Monday, May 30, 2011

The Simpson Girls =)

So as I get started learning to use my camera I am always looking for people willing to let me shoot them!

I've found that the more I pick up my camera, I am more and more aware of God's glory in everything around me. I'm loving this time of Spring and being more in tune to His creation all around me. In people and in nature.

This week I spent some time with Morgan Simpson and her two sweet girls, Sydney (2) and Onalee (Tiny Little Baby).

We had sooo much fun! This is one of my first times getting to shoot real people and not just flowers =)

Here are some of my favorite shots. Let me know what you think!








Fun Times in Cleveland Today!

This past week Nate and I went to Cleveland to look at houses and he surprised me with a night away so we didn't have to drive all the way back up there the next day.

It was great to get away and have some time to ourselves =) On the way down we saw some interesting sites:

Of course this peaked our interest =)

Best. Slogan. Ever.

I loved this mural.

This is what we call the Minivan 'Tramp Stamp'...Classy

We stayed in the Hilton thanks to Priceline Negotiator. Thanks William Shatner.

Actually, our appointment got cancelled that next day, so we turned it into a blessing and explored the city. We looked around the Coventry area and found this adorable book store!

This is the CUTE upstairs

Nate was in love. I'm sure we will be spending 
LOTS of time here in the future

This little area of Coventry is full of little shops and other fun stuff. I'm dying to explore this old toy shop. Soon and very soon....


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Remember that fun time Mom threw her back out??

My Mom has a really bad back. She's had 2 surgeries and is pretty much in constant pain.

Oh, aaannnnddd I'm a jerk. Important fact before we move on with the story.

So Mom literally 'puts her back out' on Sunday night. I'm not sure medically what this means, only that she can hardly breathe without shooting pain. She really can't move  at all.

Here's the best part.....

Because a) I'm a jerk and b) one of my favorite things to do in life is tease my momma, I decide to take advantage of this situation and provoke my husband and siblings to do the same.

This is what ensued....






One of her BIGGEST pet peeves at a time when she couldn't move. Priceless.

Let me also say that there was much sucking-up to her after this.

We're not hooligans after all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My 'Old Man' Crushes

Ok...here's the thing. I've been keeping this inside for a long time. I kind of have this thing for old men, especially ones who still kiss girls on the cheek =)

Not in a creepy way. Just in an adoring kind of love crushed teenager kind of way.

Don't judge me.

Here are some of my long lasting old hottie love crushes:

1. Mr. Miyagi - Adorable. I'm partial to the Next Karate Kid myself, with Hilary Swank. SOOO cute. When he teaches her the 'karate waltz' and he bows as she heads off for the Senior Prom. Presh.

2. Leroy Jethro Gibbs - Can someone reading this PLEASE tell me that you disagree here? He is like the ultimate TV old man cutie. He protects his team, kisses Abby on the cheek and is just awesome. FYI - favorite show hands down, NCIS. Check it out.

3. Jim Moore - - He is actually real (as in not a character) and totally available....as in if you need a fantastic hug or an arm-in-arm walk outside....What a quality man of God. I have been blessed to get to know Jim as we served at a soup kitchen together in Alliance, where I went to school. He swept me off my feet with his corny jokes, quick smile, and Pittsburgh Steeler loyalty. He's even taken me on a couple of Luna's dates =) BE.  JEALOUS.

Glen Frantz - - Ok, this one has gone on for quite some time. Like maybe, 8 years. Mr. Glen goes to my home church and is probably the reason I put on eyeliner on Sunday mornings =) He is so burly that his hugs are probably some of the best ever. When I was in highschool he would cut newspaper clippings with me in them and write something like 'Your Special' before giving it to me on Sunday. Yeah, I still have them. And yes, this is me in my prom dress in their house. He's basically my adopted grandpa slash love crush. Great combination.


I could add soooo many more faces to this list. Is this just me or do all of us girls love a chivalrous, old fashioned 60-70 year old man??

Disclaimer: My husband is well aware of my weird crushes and is happy that I'll be falling more in love with him as he gets older and well, wrinklier =)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

Wow. When I think about my life right now, I definitely would not use the word, 'peace'. There are so many questions marks not only in my daily routines but just in my future:

 - How will this summer affect my journey to a better body image?
 - Will we be on campus to begin the fall?
 - When will we actually finish raising support?
 - Will we / should we buy a home?

These are just some of the bigger questions looming in my head lately. 

Don't get me wrong...I think we will always have questions. But I have definitely let those questions breed in me a spirit of confusion. Of anxiety. Of worry. Of fighting against the current to control situations that I was never meant to control.

This verse basically just screamed at me that this confusion is NOT from the Lord. If I'm bogged down by confusion, if I don't have peace in my life, that means that I'm not filled with God's Spirit because He is peace.

My grandpa was one of the godliest men, and pastors I have ever met. He used to say "God's promises are as good as His presence" [P.S. He probably stole that from some author that I've never heard of - don't judge me].

As we feel confusion rising in our soul let us take back our thoughts with the promises of God. Promises of continued faithfulness, of provision, of love. 

This week I am intentionally filling my thoughts, and soul with God's peace. 

Join me. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I got it from my Momma...

I love how today can be a day to brag about your momma. I also think mine is pretty spectacular. I would fight you about which of ours is better, but I tend to shy away from conflict.

If you met my mom your life would be enriched. One of my favorite things about her is how she opens up our home to absolutely anyone. She gathers our family around the supper table to have some of the most special and memorable moments. She was literally the loudest fan in the gym when I played basketball....she even cheered when we were on defense. 

If I could pick one word to describe her it would be: present. Annoyingly sometimes. Whether I was upset about a game when I was younger, frustrated with school work, picking a college, homesick from that college, weirdly dating this boy, still upset about basketball games, planning my wedding, and now raising support, my mom has been there. Always. 

Here are some truly random things about my mother that you really don't need to know, but you'll be glad you  do =)
  • My mom is horrible at 'Rock-Paper-Scissors'. If you ever want to get out of doing dishes, challenge her.
  • She. Will. Cheat. She's that competitive. Don't take your eye off her.
  • Never tickle her feet. She will literally get violent (which, if it's happening to someone else is pretty funny)
  • Deadly fear of snakes. Many will take advantage of this....I am for you.
  • "Hickey", "Thingy", "Whatchamacallit". If you can't interpret these, you may struggle to have a coherent conversation with my momma. Her vocabulary is shrinking as she gets, um, wiser.
  • Saturday morning breakfasts are essential to her weekend.
  • "What is the plan?" - - our days are very strategic, kinda.
  • She just found her Contact List on a cell phone she's had for over a year. We're moving on to Voicemail next. Prayers appreciated.
Trust me when I say that you want to meet my momma. She has by far shaped my faith unlike any other person in this world. SOOOO thankful for her.

Scholarship banquet right before I graduated
high school (2006)

Getting married. Wanted to kill her leading up to the wedding =), but that day
I could not have been more happy that she was there with me (2009).

Graduating from Mount (2010)
Just playing in the snow, (2011)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Miss Independent

You know, just my Kelly Clarkson pose. Only appropriate for the Post Title....
I think we look strikingly similar. 
I HATE being dependent on someone or something. I love to have the athlete mentality of 'just work hard enough/long enough and you will get good or complete or adequately overcome whatever the obstacle'. You know...practice makes perfect.

Some examples from my dysfunctional life:
  1. loathed group projects in college. The thought that I was dependent on the hard work of other people (mostly slackers that got put in my group) was just not right to me. So I ended up doing most of the work myself....don't judge.
  2. It was really hard when Nate and I first began to date, to not only let him lead, but to gain a healthy dependence on him as my boyfriend, fiancĂ©e, and then husband....let's just say I'm still working on this.
  3. I don't even like taking medicine because I'm afraid that I will become completely dependent on it to function. Rough.
So here I am, conditioned athlete and more naturally independent, and God calls me to go into a ministry where I have to raise support.

I can hear Him chuckling as I type this. (P.S. Does God chuckle??)

Support raising for me has been, so far, a 10 month process of learning that no matter how hard I try, no matter how perfect I present, or how prepared I am, God, and only God, can bring in the monthly amount we need to raise.

Awesome. 

But you know, God is kind of like those Dairy Queen commercials...

Meaning that He doesn't just stop at good enough...He doesn't just show me things that occur in support raising. NO! He shows me tendencies that have been present my entire life. He shows me that this independence is so deeply rooted in my heart that I have NEVER been completely dependent on Him.

I don't like to think that I can't earn my way into God's good graces. I hate to think that there is literally nothing I can do to make Jesus love me more. I want CONTROL!

And yet, God is revealing to me the beauty of dependence on Him. He is providing support out of avenues that I could have never imagined. He is blessing me in abundance in this process even though my performance wouldn't merit anything. He is changing my heart towards my desire for independence. 

Even though support raising is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done, I am SO incredibly thankful that God has chosen to bring me through this journey of learning more about His character and mine. Gosh, I love Him.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 
Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Psalm 23, Clara Style


I really hope this made your day as much as it did mine. I'm thinking of hiring this Clara, this 2 year old, to read all my Scripture to me. 

PRECIOUS!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Operation Naked Ferret - Bringing Nathan Home

Let's just start off by saying that I LOVE my church. Just like one, big, dysfunctional family =)

Nathan started his journey home from Bethany Bible College in New Brunswick, Canada early on Saturday afternoon.

Our family is actually not welcome in Canada on the basis of our extreme redneck tendencies....very offensive to the French. Because of this international distaste in all things Jeff Foxworthy, and the school being forever and a day away (18 hours), we haven't actually seen Nathan since Christmas.

Mom thought the "plan" was for Dad and Nate to leave after church and drive the 5 hours to Pennsylvania, pick him up, and be back to the house at like 11pm.

She was so excited. It was like the Royal Wedding Countdown. She even announced in church that she got to see him in [insert squeal] "10 HOURS!!!!".

What she didn't know, and what Dad, Nate and I were trying to keep from her was the behind the scenes working of 'Operation Naked Ferret'. Two men in our church, Rod and Ed Tusing, left their house near where we live at around 2 am, got to Pennsylvania, and were trying to get Nathan back to the church before either everyone left, or mom killed us for not scurrying off to Pennsylvania to bring him home....

**It was really a toss up which would happen first. There were some scary moments for sure**

And obviously no good mission would be complete without code names:
Silver Back - -  looking suspiciously like Billy Mays
Wounded Elephant - - he's the harrier one =)

And the target of our mission:
The Naked Ferret himself 
Stalling Mom was, well, NOT easy. She was determined that she would not wait see Nathan one second later than she had to. We had several women trying to distract her. Finally, I told Silver Back's wife, Michelle, that she just needed to fake an emotional problem and desperately pull my Mom into the sanctuary for 5 minutes.

If there's one thing that my Mother cannot resist, it's a woman who needs to talk. Mom is the person you naturally want to talk to when you have a problem. P.S. I'm actually glad that she gave me that trait as well...but don't tell her I said that...she'll probably wrap me in a big hug or something horrible like that.

The guys came up behind her and got her attention to turn around. When she saw Nathan, a squeal came out of her that actually rang through to all the dogs this side of the Mississippi, maybe farther.

It was kind of like Jimmy Valvano in the 1983 NCAA Championship game. North Caroline State pulled probably one of the biggest upsets of all time over Houston. After they won on a last second dunk, Jimmy V just ran around the court, frantically looking for someone to hug. Here's a snippet for you to see:



Mom just screamed, and hugged Nathan, then screamed and hugged everyone around her, then hugged Nathan again...mind you, still no words have come out of her mouth...just the dog-pitched, dolphin sounding squeals.

The spectacle lasted for about 10 minutes while we were all hugging and standing around making fun of Mom behind her back =)

It was wonderful. Definitely something she will never forget.

Did I say that I LOVE our church?!?!?!?





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