Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It just feels like we're on vacation.  Well, maybe that's just my opinion.  We left Monday afternoon to get up to STL, so that Tyler could start his job on Tuesday morning.  My gracious cousins are letting us sleep in their house while they are with family this week.  We only packed a suitcase of what we'll need for this week, because Tyler flies out next Monday afternoon to go to OKC.


I will drop him off at the airport and make the treacherous (that's what it's become anyway) drive back to Springfield where I will meet my family.  My brother, Ben, is supposed to fly out of Springfield next Monday morning to go to Nicaragua with a group from CCH, and my family will be seeing him off.  


From there, I will stay with my family and go to my much needed chiropractic appointment before I head off to the unknown in OKC.  We still haven't heard where we will be living or anything of the sorts.  Some days it's frustrating, but others I know that God is in control and He's teaching us to trust Him through all of this.  He's keeping us out of our comfort zone, and I'm okay with that.  Many people would be freaking out at this point, but we're not.  


This was God's plan to begin with, and it's His plan through the entire process.

In the last couple of days, I've started my list of books to read, list of wedding gifts to create for one of my best friends, and a list of more apartments to look at in the STL area.  We had originally picked out a place to live during our last weekend visit to the area, but have decided to keep looking.  We might actually find a place that has light fixtures in every room and ceiling fans.  Then again, we may not.  But we're gonna give it a shot.

Christmas was wonderful.  We had Christmas with Tyler's family on the 18th which was a good weekend.  I had never been to the Plaza in KC before, and we went to eat at the Cheesecake Factory.  It was delish.  The lights were pretty, but it just seemed like a glorified outside mall.  Later, when I told my dad this, he agreed. Ha.  I really am like him.  It was a good experience, though.

We packed up and moved our belongings to Lamar on the 23rd, and stayed with my parents for Christmas weekend.  It was neat to have Christmas on a Sunday morning.  I was young the last time it was on a Sunday and all I remember was thinking, "I can't wait to get home to open presents."  This year it was different.  Us kids are grown up, and it was neat to get to worship our God before opening gifts.  We even had a very nice lunch prepared by my momma.  The ham was sooooo good!

Tyler was officially inducted (or hazed as my brothers said) into our family, as he was the one that got to read the Christmas story this year.  It's a family tradition to read the Christmas story out of the Bible before we open gifts.  It's a great way that my parents could remind us (more when we were younger) that Christmas isn't about presents.  It's about the one Gift who came to save the world. 

That night we had most of the Bunton family over at our house.  It was neat because Tyler and I won't be at Bunton Christmas this year.  I was glad to see everyone one last time before we move to Oklahoma.  Tyler's parents and sister even came down spontaneously (I think the Bunton's are rubbing off on them :]).  

We're very blessed.  Even when we're homeless and don't have a clue about what the future will hold, we are blessed.  God has given us what we need at the time we need it.  For that, we are thankful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

College Grads: A Job but No Place to Live

Today was the day.  The day to pack up and move from what has been my home for the past 3 years.  However, things have changed in the past couple of days that has made us change our plans.

Last week, Tyler and I went to St. Louis and looked at six apartment complexes.  There was a couple of things we noticed:  1.  They don't believe in light fixtures in any room.  2. They don't believe in ceiling fans.  I don't understand it.  I'm not a fan of lamp light for my main lighting in the room.  We didn't have a choice, however.  All of the apartments were that way.  So we ended up picking out a place to live and ended up being happy with the choice. 

A couple of days later, we got the call from Tyler's recruiter that his training date had been moved up.  Oh yeah...I didn't mention that in my last post.  Tyler has to do 3 months of training in Oklahoma City.  We didn't have specifics, and we're still unsure of where we'll be living, but he has to go.  We made the decision that I will go with him.  I do not want to live apart that long.  No couple should ever have to do long distance.  Anyway, he will be flying out of STL on the 2nd of January, and he starts in STL on the 27th of January.  So it's been one quick decision after another.

God has been in this process the entire time.  He has made us trust Him more and really rely on His timing and plan.  So today we packed our little one bedroom apartment up (we have a TON of stuff) and moved it to Lamar.  My parents will be storing it for the months that we're in OKC.  Tyler's job is paying for him to have a rental car and an apartment/hotel/place of living for that amount of time.  We still don't know where we'll be living, but we should find out in the next several days.

My last day of work was on Thursday.  It was bittersweet, being my first job and all.  I said goodbye to the girls on Wednesday as most of them were taking vacation days the rest of the week.  I teared up a tiny bit, thinking about leaving.  It wasn't too bad.

I did cry as we pulled out of the parking lot at Sherwood this afternoon.  I had lived there for 3 years, and it was my first place to live after I moved off campus.  A lot of memories had been made there.  There are a lot of changes about to take place, and all I can rely on is that God will show us His way.

I will miss everyone in Springfield, but I'm excited about where God is leading us.  It's a bittersweet ending to this chapter in our lives.  I thank God for all the people we've met, the church we have in Springfield, and the prayers that have been said for us through this process.

For now, we will enjoy Christmas with my family this weekend before we start our journey in STL and OKC.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Words on a Page

A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks.  God has been so good to us.  Tyler got the job in St. Louis and so we're moving up there in the next couple of weeks.  I was really worried about telling my boss that I was leaving (they really do need me, or at least someone in my position), so I gave them a couple of names.  I think that calmed their fears a little bit.  We got someone to sublease our apartment, and all that's left is to enjoy Christmas with our families and pack up our little 1-bedroom apartment and make the 3 hour trek to St. Louis.  Oh, and we have to find a place to live.  That's a minor detail. :]


We're going up tomorrow after I get off work and going to hunt for a place to live all day on Saturday.  I'm hoping that God will lead us to the place He has for us. I keep seeing His hand in all of this, so I know this is His plan for our lives.  For pete's sake, we got someone to sublease in less than a week...


There are more details to this story than I'm letting on, but we don't actually know all of them yet.  We're praying that God just leads us in this adventure of our lives.  It really is going to be an adventure.


It's bittersweet saying goodbye to Springfield.  Springfield has been my home for the past 5 years.  I've come to love this little city.  Missouri State has been my home as well.  This week, Tyler and I both said goodbye to Missouri State.  It is time to close this chapter of our lives.  I never thought it would be this soon, but I've come to realize that God has plans for us outside of Springfield.  It's sad to leave because this is what we've known the last several years.  


It's scary to move to a place where we know very few people.  It's stressful to pack up our lives as we're trying to celebrate a Life that came to this world to save us, that we might have this opportunity to serve Him in a city we never thought we would.  It's sad to leave our friends here, knowing we could possibly never see some of them again.  However, it's exciting to see that God is working in our lives.  It's exciting to see that God has a plan for us: a hope and a future.  It's exciting to think of the new church we're going to find to serve in, and the new friends that we're going to meet, and the new jobs we're going to start (or find, in my case).  


We have a whole new city that we get to shine Christ's light in.  I pray that He will use us for the length of time we are there, and that we will always follow after Him.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Season of Giving

I am so excited to share this Christmas season with my husband!  Christmas really is the best time of year.  We get to celebrate the birth of our Savior and spend time with loved ones.  This year is special for Tyler and I because we get to establish our own traditions.  We are our own "family" and get to make the decisions for us, much like our parents did when they started their family.


One thing my parents always told my brothers and I was that this is the season of giving.  We are to give our gifts with a happy heart.  I might not have understood this when I was 3 or 4, but the older I get, the more excited I am to give my family their Christmas presents.


Tyler and I want to start our own traditions, and why not start now?  We don't have to wait until we have kids, we can start now.  One thing I'm really excited about is our decision to adopt a child for Christmas.  There are tons of people that are not as fortunate as we are, even being in college.  We both know that we've been blessed, and that as Christians, we need to give back.


We've adopted a little boy, age 2, and he needs a coat.  He also wants some dinosaur toys.  How easy is that?  He doesn't have a long, detailed list like some of us might.  I thought we could definitely handle his wish list, and we could also buy him some extras.


I can definitely see this becoming a tradition in our family.  It's humbling to buy gifts for people you don't know, especially when they don't have a long list.  It makes us realize that we don't need anything.  God has blessed us with everything we need.  It puts our wants into perspective.


I pray that this little boy will grow up to one day know Christ and the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  God has been good to us, and it's our turn to show that love to others.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

God is Able

**This was a post that never got published from November 22.


God must be teaching me a lesson.  I believe that the theme of this semester has been "God is able."  I started the semester with the women's Bible study at Northside.  We did the video series and workbook called "Faithful Abundant True," that was co-written with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore.  Oh how wonderful!! 


Beth used to be my favorite Bible study series author, but Priscilla has sure given her a run for her money.  She was fantastic in this book. The verses that she focused on in her sections were:


Ephesians 3:30-21
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

God is able.  He is able to do everything we ask for.  He is able to do immeasurably more than what we ask for or even imagine.  How amazing is that?  

He must still be teaching me this lesson because on Sunday night, I got to go to the Hillsong concert with Tyler.  He bought me concert tickets for my birthday, and I was really excited because I've wanted to see them since about 7th grade.  Anyway, the tour name was "God is Able."  Imagine that.  It's really funny sometimes how God ties everything in together to make some sort of sense.  

I know that God is able.  It's my business to know that He can, it's His business to decide if He will.  This semester is all about trusting Him, especially right now.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Count Your Blessings

Tyler and I got to go to Lamar for approximately 24 hours this weekend.  It was nice to have the entire family home and sitting around the living room.  While we were there, my mom had us play the "I am thankful game."  We generally play this at Thanksgiving, and we probably will play it again.  I was the last one to say what I was thankful for, and I couldn't stop rambling off things.  I'm extremely blessed and thankful, so I thought I'd share.

  • I'm so thankful that God provides.  We aren't making the "big bucks," but we do have a roof over our head, food on the table, and a bed to keep us warm.
  • I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a wife to my best friend.  I'm so thankful I don't have to send him home at night, and we can be goofy together all we want.
  • I'm thankful for my dad who isn't afraid to tell me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear, and he always gives me Godly advice when I need it.
  • I'm thankful for my mom who is always there when I need to talk. I can trust her with anything, and I know she will always give me Godly advice, as well.
  • I'm thankful for both of my parents for teaching me how to live for Jesus. They have also taught me the sacredness of marriage.  It's a blessing to look to them for wisdom and advice.  I'm also thankful for the unconditional love they give me.
  • I'm thankful for my brothers, especially now that we're all becoming friends.  I'm blessed to live in the same town as them and be able to invite them over for supper.  Without a doubt, they will always put a smile on my face.
  • I'm thankful for our church family.  It's been a blessing to be part of a small group and Bible study.  Knowing people care is such a great feeling.
  • I'm thankful that God has a plan for our lives.  Even when we don't know what the future holds, God does.  He has promised us a hope and a future.
  • I'm thankful for the peace that God has given me about our future.  I've never known such peace, but He has given it to me now.  It's an incredible feeling.
  • I'm so very thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross.  He died for you and me, so that we may live with Him forever.  What an amazing gift!!
I'm incredibly blessed.  There's really not enough room to share everything that I'm thankful for, but I thought I would share what was on my heart.  I hope that you, too, are finding things to be thankful about, not only in this season, but every day of life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I've Never Known Such Peace

I had quite an amazing weekend (last weekend) that I just can't stop thinking about.  I went to a women's retreat put on by my home church that was held at Maranatha Retreat Center in Everton, MO.  The retreat was set upon a book called, Apples of Gold.  The book was written based on Titus 2:3-5:


"...Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husband, that the word of God may not be discredited." (RSV)


I really like how the NIV say the verses as well:


"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the word of God."


My heart is full from the love that I have for my husband and for my Savior.  I'm so thankful for a God who continually washes me white as snow.  I've been feeling a little guilty and convicted because to some extent I've been neglecting my husband. School has had the best of me, but that is no excuse. God doesn't want that.  So instead of dwelling on the fact that I've been failing, I've decided to accept God's forgiveness instead.  


See, I've been learning in my quiet time that we need to forgive ourselves when God has already forgiven us.  Not being able to forgive ourselves is from Satan, because he wants us to dwell on our sin.  When you forgive yourself, you're liberated.  It's so freeing!


The retreat was a liberating weekend.  It was a weekend that I realized that I am peaceful.  I'm at peace with not going back to school.  I'm at peace with school currently.  I'm at peace with wherever Tyler takes a job.  Most of all, I'm at peace with God.  What an amazing feeling. 


We focused on six main topics, and there's a couple that I've just really learned a lot from.  


1.  Kindness:  the biggest thing I've learned from doing this particular lesson in the book and listening to our speaker is this:


If we desire to be like Christ, we must ask Him to develop kindness in us.


This is sooooo true.  Kindness is a choice.  It's an every day decision that we must make.  We have the choice whether to retaliate after someone was rude to us.  We have the choice whether to be nice to our husbands or kids after they just made us mad.  It's a choice.  


Don't let someone else determine your attitude.

2.  Loving Your Husband:  this one has shown me that I need to work on this.  God must be the MOST important relationship in your life.  Everything you do hinges on this relationship--the decisions you make, the reactions you have to circumstances, the way you relate to others, your sense of joy and peace.  

Everything in life is affected by my relationship with God.  When that relationship isn't right, then nothing is right.  Specifically, the issues of self-worth, loneliness, strength in hard times, freedom from fear, and joy are resolved only by a right relationship with the Lord.  What great news!  God can bring me through all of those trials.  I don't have to suffer alone, but I also must know that my husband cannot make those situations go away for me.  It's totally from a right relationship with God.

Love is a choice of actions.  It's not just an emotion.  We have to love through our actions.  That is something that I'm working on.  Another thing that I'm working on is putting my husband's needs before my own, which can be hard because today we have the attitude of "me."  But God calls me to put his needs before mine.  I want to be Tyler's number one cheerleader.  I want him to feel like I'm his cheerleader.



These are just a few examples of what I've been working on this week.  It's been a really great week, despite the fact that I've gone to school and work.  I've been less stressed, and have really been seeking God.  I have been at peace.


God is also teaching Tyler and I to trust Him as a couple.  See, Tyler graduates in December and is currently looking for a job.  It's a tough job market out there.  He's applied for several and just hasn't heard back from them.  Last week, a company called him and told him they thought he'd be a good fit for them and encouraged him to fill out an application.  We talked about if for a few days, and on Monday, they called again asking why he hadn't submitted his application.  He went ahead and filled it out and shortly after, they contacted him asking him when he could interview.


This job wasn't a first pick for him.  It's been an emotional struggle to even apply for this job.  However, we see that God has been opening doors.  We continue to pray everyday asking if this is where we need to be, and if it is, that God will just make it blatantly obvious to us.  Our attitudes have changed toward the possibility, and we're slowly seeing that God has a hand in all of this.  Of course He does!


Last night in my quiet time, one of the verses I read was this:


"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him."  
Psalm 37:23

I think we both needed a little encouragement, and this is how God encourages us.  We are going to continue to pray and ask God to lead us.  Ultimately, we want to be where He wants us.  If it's in Timbuktu, then we will move there.  If it's in Springfield, then here will we stay. Wherever we are, our priority is to serve God with all that we are.

God provides.  He really does, and we're seeing that He doesn't necessarily provide in a way that we may want.  God knows the best for us.  He knows the plans for us:  to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Peace Comes from the Lord

I have a confession.


Did that get your attention?  Why is it that we love confessions of other people, yet it's hard to admit our own confessions?  I look up to those who confess regularly, because I have this thing called pride in my life.  It's sometimes hard for me to confess an inner secret because of the way certain people might react or how they will think of me.


Who cares?  Really.  Who cares what other people think of you?  To some extent, it's important to know what others think because as Christians, we're called to keep other Christians accountable.  If I'm on the wrong path, I need to know.  That's when I need to know what others are thinking.


But with this confession I'm about to make.  I don't care.  Honestly.  I'm a successful woman who has a husband who loves me, a job that's fulfilling its duties, and parents who love and support me.  Oh and I have a college degree.  That may sound conceited, but it's the truth.  I'm confident, and I know where my confidence comes from.  I thank the Lord every day that I have a job that I can work at and help keep my house running.  Many college graduates don't even know where they're going to get any source of income from.


In fact, this job is what triggered this whole confession thing.  You see, graduate school was once a dream of mine.  I had this awesome idea that I wanted to be a CPA.  Did I want to work in tax at that time?  Heck no.  I hate taxes.  Do I want to work in tax now?  Nope...not at all.  I have no desire what-so-ever.  In order to get a CPA license, I would have to have 150 credit hours to be able to sit for the exam.  So, I went to grad school.  That was my plan...to graduate, take the exam, and become a CPA.  I didn't have to work in that area, but knowing I had to license would be a safety blanket.


Well, plans don't always go as planned.  There's this thing called flexibility (and my family does it really well...just ask Tyler).  When I got a job at Summer Fresh Supermarkets, I had no idea what was in store for me.  I work with 9 other people, and I'm one of 4 that has a college degree.  I'm doing what I love...accounting for a company.  Thanks, Dad for showing me that I actually do love some part of farming. :]  This job has shown me that I don't necessarily need my masters or a CPA license to do what I love.


With that said, it's really difficult to be newly married, at a new job, and taking a whole set of new classes.  I don't have a lot of time...for anything.  So after a lot of prayer, calls to my parents, and talks with Tyler I've made a decision that leads to my confession.


I'm taking a sabbatical from school.


Yep, that's right.  After this December, I will lead a life that doesn't involve homework of any kind.  This sabbatical will help me get a better grasp on life and hopefully alleviate some stress.  I think grad school was a security blanket because I didn't know if I could get a real job in the real world.  I've never had one.  That's right.  I've never had a real job.  I've had better opportunities, I would say, with being able to work in a family business, and then later I worked in student orientation with the University.  


Now that I have a real job, I know that I don't necessarily need school anymore.  There may come a time after this next semester that I may want to go back, and all I ever needed was a break.  It could happen.  Not all people who leave school give up on it completely.  My cousin Molly is an example of this.  She took a 2 year break and look at her!  Chugging away on her master's degree!! :]  There IS proof that people do come back.  I will just have to see where God leads us.


So that's it.  My deep, dark secret.  It's out.  I've made this decision and I feel  at peace with it.  So think what you want.  I'm going to be free. :]

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Legacy of the Bunton's

Five years ago, I found a church in Springfield that I loved.  I went with my cousin during the school year and by myself during the summer.  I didn't care if I went by myself, because I loved it so much.  The people there just made me feel very welcome.  


Several months after Tyler and I started dating, we thought it would be a good idea to go to church together.  Tyler and Rachel (his sister) wanted to find a church in Springfield, because the one they had been going to was too far away.  So I went "church-shopping" with them.  We visited several Baptist churches, but didn't particularly like any of them.  So I thought I'd try to "convert" them over to the Christian church by inviting them to Northside. ;] Honestly, I thought they wouldn't like it since we do a few things differently.  Communion, for instance, was new for them since we take it every week, and it was what I had missed when we visited the other churches.  To my surprise, they both actually really liked it!  I was so excited!


The moral of this story is that I never would have imagined that we would be involved in such a wonderful church.  Fast-forward a couple years, and here we are.  Tyler has gotten involved with the Praise Team playing drums.  We joined a small group that has welcomed us in with open arms, and we've come to find out that we have some of the same hobbies in common.  Also, I joined a women's Bible study, which has been a total blessing in my life.  We're really blessed to serve in an amazing congregation.


Tuesday night, we met with our small group and talked about the battle for Holiness.  It was a convicting study, but so great to have accountability from these people.  Afterwards, we were on the way home when Tyler said something that got me thinking.  He said that I grew up in a family that won't stop talking about God.  I wasn't understanding why he said such a thing, but he went on to explain that some families don't talk much about God outside of church.  He said my family is ALWAYS talking about God, and is constantly bringing everyday activities back to Him.  I really took that as a compliment, and it made me proud to be a "Bunton."


The more I got to thinking about it, the more I realized that's what being a Christian is all about.  I am way beyond blessed to have a family that who would do anything in the world for just about anybody (maybe not KU or Cubs fans). ;]  That's what family is all about.


While I have been blessed with an amazing extended family, I have also been blessed with such great parents.  They are some of the most Christ-like people I know.  I don't just see this because I'm their daughter, but I see this in the people that ask to talk to them for advice.  I see this in the people that they invest their time and resources in.  I see this in the hospitality they have when they invite others into their home or to the lake.  I see this in the servant attitude they always have.  I see this in the junior high girls and high school boys that they're investing their time to teach.  I see this in their everyday life.


Wow.  What an amazing testimony.  Many of us can learn from them, myself included.  When Tyler and I start a family, I want to talk with our kids everyday about God.  I want them to know what their number one priority should be.  God is not a taboo subject.  He created you and me.  He is the reason we get up in the morning.  He is the reason we breathe.  We should give Him praise and thanksgiving every day, not just on Sunday.


Funny thing.  Growing up I thought my family was strange, and we've had out go-rounds.  Now that I'm an adult, I'm so thankful for them.  I'm thankful for my grandparents who taught my aunts, uncles, and Dad about Jesus.  They prayed for their kids to accept Christ as their Savior, and prayed that they might find Godly-spouses, and now my Granny prays for her grandkids (Grandpa passed away 5 years ago).  I'm so proud of my heritage.  The Bunton's have a legacy, and I proudly choose to be a part of that legacy.  


Thank you, Bunton Family, for giving me a visual of what family really is and what it really means to be Christ to others.  I'm blessed to be a part of a wonderful family.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Now is the Time

I haven't quit reading Crazy Love, but I have put it down for a few days.  There has just been so much stuff that God has been teaching me recently that I just really need to soak it all in.  I've been going to this women's Bible study at my church on Thursday nights.  While I've struggled to make any close connections with the women, I do know that this study is exactly what I've needed.

I've just wanted to share some things that God has just been teaching me and that I have been learning in the past few weeks.
  • God is faithful. Always.  Yes, I've known this my whole life, but it's been made real to me.  In the past few years when I wasn't faithful to Him, He was still faithful to me.  Wow.  Who wouldn't want to serve a God like that?
Psalm 36:5  
"Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, 
your faithfulness to the skies."
  • Merely desiring to do something for the Lord and actually doing something are two very different things.  I can want to do things for the Lord.  I can want to change my attitude.  I can want to lose weight.  As long as I want, it won't get done.  I actually have to do something about it.  Whatever God asks me to pursue, He will accompany me to complete.
Philippians 2:13
"For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."
  • Right now is the time for me to believe and experience the abundance, the greatness, the fullness that my God has come to give even in the face of frustration.  
    • True abundance is really seen when I'm sitting in a prison circumstance (like Paul was when he wrote Ephesians), when I'm eye to eye with an impossible situation, and right in the heart of my impossible, I experience the fullness of God.
    • This has really been on my heart, because when I feel like I'm in an impossible situation, I just feel stressed.  When I'm stressed, I have a bad attitude.  This is NOT how Paul reacted.  He praised God when he was sitting in PRISON!!! How can I not praise God in my circumstance?
2 Corinthians 12:9
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
  • I cannot out-ask, out-request, or out-pray the ability of God.  My wildest dream cannot out-dream His ability in my life.  PRAISE GOD!!!  This is probably the best news I've heard in a while!  All those prayers I prayed feeling selfish, now I know that I shouldn't feel that way!  God CARES about everything I care about.  He cares about the A that I made on my quiz.  He cares about the kindness I show to my neighbor.  He cares about how stressed I am with work, school, and home life.  He cares about me having enough time to clean my house.  He cares about all the prayer requests we have in small group.  He cares about each person in my small group.  Heck, He cares about EVERY, SINGLE person on this Earth.  When no one else seems to care, I can always count on God caring.  The God I serve is all-powerful, and He is all-powerful ALL the time.
  • The Holy Spirit lives in me, and that means that the ability and the power of God the Father is also in me.  The Holy Spirit is God Himself.  I received the Holy Spirit on June 13, 1999 when I was baptized into Christ.  He has been with me for 12 years, which also means the ability of power of God has been with me that long.  How have I not grasped this?  How have I not fully acknowledged that the power of Christ is in me?
Ephesians 1:13-14
"And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.  The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.  He did this so we would praise and glorify him."  (NLT)

  • People are more important that any amount of money.  This is something my parents have preached to me since I was little.  No amount of money is more important than any person.  I believe that they have done a fantastic job of making people feel welcome in their home by hosting many parties and gatherings and sharing with others.  They have also taken numerous people to lunch and have always paid for their guests.  They've stolen receipts off tables of people we know in the restaurant just to bless them that day with a gift of lunch.  People have asked my parents how much they owe them, the answer is always the same:  Nothing.  I see the blessings God has given them in their lives because they have blessed other people.  My parents never expect anything in return because they are gracious.  They have a willing spirit and really live by the lesson they teach.  I want to be like them.
Ecclesiastes 5:10
"Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless."

Luke 16:13
"No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money."

My heart is so full, and as you can see I have a lot to just soak in and meditate on.  God has been so good to me.  He has blessed me abundantly with a caring and loving husband, fantastic parents, and some pretty great brothers.  He's given me the opportunity to learn, and given me a new church home to serve in.  I will continue to praise Him all the days of my life.  Now is the time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Broken Toes...Ouch!

Seriously.  Read Crazy Love.  God will convict you through Francis Chan's writing....if you let Him.  It will change your life...if you let Him.


In the past several weeks, I can say that I've grown up in my faith.  There have just been circumstances that I've needed God to show me the way, and He has.  It's liberating just hanging on to Him, trusting that He'll get me where I need to be.  When I don't control my life, it's one less thing that I have to do.  It's one less thing on my to do list.


In reading this book, God has been showing me so many things about being a Christian.  


1. Chan talks about "lukewarm Christians" in one chapter.  I read, and re-read what he wrote, because I was so convicted.  He gave example after example of what it meant to be lukewarm.  Some of them didn't apply to my life, but some of them did.  I wrote them all on a sheet of paper so that I could see them all.  It made me reflect on my life to see what I'm doing wrong and where I need to change.


The more I read, the more I realized that there's really no such thing as a lukewarm Christian.  God detests lukewarm. (See Revelation 3:15-18)  To put it plainly, you're a Christian or you're not.  Some days I haven't acted like one.


2.  To give you an example of what Chan writes, he says, "Lukewarm people call 'radical' what Jesus expected all of his followers."


Some might think that our former Campus Minister is "radical" because she and her family live in North Africa and is proclaiming the Word of God to non-believers over there.  Sorry, but that's not radical.  God expects us to "Go and make disciples of all nations."  Get off your tush!  Get out of your comfort zone!  That's what God calls us to do!  Ouch...that kinda hurt my toes a bit.


3.  God is an all or nothing God.  Let's just be real...He wants all.  He's given us a free gift.  All we have to do is wholly surrender our life to Him.  When we do, life becomes a lot better than what we could ever do on our own.


4.  In life, we generally only make changes if we think it's going to affect our salvation.  To be completely honest, we don't make changes solely on the fact that God commands it, but because "we might not go to heaven."


This made sense with me, especially after he gave examples of how we do that:

  • Can I divorce my spouse and still go to heaven?
  • Do I have to be baptized to be saved?
  • Am I a Christian if I'm having sex with my boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • If I commit suicide, will I still go to heaven?
  • If I'm ashamed to talk about Christ, is He really going to deny knowing me?
If we ask these questions and call ourselves Christians, what does that say about our relationship with Christ?  Do we really know Christ?  That really got me thinking.

God is calling us to be his disciples!  A disciple is a follower of Christ, but if we don't obey His commands, how can we say we "follow" Him?  Ouch...got me again.

5.  I've also been learning how much I need God in my life daily to keep Satan out!  Satan is alive and well.  He's anger lashing out.  He's sarcasm.  He's a bad attitude, bad thought, or bad words that come out of our mouths.  He rejoices when we do these things.  He's everywhere, but so is GOD!  God shows love instead of hate. He shares encouragement instead of sarcasm.  He's the positive words, not the negative.

It's our decision which we serve, and I want to exude Christ's light.

My relationship with Christ is changing.  My life is changing.  God is my everything.  I need Him every day of my life!  I'm done forgetting about God.  I want people to see a difference in my life, because Christ has given my grace and love.  I choose to accept it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So Many Opportunities!

Oh I'm so excited, I just have to write an update!  Tyler and I just got back from Small Group, and it was fantastic!  We knew that we were walking into a group that had already been established and everyone knew each other.  For that, I was a tad bit nervous going in.  However, the couples were sooooo welcoming.  We all ate supper together, each of us contributing something to it.  That helped break the ice, in my opinion.  When the women saw me and realized I was "new" they introduced themselves to me.  When we were eating, people were asking us questions and trying to get to know us.  It was a really comfortable atmosphere, and I felt comfortable enough to share.


On the way home, Tyler expressed how much he really enjoyed the group.  That made me really happy, because I just didn't know what he was thinking the entire time.  I think it helped when one of the women said, "Oh we're a gun group."  Then proceeded to explain how 4 of them had their Conceal and Carry License.  The guys in the group are already making plans for a Guy's Game Night.


At first, when we were talking about joining a group, we had wanted to join a Young Marrieds group.  Well the ones that would have worked with our schedule were all full.  So we joined a "general" group, but it was a great decision.


I really saw what the church was about.  These people take care of each other.  They welcome other people (us) into their group.  They pray for each other.  They rejoice with each other.  They encourage each other.  They have fun with each other.  I'm excited to be a part of this group.


The couples are all in different stages of life.  Some have been married for just a couple years.  One couple just had a baby (who's a cute thing).  One couple has a 5 year old. Tyler and I are the youngest in the group, but we have so many people to look up to, learn from, get advice from, and grow with.  THIS is the church.


On a side note, after talking with Tyler, I'm going to join the Women's Bible Study Group on Thursday evenings.  They had their first week last week, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't like to be late.  I don't like the idea they've started without me (oops, on my part), but I'm going to suck it up and go.  It's only the second week...I couldn't have missed much.  Besides, I need to form relationships with other women.  Yay for another opportunity to be involved in such a GREAT Body of Believers!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Get Over Yourself

Truth:  We forget about God.

We get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to talk to Him.  We listen to music all day long, but we forget to listen to Him.  We get so busy reading textbooks, "fun" books, or even this Crazy Love book, that we forget to read His Book.  But ya know what?  There's absolutely NO excuse for it.  Want to know why?  Because every 1 in 1 person dies.  That means every person will face judgment by God.

In the words of Francis Chan:
"When I am consumed by my problems--stressed out by my life, my family, my job--I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important that God's command to always rejoice.  In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities."

Shame on me!  I have no right to disobey God just because my life is so busy and stressful.  But the sad thing is that I tend to do it on a regular basis.  I get consumed with my life and am selfish about it.

Chan goes on to say:
"Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.  Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control."

These are two things I need to work on daily.  These are not exceptions to trusting God.  In the grand scheme of things, our problems are small.  Heaven is a place that's free of worry, stress, fears, hurt, loneliness, etc.  When we're focused on Christ, and not our own lives, we learn to rejoice more.  It's time to get over myself and focus on Him.

We aren't guaranteed another day.  In fact, we aren't even guaranteed another minute or second.  I could die just writing this post.  Many people die living for themselves, just wasting their lives rather than living for God.  Then they have to face God after they die.  We can't just be a "nice" person to get into Heaven.  God won't be concerned with "nice," but rather how we lived our life.  He is just. If we don't live for Him, then we aren't going to Heaven.  

This is a wake up call to me. I need to stop living for myself.  I need to quit forgetting about God.  He is everything! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Crazy Love: Forgiveness

Wow.  That's all I can say. I'm in awe of how God works.


I just started reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  If you haven't read it, go get it!  Seriously.  I'm 30 pages in and can't believe what I'm reading/watching.  He has videos posted on his website, and in the book he tells you when to watch them.


I just watched one about forgiveness.  I've been focusing on that subject for the last couple of weeks.  I talked about forgiving in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, and it's still so fresh in my mind.  As I was watching this video, I knew everything he was talking about.  I've known in my whole life.  I grew up in the church, and I was taught it when I was very young.  But now, I look at it in another way.  Specifically, forgiving and loving one another.  What would life be like if we loved everyone?  And I mean absolutely EVERYONE.  Wouldn't that just be awesome?


I have an amazing opportunity in the next couple of days.  It's about forgiving.  I'm very excited about it, because I'm ready to be done with what I've been carrying around.  I was thinking about the word:  forgiveness.  It has the word 'give' in it.  It's because that's what we can give others.  We can forget about what they've done to us.  We can forget how they've hurt us.  We can 'give' them a second chance.   God gives us plenty of second chances, why can't we give others lots of second chances?  And why the heck do we want to carry around grudges and wrongs of what people have done to us?  It's too heavy to bear.


I'm guilty as much as the next person. I'm not perfect and I mess up a lot.  I need forgiveness from people and from God.  But this week, I'm going to start with giving forgiveness.  I'm ready to unload this burden from my back.  I'm ready to give a second chance...and third, and fourth, and fifth...whatever it takes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Things!!!

Oh there's so many exciting things going on!!!  First of all, I don't know about you, but I am LOVING the cooler weather.  My favorite clothes are hoodies, jackets, and long sleeved shirts!!! :]


Tonight, we (Tyler and I) just got our first e-mail from our small group leaders.  We start meeting this next Tuesday night!! I'm so excited!  I seriously can't wait!  It will be the first time that I've been in a small group where I don't know a single person (other than my husband). [That word is so fun to say..."husband."]  I think that it will be good for us to meet other couples (finally!) and get to know people in our church as we grow along with them. :]


Saturday, I'm hosting my first "coupon class."  I'm very excited about this, as well.  I've been couponing since about April or May and I get so excited that I tell other people how much money I've saved.  Well, some of my girl friends have been curious about how I do it, and I've held improv Q&A sessions.  Well, this time, I had enough interest that I'm giving a class!!  It will be held at my apartment and there are about 9 girls coming (including my mom!).  I've created a powerpoint, because there are a couple girls that can't come, but would still like the information.  I've also created some printouts complete with store coupon policies.


I know.  I'm such a nerd.  It's ok...secretly, I've always wanted to be a teacher.  I just didn't want to have to teach all the boring stuff.  Therefore, I'm teaching my own curriculum!  I call this class "CPN 101." :]  The girls will be bringing things to make their own coupon binder, and I'm excited to share the knowledge that's been given to me.  I love saving money, and I can't wait to tell others how to do it!


I hardly ever shop at Wal-Mart anymore, but I saw some good deals.  So tonight after work (while Tyler was at Praise Team practice), I went to Wal-Mart.  This is a picture of what I bought:




I saved 71% on these things!  This shopping trip has been my best one yet!  I'm on my way to being the next "Extreme Couponer."  Part of these things are going in goodie bags for my class.  I've tried very hard to find free things with my coupons to give out at this class.  I've done just that.  The bags are already filled and ready to go.




I hope to have another class in the near future, as I know that there's several people who wanted to come won't be there this Saturday.  :]


I'm excited to see the outcome of this little class, and I'm excited for these girls who are learning new things!!


One last thing before I go, I LOVE MY CROCKPOT!!!  :] :]



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chaos

Whatever You're Doing (Sanctus Real)
It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

(Chorus)
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...
To...

(Chorus)

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out


Every time I hear this song, I get chills.  It also makes me think a lot.  It makes me think about myself.  Wait, that sounds really selfish.  I should clarify and say that it makes me think about myself spiritually.  Where am I at in my walk with Christ?  


I'm not a perfect person.  I screw up and make mistakes a lot! When I was in my undergrad, I sort of rebelled.  Now, I didn't rebel in the sense of how it sounds or the connotations that come with that word.  No, I feel like I rebelled in my relationship with God.  I went to church every Sunday, but I didn't go to CCH, Sunday School, or even small group.  I was pretty much a drop out.  Now, there were some reasons of why I did, but they were selfish.  I feel that in that time (2ish years), I was at a standstill with God, and maybe even slid back down the mountain.  I'm not proud of this, but I admit it because I don't ever want to be there again and I admit it because I know there's hope.  My heart hurts when I think about that time, and even makes me want to go back and re-do everything.


But I can't go back.


What I can do is move forward, and that's exactly what I'm doing.  


Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears


This verse of the song is what I'm trying to do.  I know that I have to make amends with people from my past, let go of what I've held on to for so long, and to cry my anger and frustration out and let it go completely.  It's not easy for me, and I've been struggling with it for a couple of weeks the entire summer, if I want to be honest.  But when I think of things in terms of "God," I can't help but learn to forgive.


On June 13, 1999 I gave my life to Christ, alongside my brother, Ben.  On that day, He forgave me for my past, present, and future sins.  


In Psalm 103: 11-12 it says: 
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

GOD DOESN'T REMEMBER MY SIN!!!! So why in the world should I remember every wrong that someone had against me? I shouldn't! DUH!!! That's easier said than done...but God commands us to love one another. Do you know what love is??

1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Love doesn't keep record of wrongs. Ya know? The more I read this verse, the more I see I need a lot of help! I have to start somewhere though. I'm going to start with cleaning out the past. Forgiving others. Letting things go. Starting over. Everyone deserves another chance. Will you give me one?

I know that I feel like chaos inside, but I also know that God has given me peace. I'm looking forward to the exciting doors that God is opening up for Tyler and I. I hope that we can grow more in Christ individually and as a couple. We have to start somewhere.

As I come to a close, I just need to pray. So pray with me, and please pray for me. I appreciate it.

God,
I love you, and I'm learning that you're speaking to me in ways that I could never have imagined. God, I just poured my heart out to these people who read this blog, and part of that is breaking down my pride. Sometimes it's really hard for me to admit that I'm wrong because I am a prideful person. I am wrong. I've been wrong for a long time. Lord, I pray that you'll help me become a more loving person; someone who will quit tallying wrongs; someone who will learn to open her heart to someone who just needs to be loved. God, I pray that you'll help me as I start sorting through my past, that you'll help me learn to forgive people who've hurt me and to toss those things out, as far as the east is from the west. You are a God of all things. I'm not living for anyone else, but You. Help me to please You, so that you'll say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Thank you for the many blessings you've given me. I love you.
As You Wish.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can I Please Just Be Whelmed???

I'm sure in some dictionary, if you look up the word "wife" you will find the definition as: jack of all trades.  I'm definitely feeling it this week.  Tonight especially.  It's be a whirlwind of a week, and I'm thankful that it's almost Friday.


Writing is a stress reliever.  It always has been.  That's why I've kept a journal.  I walked in the door and felt stressed this evening.  I saw everything that needed to be done:  laundry, cooking, cleaning, my online class, my other homework...it's just crazy.  But the laundry is half done, my pizza was easy to make, Tyler helped clean up, and I should be starting on homework soon.  Good thing I don't have class on Fridays!! 


Supper Update:  My supper menu has been AWESOME.  It's one less thing that I have to think about when I get home from work or class.  I just come home and start right in on making it.  However, I forgot one minor detail. You see, I like to make casseroles a lot, but there's only 2 of us.  We can't eat a whole casserole in one night, and I didn't figure in leftovers.  That's a good problem to have, though!!  So my next time to write my supper menu, I'll have a couple extra meals on there that I won't have to buy!! Yay for saving money!!  Oh, and if you're facebook friends with me, check out the awesome pizza I made tonight! I posted a picture of it. It's the best one yet!!


School update:  I LOVE my marketing class so far.  I only took 1 undergrad marketing class, but I loved it too.  I was sad I couldn't take any more of those classes.  My professor said today in class that Accounting students don't like marketing because a lot of it isn't cold, hard facts or number crunching.  I think that's exactly why I like it.  It's something other that numbers.  Also, it seems to come easy to me...kinda second nature.  Maybe that will be my concentration??


I'm taking a Management Information Systems class and it's really laid back.  So laid back that we get to pick when we take the exams.  They're all currently available to us so I could literally take them all right now.  I'm not sure I'm going to like that, because I think that's asking for procrastination.  I HATE procrastinating.  I like to get things done.  I think I'm just going to have to make my own schedule and stick to it!


Then there's my online Finance class.  Talk about motivation!!  I need some right now!  It's going to be a lot of work...and I'm not really supposed to be in this class my first semester as a grad student...but I am because I was an accounting undergrad. Yay....uh, not so much.  We'll see how it goes.  I can do it, because God will give me the motivation I need.


Job update:  I started on Monday, and so far I really like it.  I'm trying to help them get caught up on their Accounts Payable (AP) right now.  It was confusing at first because I'm learning a whole new accounting system, but it gets monotonous real fast.  No big, I like data input. :]  The people are nice, but intimidating because I work with all the big wigs!! One of these days, when I get to know them better, it will be a fun time!  Until then, I need to prove myself. :]


So life is overwhelming me at this moment, but I think it's only because I'm doing a lot of new things.  It will hopefully slow down, and eventually I'll get caught up on everything.  Well, we can hope at least.  For now, it's back to studying!!


Oh, one last thing that I've been learning: God is always in control.  He knows exactly what He's doing.  He always gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want but what we need. His plan is ALWAYS the best!!! Trust in Him!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oh the Places You Will Go

I am excited for the opportunities that Tyler and I have in the near future.  Last Sunday, we were back at Northside.  Let me just go on a rant here...Northside is fantastic!  We love it there!  We feel very welcomed and comfortable there.  I know that if Tyler and I stay in Springfield for a long period of time, we will transfer our membership there.  We will see where God takes us.  Anyway, we were sitting there in church, listening to the announcements and this Ignite thing is coming up.  When we figured out that it's training for ministry positions in the church, we immediately thought it was a fantastic idea for us to attend.

Tyler cannot wait to get back to playing drums.  I'm excited about the enthusiasm he has and really hopes that he will be able to do what he loves for the Lord.  I am undecided on where I want to serve.  There isn't one position or ministry that is just yelling at me to get involved with it.  I'm going to go on that Sunday and see what the different sessions are on and hopefully God will lead me to where He would like me to serve.  I WANT to get involved.  I WANT to serve my Jesus.  I just don't know where.  I guess we will find out.

Another thing that's exciting for us is that small group sign ups with Northside is starting on Sunday.  We both have talked about and decided to get involved in a young married couple's group.  We want to be able to meet other young couples and be able to find friends who are dealing with some of the same things in our lives.   I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and cannot wait to see who is teaching the groups and who will be in them. 

I am just loving married life and the opportunities that we have as a couple.  I no longer have to do things by myself, but with my best friend by my side.  I'm the happiest I've been in a long time. :]

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oh Dear, What Do We Eat??

We are still trying to get our apartment together.  My mom is going to come help me decorate on  Sunday when she's in town moving both of my brothers in their houses.  I'm very excited because my mom has the creative touch that I didn't get. Boo.  Oh well, I'm very blessed to have her!


So while I'm trying to get the apartment organized, I'm also trying to get our lives organized.  School starts back on Monday. I can't believe it.  The summer is gone, we're already married, and school is about to start.  Holy cow!!  Anyway, this week has been about getting organized (as if I haven't said that enough in this paragraph).  I start my new job next Monday as well.  So today I was thinking about how everything is about to change.


These past two weeks, we've kinda just figured out something to eat around this place.  We have sandwich stuff, and some other odds and ends.  Well today Tyler asked me what was for lunch.  I went to the pantry and couldn't figure anything out.  I had some things for one dish, but not everything.  I had some other things for another dish, but still not everything.  So I went to the freezer.  We buy the Tortino's Party Pizzas.  They're super cheap when we use our coupons, and I keep them in the freezer for times like today, when we don't really have anything to eat.


I decided that with me starting my job and starting graduate school, and Tyler is working at the Bookstore on campus as well as taking a full load of classes this semester, that it was time to organize our meals.  I started with two blank pieces of paper and one of my recipe books.  On one paper, I started writing all the meals down that I've made in the past two years and that I know we both will eat.  



Then, on the other piece of paper, I wrote down the dates and what we would be eating on those nights.





I had to text my mom for advice.  I wanted to make sure that I could make some of these casseroles and stick them in the refrigerator and not bake them until I got out of class.  I think she was excited that I asked her.  I wanted to make sure, and then she reminded me of the crockpot she got me.  So now I need to look up some crockpot meal recipes.  Those would be super easy to use, especially when some nights all I will want to do is come home and sit down for a bit.


Anyway, back to this schedule.  After I wrote it all down, I actually was annoyed with how sloppy it looked, so I make a much neater copy to put on the fridge (although, it's not completely finished yet).





From there, I will write out my grocery list, so I know what I would need for each of the meals.  Whenever the grocery list is finished, I can start looking for coupons/promotions for my items that I need.  Then I'll be all stocked up on groceries for the next two weeks and I won't have to wonder what the heck is in my pantry. :]


We're gonna see how well this will work for us and if it works well, then I'll start making it a part of my weekly routine.