Thursday, October 8, 2009

Got Fruit? (There's a point, about halfway down the page)



The lyrics are great, if you don't want to watch.. LYRICS 


This somewhat cheesy music video has a song that I really like in it called, "Got Fruit?".  It's all about the different fruits of the spirit (as found in the Bible, book of Galatians, 5:22-23).  
The FOS  is 


love, 
joy, 
peace, 
patience, 
kindness, 
goodness, 
faithfulness, 
gentleness 
and self-control. 


 Nine. There are nine of them.  Some translations may word them differently, arrange them differently, but there are nine (9!!) of them.  Unless, you're a shower curtain from Meijer.  Yes, I said a shower curtain.  


I found a curtain at Meijer a couple weeks a go that had similar colors to our bathroom and had a square pattern that would go with the square pattern on our rug.  Here's the big picture:

Sorry about the poor picture taking.  I'm not the best, but you get an idea.  Cute right?  FOS themed, with a supporting verse paired with the different fruits.  


Well, don't read the verses too closely.. especially the one that lists the fruits of the spirit:

Joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith.  That's SIX! Only SIX!  


What the heck?!  Where is quality control in all of this?  Did their design team get lazy?   Imagine the uproar if a periodic table was printed and sold missing six elements.  OR!  What if the alphabet was missing six letters?  If Harry Potter had six words missing per page?  If popular music was missing lyrics!


I got a heretical shower curtain.  Or, at the least an uneducated shower curtain.  


Anyway,  I've been thinking about the FOS a lot.  Joyce Meyer has a really good way to explain the FOS.  She said, that all Believers have the FOS inside of them.  (Hard to believe sometimes, especially when thinking about myself!)  She said however, the FOS are kind of like a picture taken with a disposable camera.  You know the picture is in there, you just have to  develop the film to see it.


We need to develop the fruit that is inside of us and then it'll show on the outside.  Makes sense.  Just because we're save and now walking with the Living God doesn't mean that we've got it all together, that our character flaws are magically erased, that we never sin again, that we never say an unkind word or think an unkind thought.  There might be some things that improve right away, but for most things, we're going to need to work at them. We're going to need to be disciplined.  


How do we develop our FOS?  How do we improve on those 9 things?  How do we become more God-like? 


I think what it comes down to is making a decision.  Deciding to change, to improve to be more Christ-like.   I'll write more about decision making in another post.


Ephesians 4:22-24 says, 


"But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

When we decide to put off our old, sinful life and take on new life in Christ, we are deciding to work on our less than holy parts.  Maybe this means stopping yourself every time you have a negative thought and looking for the joy in a situation.  Or maybe it means improving your self control and not wandering to the fridge when you're bored, buying every new CD or video game, every latest fashion.  Maybe it means waiting on God to show you His way instead of you pushing ahead without patience.  It could mean any number of things.    

Wow, what a high standard to live up to.    Don't get too stressed out about it though- 


Matthew 5:48 tells us to "be perfect as your father in Heaven is perfect" or 


"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."


What is intimidating about these translations is that it makes it sound like if you were hard, you're going to arrive at perfection.  Truth is, we won't be perfect until we're either reunited with God in heaven or Christ returns to us here on Earth.  


I read once that in the original translations, the verse reads more like, "Be in the PROCESS of perfection, so you may be more like your Father".  


That's a little more manageable to me, keep moving, keep processing, keep growing. It doesn't mean we can't work toward irradicating as many of our less than Godly parts, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to a higher standard, it just means that we're not going to be perfect until Christ returns.  


I think of a few practical ways we can be developing more Christ-like character, our FOS.  


1. Be aware of where your short falls are in the FOS arena.  Know what you need to be working on.  I'm sure if you just read & pray through the passage and think honestly about yourself with each word, you can come up with your strong and not-so-strong areas.  


for fun:  a FOS quiz. :) http://christianteens.about.com/od/christianliving/a/FruitSpiritQuiz.htm 


2. Ask people who know you well and know at least a little about your walk with Christ what they think you should be working on.   Maybe talk to your small group, a pastor you know, a mentor, or just a close friend.  Get an honest outside opinion.


3. Read supplementary books or Bible studies. Topics like holiness, purity, character development, fruits of the spirit,  etc. would be good subjects to check out.  I'm sure a quick Amazon.com or google search would be.. fruitful. :) ha! 


4.   Read, read, READ your Bible!  What better way to find out how to be like God than to read the instructions He gave us?    Maybe start with the New Testament epistles (letters).  Try Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans!  All great starts to learning about Godly character.  I can't emphasize the importance of digging into the Bible.    


Some online resources to help you read the Bible more are:


www.biblegateway.com  


and


http://bible.christianity.com/



Both free, both easy to use at work or home or anywhere.  Let me know what you think.


Wow, long post and I feel like I've only gotten to the surface of a huge topic.




One last thing,  some friends and I are doing this thing called "The Proverbs 31 Challenge".  


Brandon pointed out that there are 31 days in October and there are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  The book of Proverbs are a bunch of ideas on how to live a good life, little sayings that are meant to guide someone to live a healthy life.  I guess a modern day proverb would be, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" (Don't get me started on what I think about THAT!)  or "Misery loves company".  I don't know why I thought of two negative ones. :P  


Read one chapter a day and you'll be done with the whole book by the end of October!   Sure, it's October 8th, but it's not too hard to catch up, even if you read two chapters a day.  The chapters are easy to read and understand (I recommend the Message translation and the New International Version if you're worried about not understanding).  


Let me know if you want to do the challenge too. We've set up an email address that anyone can email to share their thoughts on passages, encourage each other, ask questions, etc.  It's pretty exciting!  




Thumb Woes

Awhile back, I posted on facebook that it looks like I may end up needing to have my left thumb nail removed.  Random, I know.


Last year, I was attacked by a dog.  It didn't end up being that bad because of some training I had that taught me how to react if a person bit me.  I, somehow in the middle of it all, remembered this little tidbit and got my hand away from the dog fast.  


The dog mainly got my thumb and the inside of my hand.   Here's a low quality picture of part of my thumb:



I ended up going to University Health Services (I was still working on my MSW at the time) and having them look at it. I didn't need stitches for either side or down farther on my hand so it was basically keep it clean, change the bandages, etc.  No sweat.


Well, the thumb nail bed must have been destroyed in the process because this is what my thumb looks like now:



And



Kinda weird, gross, and cool all at the same time, right??


It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't hurt ALL the time.  Hot water, cold water, pressure, nail polish (which is pretty much a must because of how messed up and flimsy the nail is), hand holding, etc. all suck.


So, I saw my family dr. a couple weeks ago and she said she thought my two options were most likely:  1. take it off so it never comes back  and 2. take it off so it might come back and see what happens!


She offered to "numb it up" and take it off right then and there, I politely declined and asked, "Doesn't one NEED their thumb nail?!" and she replied that eventually the skin would get hard and leathery and it would most likely be okay. Ick.  


I'm seeing a specialist on the 13th to make a game plan.  


Initially, I was a little freaked out by my dr.'s  gung-oh nature with just taking it off then and there.. and then I was reminded..


In undergrad, my right thumb nail somehow got a flesh eating bacteria in it.  Gross right?  It was also the same time I discovered I was allergic to Neosporin.  Random, right?  Anyway, the Dr.s there thought they'd take my thumb off at the knuckle so that it would demolish the bacteria, etc.  I ended up *begging* for more time and the bacteria was obliterated by medicines and my thumb nail, which I was told would never grow back, has come back in just fine and looks amazingly normal.


So, I guess, if I came to grips and accepted that I might lose my whole thumb, I think I can come to grips with losing just a nail.  


I'll let you know what ends up happening, and you KNOW there will be pictures.


Like the popular Kuntz family saying goes, "It is what it is".  




*special thanks to the husband for teaching me how to use digital macro on his neat camera. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Work from home Monday!

I usually avoid scheduling things on Monday just so I can have the luxury of working from home. Mondays usually involve a lot of emailing, phone calls, and such for NLC.  It also involves laundry,  dishes, and odds and ends around the house.  I like work from home Mondays.  

One of the odds and ends today was putting up bird feeders and taking down some of the hanging plants.  Our Bleeding Heart made it a long time (even frosted at least once!) but it has been sent to the back porch and has been replaced by a suet bell.  The cats are overjoyed at the appearance of the bird feeders.  In a small defiance toward my father :), I  like to leave the feeders up all year round.  He firmly believes that bird feeders are only for fall and winter or the birds will get lazy during the summer.  We just haven't had  them up lately because our previous ones got destroyed by squirrels and chipmunks.

I got a new feeder, inspired by my friend Alison, for Josh.  It's supposed to be squirrel proof (a "squirrel buster") but it's not working.  The squirrels and chipmunks cleaned it out last week faster that I could even fathom.  It is supposed to work by having a cage around the actual area that the seed is in that is weight sensitive.  If something heavier than a robin gets on the cage, it is supposed to drop down a little, sealing off the seed access points.  My hope is that the chipmunks and red squirrels who currently weigh to little to trip the cage will now be sufficiently overweight after last week's buffet.  We'll see.

We had a visitor last week!  Our friends Jim and Alison went on a vacation and their fur baby, Lloyd, came to stay with us.  He's super cute and we had a lot of fun with him.  I'm sorry this picture isn't better. :)  Josh took his camera and his awesome pictures with him to work today and I didn't get a chance to snag his card.  This picture, unfortunately looks like something I might send J&A to get ransom money. :P


Josh and I try to be "eco-friendly" in life.  For lots of reasons.. God gave us the Earth and has asked us to take care of it, we have to live here, and (maybe to us most important?) one day our children will have to live here and we want them to have a safe and healthy place to grow and thrive.   

We do things like take reuseable bags to the grocery store, try to buy things only in containers that can be recycled, recycle just about anything we can, "compost" in the backyard (currently involves us just chucking things into the tree line. :)), unplug things we aren't using, use the heat and AC minimally and never when we're not home, if we're buying coffee from a coffee shop, we only buy if we bring our own mugs (that are made from recycled #5s!), I try to buy only organic meat and eggs for my husband, I'm a vegan, our cats use compostable/recyclable litter, we have biodegradable garbage bags, we have a water efficient shower head, etc.  We try to do practical things. Things that people wouldn't even notice and that they could easily do themselves.  

We've been talking lately about stepping our game up by doing some "Vermicomposting" or worm composting.  It involves creating a habitat for worms and then adding food scraps from your garbage to this habitat.  The worms don't actually eat the waste, they eat the bacteria on the garbage.   Things they are given are mostly food scraps like fruits and veggies, but I've also seen them eat paper plates (not that we use those..), egg shells, and tea bags.  They can handle just about anything that isn't glass, metal, rubber, etc.  Pretty neat.

Since it's getting colder, we'd have to put our setup in the basement and Josh isn't thrilled about the idea.  We may wait to start up when it gets warmer out.  From everything I've read though, if you keep the box properly oxygenated and the worms healthy, it's supposed to be really low odor.   

Anyone out there have any experience with this?  

I'll try to post again soon.  I've gotten a lot of questions about New Life, doulaing, and some other things.  :)  

Friday, September 25, 2009

Life Together-- Better than Ever!

Hi Friends,

Sorry for the delay in posting!  Life has been to the fullest.

We've been busy, but that's not new for us.  :)

There have been some big and exciting changes I'll give you 4 items. :) 

1. My amazing time with the Dover Family came to an end.  Wow, one of the toughest decisions I ever made was to transition away from working with adorable, amazing Ella and her awesome family.  However, God is faithful and if I follow where  He leads me, I will be rewarded and  my family and I will prosper. 

Where is He leading?  It's hard to say. Right now I'm working as a "volunteer" for New Life Church. I work about 25-30 hours a week (super busy because of all the new students!) and I love it.  It's a great ministry for me.  I coordinate all the programming for "Phase 2". Phase 2 is the programming and services for grad students, working singles, young professionals, etc. Basically anyone who isn't in undergrad and doesn't have children. We're not exclusive though, :) We welcome everyone.   I love that I get to meet with people to talk about their spiritual journeys, introduce them to the God that I love and serve, and discipling people to continue to grow in their relationship with Christ.  It's pretty great.  I also love the work I do for small groups and for the P2 large meeting.    

I've also been fortunate to support two different women through Doulas Care. 
I love working as a doula and it's such a privilege to be a part of their pregnancy, labor/delivery, and postpartum time.  Every birth, is a miracle.  It's hard to be a part of a pregnancy or birth and not believe in an intelligent Creator.  Just leaves me breathless and in awe every time.  

2. Josh's job is going great.  Work has been a little slow but it's still there (Technically this isn't a change).  He got some SUPER exciting news this week- he'll get to go visit the actual boat that he build a 1:1 scale model of!  He'll be making 2 trips to Norfolk to see the boat, do some work on it, etc.  I'm really proud of him.  He's worked so hard on this project and has just done great things.  Yeah husband!  

3. We adopted 2 cats!  We had the intention of only adopting one cat, however, the logic of 2 cats keeping each other company, the cute over load factor, and the fact that the adult cats were "BOGO" :), we couldn't resist!  

a. Zippy!  He's thirteen, a big guy and solid black with huge yellow eyes.  He lives up to his name.  He may be elderly (roughly 82 in human years!) he super playful, adventurous, and demanding (attention, food, etc).  Last night I got home from the hospital super late (at a birth) and I found Zippy on the bed staring at Josh while he slept, waiting for any sign that he might get pet at sometime.  :) He's a fan of catnip, maybe more than just a fan.  He took a little longer than Posey to warm up to his new home, but it was understandable; he had lived with the same family for all of his 13 years until they were evicted from their home and he had to go to the shelter.  He's doing great now.




b. Posey!  Posey 7 seven, very petite, and is a frisky kitty.  She loves to play with.. anything.  She's adorable; multi colored, seems to be missing about 2 inches of her tail, and is deaf.  We didn't know she was deaf until recently.  She was at the shelter as a stray so they just gave her a name.  We thought she wasn't answering to her new name because she wasn't used to it, so we were yelling random names at her and waiting for her to respond to one of them.  We started noticing small things- she didn't come to us even if we were shaking a can of treats, she didn't respond to whistling, snapping, "here kitty, kitty"-ing, etc.  She was immune to things like my hair dryer, the washer/dryer, music at obscene levels, AND on a  hot day, we even found her sitting directly in front of a noisy box fan basking in the breeze.   


Anyway. They're super cute and I hope we can provide them with the home and love they deserve.

4. Random event update!  We've been fortunate to get to travel some, we went to St. Ignace again for Labor Day, and this adventure included a short stay at a B&B that was completely off the grid!  It was powered by a 10,000 watt (? kwatt?) windmill and batteries.  It was neat.  We also took the Buick down a couple of two-tracks, through  some no-tracks that were so small that with the windows down we both had bushes coming into the car, and through some canyons.    We got to go to Cedar Point with our friend Stephanie  and ride some awesome rides!  While we were there, we also got to go to a Family Force 5 concert (!!) and a TobyMac concert (!!!!!!).  It was an awesome day.  Phase 2 has had some rockin' picnics and we've met a lot of new people.  This Sunday, we're going to a combine derby with our friends Erin & Justin and Erin's parents. :) That will be a blast too.

Married life is going great!  We love it.  It's work, work it takes a lot of time, but it's also fun, a great representation of God and His love for us, and a million more things that I never expected.  




Thursday, July 23, 2009

update, food, and the 4th. :)




It's hard to believe we've been married for almost two months!  What a ride.  It's been amazing and difficult all at once.  However, even on our hard days we still manage to have fun, still be madly in love, and have the confidence that we're going to make our marriage work (till death do us part!).

We have one more wedding celebration to go. We're not really sure what's going on.  We have to be to Jackson by 2 for a "lunch", with our photo albums in hand.  

Speaking of food, many of you know that both Josh and I love to cook.  :)  Here are some of our latest creations. 

First!  Josh and Sara-Marie's 4th of July 
Pie (these pictures don't show the blueberries, but this pie is full of them (makes the pie red, white, and blue :)).  This pie is totally vegan.  Graham cracker crust, vegan cream cheese, strawberries, blueberries, and a homemade strawberry jam on top.


Next up, a salad.  
 


This is a massive omelet I made Josh for breakfast one day.  It's so big because I used my small magic pan (Berndez!) and I whipped the eggs a little too long. :)  



This is a quinoa, tofu, and mixed veggie stir-fry.  I used a garlic vinagrette to cook the veggies in. 



Last,  a fun dinner for two.  We ate this meal off of a cooler facing the "woods" behind the house. :) Pretty silly.  BBQ chicken (I made a homemade bbq sauce), the fun salad, peas with mushrooms and garlic sauce, and fries. :) 



  Josh took most all of these pictures, especially the artsy ones. :)  He's quite the shutter bug.  

Fourth of July was fun.  Since Josh and I weren't together last year, this was his first experience.  He was allowed to join me in my favorite 4th of July task-- organizing the antique tractors for the 4th of July parade!  My sister, amazing sister, is the parade director for the Hanover-Horton 4th of July Parade.  She's been doing it for years.  She's got it down to an art.   I think Josh had fun.  He got to tell everyone where to park and where to get info about different things.    I did most of the registering, explaining, and telling tractors when they could join the parade.  Josh was super useful and videoed the parade for my sister.  

Here are a few pictures. 












Josh was pretty fascinated by the horses. :)  

It was a great weekend.  We drove 484 miles.  Up to Cadillac to see the Sergent grandparents and then down to Horton for all the 4th festivities.  

Love to you each! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Might as well..


Well, as some of you know I have strep throat (most likely!).  I'm off of Ella duty until Monday and am pretty exhausted.  I've been creating bed activities and after encouragement from my friend Nichole  I decided to try out flickr and upload some wedding and honeymoon pictures.  I'm really glad my friend told me about the uploader tool.   I would have been doing them one by one until the day I died. :)  


I'll be updating it on and off all day (in between naps!).  I'm glad we'll be able to share this pictures with family that's far away.

Loves.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wow!

Wow, what a journey.

I appreciate your patience with my posting. :)

Things have been going quite fast since the 25th and haven't slowed much yet. 

This isn't going to be an amazing update-- just a quick teaser. 

The wedding was amazing!  Our ceremony was beautiful, the weather was gorgeous, and we were surrounded by lots and lots of loved ones.  

People ask if there were any disasters, and I will honestly say no! :)  Josh and I did a lot of planning to make sure things would go well.  On the day of the wedding, we did a lot of texting and sent verbal messages back and forth via our dear, dear friend Lisa.  

We left on Sunday morning for Disney!  It was super fun to go on a honeymoon.  Josh and I were both drunk on the fact we had no responsibility.  At first we weren't sure what to do with ourselves and all the no responsibility-ness, but we managed.  We were there a full 7 days and did probably 14 days worth of stuff (AND we still didn't make it to MGM!).

Now that we're back, we're trying to create our life together.  It's been pretty stressful for me; living in boxes, not knowing where anything is, kitchen all disaster-y (and still oven-less (this is month 2) until the 27th), etc.  Josh and I have been working steadily at getting storage items to maximize the space we do have and try and make everything fit.  It's fun. :)

Well, that's it for now, I told you it'd be short.  I'd like to end by thanking everyone who came to the wedding, sent cards and well wishes, and helped make our wedding ceremony beautiful.  What would we have done without you?

There are lots and lots of pictures of both the wedding and the honeymoon.  Facebook is littered with them. I'll try and post pictures ASAP.    Below is a honeymoon picture that pretty much sums up our whole experience.  ;)


Also, Stephanie made an AMAZING video about the wedding. I suggest you check it out!    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_Yi8so-y0s

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Birthday Madness!

I turned 25 on May 25th!

It had always been my plan to go skydiving on my 25th birthday. Josh asked me to refrain from doing so because he was concerned his bride would die 5 days before their wedding. :)

Even though I didn't get to go skydiving, Josh made my 25th extra special by throwing me a day long surprise party!

He picked me up in the morning and he brought with him coffee, a rose, and amazing card (I love cards). We then drove off into the woods for what seemed to be forever (I think when I'm excited time slows down just to spite me). We ended up at the Pinkney Rec. area! He planned a surprise birthday cook-out! Lots of my friends came, we ate great food, played bocci ball, volleyball, football, and Frisbee, talked, and talked.

The cook-out ended so people could have the chance to change clothes, and then some of us met back up in Ann Arbor to play Whirlyball! IT WAS AMAZING!! If you've never heard of whrilyball, it's a game played on bumper cars! You get one of those scoopy throw-y things and you and a team have to try to throw a wiffle ball through a little hole.. while on bumper cars! It was so much fun and I have whiplash and bruises to prove it. :)

After that, Josh took me out to dinner to a bar in Ypsilanti called Sidetrack (No, not Sidetrack Tap for you PHC enthusiasts). It was so good.

Post dinner, we were so exhausted we went back to Josh's and flopped on the couch. I didn't linger long, if I had hung much longer I wouldn't have been safe to drive!

Speaking of Josh's house, I'm all moved in! Josh is staying with his mom and Owen for the rest of the week and Stephanie and I are livin' large in the condo!


Josh is so amazing. I can't believe all the time and effort he put into planning the birthday day for me. It was so special. I am blessed beyond belief. I loves him so much.

Wow!

Hi Friends,

I'm sorry it's been so long since I posted! It's not because I don't want to, we're just so busy!


It is hard to believe we are only two days away from the wedding. We are excited beyond belief. People keep asking us if we're nervous, have any doubts, etc. and Josh and I just respond confidently that we know this is what God has planned for us and we're excited to start our journey! I remember the days where we were counting down from triple digits thinking the single digits would never get here. :)

Josh and I have both had our bachelor and bachelorette parties. :) Both amazing successes! Josh and his men went up north for a weekend outdoors and my ladies and I took over his condo for some much needed girl time. :)

No melt-downs, catastrophies, or the like to report. Everything has been smooth sailing thus far. We' got a lot of comments like "You can't plan a wedding in six months", "you'll never find _____ (photog, place, etc) in six months", etc. and you know what? We can and we did. God really provided for us every step of the way.

One of my out-of-town bridesmaid has arrived, the next comes in on Friday. My very special, honored guest comes in at 5:15am SATURDAY! Andy Pants is picking her up because he's awesome.

The cake and flowers are done and paid for (yay!), most all of the girls' dresses are done, the men pick up their tuxes tonight. We've got to finish up a few (okay, maybe more than a few) things and I think we'll be all set to go!

We registered for our marriage license last week and it was almost a bust! Josh doesn't technically have a valid birth certificate (he was adopted, changed his name, but never recieved a new BC) . The woman at vital records wasn't supposed to grant us one but she did because she didn't "want to muck up your wedding"! She also slipped Josh the forms he'll need to get a new BC. I think we're going to take her chocolate or something today when we go to pick it up.

And before you ask, no we don't have a last name yet. :)



Loves!
Josh is innocent, I'm scheming! Poor guy, he has no idea. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"things like this are bound to happen"

"Things like this are bound to happen."

What was this in regards to? 

My veil got thrown away on accident!!  I didn't know it was gone until I needed it for my hair practice day this past weekend!  What a shock!! :) 

Thankfully, the person that accidentally threw it away redeemed him/herself by finding it and bringing it to me at the salon on my hair practice day!

I'm quite eager to find out what else is bound to happen.  I did notice a lot of orange barrels in front of the Ann Arbor City Club yesterday.  :|   No one asked us if they could do construction during our wedding season!  AND Orange isn't even one of our colors!!

This isn't what my hair will look like, (I'm confident all mothers would be upset if I revealed my hair before the "big day"!), just a teaser. :)




Let me tell you about Miss Ella Rose,


Let me tell you about Miss Ella Rose.  She's a living miracle.  She's proof of the love, grace, and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  

Ella is doing amazing!  She's a little over a month seizure free (praise the Lord!).  It's amazing to think of how she was just a little over a month ago:  seizing sometimes 30+ times a day, non-verbal, non-Mobile, and generally non-responsive.  

Now! She's a chatty, giggly, happy 3 year old.  It's hard to keep her down!  She's making amazing strides at PT, OT, and speech therapy.  It seems like she picks up new words everyday, tries new things regularly, and is just loving life.  

This change has been really great for her family too. :)  They have a renewed sense of purpose and hope.  Today, they're where Ella will go to school next year and they're creating her new IEP.  For once, they're not planning day to day, they're planning for an extend future.  I think that now Ella has been seizure free for a month, even if / when she has breakthrough seizures, they know that it is possible to be seizure free/controlled and that they can get to that point again. 

Pics just because she's so  cute :)

























Monday, May 11, 2009

Updates Galore!

Even though I haven't been posting them, I have a few bits and pieces of different posts that I'm working on. :)  I will do my best to get back on some sort of posting schedule.  I appreciate your.. "encouraging" messages, etc.  :)

I had two bridal showers scheduled for before the wedding and I have one coming up post-wedding-ness. :)

The showers were so humbling for josh and me.  It was touching that so many people would be willing to take time out of their busy days and money out of their struggling wallets to support us and our new marriage.  

One shower was hosted by my d-group (discipleship, kinda like a bible study).  There was a lot of laughing in the games organized by my friend Amy and there were lots of delicious edibles.  :)   My d-group did a good job at all the "little touches"  there were pictures of Josh and me around, including on the cupcakes! (Heart shaped pictures glued together and stuck on a toothpick, how creative!!)  They also had some of my favorite foods, mmmm hummus! mmmm fruit!, mmmm carrot cake from Big City bakery!   It was a lot of fun.

The other shower was hosted by my home church, the Horton Congregational Church.  It was very lovely. :)  They hosted a tea party and both josh and I got to attend!  It was so pretty.  They had hydrangas (our wedding flower), all the food was vegan (except for the two sandwiches with meat :)), and everyone brought us bags of tea (I love tea!).  The ladies who planned the shower also created a hilarious game for Josh and me.  It was like "The Newlywed Game".  They had Josh pre-answer a whole bunch of questions without me knowing and then every once and a while Jenny would make me try to answer them.  Some of them were really easy and close ended, for example, "What was your first date?".  AND some of them were rediculously hard and open ended, for example, "What would Josh say is his favorite thing about you" or "What would Josh say annoys you most about him?".   Some of them were hard and embarrassing, like, "What is the first thing of Josh's you're going to throw away when you get married?" (I said three incorrect things before I gave up and just closed my mouth around my shoe) and "What annoys Josh most about you?" (The list just went on and on..) :).  

It was a lot of fun.  Another really neat thing about this shower is that thanks to my family's deep roots in Horton, there were women there who knew my great-great grandmother, and tons of Kuntz and Hammond women from years gone by.  They shared stories about them and the wonderful times they had together.  Most of the older women there also remember when I was a baby and shared memories about that too. :)  At one point it was almost a competition to see who was involved with the family the farthest back! I think Aunt Florence won. :) 

We had an amazing and unexpected surprise at the Horton shower, Josh's grandma and grandpa Sergent came down from the Cadillac area!  Quite the trek for one shower!  I started to cry when I saw them and I think they became quickly concerned/confused. :)  My mom later explained that all my grandparents are passed and the fact that they cared so much for josh and me meant more than any gift could possibly mean.  

Josh and I are so blessed.  Words can't express. Everyone should know the love that we feel from all of our family members (technically related or not!).

Off to Ella time!  Ella update coming soon. :)  Love!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Well, Well, Well.

Well, well, well, Craig, it turns out you're not really that helpful. You gave me false hope. *sigh* Maybe we'll try to re-post them and hope for better results the second time around. Interestingly, the only item we sold came from my post about Craigslist. :) Thanks Carter :).

Today is my first bridal shower! Should be fun. I'm a little nervous about all the attention, etc. But I am constantly reminded that people are happy for us, want to give us presents, and celebrate. :)

Hey, you, that got a wedding invite and haven't responded yet- please RSVP. Especially if you have a preference on what you want to eat. If you RSVP late, you'll be at our mercy in regards to food and cake! :)

Who wouldn't want to party with these people?

35 days!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Do weddings create Marthas out of Marys?

It's pretty common knowledge that I (Sa-Ma) am a busy person.  I like to be busy, I like to be involved in.. things, and be on the go!  Josh isn't quite the same.  He likes to have maybe 2 things on his plate at once and that's all.  It's just a difference in our personalities.  I admit that since Josh and I've been together, I've pushed quite a few things off of my plate.  Our relationship is important to me and being able to give ample amounts of time to is key.  :)

People ask us a lot "How is the wedding planning going?" but few ask us how our marriage planning is going.  It seems to me, that one often gets in the way of the other.  

Wedding planning is a busy, busy thing.  I think Martha of the New Testament would probably be good at it.  We meet Martha in the book of Luke, chapter 10.

Jesus has come to visit Martha and her sister, Mary.  Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to all He has to say and just soaking up all she could from him.  Martha is rushing around, getting food out, making sure things are clean (maybe even extra clean?), and trying to throw a great welcome party.  

Martha soon gets overwhelmed and starts asking, "Why isn't Mary helping me?!"  Jesus tells Martha that only one thing in life is needed (Him) and that Mary has chosen it and all of Martha's rushing and preparing means nothing in the end.  

It's true.  How many parties do you remember all the details from?  How many wedding memories do you have?  Josh and I are certain that we won't remember a thing from Jack's sermon that we've hired our friend Kyle to video it for us.    

However, I bet if you're a Believer, you remember that time when God met you when you were low and feeling worthless.  Or when you decided to give your heart to Him and life a life that glorifies Him.  I bet you can't forget your "burning bush moments" or the times you saw Jesus and got to know Him better through the life of someone else.  

It's Josh and my hope that our wedding is wonderful but that our marriage is AMAZING!.  All the wedding planning, it's just Martha-ness.  We need to be Marys, sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him teach us what a real marriage is.  

John 15:13,  greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend (partner, bride, husband, wife, sister, brother, neighbor).  

Lord help us lay down our lives.

Dear Craig, we love you! (and your lists)

Josh and I have been doing some spring cleaning.  We've been going through our stuff (mostly his since my belongings are in roughly three different homes currently) and deciding what we'd like to keep and what we'd like to get rid of.   We decided that a lot of what we'd like to get rid of is pretty high quality stuff and ANYONE would be lucky to own our items. ;)  jk.   We've decided to put a bunch of the items on Craigslist and see if we can change our 'trash' into treasure. 

Here are the things we've posted:
-Subwoofer with 12 inch speakers and an amp (Josh built this)
-Capresso Mini-S espresso maker (new! new! new!)
-DVDs
-PS2 games
-Xbox games
-Stereo system

I've gotten a few emails bform people stating they're interested, but so far no one has picked any of our times to keep for their very own.  We thought a person was coming on Saturday to pick up the huge sub thing-y but he never showed (poor Josh, had to drag that huge, heavy thing up from the basement).  I've gotten multiple emails about the espresso maker and the ps2 games.  :) Hopefully tomorrow I'll get rid of them.  

It was a lot easier to post things than I imagined.  Previously, I've posted housing and searched for housing, but never items.  I'm not sure why I thought it would be so hard.  The ease of it makes me want to put all sorts of things up there. :) 

I think all money brought in will be directed right to the honeymoon or wedding fund.  Seems like a good idea.  :) 

Friday, April 10, 2009

FOOOOOOOOOD!!

This morning, in a record 17 minutes and 19 seconds I made reservations for all our meals while at Disney!   Thanks to a nice person named Mark for making my Disney dining dreams come true.   

Here's the run-down:

Monday- Dinner at the Coral Reef, 8:30pm, by the aquarium
Tuesday- Boma (African cuisine) 4:50
Wednesday- Breakfast with Mickey and Minnie!!!!  11:10am
Thursday- Marakkesh 5:30pm
Friday Breakfast at the Wilderness  Lodge 9:20am
Saturday- Citrico's 6:00pm

Yay, yay, yay!

I was pretty nervous about calling just from Bonnie's horror stories and her concern that when they went to Disney earlier this year, she was convinced she was going to lose weight because they couldn't get reservations. :) 

How great is that?  AND Disney is pretty vegan friendly. :) 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Every bride is different. Some organize by having big binders that the stuff things in, some use a post-it note system, some do everything online, etc. Similarly, all brides panic about different things. Location, attendance, gifts, colors matching, food, anything, really. I haven't figured out what my panic "thing" is yet but I'm sure I will.

When Josh and I met with Jack Brown, the person who is performing our wedding ceremony, he told a couple good stories about people who did panic. One was about a bride who refused to get out of the limo, not because she didn't want to get married but because she didn't want everyone looking at her (valid!). He also gave us some tips on how to avoid disasters at the altar. He suggested:
-Extra chairs in the front in case someone in the wedding party gets light headed and needs a sit.
-Tissues (allergies, or "allergies" ahem.)
-Water bottles
-Something like a paper bag or manual fan might have been suggested too.

He also recommended having everyone be aware of good places to throw up are and how to escape gracefully if needed. :) I like Jack.

I've liked Jack since 1995 and am blessed beyond measure that he has agreed to be the person to assist Josh and I in making our vows to God and each other.



Josh and 4 of his 5 grooms people got fitted for tuxes today and let me tell you, I've had to tighten my chastity belt another two notches-- just in case. :) Purity safe, I can tell you Josh looked so good!! (How many days to go?!!) He also did a great job making decisions and organizing his men.

My parents came to the tux fitting and enjoyed meeting all of the groomsmen. My mom is determined to remember their names and little things about them. Tonight they were remembering their names based on what they were wearing.. hopefully the little things about them will stick in their minds. :)

After the fittings, Josh and his 4 out of 5 groomsmen headed off to Bible study. Mom, Dad, and I went out for dinner! :) We had Chinese. I always get the same thing at the place we go- Rainbow Tofu. i luv tofu. It was a lot of fun (as usual!) and we got to catch up some. The night ended on an "AWWWWWW" note when my parents got matching fortunes from their fortune cookies that said, ":) happiness accompanies you wherever you go :)"

Josh and I should be so blessed to be like my parents and have happiness (each other) accompany us wherever we go. :).

Two of our friends Shawn and Nichole made a promise to not spend a night apart for their first year of marriage. Nichole says they've made it thus far and have no plans that involve them being apart.

Josh and I thought this was great. :) We'd like to say we could do a whole year, but I've already committed to being away for one week in August (Hello Michigan Congregational Summer Camp!) but other than that, I think we might try to give it a go. :) Thanks Shawn and Nichole for the great idea.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bound to happen sooner or later..

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Eventually, we would forget to send someone an invite and then realize we forgot them.

This weekend, I was working on compiling a list of addresses for my HCC family. In the process of doing that, I was looking at the envelope .doc Josh created and noticed a very important person missing- his dad. What! It explained why we hadn't received a reply card from him, etc.

I felt bad but am hoping to remedy the bad feeling by dropping the invite in the mail today.

Thank goodness I already have the Bryan seal of approval. Who knows, maybe without the seal, the wedding would be off! :) jk.


Josh and his dad (Bryan) trying to out scruff and out UofM each other around New Year's 2008

Things have been pretty good around the Ann Arbor area. Josh was away for the tail end of last week and the weekend. He was on a men's retreat through young life called, True Pursuit (Informational Link!). Sounds like he had a great time of learning, growth, and fellowship. He got to do things like listen to great speakers, shoot skeet, talk about man stuff and how to be a better man of God,smoke cigars (ugh), and stay up late. From listening to him talk about his weekend, it sounds like God really revealed Himself to Josh and that Josh gained a lot of new perspective and had his eyes opened more to how to be a man of God.

I'm proud of him. :)







Monday, March 30, 2009

Honeymoon!

Josh's mom, Bonnie, harrassed Josh and me for a new post this weekend.  So, thanks to Bonnie's harassment, you've got a new post. :)

This post will be all about our honeymoon!  Josh's mom and
 her husband, Owen, are giving us our honeymoon as a gift! Josh's dad, Bryan and his wife, Loretta also gave us a donation toward our honeymoon!  We're humbled and honored by them.  It's hard to believe their generosity. 

So, I bet you're wondering where we're going and what we're doing etc., etc.,.  

Well,  Josh says it best when he says,
 
"WE'RE GOIN' TO DISNEY WORLD!!!".  :) 

Bonnie and Owen are sending us for a week long vacation to Disney World!  We're really excited.  Other grown-ups we've talked to had a blast there.   

We don't have all the details yet, we know we have park passes, a meal plan, and lodging.   Did I mention we have lodging?

BAM! 

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort.   More info here

We're really excited.  I'm not sure how to express how excited we are.  

Okay, back to work. :)  <3 




Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's a what? and Colloquialisms.

On Sundays, I usually make a hhuugeee something so Josh and I don't have to make our lunches during the week. It's a good system. Josh and I don't tend to get sick of food quickly, so eating the same thing for 7 days isn't an issue.

This past Sunday, I was making a huge Shepherd's pie and was running out of clean pots and pans and thought I didn't have one big enough for what I wanted, but then found one that looked like it would work. I turned the burner on, threw in some oil and onions and the onions started burning. I was confused. This had never happened before, it's pretty hard to burn anything in these pans.

I showed the burn marks to Josh and he was confused and disappointed too and we figured we'd check out the warranty and take care of it. NBD. Well, after I left to go home, Josh made a startling discovery while doing the dishes.. it wasn't actually a pan, it was a lid! It looks just like a pan (except it didn't have one long handle, it had two shorter, wing handles on either side) and apparently a little inscription that says "this is not a pan" or whatever. Josh got all the burnt stuff off and the lid is good to go.. as a lid and not a pan.

Too bad, really. It was a great size.

Josh and I grew up in pretty different areas of Michigan. I grew up quite rural, classic small town America with fishing contests, tractor parades, and pie auctions. Josh grew up in more "urbanized" areas like Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

While there are many differences, probably the most amazing difference is the difference in language and random colloquialisms. For example: Josh went with my family and me to a visitation for a dead relative. In the parking lot of the funeral home, a woman told my mom she hadn't seen her "in a coon's age". Josh had never heard this before! Pretty classic statement (similar to "when Hector was a pup"). But Josh wasn't quite sure what it meant and wanted to know how long a coon's age is.

Another phrase he had never heard was "bull in a china shop". He claims it's because I mumble and it sounds like bowl not bull. Don't believe him.

Most recently, I used the phrase "one bad apples spoils to whole bunch". It was actually in regards to a bag of apples I purchased where most of them were icky. But, Josh had no idea that such a useful phrase existed!

It's all fair, I suppose since he says things I don't understand mainly because it's hard to tell if it's a good word or bad word. Most recently, janky. He said something was janky and I didn't know if he liked it or didn't.

We usually figure out what we mean. I'm pretty sure he'll never pick up my y'all and all y'all habit, and I have no intention whatsoever of picking up some of his vocab.

I think the topic of premarital counseling this week is communication. Ha. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

"This couple's a genuis"

My sister has a great shirt. :) It's got two big thumbs pointing up toward her face and it says, "This girl's a genius!". I love it. Whenever I do something silly, I point toward myself and say, "This girls' a genius!". Well, Josh and I had a "this couple's a genius" moment the other day. We clearly (CLEARLY) weren't thinking correctly when we purchased our invitation kits. We knew we needed to invite roughly 225 people to get our target goal of 160-170 guests, so what did we do? We bought 225 invites. CLEARLY NOT THINKING!! We were an invite making machine- we had the printer just shooting all 225 out like some sort of high-powered invitation gun (whatever.). We got all 225 of our inserts printed, stamped, and separated. Then came time for the part we were really nervous about- printing the envelopes. (Praise Jesus Josh worked for awhile at Kinko's. He was a mail merge pro and got the envelopes printing. I was really intimidated.) When he was printing the document, he noticed there were only.. 94 to be printed! We calculated our invitation needs not by couples or families but by individuals. So, we purchased and printed TONS more than we needed. :) When Josh realized what we'd done, he yelled out, "This couple's a genius!" I think out of the whole 225 we printed, we will use probably 110 at most. :) Josh had a great idea to use the pretty sleeves that the invites go in again when we do our thank you notes (I think he was doing disaster control).

Anyway, we got a all but a few invites in the mail an
d it feels good to have them gone. Josh and I worked great getting them all printed, prettified, and in the mail. Josh even figured out a way to speed up the stamping process. I admit to being a grouchy girl the night of narrowing down the guest list, but other than that, it went smoothly.

I think soon, I'll do a post all about what future brides
need to know about wedding planning. :) How to calculate number of invites needed will most def. be on that list.

Ella bella is sleeping next to me as I post this. She looks like an angel. Josh and I should be so blessed to have a house full of Ellas one day. :) <3

In other news, in the epic battle of Tofu V. Bacon, it looks like tofu is dom
inating and is considering whether or not to throw bacon in to an endless abyss. What do you think? Should Monsieur Tofu give bacon the old heave ho?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Now for a fun post!

As some of you may know, I play in the Ypsilanti Community Band. In this band, there are a number of very fine musicians. We have recruited 3 of these musicians to play at our wedding! They will be playing during the "cocktail hour" (The time we get all our pictures done) and then during dinner. I do not think we'll be keeping them around for the reception chunk that includes dancing, etc. but we're pretty excited to have them as a part of our wedding celebration.

http://fourthwish.biz/

Something that as been important to Josh and me since we got engaged is to make sure we're not just planning our wedding, but planning our marriage as well. My mentor, Kirsten, encouraged us to come up with a mission statement for our engagement, a way for us to keep focused on God and His goals for our lives and our marriage.

We came up with (something like) "Build a relationship foundation that models how Christ loves the Church". (No, we don't play in traffic or run with scissors to try and practice giving up our lives..). We had a lot of sub points, or ways to accomplish this.

We started premarital counseling through our church, New Life, and the pastor leading it wants us to come up with a mission statement for our marriage. Sounds like survival is key, so I'm sure we'll work that in somehow. ;) However, it seems like a lot of our engagement goals will carry over in to our marriage. I suppose that's the way it should be though, couples constantly learning and growing together. Anyone have any mission statement suggestions?

Okay. Have a great day. :)

Never again!

Last night was a long night. Josh and I are just about ready to do the envelopes for our invites (fingers crossed that at least the first wave will go out Thursday or Friday!) and that means we needed to nail down the guest list.

After the first pass, we had about 45 more people than we could invite. It was devastating. I had no idea what to do, so I called my mom. We called my mom because it was my fault we were so far over. I had such a hard time figuring out who to ask to celebrate from afar. My mom was helpful in that when she sent us her address list, they were separated in to people we had to invite due to their placement in the family tree and who we didn't have to unless we wanted to. Also, when it came down to the actual removal of people, she let me know which groups were brothers and sisters, etc.

Anyway.

It was stressful. I was almost in tears about a dozen times. I was grumpy (sorry Josh..). But we figured it all out. A lot of the people who we decided we couldn't invite to the wedding are instead invited to a bridal shower and they will be given a lot of compensatory hugs.

I wanted to invite everyone, but in the wedding game, it's just not possible.

Josh suggested we elope that way no one gets invited and it's much more fair. A lot less like a wedding we imagined, but a lot more fair.