Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On starting a family.

If you would have asked me six months ago if we were ready to start our family, my answer would have been a definite "No".  Rather shockingly, I can honestly say that that is no longer the case!  In the last several months my "baby meter" has been OFF THE CHARTS, people.  (The "baby meter" is a scale Nicole and I made up from 1-10 that measures how much we want to have a baby)   I don't know if it's because I'm 25 and something God placed deep inside of me, some secret timer I didn't know existed, is going off or what but for goodness sakes, I think I am ready to produce a child.


We're moving out of the country very soon.  Hopefully January soon. The reality is that those two huge life changes really shouldn't happen incredibly close to each other.  Which has left me kind of sad, longingly admiring pregnant women, and fearful that we might not even be able to have our own baby easily. (So clearly we should be trying every night of every month and throwing the birth control out the window....)

But we can't.  It's been a very odd thing, too. This feeling of being ready for something so amazing, but at the same time feeling that it is so far away from becoming a reality.  Unless we want to have our first little one overseas, we will have to wait three full years (starting in January) to bring a baby into our world.  That is a long time, my friends.

The interesting thing, though, is that for the first time ever, I am starting to feel like I maybe, possibly, I could potentially be able to have our first baby out of the country.  I know that sounds crazy, and I'm not saying that is for sure the plan, but it is very freeing to embrace the possibility and dream about starting our family in the next 1 1/2 years, not the next 3.

So, I just thought I would take this time to be transparent and honest about something very personal to every woman.  I don't know when we will start trying for our own little miracle or how easy it will be to create that miracle, but I am learning a lot about trusting God. Trusting that His timing- in everything- is (and will be) perfect.  So perfect that in hindsight, every step of our journey will make complete sense.  I am also trusting that in whatever way I become a mother (whether it's having our own children or through adoption) I WILL be someone's Mum some day, and I will faithfully and lovingly raise each child God blesses me with as best as I possibly can.

Darby (aka "Baby Girl") and I celebrating Nicole's birthday.  Darby is probably to blame for atleast 3 of the points on my Baby Meter.
Cute little sweetheart, she is!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Photography: The Instax Mini

About a year ago, I went and purchased an Instax Mini camera. 

 It caught my eye on someone's blog, and I loved the idea of having my own version of a polaroid camera.  My original intention was to take it with me to weddings so I could give the bride and groom a picture of themselves right then at there at the reception. It's always a hit (as well as a bit of a head-turner) and every bride and groom I've photographed with it has appreciated the little momento from their big day!  I have also taken a lot of pictures and given them away to friends and family because it is just SO much fun!  I love my little camera and am really excited that I finally finally figured out how to scan them so I could share some of my pictures with you!

Nicole and I on the left, and the girls we were about to take TP'ing on the right.  We're such good role models.  Life must be lived, friends, and TP'ing is an adventure every teenager needs to go on.

On the left we have Josh and Brian playing the Kinect.  (I particularly like Brian's fist jabs) and  on the right is a photo of Josh and I out to dinner on his birthday.  This particular picture of us is one of my favorite, ever.

Josh and I making matza for a Passover Meal with friends as well as the two of us dressed up like old people for a swing dance during a Christmas production at church.  Josh looks like a salt and pepper haired George Clooney version of himself, aaaand I look like a banshee.

In front of the old city walls.  I love watching Josh take pictures, because it is something he absolutely loves to do.  I enjoy watching him figure out exactly what settings, angles, and positions he wants to use to capture each picture.  It's like watching someone who loves poetry doing a poetry reading.  Josh loves photography, and so I love encouraging him in it!

Now that I've figured out how to get these pictures on here, I will definitely be taking (and posting) a lot more!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Memories with Katie: Running.

A couple of months ago, my sister Katie (aka Sweet Girl) asked me if I wanted to run the Fifth Third Riverbank Run with her on May 14.  Considering the fact that running a 5k in under 30 minutes is a goal of mine for the year, I gladly agreed to run it with her. 

Now, I am definitely not a "runner".  I have never gotten to a place where running has been enjoyable or anywhere close to pleasant.  In fact, I've set a lot of running related goals but because I dislike running so much, I usually quit before I get to a place where running is comfortable.  With my baby sister counting on me to perform, though, I knew I had to get serious about training, and I did!  It was an interesting realization that I am a highly others-motivated person and not very self-motivated.  Something I've known deep down, but until I trained for this race, I hadn't quite understood it.  There are pros and cons related to that, but that's another blog post entirely.

Katie and I decided to make a big weekend out of the race.  We found a hotel to stay at Friday night in downtown Grand Rapids so we wouldn't have to worry about driving/parking/and most importantly, waking up crazy early in the morning.  We started our night by registering for the race, then we went to the hotel to get a little dressed up for dinner, and left to meet Mom at Olive Garden.  We had a delicious dinner and so much fun during the course of the meal.  When we were finished, we decided to make a quick stop at Target where Katie and I got some matching race day attire (thanks Mom!).  We also tried on a bunch of different clothes and laughed at each other quite a bit.  Well, I suppose I should clarify: Mom and Katie laughed at me. I see more potential in some clearance items than they do.  ANYWAY.

Before the race!

Everything went really well with the race!  Unfortunately, it was raining, but by the time our race started it was more of a sprinkle.  We set off at the 10 minute mile pace and got started with thousands of other racers.  Katie and I both felt quite good during the first mile, pretty good during the second mile, and I think Katie still felt pretty good during the third mile but I was strrruggling.  I think it was the rain plus a couple of small hills (I only ever run on flat roads haha) that got me.  We ended up with a chip time of 31:43 which isn't below the 30 minute goal we had set,  but we both felt great about it in the end!  

Immediately after the race.  I think my face expresses how I was feeling the last mile better than my words ever could.
Mom and Josh made the trip out to watch which meant the world to both of us.  As we neared the finish line we spotted them right away, due to a bright yellow duck umbrella that has floated around our family for a few years.  After we noticed the duck umbrella, we saw that Mom had even made a sign for us.  Having our own personal cheering section was a great feeling!

I'm also happy to share that I have continued running since the race, and have finally gotten to a point where running is even kind of enjoyable! I've learned that I need to run for me, and not for anyone else, and to listen to my body closely as I'm running.  When I desperately feel like walking, I walk.  When I know I'm being a baby and can push myself harder, I push harder.  Learning to run for myself and my own expectations has really transformed my running experiences.  Also, celebrating every little achievement was a big deal for me and I really appreciated sharing each milestone ("I ran a 10 minute mile!") with Katie and Josh.  I am still planning on breaking my under '30 minutes goal' at some point this summer!  This first race was such a great experience though, and I loved making such a fun memory with my baby sister.  Several times throughout the race I made sure to mentally relish in the moment.  It was a sweet memory with my Sweet Girl.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thoughts on Marriage: love, submission, and obedience.

The speaker that we saw on Friday made another statement about marriage that I thought was worth sharing. He said something that I've been thinking over the last few days, and something that I have seen to be true in a lot of cases.  The speaker, Adrianne Despres, made these three statements:

1. "I can tell what a man thinks about Jesus by the way he loves and treats his wife."

2. "I can tell what a wife thinks about Jesus by the way she submits to her husband."

3. "and I can tell what a teenager thinks about Jesus by the way he or she obeys their parents"

I'm not going to share any further thoughts on this, except that I found it very interesting.  It raises a lot of questions and probably hit(s) a few hot buttons. For example, what comes first, a loving husband or a submissive wife?  and what does submission really mean? and what if my parents/husband/wife are horrible?  I've also included scripture verses to support each of the statements, found below.   

1. "I can tell what a man thinks about Jesus by the way he loves and treats his wife."

Ephesians 5:5 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Colossians 3:19 "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them"

2. "I can tell what a wife thinks about Jesus by the way she submits to her husband."

1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.) 

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

3. "and I can tell what a teenager thinks about Jesus by the way he or she obeys their parents"

Ephesians 6: 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thoughts on Marriage: It's ok to brag (about each other)

On Friday, Josh and I took a group of 20 junior high students to a conference at Indiana Wesleyan University.  Overall, it was a fantastic trip, but the best part was the man who spoke at the conference on Friday night.  He spoke a lot of truth that left the kids (and adults) feeling both convicted and encouraged.  His name was Adrian Despres, if you feel like looking him up :-)

The part of his talk that stuck out to me the most were the times when he talked about his wife.  At the beginning of both of his speaking sessions he started out by introducing himself and bragging about his wife.  He talked about how beautiful she is and how he is still so in love with her and how she is a complete and total "righteous fox".  I loved it.  I loved hearing a man brag about his wife.  It was so refreshing.

Rather unexpectedly, he suddenly called out all of the married men in the room to do the same.  He was saying that he loves to hear men brag about their wives too, so he was going to give all of the married men 15 seconds to think about what they were going to say, and then he was going to give them 10 seconds to brag about their wives at the top of their lungs.

Stunned, I looked over to see that Josh was standing up.  Every eye in our group was on him. He thought for a few moments, and then he started bragging about me.  It was an odd experience to be sitting right next to him while it was happening and as he was shouting, I could feel that every gaze in the group was now splitting time between staring at Josh and staring at me to see how I was reacting.  It was a very peculiar moment, very peculiar indeed.  I loved that Josh didn't have any shame and didn't care at all and despite the fact that I couldn't even really hear what he was saying, I felt loved anyway.

I thought about what a moment like that must have meant to a room full of 1000 teenagers, most of whom are living in broken homes with broken lives.  Watching a bunch of men stand up and brag about their wives was so counter-cultural.  I hope that it brought them hope.

The next morning, Adrian started out his talk the exact same way- by introducing himself and bragging on his wife!  As soon as he was finished he once again challenged the married men in the room.  Specifically, he called out the men whose wives were in the room with them, and he said, "Men, if your wife is here with you, I want you to get on your knees in front of her, and tell her how much you love her, appreciate her, need her etc etc".  So this time, Josh got on his knees and looked me in the eye (the exact same way he looked at me when he spoke his vows on our wedding day, in fact) and I didn't think about anything else except listening to what he was saying.  The temptation to laugh or roll my eyes or act embarassed was so tangible, but I resisted. I calmly and intently focused on each word that he was saying and stored them up in my heart.  This time, I could feel the eyes of our kids as well as the kids behind us burning into our tender moment.

They were soaking up the way it looks for a husband and a wife to love each other, unashamedly.

Both moments were special not just because of the things Josh said about me or to me, but because as the kids watched I could feel their hopes being lifted.

Marriage can be a good thing.  
Marriage can last.  
There are husbands who love their wives, 
and there are wives who are honored by their husbands.