Thursday, September 30, 2010

1000 Gifts

I have seen this posted on many blogs and finally decided I would join in and do one of my own. It’s simple – just post 1000 things you are thankful for in as much time as you’d like. It's so easy to forget about the blessings in our lives at times and focus on the lacking areas instead. I thought this was a perfect time to focus on all the many gifts God has blessed me with and to be thankful instead of lacking in contentment. God is so good and there is so much to be thankful for when we pay attention!

So here are my first gifts I am thankful for!

1) That God is in control of my life and has blessed me with the most important gift of salvation

2) My wonderfully supportive and amazing husband, Derek

3) My two cute dogs that truly make me feel like the most important person in the world to them


5) Encouraging and compassionate people in my life

6) The sunny beautiful weather outside today

7) That the last load of laundry for today is in the wash! Wahoo! :)

"Be joyful always; Pray continually; Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thes. 5:16-18

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Endure Hardship

I have been feeling a little disconnected from God recently and I'm sure a large part is due to the familiar cloud of hormones surrounding the fact that I have begun that monthly marker proving once again that I am not pregnant. It's strange how the hormones can effect so many areas of life. My time with God, my relationships with friends, my relationship with Derek, even how I react towards my dogs! It effects everything about how I feel towards the world. It seems that during this week people at the grocery store are more frustrating, drivers on the road are worse, neighbors are louder, and all the little things that normally don't bother me are more annoying. Not to say that I don't have these days outside of this week, because I do. It seems that sometimes the smallest things in life can seem like a gigantic hardship.

I have been feeling the effects of multiple hardships this week (some small and some large) and this morning came across these two verses that tugged on my heart and reminded my soul of God's fresh perspective and purpose.

"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons...No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." -Hebrews 12:7 & 11

Hardship as discipline. I feel like I can sometimes see that and other times am blind to it. I feel as though sometimes (like lately) I just get tired of it. I'm tired of the waiting. I'm tired of taking the dogs down stairs to go outside to the bathroom. I'm tired of worrying about finances. I'm tired of lots of things. And then I come across verses like this that remind me there is a purpose behind each and every little situation that crosses my path. It's not simply random. There is a reason God is allowing me this hardship to grow me and strengthen me. It is for good and not bad. It all comes back to trust. Am I trusting that God is in control of even the smallest annoyances in my life?

When I trust, it brings such a peace to me and wipes out the familiar feeling of irritation and bitterness. Bitterness. Such a common companion to hardship. I notice it creep in especially at times like these where everything in life seems like a hardship. Whether it is bitterness at a driver on the road, someone who has something I wish I had, or at anyone or anything else (yes sometimes I feel bitter at those stairs!), it makes things worse. It can become all consuming and it spreads like wildfire. It is like tying a bow on top of the package of hardship to keep it sealed right inside of us. Then it festers and grows.

But when I am able to trust God in these hardships and see a purpose behind them, then there is no room for bitterness. I have no one (or no thing) to be bitter at when I am trusting there is a reason and a lesson to glean from my hardship. It's difficult. It's called a HARDship for a reason. It tests us and refines us. No matter what the hardship, we all have our different ones. They are all hard to us individually and no one can say that one person's is worse than another's because they can't possibly know. Each hardship is specific to each person and can help us grow and blossom into the person God has created us to be if we let it. There is a reason and a point to all of it, even as difficult as it is while we are in it. God can (and will) use the difficult to turn things beautiful. Let's choose to let those hardships change us for good and not bad!

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." -Hebrews 12:15

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


"You open Your hand & satisfy the desire of every living thing." -Psalm 145:16

Sometimes it's hard to remember the difference between need and want. Sometimes we feel like wants are needs. It's so refreshing to remember that God does truly satisfy all our desires and needs even if in a timing that is not our own. If we look to Him and truly draw close to Him, he gives us a peace that fills those holes of desire in our lives. When we focus on Him, we don't feel lacking in anything.

"In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled...I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:12-13

Even right now in my waiting I feel content and filled by a God who is so amazing that only He can fill those places in my heart and nothing else. At this moment in time I may not have the desires that I feel are most significant in my "wanting" category such as a baby or a house but I am still filled and content and joyful. Those places in my heart are filled to overflowing by a loving God who gives abundantly. It's amazing to me that even in a period of waiting or growing how much peace and joy God gives when you draw near to Him.

One of my favorite (and most often used) phrases I have been saying for the past few months has been that if you pray for patience you are not zapped with it, but are instead given opportunities to grow in patience. A friend emailed me a list of things that go perfectly with that phrase:

I asked for strength.....
and God gave me challenges to make me strong

I asked for wisdom......
and God gave me problems to solve

I asked for courage......
and God gave me danger to overcome

I asked for love......
and God gave me troubled people to help

I asked for favors......
and God gave me opportunities

I asked for prosperity.......
and God gave me brain and brawn to work

I received nothing I wanted....
but was given everything I needed to evolve and shine into the person I am meant to be

There is a point and a plan to everything, even when we cannot see it. So often it doesn't make sense. Which is why it is so reassuring to know that God is in control of it and I don't need to wonder why or worry about it because it is all in His hands. He is shaping me into the woman I am meant to be through every detail of my life and I am so thankful for that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wild Weekend

Since I last wrote on Wednesday about Patience, quite a few things have gone on.

First off, my realtor called me Wednesday night (about 6 hours after I posted) to tell me the bank had signed the papers for the house! After all that worrying and waiting I finally gave it up to God and decided not to have it on my plate and then the waiting was over. Or at least the waiting to hear back about the papers. The inspection of the house wasn't scheduled for five long days (for today). But I'll get back to that in a minute.

Thursday afternoon I felt myself beginning to feel anxious AGAIN about the house and the inspection and so badly wanting it to be a blessing from God and not a patience opportunity. (Yes, just like I said before...I reeeeally struggle with patience!) I tried to pray and felt my mind drifting to thoughts such as: what if the bank covered up mold and we can't find it...or what if the walls are crumbling in areas that the inspector can't see....or what if there is some huge horrible secret that we don't know about and this will be a huge mistake!?

I finally snapped myself out of this downward spiral and looked back down to my bible that I had opened but had neglected to start reading yet. I am going through Hebrews and was at chapter 3. It only took me four verses to get to this beautiful verse that so spoke to my heart:

"For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." -Hebrews 3:4

That calmed me right down. How do I so easily forget that God is in control of this all? It was such a perfect reminder. He is so good to quiet my crazy heart and soothe my anxious spirit. Even better was the timing that my sister was coming into town that night and I was able to focus on having fun with her instead of finding unnecessary things to worry about.

Lauren got here late Thursday night and we had such a fun time together. I hadn't seen her in four months and was so thankful she could fly up here to visit. I love her! We got to go wine tasting on Saturday with Meghan Harvey (a friend all the way back from fourth grade!) and we also got special treatment from my friends who work at the wineries. It was a wonderful day and such a blessing to be in the company of two great girls. Here are some pictures of our time together!

Lauren was able to stay all the way until Sunday night and we got many hours of girl chatting in that were all so wonderful. It was also so great to have company here at the house while Derek was on night float and working at the hospital all night. It was perfect timing!

As for the inspection. That went on today. There is lots that needs to be fixed with the house. So much so that the bank will actually most likely have to agree to fix things on it before we can get approved for our loan on the house. In other words, another crazy situation. I left feeling a bit overwhelmed and down. I didn't want to give up on this being a blessing from God but I also didn't feel like praying about it for fear this was going to simply be another lesson in patience and growing for me (since I obviously need them!) and that it wont be a house for us.

When I got home I happened to look at Lysa Terkeurst's blog titled "Why am I scared to pray boldly?" She talks about how praying makes a difference, even if that difference is to change the person praying instead of God answering their prayer. It completely touched on exactly what I was feeling. It's so true. No matter what happens with this house, it has been a situation that has drawn me closer to Him, drawn me deeper into prayer, and grown me in so many ways. I am being honest that my heart does hope that this house will be a wonderful place for Derek and I to fix up and live in, but I completely trust that if it isn't then whatever God has for us instead is much better suited for us and for His plan. He has a plan and it is perfect. I will trust in that truth....and wait!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Friends and Family

I am so thankful for the friends and family that God has blessed me with. I am so thankful for the encouragement and love they provide on a daily basis whether I am feeling on top of the world or below the grass. They always seem to know just the right thing to say or when not to say anything at all. This period in my life has been filled with waiting and learning and growing that I know would not have been possible on my own.

I have been so blessed by the family and friends that have been able to visit us here in Portland already. I am also thankful for those who have yet to come but are planning to. I am so thankful for those who I can talk on the phone with or Skype at all hours of the night with! I am also thankful for my new blogging friends who I have met and even those I have yet to meet who have been an encouragement through their own writing.

There are so many things to be thankful for. I came across this blog that does Thankful Thursday's and was inspired to do it as well. Friends and Family were the first thing that came to my mind. My friends and family have been such an amazing source of strength and encouragement for me and I am truly so thankful for them. I believe God has placed each person in my life for a very specific reason and I am so thankful for that. New friends and old friends, new family and old family, all have played such an important role in my life and I am forever grateful that God has blessed me with each and every one of you! You reading this blog right now, I am thankful for you!

What are you thankful for today?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have realized I am not a patient person. I would like to say I am at least average in that department but I don't think I am. Probably more like a C- or maybe even worse. It's so funny to me how I can feel myself growing in patience and finding peace and contentment in waiting over so many different things in my life and then suddenly without any warning I notice I am feeling intensely impatient. Where did that come from!?

As I have talked about in my past postings I do believe if you pray for patience God doesn't just zap you with patience. Ta-da! No, he places opportunities in your life for you to grow in patience and therefore become more patient. I feel as though my list of opportunities has been fairly long lately and yet I have felt God's peace through it and have been excited about the growth. I have felt content in my waiting to become pregnant, I have felt peace in my role as a wife to a first year neurology resident, in enjoying time to myself, in the house hunt, and so many other areas.

I'm not sure when it happened exactly, maybe yesterday or the day before but suddenly I realized I am feeling very antsy and impatient. And once it gets a hold of you in one area it is bound to leak over into other areas. For me it's started with this whole house process. It's gone back and forth about whether we're pursuing the house, now we're not, oh here we go again. I have felt very peaceful about it and have tried very hard to keep myself from getting excited about it in fear of it being another patience tester. I think I'm getting a little tired of the waiting process and would rather not be attached to wanting it so that if it ends up not passing inspection and we have to back out then it wont be such a big deal. But I don't think that's how it works. I am finding I am getting my desires linked to this house. I get excited every time I see a Home Depot commercial because I think about the changes we'll be able to make to the house. I dream about painting it and redoing bathrooms and decorating. I even daydream about doing yard work!

Without realizing it I think over the past week while telling myself I can take it or leave it, I have secretly been thinking I'd rather take it. We signed our contract last Thursday...then the bank signed it Friday and sent us back a contract of their own for us to sign. We signed it Saturday and figured we would hear back from them Monday or Tuesday and then do the inspection Wednesday (today) or Thursday since they had been so quick with everything else. So that is why when Monday night rolled around and we still had not heard back from them I started to get a little antsy. Well here we are Wednesday and still no word from them. I know, I know. I should have seen this coming and not get attached. That's what I tried to do. I still feel okay either way whether we end up with the house or not because I truly do believe it is all a part of God's plan. I honestly trust that. I am just feeling impatient in the waiting (yet again). And therefore am reminded of what a truly impatient person I am.

It's bizarre to me that I can wholeheartedly trust in God's plan yet at the same time feel like I am a race horse waiting to get out of the gate. In fact I think I may have even stomped my foot once or twice in the past few days! I just feel like I am waiting for the next thing to happen and I'm ready for it to It's kind of like a tug of war for my heart. Although it is a breath of fresh air to even just admit this out loud and I do feel better having said it. "I am feeling impatient." Maybe admitting it is half the battle of breaking it's hold on me. I know the other half is trusting in God and leaning on Him for strength. I have zero patience without Him!
So I will wait some more...and grow.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." -Psalm 62:5

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, September 9, 2010

House Hunt: The final chapter (hopefully)

Isn't it funny how when we pray and God answers exactly what we prayed for, we can still hesitate and question the situation?

We looked for houses...then we stopped....then we started again....then we found one we thought could be a great possibility. I had actually been tracking this house for sometime and watched it fall tremendously in price over the past two months. It came to a stop at $189,900 a few weeks ago. Derek and I decided last week to throw out a ridiculous offer of $170,000 since it would need a lot of fixing up. There was a little last minute mis-understanding between our realtor and us and he added in that we also wanted in addition 3% of closing costs plus $1500 of fixing on the furnace and water heating. We said that was fine and we figured the whole thing was so ridiculous anyways that it didn't really matter.

We prayed about it tons and asked God to either have them accept our ridiculous offer if it was meant to be, or reject it and not even consider a reasonable counter offer if it wasn't. Most people we talked to told us to be prepared for them to reject us completely since the offer was so low. Well they countered but didn't drop the price even $1. They said they would do the closing cost and fixes but kept the price the same. We prayed about it more and sadly both felt God was telling us to walk away. I was sad but felt at peace with it. That was when I wrote my blog on Tuesday about feeling peace. I had come to terms with the fact that redoing a house wasn't apparently my next task. We decided to simply let the offer expire Monday night and take a break (yet again) from the house hunting process.

Wednesday morning my realtor called telling me that the bank had contacted him saying they had reconsidered and wanted to know if we would still be interested in the house if they accepted all our original terms and price. What!?! This house was originally put on the market in February at $279,900 and had been dropped to $189,00. It was now going to be given to us for $170,000 plus they are going to pay $5,100 in closing costs plus do $1,500 in fix ups!? So Derek and I prayed about it and feel that this is why we were supposed to walk away in the beginning so that God could bless us with this even more amazing situation. My realtor said he has never even heard of anything like this before.

Even though it looked perfect and we even prayed for this exact same situation we still took more time to pray about it before accepting it. We do feel like this is a total blessing from God but we are still staying calm and guarding our hearts about it knowing full well that the inspection will be a big deal and could reveal deal breakers since the house is older. If that happens we will trust that it is all a part of God's plan, but for now we feel very blessed to see this all coming to a fruitful end. We signed papers last night redoing our original offer (everything the same except extending the closing date one week).

It's so crazy to think here we are possibly about to buy our first home. Even more exciting is the fact that last night we also attended a couples bible study for the first time that is looking to move it's location to someone else's house. We could cram everyone in our apartment but it's awesome to think that this could be one of the first uses for a new home as well. We are excited to see what God will do and are waiting patiently. We don't need a house or to leave these apartments, but if we do we want to use the house as another way we can serve and give thanks to God.

Hopefully this is the final chapter in our house hunting subject...but we will wait and see!

"There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." -Proverbs 23:18

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This is the day...

My list of "to-do's" for since we moved here has been winding down. Most everything has been unpacked and the only pressing things left to do are get the car's oil changed and get my drivers license renewed (I also have to do the eye exam!). Over the past week I have found myself starting to feel slightly stir crazy since Derek's schedule has been over-demanding and I have had a lot of alone time. At first I found this time refreshing and rejuvenating. Now I am finding myself feeling antsy and hunting for things to do.

Derek and I talked about it last night and we still feel we want to be able to make it work with me staying at home for now. He told me I should enjoy this time and that someday we could have eight kids running around and I will be longing for a few seconds to myself. It's so funny that I can remember days past where I have said that exact same thing, and here I am now with that time and I am frantically trying to fill it all up.

So today I am sitting here on my couch with my coffee listening to the birds and the wind outside. I am enjoying the cool breeze coming in off the balcony and the fact that it is peaceful and quiet in my apartment for the moment. I am going to drink in the beauty of this day because it is a gift. I am going to try to embrace these moments of quiet and be thankful for them. I am going to try and rejoice in this time I have to spend how I want to spend it and draw closer to God through it. I will enjoy each moment as it comes and choose to see it as one from God, no matter what.

The front of my favorite coffee cup (I'm drinking out of it right now)

And the back of it! :)

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." -Psalm 118:24

This post is part of Emily's Tuesday's Unwrapped, celebrating everything and anything.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blog World

I am one of those people who have resisted technology changes over the years and not even realized it. Switching from a pager to a cell phone was major. Getting rid of our VHS was heartbreaking. I didn’t want to get a facebook account for as long as I can remember because it sounded completely bizarre to me. I still don’t really understand the point of a twitter account if I’m honest! I was also pretty anti blogs for a long time because I just thought it sounded silly. Who would want to read about people they don’t even know?

I started one as an “online diary” to document our life since I seem to forget what I ate for breakfast let alone what I did a year ago. I now realize I started it in hopes that I would have something more interesting to write about fairly soon after starting. A baby. I honestly don’t think I even realized that’s why I started it in the first place because I remember thinking, “I’m not even going to tell anyone I’m doing this because they’ll think I’m silly and boring!”

But now after opening up about the trying to get pregnant I realize this has been more therapeutic than I could have ever imagined. I have felt more supported, encouraged, and loved over this topic than I had any idea I needed. Not to mention the world of blogging is beyond bigger than I had any clue about! Once again – another technology advance I was clueless about. I am amazed at how I can jump from one blog to another over a period of an hour and not realize I’ve even blinked an eye. It’s amazing to me how connected people get and even have “coffee dates” so to speak. I’m still learning what it’s all about completely but I guess that’s part of adjusting to this new “world” I’ve become a part of. Also, having a husband in his first year of residency is giving me more time than I realized to figure it all out. I’m finding all sorts of new hobbies to keep my time filled!

Here are a few blogs I’ve come across that I’ve really enjoyed!


Friday, September 3, 2010


I had a big realization yesterday about my time and expectations. I also figured out it has a large part to do with why living in an apartment is slowly driving me crazy.

Many times I am woken up before I want to by the cats above us playing chase, or the dogs below us howling. Often times I can't fall asleep when I want to because of the heavy footsteps and thin ceiling above, or the television on below. The sounds of apartment life also get Gracie growling almost hourly which in turn riles Bear up to bark hysterically, and often times that is the straw I can't handle.

I realized it annoys me that I can hear others above and below and next to me because I have somehow managed to believe that I deserve not to hear them. I have also come to believe that I apparently am warranted a certain amount of sleep.

Having this insight made me realize that these expectations have been keeping me prisoner to massive amounts of annoyance whenever I hear them. I have no right to have it quiet when I want it quiet, nor do I have any right to a certain amount of sleep! Every moment of quietness or sleep I get is a gift. I need to appreciate them as such. My time is not my own. Having this awareness I have been amazed how the sounds haven't bothered me yesterday or today. It's like an elephant just got up off my shoulders and walked out. It is an absolute freeing feeling.

I feel like a brat even admitting this because it now seems pretty ridiculous that I was so frustrated by outside noise. That is so selfish to think that I should have it quiet just because I want it quiet. I now want to laugh out loud at myself! I do love these refining realizations though because it is just another layer chiseled off!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above." -James 1:17

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Ask Why?

I read an awesome quote on Lysa Terkeurst's devotional that has really stuck with me over the past few weeks. She writes some amazing things that have truly blessed me since coming across her website.
Her quote I'm referring to is:

"Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn’t unspiritual. However, if asking this question pushes us farther from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question."

It is so easy to want to ask why in almost every situation of every day.
Why did I have to hit every red light when I'm running late already?!
Why did I pick the only lane to stop moving!?
Why aren't I pregnant yet?
Why do my neighbors have to be so loud?
Why do I have to experience this ....?
Why, why, why?

I think of questions like that constantly through out most of my days but reading Lysa's quote really made me re-evaluate what exactly I'm asking. Am I questioning God's plan? Now I don't necessarily think that God purposely put me in a slow moving lane but then again he sure can use it to build my patience and character. That's what I've come to try and think every time I'm tempted to throw up my hands with a "why" question. I consciously force myself to think - I can't see the reason, but I know God has one and can use this situation as annoying as it is for good somehow. And then I trust.

Some days it's harder than others and then I play a little game. I start thinking of all the possible positives of why I could be in the current situation I am lamenting over. Maybe I'm in this slow lane because if I had been in the fast one I would have run over a nail and popped my tire. Maybe I'm in this slow lane at the grocery because this checker really needs someone to say hello to them and give them a friendly smile and I'm the person for the job. Maybe I'm not pregnant yet because there are things that God wants me to do and people to help first that for some reason I wouldn't be able to do as well if I were pregnant already.

These might, and very well might not, be reasons to go with the situations. No matter what though I am trusting that there is a reason for each situation no matter how big or small. Sometimes this game makes me feel better, other times I just feel plain annoyed over a situation. In every situation, however, I try to remember to pray and focus on the fact that God has a plan for every specific little thing that happens in my day and that he can use every little detail for his glory and to grow my character.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’” declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” -Isaiah 55:8-9