Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolutin’


It’s the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013….which can only mean one thing: the world did not implode on December 21st, 2012. It also means that I should clean my house again, since I stopped cleaning it several weeks ago due to the impending end of the world. Ha. Only kidding. But I do need to clean though…….terribly.

The beginning of a New Year actually signals the birth of ten million New Year’s Resolutions. So it is only fitting that I write a post with how I did on my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions and end with my Resolutions for 2013. *deep breath* Okay…here goes!

2012:

Resolution #1: Lose the college fifteen

Results: Hahahahahahahahahahahaha I love chocolate.

….no seriously…..I was doing pretty good with this resolution….up until the point that I tore my ACL in my right knee and it swelled up like a balloon. But I do love chocolate….a whole lot. And that may possibly be a teeeensy weeeensy bit of the problem. But then…how can something so wonderful be bad for you??!??

Resolution #2: Get a tattoo

Results: I’m a wimp. And I probably won’t ever get a tattoo. Not even a little tiny one on my foot like I wanted. Why? Because every time I think about getting one, I wonder how bad it might hurt…and then I automatically chicken out and eat chocolate as a coping mechanism. Please see Resolution #1. Ahem.

Resolution #3: Be on time for work. And all other events that I am supposed to attend. Like church and life in general.

Results: *shoves chocolate in mouth* All I can say is…...I sort of tried? Don’t judge me.

As you can probably already tell…..2012 was not a good year in the Resolution accomplishment department. So how about we finish off this post with some hopeful 2013 Resolutions?

2013:

Resolution #1: Lose the college fifteen

Game Plan: Stop eating chocolate. Hahahahahahaha like that would ever happen. Trying to quit chocolate entirely is like asking a turtle to walk around without its shell. So I’m not going to quit chocolate…..I’m just going to cut back. And since my knee is bad enough to cause me pain but not bad enough to require surgery, I’m going to have to get creative on an exercise plan. Or just chop the bottom half of my leg off with a chain saw.

Resolution #2: Buy a chainsaw

Game Plan: Totally kidding guys.

Resolution #3: Be on time for stuff

Game Plan: I have no idea. So if anyone would like to share how they manage to be on time for anything they attend in life (work, church, your own wedding, etc.) please feel free to share. PLEASE!!

Resolution #4: Read the entire Bible

Game Plan: I have grown up in the church my whole entire life. I got saved when I was five. But I don't think I have read the whole entire Bible. Which is pretty pitiful. So in 2013, I plan on using the little Bible app on my phone to read through the whole entire Bible in one year. The app has a reading plan that evenly sections out the Bible throughout the year so I can complete it, so all I have to do is read. Woop woop!!

So there ya have it folks. I’ll be back tomorrow with a waaay too long post with lots of pictures for a fun recap of 2012. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a bowl of M&M’s and a jacuzzi tub full of hot water awaiting my presence. I mean….c’mon, it’s not 2013 just yet, so I can still eat all the chocolate I want…right?!?? 

"Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it."  ~Psalm 119:140

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Whole Lotta Weird

This post could be potentially lame or potentially hilarious or both at the same time. I recommend having some chocolate while reading….but not a glass of milk. The chocolate will make it less lame…and the milk might come out of your nose. Or it may not. Who knows? I’m not the boss of you….so eat and drink whatever you want. Or don’t. It’s a free country.
Last night I dreamed that I rode my horse to the gas station to fill her up with gas, only to find that some dude had passed out while pumping his gas (into his car…not his horse….weirdo….WHO DOES THAT???) The paramedics were blocking the entrance to the pump, so I had to ride around to a different pump and my horse was all jittery because of the lights and the dude lying on the ground. Dumb horse…..just stand still next to the gas pump already so we can get out of here. GOSH.

So in the spirit of being a cowgirl, I ate beef jerky for breakfast this morning and drank my coffee black.


Okay….not all of that is true. I would NEVER drink my coffee black. That is just plain nasty. And I also did not eat beef jerky as a result of my dream last night. But I DID eat beef jerky for breakfast this morning. And it was amazing. True story….don’t judge me.
You may think I’m weird….with my strange dreams and my beef jerky eating ways…..but just know that Roman is (in every way) just as strange as me.
Example:
Our shower in the bathroom has a glass door and glass walls and all that great stuff. I walk in about a week ago to find Roman writing a math problem on the shower door with his finger. Conversation proceeded as follows:
Me: What in the world are you doing? Why are you doing math?
Him: Sometimes I just do math. I’ll be standing here…taking a shower….doing math problems in my head and then I can’t figure them out so I write them down. It helps me solve them.
Me: *erupts into laughter*
Him: You never do that?
Me: *continues to laugh* NO!!!! WHY WOUOLD YOU DO MATH IN THE SHOWER??!?? *more laughter*
Him: You mean to tell me you never write on the shower door? Ever? Like…some days I’ll think of a word and I can’t remember how to spell it so I’ll write it in the steam on the shower door so I can see it and figure out how to spell it.
Me: *still giggling* You are the weirdest person I know. In the universe.  

See what I mean? He’s every bit as weird as me. And unfortunately, we are both OCD and weird at the same time. Roman likes to use all the same coat hangers in his closet and has all of his shirts hanging the same way….color coordinated and everything. My closet generally looks like a tornado swept through the place (although I did organize it a little last night at midnight…got one of those crazy cleaning bugs….and yes I was late to work today). I will hang and re-hang the towels in the bathroom until they are perfectly straight….Roman generally leaves his on the floor. So while he is scoffing at my lack of organization in my closet….I am scoffing at his jumbled up towel draped over the edge of the tub.

It’s funny to me how two people can be so different, yet still be perfect for each other. It’s almost like God is playing a joke on us.

God: “Hey Gabriel, watch this. I’m going to create these two people and one day they’re going to get married. She’s going to get mad at him ten million times over his bathroom towel while he continually fusses at her over her lack of closet organization skillz.”
God and Gabriel: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Gabriel: God, you’re so funny.
God: Duh.

(Note: Dear God and Gabriel….I meant no disrespect. Now quit laughing at us.)
Anyways….my point is that we are weird. But you are probably weird in some ways too. So there. Let’s be weird together, m’kay? I hope all you weird people had a really great Christmas. I know we did! Over the weekend I’ll write a big long post with lots of pictures recapping the year of 2012 and then hopefully I’ll get another post in before New Years with my obligatory New Year’s resolutions for 2013 and how I did on my resolutions for 2012. (Hint: the only one I accomplished was not dying on December 21, 2012…a pretty big accomplishment if I say so myself. It definitely makes me feel better about not having a six pack of abs and slimmer thighs. So, yay me!)
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." ~Genesis 2:24
((ADDED: And they shall war over towels and closets. And God shall snicker at them with Gabriel from above. Amen.))

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

There Are No Words.....

I jokingly call my pets my children, but I know that it is not the same. So I don’t write this post from the perspective of a mother who will get off work and go spend time with her children. I won’t pretend to know what it is like to carry and give birth to a child, or to have that special bond that people talk about, because I have not experienced that in my life yet. Therefore, I really do not know what the parents of Connecticut are feeling today.
 I can only imagine….and I pray that I never have to experience the hell they are going through right now.
Friday was a busy work-day for me. I didn’t have the chance to go online and check the news or to check Facebook. It was one in the afternoon before I heard what had happened….and at that time the word was that only one adult and one child had died. The rumors were many and spread like wildfire…..the shooter had a child of his own in the school…..there were multiple shooters…..the shooter was dead….the shooter had been arrested…..twelve children had died…..the shooter had a mother that worked in the school…..sixteen children had died…..an entire class was unaccounted for….

Twenty children.
Six adults.

With Christmas just one week away, I’m sure that gifts had already been bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree. I can’t imagine what that must feel like……to stare at your Christmas tree with all of those presents and want so bad for your child to be there to open them on Christmas morning….only to have to go to your child’s funeral today instead.
I can’t imagine running to a fire station….hoping with every fiber of your being that your child is waiting for you there…..only to read your child’s name on a list and later have to identify their body.
I can’t imagine returning to an empty house, or having to explain to your other children why they can’t play with their brother or sister anymore.
I can’t imagine the grief. The pain. The anger. The chaos. The reporters everywhere wanting a statement….the phone calls from concerned neighbors and extended family members. All the while wondering how in the world a twenty year old man could walk into a school and murder an entire classroom of innocent children along with several staff members.
What happened on Friday was terrible. A special kind of evil visited that school on Friday morning. Our nation has been rocked by a tragedy.
This morning, Fox News had little to say about the victims, but a lot to say about the shooter. Was he mentally ill? Where did he get the weapons? What was his home life like? Should guns be illegal? Politicians are arguing over our right to bear arms. The United Nations thinks we are too liberal with our gun rights. Texas thinks the teachers should be allowed to carry weapons. Gun sales spiked on Friday afternoon and Saturday.
Not that this stuff isn’t important, but I really hope that in the midst of all of this, the American people remember those suffering families. I hope that we take the time to grieve with them. To support them. To pray for them. To remember their loss…long after the reporters have left and the attention is moved to another world crisis.
Sunday morning, our little church did what we Christians are called to do: we wept with those who are weeping. It was a somber worship service, as our Pastor took the stage and talked about what happened on Friday morning. We sang songs as the Holy Spirit led us to. We cried together. We prayed over the families that are so lost in their grief right now. We prayed over the pastors who are trying to lead funeral services and make house calls. We prayed for the service men and women who responded on that day and saw haunting images that will stick in their minds for the rest of their lives.
This is why we are here…..to be God’s hands and feet. To lift one another up in prayer, and to comfort those who are in need. I hope that as we move forward with our individual lives, that we take some time to pray for others as well. As Christmas quickly approaches, followed by New Years, the “fiscal cliff”, and tax season….I hope that we don’t forget the lives that were lost on Friday. I hope that we remember to pray for our nation…..that our country would turn back to God…..that we never have to experience this again…….that the families are comforted as birthdays pass by uncelebrated and holidays pass by with empty seats at the table.
In the midst of this tragedy, we can give thanks that we have a healing Father. A Father who loves us and wants the best for us. A Father who mourns with us in times like this. A Father who is just and wise and directs our path. And we can certainly give thanks that if we call ourselves His, we will see these precious children once more….alive and well.

Lysa Terkeurst wrote a very moving article on how to pray for the families here.
Roo from NiceGirlNotes lives just a few towns away from Newtown. She wrote a very touching article and included links at the end for those who would like to financially support the victims’ families here.


“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”   ~Romans 12:15

Monday, December 17, 2012

We Like Cats Too

I write about our dog, Duke, a lot. But I rarely write about our two cats, Ralph and Lauren. Get it? Ralph Lauren? Yea, I know....kinda lame in a cute way.

We *ahem* acquired Ralph just one month after we got married. We actually had seen him around our neighborhood while we were moving in and thought he was just like all the other strays. I jokingly named him Ralph because when he meowed that's what it sounded like he was saying. Roman didn't want me naming him because that meant I might want to keep him. One month later, he was living in our house and sleeping on our pillows. Note taken: you really shouldn't name stray animals.....you wind up getting attached.

Ralph is a big cat....not big as in fat, big as in really tall and long. He also thinks he is a mountain cat and can jump onto my shoulder from a sitting position. And oh yea, he hates Duke with every fiber of his being. Duke finds this amusing and tries his hardest to find new ways to "connect" with this stubborn kitty....which only deepens Ralph's hatred.

But Lauren is totally different.....in every way. She was dumped on my parent's property when she was still a kitten. I think her brain got deprived of nutrients because....well, she's not very cat like. Example: she tries hard to jump on the counter tops. Sometimes she makes it.....other times she just kind of...doesn't. Her problem is, she has the body of a full sized cat, but her legs are still the length of a kitten's. Which means she stinks at jumping and when she runs I always giggle a little bit. I admit that is sort of mean.....but then you've never seen her run. Trust me, it's funny.

Saturday night though, she made a successful jump onto the counter and ate an entire square of Hershey's milk chocolate. Me, being the panicky person that I am, immediately searched Google. You should never do that. Because Googling stuff like that just gives you all sorts or irrational fears. Apparently chocolate is not only bad for dogs, but is also really bad for cats as well. If she had eaten too much of it, it could apparently give her a heart attack or stroke. Or she could start violently throwing up and die of dehydration. Awesome. But the article didn't say how much was too much.....so of course I was freaking out all night long wondering if she would die or not.

She didn't die. She didn't even throw up. Stupid cat. Note taken: Google doesn't have all the answers. And one square of chocolate will not kill your cat. Although it is still toxic, so you shouldn't just give it to them for dessert. Not that i would ever volunteer my chocolate to my pets. I love them....but i love chocolate too. There are some things i just won't share. Ahem.

Oh and one more fun fact about my pet children....Ralph is an escape artist. So if you ever come to my house, I will demand that you enter the door quickly lest he escape. And if you ever see me creeping around my own front yard with a container of cat food, it's because the $($(#*-&" cat got out again. Maybe I should just feed him a bunch of chocolate so I won't have to worry about it anymore.

KIDDING PETA. I would never waste chocolate like that.

.....oh yea, I would never poison my cat-child either.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased!" ~Luke 2:14

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas 2012

Note: I wrote this the Monday after Thanksgiving and then forgot to post it. Oops.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, me, Roman and Duke drove out to the Christmas tree farm. Usually we don’t get a tree until after December 1st, but this year we decided to go on and get ours a little bit early. (Here’s hoping we remember to water it and it makes it to Christmas day….note: since I wrote this, we have forgotten to water the tree several times. Needless to say, it is looking quite droopy.....) Last year we went just two weeks after we adopted our precious Dukey-face from the pound. It was his first major outing…other than to the vet. This year, he was much bigger….but still the cutest dog I’ve ever seen.

I had absolutely no intentions of fully decorating my house after church that night, but once we started decorating the tree, things just got a little out of hand. Suddenly it was two in the morning, my house had been Christma-fied, we had put up two baskets of clean clothes, vacuumed the house, and done a load of dishes in the dishwasher. 

Was I exhausted? Absolutely. Was I late to work the next day? You betcha. But was I super excited to go home that afternoon to a fully clean and decorated house? Dang right I was!

Anyways, I really am trying to make a much larger effort to be thankful this holiday season. Because most years I am one of those who go around grumbling “do I REALLY have to listen to Jingle Bells one million and five times again this year??!!??” And normally once you get to Thanksgiving, life turns into a whirlwind of decorating, gift-buying, giving, receiving, eating, more eating, singing Jingle Bells and just general craziness. Suddenly, you blink and you find yourself watching the ball drop in New York City on television and telling everyone Happy New Year.  And then you continue to write 2012 on all of your checks for the next month because there is just no way it’s 2013 already.

This year, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to take things a little more slow and actually enjoy Christmas this year. I know right? Novel idea.

Yes, I went shopping on Black Friday. But I didn’t charge a whole bunch of stuff to my credit card or stand in a line for ten hours just to buy a TV. I had an enjoyable time with my mom holding up funny dresses in Belk’s and teasing some of America’s latest fashion trends. And she bought me new clothes, which was an added plus. (YAY!!) And we also didn’t go shopping until after 7:30 in the morning, so most of the crazies had cleared out. Shablam.

My point is, it makes no sense for us to be running around yelling and screaming JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, if we are spending all of our time worrying about whose house we’re going to go to for Christmas dinner this year and piling up huge amounts of debt just to try and give the “perfect” gifts.  Yes we will still “do” Christmas this year with all of the eating and gift-giving and all that, but my main focus is going to be gratefulness instead of stress.

This year, I’m opting out of all the craziness. In one night I cleaned my whole house and I put out all of my Christmas decorations. But you know what? I enjoyed every minute of it. I set up my multiple nativity scenes around the house and paused to contemplate the birth of Jesus each time I pulled one of them out of its box. And I walked around the house thanking God that He had so much mercy to send His Son to our broken little world to hang on a cross for us. I thanked God that He gave me such a beautiful house to put a Christmas tree in and to live my life in.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a whole lot to be thankful for.

I married the best man I could ever dream of. He loves me and takes care of me. He is faithful to me. He is a man of God that truly desires to see our family run after His heart.

My Dad turned 65 years old two days after thanksgiving. I’m thankful for the time I’ve had with him and I’m thankful that he is still a healthy man that dearly loves his children and his wife.

My nephew and his wife have orders to return to Georgia this December. I get to see my nephew after three years, and I finally get to meet his wife for the first time. After two tours overseas, this is truly exciting for me and my family to see his face again…..alive and well and home in time for Christmas.

I have a wonderful job that more than provides for Roman and me. I love working here. I love the people I work with here. I love knowing that what I do makes a difference. And Roman has a wonderful job as well that he truly enjoys and gives us the flexibility to do the things we enjoy. Most families in America cannot say that they enjoy their jobs…..or that both adults are even gainfully employed. So we are beyond blessed with our jobs.

My little brother hit a deer on Thanksgiving morning. But he is totally okay. Hallelujah.

My house is amazing. My dishwasher is still the coolest thing since sliced bread. The fact that the heater works and I can take a hot shower for over an hour if I want to is the second coolest thing since sliced bread.

Roman and I get to do ministry in the best church in the universe with the best people in the universe. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. I seriously love our church and our Pastor and the leadership team there. I can’t imagine where we would be in life if it weren’t for our church, but I can assure you we wouldn’t be who we are today.

We have great friends. Great family. A great dog. And two stupid cats that try to escape every time we open the dang-blasted door, but we still love them too. 

There are probably a zillion and five other things that I could list off, but you people probably don’t want to read them all, so I won’t. But more than anything, I’m thankful for my God. Because if it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t have any of this. He blesses me and Roman more than we can handle sometimes, and in the year of 2012 we have definitely been hit with some for-real blessings. From job promotions, to a new house, to going on an amazing cruise, to physical healings, to graduating college….God has really pulled off some big stuff for us this year. We don’t deserve for Him to heap so much goodness on our heads, but for some reason He just really enjoys making us say “WOW”.

And so over the next few weeks, I’m making a big, huge effort to say thanks. Because that’s the best I have to offer Him in return for all He has done for us this year…my feeble offering of “Thank You.” I’m sure that everyone reading this has some big things to be thankful for as well. Maybe 2012 hasn’t been such a great year for you….but you know what? You’ve at least got the Internet to be reading this post, which means you have electricity, which means you have a roof over your head, so there are three things right there that you can be thankful for. Unless you’re a homeless person using the free Internet in the library just so you can read my blog. Which is quite doubtful. And slightly disturbing. #creeper

Seriously folks, as America hustles and bustles and swipes their credit cards and argues over whether we should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, let us make it our first priority to pause and give thanks. Because Jesus truly is the reason for the season. He did so much for us 2,000 years ago, and He still works on our behalf today. I hope we can all put on an attitude of thankfulness this holiday season…because God so deserves for His people to give Him thanks.

“Wish that I was there, on that silent night, when Your tiny heart started beating for mine. I wish I could’ve seen, the star in David's town, when You turned a stable into Holy ground. I sing along, the angel’s song:

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive. Emanuel, hope is here tonight. So go, and tell, the world that death has died. 'Cause Jesus is alive. Yea, Jesus is alive.

The God who made us all, with these two little hands, is bringing us His kingdom, quiet as a lamb. Oh such Amazing Grace! A divine conspiracy, this Savior in a manger changes everything, that's why we sing:

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive. Emanuel, hope is here tonight. So go, and tell, the world that death has died. 'Cause Jesus is alive. Yea, Jesus is alive.

Sin you have no sting. Hell you have no power. Curse you are no more. This is your final hour. Because the Son of God has not left us alone; He'll live and die and rise again, and then He'll bring us home. The old will pass away, and we will become new. This baby Boy is making all sad things untrue.”      
~Jesus is Alive by Josh Wilson

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”         ~Matthew 1:21

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Awkward Moment When....

Everyone who has a Facebook has probably seen some of those “the awkward moment when….” statements. Some of them are funny, like “The awkward moment when your chair makes a farting noise and you can’t make the noise again to prove you didn’t fart” or “The awkward moment when you predict the end of the world and nothing happens”. Others of them are lame like, “The awkward moment when I couldn’t come up with something awkward to say” or “The awkward moment when you log onto Facebook and you have no new notifications”. Lame. *womp womp*
In the spirit of giving into peer pressure, I have two of my own for you. Unfortunately, these are from real life experiences….also, both events happened today, actually within ten minutes of each other….
The awkward moment when you reach for the door handle and miss….so you run straight into the door.
The awkward moment when you are fixing your hair in the bathroom and someone walks out of the stall, looks in the mirror, and says, “**&*%^&$&(*(*!! My &*^% boobs are too big for this dress! *(*&-$@@*!!!!!”
First of all, for all of those concerned, my face is fine. And THANK THE GOOD LORD no one saw me. Except for God. And I’m pretty sure He had a good laugh. I know I did.
Second of all, what in the world am I supposed to say to that? I thought of some possible replies….
“Maybe you shouldn’t have gotten a boob job” (am I allowed to say this??!?)
“Darn those genetics!” (I guess this is better than assuming she got a boob job)
“It’s really not that bad….” (kindof a creepy/stalker thing to say because, you know, I’d have to look at her boobs to say it)
“Do you not know how to try on clothes before you purchase them?” (sarcastic, but true)
“Lucky you, I never have that problem!!” (um….TMI?)
“Maybe you had a recent growth spurt?...” (just dumb. This was an old-ish woman….so it would have been dumb if I said it. Thankfully I didn’t say it.)
“Oh my! Did the dress shrink or something?” (probably the best response (??), but super fake concern would have been expressed)

I could tell I was expected to say something though, as she continued to make weird noises, throw out some more profanity, and tug and pull on her dress in a weird, rough way. Thankfully, just as she became more agitated and I felt like I had no choice but to comment on this woman’s boob dilemma (who I have never met, by the way) someone else walked in. Someone else that boob-lady knew. Soon afterwards I made my escape, but I feel 99% certain that the expression of boob-overflow continued. Probably with more tugging and cussing.
All I know is, I’m grateful to have made it out of the bathroom without having to comment on a stranger’s boob issue. And I also remembered to grab the door handle prior to walking into the door when I returned to my office. An added plus, no doubt.
And if you would like another chuckle, head over to The Life With The Casterlines’ Facebook page (or don’t, I’m not the boss of you). Short run down: After the door and the bathroom incident, I went to a staff meeting….where a manager called someone else an Information Monster. Which was weird….but also kind of funny. Thankfully I covered up my grin with my hand and managed not to laugh out loud. You people probably don’t think it’s funny….guess you had to be there. Anyways, if you want to see it, click here: The Information Monster
The awkward moment when someone calls someone else an Information Monster in a meeting…and you decide to draw it and post it to your Facebook.   ….Oh wait, that’s not awkward. Lame. *womp womp*

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. ~Proverbs 17:22

Friday, November 30, 2012

Something To Get Excited About!!

Today I am super duper excited to tell all of my married readers about a book I've been reading....

31 Days to Great Sex is an ebook written by Sheila Gregoire. Sheila has a passion for healthy sex within marriages. Check out what she has to say about the book below:

"Last year I published The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex, and leading up to its release I wrote the 29 Days to Great Sex in February as a blog series. That was so successful, and garnered me tens of thousands of new readers. And so I've finally put it in an ebook, thoroughly rewritten for couples rather than just for women.
Here's why I'm passionate about sex (if you're allowed to say that): God created sex to unite us on three levels--physical, spiritual, and emotional. When we feel truly intimate on those three levels, our marriages soar. And that's when we're able to impact our churches and communities for Him.
But if we're not connecting in our marriages, we lose out on a great strength that God gave us in this life. And we threaten our families and our children's future.
The church doesn't like to talk about sex, and so we leave it to our culture. And our culture has turned it into something perverse and disgusting. I'm not willing to stand for that anymore. I think the church needs to step up and fight back and start redeeming sex.
And that's what this ebook does. It takes couples through exercises about improving their communication, their friendship, their outlook on sex, and yes, even the mechanics of sex, so that their marriage can rock!"
I totally agree with Sheila's statement: the church mostly does not like to address the subject of sex. We tend to keep silent on something so "personal" and this has resulted in Christian couples getting their view of what a healthy sex life should look like from our culture. And our culture definitely does not reflect sex in the way that God created it. 

I remember earlier this year when one of my friends pulled me off to the side about a week before her wedding. "How often do you and Roman have sex??", she asked. "I just want to know what normal is, and you guys seem to have a good marriage." She and her future husband had already gone through pre-marital counseling with the pastor of their church, but he did not even address sex at all in any of their sessions. She had a ton of questions, and didn't know who to turn to for answers. 

This should not be so! We need to stand up as Christians and start living a life of passion with our spouse like God created us to. And we should be encouraging and teaching newlyweds how to live that life as well. Can you imagine how different things would be in our churches and our families if we stopped letting our culture tell us what marriage and passion should look like?

So if you are married and feel like intimacy is lacking with your spouse, you have a negative outlook on sex, or would just like to improve on something that is already great, I encourage you to check out 31 Days to Great Sex. No matter how lacking or how wonderful your physical relationship is with your spouse, this book is for you! After all, what do you have to lose? 

I also encourage you to check out Sheila's blog: To Love Honor and Vacuum. I have religiously checked her blog every morning for over a year now, and her insight has made such a huge impact on me and Roman's marriage. ;)

I have two links over on the right side of my blog:

If you click the cover photo for 31 Days to Great Sex, it will take you to Sheila's site so you can purchase the book. You can download it in your eReader or as a .pdf file. Now wouldn't that make an interesting Christmas present for you and your spouse? ;)

I also have a link to Sheila's blog. Just click "To Love Honor and Vacuum" and it will take you to her blog where you can read all sorts of marriage and parenting advice. (I also have links to all of the other blogs I follow....some are marriage related, and others are not.)

Get a copy of 31 Days to Great Sex today and start reconnecting with your spouse in a way that would make honeymooners jealous! ;)

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you! Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers." ~Song of Solomon 1:2-4

PS: For the folks in the back, I am an affiliate through the 31 Days to Great Sex affiliate program. This post is to promote the book, but the opinions written are all mine.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Puppy Love

Around this time exactly one year ago today, Roman and I were at the Humane Society to adopt a puppy. We found “Jabo” online and thought he was about the cutest puppy in the whole entire world. After calling the humane society and them telling us “yes, we still have him…but you’re the third person who’s called to ask about him today”, Roman waited for me in the parking lot until I got off work and then we drove way faster than what is legally permitted, prepared to get in a fight over a cute puppy.
Thankfully, “Jabo” was still there and we were the only ones in the shelter…so no fights ensued following our arrival. They brought him out into the lobby for us to see him, and our hearts immediately melted. They told us we could take him outside for a walk if we wanted to. Just as soon as we got outside, he got so excited that he plopped down onto his belly and scooted around using his back legs while his stubby tail wagged as fast as it could. Roman looked at me and said “yup, I want him.” And I quickly responded, “yup….he’s ours.”
Just twenty minutes later we had filled out the paperwork, paid the $80, gotten the shots and jumped in the car with our new family member. Cue the endless amount of pictures we’ve taken since then. Haha.
Jabo got renamed Duke, and then Duke acquired ten zillion nicknames….Dukey-face….Dukey-butt….waggy face….waggy butt….silly puppy….all of which he responds to. I also wrote him a song. I can’t sing it to you because, you know, this is just a blog post and not a web conference, but it goes like this:
I HAS A PUPPY DOG AND HIS NAME IS DUKE. AND HIS NAME IS DUKE. AND HIS NAME IS DUKE. I HAS A PUPPY DOG AND HIS NAME IS DUKE. AND HIS NAME IS DUUUUUUUUKE. HIS NAME IS DUUUUKE. HIS NAME IS DUUUUKE. HIS NAME IS DUKEY-DUKEY-DUKEY-DUKEY-DUKE.
I put that in all caps because it is required that you yell that song as loud as possible while scratching his butt. And no, that was not a joke. Every time I start to sing that song to him, he picks up a toy and runs to me, shoves his body between my legs and stands there while I scratch the top of his tail. Then he goes running through the house like a crazy person, ahem….dog. And it’s only truly effective if I sing it. If Roman sings it, Duke just looks around for me because he knows that it’s our song. And Roman just doesn’t get excited enough when he sings it. You have to be really super excited….
Yes, I am one of those crazy people who loves her dog way beyond what psychologists would probably accept as “normal”. Although I don’t dress him up and he doesn’t have his own room, so maybe I’m not THAT bad. (Right? RIGHT??!!!??)
Anyways….when he was exactly three months old, we adopted Duke. He has eaten at least eight pillows since then and still chases Ralph down the hallway every single day. He likes to chew on empty plastic bottles and is strong enough to pull your arm out of socket while playing tug-of-war. I know this because he’s almost done it to me…thankfully I let go in time. He’s my running buddy, he hates it when me and Roman hug, and he steals the covers off of me every. stinking. night. He goes with us to church and pretty much anywhere else he can. Shoot….if they let us we probably would have taken him on our cruise this past May. (And yes, I did cry when we left him to go on the cruise, in case you were wondering.) He loves to chase flies (or any living creature, for that matter) and can’t stand it when we play any sort of musical instrument. And he loves every type of “people” food in the whole entire universe….unless there’s a pill wrapped up inside. Then he hates all food. Then we shove the pill down his throat and he gets mad at us. So we give him some of our food as an apology. Ahem.  
Today marks exactly one year that Roman and I took home a “shelter puppy”. He was the best $80 we’ve ever spent. I truly believe God sent that dog to be a part of me and Roman’s lives…..to bring a smile to our faces when we’re in the middle of an argument…..to be a comfort when we’re feeling down…..to have a friend with unconditional love that will never betray you (although he will eat your cookie if you’re not looking).
I could continue my love-fest of my dog….but I’m pretty sure you people get the point by now. But if you’re thinking of getting a pet, I greatly encourage you to consider adopting from a local shelter. It’s much cheaper than buying a pure-bred animal, and I promise you that “mixed breeds” certainly don’t decrease the amount of affection you get in return.
Okay….I’m going home now. I miss my dog. And he wants me to sing to him.
“God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.”                      ~Genesis 1:25

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beware the Mop Eating Alligator

I have been sick all week. Like really sick. And with not even a full day’s sick leave, that means I have had to go to work this week as well….while sick. Hopefully my coworkers don’t think I look this bad all the time, but since no one has said “dang girl, you look like you don’t feel good” that means one of two things: 1) I am awesome at make-up and should quit my day job and become a make-up artist. Seriously, if I can make myself look un-sick when I feel this bad, then I’ve got some potential. Right??!?? 2) I need to step up my game in the make-myself-look-presentable-for-work department. Because if I look as bad as I feel right now, and no one is taking notice, then does that mean I always look this bad??? ……yowzers. So if anyone wants to volunteer to buy me some new outfits and give me a make-over, I’d be 100% okay with it. And apparently my co-workers would be totally cool with it as well….
In other news….. I really hate alligators. They scare the bejeezers out of me. I think out of all of God’s creation, I am most afraid of alligators. Pretty sure. Last night I dreamed about an alligator in my house trying to eat me and my dog. It all started when I was trying to build a barricade in my house, because suddenly my living room had turned into a swamp and the laundry room/guest bathroom/ guest bedroom  area had turned into an ocean. So I felt like building a wall out of a mop, some suitcases, a chair, and some old purses was the right thing to do to protect me and Duke from this new burst of wildlife. No idea where Roman was. Or Ralph. Or Lauren. Suddenly, a huge alligator came up out of the swamp and bit off the mop part of my mop.
Dude. I needed that to clean. What were you thinking?
Then he started burrowing under the chair and totally made it past my awesome barricade in about 2.7 seconds. At first he just sat there sniffing Duke, while I stood in the sink and freaked out. Then he headed towards me! I started screaming for Dad but he couldn’t hear me because he was scuba diving in my house-ocean, looking for a giant octopus.
Then I woke up. The end.
Thankfully my living room was not a swamp when I opened my bedroom door, there was not a crazy mop-eating alligator in my kitchen and my dad was not in the guest bedroom scuba diving for a monster octopus.
I wish I could tell you that my dream was a result of the antibiotics I’m taking right now, or extreme mental and physical exhaustion, or that I watched a wildlife show last night, but that is unfortunately not the case. That dream is actually normal compared to some other things my sleeping self has come up with.
Also, me and Roman may be buying a new couch tomorrow. At the very least, we are going on a couch hunting expedition. Which is totally not the same thing as hunting for an octopus…but equally as exciting and much less dangerous.
Would it be lame to end this post with “See ya later alligators!” Yes? Good. Some days I strive to be as lame as humanly possible. Ask Roman, he can verify this claim. Anyways……see ya later alligators! Shablam.
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”                                                                                   ~Proverbs 29:18

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Morning Randomness

I apologize in advance for this post. I stayed up super duper late last night in order to watch the San Francisco Giants win the World Series, so now you people have to deal with the scattered thoughts of a sleepy brain. I’m just thankful that they didn’t lose last night, because then I probably would have stayed up late tonight as well to watch them again. I’m not sure my brain could’ve handled that. And for those of you who were wondering: yes, I was late for work this morning. But it’s not my fault, I totally blame the Giants.  
I decided what I’m going to write my book on. Or at least, I think I decided. I’m guessing that the book-writing process may go like the blog-writing process, where I think I know what I’m going to write about, but then the end result winds up being totally different. So maybe I should just say this: I have a general idea on the topic I would like my book to dance around. And hopefully it will have good enough dance moves to attract some choreographers…a.k.a. publishers. Okay, that was a lame metaphor. Forget I said that.
And no, I’m not going to tell you what the dancing topic is just yet, for two reasons, no wait, three reasons. Reason #1: My husband still hasn’t heard my idea. And he’s my soundboard for all of my ideas. So if he thinks it’s lame, then I’ll probably change it. And if he doesn’t think it’s lame, I still may wind up changing it after we talk about it because I may decide for myself that it sounds lame. Some things sound really good in your head until you speak them out loud. Just sayin’. Reason #2: It’s my idea and you can’t steal it. Haha. I will tell you that it will not be fiction and it will be about God...which means that I will have to do a ton of research on Scripture. I think that will be a really good thing for me though, and hopefully the future readers of my book; even if the only people who read my book are my Mom and my husband…..  Reason #3: I’m a bad dancer. Oh wait, I told you to forget about that metaphor. Forget about Reason #3 as well.
I did start research today on how to write a book and get it published. Well, if you call it research. Really all I did was type into Google: “How to write a book and get it published for dummies” and then clicked on the website at the top of the list. I know, very intelligent of me. I’m off to a great start, aren’t I? Surprisingly though, it was a really great website with all sorts of tips like how many words you should aim for and how you should edit your manuscript. It also listed some helpful books on how to write a book that I apparently should read. Funny, I need to read a book about writing books so that I understand the process of writing a book. But you know what I’ll probably do? Read the book. Because if I’m not going to do things right and give myself a good shot at getting published, then what’s the point of writing it in the first place?
In other news, I made up a new word over the weekend: creeptastic. Roman loves it and you should all make an effort to say it as much as possible when speaking with him. Here are a few examples of how to use it: “That cow is staring at me. That’s really creeptastic.” “Wow, that dude is creeptastic.” “My cats are always prowling around the house. They’re creeptastic.”
Roman may tell you he hates my new word, but in reality he is just mad that he didn’t come up with it first. I’m still trying to figure out how I can incorporate my new word into my book. Also, who knows who I need to contact to get it into the Dictionary? It would be so great for me to use “creeptastic” in a sentence and then pull out the Dictionary and prove it’s a word when someone tries to accuse me of making up stuff. Is it creeptastic that I would carry around a Dictionary in the first place?? No, I think that just makes me a nerd. But I would be a creeptastic nerd if I carried a Dictionary while hiding in the shrubs outside your house.
Anyways, one of the things I read on that website was that you need to do everything you can to promote your book on social websites and blogs. So since this is my blog, I can (and will) totally promote my own book. So if/when I do write my book please buy a copy, or else I will hide in the shrubs outside your house while carrying around a Dictionary and a copy of my book. It’ll be creeptastic. Shablam.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Books, Zombies, and Dreams

Last night I dreamed that my mom and my brother were zombies. The whole thing was quite strange, because I didn’t look like me, and my mom and brother didn’t look like my real mom and brother…..yet I knew that the person in my dream was me and that the other people were my mom and brother. Strange. It sure is awkward though when you’re trying to buy lemonade from a lemonade stand and all of a sudden your mom starts gnawing your fingers off. It’s even more awkward when you go to a movie theater to try and escape your sudden zombie-family and the employee is trying to sing karaoke while the previews are playing. But he was a pretty good singer, so maybe he should audition for American Idol or The Voice. Too bad my brother followed me and started eating everyone…..
I have really weird dreams. Trust me, the zombie dream is nothing compared to some of the stuff my sleeping mind has come up with. I’m pretty sure I could give Hollywood a run for their money in the “strange movie” arena with some of my dreams. Case in point: I once had a dream that aliens invaded the earth and drove around in those big white Astro vans, kidnapping people so they could study them and then locking them away in dungeons. Me and a group of friends were some of the only people left on the face of the earth that hadn’t been kidnapped. So naturally we decided to wait at McDonald’s for an elite group of alien hunters to pick us up in their mock-up alien Astro van so that we could join them in their quest to free mankind from their alien masters. I don’t know about you guys, but that dream is movie material. Seriously, if a movie like Independence Day can be so popular, then surely my dream movie could make me some money. (PS: if I see an Astro van alien movie come out, I’ll know you stole my idea and I will sue you. Haha.)
What’s so crazy is I don’t even watch alien or zombie movies. I mainly watch comedies, a few chick flicks, and TV shows like NCIS and Law and Order. So I guess I’m just super good at soaking in movie previews that play in the commercial breaks and turning them into dream-movies. Or my brain just gets really bored while I sleep so it decides to exercise its creativity. That means I’m a brilliant person like Einstein, right? Yea I know, it’s a stretch.

Not so related to my current topic whatsoever, but I chose last night to reveal a “secret” to my husband that I’ve been bouncing around in my head for quite some time. It was late and he was just getting ready to drop off to sleep, but the conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey baby, you wanna know a crazy secret?
Him: Sure.
(Because who doesn’t want to know a crazy secret about their spouse? He probably thought I was about to tell him something really crazy about my awkward middle school days. Or my awkward high school days. Or my awkward adult days. Scratch that, he probably knew that I said “crazy secret” just to keep him interested long enough so he wouldn’t fall asleep while I was talking.)
Me: I’ve been thinking about writing a book.
Him: Do it. You’d be good at it.
Me: But I have no idea what I’d write about.
Him: You’ll think of something.
And then he went to sleep.
Shablam. So now all you people know my secret too. But I wasn’t kidding at all. I would love love LOVE to write a book, but I have no clue what I would write it on. I could just take all of my alien zombie dreams and put them into a book, but that could result in me being labeled as insane and placed in a straight jacket. I’ve also thought about some other topics, but it resulted in a brainstorming session that turned out like this:
Title: “How to Survive Being a Newlywed, Full-time Employee, Full-time Student, and Being Involved in Two Ministries without Going Crazy”
Manuscript: Eat lots of chocolate.

Title: “How to Lose the Fifteen Pounds You Gained from Eating all that Chocolate While Being a Newlywed, Full-time Employee, Full-time Student, and Being Involved in Two Ministries”
Manuscript:  It’s not worth the effort. Just eat more chocolate.

Title: “How Do You Deal with a Cat that Ate Jesus off the Family Bible?”
Manuscript: He’s a cat, there’s nothing you can do. Except don’t buy another Family Bible, because he’ll just eat that Jesus too. (Oh snap, that rhymed. Maybe I could turn this into a poem?)

I’m good at making stuff up, but I’m not sure I could come up with enough materiel on those topics to write a book. And then I would still have to take all of that made-up stuff and try to get a publisher to accept it. That would probably also result in me being labeled as insane and placed in a straight jacket. Or it would make a lot of publishers snort milk out of their noses from laughing so hard at my plight to become an author. Or both.

No really though, I would like to write a book. I just have no idea what it would be about. So I’m totally open to any suggestions if you have any. And in the meantime, I’m going to keep brainstorming and writing this blog. I’m sure if I’m meant to write a book then I’ll stumble on a topic one day that I’m passionate about enough to actually research and write about it.

That’s kind of my problem though, I’ve got a whole of things that interest me and I’m not sure what to do with all of those ideas that run through my mind. Here’s a taste of my thought process (you may want to eat some chocolate first before reading this maze of thoughts, because it may cause your brain to explode….)

“I really loved Spanish in high school. I also really loved going to Peru. Maybe God wants me to be a missionary to Peru one day. I should probably get back familiar with my Spanish, especially since there are a lot of Hispanic people in my community that I could be ministering to right now. That reminds me, I need to be educating myself more on the piano, since music is my current ministry. I haven’t really worked on that in a while. You know what else I haven’t done in a while? Spent time with my horses. I really really really really need to do that. I would love to have a farm one day with lots of horses. I would love even more to have a therapeutic horse riding facility for special needs kids. I love special needs kids. I love kids. I hope I start having kids soon so I can be a mommy. Except I want to be a stay at home mommy. But I can’t quit my job. Oooh! If I blog and write full-time and make good money off of that then I can be a stay at home mom and still have a good income. I could just be a teacher later on and teach at the school my kids go to. Then I would be able to be off on the same holidays and drop them off to school and pick them up too. But then I’d have to go back to school and get a teaching degree. Which means I would need to save up for school…..which means I need to stay in the job I have so I can earn money. OR, I could work full-time in ministry one day and just be able to home-school my kids and take them with me to church. That doesn’t require me going back to school, which is a lot cheaper. Speaking of cheap, I really need to find some cheap tires for my car….”

I can 100% guarantee that this thought process runs through my head at least once a day, usually more than that. And quite honestly, there are some days where it for-real stresses me out. I take that back, most days it really stresses me out. Which usually results in me praying something like this: “God, will You please just tell me straight up which direction You want me to go in? Because I have NO clue which path I’m supposed to take. Why does everything have to interest me??” So when I ran across an article titled “Stop Waiting for God to Tell You What to do with Your Life”, I immediately clicked the link to the website and prayed my computer would stop acting like a stubborn turtle and just display the stinkin’ page already. The article was written by Justin Zoradi and included all sorts of motivating statements and “aha moments” like this:

“We all want to do meaningful work and find our passion, but I can guarantee you this: Your purpose in life will never be written on the wall. And it will never be revealed to you in full.”
“You want to do meaningful work? Stop sitting on your hands waiting for God to tell you what to do.”
“I believe God joins us only when we take that initial risk. If you have a tiny twinge of passion toward anything, you have to jump right through it on your own. It is there that God will meet you.”
The problem is (as evidenced by my above thought process); I have all sorts of things that I am interested in. And there are even more things that I haven’t mentioned yet, such as: freeing girls from human trafficking, be an advocate for pro-life, be a stand-up comedian on a cruise ship so that I never have to leave said cruise ship (except that wouldn’t work because when I tell jokes I always start laughing before I get finished, which sort of ruins things), be a fitness trainer (my gym’s logo would say: come workout and then we can go eat chocolate), own a coffee shop, tour with a Christian band….. you get the point. So it’s hard for me to read that statement “if you have a tiny twinge of passion toward anything, you have to jump right through it on your own…” because there are literally about fifty things that I have at least a tiny passion for, and seeing as how I enjoy sleeping and I am unable to do all fifty things at once, I decided that my first pursuit would be the book-writing thing. I mean, I’ve been writing all sorts of stuff since I was first able to write, so maybe writing will just be my hobby. If it takes me somewhere, that’s great! If not, then I’ll just start producing movies based off of my dream. Oh, I kid. Besides, if writing a book is not what God wants me to do, then I’ll fail miserably and I’ll still have 49 other dreams to pursue. Sounds like a no-fail plan, huh? Well, unless I actually pursue each and every one of my 50 ideas and all of them come up short. Then that would be a fail. But at least I could say that I had a super interesting life, right? So then it would sort of wind up being a success.

At the end of the day, all I know is I’m just super glad I woke up with my right hand in-tact and covered with skin. Because it was weird for my dream-self to see my right hand with no skin, not to mention a little bit gross. And obviously, I’m glad that my mom and brother are actually not zombies and I’m definitely glad that theater employees don’t sing karaoke while working.  Oh crap, I just saw an Astro van outside of my house…..

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’”    ~Hebrews 13:5

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Helper

I haven't written in over two weeks. Sorry 'bout that! I've had many things going through my mind, and I've had a pretty rough month so far. So I haven't been writing much because I didn't want this blog to become a place where I put all of my "drama" and complaints. What can I say? Sometimes we go through stuff. And this particular brand of "stuff" was a little too personal to post all over the internet. But enough of that.

I ran across a devotional today that really got me thinking. The Scripture that went along with the devotion was Mark 16:19-20 "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it."

I've always just had that visual picture in my mind of the disciples watching Jesus ascend into heaven, and then turning around to head back home. Of course we know that they returned and waited for the Holy Spirit to be sent to them. And we can figure that they probably were a little sad to see Jesus go. But one thing I never thought about before was how easy it would have been for the disciples to get discouraged. I wonder if any of them had thoughts like this:

"How am I supposed to perform miracles like Jesus did? I'm just a man......"
"Am I really good enough to follow in His footsteps?"
"What if I get something wrong?"
"It was so much easier when Jesus was with us. This is too hard for me!"
"I'll never be able to live up to the standard Jesus set. I hope He isn't mad at me for failing so much."

I won't ever know what the disciples truly thought after Jesus left. But I can bet that they all had at least a few moments of self-doubt and discouragement, especially in hardships. After all, even though they did great things, they were still human.

We are all called to do different things. Some of us are really secure with ourselves and able to grab the task at hand with full confidence. Many of us, however, are plagued with feelings of doubt and low confidence in ourselves. But you know what I find really awesome? God doesn't force us to walk through our lives by ourselves. We have His help! Just like He did with the disciples, God sends the Holy Spirit to us to strengthen us and guide us as we fulfill our calling. And Jesus said that through the Holy Spirit we would do even greater things than what He did while on earth. Wow!

We will all go through times where we feel inadequate and very very small. But keep your head up! We have God on our side while we are working to fulfill our calling, and we have Help that can enable us to do great things if only we believe. For someone like me who constantly struggles with self-doubt, this message is like a lifeline. I was so encouraged to read this today and to realize that I truly am not alone. Even the disciples probably had doubts and fears, especially at the beginning, but like the disciples, I too have the Holy Spirit to assist me every day. And it is true, I don't have what it takes to get the job done by myself, but with the power of the Holy Spirit I am empowered to do great things. Hallelujah!

If you are unfamiliar with the Holy Spirit, I greatly encourage you to grab a concordance and dig deep into Scripture. Learn about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and begin to seek that for your own life. I have only been baptized for a year and a half, but that day changed my life forever....and I know He will do the same for you.

That's all I got for today folks! I hope this encouraged you as much as it did me. I feel like things are getting much better for me, so hopefully I will get back on top of my writing schedule.  ;)

"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 glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."                            ~Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ketchup, Anyone?

I've decided that I have been much too serious here lately and have left out the main thing this blog was created for: Life. With us. So here's what's been happening lately in a high school yearbook superlative type format........

(PS: I actually wrote this yesterday. But I was super lazy and didn't add the pictures until tonight. Yay me? haha)

Cutest dog ever: Duke. Our big guy turned one year old on August 29th. We had cake and everything. Aw, my little baby is growing up! Let's take a trip back in time....here he is at 3.5 months old. How adorable!!



Most surprised: My parents. After we threw them a surprise 45th Anniversary Party with my siblings and the help of my in-laws. Well, it was mostly a surprise. My parents saw one of my sisters pulling into my driveway. But still, hats off to the five of us for keeping it a secret until "the day of".

Best view: my backyard. I love sitting out on our back deck and gazing at all the wide open space we have back there. Well, it's not "ours" but I still get to stare at it. Winning! Here is Duke playing fetch in front of our neighbor's pond. He loves all of the running space out here.



Best dancer: This guy. Roman found him hanging out on our back porch. He was rocking back and forth to the music Roman had playing on his phone. Roman named him "Manny". Typical.



Most anxious to get back on a boat: Me. I spent a few minutes this morning gazing at pictures of our cruise back in May. So if anyone wants to stuff me in their car and drive me to the nearest port, I'd be most thankful.



Randomest guy I know: Jeff. Random Jeff, to be exact. He's not a real person. Just someone one of our silly friends came up with. But Random Jeff is dominating our Facebook posts right now. And he has an otter....an otter that needs grammar lessons. Know any tutors?

Worst thing to get in your eye: toothpaste. And yes, I was the one who got all brilliant and figured that one out. Somehow I managed to get it in my eye. I thought I would go blind. It was traumatic.

Most likely to get in trouble: Ralph. Dang cat keeps trying to run out the door. He has turned into quite an escape artist. We've contemplated just letting him out for a few minutes a day with us going outside with him, just to curb his curiosity. But he has no front claws and there are woods right in front of our house. I just can't bear the thought of him running off and us not being able to find him. Here's the little troublemaker playing in a box a few weeks ago.


Most up to date on the newest cell phones: that would be my husband. Because, you know, he works at Verizon and stuff. So he's kind of "in the know" so to speak.

Most likely to need surgery: me. Unfortunately, me and this right knee of mine aren't getting along too well. My doctor is going to try one last thing over the next four weeks to see how it does. But if it still decides to not act like a normal knee, then this girl is going under for some surgery. I hope they let me eat ice cream afterwards. I'm totally okay with surgery if I get ice cream. Chocolate, please!

Biggest planners: us. We've been planning all sorts of things. From hypothetical plans like what we would change in our house if we were to buy it one day, to "more real" plans like when we are going to start a family. HINT: not now. Bet I got some people all excited on that one. Sorry mom.

Biggest drama queen: Duke. Seriously, I wish I could just follow him around with a camera all day and then post the video here so you guys could see. He's a ham. And totally spoiled.



Best job: that's a tie. Roman and I are seriously loving our new jobs. Seriously.

Most likely to be on time for work: Roman. He came close to being late one day. I came close to being on time one day. Oops.

Most enjoyable life: ours. Sure, we have some crazy things going on in our checkbook right now. But all in all, we are loving our life. School has long been a thing of the past. We have a great home that we are cozying up in. And everything is just generally going smooth right now. We are truly blessed!



Craziest dream: mine. Short version. My father-in-law was president of the United States. Roman and I were his secret security. We rode on a helicopter. The pilot was mean though and wouldn't land during our eleven hour flight so I could pee. Said the security of the president was more important. Psh. Please. Mean pilot.......


"I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."                                                                     ~Psalm 16:8-11

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Marriage Is What Brings Us Together Today"

I was going to try and do a reference to the priest from "The Princess Bride" in the title to this post, but I couldn't figure out how to spell the quote to where all of you people would understand me. So if you've seen the movie, go back and read the title like the priest would've said it. Maybe it would've looked something like this: "Mawage ish wot bwings us togedder tooode" Classic movie. Love it.

Anyways, if you don't get it yet, this is going to be a rant er, post about marriage. Apparently some other bloggers must be on the same drift as me because I've already read two other posts from my "favorites" on this same topic just this morning. 

Roman and I found out yet another Christian couple is getting a divorce last night. Another one. Another couple that made a vow before God to love each other until death. Another couple with young children. Another couple that is very active in their church. Another CHRISTIAN couple.

(Now, let me do a quick disclaimer: Roman and I are not particularly close to this couple. They're really just an acquaintance. We didn't even know them well enough to develop an opinion on whether they were "rock solid" or not. So perhaps they had Biblical grounds for a divorce. But this isn't exactly posted for them anyways.) 

Here's where I'm getting at guys. I read in one of my favorite blogs, Mission Husband, that Christian couples have a higher statistic of divorce than non-Christians. That is a very real, very big problem! We are supposed to be an example to the world in every area of our lives, including our marriages. 

The number one reason I hear from others going through a divorce as to why they left their spouse is this one: "I am not happy." And a lot of times that statement gets topped off with something like "I deserve to be happy" or "God wants me to be happy". I am so very tired of that last one...."God wants me to be happy." Can someone please whip out their Bibles and show me a Scripture verse that says "Thou shalt be happy" or "You can do what you want as long as you are happy"? Anyone?? No. You can't. Why? Because it isn't there. Sure, God cares about us. But He cares more about our obedience to Him than our happiness. And at the end of the day, whether or not we are happy really is not important!!

I see a selfish people when I look at America. I see a nation that ruthlessly aborts children because they are not wanted. I see a nation that indulges itself in alcohol, drugs, and terrible foods to make itself feel better. I see a nation that is engulfed in pornography. I see a nation that doesn't really care all that much about the widows or the orphans or the poor. I see a nation that will marry and divorce all it wants to, so long as its happy. I see a nation that gorges itself on what it can buy and how it can make itself look better. And you know what? Most of these things are done based off this one simple lie: "I deserve to be happy."

I deserve to be happy, so I'm going to abort this child because it will interfere with my life. I deserve to be happy, so I am going to get drunk because it's fun. I deserve to be happy, so I'm going to watch this porn or read that nasty book in order to bring pleasure to myself. I deserve to be happy, so I'm not going to spend any time with the poor and needy. I deserve to be happy, so I'm going to divorce my husband because that new man at work is my true "soul mate". I deserve to be happy, so I'm going to get myself into debt so I can buy that new car, that pretty house, and that nice boat. Am I right, or am I right?

And you know what? I expect that out of a sinful, wicked nation. But you know who should be different? US! The church! We are called to a different way of thinking! We are called to rise above this world and deny ourselves and follow Christ. And in my honest opinion, we are doing a terrible job of it.

Church of America, I beg you, wake up. Deny yourself and follow Christ. Quit being so selfish by pursuing what pleases you. Pursue what will please God instead. And if you aren't sure what will please God, let me give you a hint: read the Bible and take on a life of prayer.

Getting back to the marriage thing....unless your spouse has had an affair or your life is in danger, you have no Biblical grounds for a divorce. It's that simple. I'm sorry if that's harsh, but it's the truth.

There's a very popular statement I see floating around on the Internet right now: "The grass isn't greener on the other side, it's greener where you water it." Oh how very true that is. If we could only take that truth and run with it. If we could only understand that marriage really is a lot of hard work, that it requires hard work up until the day we die. And if we leave our spouse for someone else, guess what? It will eventually get just as hard with that other person and we'll probably wind up leaving them too in pursuit of greener pastures. Can you see the vicious cycle?

I know that this is a hard thing to swallow. I know it is not popular. But let's face it: marriage can be stinkin' hard some days. And if we don't fight for our marriages, if we don't decide that we are in this no matter what, then those hard days can turn into a hard week, and that hard week can turn into a hard month, and then that hard month can turn into a hard year, and then before we know it, that "divorce" word starts running around in our minds. And then Satan brings that nice, attractive man or woman to your attention and you start wondering how much easier your life could be if you just left your dead marriage and started fresh.



Two years ago, on June 5th, 2010, at around 3 in the afternoon, I made a vow. I made a vow to my husband in front of over 200 people and in front of God Himself, that I would marry Roman Shaler Casterline. I vowed to stay with him until death. I vowed to stay faithful to him. I vowed to give my heart to him and only him. I vowed to "do life" with him. He has my heart. He shares my dreams. We are building a legacy together that will hopefully be passed onto our (future) children. We are doing our best to make His name famous and to shine a light. I take those vows seriously. Roman takes his vows seriously. Has it been easy? Some days, yes! Some days it is easy to be in love and have all of those romantic feelings. But other days, it is hard. Other days we annoy the ever-loving snot out of each other. We have arguments. We don't see eye to eye all of the time. But at the end of the day, he is my husband and I am his wife and we will make up and go to bed together and wake up married the next day. And we will continue on through the mountains and valleys of this life. Together.



All I'm asking is that we try a little harder to just stay together. Let's get it in our heads that marriage is truly a life-long commitment. Let's take our vows seriously and understand that God does not take it lightly when we break a vow we've made to Him. God will never ever ever want you to get a divorce just so you can "be happy". If you feel like He's telling you that, then you're listening to the wrong voice, because breaking a vow to pursue your selfish desires is sinful, and God never commands us to sin. He wants us to stay married, through the good times and the bad. Because we are His children, and we are called to live a pure and holy life.

And I'm sure there might be someone that reads this and thinks "well you don't know my situation." You know what? You're right, I don't. Which is why I'm encouraging you to dig deep into the Word of God. I encourage to fall on your knees in prayer and truly seek after God's will for your marriage. And definitely seek out some counseling if things really are that bad. But please, please don't just walk away from your marriage. Think back to those days when you were newlywed and smitten, dig your heels in and put up a good fight for your marriage. Because we are the light of the world. And if we can't show the world what true love and commitment looks like, then who will? No one.

Climbing off my box now......

"But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."                                                                                              ~Matthew 5:32