Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 12: What I Believe

This is a great opportunity to share what I believe.  If you are not a believer and you know me at all, you may know what I am going to write and have probably Xed out of this window, but that's okay because I'm not writing to impress.  I am writing to encourage, to bare my soul, and to witness Christ's love for His bride - that's you friend.  

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Not only do I believe in Him, (even Satan believes in Jesus) I believe that He knows & loves me intimately and died on the cross for my sins and for yours.  He took on every sin for every human (past, present, & future), became flesh & dwelt among us.  I believe in Him, not because I am a generational Christian or because it's any easy "religion" filled with "cheap grace." No. I believe in Him because I guarantee that there is NO ONE like Jesus.  He is the only One who came to this earth, lived a sinless life, dwelt among us, died for all of humanity, and rose again three days later to show how Great He is.  He is the only "God" for which YOU have nothing to do with.  What I mean by this is, I don't have to DO anything to receive Christ's love because He has already done it for me, He is the propitiation for my sin because He died on the cross at Calvary. The only thing I have to do is believe on Him and what He did for me.

I don't know about you, but I know myself pretty well.  I know the many imperfections, the sin and the wretchedness that encompasses me. I know every thought or deed that I do that isn't exactly what you'd call "nice."  I also know that there are people that are better than me, and people that are worse than me, that's just the way it is.  But to think, only on my own behalf, that someone would die for ME.  And I'm not talking, my husband dodging a bullet for me (which I know he would) I am talking Jesus dying not just for me, but for everyone!  In my mind, and I think you'd probably agree - sure I'd die for my spouse, sure I'd die for my kids or my family (some people might not even go that far), but to die for a serial killer? A rapist? A druggie or alcoholic or child predator? For a theif, a homeless man, a liar, or even a jerk?  Wait wait wait, that's a little close for comfort. But hey, its okay because Jesus did die for all of the above and He loves them all just the same as He loves me.  That blows my mind.

"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;  When I awake, I am still with You." 
-Psalm 139:17-18

Most importantly, no act of kindness or life of works will get me to heaven.  This is even more mind boggling folks.  Although I owe my LIFE to Christ, he only wants my heart, that's it.  I don't have to move to Africa and start an orphanage, I can, but I don't have to.  I just have to love Him with all that I am.  It's only through God's grace that I get to be His daughter.  Now, maintaining fellowship with God is obviously a plus for both sides; it keeps me closer to Him, and allows me to yield to His will and become more like Him (by reading His word and praying).  For Him, the Lord loves when we spend time with Him.  Again, He doesn't need ME or any of us, but He wants us.  This is where the true transformation begins.  So although I don't have to "do nice things" to get into heaven, I want to because I want to be more like Jesus!  I do serve others not because I have to, but because I want to become more like the greatest Servant of all and because I find great joy in living humbly and meekly! 

"No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
- John 3:13-20

That's what I believe, but not just "believe" but know it to be the absolute truth, and the only truth.  Please, if this has tugged at your heart at all, ask me any question that you may have.  The Lord might be using this silly little blog post to draw you to Himself.  Wouldn't that be amazing.  If you are already a believer then seek Him with all of your heart, soul, and mind and if you aren't walking tightly, pray and read and get in fellowship with a bible teaching & believing church!  His mercies are new each morning and He wants to talk to you today - He is coming quickly folks.  Nothing more needs to happen according to the prophecies in the Bible, He can come at any moment!  I can't wait to be caught up  in the clouds and I hope to see you there!

"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.  For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." 
-1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

I pray this encourages you and stirs up your heart.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 11: Favorite TV Shows

Theses are in no particular order of favor or frequency, I like them all.

Extreme Home Makeover

Everyday Italian

Gilmore Girls

 The Cosby Show

 Pushing Daisies

The Jack Benny Show

 Secrets of a Restaurant Chef

Barefoot Contessa

What's your favorite?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blog Challenge: Nine & Ten

Day 9: A Picture of My Friends
I have so many dear friends, but I will share this precious photo of my dearest gal pals who have been present for a lot of my life, and still are today.  They are encouraging women, grounded in the word of God and serve as great examples to me.  They are all smart, beautiful, and caring women and I love each and every one of them!
(Left to Right: Amy, Hannah, Me, Danielle, Michelle, Emily)
Day 10: Something I'm Afraid Of
To be honest, the only thing I am really afraid of representing Jesus, above all else, with my life.  I want to reach heaven's gates and hear the words, "Well done my daughter, you gave Me your all and held nothing back."  I want to be seen as a genuine article, that people would see Jesus in my life. And that I would not treat my life as my own, but only as a vessel for the Lord to use and fill according to His will.
The only other thing I am really afraid of, (but really just nervous about) is training my kids up in the Lord and teaching them to love Jesus everyday with all their hearts.  I pray that my life will be an example for them to live by, not in spite of and that none of them (however many we have) will ever walk away from the Lord.  But then again, I know that the Lord has a plan for my life & theirs and will be faithful to complete it.  I really can't imagine not being a believer and just walking around this earth all alone trying to figure things out for myself.  I am so thankful that my life has a plan and even better, that I don't have to worry it - I just need to be faithful & obedient!  Thanking God for His everlasting love for me and praising Him for His favor in my life today & forever!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 8: A Place I've Visited

Each year since our betrothal, husband & I have been so blessed to be able to travel somewhere.  Whether it be visiting family or participating in wedding parties, we have taken full advantage of getting away.  Lucky for us we've traveled up & down the entire state of California, visited family in Iowa (this was actually one of my favorite vacations), Las Vegas (Pete traveled there solo to be a groomsmen in a friend's wedding), Washington State, and several local "stay-cations" to just get away for the day or weekend.  Among these, my favorite would have to be our trip up the coast of the great state of California.  We visited so many cities & sites along the way: Healdsburg, San Francisco, Sausalito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Costa Mesa, and more!  Among these cities, however, my FAVORITE was by far, drumroll....... Healdsburg!
Okay, so this decision might be a little biased, but come on, we stayed in a B&B and the town was more than akin to, dare I say it, Stars Hollow from the ever popular sitcom series Gilmore Girls.  Not to mention, dear friends of ours own the B&B and told us all the amazing pockets of town to check out.  Here's Honor Mansion, the amazing place we called our home for two amazing days and one evening.
The day we spent there we enjoyed coffee at Flying Goat, lunch at the ever so charming Jim Town Store and shopped at the freshest Oakville Grocery Store.  Needless to say, I wanted to stay in this little charming bubble and never go home, but the sticker shock of real estate kept me pretty well grounded.  Honestly, the flowers & lush landscaping is what captured my heart - EVERYTHING is so green and beautiful.  Give me flowers and I'm pretty much set.
So a big thank you to the lovely Aunt Toni, one of our favorite traveling partners, whom we got the pleasure of site seeing with, and also Steve & Cathi (the owners of Honor Mansion) for putting us up for the night.  The hospitality (see the coffee/biscotti/fresh OJ/newspaper cart brought to our door the morning we left) and experience there will forever be one of my favorite memories and we are still smitten two years later!
(All photos original - Randall Photography)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 7: Favorite Movies

I have a particular favor for movies that have some or all of these characteristics: vibrant filmography, great wardrobing, older time frames, hilarious dialogue, story lines containing mystery, story lines involving the culinary arts, characters with great accents, endings that are so sweet you want to cry, fairy tale like scenery and/or activities, etc.... 

Do any of these make your cut?  These have got to be some of my all time favorites, and for the most part are family friendly with maybe the exception of Sherlock Holmes, only because of its suspenseful plot.  What movies are "classics" in your household?  Share with the class! 



Father of the Bride (I & II)

 She's The Man

 Horton Hears A Who

 No Reservations

Pride & Prejudice 


 Sherlock Holmes

The Pink Panther (I & II)

The Sandlot

Secondhand Lions

 101 Dalmations

 Charlie & The Chocolate Factory




 Because of Winn Dixie

 Finding Neverland

August Rush

 The Rookie

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 6: A Picture of Something That Makes Me Happy!

May 9, 2005 was spent celebrating my Mother-In-Law's birthday!  Little did I know she would be my mother-in-law at the time, I felt a little intrusive celebrating with her, being her son & I had only been dating for a month, but I guess Pete knew I was a good catch (love you babe).  Not only were we celebrating her birthday on that day, I was also meeting his brother, his brother's wife, and their four kids that day too.  I now know I had nothing to worry about, but it was kind of a nervous overload for me that day (keep in mind Pete's brother was also the pastor of their church, and his Dad the assistant Pastor, so for some reason I felt a little extra pressure to impress - silly I know) Being it was our "one month" dating anniversary, Pete wanted to be sure to spend that day with me - what a softy.  I'll never forget that dinner at Don Pablos (which now doesn't even exist).  He had our waiter bring a rose to the table for me - sweet, but boy was I embarrassed for being the flower receiver when it wasn't even my birthday.... in front of everyone none the less - yikes.  I guess he really did feel strongly for me and wanted to tell everyone!  Anyways, here'a our very first photo together. Aren't we just glowing "love"?

(he's wearing a cast because of a car accident, he was hit by a drunk driver)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 5 - My Sibling(s)

So today's blog post is all about brother bear!  Now, I could write about all of my siblings (three sister-in-laws, Michelle, Athena & Emily and brother-in-law, John) but this post might nearly turn into a novel so I'll keep it more concise and blood-related if you don't mind.  However, I will say this about my sibling-in-laws:  they are the best. Ever.  Kind, caring, compassionate, hilarious, loving, and above all else, Jesus seeking people.  I know everyone says their families are the best, but mine really are!

Now, onto the big brother act.  Nick is four years older than me. I think my most fond memory of the two of us is when we would both sneak out of our jack & jill bedrooms (i.e. two bedrooms with a bathroom in between) and stand in our doorways - trying to watch any angle of the television that once sat in the family room just outside our adjoining hallway.  Not for the fact that whatever show was entirely interesting, or because we were rebellious little devils, but for the fact that it was fun and we did it together.  Not too glamorous of a memory, but fun mischief none the less.

Other memories of our childhood include:

  • Watching "The Price Is Right" every day at 11AM during the summer. 
  • Making grilled cheese for lunch almost every day on summer break (if not grilled cheese, then mac'n'cheese for sure)
  • Taking swimming/diving lessons at Arlington Pool with Mrs. Weintraub.  
  • Losing our cat - "Who/Whooee" to kitty leukemia (not a great memory, but we endured it together) 
  • Playing UNO until late in the night with Mom & Dad on camping trips in our supa' cool camper
  • Waking up "in the middle of the night" to drive to Kentucky to visit family and thinking we were the bee's knees because we could watch VHS's on the built-in television in the van.
  • Watching Nick play little league baseball (while actually playing under the bleachers with the teammate's sisters) 
  • Going to the McDonald's playplace when GB (Grandma Bussman) babysat and getting Happy Meals for lunch - apparently a lot of my memories revolve around food... 
  • Going swimming with GB at her community pool and watching Nickelodeon (cool!) on her TV since we didn't have cable. 
  • Eating grilled cheese at her house with TWO slices of velveeta cheese (oh boy!) 
  • and many many more.  Oh the days of yester-year. 
To date, dear brother is recently married as of this past July and is still a dancin' fool when it comes to wedding receptions - love that guy. He & Athena are expecting a baby boy in May.  I can't wait to see him as a Dad and on the outside looking in this time. Love you broda!

(Nick & Athena's Wedding - July 2010 Washington State)

Holy Button Batman!

Holy cow! I have a "blog button!"  What's this you ask?  Free advertising for those who chose to post it to their blogs, that's what!  I must be an HTML dummy 'cuz this threw me for a loop + at least an hour of almost banging my head against a wall.  So here it is, in all it's glory!  Ain't she a beaut! All you have to do is copy the code in the box, add a "text" widget to your sidebard, paste it and presto chango, there she'll appear! Also, in case you can't find this post again, I have niftily added the code to my side bar as well - i.e. grab it and add it to your page if you so desire! :]  Thank you faithful readers!  My next feat will be to add tabs to the top of my page- oh HTML, how I loathe our love hate relationship.


<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="FRESH CUT" width="125" height="125" /></a>

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 4 - My Parents!

Well I may be a little biased but I'm pretty sure I got the best pair.  After 25+ years of marriage, I can still see how much they love eachother.  I think after I got married, I really saw how much they loved one another because I better understood establishment of marriage.  I am forever thankful for the way they raised my brother and me and their continued support throughout our lives.  They have warmly welcomed my husband and sister-in-law as their own children and I am so happy to call this pair my very own.

Dear Dad is a postal carrier and loves his job.  He delivers mail to the ever coveted route of a beautiful beach community and is what the shop owner's call "The Mayor" of the city in which he delivers.  Why?  Because of his charm, friendliness, and general joy for people & life.  As a whole, my Dad is compassionate, helpful, and humorous.  He is always there to lend a helping hand, give educated advice, or fix something that's broke.  Although he may be a man of few words, his words are full of wisdom and are well-seasoned with life.

Beautiful Mom works as a receptionist/catch-all at their church and enjoys being about the Lord's business. She is caring, generous, funny, calm and sentimental - a real softy.  We chat on the phone often (she lives a couple towns away) and I miss living close but treasure our visits that much more.  Her character of gentleness, genuineness, and love for her kids & others has always remained a constant in my life.  Not to mention, she is an organizational wiz - must be where I get my need to clean (well sometimes it's a need - haha).

(all genuine photos)