Something so great

Have you ever needed to be reminded of how much God loves you? I take for granted God's love for me. God's love is something that is so hard for me to understand. I recently started a Bible study about God's love "The greatest gift of all." I have only completed one day of it and it has rocked my world!!

It is so hard for me to understand why THE God of the universe would love ME so much! Maybe this is old news for you, but I have to remind myself of God's love for me and how special that is. Romans 8: 38-39 says:

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Wow! Such an awesome verse! I have read it a million times, have it underlined and marked all in my Bible, but today, a light bulb went off in my head! "Finally," God is thinking. Everyday, I worry about finding a job, being a good wife, a good future mother (not anytime soon), being healthy, being a good friend, etc. Why worry about all of these things when I have God's love? One thing I never have to fear is losing God's love. It is everlasting.

Please, next time you are worrying or fear your future, remember that God is on your side. "God works for the good of those who love him." (Rom 8:28) What more do you need? God reminds me everyday how blessed I am. It breaks my heart for those who do not know God and his love. Oh how I wish everyone could experience the love I feel right now!

I just wanted to remind you of God's love today. I know I need reminders.


A Taste of Summer

I have now discovered it is going to be hard for me to follow Jonathan! He is a great writer! That's why I am glad he is joining me in this blog. I know he always has something great to say.

So, Jonathan mentioned to you guys that we are doing P90X. I must admit, at first I was not excited about it. Luckily Jonathan is a very encouraging husband and helped me get over the not wanting to do it hump. I went three weeks without working out in China and did not want to get back into it when I got back. I haven't ran since March, yes since MARCH, when I ran in my last half marathon. Needless to say, I am still not in the mood to run. So P90X is something new and challenging. My favorite thing is yoga! I am obsessed! The only problem is, it is a freaking hour and a half long! One, it is hard to do yoga for that long, and two who has that much time?? Yesterday, I made myself do the WHOLE thing!!! Really if you make it through the first 45 minutes, it gets much easier. There are things I never thought I could do!! When I work out I have to find something that I can challenge myself at. Running used to be that, but now it is yoga. One part of me says "you couldn't do this last time pansy" and then the other part says "bull crap you can do it!" I love it!!

Have I mentioned to you that we are kids again?? Last week, Jonathan bought a remote control helicopter and I got a slip-n-slide!! I was tempted to buy bubbles and a kite but opted out of that. I haven't tried the slip-n-slide yet but I can't wait!! The helicopter is pretty cool. Not sure why Jonathan wanted one, but he has wanted one since I met him! Hershey has a great time with it!

I am trying so so very hard to enjoy Summer. I used to love Summer when I was a kid, but I hate it now! I DO NOT like 100 degree weather. At all. Period. I want Fall, now. I have realized that I can't have Fall now, no matter how hard I try. I remember planning my Halloween party while on vacation in Florida last summer. I am crazy. So, since I can't have Fall now, I must enjoy Summer no matter what. Some things I love about Summer so far are:

1. Spending more time with Jonathan and Hershey
2. Learning how to ski
3. Floating the Buffalo for the first time
4. Going to China
5. About to go to D.C. and NY
6. Drinking my coffee EVERY morning
7. Hanging out with Matt and Katie pretty much all the time
8. Harlie (Matt and Katie's dog) is my new best friend
9. Planting beautiful flowers
10. Reading, reading, and more reading
11. Painting my toenails orange, blue and other weird colors
12. Wearing cute dresses and skirts
13. The summer program at AR Counseling
14. Pink lemonade
15. Popsicles
16. Watermelon
17. Walking around barefoot
18. Going to the lake
19. Late nights watching Friends
20. Grilling out

See I am trying to be positive! I have learned I can't have it my way all the time!!

I hope you enjoy your summer even if the weather is hot!!!



Brooke and I just recently decided to do a lot of "Non-New-Years, New Years Resolutions." While in China, we resolved to do P90x, partly because we have always wanted to, and partly because it was $10 for all of the videos.

We are also reading through Isaiah together, and while it is a very complicated book, it has been and will continue to be a great blessing to our marriage. Something that is very important to Brooke, and also something that I have the tendency to neglect is our times together in the word. Not necessarily doing a quiet time together or even reading the same thing, but when she sees me in intimate times with our Father, it speaks to her. Some of the best times we have had in our short relationship have been the times where neither of us have spoken a word to each other, but in those times where we sit together and are completely engrossed in what the Lord is saying to us through prayer and reading and journaling.

The other "resolution" is to do this blog together. It allows us to share what is going on in our lives, and more important than that, share things with each other. My first experience with the blog was not a good one. It took Brooke hours upon hours to have the visual and aesthetic qualities that she was looking for. She had the background perfect. The pictures arranged in a particular order. The fonts and quotes and colors perfect. It took me exactly 3.2 minutes to undo all of it. After a lot of panic and a couple of hours I was able to get it back to "nearly" right, and I hoped she wouldn't notice. She did. Immediately. It has finally been fixed and changed up so as not to be as girly, but her stipulation for my joining of our blog is that I am allowed to post only...and I have to be under direct supervision if I am attempting to change anything.

Unrelated to anything I have written so far:

Such a tiny offering
Compared to Calvary;
We lay it at Your feet.

These lyrics speak so much. Sometimes I feel like the sacrifices or offerings I have to make are enormous and how could God want me to do some of the things he wants me to do. How can I sacrifice more money or more time or more energy to make his name bigger or carry out what he has prepared for my day. Additionally, how can I give him an entire day, or a week, or a month, or a lifetime of devotion. It seems to much to ask of me.

Then I am reminded of Calvary, and the Cross, and what was sacrificed on that day. And I am reminded of what was sacrificed for Jesus to disrobe himself of the glory and power he had in heaven and come to mankind and live as one of us. How could I not want to give more, sacrifice more, do more, and at the end of it all...Love more? The sacrifices I make, aren't sacrifices, but merely an expression of my love for what he has done and continues to do for me. It's hard for me to remember that, but God definitely reminded me of that today.

(Brooke is doing YogaX right now)


Update on My Experience in China

Whew! I finally have a few minutes to catch everyone up on my life! Ever since I have been back from China I have been going non-stop! China was the MOST amazing experience I have ever had! I didn't really know what to expect before I went. I knew I had always had a heart for China but I never thought God could completely break my heart for a group of people. God really showed me how big He is while I was there. I never thought I could grow so close to people in just two to three weeks. It was so hard to leave those I met and I miss them terribly.

Our team had the opportunity to stay at the college in the town we were at. We took some Chinese classes and did some cultural exchanges. It was such a great experience to learn how Chinese people live. Remember, we were not in a big city so we got to really experience "China." There is so much to say that I don't even know how to put it into words! I think one of the biggest things I learned while in China is how awesome I have it at home in America. I really take for granted all that I have. My friend Katie introduced me to this blog by a girl named Katherine Wolf. Her last post talked about gratitude and being thankful. You should definitely read her blog, she is so encouraging! Here are the first couple of paragraphs from her post "Gratitude." This is definitely how I felt while in China:

"Gratitude is not a virtue our culture values these days. In fact, ingratitude is really the norm. We all have so much and think we deserve even more, so we tend to complain about every little thing and are almost never as thankful as we should be for all the good in our lives.

I have always appreciated gratitude. I think that is why I have always had an obsession with thank you notes. I think nothing should be taken for granted. Having been to remote villages in Africa and seen what true poverty looks like, I think Americans are largely ridiculously privileged and entitled."

I have so much I could talk about so I am just going to spend a couple of days posting pictures (since I have soooo many) and will describe some of my experiences.

Our last night eating meat sticks!

Out at Dicos, a Chinese version of an American fast food restaurant!

Beautiful sunset!

English Evening

Us with our friends at a park in the city

Jonathan and I floating on the clouds!

Us on our anniversary: Jonathan got me flowers and a jade bracelet!

Head massages!

Basketball game against the faculty!

Funny guy! Had to take this picture!

In the girls dorm room

Us with our new friends

A market in Zhaotong

Place where they make rice noodles

Some kids at an elementary school (So cute!)

Our first meal in China!


I'm Home!

Hey guys we made it back safely from China!! I can't wait to share with you all that happened! I am editing my pictures and will update soon!!