Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Harp Exam!

Just a quick note to let you all know that I passed my Grade 6 harp exam with Merit! As poorly as I did in the exam, that surprised me. Not that I didn't know my stuff...it was just that I was sick and was also so nervous that my hands would not stop shaking. But, I remembered the advice of many teachers, and just kept plodding through, and did not stop. :-)

God is gracious! :-D

Due to the advice of my very wise and thoughtful teacher--Miss Anna Knight, I will not be taking exams this fall. After attending a WONDERFUL harp masterclass, we both agreed that it would be advisable for me to put exams aside for a while, and focus more on technique. This is good news for many reasons, but the main ones that are coming to mind right now, are the facts that (1) I do not know how long it will take me to fully recover from that car accident, and (2) this will allow Donald to have a stress-free wife for a while. :-)

Anyway, just thought I'd post that right quick. Now my back is complaining from my sitting at the computer to write this, so I shall bid you adieu until next time, and go back to my comfy chair and my book. :-) (And Julie, just so you know, while I've been confined to the sofa, I have been reading some of our favorites: Ishmael and Self Raised. They definitely help pass the time. Now, I just need to see if I can get my hands on a copy of "What Katy Did" for old time's sake.) ;-)

Oh, and just so you all know, I've been seeing the chiropractor regularly, and he says that I have much improved over the last week and a half, and that I am far better than he expected me to be. Course, when I heard that, I thought, "If I'm still feeling bad, but am better than he expected, I don't even want to know what he expected..." But again, God is abundantly gracious and merciful. :-)

Ta Ta For Now,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lord willin' and the crik don't rise...

James 4:13-15 says, "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."

This verse hit home more than ever on Thursday, June 11, at 1:30 p.m.

The plan was to go to lunch with my sister-in-law, and then go bowling as an after school/after harp exam celebration. Maria came over to my house, where we watched a movie, and then hopped in the car to go out for lunch. Scarcely 10 minutes from my home, our plans abruptly came to an end. While sitting at a stop light, I heard Maria gasp, scream, and then *BANG.* The impact of the jeep hitting us at about 40 mph while we were sitting still threw me forward and then back into my headrest. I have never hit my head on anything so hard. It suddenly occurred to my wondering mind that we had just had a wreck. Maria got out of the car to go assess the damage and tell the driver of the Jeep that we needed to pull over into a nearby parking lot. After the police arrived, they issued the man a ticket (the man apparently saw neither us nor the red light), and filled out the accident report.

In the mean time, my head started throbbing, and my lower back and neck began to ache. I wrapped my arms around myself to give my back some support. One of the police officers seeing this came over and asked if I was pregnant! I answered, "No, I'm afraid that I am not." He said, "Okay, I just wanted to make sure, because I saw how you were holding your lower back and stomach." I informed him that my back was hurting, and that was the reason for my actions. He then asked if Maria and I needed an ambulance. We assured him that we did not need one, and that the only thing bothering us were our backs and necks.

Finally, after all was over, Maria and I looked at each other and agreed that not only did we not want to go bowling now, but that we weren't hungry anymore. In fact, I was feeling somewhat nauseous. So, we headed home, where we obtained some Advil to help ease the growing pain in our heads and backs. By that evening, we were both so sore we could barely move.

So, yesterday morning, we both went to my chiropractor. After a thorough examination, he informed us that we both had whiplash, and that we must wear a cervical collar for the next week or two. He said, however, that of the two, my case was the worst (which is not surprising, due to the back injury I had two years ago, from which I still have not fully recovered). In fact, he told Maria that back-wise, I was years older than her (and she's 4 years older than me!). I am confined to pretty much just resting--No laundry, scrubbing toilets or bathtubs, no practicing harp...basically none of my normal activities for the next week or so. :-( I'm just glad this happened after harp exams, rather than before...

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I'm in a good deal of pain, albeit not quite so severe as it was two years ago, because then I was dealing with not only whiplash, but a slipped disc as well. However, this has set me back quite a ways, and I'm going to have to be really careful for a while, in order to get over this quickly.

God has His reasons, I know, and I'm not at all upset that He let this happen. I'm just thankful that he protected our lives, and kept us from being injured worse than we are--and that he also protected Maria's car, so that the damage was actually worse to the guy that hit us. His saving and protecting hand was definitely with us, and I am so grateful to Him that He hid us under the shelter of His wings. May His name be praised. :-)

Well, I have sat here typing for a while now, and think I need to call it quits. My neck is beginning to complain about sitting up, so I best go put ice on it again. Thanks for all your prayers and support. May the Lord of glory be with you all.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Quick Update...

It suddenly occurred to me today what a terrible blogger I must be, seeing as how I haven't posted anything since the week of Resurrection Sunday. But, I must admit that life has been pretty busy for me lately--or at least busy enough that I have not taken the time to write anything of any importance. However, as I am currently on a break from harp practice, I thought I would write a short little note.

Hmm...where to begin? Life remains wonderful as I continue to experience life as a married woman. Donald is the perfect husband in my eyes, as he loves me unconditionally and constantly gives me his support. I really cannot imagine life without him--I love him so much! Due to some health issues that have plagued me for the last few years, and are now showing up more than ever, I have been on a rollercoaster emotionally. One day I'm happy, and the next day I don't know why I'm crying. But, Donald is ever ready to give me a hug when I need one, and knows when he needs to speak, or just hold me and let me cry. I am going to see a doctor on June 15th about these problems, and am praying that the Lord will work through the doctor to pinpoint the root cause.

But, despite this rollercoaster that I've been riding, there are very few rain clouds in my horizon. I LOVE being married, and I absolutely love keeping house. For Christmas, a cousin of Donald's gave us a gift card for $60 to a home decor store (Kirklands). I had never heard of the store, but one day last month while I was out shopping with my sisters, I "just happened" to come upon one, so decided to go in and look. For some time, I had been looking at the bare walls in my house with some frustration, but didn't know what to do about it. In this store, however, I found my answer! They had unbelievably inexpensive prices at Kirklands, and I was able to buy several things there. I was so excited (just ask my sisters...). Then, a late wedding gift arrived consisting of $30 cash. So, hearing that Hobby Lobby had all their wall decor 50% off, I went and was able to purchase several more items for my house. Perhaps later (meaning after exams next week), I'll sit down and upload some pictures of the house for you.

Another sunny spot in my life right now is my garden. I had never before been very interested in working outdoors, but now I love it. I love being in my yard, tending my flowers. You should have seen the weeds in the flowerbeds when I began working in it. They were terrible! The nextdoor neighbor (who has lived there for 35 years) told me that the last several people that lived in our house did nothing with the yard. I said, "I can tell!" Weeds were ALL OVER the yard. It was disgusting. So, I decided to conquer them if at all possible. For about a week, I spent time out in the flowerbeds, pulling and hoeing the weeds. Finally, I had it cleared out, so then went with my mother-in-law to pick out flowers. Anyway...it's quite a long story, but the long and short of it is, many days and hours of hard work later, I now have beautiful flowerbeds filled with blooming flowers. My neighbor came over to my yard yesterday when I was out working in it, and told me how beautiful it was (which is quite a compliment coming from her, as her yard is imaculate). That made me happy.

Seriously, something about those flowers make me so happy. I get happy and feel like jumping up and down everytime I look at them. Everytime we go somewhere, as we're backing out of the driveway, I have to look and comment on my flowers. Donald gets a bemused smile on his face and listens patiently. To me, those flowers are one of God's ways to tell me that He loves me, and I'm so grateful that He's helping them to grow!

Okay...enough about flowers...if I keep going, I'm bound to get so caught up in the subject that I write pages and pages about nothing else. ;-)

Other activities in my life include a daily walk (someone once told me that a person gets fat after getting married, and I'm bound and determined to not let that happen), cooking, cleaning, studying for my harp exam that is next week (eek!), and tons of practicing. Due to my back not holding up to two hours of straight practicing, I have begun breaking my practicing up into four 30-minute segments (or six 20-minute segments if necessary). It has worked really well for me, and I actually get more accomplished that way. My pieces are nearly there....I think.

Two funny things about my harp playing...First of all, on one section of a really fast piece, my fingers kept getting really stiff and clumsy, therefore causing me to make several mistakes. Finally, my harp teacher watched me closely one day, and noticed that I was holding my breath! Once she had me purposefully breathe through that section, I was able to stay relaxed and get through without messing up. Funny, huh?

Secondly, before big exams or something else stressful, I always have dreams related to them. For instance, when I was studying for the SAT and had been really focusing on my math, I dreamed all night long about Algebra equations--and they actually made sense! Well, a few nights ago, I was having a dream about practicing the harp and turning pages in the middle of a song, when suddenly I felt Donald touch me, and ask why I was hitting him. I sleepily replied, "I'm turning pages for my harp," and then rolled over and went back to sleep. Poor darling! He has to put up with so much....and he likes to tease me about that too.

This last weekend we went on a trip to both East and West Texas for two different family reunions. It was lots of fun--but I must say the most enjoyable part of it was the travel. I don't normally like travelling, but really loved all the beautiful scenery and getting to have Donald all to myself for a long period of time. It was pure bliss. :-) It rained a good portion of both trips, and I was reminded of God's mercy in a whole new way (especially since God says that He sends rain on both the just and the unjust).

For a long while, as we traveled East, I admired this huge, gorgeous cloud formation ahead. The sun was shining on it, and it was bright and beautiful (fluffy clouds such as these give me the same feeling that flowers give me, just F.Y.I.). I kept commenting on it to Donald, who is quite the expert when it comes to clouds and weather (a fascination of his, second only to Air Conditioning). As we drove further East, the cloud started getting above us. Then, we reached the spot when we were most certainly under it, and everything became dark and wet as we entered the downpour. I amazedly looked behind us to see that the road we had just driven was dry and sunny while all before us was wet and dark. Donald then said, "This, my dear, is caused by the cloud that you have been admiring." My mind instantly sought to find a spiritual analogy to this situation, and one came to me.

The cloud seen from above or far away looked beautiful in the splendor and glory of the sun shining on it. The cloud seen from below, however, was dark and dreary. In the same way, when I am going through a trial, all I can see is the cloud on top of me--all may seem lonely and dark. However, if I respond rightly to the trial, those watching will see the glory and splendor of Christ resting upon me as I am transformed more into His image, and I will be a reminder of God's mercy and love to all who see me.

Anyway, I shall end on that note, as I must return to my harp now. Please be praying for me as I take my exam on June 5th. I am going to try not to get nervous and am praying that God will play through my fingers. However, as a godly woman once said, "If I perish, I perish." :-p

Praying that the splendor of the risen Savior will rest upon you all,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Were You There?

On a hill far away and long ago stood an old rugged cross. On that cross, hung the Savior of the world. Scorned by foes, forsaken by friends, the pure and spotless Lamb of God--the only acceptable sacrifice for all sin for all time--hung from that cruel instrument of torture, bearing the sin of the world. Who can ever describe the utter agony and torment that Christ endured? "He was wounded [tormented] for our transgressions, He was bruised [crushed] for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." (Perhaps the best way to catch but a glimpse of this intense suffering is through reading the article found at this link: http://iblp.org/iblp/news/2007/03/001.)

After hours of unceasing torment, the Savior gasped a final breath, and cried, "It is Finished," then again, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," "and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost."

Following our Lord's death, He was laid in a tomb for three days and three nights. Followers of Christ lost hope. They thought their Messiah had come, but He had died! Where was their Savior now? They had so soon forgotten the words Christ said unto them, "...The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill Him, and the third day He shall be raised again...."

Oh glorious victory! On the third day, just as foretold and promised, the blessed Savior was raised from the dead! He conquered "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" death and the grave could not hold Him--He forever lives again so that we need never fear death (Hebrews 2:14-15)! How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin? Oh that each believer could have been there--could have experienced this miracle personally.

But wait a minute...I
was there.

On October 2, 1992, a little five-year-old girl knelt at her mother's bedside. "Dear Jesus," she prayed, "I believe that you are the Son of God, and that you died for my sins, and that you rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. Would you please forgive me of my sins, and come into my heart and be the Lord of my life?" At that moment, Christ entered into her heart--into
my heart, and I was baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ.

God is not bound by time. In the same moment His Son hung on that cross, God looked down and saw me asking Christ to be my Savior. Thus, when the Holy Spirit baptized me into Christ, I also hung on that cross. Thus, I was crucified with Christ, I was buried with Him--I was resurrected with Him. My spiritual eyes have seen the sights my physical eyes so long to see. All my life, if asked where I would go if I could go anywhere in the world, I have answered, "Israel." I have longed to see the sights that Christ saw--to walk the ground He walked. What a thrilling journey that would be!

Yet, I was there! I have walked that ground--I have seen those sights. Let me describe it in another way... Hebrews chapter 7 tells us that Levi was in the loins of his father Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchisedec. Is it not possible also, that when I accepted Christ as my Savior and was "born again," thus becoming a child of God, that God in His foreknowledge saw me as being in the loins of Christ? That seems a little confusing to my brain, I'll admit...however, as God is our Father (and Jesus said that He and the Father are one), and I am a child of God, I believe it is a perfectly logical conclusion to say that I was in the "loins" of Christ--thus was in Christ--when He suffered, died, and rose again.

A sightly mind boggling thought, I'll admit... However, instead of only giving you my thoughts on the issue, I think I shall now turn to the Word of God.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were
baptized [by the Holy Spirit] into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:3-11).

in Him [Christ] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with Him in baptism [by the Holy Spirit], wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:9-15).

"Therefore if any man be
in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new...For He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:17 & 21).

These are just a few passages of many describing the marvelous fact (not fiction) that we are IN Christ!

Now that I see this awesome truth, what does it mean to me? I shall let Scripture speak for itself. :-) (No words of mine could better describe it.)

"If ye then be risen
with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-3).

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loves us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us
together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus...For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

"For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make
in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:4-7, 10-22).

Wow! I am risen with Christ! My life is hid with Christ in God! I sit in heavenly places in Christ! I am built for the habitation of God in Christ through the Spirit! What precious promises and truths I see now as I read Scripture with the understanding that at the moment of my salvation, the Holy Spirit baptized me
into Christ--thus I died, was buried, raised again, and now live and sit in heavenly places in and through Christ Jesus! Wow! That's awesome!

The words of a well known hymn come to my mind:

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when He rose up from the grave?

Were you there when He rose up from the grave?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to shout glory, glory, glory!
Were you there when He rose up from the grave?

I was. Were you?

Wishing you a blessed week and Resurrection Sunday as you revel in the knowledge that we are in Christ!

p.s., all italics were mine and were done for emphasis...just a quick disclaimer, there. ;-p

Friday, February 20, 2009


My fingers glided over my harp strings as I attempted to learn a new song. I was making good progress when I began noticing that my fingers were growing sore. Determined to practice a certain length of time, I ignored the warning signs and continued practicing. Soon, my ring finger on each hand had a slight burning sensation. Glancing down, I noticed that each sported a rather large blood blister--the most painful kind. See these lovely blisters caused my sense of determination to wane, and I gave in, and discontinued my practicing for the day.

Then, today, as I again practiced on the not yet healed blisters (and they still hurt), I was reminded of the vicious cycle of blisters and the spiritual analogy they illustrate. Eventually, as I continue practicing and playing on these blisters and sore fingers, my fingertips will grow calloused, hardened, and insensitive to the friction caused by the continued plucking of the harp strings--thus allowing me to play as long as I want without the painful swelling filled with liquid that prevents me from enjoying my playing.

Just as my fingers can become hardened through constant rubbing or friction, so my heart can become calloused to the Holy Spirit when I fail to obey His promptings. As I ignore the searching and promptings of God's Spirit, friction results, and my heart begins to callous. Soon, my heart becomes hardened and I no longer hear the Spirit's voice nor heed His warnings. I also will lose my capacity to feel and understand the hurts or needs of others, and I am more likely to hurt them through my words and/or actions.

A callus can be softened and the skin's sensitivity can be restored by removing the cause of friction and the layers of softened skin. For example, not playing the harp for a month because you're planning a wedding (and then for another few weeks because you're recovering from a wedding) sufficiently removes the cause of friction. Thus, my fingers have lost their calluses, and are once again sensitive (something I'm trying to change...because unlike my heart, my fingers do need those calluses).

In the same way my calloused heart can become sensitive again by confessing sin, and immediately obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit. So, I am asking myself, "What blisters do I have? What wrong attitudes or thoughts do I have that I feel guilty about?" When I feel guilt because of a wrong attitude, that is a spiritual blister--a warning sign from the Lord that if I don't remove the source of friction, my heart will soon fail to heed Him altogether.

May the Lord help me always to detect spiritual blisters--even before they have fully formed--so that I may more aptly follow Him and heed His voice.

Anyway, that was just a spiritual insight I thought I'd give for the day. :-)


Thursday, February 19, 2009

47 days of married life--and still loving it!

Well, I have gone longer than I intended without writing another update for my blog. Due to the lateness of the hour, I shall just briefly cover a few things.

Nothing "earth shattering" has happened since I last wrote--at least to me (my brother probably would not agree with me, but I'll get to that later). Life has rather settled down on my part. I have fallen into a joyous routine of house cleaning, practicing, and cooking meals for my husband. There is something so contenting about my current life. It seems as if it was just made for me. In the role of housewife, I have found a fulfillment I never dreamed I could have.

But, upon reflection, this does not surprise me. When God made woman, He made her to be a helpmeet for man. Therefore, I should feel the most content when I am fulfilling that role. Truly, one of my new purposes/goals in life is to follow the instruction of Paul in Titus 2:5, that women should be "discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." I hope and pray that I can engraft that Scripture into my life, so that I not only will honor God, but that I will be crown to my husband instead of "rottenness in his bones" (Prov. 12:4).

I am so grateful that God can take the ugly and make it beautiful. At times, I feel so ugly inside and out. Wrong attitudes overtake me often, and I oftentimes feel sinful (this is not a recent development, by the way...but a long time observation that has been hitting home lately through my Bible studies). I wonder, "How can God love me like this? How can Donald love me like this?" Donald keeps telling me I'm the most beautiful person he has ever known. When he says that, I just smile and say, "You're so sweet." But inwardly, I wonder if he is blind or something... (course, they do say love is blind...)

In reading Isaiah recently, I was reminded where true beauty begins. The nation of Israel was a sinful, wicked nation--ugly inside and out. They turned their backs on God and rejected His ways time and time again--yet God still loved them. Over and over again in Isaiah God calls for repentance, is ignored and rejected, and then He tells them of the judgment to come--but always follows it with promises of mercy and restoration.

In one such chapter, God says that a day is coming when He will "be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people." Then, the authors of Psalms repeatedly tell us to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." Holiness is beautiful...God is holy...therefore God is beautiful. He is a diadem of beauty, crowning His children. I have Christ in me--the hope of glory. Therefore, when the Father looks at me, He sees beautiful perfection, because Christ is in me, and I am in Christ--He covers me with Himself, and crowns me as with "a crown of glory" and a "diadem of beauty."

Then, Isaiah also states, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." What a precious truth and promise! Thus, when my husband tells me I'm beautiful, I smile, knowing that it is not me who is beautiful (for in my flesh there dwells no good thing), but Christ Who lives within. All the glory for who I am or ever hope to become belongs to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All the glory belongs to Him both now and ever more.

Now, on the less serious side of things, I'll give a quick run down of recent events. Up until last week, life continued on a pretty normal scale (if you call being a newlywed normal...). Then, last week, my husband and I traveled down to San Antonio with his family for a vacation. We left on Tuesday and returned on Sunday. It was a wonderful trip! Almost like a second honeymoon for the two of us--except better, as Donald was not sick this time, and we could enjoy ourselves more. We saw lots of historical places, spent lots of time walking the River Walk, went swimming several different times (whenever the pool was empty of other people), and had much time with each other. It was very refreshing, and I felt very loved and cherished throughout the whole week.

On Valentine's day, he took me to the Tower of Americas there in San Antonio, and we ate dinner at the restaurant there in the tower called the Chart House (the restaurant spins around while you eat so that you get a good view of the whole area for miles and miles). It was very romantic, and made for a very wonderful evening. Then, after we'd descended the elevator, and I was looking around the gift shop, Donald snuck off and bought me a rose, and then came and presented it to me. It was so sweet, as I love roses, and it just topped off my incredible evening. :-)

Then, on Sunday (the 15th), we left San Antonio that morning, drove five hours back home, and got here just in time to change clothes and then head to the Valentine's Banquet at our church--a 45 minute drive away. That is where the "earth shattering" event happened for my brother. That night at the banquet, he asked a young lady (whom we've known for many years) to court him--and she said yes. So, my dear brother is currently in "La La Land," and my sisters all tell me he is much worse than I ever was (and he told me when I was courting that he would never be mushy--haha). So, it shall be quite interesting to watch this new development in my brother's life. Poor guy...I don't think he quite knows what hit him yet. *chuckle*

This week, I returned to the cooking, cleaning, practicing routine...something that I don't think I'll get tired of for quite a while. I am having so much fun keeping house, and having a nice home and meal for my husband to come home to each evening! I know I said this earlier, but it's so fulfilling!

God has been so abundantly gracious in giving me the man I have for a husband. He is so kind, tender, patient, understanding, and serving. And I am definitely convinced that of all the men in the world, Donald is the only perfect match for me, and I love him soooo much--and more and more with each passing day. How good God was to lead and guide us to each other!

Anyway, on that note, I think I shall conclude this post, as the hour isn't growing any earlier, and I think I hear my pillow calling my name. Until next time, my dear friends, may the Lord bless you abundantly with His precious fellowship!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Married...? Can it really be true?

11 days ago, a bride was preparing herself to walk down the aisle to marry the "man of her dreams." Stress, tiredness, trepidation, and nervous excitement caused her hands to shake uncontrollably. Finally, her dear friends all gathered in a circle to pray for her. A calm settled over her, and she was again assured that she was following the Lord's will. As the hour grew closer to that much anticipated moment, she again began shaking with nervous excitement. Would she be a good wife? She felt in many ways so unprepared, so young...so unready for all the responsibilities of marriage. She knew she could never do it on her own. Yet, she also knew that she did not need to do it on her own. A Wonderful Helper stood by yearning to take all her care, and give His strength in the place of her weakness.

Finally, the moment came, and she took her father's arm to walk down the aisle to the sound of trumpets playing "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise." Friends and family on either side stood as she entered the Sanctuary. She knew they were all smiling at her, but her eyes sought and found one thing: the eyes of her beloved. He smiled with a proud light in his eyes as she walked towards him, and she smiled back with all of her trusting heart in her eyes. This was their day. She had prepared herself for her groom, and she was ready to vow to be his as long as this life shall last.

The ceremony went smoothly (despite a flower girl falling asleep, and a groomsmen nearly passing out), and the couple finally heard the words for which they had been waiting: "I now pronounce you husband and wife. Donald, you may kiss your bride." The groom reached out, gently pulled his wife to him, and kissed her for the first time. As they pulled away, the bride smiled into her husbands eyes, and then was pulled back towards him for a very long, and much longed-for hug--precious, precious moment, which shall never be forgotten. In that moment, all her fears and doubts were quenched. She knew that God had prepared her and her husband for such a time and season, and that they were here by His purpose and for His plan. They now travel the road of life together--together with God.

Well, we have now been married for 11 days. After having waited so long, it almost seems unreal to be saying so. Yet, I look at the ring on my finger and recall my husband's loving touch when leaving for work, and know that it is all true. The road leading to this day and hour was often a difficult one, yet was worth it all. Looking back now, I am so glad that our foresight (and not just our hindsight) was 20/20.

When our courtship began, we purposed to save all physical contact for the marriage altar. Thus, the only time Donald ever touched me, was when he put the engagement ring on my finger. This "Bible's Distance Rule" (as we called it) caused us to exercise more patience, determination, and sheer force of will than we ever dreamed. The longing to touch each other seemed at times almost unbearable. Yet, the Blessed Savior ever stood ready to give the grace and the patience to wait. I now stand at the other side of the marriage altar, and can testify that His strength was made perfect in our weakness, and that His precious name was glorified through our actions.

I shall never forget the gasp of amazement from the audience when my Dad explained during our wedding ceremony that we had never even held hands, but had waited for that time and place to begin. Then, there was the "aww" that rose from several lips when we took hands for the first time, and then the cheer that filled the sanctuary when we kissed for the first time. Afterward, countless people told us what a testimony that was, and how it honored the Lord. "Praise God," we replied, "that's all we wanted."

And truly, I am so grateful that God was glorified through our courtship and marriage. All the struggles of maintaining purity throughout our courtship are made worth it all when I hear that we blessed some one's life or honored the Lord through it. Also, our honeymoon was undoubtedly more blissful than the average because of it being a "week of firsts." We never dreamed that holding hands could be that much fun! :-D

After the wedding, Donald took me to a wonderful hotel in Downtown Fort Worth, and from there, to a fancy restaurant. The whole evening, we just held hands, hugged, and yes, even kissed.... :-) It was such a wonderful evening... Then, the next day, we drove out to East Texas where we stayed in a cabin out in the middle of the piney woods. During the week, we took walks through the woods, drove down many country roads "just for fun," and spent much time just getting some R & R. It was a little taste of heaven to be utterly alone with him, and to also experience all those "firsts." God's ways are so worth it! I thank the Lord for giving me parents who taught me His ways, and who encouraged me in them. Donald and I are both SO glad that we observed the "no touch rule;" for by doing so, our relationship is more precious now, and countless observers have been blessed by our actions. May God's name be praised.

Now, with the wedding and honeymoon week behind us, Donald is back to work, and I am experimenting with being a housewife. Unpacking and cleaning is the game of the week, as well as figuring out how to cook for just two people (which I assure you is a daunting task when you're used to cooking for 10). Thankfully, there is enough involved in those activities that it keeps me from moping too much during Donald's absence...admittedly, though, I cry for a few minutes after Donald leaves for work...but, I quickly snap out of it, as I start planning all the cleaning I want to have done in order to surprise him upon his return.

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store for the first time, and spent $60...and it didn't even seem like I got enough for it to add up to that amount...and I got only the cheapest things... *sigh* I'm going to have to work on my grocery budgeting skills, I'm afraid... :-)

As soon as I get things a little more settled around here, I will post pictures of the wedding, honeymoon, and of our home for all of you to see. For now, however, I'd better leave the computer and go get some cleaning done so that I can surprise my husband with yet another unpacked/cleaned room tonight. :-)

Until the next time, dear friends, may God be with you all!

Melody (formerly Rohlin) Preuninger