Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Adventures in Dallas

This past weekend, Tyler and I took a much needed getaway to Dallas.  It's only 3 hours from Oklahoma City, and Tyler hadn't been there before, so we decided to take a road trip.  It was a lot of fun! :]

On Saturday, we went to the Dallas World Aquarium.  It wasn't really an aquarium...more like a zoo.  It was really an interesting place, other than the fact that they have snakes there. ICK!!!!  But my husband is so great that he checked out every exhibit before I looked at it so that I wouldn't have to see any.

The aquarium is downtown, and we found this building that looked so cool! I want the office in the top!  How sweet would that be?



Afterwards, we found a mall (a very high-end mall, that is) and the food court.  Lucky for Tyler they had a Panda Express.  I had never eaten there, so we split a meal.  They had the coolest chairs, so I made Tyler sit in them with me. 


Oh and they had a Sonic in the food court.  How weird is that?  The sad thing was they didn't have Happy Hour.  What good is a Sonic without Happy Hour???


We checked out our pamphlets we had gotten from the aquarium.  They had some other things to do in the city.  We headed to Trader's Village.  To explain it, it's like a Mexican Market meets City Wide Garage sale.  Absolutely anything and everything was for sale, and you could barter your way to the price you want.  There were tons of people there.  It's a popular place! 



Then we headed to another mall...this one had an ice rink inside.



They also had a Lego store.  They make pink and purple Legos!!  Why didn't they have those when I was younger?  I have no complaints about playing with my brothers', but pink and purple Legos would have been way cooler.

They had a wall with random Legos and you could choose and pick what you want...kinda like a candy store!! It was awesome!




We were tired of walking, so we headed for an early supper.  We experienced our first In-N-Out Burger.  Let me tell you, it was delish!!  Nothing says American food like a good ol' greasy burger!


There were a TON of birds there....we weren't exactly sure what was up with them.



The sunset was beautiful that evening.  We had a great view out our hotel window.

We met up with our friend, Risa, who's living in Ft. Worth for ice cream.  It was SOOO good to see someone I know and just get to have somewhat of a social life again.  It's sometimes hard not having friends to talk to down here, but I just know that when we get to STL that we get to make all sorts of friends.


Sunday we went and toured the Cowboys Stadium.  It was really big, and way more impressive than Arrowhead ever thought about being.  However, it still doesn't change my mind about football.  When everyone is celebrating the biggest game of the season on Sunday, I'll be celebrating the last football game that I have to watch for several months. :]


We had a nice little getaway.  It was really good to not be in Oklahoma for the weekend.  Hopefully, we'll be back in Missouri before too long!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Was the Proverbs 31 Woman Skinny?

As I have previously stated in a blog post, I want to be healthier this year.  Yes, that's still my goal, and I've been doing a really good job at making healthier eating choices and working out lately.  My goal is to feel healthy.  Most of all, I want a healthy self image.  


I've seen several pictures that have been posted to Pinterest lately, and they have made me think.  This one, specifically.




Why do we, as women, let Hollywood tell us what is hot or sexy?  I've struggled with self image my whole life.  It's tough being a girl in today's society.  Honestly, those women in the top pictures look gross to me.  I'm not condemning you if you're fortunate to have fast metabolism, but I'm saying that those of us who are not as fortunate, should quit comparing ourselves (myself included) to those top pictures.  We are all built differently and we may not have the body structure to physically look like that.


I found this on Pinterest as well.  There's a lot of truth to this statement.




As long as I'm working out and making healthy eating choices, why does it matter what I look like?  I'm not going to deprive myself from sweets or "unhealthy foods," because I don't believe that is possible.  I'm going to eat what I want, understand portion control, and be healthy about it.




God gave us our bodies.  We are to treat it well and use it to honor God.  If you're doing those things, then why does it matter what you look like?


God talks a lot about beauty in the Bible, more specifically, He talks about inner beauty.  When someone is beautiful on the inside, it makes them beautiful on the outside.  


1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

I know a lot of girls, Christian included, who spend a lot of money on clothes, makeup, tans, diets, and hair.  I'm not saying that wanting to look pretty is bad.  But it becomes bad when that's the whole focus.  We need to make sure that we have a healthy balance of spending time fixing our outer beauty with spending time fixing our inner beauty.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

When we are diving into the Word every day and having that daily quiet time with Him, we are spending time fixing our inner beauty.  To just be transparent and honest, for awhile I had lost my inner beauty.  I got wrapped up in what people were saying to me, how people were treating me, and I lost my focus.  It's so hard to change.  I think a lot of times friends and family don't let you change.  They know you.  They know your actions from the past, and a lot of time they continue to hold on to that.  But when you're constantly in the Word, you can't help but exude the change from within.  Those friends and family will really see the change within you.

One thing that will change is self image.  God has written the ultimate love letter to you.  God talks about how much He loves each and every one of you.  He talks about how you are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).  When you start to soak in all that God has to offer, you can't help but have a healthier self image.

Proverbs 31:30 (ESV)
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 

I don't know about you, but
I'M RECLAIMING MY CONFIDENCE THIS YEAR!

And not just any confidence...I'm reclaiming my confidence in Christ!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lists, Lists, and More Lists!

Lists.  I love lists!  I love making lists.  I love crossing things off my list.  I love the gratification I get from lists.  I love lists so much that my old boss bought me the ultimate list when I got engaged.  He was so awesome (and still is) that he actually went out and bought me a wedding planner.  I kept that thing so close to me while I was planning my wedding.  I was constantly marking things off and making smaller lists of things to get done.  Like I said, I love lists.


Earlier this year, I posted a picture of books that I want to read before 2013.  I started with a smallish list, and it has grown.  I have been busy reading away during my three month "vacation."  I just want to share this list and writing it down helps keep me accountable.  Most of these books I already own, and some of them are on my half.com wishlist.  Maybe when we move to STL I'll be able to find a library and actually check them out for free.


1.  The Hunger Games  Suzanne Collins
2.  Catching Fire  Suzanne Collins
3.  Mockingjay  Suzanne Collins
4.  Between Sundays  Karen Kingsbury
5.  Unlocked  Karen Kingsbury
6.  Like Dandelion Dust  Karen Kingsbury
7.  Loving (comes out in March!)  Karen Kingsbury
8.  The Help  Kathryn Stockett  (Loved the movie.)
9.  Crazy Love  Francis Chan  (I need to finish this book.)
10.  Radical  David Platt
11.  The 10 Commandments of Marriage  Ed Young
12.  The Husband Project  Kathi Lipp
13.  The Me I Want to Be  John Ortberg
14.  Creating an Intimate Marriage  Jim Burns
15.  One Thousand Gifts  Ann Voskamp
16.  Made to Crave  Lysa TerKeurst
17.  My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife  Sara Horn


I'll probably add more books to this list as time goes on, but I'm hoping to read at least 24 books by the end of the year.  I'm currently ahead of the average, as I'm finishing up the third Hunger Games book.  


I love fiction, but I thought that I could definitely read some non-fiction as well.  Any encouragement I can get in life is a plus!


If any of you have comments on these books, by all means, leave a comment!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Exploring!

It is Monday still!!  I haven't forgotten about my promised post! :]  This past weekend Tyler and I went exploring more of OKC.  


We went back to Bricktown to go to the Bricktown Candy Company.  It was a cute little shop with lots of candy and lots of pop! When we were trying to figure out where this shop was, we saw this sign.  I said we had to see if it was true.




Well, it was accurate for Tyler at 46 steps and it took me 47 steps.  I just wonder who got paid to go out and count it!!


They had almost any kind of flavor of pop you could ever want.  







When we looked in the fridge, we saw bottles of Cheerwine.




Tyler and I were fairly certain that at one point, our friend Mackenzie came back from North Carolina talking about how she tried it.  So I asked her and her fiance if this is what they drink.  Sure enough, it is!  In fact, Jason told me it's made 30 minutes from his home!  How cool!!


We then went to Sonic for Happy Hour.  They have an actual eat-in, sit-down Sonic!  It was sooo cool.  Things like this make me so excited. :]  



Sonic is headquartered in OKC, and they built this one in 2004 right next to the corporate office!  They even have the same credit card machines as they do at the drive-in, but these had lights that made them glow. :]








We got our Happy Hour drinks of choice and had a seat.  Mine is always the Diet Strawberry Limeade, and they gave me more strawberries than a normal Sonic!  I was excited!!


The history of Sonic was posted on the wall, and I was interested in seeing how the idea of a drive-in restaurant came about.  Did you know they hand out 511 million peppermints per year to customers?!?  Holy crap!!  That's a lot of mints, and I usually throw them away because I don't like them. :]






Afterwards, we drove to The Outlet Shoppes at OKC.  They were fun, and I cannot believe how many people waste their money in the Coach Outlet.  No one needs a purse that costs $100 or more.  They could be giving that money to help a child in Haiti or Africa that is starving and wanting to go to school.  Jiminy Christmas.  Heck, I don't even pay more than $25 for a purse because I'm just going to get sick of it and get a new one sometime.  I guess I've been blessed with a family who supports three Haitian kids and I see, from their letters, how thankful they are for the support.  We're helping them go to school, survive, and we're showing them God's love.  It makes me sick to think about how much money is spent in that store.


Anyway, I'm off my soapbox.  After we wandered around the outlet mall, we went driving around the two different lakes that were nearby.  We ended up at, yet, another Mexican restaurant. :]  It was good, but not as good as Ted's.  I do like the fact that they serve complimentary queso (with the salsa) and sopapillas for dessert down here.


I miss having a "home."  I'm keeping myself busy with crafts and planning a bridal shower for one of my best friends, though.  I haven't been bored yet. :]  We have approximately two more months here before we go back to STL.  We still haven't found a place to live there, and I need to find a job.  Perhaps David's Bridal?  I can do it better. :] Haha...that's for any of you who know my experience with David's Bridal.  (I did become a SOAR Leader because I thought I could do it better...and I did. :])  Anyway, more later!  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Am the Church, You Are the Church, We Are the Church Together

I have to just sit down and tell you about these churches that we've visited here in Oklahoma City.  Today's service was blog worthy in and of itself.  However, I'll start with last week's church.  We went to this HUGE church (reminded me of James River..the layout, anyway).  It had a choir and orchestra.  Sorry for the photo quality...


This church has 5 services.  It has a traditional chapel service complete with communion.  It has two blended services (contemporary and traditional mixed), and it has two contemporary services.  We decided to go to the blended service.  I thought it would be interesting because this church is known for the 200+ member choir.  It ended up being a fairly good service. 


One thing that the preacher got up and talked about was how he doesn't like "alter calls."  Well, I don't like the word, "alter."  I think that word is Old Testament, and it reminds me of killing and sacrificing.  Today, because of Jesus, we don't have to sacrifice any animals.  I like the concept of an "alter" in today's concept, meaning that we can come and pray and lay things on it to give to God.  But I rather like to use the expression, "lay things at His feet," or "put it in God's hands."  


I believe that we can give things to God anywhere we are and we don't have to go to an "alter" to give it to Him.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do like the concept.  I think if people need to pray, then they should.  Sometimes God tries to teach us a lesson in pride and we do need to go up front to ask for people to pray for us.  Overall, it was a fairly good experience.


Today's service, on the other hand, was totally different.  Tyler and I both come from traditional churches, and the church we visited today was on the opposite end of traditional.  I like contemporary services, because they have music that I know and it's not just hymns.  Today, we felt that we were at a Hillsong concert all over again.  And when I think about the Hillsong concert I just went to a couple months ago, I felt like I could worship there.  Today, I'm not sure the atmosphere was creating worship for me.  But shame on me for not being about to worship in a different atmosphere.  It was just way different than what we're used to so I was very side-tracked.




This isn't a very good picture either.  But you can see the stage and how it created a "concert" atmosphere.  This was a very modern church.  Every song we sang was a Hillsong song (no problem with that; I LOVE Hillsong). Instead of a preacher giving the annoucements, we watched a video.  This could have easily been done within 5 minutes, but the video lasted probably 10 minutes or so.  I understand video announcements in a college setting.  CCH does this and I have no problem with that, because sometimes students need to laugh and be entertained.  But in church, I find that as weird.  I don't go to church to be entertained.  I go to church to worship my God.  


Shortly after the songs and announcements were over, the preacher got up and told the congregation that they needed to be baptized.  By the looks of things, I don't believe they had a baptistery.  So they have a specified week for water baptisms, and next week is the week.   I agree 100% that everyone should be baptized (immersed) in water.  In the Bible it talks about baptism a lot, and it's a step in obedience.  Jesus was baptized, and we are supposed to be following Him.  Anyway, I had no problem with the fact that they have a week of baptisms, but the way the guy went about "demanding" that everyone be baptized left a bad taste in my mouth.  He said that there were some of us in attendance that hadn't followed God in 5 years, but we need to be baptized. Yada, yada, yada. 


I believe that baptism is a personal decision and you should decide that you're ready to be baptized on your own terms.  No one should tell you that you need to be baptized next week.  When you are ready to accept God and follow Him, He will be waiting for you.


Then there was mention of "giving buckets."  Communion was not served, and offering was not given.  If you had something to give, put it in the bucket that said, "I Love Giving" on the way out.  When communion isn't served during the service, I miss it.  I miss that time of reflection, prayer, and intimacy with God.  I grew up in a church that partakes in communion weekly.  When it's not served, I really miss it.  My mom has said many times that the weekly service should be centered around the time of communion.  It's a time to reflect on what Christ did for me and you.  It's a special time, and I do agree with that.


Lots of coffee cups were brought in to the service today.  I do have a problem with that.  I've always been taught that you don't ever take food or drink in the sanctuary, auditorium, worship center, or whatever you want to call it.  It's disrespectful to God.  Church is a time of worshiping God, not paying attention to our needs or even wants, in this case.  Like I said before, this was more like a concert experience.


Lastly, I saw a ton of people wearing jeans.  I really don't know how many people were dressed in something other than jeans.  I don't have a problem with this, because this is my own conviction.  My mom and dad always told me that we wear our best for God.  I wear jeans on a daily basis and dressing up was a way to show Him that He's worthy of more than my jeans.  I've only worn jeans to church once, and even then I felt really out of place.  The preacher was even wearing jeans...hmmm.


This may sound really superficial, and it may be.  But we've really gotten out of our comfort zone and visited a different church each week.  Today's experience was just way out of the norm.


What matters most, when it all comes down to it, is that we all worship the same God.  We all believe in the same Bible.  What matters the most is that we should love God and love others.


Tomorrow I'll try to post about our sight-seeing adventures this weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Dad is Courageous

Tyler and I just finished watching the movie, "Courageous."  Oh my goodness...if you haven't seen it yet, GO rent it!!! Seriously. 


I really appreciate my dad, but that movie just made me appreciate him that much more.  I'm so blessed that God gave me Matt Bunton to be my father.  I'm not sure if he signed a resolution or not, but I can see that he was the dad that I needed (and still need).


He worked (and still does) really hard every day so that he can provide for his family.  He doesn't have a normal 8-5 job, and never will be able to have a job like that.  He works early mornings, late nights, Christmas day, on my wedding day, on his birthday.  It doesn't matter when it is, he is usually working.


It doesn't matter how old I am, he will sit down with me and tell me what I'm doing wrong and tell me that I need to change it.  But he will also sit me down and tell me what I'm doing right.  He has always told me the words every child needs to hear, "I am proud of you.  I love you." He will give me Godly advice when I don't know what to do. He prays with me (and Tyler too) before we leave.  He prays for me.  He continues to lead me to the Cross through his actions and words.


My dad took me out to supper on my birthday when I was 14 and gave me the most beautiful diamond heart necklace.  His message was the same as the man's in the movie was to his daughter.  He had my heart until I got married, and honestly, he will always have a piece of me.  No matter where I live or who I live with.


My dad is a man of courage. He didn't care what the father's of my friends were   doing or letting their daughters (or sons, is more like it) do.  He knew that he has to answer to God about how he raised his kids and how he led his family.  I'm grateful for a huge example in my life.


I pray that Tyler will be a courageous father when we decide to have kids.  Side note---SOOOOO many of my friends are pregnant right now, and I'm SOO glad I'm not one of them.  I'm happy for them, but I'm totally not ready for that chapter yet...kids are forever, and I'm enjoying some freedom.


As I was watching that movie, I was thinking that it not only challenges fathers to step up to the plate, but it encourages me to step up to the plate as a Christian.  I need to be a woman of integrity (I'm not saying that I'm a disgrace, just clarifying), and a woman who will (eventually) be a Godly example for my kids.  I need to be a Godly example for anyone who passes my way.  


I'm so thankful that God forgives me and tosses my sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).  I mess up, and a lot of times I mess up bad.  But God forgives and gives me another chance to start over.  He gives me yet another chance to become that Godly woman.


One song that I've been singing for the last week has a really catchy chorus.  I just want to share it:


You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

It's so true.  If we allow Him, God will make beautiful things out of us.  I really want that.  I want God to use me.  I want God to make something beautiful out of me that only He can do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Needing Prayer

My heart has been heavy with lots of prayer requests recently.  So many people I know and love are being diagnosed with cancer or going through some other health issue.
  • My great aunt is at KU Med Center and has just been diagnosed with cancer.  She's going to be there a while.  She's my grandpa's little sister and the only one left of the 3 kids.  She's a workaholic but going into retirement.  This is not the way to start retirement out.
  • I have a friend who is going through the process of beating her cancer.  She's not much older than me, just recently got married, and living in another state.  We just got word that her doctors are optimistic (PRAISE GOD!!!), but I can't imagine what she's going through: mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
  • Tonight, I just found out that my old basketball coach was life flighted to Springfield with an aneurysm.  He's out of surgery and his doctor is optimistic about his situation as well, but will have another surgery tomorrow.
I know there are tons of people praying for each of these situations.  We have a God that hears our prayers.  He answers prayers.  He comforts the family.  Will you pray along with me?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

OKC Update

We are officially in Oklahoma City.  We will be here for 2-3 months.  Tyler will be training for 4 weeks and then working with someone for a hands-on experience.  When they feel that he has learned everything he needs to know, they’ll send him home.  However, “home” is relative.  We are still searching for a place to live in the St. Louis area since we have some more time.  We want the place to be what we really want since we’ll be living there for at least a year.

We are currently living in an apartment here in OKC.  We thought we’d be in an extended stay hotel for 8 days, but Tyler got the keys to this apartment after one night at the hotel.  That was a surprise since everything has been seemed to take longer in this process.  The apartment complex is huge.  It sits on a 9-hole golf course and takes about 30 minutes to walk around (if you’re trying to keep your heart rate up).  There are 48 apartment buildings with 6 apartments in each building.  I went on a walk yesterday to scout it all out.  It’s a beautiful property (probably even more in the Spring), and according to a maintenance guy, the complex is “out in the middle of nowhere.” 

I took some pictures of our apartment.  Here’s our bathroom, which is just off the bedroom.


Here’s our bedroom.  We even have a tv that is about the size of our own computer monitor. :]


Here’s our kitchen, which is somewhat frustrating.  It is “furnished,” however it doesn’t have the luxuries of my own kitchen, which I am starting to miss.  I had to cut up potatoes, carrots, and onions with a serrated knife, which is really difficult!  The oven is somewhat older and definitely not as hot as what I’m used to.  It took 20 minutes to bake canned biscuits.  I think I'll have to experiment with it...it might get interesting. 



Here's our living room, complete with a loving husband on the couch!!



We might not miss our 51 inch tv too much...we have a pretty big one here.


It's a cute, little place.  It will suffice for now, but we will be glad to get our own place in St. Louis.  I've already started making a list of places to go see and things to do in OKC.  I did find the outlet mall here and it has a Maurices, which I'm totally excited about! :]  We're hoping to get to go to an Oklahoma City Thunder game...I've never been to an NBA game before, so this will be exciting.  I think my brothers are hoping to come down for a game sometime.  I talked with my old youth minister who's from OKC and he gave me lots of good restaurants to check out and some church options.  It will be an interesting couple of months here.
*****

I know that this is the 7th of January, but I thought I would share some of my goals for 2012.  I don't really make "New Year's Resolutions," as I think that phrase has a negative connotation, but I don't think it can hurt to make goals for myself.

I've been thinking about what goals to make for myself, and I actually heard a sermon last week in STL about what God would want from us in this new year. That put a good spin on things and got me thinking.
  • I want to put God first in everything.  I want Him to be the center of our decisions, and I want to grow closer to Him every day.  I want people to be able to see His light shining through me.  
  • I want to be healthier.  I want to make better decisions for myself.  I haven't made a goal to lose weight because weight is just a number.  I haven't let it define me, and I don't think anyone should let it define them.  I haven't told myself that I can't have dessert or pop.  I just want to feel better about myself in the skin I'm in and take better care of the body that God has given me.  I want to get back into my old routine of working out every day.  I didn't even bring a scale to OKC.  I really just want to be healthier.
  • I want to read more.  I've started a list of books that I want to read this year, and these are only part of them.  Some of them I have started, but I want to finish them.  I think I'll even have time to since I won't be taking classes!


  • I want to make more crafts.  I would love to sew my own quilt.  While that may be out of the question for awhile, it is a goal for my future.  I also want to crochet my own afghan. :]  I'm gonna learn to be as crafty as my momma!
I don't have too many goals, but I think each one of them that I have set for myself is attainable.  I will be working hard to reach them.  I'm excited about this new year, but I think the theme of the year will be "Flexibility."  It's important to be flexible, especially when we don't really know when we'll be getting back to STL.  We have to be flexible when looking for a place to live.  Flexibility is just a good thing to have, so when things go wrong, you can still have a positive outlook.  I want 2012 to be fantastic!