doesn't, we both love sparkling juice though!), and popcorn. I surprised him with some valentines colored M&Ms on Friday and some of his favorite candy(starburst jelly beans). Pizza, cheetos, heart-shaped donuts, and a super yummy red velvet cake were on the menu (like I said, junk food favorites).

We awoke on Saturday morning to the sun shining through our windows. We lazily took our time getting up out of bed and dressing. Saturday mornings together don't happen often so we purposely slowly enjoyed every minute,  thank you Lord for gifted Saturdays together. We packed Paisley into the car and drove to the local favorite donut place. It looked raided by the time we got there but I lucked out and a chocolate iced, heart shaped donut was still left (I'd never had a heart shaped donut before, not that it tastes any different but for some reason I just had my heart set on finding one).

We took our donuts and puppy girl to campus to walk around since the morning was just beautiful outside. Paisley was so well behaved that we let her walk off a leash.We took pictures, played and ran with her.Right then and there I made a decision.
 










Our newest family tradition is having some family time on Valentine's day before Kevin and I have our own time. It might look different as the years go on, maybe it's making pancakes together, maybe it's playing a game, or maybe it is going to campus to walk around and take pictures...whatever it is, it will be our little family altogether enjoying something together.



We picked up redbox movies, my pink/red roses (I finally got half a dozen this year!, I get an added rose for every Valentine's Day we've spent together), and our red velvet cake on our way home. Once home we started setting up for our lazy day of cuddling and movie watching. We have one of those bean bags that turns into a bed (it's our guest bed, thanks shark tank!) so we pulled it downstairs, fluffed it out and set it up complete with our bed pillows.

The rest of the day we spent in our jammies, watching movies, cuddling, and eating our smorgasbord of foods. It was gloriously relaxing. I loved every minute.


We spent that night in our living room on our bean bag bed (so yes guests, we can now say we've slept on it and it's decently comfortable, far better than those pull out beds!). Sunday brought bitterly cold weather, so we opted to once again stay in our jammies and watch church from home. And yes we did so, on our bed, in the living room.



We tidied up after church, did one thing from our to-do list and proceeded to enjoy the rest of our day relaxing some more. The night ended with reading by the fireside and the Bachelor, of course. It was so hard going to bed that night and saying good bye to our precious weekend. The Lord knew how much we needed this weekend of relaxing togetherness. Thank you sweet Jesus for gifting us little things like a weekend of being lazy and loving on each other with simple, uninterrupted time.


Dear husband, I love you dearly. I had the most amazingly sweet and precious time with you this weekend. I loved every minute and I've missed it every day since we left it. You are my forever Valentine and I look forward to continuing traditions we started this weekend. I love you. ps: thank you for taking care of me in my post-wisdom teeth removal state.


When was the last time you and your husband put some time aside to simply relax? Next time you're planning a date night, consider this option. I love getting all dolled up but I know our marriage needs date days/nights like these.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Believing Miracles?




The last time I blogged was days ago. My pattern in blogging has changed greatly over the last several months. I've just been really getting into things at home and centering my time over my people that are here with me. I miss blogging at times, and there's still a million topics rolling around in my head at once but I know the Lord has me in a different place for the time being.

Of the new things going on, my craft room is near completion-oh how giddy I am about this, I've lost 6 pounds when I finally starting giving God authority in my body, I've scheduled to have all four of my wisdom teeth removed, Kevin and I totally swapped our living room layout-this may not sound like a big deal but it was and we're loving it, Kevin and I may be stepping into a fun adventure for a month-waiting on God's clarity in this, I love our life group more and more, and in career related life I'm working my days away putting out fires and having fun with an entire campus worth of furniture-talk about busy!

God's doing marvelous things in my heart, teaching me about his insane authority and control, and reminding me of the sweet peace that comes in just trusting Him alone.

In some number of days, hopefully not long from now, I hope to share all the wonderfulness that is now my craft room/guest room. All I can say is, to God be the glory! Kevin asked me today why he keeps finding that light on in the mornings...well I just keep opening the door, turning on the light, and staring at it. I look around that room and see so much of God's hand in play. From my framed interior design certification and registration, to caricatures with precious friends, to samples turned art from reps, gifts from reps, and monetary birthday gifts turning into much bigger creations than I ever imagined!


If I could put my finger on one thing the Lord has been revealing to me, it is that He still performs miracles, and He does so DAILY!



Psalm 77:14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

So tell me, what are some miracles you're seeing in your life? Big, small, and all the in between.

Monday, February 2, 2015

First comes love then comes...



...a baby in a baby carriage...


Talking babies in our household isn't uncommon. Kevin and I love to dream about the future. Dreaming about paying off debt, buying a home, becoming parents, and raising children that love and make known the name of God are among our biggest dreams and thus are often talked about. Alas, children for us are still a ways off but children for some of our best friends is officially on its way. 

Not too long ago, I shared about their wedding shower(here and here), and then their wedding, and now Kevin and I were excited to be able to take their baby announcement pictures. We are absolutely thrilled for them and just can't wait to meet baby. I'm loving getting to walk along side them through this next chapter of their lives,  that's what best friends are for! I know that when we one day take the step into becoming parents they'll be right there with us.

Without further adieu, the pictures for their wonderful announcement!




 
 





Many thanks to my talented husband for taking the pictures. You've learned so much already! I'm so proud of you.
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