Monday, February 28, 2011

ONE Marriage Conference: Day 2 (Morning Session)

Morning Session:
We began with some awesome worship.  Check out this video, which is the song Claire sang at our wedding. BEAUTIFUL!
After opening our hearts through worship, Lisa Bevere brought the house down. She was FABULOUS.

Much like Jentzen, this 50 year old mother of 4 boys & grandmother (who did NOT look 50!) was hilarious and REAL. Lisa's message had the greatest impact on me.  Check out the notes from her session:
-The fall of man originated the battle of the sexes.
*men went from dominion to domination
*women went from influence to manipulation
-There was never meant to be a power struggle. Marriage was meant to be a power union.
-John 1:27-31
-Men and women BOTH need to be whole in order to reproduce effectively. It's simple math. If you start multiplying fractions, you are dividing. (so true, right?)
- We need to become experts in one another's STRENGTHS rather than experts in one another's WEAKNESSES.
-People grow in the likeness of the love they are sown.  People will grow when you build up their strengths....we guard our weaknesses.
-Don't point out weaknesses. If someone entrusts you with their weakness, return it to them as strength (this is my fave!).
-If the house of God is going to work, we need both MEN & WOMEN.
-Men provide structure. They guard the house.
-Women provide nurture. They guard the heart.
-Stop using you strengths against each other. Instead, use your strengths to build each other up.
-Men who love their women celebrate them.
-Submission is strength meeting strength. (Sub means under, mission means assignment, so we are under assignment to love each other well.)
-2 Cor 5:19-20

The biggest lesson I took from this message was that I need to use my words to edify Big Jon, not tear him down. When I get my feelings hurt, I immediately get defensive and am like a pit bull- straight for the throat. Why? That's so ridiculous, immature, and insecure of me. I need to focus on his strengths and build him up; for that is what I'm called to do as a Godly wife.

My favorite moment of the morning is when Lisa had us face our spouse and repeat some apologies/promises to them. I agreed wholeheartedly with what she said, and I couldn't help it...the tears started flowing. I truly am sorry for all the times I have not spoken edifying words to Jon; for the times I have not been supportive and built him up with my words. What a sweet, precious man the Lord has blessed me with, and for him I am so very thankful.

ONE Marriage Conference: Day 1

Friday night we met some of our dear friends, Dana & Ryan & Chelsea & Brian, over at Free Chapel for the first session of the ONE marriage conference.
We joined in with over 2800 husbands and wives from 28 states ready to learn!  Several people 'jokingly' asked why we were going to a marriage conference (we've only been married for 5 months).  Preventative medicine, duh! It's like vitamins for your marriage, and you know how I feel about those!  Your marriage deserves your effort and attention, and it's something you should ALWAYS be working to improve, even if it's already wonderful. :)  One of the greatest institutions God created is the family, so Satan is no doubt going to attack marriages in any way he can.

Jentzen Franklin led the first session and he was absolutely hysterical!! I loved that he was so REAL. He spoke out of the book of Hosea, chapters 1-3 about Hosea (a preacher) and Gomer (a prostiture, and yes, that's her name! and I have to admit I didn't know there was a Gomer in the Bible until a few weeks ago when I was teaching a SS lesson about her!).
I'm going to let you skip out on the $75 and live vicariously through my marriage conference. So, here are my notes from the conference: ENJOY!
-The greatest marriage misconception and #1 lie Satan uses is "What I am missing is better than what I have."
-80/20 Principle:
-Your spouse typically meets 80% of your expectations in your marriage (newsflash friends, no one will ever meet 100%!).  People trade in the 80% for someone who makes up the 20%. 
-Instead of focusing on the 20% our spouse doesn't have (complaining, nagging, etc.) we should focus on, invest in, and be thankful for the 80% they DO have!
-If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, maybe you need to water your own grass.
-What you CAN have it NOT better than what you already have if you'll invest in what God already gave you.
-In chapters 2 & 3 of Hosea, God is like a jealous/angry lover.  He went through three stages:
1) anger
2) righteous anger (turning anger from the person to Satan/ the situation)
3) unfailing love
-When your marriage is in the valley like Isreal was with God, you have to realize God ALWAYS provides a door of hope.  Anger will leave and unfailing love will take over.
-To have a great marriage, you have to go through the valley TOGETHER.
-We do not know if Gomer ever straightened up, but we do know that God ordered Hosea to "love her again" and start over as God loved the Israelites.
-This is an example to us of how God's love allows us to start over. He ALWAYS forgives us and loves us again.
-Keep pursuing God, even through the vallies of marriage, and He will always provide a door of hope.

This biggest thing I took from this message was to focus on Jonathan's positives instead of complaining about the negatives. I'd say my numbers are more like 97/3 than 80/20 and I am so blessed. Above all, he is a Godly man who desires to be in His will and learn more about Him, and honestly what more could this blissful bride ask for??

After the conference we headed to Chili's. We shared SO MANY laughs....the waiter thought we were crazy!
Brian & Chels!
 The Dossonator & Dana!
 That's better...
 Big Jon (doing who knows what?!?!) and yours truly!
That's a little better.
I bet they were so glad we were leaving (the Chili's employees, not the boys- ha!).
Silly girls!

Ready for Day 2 of ONE marriage conference!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jam Up Interval Workout

Laura, my go-to girl for new workouts, sent me this awesome treadmill interval workout!! I finally did it last night and it is great!! I don't like to run inside, but if you have no other choice, this is an easy way to keep yourself distracted. Before I knew it I was up to 45 min.

(FYI: I didn't do it exactly....I had to recover at a walking pace of 4.0 after the 9.0 sprints- but it's okay to go at your own pace.)
Thanks for sharing, LC!

Food For Thought Friday: Are you a TRUE FRIEND??

Are you a true F-R-I-E-N-D??

At church on Wednesday we listened to a great message preached about the lame man and his faithful & devoted friends that were absolutely committed to getting him to Jesus to be healed. This story out of Mark is a Bible story that most of us are familiar with, and the illustration was used to encourage us to invite friends to church for our upcoming “Friend Day.” It really made me stop and think about the kind of friend I am to others. Am I being the true example and Godly friend that I need to be? If you think about that story, do you love your friends enough to be that devoted to them, without expecting anything in return?

I think we sometimes forget that the Bible is our instruction book for life and it covers EVERYTHING; any situation, circumstance, or struggle. Yes, God thought of it all. So, I am a total acronym nerd and came up with this little acronym for the word “friend” with verses to support each thought.

Are you being a true FRIEND??
F (faithful)
R (restorative)
I (interested in helping)
E (encouraging)
N (never judgmental)
D (devoted in love)

We are called to be faithful to our friends; always there for them; and never give up on them despite any circumstances. This is not always an easy task, as others may make decisions we don’t like, or hurt us in some way. However, the Bible tells us to be loyal to our friends, as “a friend sticks closer than a brother.”

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." –Proverbs 27:6

“Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” – Proverbs 20:6

Whew! This is a toughie fo sho! No one likes to be corrected, and personally I’m not a big fan of confrontation. It’s so much easier to let that friend go on doing what he/she is doing, but we are CALLED to gently restore them and help guide them back on the right path. It’s so important to remember to always respond in love when you’re doing any “restoration” with your friends.  On the flip side, it's important to be receptive/accepting and not get defensive if a friend is trying to help you out (if they're doing it for the right reasons).

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” –Galatians 6:1

“The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26

Interested in helping:
Sometimes your friends don’t want your help, so you definitely have to find a balance. But aren’t you so thankful for the friends who have helped you along the way? Aren’t you thankful for the friends you have right now who you know would drop anything to help you? I certainly am, and I want to be the kind of friend I would like to have.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” –Proverbs 27:9

There we go….finally! This one comes a little more naturally to me, as one of my Spiritual gifts is encouraging others. However, I think I need to do it more often. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t realize when someone around us is in desperate need of encouragement. One of my favorite ways to “encourage” others is to share Scripture. What better way to lift somebody up then to remind them of God’s promises??

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” –Proverbs 27:17

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” -Ephesians 4:29

Never judgmental:
I think this is difficult for some of us because we tend to get caught up thinking “I would NEVER do that” …totally not true, and if you have that mindset, ya better watch out! (Satan capitalizes on complacency, pride, & naievety.) Your friends don’t need you to judge them. There are enough people in the world doing that. Just be a listening, supportive ear.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; – Luke 6:37

Devoted in love:
The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind….and the second is to LOVE OTHERS as yourself. If we do everything in love, it’s hard to go wrong.

"After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” -1 Samuel 18:1

“A friend loves at all times...” –Proverbs 17:17

So, are you being a TRUE, Godly friend??

Thursday, February 24, 2011

House Update

The bank has received our offer and now we are are {patiently}waiting (for up to 35 days) for a response from the bank- either approval or a counter offer. 

Everyone seems to think patience is the issue. Heck, in March we'll have been looking for a whole year, so what's another month, right?  I don't care how long it takes. To be honest, the biggest struggle we are both having is faith.  I keep allowing myself to think "We're not going to get it...."

Jon prayed fervently and faithfully that we would both just KNOW when it was THE house.  And we did. We do. And now we have to trust God to give it to us.  Why is that so hard?? 

So, we are hust going to remain faithful and continue praying, all the while remembering God's promises...

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." -Matthew 7:7

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." -Philippians 4:6

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Big CHOP: After it is!! My kids at school are about 80/20 (the majority like the new 'do')....And the hubby LOVES it!!! I think it needs to be thinned out just a little more on one of the sides and I'll like it better, but I am loving that it seriously took me HALF the time in the shower & getting ready. YAY for actually making it to work on time!
So, wutcha think???

What I'm Loving Wednesday

On this precious day....

I am LOVING that my hubby LOVES my haircut!! I mean, he really loves it.

I am LOVING that REVIVAL is right around the corner at the best church ever....I so love revival. What a precious time with the Lord!!

I am LOVING that this workweek is halfway over (has it felt exceptionally long to anyone else??).

I am LOVING that Dana finally started blogging more!!

I am LOVING that I get to spend time with some of my favorite couples at the One Marriage Conference at Free Chapel this weekend!! A marriage deserves nurturing and I'm excited to see what the Lord is going to reveal to me this weekend.

I am LOVING that I'm finally getting Chelsi's shower going....check out these cute invitations I'm about to order.

I am LOVING that our rockin' accountants got us a sweet refund coming! Already scoping out furniture and home decor online!!

And DUH....I am LOVING the LOVE of my LIFE! He is hysterical. And HANDSOME.
Have a beautiful Wednesday!

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Big CHOP: Before

I like to grow my hair out super long, then chop it into a short little bob.  I have given it to Cuts For Cancer & Locks of Love, but the deal with that is they don't take processed hair (hello, highlights!) so I had to use a natural, vegetable-based dye before I could cut it.  I really just want to stay blonde this time.  So, I have been growing my hair out since last March (for the wedding and photo shoot), and now it's FINALLY time for the big CHOP!  YAY!!  I have an appointment and I'm gettin' my haircut after school today.  I'll definitely post pics, but here are the "BEFORE":
(Ignore my makeup...this was after the photo shoot. Check out the long hair!)
 I'm going to save millions on hair products & hours getting ready (okay, maybe a little exxaggerated)! I'll be a new woman! Ha!!

Atlanta Bride and Groom Planner Cover Photo Shoot

Way back around last May, while Mama & I (but mostly Mom) were busy planning my wedding, she entered me into EVERY contest available. One of them was a cover shoot for Atlanta Bride & Groom Planner (which includes a massage and facial, sweet!). There were four finalists, and the guests at a bridal show at the Ritz in Atlanta voted on the bride that would make the cover. They brought us up on stage (totally felt like a pageant!) and I acutally WON! Can you believe that????
Here's the announcement they sent out:
 So, after several months, I finally had the shoot. We met at an abandonned warehouse in Marietta (artsy, right?) where they had this beautiful scene set up.  Here are a few pics of the photographer's assistant practicing for what the shoot would look like...(I took these, so don't judge...)
I had a make-up artist/hairstylist transform me into the look they were going for- a romantic, soft, sweet look.  I LOVED my hair! I like to wear a LOT of eye makeup though, so I wish they would have let me wear more eyeliner and mascara and have a little softer lip, but it's okay. They didn't want me to look too harsh.  Linda, the super sweet publisher of Atanta Bride & Groom Planner, let me listen to Pandora- the Queen station- on her phone while we were getting ready. 
They had four BEAUTIFUL dresses for me to try on, but here is the one we chose.  Of course, this is before it was clamped (it was a little big), before we added the sash, jewelry and final hair, etc. We can't give away the cover!!
I will say that I was absolutely EXHAUSTED afterwards!!!  I know that seems weird because you're just being pampered and smiling for the camera, right? Wrong. I have a new respect for models. They totally have to capture feelings and stories with their facial expressions, eyes, etc.  It is definitely more challenging than I thought. 

The photographer was SO wonderful.  Can I please recommend Nadia D if you ever need a photographer? She was beyond FABULOUS!!!!! (I TOTALLY wish I could have had her for my wedding...but she was already booked!) I cannot even give her the accolades she deserves on here....she is just brilliant. My favorite thing about her is that she made me feel SO comfortable and confident even though I felt totally akward and weird.  She directed me, gave me affirmation throughout the shoot, and paid attention to every little detail.  She's just BRILLIANT!!! I loved her.

So, I'm excited to see the shots come back in a few weeks.  They'll select a photo at the end of March, send the book off to be published, and I think the next issue will come out in June. I'll keep ya posted!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food For Thought Friday: Christian or Disciple??

I shared this with our youth a couple weeks ago and I thought it was so interesting and powerful, so I wanted to share with my blog buddies too.

The word “Christian” is only mentioned three times in the whole Bible (KJV)….in Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16. The Greek word for Christian found in these passages is: Christiano meaning a follower of Christos (Christ). These are some definitions for the word Christian:

• Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
• Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
• Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
• Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
• Showing a loving concern for others; humane.

The word “disciple” is mentioned once in the Old Testament and 258 times in the New Testament, for a total of 259 times throughout the Bible. How many times did I say the word Christian was mentioned? 3!! Obviously God cares more about us being DISCIPLES than CHRISTIANS. What do you think of when year hear the word “disciple”?? The 12 men that followed Jesus, right? The men who were the very closest to Jesus during his life on earth, right next to Him, watching, learning from him, trying to live like Him, his servants. The men that sufferred right along with Jesus, faced the same challenges and obstacles that Christ did.  A disciple is defined as “one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another; a scholar; one who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example (Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 6:69).”

So, what’s the point of these numbers (Christian- 3 times vs. disciple- 259 times) and definitions?? I believe the Lord is trying to reveal something to us here. There are LOTS of people who CLAIM to be a Christian. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. They wear the t-shirt, wrist band, and have the sticker on their car… maybe they post Scipture as their FB status or attend church weekly. However, their thoughts, actions, attitude, speech, dress, prayer life, and willingness to truly be a SERVANT and spread the Gospel do not reflect their claim to be a “Christian.” (And I’m talking to myself here….) This world has way too many “Christians” and the term almost has a negative connotation in society now because of the choices we are making.

God has called us to be DISCIPLES. Which are you- a Christian or a disciple? It’s time to step it up and start being true DISCIPLES for Christ.

Just some food for thought for ya on this Friday.  Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top 11(ish) Workout Songs on My i-pod!

Please don't judge me for my lame taste in music. 

Here are the top 11(ish) songs I jam to when I need to sprint, knock out some push-ups or pullups, or just get with it in the gym:
*Queen- Fat Bottomed Girls
*anything Need to Breathe- (The Oustiders, Washed by the Water, Lay Em Down)
*Alabama- Louisiana Saturday Night
*R Kelly- The World's Greatest & Ignition (Remix)
*Mr. Big- Be With You
*David Lee Murphy- Dust on the Bottle
*Michael Franti & Spearhead- Hey Mama, I Love You
*Britney Spears- I Love Rock -N- Roll
*David Crowder Band- Waves of Mercy
*Neil McCoy- Wink
*Eminem- Lose Yourself (clean)

Remember, I said don't judge!

What are your faves??

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

House, house, house!

We are submitting an offer an a house today. THE house. We both feel it.  Please say a prayer for us.

Not giving details yet, but I will tell ya this has been a long time coming and we are just so ready.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!  (I couldn't even sleep last night I was so nervous/excited!)

Beth is MARRIED!!!

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Will Burke!!!
This beautiful couple married on 1.1.11 and celebrated with a beautiful wedception in South Georgia. It was wonderful seeing all my lovely college softball friends!!  We clean up good for softball players, right??
Check out Beth's blog here.... (P.S. Please notice that she beat her man at bowling too, as she so proudly posted in her last entry! Must be a pitcher thing?)

By the way, this picture has me totally craving a TAN....Wow, I'm pale!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our 1st MARRIED V-Day...

When I woke up on V-Day morning, the sweet hubby had left me a love note on the bathroom counter. What a great way to start my day. Around 11 I recieved a beautiful bouquet of flowers at school, with some of my faves....lilies and orchids! I LOVE getting flowers at school!! When I got home from work, Big Jon had a surprise gift for me. He bought me the past two seasons of our new favorite show (which I will NOT admit on the internet cuz I'm totally embarassed that I watch it!) and new headphones (praise the old ones are so ghetto!).  His mom & dad sent me some yummy chocolate covered strawberries from the Fudge Factory.....ya just can't beat it!  My favorite of all though was the sweet card. It was so thoughtful and perfect. He's such a sweet man and I am so blessed to have him. (I got him new tennis shoes and a card, btw!)  Am I spoiled or what?

After exchanging gifts and a few kisses after work, we headed to the gym for a mini-workout. We didn't have much time before our reservations at the Melting Pot, so we just did a short, intense shoulder workout.  Typically we do our own thing in the gym because I do more cardio & full body stuff while Big Jon lifts heavy, so but we worked out together yesterday & it was really fun.  

We hurried to get ready for date night...
(check out that long hair!!)
He's so shy, I can barely get him to take a picture....(yea right! what a ham!)
And then headed to MP for some delicious fondue!
 It's major expensive, but I totally recommend it if you've never been! We enjoyed some great convo with our friends, Will & Katie....
and made it home right at our midnight curfew! ha!

I'm paying today though. I'm sleepy and smell like my dinner....yuck.

Good memories.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Feelin' the Love??

Happy Valentine's Day, sweet friends. 

In honor of the cheeziest, most commercialized holiday of the whole year, I wanted to share some sweet scriptures about love.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all you soul, and all your strength, and all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself."
Luke- 10:27

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in sin, but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always hopes, always trusts, always perseveres. Love never fails."
- Corinthians 13:4-8

“A friend loves at all times.”
-Proverbs 17:17

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
-1 John 4:7-8

“We love because he first loved us.”
-1 John 4:19

“But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13

Lots of LOVE to you and yours (from me and mine)!