Friday, August 24, 2012

Watch Your Words

There are very few things that I get fired up about. Some of them include abortion, homosexuality, and abuse of both humans and animals. Okay, I lied. I think I get fired up about more than what I'm admitting. That's besides the point. But you want to know the one thing that will really get that fire burning? People talking bad about my Pastor, my Pastor's wife, my church, my husband, and just overall shaming the reputation of our God.

It's ridiculous folks. I am tired of it. My Pastor and his family have been tired of it for a long time. And did I mention that it is 100% sinful and is compared to witchcraft? No? Well it is. If you don't believe me, look it up. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 15:22-23 that rebellion against God's authority is witchcraft. And guess what? Our Pastor has been placed in authority over our church by God Himself. So when you talk bad about him and his wife, you are in exact rebellion against God, which means you are practicing witchcraft.

Satan is so very cunning. He can deceive us quickly if we are not on our guard. He is the master at deception. And he has made many of our past (and probably a few of our present) church members believe that they are doing the will of the Father by coming up with rumors and lies and spreading them like poison among our town.

I have held my peace. I have cried out to God with all of this mess in solitude. I have not addressed the issue while leading worship. I have not addressed the issue in my blog. I have not addressed the issue on my Facebook account. I have not mentioned the issue to anyone outside of the church staff and my family. I have kept quiet, not out of fear of what others may say about me (because believe me, Roman and I have had our own share of lies and insults hurled at us through all of this), but I have kept quiet because I did not want to stir the fire. I did not want to give people any fuel or make matters any worse.

That was very wrong of me. I have repented of that. Unfortunately, by keeping quiet and not publicly standing up for my Pastor and his wife, I have become as guilty as the ones whose mouths are running in the first place. I refuse to be in that boat of rebellion. I refuse to have my heart and my life open to that witchcraft and that demonic presence. I refuse to be in rebellion against my God. Which is why you are reading these words right now.

And please understand me, I do not hate or dislike anyone who has left our church, or anyone who is still at our church in any way, shape or form. I love them, I pray for them, and I hope that God opens their eyes to the trap they have fallen into. But at the same time, when such wickedness abounds, it is up to the people of God to call it like it is and expose the truth.

So here is the truth. God placed our Pastor and his wife in our church for a specific purpose. He has given them a heart for this community and a vision for our church. Yes, they are still humans so they will still make mistakes. But they have not done anything immoral, they have not disobeyed God's calling, and they have led this church in an awesome and mighty way. They are the best Pastors I have ever served under, and it is my hope and prayer that I get to be on their ministry team for the rest of my life. Seriously.

Sweet people, can you not see that God wants to do something mighty with our church, and that Satan is throwing everything he has to keep it from happening? Can you not see that at this moment in time, he seems to be succeeding? He has taken people, good people, people with a great calling on their lives, and twisted their hearts away from God and away from His calling. He has taken this group of people by a subtle deception which grew into an outright rebellion. There is still hope for them if they would just repent, but for now it is up to us to close our ears to their deceptive words. The enemy will keep talking as long as we are willing to keep listening. So stop listening!!! Stand up for God! Stand up for truth!!

I dare the face and the heart of God. Truly dig deep into His Word and ask Him to show you His heart. Stop listening to all of this crap and turn your ears towards Him. I can 100% promise you that if you do, He will tell you these claimed "revelations of God" that are being spoken are false and are coming straight from the mind of Satan. And for goodness sakes, speak up and tell some folks the truth!!

I do not know how to make this anymore plain to you. God has a vision and a mission for the city of Camilla. He has given it to our church. But He will not hold it here forever. If we cannot shut out Satan's work in our hearts and run after God's plan for us, He will take the vision to another church. His blessings will fall from our lives. He will  turn us completely over to the enemy. There will be no miracles. There will be no prophecies. There will be no work of the Spirit. There will be no growth. There will only be gossip. Lies. Deceit. And ultimately spiritual death. Remember, witchcraft cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. So do we really want to keep going down this path?

I am tired of the only "news" being who else has left the church and what new rumors are spreading about our leadership. I want to be talking about the miracles of God and how He is moving in our church!! I want to see His presence flood our worship services and take over our hearts. I'm tired of seeing our church stuck in this crap. And I can promise you, our Pastor and his wife are even more tired of it than I am. So let's all go take a shower and get cleaned up so we can talk about more pleasant smelling things. Please??

God will not wait forever. And I can tell you now, the clock is ticking and there is not much time left before He moves on. So repent. Watch your words. Guard your ears. Guard your hearts. Seek God. And let's get some work done.....there is so much work to be done.

"But Samuel replied, 'What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.'"                                              ~1 Samuel 15:22-23

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh Happy Day

Two things:
1) Roman finished moving the rest of our house today
2) I have my last day at work tomorrow

Please excuse me while I dance around my cubicle.

Okay fine, all I did was wave my arms around for a hot second before anyone walked by my door. I'll dance better at home, m'kay?

Back to #1. Roman was able to get the rest of our junk stuff this morning before he went to work. So now we just need to do one more walk through, clean it up a little bit, yank up the fence in the backyard, and then we can turn in those set of keys. Yippee! Now we just have the ungodly task of unpacking all of that mess. And no, I will not be pulling an OCD stunt tonight by staying up until five in the morning unpacking. I learned my lesson. I'm sleepy now. And I have to go to work tomorrow. In fact, I'm actually considering not doing any unpacking tonight at all. I sort of just want to rent a movie, eat some chocolate, and camp out on the couch. Me is sleepy. We shall see.

Now to #2. Tomorrow is my last day in my current job, and I couldn't be happier. Seriously. These people have been driving me nuts this week because everyone realized I was about to be leaving so they all went "Oh My Goodness we have to get Sarah to do _____ before she leaves!!!" And they pretty much have waited until today before their brains processed this tiny little fact. My. Phone. Won't. Stop. Ringing. Right now I am suffering from 'spreadsheetitis', which is the awful effect of staring at spreadsheets for eight hours straight. Having spreadsheetitis results in the over-consumption of all things unhealthy, to include chocolate, diet coke, and ice cream. Please consult with your doctor before you begin treatment for spreadsheetitis, as it could result in a momentary lost of vision, a feeling of confusion, and even loss of memory in regards to what the sun looks like. Take it slow people, recovery takes a while.

So thanks to my current place of work, I will be here late today, early tomorrow, and I will probably gain another five pounds from the amount of chocolate and diet coke I consume over the next 24 hours. I suppose that's why I'm so sleepy and why I don't feel like going home to unpack. My brain needs a moment to remember what planet I live on and what 2 + 2 equals.

All I know is, tomorrow afternoon I will definitely be saying the whole TGIF thing, and I will totally mean every word of it. And then I will pack my stuff up, move to my new cubicle, and kiss spreadsheets goodbye. And I will not even be a little bit sorry. But until then, I need to go find a chocolate bar. Please excuse me.

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."~Matthew11:28

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Movers, Start Your Engines....

We have switched from a "let's get everything moved in as quick as we can because we want to" frame of mind to something more along the lines of "let's get everything moved in as quick as we can because we want to get more than five hours of sleep at night".

This is really our first time actually 'moving'. When we got married, we had our house two months before the wedding so we were slowly putting things in there. So after the wedding all we had to add was our clothes, a bed, and *shablam* we were done moving. Needless to say, this whole moving thing has been quite the experience for us.

So here's a quick round-up of some of our experiences:

Nastiest thing I've found while moving: It was really gross. It begins with "roach" and ends with "guts". In. the. bottom. of. the oven. Under my extra pizza pan that I never used. I made lots of faces. And then I scrubbed the pan. And then I made more faces.

Coolest thing I've found while moving: Never realized it, but I had a really big huge glass baking dish. It was pushed to the back of the cabinet so I never really saw it. Totally going to use that thing to make a casserole or something for the next church dinner.

Most ridiculous thing I've found while moving: A tooth. Roman's tooth, to be exact. I found it. In a bag. Inside a shoebox. It was a molar. And it was nasty. Of course, Roman still thought it was cool.

Things we've had to come to terms with while moving: Roman is a shoebox hoarder. I promise I have found at least fifteen empty shoe boxes in the back of our guest-room closet. And will he let me throw them all away? No. Why? Because we may need them one day if we move.........even though we aren't using them now. Hopefully he will be on the path to recovery soon.

Revelations I have had while moving: I have entirely too many clothes. And shoes. I've found stuff that I'm pretty sure have only been worn once. Can someone say "yard sale"?

Most annoying thing I've had to deal with while moving: My stupid knee. I finally got to where I could walk up the steps somewhat normally yesterday afternoon. But seriously, not being able to get down on the floor to pack and unpack makes for a very aggravated lower back by the end of the day.

Our biggest mistake we've made while moving: Well, it's really totally my mistake. I failed to realize that with moving comes lots of eating out and lots of extra driving. Which means we have way over-spent on our budget for the week. Thank God that we were able to save up some money this past summer, otherwise we'd be in a mess. Oopsie.

Our biggest argument we've had while moving: ............................we haven't had one. I'm really proud of that too. You could say we argued over whether we were going to hang up our little hook in the new kitchen for a dishtowel, but it wasn't really an argument. It was more of a discussion where we both thought the other person was being silly. And then we made an agreement in under 90 seconds because we knew we were both just really tired and OCD. And then we ate a bowl of cereal. Cereal is a lifesaver when you are moving. Or broke. Or both.

Moving definitely teaches you some stuff. Like how to wad up newspapers good enough so that all your glass stuff don't break. Or like how you shouldn't save your molars in shoe boxes. Or like how to budget better for when you are moving.

One thing is for sure: we've had some good memories in our double-wide trailer, but after finding the huge squashed roach in the bottom of the oven, and after constant reminders of how bad the air conditioner works compared to our new home.....we can't exactly say that we are sorry to be leaving this house. As we are working and seeing all of the gritty details of our trailer (like the mold we found after moving our washing machine....or the mushroom we found growing in our way-too-moist bathroom), we just get more and more thankful for our new place.

But seriously guys, if anyone wants to volunteer to give us a foot massage, we would totally love you forever. Just please don't talk about shoe boxes while you massage our achy feet. Or roaches. Or molars.

"But You, O Lord, are a shield around me; You are my glory, the One who holds my head high."                                                              ~Psalm 3:3

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Can I Get an Amen?

As if God had not already done enough for us this month.....

I finally have the great pleasure and excitement to announce to you guys:

Roman has found a full-time job!!!! 

*insert multiple happy dances here, lots of clapping and hollering, and maybe a few tears of joy*

He got the call yesterday afternoon. So now that all the interviewing is over and he's hired, I'll tell you where he will be working: Verizon Wireless. If any of you do not know Roman, then please know this: even though this is not a forensic science job, he will still be more than happy here. Why? Because my husband loves technology. I'm pretty sure he knows more about phones than the manufacturers do. Okay, maybe that's a little too much....but the man loves some phones and tablets and computers and stuff. So he will definitely fit right in. And I'm definitely about to hear more than I want to know about Verizon's phones and all the cool features they have. But I'm okay with that. And the best part? After he gets trained he will be working less than five miles from our new house.

Can I get an amen?

Roman's truck gets horrible gas mileage. Currently he works thirty-five miles from our new house. Which means we get the pleasure of putting almost 70 bucks worth of gas in that gas-guzzling monster every week. So even if he got paid less than minimum wage (which he won't be), it would be a major pay raise just because our gas expense is about to greatly go down.

Is my God good or what?

It's kind of funny how God works, because this whole year we have been dreading the month of August. Why? Because if you remember, Roman and I had agreed that if he had not found a full-time job by August, he would return to school to take one more class that he (unknowingly) possibly needed for his "dream job". This is what going back to school meant to me: cut in hours at his part-time job which meant a cut in pay which meant back to excessive couponing, late nights of studying for him which meant less free time for us, buying another darn $150 book, increase to the student loan, and a definite five more months in the trailer with the cruddy air conditioner. Not to mention the fact that we had just graduated and were enjoying not being in school, so Roman was just really dreading going back. Get the picture? So it's really funny that God picked the month of August (which we were looking at with dread) and turned it into (by far) the best month of our married lives.

Let's do a little recap on the awesome-ness of God in our lives in this grand month of August:
  • Found out Roman was not going to have to go to school (because we couldn't afford it). Even though this threw us for a loop, it was actually a blessing in disguise. No more school for him, no increase in debt for us, and it opened the door for everything else God did for us this month.
  • I got a new job. Something we've both been begging God about for almost two years now. Three. Days. Left. Until. I. Start. Hallelujah.
  • Moved into a new house. God totally took us by surprise by laying this house out for us. We weren't even looking for a house! (But we were sure praying about it!) In less than two weeks we saw the house, signed the lease, and started spending the night there. Have I mentioned yet that it has a dishwasher and a jacuzzi?
  • Roman got a full-time job. We knew God had to do something big.....we actually couldn't quite afford the new house with Roman's current part-time job. Yet we knew God wanted us to live here so we stepped out on faith and did something really crazy that makes non-Christians (and some Christians) scratch their heads. And like He promised, He came through for us. Yay yay yay!
And just for funsies, let's look back on all of 2012:
  • God healed me of CMV in January.
  • He then turned around and healed me of bells palsy in March.
  • He brought Roman and I through college. We both graduated in May with honors.
  • We went on a cruise in May to celebrate our two-year anniversary, our graduation, and our birthdays.
  • Roman's part-time job allowed him to work almost full-time for the summer, which gave us some really great financial relief for a couple of months where we could pay down some of our debt and save a little bit of money as well. Which is good because we had to use some of those savings to buy some stuff for our new place.
  • God revealed to me the true cause of my fatigue and overall moodiness: my birth control. I won't get into all of the details, but I will tell you that after I finished my last pack I did not start another one and even though it's only been five days, I feel so much better already. (But no, we are not trying to get pregnant right now, so don't get too excited)
Now please don't misunderstand this post: 2012 has also been our most difficult year of marriage as well. From sickness to financial strain to spiritual warfare, this year has definitely NOT been a walk in the park. So that is why this time of refreshing, renewal, and just all-around happiness is especially sweet for us right now. We can definitely appreciate the blessings God has dumped on us because we've walked through some pretty dark days this past year. We have had more arguments, more sicknesses, more migraines, less sleep, more stress, more spiritual attacks that I care to mention, and just a general feeling of being overwhelmed for a good part of 2012. And that is 100% okay, because you can't expect life to be 100% perfect and rosy 100% of the time. That's just not realistic. But now God has walked us out of a good part of that stuff which makes me do a whole bunch of happy dances.

Here's where I'm going to get all preachy and stuff, because I think this is one thing that God wants me and Roman to be open about through all of this. The #1 reason we believe that God has moved in such a mighty way this month is this: we have paid above and beyond our tithes in 2012. Even when we were having to get a student loan to pay for his last semester, even when we had to ask my parents to buy us groceries, even when we were transferring money from our savings account and credit line to buy gas, we paid above and beyond our tithes. Not because we expected something in return from God, but because we wanted to be obedient and give something back to our God who does so much for us.

Sweet people, please do not think I am being boastful of our faithfulness, because we have surely messed up in other areas of our lives. There were seasons in my own life where I would go over a week without opening up my Bible. There were seasons in my life where I would doubt God's love and allow bad thought processes to rule in my life. But the Bible is very clear: if you are not going to be faithful to God in paying your tithes, then you should not be surprised when your life is constantly a mess. We have to bless God first before He can bless us. And by bless God, I don't mean throw your tithes in the offering plate and immediately look to the sky and go "okay God, I did it, now bless me." I mean that we have got to be a people that rejoices in giving back to our Creator....a people that gives our 10% (or more) with a smile on our faces and joy in our hearts.

I will not lie to you, there were times when I signed that check with a prayer like this: "not sure how this is going to work Lord, but You see us and You see our situation." And did we ever miss a meal? No. Did we ever run out of gas while driving to work? No. Did we ever miss a rent payment or a utilities bill? No. So even though times were tight and we couldn't go on date nights regularly or shop for new clothes, did God take care of us? Absolutely yes. I can't count the number of times where God would make that gas in my car stretch farther than it should have, or when someone would offer to cook us dinner on nights when we secretly planned to eat cereal and sandwiches for dinner. He always always always always always took care of us in every situation. And in the month of August, He is just totally showing off. I picture God in heaven yesterday afternoon turning to one of the angels and going, "now watch this. I'm about to do something really cool" and then Roman's phone rings with a job offer and God just grins really big and then says quietly, "here ya go my precious son, I told you I would work it all out."  

I cannot tell you that if you go above and beyond your tithes that God will bless you in the same way He has blessed us, because God works in each of us differently. Sometimes we get blessed spiritually. Sometimes we get blessed financially. Sometimes we get blessed physically. Sometimes it is all of the above. Sometimes we may not receive our blessings until we enter into heaven. All I can tell you is that you restrict the blessings of God in your life when you hold back your checkbook from Him and refuse to be obedient to His Word. And I can also tell you that paying your tithes gives you a strange peace that everything is okay....even when your checkbook says it isn't.

So that is my testimony. Again, I am not boasting about our faithfulness, but I am boasting about the faithfulness of God. He's been more than good to us in 2012, especially in the month of August. And I would be a total jerk if I didn't share it with the rest of the world, because we are not supposed to keep our walk with Christ to ourselves.

To be honest, at this point I don't even care that my knee looks like a balloon today. At this point I wouldn't care if God told me my knee would hurt for the rest of my life. I'm so excited about everything else that it doesn't even bother me right now. You know that's a whole bunch of excitement when a wimp like me doesn't care about knee pain. (haha) 

Can I get an Amen?

"Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! But you ask, 'What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?' You have cheated Me of the tithes and offerings due to Me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating Me. Bring all of the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in My Temple. If you do, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put Me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies. Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies." ~Malachi 3:8-12

Monday, August 20, 2012

What List???

If you read my last post, then you read about my nice pretty list. If you did not read my last post, then let me get you caught up: Roman and I are moving into a new house. We actually were able to get the keys on Thursday (instead of Friday) so we started cleaning/moving in on Friday. I had a list. A really nice long pretty list on what we were going to move on what day. A list that had us paced evenly so that we didn't get too tired or stay up too late. A list that had us spending our first night in our new home on hmmm....let's see.....Monday, August 27th.

Forget the list. We moved in this past weekend. We spent our first night in our new home on Saturday, August 18th.

It was crazy.

It was exhausting.

We still aren't done yet.

And oh yea, I hurt my knee really bad on Thursday (possible torn cartilage) so that made things really interesting. And then I hurt my wrist from using the crutches on Friday so that made things even more interesting.

All I have to say is thank God for our parents and family and friends! They are the only reason we were able to get so much done this weekend.

So here is a quick-ish breakdown of how things went this weekend:

  • Thursday: signed lease and showed our parents and a few of our friends the new house
  • Friday:
    • Got power turned on at new place
    • Marveled at how the air conditioning cooled the house from 89 degrees to 77 in under three hours
    • Started cleaning
  • Saturday:
    • Spent a whopping 200+ buckaroos at Lowe's for things like new locks and a new sink faucet and heavy duty cleaning stuff
    • Cleaned a whole lot more
    • Moved our entire bedroom, bathroom, most of our closet, dining room, living room and some of my office
    • Stayed up until 4:45 in the morning unpacking all of that stuff. Yes, I know....we are completely dumb. But we are also completely OCD and couldn't stand seeing stuff everywhere so we unpacked it all. And then we sat in our jacuzzi tub and let the jets massage our feet for us and then we slept for less than four hours before waking up and doing it all over again. Sounds fun, right?
  • Sunday:
    • Took a thirty minute shower in my new shower with my hot water heater that allows me to take a ridiculously hot shower for longer than 15 minutes. Hallelujah.
    • Went to church. Praised God a whole bunch because we woke up that morning in our new house with a giant hot water heater and a dishwasher and a good air conditioner.
    • Moved almost the entire kitchen, all of the pantry and all of the contents of our fridge (this took waaaaay longer than I thought it would)
    • Moved some of the guest room and some of our music stuff and more of our clothes. Also moved the washing machine and the dryer
    • Moved all of that stuff inside while it was starting to rain. Thankfully the only thing that got wet was Roman and his dad and the washing machine. Also thankfully, they were easy to dry off, unlike the guest room matress (had that gotten wet, but it didn' yay!).
    • Went back for evening service. Tried really hard to stay awake. (not that the sermon was boring, it was actually really great...we were just delirious by this point. And sitting down automatically made our eyes droop.)
    • Unpacked everything. Because we can't learn our lesson from the first time. But we did go to sleep at midnight, which is actually only thirty minutes past when we normally go to sleep. So I guess that wasn't too bad.
So what are the plans for tonight? Rest. I have to get my shoes out of my closet at the old house and we may grab some loose stuff if we have anymore room in the truck, but that is all. After three days of being on my feet and not getting a full-nights sleep, I'm just going to chill today. We also have band practice tonight so it's not like we are going to have a whole lot of time this evening to move stuff anyways. But I figure that with a bum knee I ought to give it some sort of rest before I make it any worse. We will start back up Tuesday afternoon and hopefully finish up by Thursday. Yippee!

As for our "children", Duke absolutely loves the house. He has so much more room to run and play both inside and outside. And Ralph and Lauren are in love with all of the windows. Anytime I'm looking for one of them they are almost always sitting in front of one of the windows watching the birds outside.

And yes, I have used the dishwasher. And it was glorious. It was also raining this morning when I left for work. But that didn't matter because my car was all nice and dry inside of my garage. So I wasn't even sad to leave for work because I was too excited about pressing the button to make the garage door open up.

And Roman found out we have a functioning doorbell. That has brought much excitement to the Casterline household. We are easy to please, folks. Truly.

Roman is supposed to hear something back about the job he interviewed for last Wednesday by this afternoon. So definitely be praying for that!

One last HUGE thank you to everyone that has helped us in this whole moving process. Especially our parents. If it hadn't been for everyone's help, this would have been our weekend:

Friday: Clean
Saturday: Clean
Sunday: Clean some more
Monday: Clean even more
Tuesday: Roman start packing while Sarah

So again, thanks. We are definitely going to have to grill steaks for everybody once things calm down.

And for all of you that are wondering: no, we have not been following our whole "eat clean" thing. Moving=fast food for every meal because all of your stuff is packed up and you're just too tired to care. But I am buying more groceries this evening so hopefully this week we will get back on track.  :)

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."                                                                                                                    ~Galations 2:20

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

I know all of you are dying to hear read every last excrutiating detail about our moving process, so who am I to deny your wishes?  ;-)  Let's dive right in, shall we?

Because I am such a list person who loves writing out lists for each and every task that I may do or each and every grocery I may ever buy, it only makes sense that yesterday afternoon I sat down to write out a schedule/list for moving. Yes, I know that moving is chaotic and no matter how well you plan it, things never go according to plan. I still love lists a whole lot. So I wrote one. So there. This list was a biggy (and yes, the original has already changed from last night)....seeing as how there are a billion and two things to do when moving. Hold on to your shoe laces.....cuz here comes the most updated copy of our "Listy McListerson for Moving"

  • August 14: organize the bookcase and start cleaning out the guestroom closets
  • August 15: finish the guestroom closets
  • August 16: go through clothes to get rid of some, put unneeded clothes in trunk of car, put unneeded kitchen appliances on kitchen table, fix walls (from where Duke decided he was hungry for some drywall.....thanks Duke)
  • August 17: sign lease and get keys!!  :) show parents the new house  :)   :)  :)  :)
  • August 18: change locks on house, move all 3 guestrooms/closets, move the kitchen table
  • August 19: begin taking up fence from backyard and moving it to new house
  • August 20: work on fence some more, pick up change of address forms
  • August 21: pack any other unneeded items and take to house, clean empty rooms of the trailer, go to Mitchell EMC to get power turned on at new house
  • August 22: catch-up day
  • August 23: catch-up day
  • August 24-25: power should come on at new house, clean new house
  • August 26: move living room, pantry, washer/dryer
  • August 27: move bedroom, kitchen and all other remaining items, finish cleaning new house, hopefully spend our 1st night at new house!!!  :)  :)
  • August 28: finish removing fence from old house, clean old house, go to Mitchell EMC to have power turned off at old house
  • August 29: one last walk through of old house
  • August 30: sleep. a long time.
  • August 31: give keys to old house back to landlord
  • September: unpack, put up fence, eat lots of chocolate, don't go crazy
How's that for a to-do list?? I wrote up the original yesterday during my lunch break and then Roman and I went over it and adjusted some things. But for all of you non-believers of lists out there, we actually accomplished a good bit yesterday and we are still right on track. I have my entire office packed up except for what is on my desk. The desk has not been packed up for two reasons: 1) I ran out of boxes and 2) I don't really plan to pack it. I just plan to kind of swipe everything into a box, close the lid and then throw everything back up there once we get moved in. So it will literally only take me like one minute to pack it. So woo hoo for good progress on day one!

I had actually planned to tackle all three guest bedroom closets last night, but then I realized something. If I get less organized in my packing as time goes on (which I've heard happens to everyone), then I had better get the worst room out of the way first. My office looks like a tornado came through it almost every day. So it definitely needed some intense organization before I could even pack it. Yay for me for sticking through it and getting 'er done. Now, how about some pictures?? (as if you haven't gotten enough details already.....)

Here are all of the boxes piled up after bringing them inside. Some of them are not assembled yet. And there was probably a cat inside one of them....

Here is the very first box packed up all nice and purty!!  :)  (notice the bookshelves that are full of ....stuff.

And with labeling like this, how can you go wrong?

Here is one view of the office after I had finished packing it up. Note the three books that I forgot to put in the box. I was too lazy to slice back through the tape just to pack them up. I'll carry them by hand ...haha. See my desk back there? Yea, total un-organization for someone who is as OCD as me.

 Here is a second view of all of the boxes. Hip hip hooray for cleaned out bookshelves!!

Because Ralph, the dearest, sweetest, kindest cat in the whole world deeply enjoys shredding cardboard and has taught his partner in crime, Lauren, to do the same, I had to barricade the door to my office to keep them from squeezing underneath it and chewing through a box while we slept. So now my hallway looks like this (a heavy box of cat litter is on the other side):

Speaking of that lovely cat, here he is now. You would never guess that behind that cute little face lies a cardboard serial killer.

And I can't have a picture of Ralph without throwing one in there of Dukey-face. Here he is, begging for food at 12:30 in the morning. Yes, we were up that late. Oops.

Speaking of Roman, where was he in all of this? Well, first we had a pile of dishes that had to be done. We weren't home on Saturday which is when we normally catch up on the dishes so he was kind enough to take care of them while I started packing. After that, he did some small things that needed to be taken care of, like filling in a couple of scratches from our precious four-legged child, touching up the shutters from where we painted them after we moved in, and putting this bad boy back up: if that's not beauty, I don't know what is.     ....totally kidding. I hate that thing. Which is why we bought a new one before we even moved in. A new one that is coming with us to our new place because it cost us a pretty penny (or more). This bad boy has been chillin' in the office closet to be re-hung when we moved out. So as much as I really really really really hate this light, I am excited to see its return because that means we are finally moving to a new place. Look, it even has some "character"......not.

So all in all, yesterday was a really great first day of packing. The animals have no clue what's going on. The cats were just excited that there were empty boxes to play in for a while....Duke is mad that he can't walk into a room of the house because that room is full of stuff. Poor guy.

And for all of you out there who caught the whole "going to bed after midnight" thing, no worries. I promise we will not be doing that every night. God has already fussed at me for doing too much. I was working on organizing the bookcase. It had already been organized. Twice. In one night. But I still just didn't like it. Suddenly God spoke into my heart and told me to stop being too OCD about everything or I was going to lose my mind and this move would take ten years. So I quit being overly OCD and just started packing. After that things went much faster and the whole room was packed in no time. So....scouts honor: I will not go crazy-OCD and stay up past midnight every night packing up my house. Promise.

But it was so funny because even when we did go to bed we couldn't sleep because we were too excited. We were talking about how we were going to arrange things and how we were going to decorate (we are considering re-painting our bedroom furniture soon). We were so tired but still just too excited to sleep. Yay for new exciting things like houses with a dishwasher! :)

Oh and we do have a small list of things that we need to purchase (yay for another list?)
  • New litter box lid (the handle on the old one broke, but we would also like one with a flap in the door so that all the litter won't come out when Ralph has a kicking fit.
  • Mat to go under the litter box
  • Plastic tote for craft supplies and extra office supplies (my desk does not have drawers so right now they just sit all over my office)
  • 2 new pillows for the couch (Duke has thoroughly destroyed the ones we have. And now the cats are finding out how much fun it is to pull stuffing out of a hole. And yes, I will be putting the new pillows out of reach at night so that we won't have a repeat of the pillow destruction)
  • New locks for the doors
  • Filing cabinet (one day, not a necessity right now)
Not too bad, I think. The locks may be a little pricey, but my parents have offered to put it on their Lowe's card for us and us pay them back, so our up-front costs of moving into a new place should be really low. Hooray!

And oh yea, Roman had an interview this morning at 11. He said he thought it went really well. He said he should hear a definite answer by the end of this week. Not trying to get ahead of myself or anything, but I have a really good feeling about this one! Hopefully you will be seeing a new post tomorrow or Friday with a new job announcement!!  :)   :)

"I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises."   ~Psalm 34:1

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hello Crazy

I am convinced that me and Roman like to make ourselves go crazy.

Example #1: We get married right in the middle of our college careers. So he takes on a full load of classes while working a part time job. And I take on a full load of classes (online) while working a full time job. Even in the summer. And we do all of that while being active leaders in our church. Thank the good Lord we're graduated now. Y'all just don't know.

Example #2: We adopt a puppy towards the end of our college careers. When we have the highest amount of classes/homework. We are never now the puppy is like our child and we tote him around everywhere we go. We are one of those people. Can't. Leave. Dog. At. Home. Alone. He. Would. Be. So. Sad. Please refer to this post for more information.

Example #3: On top of me changing jobs in two weeks, we are also moving.

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! We are MOVING!!     :)   :)   :)   *insert happy dance here*

Those doctor people who think they know everything say not to have more than one life-changing event every six months or so. If you do, you will be totally crazy and lose your mind or something like that. Roman and I are throwing caution to the wind. What do those people know anyways? So I will be changing to a completely different job in two weeks. And we will also be moving over the next couple of weeks. I. Will. Not. Go. Crazy. Too. Excited. To. Lose. My. Mind.

No really, I won't. I may eat an excessive amount of chocolate. But you will not see this girl having a meltdown. Why? Because this job change and this move is 100% orchestrated by God. I will now attempt to fit the puzzle pieces together for you. They all fit in my mind, so hopefully I can illustrate this right.

Crazy Event #1: The Job

Several months ago I applied for a job. I was selected for that job. But because of some of the details surrounding that job (too complicated to get into here), my supervisor was able to keep me here. I was sad. I was frustrated. I cried....a lot. You see, working in finance makes me more than a little bit crazy. Yes, I realize I have a degree in accounting. Yes, I realize I am good at what I do. But the whole fiscal year schedule thing and close-out and government spending and government cuts and all of that junk makes me go crazy. And this job was going to get me out of finance. So when it fell through....I was crushed. After pouting for several hours, I finally decided that perhaps God was actually saving me from a job I would hate and that there was no sense in acting like a baby. So I pulled my big-girl pants back on and fixed my make-up and kept plowing through.

A couple of months later, I get a phone call. Someone had heard about that whole incident and was wondering if I was still job searching. (This phone call occurred two hours after I had asked God to put me where He wanted me and in a job that would make me happy to come to work.) They had a position for me. One they thought I would thrive in. I applied. I was selected. The whole process took less than a month, which I'm pretty sure is a world record for the government, seeing as how it normally takes three months for us to do anything. I start in two weeks....I couldn't be more excited. Seriously, nine more work-days and I start. Woo hoo!

Now, let's look at this. If I had gotten the first job, then the second job never would have been offered to me. Looking back, I believe my supervisor truly was looking out for my best interest. I think there was a good possibility I would have been "stuck". There was no opportunity in the near future for me to move up. Although I am currently not getting a promotion with my new job, there will be an option for promotion after a few months. Which is just icing on the cake.

So when I step back and look at the big picture, I can truly see how God orchestrated these events. Down to the very fact that I never would have gotten this new job had I not worked where I am now. The only reason the woman who called me knew who I was is because she is the wife of one of my customers and he told her about me. So had I not been in my current job, he would not have known me. He would not have known that I was looking for a job. And he would not have known to tell his wife about me. I dare you to try and tell me that all of this was a coincidence; it is too complicated to have been an accident.

Ready for part two? It gets even better!

Crazy Event #2: The House

If this is your first time reading this blog, then let me give you a little history. If this is not your first time reading this blog, prepare to see me whine about our current house one. last. time.

During the summer, it gets up to 90 degrees during the day. During the winter, it stays in the low 60s. We live in a double-wide trailer that is barely insulated. It is old. And cats live underneath it and have shredded the duct-work.  So we heat and cool the dirt under our trailer, basically. And we therefore pay a ridiculous electricity bill every month.
The kitchen sink and our shower clogs up often.
There are bugs everywhere because we can't get the house sealed up well.
The floor in the bathroom and laundry room sinks because of past water damage.
The hot water only lasts for fifteen minutes at a time.
Our neighbors are loud. I am fairly certain that a particular Hispanic tune will forever be in my brain because I've heard that song at least ten times a month.
There is no dishwasher. You do not realize how many dishes you use until you have to do all of them by yourself.
Our shower is ridiculously tiny.

Are these all minor inconveniences? Yes. Am I being a baby? Yes. Am I thankful for the roof over my head? You bet.

But lately, Roman and I have been praying extra hard for God to move us somewhere....well, less troublesome and more peaceful. We were being very specific with our prayers:
We want to rent a house. A real house. With real air conditioning and real duct-work. And a bigger hot water heater. And a nice-sized shower. And a dish washer. And we have to be able to bring Dukey-face inside because he would be sad if we made him sleep outside. And please let us be somewhere peaceful but still close to town. Amen.

We have not been looking at houses. We were not searching online. We were not asking around. I tried searching a little bit but I stopped because it was making me depressed. Looking at pictures of really nice houses that you could never afford is just plain depressing.

So we decided to sit back and be content and let God work. Oh, how He worked.

This past Tuesday we got a phone call. There was a house for rent. A house that was only a mile away from our church and therefore only a mile away from town. A decent-sized house that is only a little over a decade old. We called. It was still available. The rent was a chunk higher than what we pay now, but not out of our range. We could see it on Sunday.

We began praying a lot harder. We asked told God that if this was the house for us, it had to be perfect. The landlord had to be okay with us not paying a huge security deposit. Duke had to be able to stay. There had to be functioning appliances because our fridge and stove do not belong to us. We wanted it to be in good shape. We wanted it to be somewhat purty. And please, oh please, let there be a dishwasher and a larger shower.

We agreed before Sunday: if it did not have every single thing on our list, we would take it as a sign from God that this was not the place for us. You know how the story ends, because we are moving. But let me just brag on how good my God is for a few minutes, m'kay?

Y'all. I feel like I'm moving into a castle. A castle with a brand new dishwasher in it and a huge shower that lives inside of a gigantic bathroom. It has a double-door fridge. It has a stove. It even has an over-the-range microwave (something Roman has always wanted, but wasn't on the requirements list). It has a front-porch, a deck, and a concrete patio. It even has a playground for when we do have kids. It has a garage. It has a darn gate with a motor in it so we can be all fancy and type in our pass-code and it opens for us. It even has a jacuzzi. It has TWO walk-in closets between the master bedroom and master bathroom. Not to mention the walk-in pantry, coat closet, two other closets, and a storage room that you can access from the deck. And the place is just beautiful. It's far back enough on the dirt road that you can't hear the highway traffic, yet still only a mile away from town. But out the back you see nothing but pastures, a couple houses, and a pond, so it feels like you are way far away from civilization. And the neighbors are really quiet.

I thought I was going to cry for joy in front of our new landlord while she was showing us everything. Sure, there are a couple of scratches in the floor and on the wall. But I just felt God saying, "All this is for you baby girl. How could you ever doubt My love for you?"

Our bedroom even has blue carpet, which is not my favorite color, but it's funny because our current house has blue carpets in the guest bedroom. Coincidence? I don't think so. As soon as I saw the carpet, I knew that we were going to be living there before I had even seen the rest of the house. I just knew it would work.

She will work with us on the security deposit. She's cool with Dukey-face and Ralph and Lauren. There is a pool next door that the neighbors don't care if we use. We even have the option of buying the house one day if we want. She even said something like this: "I'm excited that y'all are excited. I just hope that this is the place God had lined up for you guys and that you will decide to live here." It took everything in me to not straight-out cry for joy when she said that. She had no idea we had prayed for this very house.

We were worried that our current landlord would want a full 30-day notice, and we wanted to move in by September 1st. He was totally cool with the September 1st deadline, which was just one more cherry on top for us.

We meet our new landlord on Friday to sign a contract and get the keys. Even though we aren't set to begin living there until September 1st, she's going to let us go ahead and start moving stuff in, which is great because it will make things a lot less hectic for us.

Can I please get a round of applause for my God? *clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap* I mean, seriously, He has really lavished some blessings on us this past week. He gave us everything we asked for and more. He just blows my mind with how awesome and good He is.

And to top everything off, Roman has an interview this Wednesday for a full-time job!!!!

Now let me just say this: I don't think any of this would have happened if we had not been faithful to Him. Roman and I have gone above and beyond our tithes since before we were even married. We gave when we had plenty. We gave when our parents were buying our groceries because we were so broke. The Bible is very clear: if you want the blessings of God to rain down, you have to be faithful first. And the Bible also tells us to pray very specifically for our needs and desires, which we also did.

Now, I am not saying that if you are faithful in your tithing that you will get a really nice house complete with a jacuzzi and new dishwasher, but I am saying that you absolutely cannot expect to get blessed if you are not being faithful to God. And you can't be throwing your tithes in the plate while telling God "okay, give me my blessing." We did not expect God to do anything for us. We were content to stay in our little trailer indefinitely. We had hoped that would not be the case, but we were content. But God showed up in a really big way and dumped a huge shower of blessing on us when we were totally not expecting it. And that's pretty awesome in my opinion.

I am so happy that I serve a God who loves His children. Sure, we go through hard times. Really hard times. Just read this post that I wrote just last week. Life is definitely messy and hard....but it is also really beautiful and great. And I am happy to say that God has brought Roman and I through a really tough time and has taken us to a green pasture for a moment where we can rest. No really, there are green pastures in our backyard that I will probably stare at for a good long time while drinking my sweet tea.

So even though we are being rule breakers and having two life-changing events at the same time, I have more peace about the craziness that is about to begin than I have in months. I am actually excited about turning my house upside down and driving back and forth to our new place a trillion times with car-fulls of stuff. Because I know this is part of God's intricate plan. And I can't wait to see what He does next.

And I'm just really excited to finally use a dishwasher. Oh happy day, I get a dishwasher!! One more round of applause for the God who gives me a dishwasher. *clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap*

"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."                                             ~Matthew 6:25-34

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Honesty is the Best Policy...

This is going to be the most brutally honest and vulnerable post I have written so far. To be honest, I'm nervous about posting it for the whole wide world to read (not that the whole wide world reads my blog....but you get the point). But I feel like if this one post can help someone else, then perhaps some good will come out of it. So if you are afraid of things that are emotional then I suggest you go to another Internet page. Because this baby has got all sorts of emotions.

This morning I broke. I broke on Sunday morning during the alter call. And I broke again today. Sunday was one of those crying-until-you-have-no-more-tears-left sort of things and today would have been had I not been at work. Instead today was a cry-a-little-bit-and-then-fix-your-makeup-so-no-one-else-will-know kind of days. You women know what I'm talking about. You men probably think I'm crazy. I'm okay with that.

If you read my post yesterday, then you have a bit of an idea of what's going on. If you didn't read it yesterday, here is a quick synopsis: Roman was going to go back to school for one more class. We thought this was God's plan so he could get his dream job. Apparently we were wrong because he can't get a student loan and we can't pay for  school out of pocket. So now we are back to square one.

If it was just the job/class thing, then that would be fine. But there is so much other crazy stuff happening in our lives. I have had a pinched nerve in my back for two weeks now. I can't run. I can't sleep well. I can't even sit comfortably on the couch. It has gotten to be ridiculous and aggravating.

I am starting a new job in two weeks. Don't get me wrong, I am excited and happy....but I am also incredibly OCD human and I hate change. So with the excitement and happiness comes a great deal of stress. And then to top it off, I found out yesterday afternoon I have an interview for another job on Tuesday. So now I'm stressing out because I don't know what I'm going to do if I get offered that job as well. And I'm also stressing out because interviews are stressful to begin with.

On top of this, Roman and I are going to looka house on Sunday to rent. Again, very exciting, but very nerve-wracking. Mostly because our budget is going to be pretty tight if we do it unless Roman finds a full-time job soon. But it is beautiful and everything we want, which makes the decision hard.

And I totally bombed the worship service this past Sunday. Or at least, I felt like I did. I couldn't find the melody. Somehow what I practiced sounded nothing like what actually got played. So I felt like a total failure on that one. Which leaves me really nervous about this Sunday.

And then there are all the other things in life: a tight budget, a cruddy air conditioner, a dog who chewed up a pillow last night, and the fact that I ruined dinner last night. Yes, these are petty things. But petty things add up. And when the petty things add up to the big things.....well, life is just messy sometimes.

As of this morning, I was still handling things somewhat well. Until I walked back to the break area to get some coffee. I generally don't drink coffee. But I didn't sleep well last night and I needed a little bit of caffeine to keep my eyes open.

There was a co-worker back there. He pointed to my belly and asked if I was pregnant.

Y'all. I am a kind person. I am generally patient with people. But that man does not realize how close he came to being slapped in the face. I laughed it off. Got my coffee. I even talked with him like I wasn't offended at all (which was only by the strength of God). And then I came back to my desk and tried to shove everything back down. I joked with two of my friends about the comment, trying to turn it into a joke and make it not so painful. And then after about an hour and a half of trying to shove and play off the hurt, I just broke. That was the last straw.  

Life is just so messy sometimes. And Satan loves to kick us while we are down. I think it is his most favorite thing to do in the whole wide world.....kick Christians in the face while they are already down.

I had every intention of creating busy work for myself to get my mind off of everything. But somehow my hand wound up reaching for some sheets of paper and a pen. I started writing a letter to God. I normally write in my prayer journal, but I didn't have it with me today. So He got a letter written to Him on two pieces of printer paper. I felt like He wanted me to be honest. And so I was. I am so glad that our God allows us to come boldly to His throne, otherwise I'd be in a lot of trouble (Hebrews 4:16).

I rarely let anyone read my prayer journal. Even my husband. But today, I am going to post what I wrote. I am not asking for your sympathy. I am not asking for you to feel sorry for me. I am asking that if you know of someone else who might be going through something like this that you show them this post, because if one person can benefit from what I'm going through, it will make it all worth it. That is truly my intentions with this post, because I know people go through a lot of junk like this sometimes. I think a lot of times we Christians cram stuff deep inside of us and don't let others see what we are going through, and that is not good. I believe we need to let other people see our struggles so that they know they are not alone. We can't act like everything is perfect all of the time. So that is what I am doing. I am showing you guys that sometimes we get knocked down, and that is okay. Life is not always great, and that is normal....

Deep breath. Here we go.

"Lord, I am trying to hold on. But I feel my grip is weakening. I do not know what You are doing, what the plan is. My mind is so tired. I wish I could just have some time to think of nothing. Gosh, I need another cruise. Even in my sleep my mind is running! Everything feels like a hurricane. I have this interview on Tuesday. What do I do if I get the job? Which one do I choose? What about this house? Do we take it? Can we really afford it? And the worship team....are You sure I can do this? I am not so sure anymore. I'm not so sure I have the talent or the energy. The biggest question of them all.....what about Roman? Lord, I need him to find a job! I feel like I'm a terrible wife because it seems like I have so much on me. He is frustrated God. He wants to step up and support me. I am begging You to please let him!
I am so weary Lord. All of these questions, all of these uncertainties. God, I can't breathe! I just want some rest from all of this. How much longer do we have to go in this? We have trusted You. We have put our hope in You. We have been faithful to You. You have been faithful to us. I know You will provide. I just need something. Anything. Some sort of encouragement.
People tell us these Christian phrases like "just trust Him" or "He will do something in His time". I need some meat. I need something more than that. I know all of that stuff. I know they are trying to help. But that is not helping. It just makes me upset.
I feel like I'm just getting squeezed on all sides. I'm not sure there is a single area in my life where the pressure is absent. Even my stinking dog keeps eating my pillows! I mean, what in the world is going on?
I refuse to retreat. I refuse to back down. But I fear my grip is slipping. I am afraid that I am about to fall. I said I would walk through the fire. I still will. But can the heat turn down for a little while so I can get some rest? I can't even run to burn off some of this anxiety because I can't move! And then to add insult to injury I apparently look pregnant today.

I just have so much to do all of the time. And all I want to do is sleep. All I want to do is get away from it all. You have certainly taken Your lover into the desert and surrounded her with thorns. I am trying to be still so that I can hear Your voice and let You work. But I want nothing more than to break free and haul butt into the city. To just get away from all of this. But running away is not the answer. It may bring temporary relief, but it would damn my soul to hell. So I will continue trying to settle down. To not be afraid of the thorns. And then I hope to hear Your beautiful voice speak gently and softly to me. And maybe, perhaps my soul will find the rest I long for. (Hosea 2)

You are beautiful.

You are majesty.

You are faithful.

Thank You for listening. Thank You for letting me be so bold with You. Thank You for what You are doing, even though I can't see it right now. Search my heart and cleanse it. Purify any thoughts or feelings that are not of You.

My hope is in You, Lord.

I will not depart from this path You have laid before me.

I am trusting in Your faithfulness.

And I will, as patiently as possible, wait for Your Hands to guide us to the next step.

Hedge us in. Shield us from any attacks. Purify our marriage. Grow our love for each other. Keep us on the right track so the enemy has no room in our marriage. And Lord, give him some strength and peace as well.

I love You. We love You. You are good. You are mighty so save. You are faithful. You are our King. You are our Lord. Thank You."

So that's it. I basically threw up all of my emotions onto two pieces of paper. In the middle of a work day. And that's okay. It is totally necessary sometimes to come boldly to the throne of God and tell Him how you feel. He doesn't want a fake relationship with us. He wants all of us....the good, the bad and the ugly.

No, I did not hear a loud booming voice from heaven after I finished writing this. No, my back did not suddenly get healed. No, Roman did not get a phone call with a job offer. But yes, I do feel a little bit better after spilling my beans to God. Yes, I do feel like He heard me.

And for now, that is enough. Because I know the troubles in this life are only temporary. And I know that God is working and moving, even though I can't see it right now. And I do feel like there will be a relief coming soon. I know He will not make us wait forver. 

Life is awfully messy. A lot of churches speak a lie that goes something like this: "Become a Christian and all your problems will be solved." That is simply not true. Sometimes I wonder if being a Christian and running after God gives you more problems in this life. BUT, being a Christian gives you a strange peace and strength to run through the fire that you would never have if you weren't running after God. There is a strange peace that comes with not knowing what in the world is going on, because in your heart you know that God has it all under control. Because He does. He names the stars and knows every creature that breathes. And He holds each of our little lives in His hands and weaves us into His plan. So even though me and Roman's lives are every bit of the definition of chaos right now, I am strangely okay with it. I will have emotional break downs sometimes. We all will. But at the end of the day, I am okay. We are all okay.

So for all of you out there that I know are going through similar junk in your is okay. It is okay to have a complete crying break-downs at work. It is okay to write or speak to God and let Him know how you feel. But once you get it out, keep pressing on. I will not lie to you, it will be hard. It will be messy. And you will be tired....but He's got you. He's working. Even when we see nothing and we feel nothing, He's still working and He's still there. Rest in that knowledge. Go get some coffee and settle in, because He's crafting a story out of our lives that is truly out of this world. And that's pretty cool.

I will leave you with one of my most favorite sections of verses out of the whole Bible. A true comfort at times like these....

"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."                                             ~Matthew 6:25-34

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


And sometimes, things come up from nowhere and surprise you.


Roman was supposed to go back to school this semester for one more class. He missed out on a job opportunity this past spring because he was missing a class. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that Roman didn't have a job yet because God wanted him to return to school to get this class so he could get a job in Moultrie. We were at peace with that. We were okay with that.

And then BOOM!!!

The whole plan implodes on itself and you're standing in the middle of it all going ..."huh?"

Roman went to financial aid today to increase his student loan. He had maxed out on the HOPE scholarship and had a small student loan from last semester. We figured we'd just increase it to pay for this last class.

My phone rings. It was Roman. Apparently, there is no option of a student loan for him because he is already graduated. He would have to enroll in a new degree and take six hours worth of classes (the class he needs is only four) to get a student loan. The only way he's going back to school is if we pay the $1,000 + up front (which in case you haven't figured out already, we can't afford). The option of going back to school is off the table (unless we get a check in the mail by Monday for over $1,000).


So now my husband and I are left wondering what in the world God is up to. It is strange how you can be so sure of what God's plan is only to have a change of plans. This is the second time this year that this has happened to us. It definitely throws you for a loop, that's for sure. But I know God has something up His sleeve and I'm still going to trust that He knows what He's doing.

Sheeeesh. I don't know how people make it through life without Jesus. Seriously.

So yea.....pray for us some more?   ;)

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me."                                          ~Jeremiah 29:11-13

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sometimes We Just Need a Reminder....

We silly humans are awfully forgetful. We forget where we put our keys. We forget about appointments. We forget we already have something scheduled and then schedule something else and then have to profusely apologize to people for having to re-schedule. We forget where we parked our car. We forget our grocery list at the house. And even though it seems silly, we forget that God loves us. A whole bunch.

I suppose I have just been in a forgetful mood lately. I have forgotten where I parked at work. And it seems like I have lost my phone in my house at least daily. These are all minor inconveniences, but my recent forgetfulness about God's love is a pretty big deal. Because forgetting that can really put you in a hard place really fast. 

We all go through rough times. We all have times where we feel like God is very far away. We all have moments where we find ourselves so unworthy of His love and wonder how He can care so much. And we all forget how much we are worth to God sometimes. I've definitely been guilty of that lately.

Life has been crazy. Between Roman's job hunt, taking over as the lead singer for our praise team, switching to a new job, hurting my back real bad, and life in general.....well, let's just say that I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed these past few days. And let me pause to say, it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed with life sometimes. But one of the worst things we can do when we are feeling overwhelmed is allow Satan to have a field day in our minds.

I can say this about myself: Satan loves to make me feel like I'm not enough. And for whatever reason, I have a bad habit of listening when those thoughts start playing through my mind. And when I start to think that I'm not good enough, I start doubting God's love for me.

I know that I am not alone in this.

Yesterday I was getting ready to park my car and go back inside from my lunch break. Just as I was about to open the door, God stopped me and whispered into my heart just one word. "Listen." I knew that voice. My heart flopped for a second. My hand came down from the handle. I turned up the radio.

The hosts on K-Love were interviewing some scientist dude. But this scientist dude was a Christian dude who studied the skies and the universe and saw the glory of God in big huge ways. I think he had written a book or something....not really sure because I missed the beginning. But I heard the one thing I needed to hear (paraphrased): "Scripture tells us that God names the stars. I study the stars. I see galaxies of stars every day. If God has named each and every one of those stars, do we really think that His love is any less than the glory of His creation? Can we not look at the beauty around us and understand that God loves us even more? We are so small in this huge creation of His, but He loves us more than all of the stars and the trees and the oceans and everything else we see. And I think it breaks His heart when we fail to realize the depth of His love."

How profound is that?? It was exactly what my worn down little heart needed to hear. My spirit was revived and I felt a new freshness wash over me.

Later that evening I had to pick something up from my mom's house. Before I got out of my car when I got back home, I prayed something like this:

"Lord, I am sorry that I have forgotten how much You love me. Please re-ignite my passion for You. All I want to do is make You proud and do the work You have called me to do. I know that sometimes I will fall and sometimes I will make mistakes, but just keep me going strong. Give me Your strength and Your heart."

And then, I made a declaration to the enemy (because whether we realize it or not, the enemy can hear and understand our words):

"Satan, I will not walk around this mountain again with you. I will not take you by the hand and listen to your insults. I will not feel small. I will not feel insignificant. I will not go around this mountain again where I stay knocked down for days while you trample my heart. My God will pick me up and carry me over this mountain, and He will crush your head. I am not walking around this mountain again with you. Go away."

I am inviting each of you to do the same if you are struggling with something like I was. My sweet friends, God loves us more than we know. He cares about everything in our lives: from our hangnails to our jobs to our futures. Sometimes He will feel far away. Sometimes things will get hectic and a little bit scary. But God still loves us and cares for us regardless of what's happening in our surroundings.

Satan, we will not walk around this mountain with you. We will strive to learn more about God's love and embrace His love, rather than run from it. We will take our place in His kingdom as His hands and feet and share His love with others.

Oh Lord, forgive our unbelieving hearts. Ignite that spark....ignite that passion for You in all of us.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it."                                                                     ~Psalm 139:13-14

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jump on the Wagon

Well, Roman and I have been doing lots of talking...and we've decided we are going to jump on the wagon.

The clean eating wagon. Or at least.....try to jump.

After hours of research and reading over the past few months(on my part) and Roman listening to me re-tell all of the excruciating details I've been researching and reading, we have come to the conclusion that we are going to attempt the clean-eating thing.

No, this does not mean that we will now be growing our own chickens and raising our own cows (even though if we had the time we totally would just for "fun"). No, this does not mean that I will never ever eat chocolate again for the rest of my life (a.k.a. "impossible). And no, this does not mean that we will never ever go out to eat ever or refuse to eat dinner at friends and relatives houses.

It does mean that we're going to be eating a whole lot more fruits and veggies. It does mean that I'm going to do my best to buy all-natural and organic meats. It does mean that Hamburger Helper is being banished from our house (can't say I'm sorry). And it does mean that when we do go out to eat we will be ordering as healthy as possible.  

But this will hopefully also mean that we sleep better, have more energy, and live a lot longer with a lot less sickness.

In America it seems like everyone knows someone with cancer (probably more than one person), diabetes, heart disease, or some other major disease. I can't help but wonder how much of our current sicknesses are caused by all of the junk we have in our food.

Hmmmm....let's try and put it this way. The daily recommended sodium intake for women is 2,300 mg according to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. One of my most favorite foods in the whole wide universe is Velveeta Shells n' Cheese. It has 870 mg of sodium per serving (not to mention 360 calories) and I will easily eat two servings for dinner. So with just one side I eat over half of my daily recommended amount of sodium and half of my daily recommended caloric intake!! I could provide a gazillion other examples....but I think you catch my drift.

Many people say that eating clean is way too expensive, so I'm going to be doing a little test for you guys. So far I have spent $27 in August on groceries (on clean items only I have bought some other non-clean groceries before we made our decision). This included all of the fruit that me and Roman will eat for the next two weeks (I cut it up and froze it last night so it will last). Today I spent another $18 on some vegetables and some other items like olive oil and sea salt (not something I would buy every trip). All I have left to get is some chicken and we will be set on groceries for the next week and a half-ish. So, I'm going to be tracking my grocery bill for this month and then I'll compare it to last month.

But honestly, I don't care if we spend a little bit more on groceries by eating clean. The health benefits far outweigh the cost in my book. I'm going to miss some foods like biscuits and fried chicken, but I'm going to be gaining so much more. And it's not like we can't go back to our old ways if things don't work out.

And seriously guys, please don't think me and Roman are going to be jumping off of a cliff here. I'm not going to be spending all of my time researching where Wal-Mart gets their fruits from so I can find out whether they use pesticides on their farm. I'm just going to wash the fruit really well and peel it before I eat it. And I won't be joining PETA. I will still enjoy my hormone/antibiotic/steroid-free chicken and beef, thank you.

So how does this whole thing work? It's actually pretty simple. The main rule is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you'll find the majority of the "good for you" stuff like fruits, veggies and meats. Of course, you'll have to go down some isles to find things like whole grain rice and olive oil and spices and such, but for the most part you shop the perimeter. The only other main rule is to read those labels! Basically if it comes in a box you can assume it's been processed and therefore contains harmful chemicals. Another basic rule of thumb is if it has more than three ingredients it's probably not good for you. For instance, my olive oil has this ingredient: olive oil. My plain Dannon yogurt has this ingredient: Cultured grade A milk. And my brown rice has this ingredient: Whole Grain Brown Rice.

My Velveeta Shells n' Cheese has these ingredients: Enriched Macaroni Product (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron], Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Cheese Sauce (Milk, Whey, Water, Canola Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Contains Less than 2% of Sodium Alginate, Lactic Acid, Oleoresin Paprika [Color], Natural Flavor, Cheese Culture, Enzymes, Annatto [Color], Sorbic Acid as a Preservative). Contains: wheat, milk

That's a whole paragraph of stuff that's bad for you.....ouch.

Pretty simple, huh?

A few other things I've learned....

Don't buy anything that says "enriched whole wheat". This means it has had things added to it and taken away from it. It's not any good for you.

Eggs are your best friend. Seriously. They're low in calories, have good cholesterol, and are an excellent source of protein. Eat as many egg whites as you want, but don't consume more than 7 yolks in a week.

Because of how popular clean eating is becoming, there are like a trillion "clean" recipes out there. They even have one for "clean" macaroni n' cheese (hallelujah)!!

One of our other reasons for doing this goes along with the health benefits thing, but in a way that others may not agree with us. We humans have added a whole lot to God's creation. We've tried to determine when we're going to have kids by creating birth control. We've figured out how to preserve foods by adding preservatives and other chemicals. And we've added countless medicines to "fix" everything from depression to sleep trouble to allergies. I'm not saying all of this is necessarily bad (I love my allergy medicine!), but I do believe that when God created the earth He gave us everything we needed to live a healthy life.....and I would like to try living off of what He created and cut out what man has created (as much as possible). Because sometimes we just create stupid chicken filled with antibiotics and steroids, and birth control, and anti-depressants. It's cool if you disagree with me, but this has been something that God has been leading me to for quite a while now, so when my husband brought the subject up again this past weekend we took the hint and are going to give it a try.

And my fridge/freezer was literally empty why not give it a shot with the new groceries? It's not like I'm going to be throwing out a bunch of food in an attempt to get clean. We only have one container of leftovers that is not clean (and yes, we will eat it because I am not going to throw away food because I am a tightwad). Other than that, we will be making a clean start (pun intended).

So that's about it. I've got the ingredients to try two different clean recipes. One is for sweet potato tater tots (baked, not fried) and the other is for salsa chicken (cooked in a crock pot). And I've already had my "clean" fruit smoothie this morning using the frozen fruit I cut up yesterday. I will definitely be keeping you posted on how all of this works for us!

PS: a lot of stuff I've been talking about here was originally posted at This website is by two Christian couples that actually live in Georgia. They have tons of recipes and information if you want to learn more!  :)

"The land produced vegetation-all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good."                                                                                                                     ~Genesis 1:12