03 January 2007

It's 2007. So What's the Big Deal?

Happy New Year! You know, this is the first year in a long time that I've actually made a New Year's Resolution. Here it is:

GET MARRIED OR BUST!

Haha.

Seriously, I am so excited when I look at my planner this year. It's so neatly divided: first six months devoted to engagement, last six months devoted to marriage. By this time next year, my life will be completely different from what is now. I'll get to share it with the guy I love best in the whole world. How amazing is that? I can't believe that I've finally arrived at this part of my life where I really get to make this commitment, the one that will shape and define the rest of my life on this earth. That's no small thing, but I'm not really nervous about it at all. I am completely confident that we are honoring God with this decision, and that He will see us through, no matter where we go and no matter what life looks like on the other side. I know very firmly in my heart that I'm doing the right thing, and that gives me a very solid sense of peace and rest amid the pre-wedding craziness.

And believe me, it is craziness. I keep looking around at all the married people I know and thinking to myself, "Well, they survived. I guess that means we can, too." Lol. Planning, pictures, details, decisions, blah blah blah...not to mention all the other things in my life that kept me busy before this whole engagement thing happened. Whew. But I know we'll make it. :)

In the midst of it all, I've been going through some old memory boxes in preparation for making our scrapbook. Here are some blast-from-the-past pics I really like:

This one's from my sophomore year, not long before we started dating... (with his sister Ellen)

This one is also from back when we were just friends... (with my brother Dale)

Here's a bit of recent history, from my brother's wedding. I particularly like this picture because, well, we're dancing. It's cute. But more than that, it means a lot to me because Eric hates dancing. He was willing to get out there and tromp around simply because I wanted to do it. I'm very grateful that he is such a sweet and thoughtful guy.

So anyway, 2007 is going to be a great year. And the years to follow will be wonderful too, as many as the Lord sees fit to give us...

Happy New Year.

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24 December 2006

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

(It's a trite title, I know, but I have that song stuck in my head. I have a Rosemary Clooney version that I really like...but that's beside the point...)

Galations 4:4-5
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."

How amazing is it that we are adopted as sons? Verse seven goes on to say that we are no longer slaves, but sons and heirs through God. We are privileged, and cherished, children of the Father.

The pastor at my hometown church preached on this passage this morning, and it just really touched me. This Christmas is a special one for me; it's the only one I'll experience as an engaged person, and is the last one I'll celebrate as a single person. I'm busy this year (wedding stuff), worried this year (what's the future going to look like?), and sad this year (my brother couldn't come home, and my grandfather, the one still living, is seriously ill), but ultimately it all points me to God, and for that I am thankful. I am particularly aware of my own insufficiency, and of my constant need for his guidance, love, and strength. At the same time, I see and appreciate the many things He has blessed me with...a loving family, an unbelievably wonderful fiancé, and most importantly, the greatest blessing of all: fellowship with Himself. I have never been more blessed than I am right now.

My prayer is that this Christmas you will see Him in His beauty, no matter what situation you're in...and that you will love on your families, because you never know how much time you'll have with them on this earth.

My God's love cover you all...

Merry Christmas.

16 December 2006

South Carolina Continued

Well, we visited downtown today!

Here's a church where supposedly Robert E. Lee visited a few times while he was in Charleston.

And here's a typical "Charleston house." Notice how the narrow side is facing the street, while what we would consider the "front" is facing south. They all face south. Something about the breeze off the ocean being good for your health or something. And none of them have windows in the back, to preserve the next house's privacy on their porch. Kind of interesting.

"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag..."
Here's a super-cool bridge that takes you over the Cooper River, which separates Charleston from Mount Pleasant. I normally get nervous when I'm on bridges, but this one didn't scare me. It's pretty sturdy, I guess.
Hey look! A pelican!

A nice sunset-on-the-dock view from Mount Pleasant. Just imagine a shrimp boat playing Jimmy Buffet in the background (no kidding, they really were), and the scene is complete.

Well that's all I have for this installment. Charleston's a pretty nice place, I suppose, if you have to leave the Lone Star State. More later!

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More Adventures...

Well, here I am again from South Carolina, hanging out with my brother and my sis-in-law:

Yesterday we went all over the place, visiting the military base where my brother works, and the hospital where my sis-in-law works, et cetera. In the evening we went to this super cool Christmas lights festival, a 3-mile drive through a county park where they set up these great lights. The pictures don't begin to do it justice, since I'm terrible at taking night pictures.

Here's a little patriotic one--the stars actually were blinking on and off but the camera got them all with the slow shutter speed.

And this being South Carolina, they're still proud of their Civil War heritage.


This was my favorite one, even though it's not a picture...just a tree.


But yeah, it was extensive and super fun. I was wishing my parents could have seen it, since in my family historically we get very excited about Christmas lights, despite the fact that we never put any up ourselves.

Later, we went to eat pizza at a local joint (think One Guy's; it wasn't quite as good but it was kind of the same atmosphere and so on). We were having fun with the fact that we all have rings on now:

After that we went downtown to a little coffee/ice cream/hooka shop that is run by this Italian man. Dale and Erica wanted me to speak Italian to him, but unfortunately he wasn't there. The hooka smokers were there in droves, though. We had ice cream, sitting outside in December. Fortunately it just doesn't get that cold around here. I took a picture of one of the many gas lamps they've got downtown:
And that's pretty much it from yesterday. Here in a little bit we're going to go downtown again so we can see it in the day time. :)

And by the way, it is really weird around here. I have been looking and looking, and I have yet to see the South Carolina state flag flying anywhere. I saw a few American flags, but very few. I had to wait and wait and wait and finally: "There's one!!" And it was on a post office, so that doesn't even count. :( So apparently these people don't go for patriotism / state-ism quite the way we Texans do, but I guess I kind of knew that already. It's still weird to see, though.

The city is really twisty, with roads that obviously weren't planned snaking around every which way. And there are so many trees, I feel like I can't see anything. There are 2 rivers (not one, but two) so we drive over these big bridges occasionally. Whoa--bridge over a body of water. Foreign idea! Anyway, one bridge is a drawbridge, and I keep hoping that a boat will go under it while I'm here, but my brother says he has yet to see the drawbridge up, and he's been here for months. Apparently all the boats come in and out at roughly the same time, so if you're not there early in the morning or at night when they're coming in, you're out of luck. :(

Oh, and the people talk funny around here. Not super weird, but of course there's definitely a difference. I heard a car commercial yesterday that cracked me up. And, can you believe it, this whole city only has two country radio stations? I don't know how they survive. ;)

Okay, time to go explore again. I'll be back later...

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14 December 2006

South Carolina...

Well here I am in the lovely city of Charleston, South Carolina. Mostly all I've done is eat seafood, and boy howdy. It is GOOD.

Of course, we are near an ocean now. Mmm mmm mmm... bacon-wrapped shrimp. It's to die for. So are the huge scallops that melt in your mouth. The random plate of coleslaw (apparently coleslaw comes with everything around here): not so exciting. Could I have a salad? No? Okay, never mind...

Oh, and I am not a fan of sweet tea. Blech. If I wanted something that sweet, I'd order a Coke and pour about 5 packages of Sweet-N-Low in it.

This is all I have so far. Today was mostly a bunch of flying and an interminable layover in Dallas. So more adventures later! Good night!

10 December 2006

Announcement!


Yes, it finally happened. Eric and I are now engaged. I am sooooooo excited!
And by the way, the ring you see in the picture was designed by Eric himself, and he got it custom made just for me. It is, of course, perfect.

It's rather late (er, 2 am), so I'm trying to go to bed (not that I'm going to get any sleep whatsoever, but it's a noble effort, I suppose). If you want my fiance's version of the story (I'm having lots of fun typing that word...hehe...), you can check out his blog here.

I'M GETTING MARRIED! YAY!

P.S. Eric's mom wrote us a poem. You can read it on his brother's blog here.

07 December 2006

Would You Wear a Guillotine?

My job provides me with some of the most random conversations ever. Our mental patients are priceless because they'll blurt out some of the oddest things--sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes just confusing.

Today I had one of those confusing moments. As I helped one young woman at the cash register, she pointed to the silver cross charms we sell and said, "What's this? A symbol of the crucifixion?"

"Yes," I said. "It's just a charm, not a necklace or anything. Just kind of a reminder."

She wrinkled her nose. "I don't know about you, but if I got executed I don't think I'd want people reminding themselves with little charms. Y'know what I mean? Like, if I got my head chopped off, it'd be kinda gross if people ran around wearing little guillotines."

At this point I was so caught off guard and baffled that I just gave my usual response to Random Confusing Mental Patient Statements: the straight face, the nod, and the noncommittal "Hmm."

Now I'm wishing that I had been quicker on my feet, because if she really thinks of the cross as just a macabre reminder of some guy's execution two thousand years ago, then she's pretty much missing out on the meaning of life! Hello! Why could I not open my mouth and say something?

But even now, I'm not sure exactly what I should have said. How do you explain the Gospel to a mental patient? It's hard enough for us to really get it even when we're not mentally handicapped...not because it's all that complicated, I guess, but just because we don't want to understand it. We don't want to think that we're not in control of our own lives.

So I don't know, maybe the mental patient thing wouldn't be as big of a factor as I think. Maybe I just need to learn how to speak up when something needs to be said.