Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

December 30, 2008 marks 3 years of marriage for Chase and I. We went to the Cheesecake Factory for a dinner, yummo! Chase has something else planned for this weekend but he won't tell me what. We had a great conversation about this past year and the year to come. Our marriage has had by far the most growth this past year. What's the difference between this year and the 2 prior? Community. We have realized that left to our own devices we make bad decisions and are selfish. When you surround yourself with a community that is intimately involved in your life, it's a lot harder to fail.

Chase, I love you. Thank you for constantly pursuing me, being an amazing servant leader in our family, and having such a teachable heart. I look forward with great anticipation to see what the Lord will bring us through in the years to come.

First Class!

You can read about our traveling saga a couple posts down. Long story short, we got bumped to first class on one of our flights. This pictures isn't very good but you can get a general idea. I had veggie ravioli with grilled zucchini in a marinara sauce. A side salad, a roll, and flourless chocolate cake. And we can't forget about the REAL silverware! They also served complimentary wine, beer, and liquor. I stuck with the water since I wasn't feeling well.

It was nice to be bumped up to first class but I would NEVER pay for it. You pay severl hundred more for a little more leg room and a meal? This meal was pretty good but not worth a couple hundred dollars.

Graduation Cake

One of our good friends, Chewy (aka Chris), just graduated from UTD and is going into the construction business. I gladly made a cake for his big day. The bottom cake is chocolate with cream cheese filling and covered in butter cream. The top cake is a vanilla cake with raspberry and lemon cream cheese fillings and covered in butter cream. The tools, small hard hat, and diploma are made out of white chocolate. The large hard hat is sculpted rice crispy treats covered in fondant.

Things you don't see in Dallas

While visiting Oregon, I saw a few things that you probably wouldn't see in Dallas.

#3 I opened the car door and found this....3 feet of snow! I couldn't get out of that side and had to crawl to the other side to get out.

#2 Snow in a shopping cart INSIDE a grocery store.

#1 A wood bear sitting on a toilet, yes a real toilet, in the front yard.

This won us $50...

We went to a Christmas party ealier this month and they had a Christmas hat contest. Chase won and we got a $50 gift card to the Cheesecake Factory. Yum!

Christmas Traveling Saga

When the weather outside is frightful, airports can become less then delightful. Actually, our little saga had nothing to do with the weather but with mechanical issues. Let me back up a bit and say that I started getting sick the day after we arrived in Oregon and despite the meds and lots of vitamin C it only got worse. We left Oregon for the airport at 7am, drove for 4 hours to Boise, got on our plane and landed in Minnesota at 5:30pm. We got on our next flight that was only slightly delayed and headed home...just kidding! We got about 1/4 of the way to DFW when the we heard, "Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. We are having mechanical issues and need to go back to Minnesota. We'll be there in about 25 minutes." About 25 minutes later we heard, "We need to burn off some fuel before we land so we are going to fly around the city for about 50 minutes before we land." Long story short, by the time we landed back in Minnesota it was 10:20. We were originally scheduled to arrive at DFW by 10:05, very frusterating. They had another plane waiting for us when we landed but it wasn't going to get to DFW until 1:30AM. By then, I wasn't feeling well at all and just wanted to sleep. My wonderful hubby decided to ask if they would put us up in a hotel and get us on another flight the next day. They ended up putting us up in a nice hotel, giving us food vouchers, AND upgrading us to first class for the flight the next day!

Our flight didn't take off until 5pm so we had all day to kill time. Chase had never been to the Mall of America so that's where we headed. This was my third time to go and I still can't get over how big the place is. It's HUGE!

They have a store there that I just HAD to go see. Have you ever heard of Prairie Home Companion? No??? I grew up on this stuff! Now most kids grow up listening to sing-a-long tapes or Disney radio, not us. We listened to stories about Lake Wobegon with Garrison Kiellor. My dad loved this stuff. He could listen to it for hours. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click HERE, and you'll get a little insight to my early years. All that to say, the show is in Minneapolis and the Mall of America has store full of PHC t-shirts, Kiellor books, and CD's. My dad would be in heaven. This post is for you dad!

Side Note: I was the only person under the age of 55 in the store....
Below is a random pic of us in front of Kokomo restaurant in the mall.

Baby Andrew Cake

My cousin-in-law is about to have her third baby and I was asked to make a cake for a baby shower the day after Christmas. Congrats Nikki on another blessing from the Lord! I can't wait to meet baby Andrew.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas perspective from Iraq

Wow. I just received an email from a dear friend who went to college with Chase. He currently is deployed to Iraq. He sent us an email that was powerful. It gives a much needed perspective on the meaning of Christmas. It's well worth the read. Thank you for sharing Robert!

As I celebrate this Christmas in Iraq it is difficult to think of the birth of Christ as anything but the most bold sneak attack in the history of history. The same God who who trades twenty-two thousand soldiers for three hundred, would now dare to plan an invasion of earth in the form of a young woman, a Godly but little known man named Joseph, and a baby. Trusting these parents to raise and care for God who in this incredible plan shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

As I read the description of angels who destroy thousands of Assyrian warriors in a single night, every first born child and animal in Egypt, and certainly the rider on the white horse with eyes of blazing fire and a sword which comes out of his mouth to destroy the nations I can think of a few other options I might choose for an invasion of earth. Yet God in his sovereign plan and infinite wisdom chose a baby who wins the war, conquers death, and then leaves the responsibility to tell the rest of the world that the enemy has been defeated to the least likely candidates He could have chosen. Somehow those who were faithless, through Him became faithful and have brought us the same mission today.

I of course will miss being home with all of you during this holiday season. It is certainly a special time to be with family and friends, but if I must be away I am thankful that it is because God has chose to give me a role in the invasion that began two thousand years ago with a baby. Pray that I who so often have been faithless would through Him be faithful to the calling He has given me. I do need to thank everyone who has encouraged me through emails, letters, and care packages. It encourages me to hear God's work in your lives, and to hear how you are living out His calling in your own lives.

As a chaplain section we will of course have a lot going on during this next week and you can pray for the Christmas production put on by our Gospel choir, for all of the the Bible Studies going on including the WWF "Weekly Word Fellowship", our Christmas Eve and Day services, and even the Christmas movie marathon we are hosting. The plan is for our new chapel to be open, at least for one day and so I also would ask you to pray that the construction still needed is completed and we are able to move in and dedicate the building on Christmas Eve. Finally as important as events can be, pray for individual Soldiers, by name if you know them, that during this Christmas those who know Christ would have the peace that the King has come and conquered. For those who do not know Jesus pray that this would be the year they respond to the savior they have never know as their own. I wish you and all your families a Merry Christmas and pray that you are able to celebrate the invasion of our Lord. I pray that we would invite Him to invade each of our lives in a special way this Christmas.
God Bless

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things the Lord is teaching me

I've been hesitant to post about this because it is so controversial, especially among Christians. I post the following links in much love and with the intent to inform so that you can know what I wished I had known 3 years ago. When I've brought up this topic with some, it has been met with disbelief so instead of me trying to explain, I'm just going to post links so that others can do a much better job of explaining what the Lord has been showing me. Please please please go to these links, listen, read, and then bring it before the Lord.

You can download the entire book (which is actually really short) on the right side of this sight for free.

This is a video from a professor at Southwestern Theological Seminary.,%202008

Finally, to bring it all home listen to Voddie Baucham.

If you want other links, I've got a lot. These are just the three that sum it up the best.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crazy Texas Weather

There is a phrase that goes something like, "If you don't like the weather in Texas, wait 5 minutes." This phrase is only a slight exaggeration. This past weekend it was gorgeous! Low 70's sunny, perfect. Monday seemed to continue this pattern until about 1pm when the temperature dramatically dropped. We ended the night with a short but powerful storm that brought funnel clouds and a tornado about an hour north of us.

This morning the temperature while we were working out was a blistery 26 degrees but felt like 17 with the wind. BRRRR! Thank goodness Ally had us in the parking garage running stairs.

Rumor has it by this weekend it will be in the 70's again. I don't know how true that is, but it wouldn't surprise me. We got married December 30, 2005 and it was in the high 60's that day! Texas keeps our wardrobes on its toes!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I. Love. Camp. Gladiator!...

...This is something you can hear 35 crazy Dallasites shouting as we do jumping jacks outside at 5:30AM in the middle of DECEMBER! This morning it was 32 degrees! BRRRRR!

Confession, I haven't really worked out since I left my job at Life Time Fitness a year and a half ago. I've done the occasional spinning class but absolutly nothing consistant. Chase has tried his best to motivate me but I can be stuborn and have fought back everytime he encouraged me to get up and work out.

Have you ever seen the tv show American Gladiator? It was on years ago and started back up maybe 2 or 3 seasons ago? Anyway, the winner of season 2, Ally, goes to Watermark and has started doing boot camps. She offers a few different times and places and they normally run for 4 weeks. When I first heard about it, 4 weeks seemed really intimidating. For December she is doing a 2 weeker, due to the holidays, which seemed a lot more doable. I can do anything for 2 weeks right? Yes. I. Can!

Click HERE to see her website. We (Chase and I plus our good friends Chewy and Lindsay) get up at 4:40AM, out the door at 5, arrive at Watermarks parking lot at 5:15 to strech, and begin at 5:30. It's an hour of intense short sprints or drills that build endurance, tone, and improve cardio. Honestly, I can't believe I'm doing this. I've NEVER been athletic nor wanted to be. We started on Monday and I've already noticed a big difference in my endurance and I am SO sore the next day...which I'm told is a good thing. There is a 71 year old woman doing it with us and if she can do it, I have NO excuse not to push through.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tea Time!

Mom's best friend, Pam, is in town for a visit so mom took us to tea at the Chocolate Angel. We had a great time! Here are a few pics.
Above we have cheese with pimento sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, a Gruyere and ham croissant, curry chicken salad in a philo dough mini bowl, a cranberry scone, and mixed fruit with poppy seed yogurt dressing. Oh, and English black tea of course!

Above we have a delicious dark chocolate mouse (in the mini cup), a sugar cookie, dark chocolate brownie, and a strawberry.

Above: Grace, Pam, Mom, Me