Thursday, December 9, 2010

Undeserving

I am undeserving.


Of my wonderful job.
Of my parents
Of my family
Of Sam
Of grace and mercy.

Those don't even begin to brush the surface of the all goodness the Lord has bestowed upon me.  And for what reason?   Because He is Love.  Because He is Love he gives blessings.   I am reminded of this verse in John:

John 1:16 (NIV)
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.




Right now the blessings are evident.  They are pouring in from every angle.  In 8 days I am marrying the love of my life.  My parents have provided steadfast love throughout my life; despite my faults, failures, and screw-ups.  My boss is empowering.  My co-workers are caring. My Saviour is there every hour.  I am forgiven the repulsive sin of Hell to have a relationship with Him.

I don't deserve them, but in thankful praise to the One from whom all blessings come, I accept them joyfully in humble thanks.  These blessings are mine, yes, but they say nothing of me.  They say everything about my Savior.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

16 days and counting!

Well, it's been awhile, yet again.  We are now only 16 days from the wedding  and then we won't be the to be Battershells, but just the Battershells! (we don't count the day of the wedding in the countdown--that would be silly!) eeeekk!  It's so close.  Everything is pretty much ready, I am just working on going over last minute schedules and packing lists.  I have been blessed with a wonderful wedding party and incredible vendors that have made this whole process pain-free.

We get the marriage license on Friday!  Yes, a day off of work!  It is inconvenient that we have to take a day off and travel to Fort Worth to get it, but we are excited about spending a day together right before the wedding.

This weekend on the schedule to do with Mom and Dad: orgainze all wedding stuff into reception and ceremony containers.  We have a wonderful reception coordinator who will decorate it for us, just as we want, we just have to deliver the items the day before the wedding to her!  I am going to go ahead and get it all separated so we aren't trying to remember everything that day.

Assemble candles.  We have 80 candles and candlholders that need to be assembled for reception.  Bring on the hot glue.

Practice dancing.  My wonderful (engineer) father took dance lessons so we can have a great first dance.  We should practice.

It's finally cold in Houston today--our high is 60 degrees!  It feels like Christmas and the wedding.  I am so excited.  If only the days would fly by faster.  Well....that's all for now.  Maybe will post some pictures tonight of the apartment--it has changed a lot since you last saw it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Joy in the small things

It's been awhile...I know.  The blog has yet again been neglected.  Since we last saw each other, many days have gone by and now it's only 53!!, yes 53, days until the wedding.  Sam and I could not be more excited, elated, or happy for this day to come. 

While our engagement seems to be flying by, it is also d r a g g i n g....living in two different cities is something we have experienced while dating (I went home to Fort Worth every summer, and worked a summer at Pine Cove) being separated while engaged is a whole different story.  When most people ask us what we are most excited about in our coming marriage, our honest answer--"living in the same town...and together!" 

You see, the more we are apart, the more I realize that for me, Sam fills a place in my heart that no one else can; and the same is true for him of me. We have no doubts that we are meant to be together, but living apart during this preparation time for marraige has taught us that lesson to the very core of us.  This time apart has pushed us to limits we did not know we had; and limits we had never had to push before.  We have learned new things about each other; new ways to communicate; our ability to see, understand, and fulfil what the other person needs has been taken to a whole new level.  So yes, while this time stinks, we have no doubts that it is better preparing us for marriage (even while we are apart)!

Thus, when Sam and I were in Fort Worth this past weekend for a shower we took the opportunity to go on a date.  In all of the excitement around the wedding, new job, and new town a lot of the simple things of just being a couple get lost.  It was something I looked forward to all week--just time for the two of us to sit down to dinner and talk.  Not about the wedding, not about work, but just talk.  It was the absolute highlight of the weekend. 

Our shower that took place on Saturday was wonderful--but we are not getting "wedding-ed" we are getting MARRED. It's easy in this time to focus so completely on the wedding that you can forget the real reason for all of the stress, excitement, etc.  It's about him; it's about us; it's about the ONE person we are  becoming.  The excitement and planning and wedding is wonderful; we absolutely can NOT wait.  BUT, we are more excited about dinner together every night.  Our biggest wish right now is for what most people consider the mundane, everything things:  laundry, cooking, cleaning; living our life together.

It's these seemingly small things that really excite us.  We were just talking the other day about how much easier it will be to decorate the house when we can do it together.  The point I am finally getting around to here is this:  it's not about the big stuff, it's not about the "timeline", it's not even about what I have or do or anything...it's about WHO I am with.  And when that person is Sam, the rest does not matter. 

You see, I am continually learning from Sam, and he from me.  One of the many things I am learning from Sam (and actually from Christ though Sam) is contentment.  I have always been "timeline" driven.  I have had set in my mind a "timeline" for life.  I knew when I wanted to  graduate, get marrried, have kids, grandkids, etc.  Absolutely everything was worked out in my mind, and it was going to be wonderful.  But the issue here is that I was never able to be satisfied and content.  Once one goal is reached, it is automatically onto the next.  I had this preconcieved notion that this path was carved out for us and we were just to follow it; but I was leaving out God's timing in our lives.  You see, we are not couple x, y or z.  There is not a "formula" to life; and going through all of the "steps" I had laid out is not what is going to make me happy.  Following the will of Christ will bring me joy--which is far beyond the temporary thrill and happiness I can find in my timeline. 

So it's not about if we get married "early", "at the right time" or "late" on the timeline.  It's not about if kids come "early", "right" or "late"; it's about WHO you are with.  And for me; that's just being with Sam--no matter what the timeline. 

So yes, while Houston stinks most of the time, I will find joy in all the small things we have. I will find joy in preparing our apartment, because THIS is our timeline--it's not a script; it's not about reaching this goal by this time; it's not about what others think we should be doing or how we should be doing it;  it's following the will of God and finding joy in the things He gives us, big or small.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tis so Sweet

Life right now is sweet.  I have been wonderfully blessed.  I love work, I love where I live, and I am enjoying a sweet time with the love of my life.  All of the blessings we have received are a direct blessing and gift from our Lord--we know that none of this is deserved or of our own power.

The season is changing--(fall is on it's way!) and this season of life for me is very different than any other.  I am finally done with school and enjoying being a part of the work force.  Engagement is a different and fun time of life that will be gone so quick.  I finally feel "adult" and am loving the responsibility and independence that comes along with work.  It's all so new, and so sweet. 

But there are things we miss.  Tomorrow is the first month anniversary of Nanny's entrance into Heaven.  Life is so different without her here--I can not imagine her joy in Heaven to be finally connected for eternity to Jesus, but here on Earth, we still long for her.  All of my drives to and from Houston are a time when I remember how she loved to talk to me on the phone and accompany me on my drives.    I so deeply want her to enjoy this season of life with us and be a part of how life is changing.  I know she would be so proud and excited for Sam and I, and we love having her so active in our lives.  We will be reunited with her in Heaven, but we still long and ache for her wisdom, love, and unselfish care and concern here in our lives now.

I have moved to Houston, and am experiencing Austin-withdraw.  I miss the friends, university life, and church family that I had in Austin.  While I know the Lord has placed me in Houston for a specific reason, I still yearn to be reunited with the life he gave me in Austin.

But through all of this, Samuel and I have to trust the Lord.  His plan for our marriage and for our life is so much greater than what we can create for ourselves.  We don't like being separated in two different cities, but we know that what the Lord has for us is best.  The old hymn "Tis so Sweet" has been a recent prayer of mine.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

To listen, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdgkvnsHjM&feature=related

It reminds me of the childlike faith that we are called to have--the trust knowing that our heavenly Father will take care of our every need--what a treasure we have to GET to trust Him. The verse Matthew 7:11 is brought to my mind at this time: 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

In this season, and every season,  I have a father that will provide and care for every need.  How sweet.  How refreshing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Finally--after getting everything set up, finding the cord to my camera, we have pictures of the new place!


The living room

We were able to use some furniture from Nanny's house. This lamp sits on one of her end tables that we now have.

Sam made a great spot right by the door for all my stuff to go!

I finally got the re-covered squares hung

The gold in the papers goes really well with all of the navy in the room.  We used three patterned and six solid papers.

My wonderful TV with instant netflix!

My bedroom!  I love it!

Dresser

Kitchen--it is open and looks onto the living room.

We have Great Gran's china hutch and Nanny's table.  We love having pieces of our family with us in our house! Our guest bath is really large and we love the linen closet and extra space. Furthest below is our guest bedroom. 

We hope you like the new place!  We would love to have you as a guest soon! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Evenings

Sunday evenings are some of Sam and my's favorite times.  We think of them as "the calm before the storm." They are the most relaxing, slowest part of the weekend that allows you to get ready for the week. It's a restful time where you can just enjoy being together, reflecting on the past week and getting ready for the next. 

That said, this Sunday afternoon was different than most, because instead of enjoying it together, it was time for him to head back to Austin.  We had a great weekend together--we enjoyed trying our first Houston restaurants, learning the city, and getting the last few things built and put together.  We had such a great time working on what will be our first place. But saying goodbye to Samuel is never my favorite moment.  His presence completely changes my attitude--when he is here, I want to cook great meals for him; but when it's just me, I don't want to put forth the effort "just for myself".  I am more energetic when he is here, lazier when he is not.  He changes completely most of the things in my day. 

As I was sitting lazily watching TV after he left, there was an undeniable similarity of how Sam changes me and how Christ changes me.   The presence of Christ in my life needs to have as visible a change in me as when Sam is around.  But to be honest, it does not always.  I don't always live like I share a life with Christ that I am excited about.  My relationship with Christ should be so evident that it is leaking and spilling over into everything I do.  I needs to change my mood, my desires, my plans for my future.  There are times where I am more excited about seeing Sam than I am about spending time with Christ.  I need to cherish my relationship with Christ to an  level beyond that of any kind of excitement I share for things on Earth.  It can be hard to be as excited for Christ because I can not touch Him, hug Him, or see Him; like I can with Sam.  But the relationship I share with Christ is so much sweeter and deeper it overcomes the physical barriers that separate us. 

So on this Sunday night, I will not allow the physical distance of Sam or Christ to dominate my mood; but rather I will be excited because of the relationships I share with both of them.  I can still relax and enjoy my evening before work, but I do not have to be subject to emotions of being separated from either; because I am never separate from Christ, and I am only temporarily separated from Sam.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The "Real" World

Two days of work are successfully complete without any major mishaps. Work (on Mondays and Tuesdays) goes something like this:  we have approximately 3,000 mice and their cages have to be changed weekly.  We split the changing of the cages up into two days.  (It takes forever.)  Think of the cages like plastic shoe boxes; that's about the right size.  The cages are on metal rolling shelves that have 5 shelves per unit. It's a huge ordeal to change the cages because all of these mice are recessive naked mice that have been injected with a cancerous tumor.  Thus, they have very little to no immune system and we have to sterilize the room before we can begin. We then scrub up completely...it looks like we are going into surgery before we start.

First, we take the tape off of the cages--around the junction where the top and bottom part of the cage meet we have to tape and seal it to further protect against bacteria and pathogens that could be deadly to the mice (remember these little guys are worth $500 a piece!)   Taking off the tape takes about an hour with 6 of us working.  We then move on to moving the mice--which includes new food, new water that we have to infuse with vitamins, and new "bedding" of sorts.  We work in 3 teams of two, and this takes about 5 hours.  After we are done moving the mice, we have to re-tape the new cages.  This is another 2 hours.

The whole process is around 7 hours, and then we take lunch and go home!  It's a crazy couple of days and we are running around the whole time, but it goes so fast and I love it.

The rest of the work week will hold more experiments...will let you know how that goes.

The apartment is still wonderful. Working on unpacking more boxes daily--maybe will get to pictures tonight.  Don't want to rush the reveal though, and do it before the place is ready.  Laundry party tonight--the beautiful, brand new washer and dryer do a fabulous job, and they are sparkling white!  The new carpet is also wonderfully stain-free...and will hopefully stay that way.  The people who were here before us either had an animal that was not taken care of properly or were living as animals themselves.  Needless to say, it was not pretty.  But now it's beautiful!  It is starting to feel like home.

Samuel is continuing on the job hunt.  He is working so hard at it and I am very proud of him.  I know whoever hires him will find him as much as a jewel as I do!  He has not moved in with his aunt Kima yet (who lives in the Woodlands), but I will be excited for that day so that he can be closer!

After my exhausting but wonderful first day of work, I did manage to order the wedding invitations!  They are beautiful and I can't wait to see them in person. We are less than four months from the big day....I somehow feel behind on planning, even though most things are taken care of.  The big stuff (vendors, etc) is all done..but it's time to work on smaller details.

That's all for now...it's time to make use of the new washer and dryer.  Will try to get pictures up later.
Love,
the to be Battershells

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Beginnings

Our lives change so fast, and what we have now is only ours for a moment. This is mainly the reason why we (I) have decided to begin a family blog.  This summer has proven to us (Samuel and I) that our lives are really just a moment in time, and we want to be able to share our day to day lives and activities with our friends who we can't always be as close to as we would like.  Now, it is our family blog, but my dear husband-to-be hates blogs, so while he won't be doing the typing, his thoughts and updates will all be given through me.

Our past week has been such a lesson in relying on each other.  As we move toward oneness, we have had the week and situations to experience incredible joy and deep sorrow.  We have found that through all situations, openness and vulnerability are key to our relationship.  Our joy is greater when shared together and our burdens are lessened by each other.  For me, Sam is a blessing that is priceless.  The moment I get good news I can not wait to share it with him; and yet, the moment my stomach sinks in a tough situation, I know he will provide an answer.  He is not a replacement for God, or for my relationship with my heavenly Father, but here on Earth Samuel is the truest and purest manifestation that I have of how God loves me.  What a gift I have been given!

Our past week or so has exemplified this vulnerability we must share. We both finished college last Saturday (eight days ago now) and shared a joy that was overwhelming.  I was beaming for Sam, and he for me.  But our joy was hindered because the night before, we had received a call from my parents that my 93 year old great grandmother, Nanny, had gone to be with Jesus.  What a wonderful friendship we share that when tears began streaming down my face as I was on the phone with my Dad, Samuel knew what was being said and embraced me.  It was a moment of intimacy for Samuel to understand and grieve with me without any words spoken.  We grieved together Friday night, and finished school on Saturday morning.  These two moments in my mind would never be linked--such great joy and such raw sorrow.

You see, for us, Nanny was not just a great grandmother.  Nanny is another mother.  When my brother Forrest and I were young, Nanny kept us every day while Mom and Dad worked.  She repeatedly told my mom "These are my babies, you just gave birth to them."  Nanny's house could be called a museum to Forrest and I; you can look through her halls and see us grow up in pictures. Nanny belonged to us, and we to her.  Until the day she entered the hospital, we had at least weekly conversations; Nanny knew the details of my life and cherished them. She prayed for job interviews.  She knew my class schedule every semester.  Nanny was, and is, dear to our hearts.

We shared this sorrow, but also shared the joy of accepting a job offer and deciding to move to Houston. One of the most fun parts of engagement (for Samuel) is the planning of the times to come. We shared the joy of picking an apartment (that is mine for now, but will be ours after the wedding). We relished in planning the small details and enjoyed daydreaming about the time when we will live here together.  Through all of the fun, we miss our Nanny and know she would be so excited and involved in all of these details.

Our week also included Nanny's funeral, Sam's graduation party, and moving me to Houston.  It's a time in our life that is rushing by and we want to take note of it and enjoy the mountaintops and the valleys.  It's not so much where we are, but that we are together.

Work starts tomorrow morning at 7 am, and I could not be more excited!  Pictures of the new place to come later, stay tuned.