Daughter, Wife, Mother... this is what I do

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2 Whole Years

Sitting at a table of much wiser, more mature women last night while playing Bunco, the topic of anniversaries came up. All around me, 40 years of marriage, 35 years, 43 years, and I sat in my small little voice and said, "2 years tomorrow." While in awe of a lifetime of marriage, I am actually very proud to say that my precious husband and I have been married for 2 years!

2 years ago TODAY I was putting on the most beautiful dress I'll probably ever wear, surrounded by ALL of my friends and family, which will probably not happen again any time soon, with sweaty palms anticipating walking down the aisle on a 78 degree day in December to meet the man who would promise to stay by my side for the rest of our lives. As excited as I was that day, I just had no idea how truly wonderful this thing called marriage really was.

Last year, as we celebrated our 1st year of marriage at a sweet Bed and Breakfast Bandera, we gushed with what we'd learned, how we'd changed, what we'd been shown about ourselves through God's gracious refining in marriage. It was such a refreshing, reflective weekend for us. See, the first year of marriage wasn't so wonderful. It was really, really tough. I suffered from a major identity crisis: that is, finding my identity in what I perceived my new husband thought of me and NOT in who Jesus said that I was because of His work on the cross. I was needy and Tyler lacked grace. He struggled to love me like Christ loves us, which isn't based on any merit or standard. I saw that and dug myself into a hole of shame and fear and the vicious cycle went around and around. Now that I've aired all our dirty laundry, I can confidently say that Jesus has overcome those dark days of self-loathing, fear, and judgement. (Not to say that I'll never struggle with that again, but I'm equipped with faith in who Jesus is for me this time.)

This year, as we sat beside the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels, our reflection was much more brief and our appreciation and love for one another much more full. Tyler David, I'm so thankful that God chose you for my husband. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

- My life is full of laughter (at and with) you. And no one makes me laugh quite as hard as you do. Laughing with you is my favorite thing to do.
- Your heart is beautiful. You are fully (most of the time ;) ) aware of Jesus' saving work accomplished for you on the cross and this produces so much humility and gentleness in you. I learn from you daily ( even if my stubborn self refuses to admit it at first.)
- You remind me of the beauty of this saving work in your life with your words. You tell me the Gospel all the time.
- You remind me of the beauty of this saving work in your life with your actions. The grace that you have poured in our home has pointed me continually to the grace that is found in Jesus. Even when I'm being lazy, uptight, naggy, or ridiculous (or all of these simultaneously) you are patient, kind, loving and generous just as Christ is to me.
- You're going to make such a great Papa Bear to our sweet baby Elle.
- You are a kitchen cleaning wizard.
- God's gifted you with so much wisdom, discernment and insight that it can be frustrating. (When I don't feel like having my deep dark sin revealed to me. :) ) But you are such a blessing in this way.
- You always let me put my feet on you, even when you say "DON'T PUT YOUR FEET ON ME!!" :)
- You let me dress you. (And for that we are all grateful.)
- You're handsome. Oh, so handsome.

The list goes on. I won't bore you any longer. But these are the reasons I'm thankful for God's faithfulness in our little 2 years of marriage. Amen and amen.

Happy 2 years to us!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

History of Redemption

So, I've been needing/wanting to write this down for a while. As I'm taking a break/procrastinating from some other necessary (but not quite as fun) duties, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

A few weeks ago at our church, The Austin Stone, Ronnie Smith shared The History of Redemption with us. (Hear it here.) It is basically a walk throughout the Bible. It's the story of us, a broken people, being chased by a loving God who saves us from hopelessness, brokenness, addiction, vain suffering, and deep depression and adopts us into His family of love, deep joy and extending hope accomplished through the work of Jesus Christ. As I sat, listening to this sweet, sweet story of my own Redemption, I was moved to tears. (Granted, pregnancy hormones are raging and I cry at every church service now... but, I promise this is legitimate.)

In my tears, I realized that God's Word still moves me. I mean, moves me. It stirs my affections, my heart towards a love of Jesus. Nothing else in this world that I've experienced does that in this way. The sad truth is that I know people that God's Spoken Word and story of Love doesn't move. It doesn't produce any joy, any faith, any love in them. This breaks. my. heart. And I will continue to beg the God who holds the whole world in His hands that, one day, He would move them with His Words. But, I am utterly thankful that the truth that God put on flesh, came after me, sacrificed all of Himself that I might walk in His name and know the freedom of His love and acceptance evokes a response out of me. Praise God that He's the One that stirs hearts. Because I know that if it's up to me, I choose empty, vain, selfish things every time. Hallelujah.

My culinary response to such a sweet Savior is this:
Squishy-Delishy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This is my very most favorite cookie of all time. Much like God's Word to my soul, I've never eaten another cookie that's as delicious. (Pahahha! Are you laughing at me like I'm laughing at myself?) When I first stumbled across these gems while doing some blog stalking, I decided then and there, that this would be the cookie my kids begged me to make. I also decided that it would only make appearances during the holidays beginning on the first day of fall. Without further ado, here it is-the best cookie EVER.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

2. Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix the flour mixture to incorporate it. Stir in the chips and nuts by hand.

4. Scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. About 1/4-cup per scoop.

5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 15 minutes. Let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.


Coming soon... pregnant belly pictures. Have I mentioned that Elle's been karate kicking me like crazy? Love this little ninja!!