Friday, March 25, 2011

My Turn...

So I decided to take a moment today to hijack Kristin's blog in order to give everyone a glimpse into how amazing she really is. I will be the first to say I am a truly lucky man!

As the last blog notes (and depicts), Kristin and I just returned from a PHENOMENAL vacation! 8 days on the road took us on a 56 hr, 3488.5 mi trip through North Carolina, and ultimately down to Fort Myers Beach, FL. We were blessed with the opportunity to see wonderful friends and family, to see breathtaking views, and to enjoy a combination of snowy mountains and sunny beaches in one fail swoop! One of the first of what I hope to be many opportunities to see the country (and ultimately the world) together in a life promising to be full of happiness with Kristin by my side. But as amazing as that trip was--the skiing, the sightseeing, the jet skiing in the ocean, etc--it is not necessarily those experiences that make me realize how lucky I am to be readying myself for our future together. In fact, it's the everyday gestures--the reminders in every form.

For example, I always give Kristin a hard time (jokingly, most often) when she cleans, because I sometimes find it humorous or odd that she seems to choose the most random moments in time to do so. Like last night, for instance, after a day so long that we both found ourselves napping at some point during the time we spent together (on one of the only 3 nights each week we actually get to see each other), when I woke from a nap to Kristin vehemently vacuuming the entirety of her apartment. She then took the opportunity to clean the kitchen. All of this the week following our AMAZING vacation that drained us beyond belief! Here I am--still exhausted, and now thrown back into the reality of life that engulfs me with challenges stemming from homework, studying, preparation for my 2 small group Bible studies each week, church, work, etc--fighting any opportunity to procrastinate, while for Kristin procrastination is not an option.

Instead, she has used this week to cook on several occasions, as well as clean her apartment to a point of being arguably immaculate! But out of humbleness (or exhaustion--though most likely humbleness), I notice she has not mentioned any of those incredible meals on here. So, I simply wanted to point out that I have enjoyed some of the most amazing food this week, and this is no deviation from the normal. Buffalo wings and beef stew...amazing! I am blessed to have a woman in my life who is capable of not only cooking, but doing so well, and who strives to maintain a perfectly clean apartment, all without complaint!

Oh yeah, and Tuesday night when I begged her to indulge me in tagging along to take advantage of the wind gusts in North Texas by going with me to the large field in front of our church to fly the kite, she obliged. We packed up Skipper and enjoyed an hour of outdoors entertainment at the expense of the wind and a very nice kite we invested very little in. Despite being ready to leave long before I was, she continued to allow the kid in me to enjoy the moment!

When I negligently avoided using sun screen on our FIRST day at the beach and ended up looking like a lobster in SERIOUS pain, Kristin lovingly applied aloe vera and lotion, knowing it hurt me too badly to try and do it myself.

I am a lucky, lucky man!! But all of this seems trivial when compared to the realization that she agreed to marry me...again. By accepting my proposal again and putting her ring back on, I'm reminded that through it all, the good times and bad, the trials and tribulations of our future are nothing compared to the joy we will see through the Lord our God so long as we keep Him in balance in our relationship. After all, James 1:2-4 says "...count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." I see no reason to think that this passage can't be applicable within the confines of a Christ-centered marriage as well (especially since a marriage made whole in God is like a single entity).

And thanks to Aaron Lipman (our wonderful new youth pastor), I have been challenged to ponder the following. While we all have heard that wives are called to "...submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22), how often do we explore the concept behind that which follows? "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her...So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself" (Ephesians 5:25, 28). Aaron challenged me to consider these verses in depth. To explore what it means to love your wife in terms of how "Christ...loved the church and gave himself for her," and try to apply that in marriage. So the questions for us husbands, I think, are then along these lines: Am I willing to sacrifice everything--and I mean EVERYTHING--for the safety, security, and well-being of my wife? Am I willing to give my life, if need be, so that my wife can live? Will I always love my wife in the purest, most self-sacrificial way, and then act on that? It's easier to say yes, I believe, than to do yes, but I suppose that's where faith comes in. After all, it is by faith we have been justified. "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, " Romans 5:1-2. I have faith in Christ, and through Christ I am confident that I will always strive, so long as my marriage is Christ-centered, to be the best husband I can be, and in doing so that I might never hesitate to love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. And may it be so that in loving her in this way we might experience a wonderful, loving, peace-filled marriage!

Thank you for all the great times so far Kristin...I look forward to many more years of those to come! I love you!

Until the next time...


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ring and Slushy Skiing

Kelby and I took an awesome road trip this past week.

Time with great friends and relatives
More than 52 hours in the car
3,400 miles driven
Wearing my ring again... priceless   :)

Our first major stop was in the mountains of North Carolina. We wanted to go skiing. Since this is not an option in Texas, skiing in March in NC is definately a step in the right direction. The twisty roads on the way there were so much fun.

But slushy snow, and temperatures in the mid-50's is not the best ski conditions. Not best, but still fun. I debated whether to carry my camera while skiing, and in the end decided I would try. I took it slow and easy, and both my camera and myself survived. With survival, brings pictures. Yay!

Go Kelby Go

Look at that view. I wish we had this in Texas.

Hmm, which picture? I like the one on the left. Kelby likes the one on the right. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sewing Machine and Cloth Wipes

Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple of weeks. Sickness, and then a long road trip with Kelby took me away from the computer.

My sewing machine arrived, with lots of pieces and a large instruction book. The first night I played with the numerous settings, winding the bobbin, and threading the needle. It self-threads, but is a little finicky.

I decided to keep it easy for my first project. A co-worker is doing cloth diapers, so I made some cloth wipes for her. After reading lots of websites, I chose cloth flannel as my fabric, patterned for one side, and one color for the other side. I used cloth flannel because I read it does the best for cleaning baby bottoms, and it was on sale at JoAnn Fabrics :) I cut lots of 8x8 squares of fabric, and then used my NEW sewing machine to sew both pieces of fabric together. I used one stitch, straight lines, and made 90 degree turns. And then I had to figure out how to use the cutting feature as well!!! FYI, 8x8 was chosen because they will fit into regular baby wipe containers.

Wonder what my next project will be????

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Granola from Scratch

I grew up with mom making this granola. Now I enjoy making it, and it is one of Kelby's most often requested recipes. I've made a few alterations, to make it somewhat healthier.

Grandma Western's Granola Recipe

6 heaping cups Old Fashioned Oats (not the quick-cooking kind)
2/3 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup honey
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In 9 by 13 inch pan, cook oats for 10 minutes. Mix all other ingredients in bowl. Add to oats, mix thoroughly. Cook 25-30 minutes. Cool. Store in closed container in refrigerator.

Delicious with yogurt and fruit. Or as cereal!!!