Tag Archives: praise

He’s Home!

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Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who lifted Papa up in prayer last week! His procedure went off without a hitch and I am very pleased to report that he is now resting at HOME! Praise God!

After three weeks in the hospital, he was extremely eager to go home last night. Although very weak (he lost a good amount of weight and strength in the hospital due to not eating or moving around much), I think being at home will help him get better faster.

We could still use your prayers for his recovery – kidney failure, heart failure and advanced lung disease don’t disappear with a simple stint procedure (unfortunately!) and we still have a long road ahead of us. Specifically, if you could pray for God to give him strength, to remove his nausea and to help him eat consistently, it would be hugely appreciated!

The Papa I know and love – and the one I know is still inside that tiny, 100-pound body of his – enjoys nothing more than traveling, building things and playing with his great grandchildren. I pray that he will have many, many more years of this – especially since we will be homeowners soon and will undoubtedly need him to fix something at some point! And of course, God willing, we will be parents one day – and I know he’ll want to cuddle with our little one :)

The Game of Life

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Oy – I thought last week was great! This week has taken the cake – and it isn’t even over yet!

Chad put it best last night when he said it’s like we’re playing The Game of Life…and WINNING! It seems we’re spinning all the right numbers and landing on all the right spaces this week. Not that we really have anything to do with it – to GOD be the glory! We’ve prayed earnestly for these things to happen in His timing, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

The week started off on Sunday – a great message at church, an impromptu lunch date and then we drove out to Cleveland to meet our brand new PUPPY! His name is Cooper and he was born on February 7 – that’s right, we share a birthday! He’s a pure bred Corgi (the breed we’ve wanted for so long!) and can officially come home with us once he’s old enough – April 2.

Then on Monday we got the news we’d be anxiously awaiting for 8 days – WE GOT THE HOUSE!!! We’re officially under contract for our first home in Spring, Texas. Things get REALLY real when you start writing big checks! The inspection is Saturday, so we’re praying for nothing but good news.

Tuesday was Mardi Gras – we didn’t do anything to celebrate, but it’s just a fun time of year. Thanks to our NOLA friends for sharing your pictures!

On Wednesday, a group of friends gathered at a favorite Irish pub and pizza joint (just trust me on this – it’s delicious) to celebrate my belated birthday. It was great to see some people I hadn’t seen in a very long time – we laughed, we ate, we drank – a solid Wednesday night!

Today is Valentine’s Day AND Chad’s first day at his new job!!! We’ll exchange cards and such tonight, but will forgo the day-of celebration since now we both have to go to bed early :) I am SO proud of him and excited for him – I can’t wait to hear about his first day when I get home tonight!

Tomorrow is when we’ll actually celebrate Valentine’s Day – we got a hotel in The Woodlands and plan to grab some Chinese takeout and just relax, just the two of us. Sounds pretty perfect if you ask me!

And then Saturday, as I mentioned, is inspection day! And that night we’re having dinner with the Brogans. HUZZAH!

This has been a GREAT week!!!

A Month of Thanksgiving

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Everyone seems to have done the “Month of Thanksgiving” posts on Facebook/Twitter this year – you know, where every day you say one thing you’re thankful for. Well, for half of this month, I was in Peru…and the internet is shotty AT BEST there. So here is my list of 30 things I’m thankful for :)

  1.  Jesus – Without him, I would have no life.
  2. Chad – He’s the best gift God could have given me! He’s so loving, patient and kind. He’s a truly genuine person – something that’s hard to come by these days. He’s never fake, never spiteful, never arrogant. He’s humble, a great leader, and my best friend. I could go on forever!
  3. Toilets and toilet seats – I told you I’d been in Peru for half the month! I peed in a hole and toilet seats were very hard to come by. I’m telling you, it’s the little things!
  4. Family – Between me and Chad, we seriously have some of the coolest relatives EVER. Of course, I love my own mother and sister to death, but I feel the same way about Chad’s mom, sister, brother and stepdad! And of course Payton and Lilly have special places in my heart :) Not to mention our amazing aunts, uncles and grandparents!
  5. Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card – Not that we need a credit card, but we put our monthly gas, groceries and some other expenses on this bad boy in order to earn frequent flyer miles. We went to Vegas for free in August, and we’ve earned two more round trip flights already!
  6. The gym – It always makes you feel better, even if you didn’t feel like going!
  7. Homemade meals – I love to cook, and I really love trying out new things. I’m glad Chad is open to eating what I make! And it makes me feel really good to cook delicious, healthy meals for us :)
  8. Pictures of corgis and dachshunds – We WILL be getting these dogs when we get our first home. Mark my words!
  9. Christmas decorations and music – Christmas is my favorite time of year, and seeing all the sights, hearing all the sounds, smelling all the smells and tasting all the foods of the season makes me SO HAPPY!
  10. Laughing – Chad and I are ALWAYS laughing – and if you ask me, there isn’t enough of that in the world! We’re even able to laugh when the times are tough, which is always great.
  11. Fleece-lined tights – Seriously. These things are great! They keep me warm in winter (they wouldn’t cut it in Chicago or somewhere with a REAL winter), and allow me to wear something besides pants every.single.day.
  12. Mexican food – I really don’t think this needs an explanation.
  13. Cuddle time – There is really nothing better than curling up on the couch with your husband, in your PJs or sweatpants and fuzzy socks, and watching TV. Promise.
  14. Football – How about the Texans this year?! AWESOME. And the Longhorns did better than last year…that’s about all I can say about that. But YAY TEXANS!!!
  15. Employment – In a time where so many are jobless, I’m very thankful to have a job that allows me to use my degree, talents and passion. The paycheck is nice too :)
  16. My charity/cause-loving friends – Every time I turn around, someone is raising money for a cause that is near and dear to their heart. That is so great. THANK YOU, friends, for dedicating yourselves to such worthy causes!
  17. G-chat – Because I live in another state, G-chat enables me to talk to some of my best friends almost every day. Whether they’re in Texas, New York or somewhere in between, it enables me to stay connected to their lives, despite the distance.
  18. White sand beaches with turquoise waters – Sadly, we did not make it to the beach this year. But that does not take the beach out of my list of loves! There is nothing like sitting under an umbrella with your toes in the sand, the wind  in your hair, and the waves crashing around you.
  19. All things pumpkin and gingerbread – Are there better cold weather/holiday season flavors? I think not. My first attempt at pumpkin bread went AMAZINGLY WELL, so that is going to be a new tradition. Gingerbread lattes are like Christmas in a cup, and how could you not like that??
  20. The Walking Dead – I know, a silly thing to be thankful for. But we really do look forward to it Sunday nights! Plus, it gives us cuddle time, since it’s filled with scary and cringe-worthy moments. See #13.
  21. Elf – My sister and I watch this together EVERY YEAR. We can quote the entire thing, and sometimes do so via text. Until I got married, when I’d go home for Christmas, Kourt and I would share her room/bed (because the kids are in my old room) on Christmas Eve night. We would always watch that movie and then wake up together just like when we were little kids. TMI? Get over it – this is my blog!
  22. Coffee – It’s delicious. It’s a great way to start my day. And it’s always made and given to me by my amazing husband – BONUS!
  23. Your prayers – We’ve had so many people praying for us this year, through some really tough times. I cannot tell you how much this means to us, and how much it has lifted our spirits. There aren’t enough words to say how much we appreciate all of you and your prayers!
  24. Blake Shelton – He’s hilarious. He’s attractive. He can sing. Need I say more? The bromance between him and Adam Levine is hilarious on The Voice, and I’ve been a fan of his long before he became the megastar he is today.
  25. Our church family and friends – We’ve been so blessed to meet so many great people here in Little Rock, who have really taken us in as their own. These are some really genuine, loving people with servant’s hearts – and I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know them over the years! From inviting us over on a random Tuesday to letting us spend major holidays with you, we REALLY appreciate it!
  26. Immanuel Baptist Church – Our church is amazing. We unapologetically stand for what the Bible says and Jesus. My faith has been strengthened and I have spiritually grown so much, thanks to the teachings of Pastor Gary and the other leaders in the church.
  27. Loganberry Frozen Yogurt – It’s Chad’s favorite place, and I can always convince him that we need to go there for a guilt-free treat :)
  28. Old school Christmas movies – I love them all! Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty…you name it! And I’ve scheduled them ALL to record this year. JOY!
  29. Pastor Victor and Pastor Roger in Peru – These are two extremely hard working men, who face incredible hardships in their work every day. It was a pleasure to get to know them while on my mission trip, and I pray that God continues to use them to further His kingdom!
  30. YOU! – I have so many amazing friends, who fill my life with laughter, pride and joy every day. Thank you for always being there for me – whether I needed a sounding board, a shoulder to cry/freak out on, or a room to stay in while in town :)

Peru – I went. I saw. I lived.

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I’m BACK! As most of you know, I spent November 7-16 in Lima, Peru, doing mission work with my church. It was a long, hard trip – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually exhausting – but I’m so glad I went.

You always go into these trips thinking you’re going to be helping people out. And you do – but you also get a lot out of it as well. These trips always teach me perspective – you often get bogged down by your “troubles” (I say that in quotes because they’re always blown out of proportion, never as bad as they seem), but then when your eyes are opened to the world around you, you realize things aren’t so bad. In fact, you have it pretty good.

That’s definitely what I walked away from this trip with. A sense of perspective, a thankful heart, joy and some accomplishment. Yes, I was able to help out a lot of people – but they also helped me.  You really can’t put trips like these into words, but the photos speak volumes.

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Here are a few of the highlights from the trip:

1. The plane rides. You think a 6 hour, 18 minute flight sounds sucky? Not if you have your own TV screen and a choice of AWESOME movies. That really made time fly!

2. The American people. Yes, the people I went to Peru with were great! They were really funny and full of great stories – but my favorite American person was my roommate, Clara. She’s my new adopted mom!

3. The Peruvian people. These are some of the warmest, most friendly and loving people I’ve ever met. We were always greeted with love and affection, and told goodbye with lots of squeezy hugs. A SPECIAL love goes out to the translators we had every day – Jhonatan, Linda, Adrianna, Oscar and Miguel. These guys are SO SO SO fantastic, and really love Jesus. I wish I could have brought them home with me!

So what did we do every day, you ask? Each morning, we drove an hour and a half to Pachacutec, a really, REALLY poor area about an hour and a half north of Lima. We hiked sand mountains (LITERALLY) to tell people about Jesus and invite them to church. In the afternoons, we held Bible studies at the church and in church members’ homes. Then, we held healthy lifestyle and healthy parenting classes before hopping back on the bus, traveling non-paved and insanely busy streets until we arrived back at the hotel. One day, we did an evening service in the middle of the gang-infested heart of Lima – that was scary, yet awesome. I gave my testimony that night, which I’d never done before in front of a group of people. And on the Sunday we were there, we attended a Spanish church service in Pachacutec – and I was asked (told) to lead worship. You guys know I can’t sing a lick, but I got up there and did my best! Plus, these people may never see me again (until we get to heaven, when I will totally be a great singer because our faults will be erased), so it’s all good!

You’ve probably also heard that 5 our of the 8 people in my group came down with SEVERE food poisoning. It was NOT pretty. Thankfully, neither I nor my roommate were among the sick – thank you JESUS! By the last day of the trip, they’d recovered enough to go sightseeing and make the long flight home. HOORAY!

During our trip, lots of people gave their lives to Jesus. We talked with hundreds of others. We heard from a missionary about his plans for the further reach to Lima. We heard a choir of Peruvian women sing in a private girls’ German Catholic school – they sang a song written by a Frenchman, in Latin. How’s that for culture?! And we all came back a lot more thankful than we left. How appropriate for this time of year!

Big Step Closer to Peru!

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You guys – God is amazing. I know, this is probably not new information for you, but it bears repeating!

Like many people, one of my biggest issues is trusting God to take care of my financial situation – in other words, relinquishing control and trusting Him. I am generally pretty good and handing things over to the Big Man Upstairs, but I like to clutch my finances to my chest like a frightened child to its teddy bear. As if I were saying “No, God. Let me handle this. You’re not big enough.” Right. Because that’s true.

Any way, Chad and I prayed about and decided to join the Peru 2012 GO Team, a mission trip in November 2012 with our church. Needless to say, spending 9 days in Peru is not cheap – from flights to airfare, to lodging and food, it adds up to a hefty price tag (especially for a young couple!) But God kept telling us to do it, and we trusted Him to provide a way to get there.

Just this week, I received a surprise financial gift that pays for more than half of our trip. That’s right! One of us is fully funded for the mission trip to Peru next year! God is so faithful, and it is instances like these that remind me who is ultimately in control of my life (and it isn’t me!). It’s also moments like these that I need to remember to clutch to my chest in future circumstances – proof that God will provide, and there is no fear in Him. You’d think I would have learned this lesson from my LAST mission trip, where a complete stranger wrote a check for the EXACT amount I needed to go to Costa Rica, but alas – the human mind is flawed.

Thank you, Jesus, for providing everything I have ever and will ever need! I am so excited to serve the kingdom by going on this trip, and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us!

Chad Saves the Day

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I have the sweetest, most caring and thoughtful husband in the world. He is always willing to drop what he’s doing and come to your aide, without a single hesitation or complaint. Sure, a lot of people say this about their husbands, but it’s totally different (and validating!) when you see it in action.

As you know, Lindsay got married last weekend. Unfortunately, there was a small issue with some of the bridesmaids’ hair – as in, the stylist didn’t do that great of a job. We were on a tight schedule, but needed to do something to spruce up the girls’ curls. Enter: Chad.

I called him from the car while driving to the wedding venue, three and a half hours before it was time to walk down the aisle. I believe the conversation went like this:

Me: Babe, we have a hair emergency. I need you to put on your wedding clothes, head to Target, buy a 1-inch curling iron and get to Duchman Family Winery as fast as you safely can.

Chad: I’m on it. *click*

After that 15 second exchange, Chad headed to a nearby Target, made the purchase (after thoughtfully calling to confirm it was a 1-inch curling iron we needed, just to make sure he got it right – he understands hair sensitivities, having grown up in a house full of women), and drove 40 minutes to the winery just in time to save the day. He did not care that he was there 3 hours before the ceremony started or that he had to entertain himself in the public lobby while I attended to the bride. Nope. Not a single complaint – in fact, he was happy to help!

The other bridesmaids couldn’t help but comment about how sweet Chad was and how most men wouldn’t have 1) agreed to do that or 2) gotten the right thing. But that’s what makes my husband special – he constantly puts others above himself and is willing to do anything if you need him. (And I think the fact that his own wedding was only 3 months ago, he understood the urgency of wedding hair and sheer perfection for the day!)

Many of my friends haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with Chad, despite the fact that we dated for 4 years before getting married, due to our long distance relationship. People kept coming up to me saying “Wow. Your husband is amazing!” or “Chad is SO nice, it’s almost unbelievable!” and I was like “Yeah, I know! I’ve been saying that for years!” But I’m glad they finally got to see a glimpse of what I’ve known all along :)

So thanks, babe, for all that you do and for being the best gift God could have ever given me!! I love you!!

WOW, GOD Moments

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Every now and then I have to take a step back and say to myself, “WOW, GOD!” I mean really – if we all took the time to appreciate the things God does for us every moment of every day – from the large to the small – it’d be impossible not to recognize his majesty and divine nature.

Today, after a follow-up discussion with one of my pastors on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, I had a MAJOR WOW, GOD! moment. Seriously. Sometimes I swear God doesn’t open the doors for us because we’re standing in the way – and today, the door flung wide open and a felt the WOOSH of air as it happened. I’d rather not discuss the particular topic right now, but if you guys could please pray for God’s will in my life, that would be AWESOME! (I don’t want my own selfish will and desires getting in the way of His work!)

WOW, GOD! moments are also a great time for me to sit back and remember – IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s not about what I want, what I think I need or when I want it to happen. No matter how perfectly I think I have things laid out (and you all know how crazy OCD I am about planning – hello, 8-page wedding itinerary), God’s plan is always infinitely better. ALWAYS.

Here is my prayer – God, please rid me of my selfish desires and replace them with Your will. Please don’t let my bias get in the way of what You have planned for me, because I know it’s way better than what I could ever imagine. Keep me strong in the fact that You will provide anything and everything that I will ever need, and don’t let me worry about the future – it’s all in your hands. Father, I beg you to please speak to me through Your word and through those you’ve put in my life to help guide me along the way. THANK YOU for the many, many blessings in my life, and for providing opportunities to serve you at every corner. Please forgive me where I’ve failed you, and strengthen me every day to rely on You and no one else. Amen.