Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Square One!!!

I found another agency tonight... sadly it looks really wonderful too! I know that God knows where our children are and He will lead us, but wow, our little part is hard too! I think we now have a top five again... I guess that isn't square one exactly, I remember a time when there were over 20 in contention! I never realized how much research could be done. Friends old and new, please pray for Brandon and I as we step out in faith with an agency in 2009!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We woke up this morning to a beautiful blanket of white snow! The air is crisp and cold and we are cozy inside! This weekend we decorated for Christmas! It is so special so watch our house transformed for the celebration of Christ's birth!

Our Cozy Home!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Favorite Thanksgiving Song! Post #4!!!

Count Your Blessings

Verse 1

When upon life's billows You are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged Thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings Name them one by one,
And it will surprise you What the Lord hath done.


Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your blessings See what God hath done.
Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings See what God hath done.

Verse 2

Are you ever burdened With a load of care,
Does the cross seem heavy You are called to bear.
Count your many blessings Every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing As the days go by.

Verse 3

When you look at others With their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised You His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings Money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven Nor your home on high.

Verse 4

So amid the conflict Whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged God is over all.
Count your many blessings Angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you To your journey's end.

Post # 3 for the day...

Yes, I am one of those kind of people that posts in waves... I have had no activity for two weeks and now here I go... I read another GREAT adoption testimony that I wanted to share with you. This is a blog I have followed for a long time and have really enjoyed. I appreciate the commitment of Christ that can easily be seen through the posts. We all know that adoption allows God to show His amazing provision in many ways. Check out this post at His Hands His Feet and praise the Lord for His provision!

Attachment in Adoption

Through the blog of a new bloggie world friend I read this amazing post on attachment in infant adoption. Please dear friends, if you are going to adopt EVER or if you are going to spend time around a newly adopted child, read this beautiful and informative post at 4Little Twiggs!

Auntie Shelly!

Baby A came into the world on November 11th and we have been counting down the days until our Christmas visit ever since! He is a beautiful, healthy baby and a HUGE reason for us to be thankful this year!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Hope!

Hope is such a beautiful word, but it has become a buzz word in our culture. What do you hope in friends? I decided to share the words of one of my favorite hymns, one which was sung at our wedding. It reminds me where hope is truly found. May your hope for the future, for eternity really, be built on nothing less...

On Christ the Sold Rock I Stand
  1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
    • On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
      All other ground is sinking sand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
  2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale,
    My anchor holds within the veil.
  3. His oath, His covenant, His blood
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When all around my soul gives way,
    He then is all my hope and stay.
  4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh, may I then in Him be found;
    Dressed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Since it has been a while...

I should post. I know I should post. I just don't know what I have to say that is new and interesting. For those who actually read the blog... here is what is going on in our lives...

We are home from dog/house-sitting! This is a ministry for our family and also a source of side income, but friends, it is HARD work. Our dear charge Rex was not the most well behaved dog during our stay. I think it would be fair to say I picked up more poo indoors than outdoors. He left various surprises all over the house for us to find or smell throughout our time there. Yes, I know why I don't want a pet!
It feels great to be home. Sure, the place we stayed is beautiful and fancy, but nothing I need or even desire! I feel so blessed by what God has provided for Brandon and I that I longed for our little town-home the whole time we were dwelling in the beautiful log home.

In other news. My mom and dad are coming to visit for the weekend. They have not been here in a year so I am so excited to spend a couple of days with them. I can already tell this is going to be a BEAUTIFUL fall day!

Flashback FOUR years!

Here is a photo of life FOUR years ago. We were busy taking engagement photos and addressing invites for our wedding!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A new favorite song... can you guess why??

"Hope like the sun is fading. They're waiting for a cure no one can find. And I hear children's voices singing of a God who heals and rescues and restores. And I'm reminded that every child in Africa is yours..."
- Steven Curtis Chapman, "Yours"

P.S. The rest of the song it wonderful too, but when he sings this line I about have to pull over the car!

House-sitting fun!

I feel totally out of the loop. Brandon and I are house-sitting for some weeks and don't have our usual internet access. We are doing well and God is faithful. I will write again in a couple of weeks when we are again back home!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fireproof, a broken car, a BIG God!

We went to Fireproof almost a week ago and I am still talking about it. I am convinced that every couple should see this movie. I have not heard of anyone being disappointed. I could rave and rave about it, but I am sure most of you have either seen it or read plenty of blog reviews... if you have not seen the movie PLEASE go and see it!

Last weekend my car needed to be repaired quite a bit. For a seminarian and a nanny/organizer/mother's helper a car repair can be cause for anxiety when the bill comes. Brandon and I truly trusted God in this situation and knew that several things needed to be done to the car to make it safe, esp with winter around the corner. Over $1,000.00 later our car was running and stopping much better!
Fast Forward one week...
Brandon announced at dinner tonight that he "got a raise." In most families this would make sense, but around here Brandon has a work study job which he didn't go to today and an internship which technically we pay for so... I was very confused. Well, our GREAT PROVIDER came through in a big way. The church decided to pay Brandon for this semester's internship! Wow, we stepped out in faith and got the car fixed, and God smiled knowing how it was going to be paid for. Thank you Lord for knowing our needs better than we know them. Help us to trust you in the future and remember the faithfulness of the past! Amen

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Go to the movies friends!!!

I just got home from Fireproof. It was a super movie! I so encourage everyone to see this movie. A longer post about it will be coming soon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Getting excited for Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountians!

Cade's Cove in Smoky Mountain National Park.
We visited the park last year over Brandon's Spring Break. We enjoyed our time their so much that we decided to head there again this March! This time our dear friends Nick and Renie are joining us. We are so excited to drink in the beauty of God's creation! I remember one day on our trip singing the line to a favorite song, "My Savior, He can move the Mountains..." and looking around at the Great Smokies and being awed by the "Awe"some power of our Great God!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Godmother Shelly

I have several jobs in a given week, but I always treasure my time caring for "2 sweet boys" (2SB) Super E is 2 and Little Love is 1. They keep me BUSY all the time, but their smiles, giggles, and cuddles are worth any "work" they might cause. Their amazing mom recently asked Brandon and I if we would be Godparents for Little Love. What an honor!!! LL is going to be dedicated in a couple of months, and while our church doesn't really do the "Godparent thing" the family decided they wanted to have special people chosen to encourage them as parents, and to spiritually encourage LL all through his life. We are so excited about the special role we will get to play in his life, and are honored to commit to praying for his little soul to soften to Jesus when he is young and to walk with Him even when he is old! While we long to be parents, God has called us to be "Godparents"... this is great! It is amazing how much love we have in our hearts. 2SB is the third family I have been a nanny for. It is always so hard to say good-bye to a family (one time we moved, one time they did) and you never think your heart can open that far again, then... an hour in... you are hooked. At the same time, you have not compromised a pinch of love you have for those you already care about... wow! Thank you God, for being Love, for teaching us to love, and for giving us hearts so ready to love. Amen

Choosing an adoption agency

Yes folks, we are in the adoption agency choosing process. It is a lot like searching for a college to attend. You search the internet totally overwhelmed by the vast array of choices (I found one site that reviewed the top 1500 agencies), knowing there is no way to research each one. Then as you start to request information, lovely packages are sent to your door each day. Many of them are filled with beautiful glossy photos, free DVD's, great reading material, and success stories. So, you might wonder how I chose a college... I had one of those "I just know I am supposed to go here" type of feelings when I toured campus. Sure, they had my major, I liked the city, school, and even dorms, but in the end... I just knew. It was through my college choice that I became adopted, see post from Sept 4th (that's right, I can't figure out how to send you there... does each post have a different URL? I am still new to this world).
So you can see, we have a major choice to make. It is hard not to be tempted by pretty packages. We got one the almost caused me to weep because it was so precious. There was a brief moment (maybe 3 days) when I wanted to say, "The prettiest package agency should totally win, because the people working there must be ethical and lovely just like their materials." Interestly, I had a question for the "pretty package agency" which I asked them about 20 days ago and I have heard no response. Sorry "pretty package agency", you were removed from the list! Actually, of our top 5 agencies, only one sent a package that could be considered pretty, but our top five agencies sent beautiful information and amazing children. So, what is important to us in choosing an agency and what is our criteria for choosing a country? Here is our list, complete with tiny justifications:
1. International (at some point we desire to adopt domestically from the US Foster care system, but we feel called Internationally for this one)
2.Healthy infant (at some point we want to adopt older children and will be open to special needs, but this is our first time around and we have been given lots of godly counsel on this one)
3. One Trip (at this point financially it just makes sense... actually we are strongly considering the escort option so that we can travel to the birth country when our child is old enough to remember the trip)
4. Less than 2 years application-Gotcha Day! (not sure I need to justify this one :))
5. Agency that understands graduate students and our financial postion.
6. Agency that understands pregnancy. (yes, we know we have a 1% chance of getting pregnant, but if God chooses to bless us in that way, we refuse to simply "terminate" the adoption, as we already love our adopted child)
I think that is the list so far. If any of reader friends have agency suggestions I am eager to hear them. As for the countries, we have narrowed it down based on the above criteria, but the truth is that all of the children are so lovely that the country matters much less than trusting God to lead us to our child!
What is the next step? Well, I am reading blogs of families who have adopted from each of the agencies and I am learning a lot. I am also asking lots of questions and taking note of who responds in a timely fashion. I am talking to everyone I know who has adopted and asking about their agency and our parents are doing them same, but above these things we are PRAYING... because friends, I believe God knows each of our children and He will open and close doors according to His good plan! We must... you guessed it... Surrender!!!

God connection stronger than internet connection!

I feel like I have not posted in ages... that is because I have not posted in ages. We were having internet issues, but things are running smoothly now and I am thankful to be posting again. I am amazed at the feeling of loss I had over no internet. In the end, I was thankful to have a few days to fast from this technology I can so easily take for granted. I praise the LORD that my connection withHim is not dependent on cords, wires, passwords etc. Not only can I commune with Him at any moment, but is Holy Spirit lives inside of me! Wow! God is amazing!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Spicy Chicken and Rice Yummy!!!

Well, it has taken me a while to get started, but I thought I would FINALLY make a recipe entry. This is a tasty meal that goes a LONG way with great leftovers.It also freezes well!
Baked Spicy Chicken and Rice
Prep: about 20 minutes Bake: 50-55minutes

~4 to 8 meaty chicken thighs
~1 large onion
~1 large green pepper
~2 cloves of garlic
~Small amount of oil to saute onions, garlic, and pepper
~1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
~1 15.5 oz can of black beans
~1 15.5 oz can of corn
~1.5 cups of uncooked long grain rice
~Chili powder
~Crushed red pepper

1. Skin the chicken and set aside.
2. chop onion, pepper, and garlic.
3. Saute in oil until tender. (use a large cooking pot or wok)
4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, black beans, corn, rice, chili powder, and crushed red pepper. (DO NOT DRAIN anything. The liquid is needed for the rice to cook!) Bring to a boil.
5. Scoop rice mixture into two large casserole containers.
6. Set chicken on top of rice mixture and sprinkle with paprika.
7. Bake, covered, in a 375 degree oven for 50-55minutes
8. Enjoy!

Special instructions on brands etc.
As you know all of my recipes are free of gluten, dairy, sugars, etc so reading labels is important!
~Crushed tomatoes- most brands OK (look out for sugar or flavoring)
~Corn (watch out for sugar)
~Black beans- most are OK (watch for sugar, food starch, or flavoring)
*I usually will not put amounts on my spices and I want you to make them to suit the taste of your family. We like things very spicy, but start out with less and test, you can always add more or season at the table.
*Always, feel free to sub in garlic powder for the cloves (I often do)
*Chicken breasts would work too, but thighs are such a nice serving size
*This meal serves 4-8 depending on the number of chicken pieces, however you will most likely have extra rice. The rice is great even without the chicken and has a good source of protein with the beans, so this meal can easily become vegetarian!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thoughts before sleep

As I unwind for the day, I sit in awe of my eternal Father in Heaven. God truly blessed me today with wonderful conversations about adoption. Adoption is the heart of the Gospel! The more I think about welcoming a child into our family the more I am struck with my heavenly Father's beautiful invitation to me to become his daughter and the wonderful adoption I received into the family of believers. I know the wait will be long, but hopefully not the 18 years the Lord waited for my homecoming! I praise God in the wait tonight! There is much peace and great hope in a MIGHTY God!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A few recent photos to enjoy!

Reading "Gideon Stories" to Gideon an the end of our vacation! I was so excited to give Gideon this book of our memories together. I think it turned out very well!
My beautiful sister-in-law and I sporting the latest fashion in "cup" ponytails! My hair is not long enough, or the cup was too big... or both, but when it is done right, it looks so cool. You can also do two cups with pig-tails!
Standing with my wonderful dad in the water park that he is in charge of (he is the town's Park and Recreation Director)! I am so proud of him and so thankful for our special tour before it opened that day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Vacation, Adoption, Allergy Free Cooking etc.

It is been SOOO long since my last post. Brandon and I have been traveling all around the Mid-west, visiting family and friends along the way. It is so refreshing to spend time with those we care about so deeply. God protected us a we traveled and truly blessed our time in each destination. There were many highlights during this trip! We got to: meet some friend's newly adopted daughter, have a mini college reunion, visit my hometown's new water park which is my dad's brainchild, attend my mom's family reunion, visit the boyhood home of Mark Twain, watch LOTS of Olympics, eat WONDERFUL food, have great conversations, laugh, cry and pray (we did so many other wonderful things too, but I can't mention each of them)! Yes, it was a bit hard to come home after 18 days filled with fun and adventure, but home is reality and it is good to live in the reality of the day... right?
Over the past several months God had really grown my (our) hearts in the area of adoption. As many of you know, we have walked the road of infertility for 3.5 years. We yearn to be parents and leave a legacy of love to our children, but my womb seems to remain closed. The medical community tells us we have a 1% chance of conceiving, but we know that nothing is too hard for our great God if that is His desire for us to conceive. Adoption is something we have always wanted to do. God has given us a huge heart for orphans and orphan care around the world and in the US. God has adopted me as a sinner and as a gentile to be His child. How awesome that we can welcome a child into our home and hearts! As we learn about adopting a child, my relationship with God my adopted Father grows! We now wonder what agency and country to choose... and so the research begins with info packets arriving in the mail and late night internet searches (we welcome your agency suggestions)! A wise friend told me to pray that God would lead us to our children, so that is what I continue to pray. Please join us in this prayer! We have received lots of advice and cautions about adoption so although we are excited, we understand the realities at least in part. We have chosen for the first time around to do an international infant adoption. At some point, as God leads we would like to adopt older children both domestically and internationally, but as first time parents, we prayerfully feel that an infant is a good place to begin. So many countries are appealing, so I won't give any hints yet, but we are excited!
I have Celiac Disease, which means no gluten (wheat, oats, barley, rye etc). I also can't have dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream), or sugar (refined sugar, sweetners, corn syrup, anything with "ose" at the end). When I travel people often wonder what I eat and worry about what to feed me. I know that there are others who have food issues just like me, so I have decided to start adding recipes to my blog as I cook them. Hopefully this will help others with Celiac and food allergies learn how to create wonderful meals using foods which are usually cheap and easy to find! When I first found out about these diet restrictions I spent WAY too much money on fancy gluten free foods. After several expensive grocery bills I decided to try to modify normal foods and this has worked very well!

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Gideon Stories" is ready for editing!

Some of you may know that my darling mother is a consultant with Heritage Makers. I have been creating a fun digital storybook through HM about the last boy I nannied for for quite some time. "Gideon Stories" is a collection of funny and special things Gideon said and did while I watch him. It has been quite a process making this book, but I am really impressed with my mom's company and will be so excited to have this special book complete and the chance to give a book to Gideon as well. Check out my mom's website! You can get a code and try making your own things. You only need to pay if you publish. I am hooked now and am brainstorming of my next project now! Blessings to you all of this warm summer morning!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The process of Surrendering the womb

How does someone show they care about something when they don't have physical stock in what they care about? Say you live in downtown NYC and love gardening. Chances are you don't have a huge garden, so how can we really KNOW you enjoy growing flowers?

We live is such a fast moving culture and sadly assumptions are made in seconds. Shopping in a grocery store one can look in carts and in seconds assume we have totally figured out another's life. By the car one drives, the clothes one wears, the tone of voice used speaking to a child, even fingernails... Yes, it is easy to make assumptions about all things! So, I imagine that many of you could make assumptions about me.

As you know from a previous post, Brandon and I were married in December of 2004. You may have also gathered from my profile that since I don't mention being a mom and since I work as a nanny that we don't have children. That would be a correct assumption. We have no children. Many people assume that we are choosing not to have children. Many people even tell us it is wise not to have children while Brandon is in seminary. Well, our lack of children is actually not our choice. Oh how I long to be a mommy! I long to teach the things I am endlessly teaching to the dear boys I nanny to our children! You see a few short months after we were married Brandon and I decided that we needed to surrender another area to the Lord. Together we tore off the birth control patch I was wearing and stuck it in Brandon's prayer journal. At first, there was a bit of fear in this surrender. We were doing some calculations about the number of children possible and knowing that it could be over 20 I was nervous, but God calmed every fear and grew my heart more and more for a large family. I began to realize His deep love for children and honestly felt horrible that for 4 months we had prevented that from being possible. Well, a few months went by... a year went by and our arms were empty... two years... three years... Our house continues to be the same quiet environment it was when we were first married. Yes, we KNOW God has called us to be parents, but we will not be able to start the home study process of adoption until Brandon finishes seminary in a year and has a full-time job. As you might be aware, the adoption process can be a bit (hmmm... is that an understatement) long so we are looking at a few years before an adopted child can be placed into our arms. As we wait we trust that God knows if my womb will open and that God knows how each child will enter our family. We are excited to watch our family grow in God's perfect way and time!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thank you Lord for the gift of Summer!!!

Yes, I do thank our great God almost daily for summer, I think I thank Him for summer even in winter! As I sit here and type I can hear the fan buzzing away and I can feel the moist warm air on my face. That is right, I am not freezing, my skin is not dry, there is no static in the air. I am not wearing five layers as I do in the winter... and most wonderfully... my nose has stopped dripping!!
We have yet to run the air conditioner this summer. I suppose we will run it sometime, basically to make sure it still works! I am so thankful for the rich, warm, cozy, inviting heat that it would be so sad to waste it with cold, stale, dry air! Whoa, I have to watch myself, I am not trying to
come across as anti-air conditioner, I just REALLY like summer! The last two mornings I have been awake before my alarm, feeling refreshed for the day. My morning times in God's Word have been so special and honestly, I think much of it comes from my thankful heart. Oh, how I yearn to have a thankful heart EACH morning in warmth of sum
mer of the cold of winter! I guess that is something I shall work on in the fall, but for now... THANK YOU LORD FOR THIS WONDERFUL DAY YOU HAVE MADE!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Reflections from an AMAZING week!

It has been quite some time since I have done a post... with good reason. I have been attending an amazing youth event with 131 Sr. High Youth from my church. We joined several other churches with several 100 other youth for a great week of speakers, worship, music, arts, sports, laughs, prayers, games... Every element of the week went well. The speaker was amazing and I think the youth and adult leaders resonated with all he shared. We had several students within our youth group make first time decisions for Christ. Many of the conversions had been in the making for several years. With each new brother in Christ came many tears from those who have long been praying. Our final night there we met as a group to share ways that we had seen God work. When those new believers shared my heart felt like it would burst. I never get tired of hearing stories of those leaving the life of sin and turning to LIFE in Christ! God allowed me to lead an amazing small group of beautiful young women. It was a joy to watch them grow and digest the things the speaker shared! God ordained a few special conversations with girls which I hope He was given much glory in! I also had so much fun laughing with my floor mates until all hours of the night! There is something that is so special about college dorms that I can't even describe.
I pray for these young women and young men who are now back at home, back to the places where they are tempted. Please join me in prayer as I know that the powers of darkness are not too happy about all of the amazing things God did at camp! May they continue to grow, develop accountability, and shine brightly in the darkness!
As for me... I am still in the physical recovery mode. I am not as young as I once was and 5 days with 2 to 3 hours of sleep has a way of creeping up on a person. I am so thankful to have been part of this special outpouring of Grace, and at the same time so blessed to now be at home with my wonderful and amazing husband!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Psalm for the soul

"The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths." Psalm 135:6
What a beautiful verse to reflect on! The LORD does whatever please HIM, sometimes I want Him to do what I think would please me! This morning as I read this verse I was struck with God's Sovereign plan for my little life. Yes, again it goes back to surrender. If we believe God's Word is true (dear friends I hope you do) then we can see that the LORD is going to do what He pleases so we would do well to spend less time worrying and more time surrendering.
Some of you might know that my dear husband and I would greatly desire for our family to be larger than a family of two. In fact, I have said for several years that I would be excited to be the mom of a dozen children, or really however many God would desire us to have. I feel that He opens and closes the womb and therefore He know the number of children we will have. Well, you might have guessed from my lack of photos of children that we don't have any. Yes, Brandon and I have not conceived any children in our 3.5 years of marriage. Over the months and now years of longing to become pregnant I have gone through many phases of doubt and questioning. After all, I have wanted to be a mom since... well I think I pretended to be pregnant as a toddler, so I have always wanted to be a mom. Anyway, we did some preliminary tests at an infertility DR. a couple of months ago and everything came back fine. On Tuesday I had an HSG dye test (this is a very very painful test which is presently still causing cramps) and it showed that one of my fallopian tubes is totally blocked. Part of me wants to cry out WHY ME?? However, God does what pleases HIM so instead, my response is (hopefully) Blessed Be Your Name Lord!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Refections from the Word today

Psalm 119:133 "Direct my footsteps according to your Word; let no sin rule over me."
Oh that I could be totally directed by God's Word. Today as I was walking I stepped in wet cement water (the stuff that runs into the gutter when new cement is laid and is sort of cement). The sidewalk was blocked off due to the actual cement drying so naturally I walking in the gutter to avoid the wet stuff. I quickly realized how easily I direct my steps according to convenience each day. No, God's Word doesn't tell me which side of the street to walk on to avoid a wet shoe, but it guides my steps perfectly so I will be prepared for the figurative "cement water" of sin that tries to pop into my life when I am enjoying a stroll!

Galatians 3:3-4 "Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing-if it was really for nothing?"
OK, first thought every time I read this passage is... conviction. Yes, there is always something in life I am clinging to tightly to. Right now as Brandon and I struggle through the ups and downs of longing for a baby there are temptations around every corner to "attain our goal" for ourselves. What a wonderful reminder God's Word gives to continue walking in the Spirit!!
May we all continue in the Spirit today!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Becoming a Mrs.

I am so thankful for my husband and best friend, Brandon. I am thankful for the perfect way that God brought him into my life, and for the ways God uses him to grow and refine me! Since everyone (OK, most women) enjoys a good love story, I thought I would tell ours in one of my first posts! This is not just a story of two, but three, as God authored it, directed it, and is at the center of it. Even as I share the ways He worked I know this story is not complete. I am sure there are so many things that He did that I was totally unaware of and may not know this side of heaven... anyway... here is the story of Shelly becoming a Mrs!

Spring semester of my senior year of college I began to be extremely aware of my lack of potential husband as many of my classmates were showing up at class with rings on their left hands. Most of the time I had total trust in God to lead and direct this area, but I often reminded Him that after graduation it would be harder to meet a nice young man!
God didn't need reminding and he was working things out in His time!
I had been attending and interning at a fantastic church. We had a great Sunday morning class for college students! One Sunday after church my Pastor's wife asked me about one of the new students in our class, Brandon (he had just joined staff with Campus Crusade). I asked her which one he was :) That spring my Pastor and his wife invited me and several key leaders to their home to talk about the fall class schedule (yes Brandon was there I can see you are figuring this out) and we landed on the topic of relationships. We (the core group of about 7 students, an elder and his wife, the Sr. Pastor and his wife) actually designed a curriculum about courtship that proved to be effective in many ways! (If you would like more info on this please request). Well, after a very good meeting, most of the students left, but Brandon and I remained. We hung out with our Pastor and his wife and their three little boys. A couple of weeks later we had the second fall discussion meeting and the same thing happened. Brandon and I were the last two to leave. This time was different. I really began to like this guy! I went home and cried. Then I called a friend to come help me sort things out. Marisa and I talked through specific prayer requests. This is what I recall half a decade later: that God would close and open doors and that we would walk accordingly, that God would align our hearts, that God would remove my feelings for Brandon if they were not from Him. Well, that April 27th these prayer requests were written in my prayer journal along with others. That same night in an apartment Brandon wrote about me in his prayer journal!
Fast Forward through summer as Brandon spent it on the East Coast!
Fall came quickly and college group went very well. As our group wrote the curriculum on things like boundaries and expectations Brandon and I got a clear view of the others feelings on all areas of relationships. At this time we both liked each other, but neither of us knew that the other liked us so we just kept praying... and praying... and praying... and WAITING! I knew I was not going to make a move, but at times I was begging God to take the feelings away as my feelings for Brandon kept growing. Brandon wanted the same things as me in life. He had/has a deep heart for the LORD, for Scripture, for spending time alone with God each day, for discipline, for discipleship and evangelism, for children. Yeah, he was/is amazing! Anyway, I couldn't understand why God was keeping him around.
After Christmas, I noticed that Brandon and I were talking more for longer periods of time. I always had to stay and clean up after the college lunches (well of course I would since it was my job:)) and Brandon would stay and help and we would talk. We talked a lot after church.
Then, on February 3rd 2004 I got a phone call from Brandon asking me a couple of unimportant things. I thought it was strange... Then on February 4th I got another phone call from Brandon (it wasn't that he totally chickened out the night before, I did have a friend over) saying that he wanted to get together that night to talk about our relationship." I said OK, but was nervous all day. Actually, as I sit here and type this I feel nervous right now! I thought Brandon was going to say that he could tell I liked him and that he didn't like me and could I leave him alone. This was NOT the case. We met at the food court of the local mall at 7:00. After some very brief chat I asked what we were there for. This is (to the best of my memory) what came out of Brandon's mouth, "Well, I wanted to talk to you about beginning a relationship which could eventually lead to marriage." My heart leaped out of my body, I can't believe I didn't faint! Brandon then proceeded to tell me that he had liked me and that he had been praying (yes for the same date 9.5 months ago) and that he saw the time was now. He went to my Pastor and his wife to ask their guidance a few days before, and then he asked me what I thought about it. I then told him the things I have written above and that was the start of our courtship, which did eventually lead to marriage only 10.5 months later on December 18th 2004.
Within minutes of the DTR (define the relationship) conversation we were writing out boundaries for the relationship. We had physical, emotional, spiritual, and time boundaries. We updated them each month and gave them to our accountability groups and the Pastor and his wife, as well as our roommates. We NEVER (To God be the Glory) were tempted to stumble in any of the areas and on December 18th we shared our first kiss after the wedding! We were so blessed by the college group relationship series, as we already knew how the other felt about most areas of relationships. By staying far from temptation God really blessed our courtship and allowed us to really get to know all the parts of the other person in a healthy and honoring way. Yes, we still have copies of the boundary sheets and I share them with teen girls in my life. I thank God so frequently for writing our love story, and now I am thankful that He blessed me with the opportunity to share it with each reader. From time to time I may share other stories, like the proposal or others, but this gives you a glimpse at God's perfect timing. I tired to put the photos at the end, but I am still new at this. They are our first photo together, our engagement photo, and a photo from our wedding!

Monday, June 9, 2008


What an interesting word huh? It sounds so easy to let go... though sometimes it is the hardest thing. I desire to live my life in total surrender, not just giving God 98.5%, but trusting that He can control all 100% of my life better than I can! I am new to the world of blogging, though I did get into facebook, so I can see this being exciting too. As I share with those who might read this blog my desire is to bring God Glory and trust Him in each word that flows. Father, this is your page. I surrender it to you now. May all that is posted here be an offering of praise to You! Amen