Home Sweet Home

Yes! Not that it hasn't been home since we came home after the honeymoon; it's just now all in place with no junk (well most junk) thrown away. Definitely no boxes!

Here are some pictures for those who haven't or won't be able to see it for a while. This is for you Linds :)

Although you obviously can't see the lithograph, the picture hanging on the left side of the bed was done by Ben, inspired by me :) Didn't find that out until after we were ready to hang it on the wall, but it's no wonder I love it: Ben knows me quite well!

Some of our many books :) We aspire to have a library one day.

Chests of drawers and hamper, which, surpisingly, all the dirty clothes makes it to...I'm wondering how long that will last.

Our "hallway" (if it can be called that). You will soon notice our small area requires a few extra "space organizers"

Our tiny shower. The corner caddy is awesome! And I am still in love with the colors/print we picked.

The tiny vanity. We've made it work though. Notice he is gracious enough to let me keep out the everyday hair products I need.

The living area. For not a large space, I think we've made it rather functional. We're just not quite sure where the Christmas tree will go...

Our big bookshelf :) LOVE IT!!! It's on the same wall as the green love seat and recliner. If you notice at the top, Ben loves swords. These are all Japanese swords: Samurai swords, if you want to be exact. From the top: Katana, Washizaki, and Tanto. Just a few of his many: there are 2 Lord of the Rings replica swords waiting to be hung in our bedroom, plus a Polynesian War club and 2 daito (practice swords in plain-people speak) in his closet. There is also a box he has with ceremonial dress from Yemen with 3 knives for the outfit. More specifically, we had to make sure we communicated that he would only practice outdoors for the rest of his life. His old bedroom at his parents has plenty of black marks on the ceiling from practicing indoors :)

Our desk,filing cabinet, and another "space organizer". They are technically in the dining area but we have yet to even have a table.

My teeny tiny kitchen. I'm definitely down to utilizing every last inch of usable space in this place. I think I will pee my pants from excitement the day we ever move and my kitchen is any larger! I've become so used to working my way around that I don't even think of how small it is (THANK YOU LORD!).

Like I said: utilization of every last inch! The open space is what I spread myself out between while cooking. I've learned to become really creative :)

The masterpiece leaning against the wall is going to go in the middle of the crosses. It's a ceramic tile project Ben made during a ceramic class.

So there you have it. This is our home...our very first home sweet home :) I'm absolutely loving married life. To be with Benjamin whenever we're both home is awesome! Sometimes we do things together, but even when we're doing our own thing I find the thought of knowing he's there so comforting. He truly is my best friend, the one God intended for me. And it makes me smile thinking of how blessed I am by God and how much fun it was "making" our very first home.


The Wait is Over

Wow! I knew it had been forever since I posted, especially with the wedding fogging my mind (in a good way, of course). Hopefully, I will become more in a habit of blogging on a frequent basis...expounding on the day and allowing for mind expansion through thought is healthy, I believe.

Anyway, Ben and I are finally married! It's been 17 days since we said "I do" and I must say I'm loving it :)

It doesn't feel extremely different as far as our relationship goes. It's just nice knowing my best friend will either already be home or coming home after I get home from work. It's enjoyable, in a share-the-burden sort of way, to have to discuss and work out our finances; at least, when we agree it is enjoyable. Fortunately, we haven't hit any big road blocks there yet.

One aspect of marriage I never contemplated is getting your first home organized and made into a home! It's a lot of work: shopping with the gift cards to purchase remaining needed items, washing new dishes/utensils/etc, organizing all the different bills/accessories/rooms (even when its not much space). Just the thought alone makes me tired. However, my wonderful husband helps me with a lot of the organization and has even made comments about how he enjoys doing the every day tasks with me.

Ahhh the newness of marriage! I know it will not always be this way, but I enjoy it. And I enjoy knowing that as time goes on it will only get better because we will have spent more time knowing one another.

I don't know why but this reminded me of an incident with a patient today:

The reason evades me at this moment, but a male patient, with his wife in the room, looked me straight in the eye while saying, "The man it head of the house and what he says goes [or something to that affect]. You can look it up in the Bible; that's excatly what it says."

I looked at his wife, who was retorting, then back to the patient, who was trying to negate her with a higher volume as he repeated himself.

I couldn't listen to this man, who is blatantly incorrect (see Ephesians 5:22-33), without stating what I knew to be right. Not only had I known this reference from previous reading, but Dr. Kevin McKee had used it, at our request, in Ben and my ceremony. So without hesitating, I looked at the patient and said, "No sir, it states the exact opposite of that. Scripture blatantly says the man is to be head of the house as Christ is the church and laid himself down for her. He is to be a servant leader, not dictate." Of course, I paraphrased, but I knew it was close to hitting the nail on the head.

Unfortunately, the man would not listen. I feel terrible for his wife. And I love my husband even more!

I am so grateful Ben whole-heartedly believes what scripture says in Ephesians and honestly strives to be that type of husband.

I am so amazingly blessed by God!


The Wind of Excitement

Yes, it is quite exciting in my life right now. I just bought the bubbles for the wedding and counting down the days make my smile larger and cheeks rosier (yes, I blush quite easily). There is nothing in the world that would stop me from marrying Ben.

I say this only because as Ben and I were eating dinner at my parents last night, my dad decided to pop the most random question: "So do you guys want to back out? Cuz after this point there is no turning back." Oh if you only knew my father. He wasn't being 100% serious but at the same time, I think he was trying to scare Ben, make sure Ben really wants to take this on as a man. Apparently, both our faces showed complete bewilderment due to the unstoppable laughter which bubbled out of my mother. She said we both had the same expression, which in her words was, "What kind of question is that?".

Ben and I have discussed a lot together, drawing us closer and uniting our team more. Knowing that I will be marrying my best friend in 40 days only to begin the rest of our lives together is extremely exciting to me. I have had several people ask me if I'm ready or if I'm scared, and honestly, I'm not. I don't know if it's because of the fights Ben and I have worked through or the strength in our communication, but whatever the reason, I have no ifs, ands, or buts about saying "I do".

I believe it is safe to say that after 9 months of dating and 9 months of engagement, I am spending my last month as a single woman with my "head in the clouds" or "on cloud nine". Ironically, I have spent little time in that "feeling of floating" place. And it scared me quite a bit as people kept talking only of how exciting dating was or how everything was "just dandy" and they hardly fought. Looking back, I am glad it happened this way. Ben and I have such a strong foundation that most people build in their first year of marriage. Thus, I'm hoping our first year will be what most people experience during their engagement.

No matter what, I'm excited about coming home and knowing my best friend will be there!


The dress is out...portraits are Monday :)

I am THRILLED!! I am currently letting the train of my dress down so it can hopefully pull a few wrinkles out before Monday. What is Monday?

Bridal Portraits (and day 54 on the countdown :D)!

I am getting so excited just thinking about being married to Ben. Everyone keeps asking us "where are you going to live?" and "what is he going to be doing?", which are both hard questions to hear right now because we have no answer.Waiting on God's timing has never seemed more difficult, especially due to the fact we wish it was already completely planned out. Yet despite all the difficulties we are facing right now, I'm glad it has not dimmed the excitement of the moment.

Plus, so many people talk about how the first year of marriage is the hardest because it changes the dynamics and because the engagement is usually spent with your head in the clouds. Although I'm sure Ben and I will definitely encounter some difficulties, I can honestly say that we have worked through so many differences over the past year and worked hard on our communication, our first year of marriage will probably be similar to the "head in the clouds" effect most people experience in the engagement. It makes me excited thinking about it, mainly because I have sought counsel from many people who expereienced a lot of fighting throughout the engagement as Ben and I have and they have all said their first year was great. Not without its difficulties, but not what most people experience.

I do have to say I'm beginning to think it is the only positive to a long engagement. Neither Ben nor I wanted a long engagement originally, but then he decided "why wait?". I have actually been an advocate against it, even after we got engaged. But the longer it is and the more we have worked through and experienced together, I have found that the time together has been a great asset to our relationship.

Anyway, all this to expound on thoughts I am continually chewing as my bridal portraits are coming up and the countdown is getting mighty low on the number scale!!!

If you happen to think of us, please, please pray we will continue to trust and follow God's guidance as we are waiting for Him to open the door with one of the jobs Ben has applied for. Also, please be praying for living quarters. We are pretty certain we know where we will live if we have yet to hear of a permanent job for Ben, it's just working out the logistics, taking the time for everything to work out and waiting on God's timing.


Our Self-centered Minds

So I got to thinking the other day, not that we don't know this, about how self-centered a people we are. All people are self-centered but it seems to encompass the heart of the American culture. I include myself amongst all those people, unfortunately.

Anyway, I made a comment about how sweet and friendly one of Dr. Babin's patients was, following it with, "I could take care of patients like that all day long. They make you want to help them."

As I stopped to think about exactly what had parted my lips, I realized how selfish I was to think that way. Of course it would be easy to care for patients like that all day. It's hard to be in a bad mood when the people who are coming to you because they either perceive or truly have an illness are pleasant and carry light conversation with you. It would seem as though you were visiting with someone all the time, which granted isn't my cup of tea due to being an introvert. Yet, I would much rather those circumstances since I have no option to avoid humans in the work world.

However, most patients are not happy when they walk in. They feel terrible and with it comes the grumpiness. They complain about the blood pressure cuff being too tight (Let's face it: the cuff makes EVERYONE feel like there arm is going to be pumped off). They whine about having to step on the scale (some step on backwards or stare at the wall so they don't have to know...and not all of them are overweight). They complain about all the medicine they're taking. They even make sarcastic remarks about how the doctor is going to "yell" (I've never heard him raise his voice and you can hear everything through these clinic doors if they're talking loud enough) at them for smoking (Oh and shouldn't you have never picked up the habit in the first place?!). They will literally find anything and everything to complain about. Although some of them are legitimately sick, others truly have nothing wrong with them physically.

Either way, they are the harder patients to take care of. Not to mention, some you want to slap in the face for how rude they are to you. But, those are the people I am called to love. Some of their ailments may purely be from a spiritual battle they are fighting and do not know it. Some may purely be physical. Some may be a mix of both. No matter the cause, they need care and compassion as much as those patients who have a warm, accepting attitude.

Please understand I am not saying I have ever neglected a patient due to their treatment of me or their attitude. As tempting as it has been, the most I have done is complain to a coworker once off the phone or out of the room. What I am saying, is as frustrating as it may be, I should love the person to the point I am not even complaining about their treatment of me as wrong as it may seem and as frustrated as I may get.

Just a little something God laid on my heart.


Change Change Change

The ever present story of my life right now. Some of it scary, some of it great, a lot of it being faced as "what if's" right now.

In just the past couple of weeks change has weasled its way right under my covers. A little too intimate for me, but I believe God is working on teaching me to continually trust Him despite all the change and fear that seems to arise from change.

If it isn't obvious from what I've said so far, I do not love change. I do not look for it. In fact, I try to keep everything just the way it is. It unfortunately manifests itself in me as OCD in many ways, which I am fortunate to realize and to have had the parents I did. It is 100% due to these facts I usually, with Christ's strength and unabounding love He has lavished on me, am able to realize I cannot expect everyone to be wired exactly as me nor can I expect change to never show its face. I still struggle with it but I at least am able to work myself through it rather than becoming an overbearing thorn-in-the-flesh of all who come in contact with me.

So the changes that have recently come about, whether I've enjoyed them or not:

1) I have recently moved back into the home with my parents. A wonderful change and great place to be for the last few months of my single life. Which brings about another impending change:

2) Getting married in 124 days! Woooo...exciting and scary. I love Benjamin dearly and cannot wait to be married to him :) But it is still scary to think about all the newness that comes with being married. Not to mention I wonder if I will do a good job of being a wife. I'm sure everything will work out and I know God will take care of us, just the idea of a big change yet again forces me to jump in head first into a new phase.

3) This leads me to the change that comes with Benjamin's job. It may come as large as moving to a completely different state with no family there. Not that I'm against it. Especially if it moves us somewhere more north: we both enjoy a cooler climate. It's just knowing I may have to make new friends, I will definitately be leaving friends here behind, and will be starting from scratch is not the most fun challenge I have ever faced. I've done it and will gladly do it again for Ben to be provider, but still.

And if he is offered a job here, all the different possibilities that can come with that job.

The more I type, the more I am reminded, as God constantly is reminding me, to trust Him. The "what if's" are not for me to worry about. The unknown can be seen as a great adventure and a wonderful, new experience in trusting God. Although my flesh frequently does not want to even think this way, I am constantly turning back to the old, yet new realization of how God has everything in control. What we see as bad, whether it truly is or isn't, God can turn into being used for His glory. The entire point of life is to glorify God in all circumstances. Thus, if I take the fear of change and see it as an opportunity to trust and learn of Him, how much of a great adventure will I find awaiting for me? Not a pit to fall into, not another wound waiting to be inflicted, but a wonderful, discovery-filled, great adventure!


Fear: We will feel it, but does it have to rule us?

Fear. Ben and I are currently doing a bible study together on fear. Fear seems to rule my life. It is most definitely not the way I want to live. I want to live free from fear. Not allowing it to hold me back or keep me from pursuing relationships. Honestly, I want to get to a point where I choose to trust God rather than hold tight to fear.

Fear has never done me any good. I don't think it has done anything for anyone. It only serves to tear apart relationships, destroy the discipline to work. "Fear herds us into a prison and slams the door." - Max Lucado. And it's true: when you let fear take hold, all that surrounds you is darkness; light is not found in the presence of fear.

I am hoping through taking time to study God's word, learning what I most fear and how to battle it with scripture, and opening up with Ben so we can pray together, I will learn to let go and let God. Those situations I think I can control I can't. Those situations I fear turn me into a mean monster and allow me to trust no one, not even my closest friends, family, and fiance.

There is hope in Christ: 2 Timothy 1:7 - "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and discipline."

May our hearts and minds rest on this knowledge so when we fear a loved one being hurt, making a bad grade in school, failing at our job, failing our loved one or child, we will break through the chains that could confine us and live in the light of God trusting His will prevails in all circumstances.


Return, O Sleep

Return, O Sleep
Where have you gone?
You once were my dear friend
But now you toss me back and forth
Eluding deep, true Rest
You once were dear
And called me true
To fellowship with you
But now you leave me wondering
where wee morn hours hath gone

Return, O Sleep
I hear you beckoning
I dearly want to come
To sit a while in fellowship
As Rest wraps secure its arms
To find my hours of no memory
Have brought with them a dawn
A dawn of hope and blissful dreams
Of no more tossing waves
Of energy renewed

Return, O Sleep
Please be my friend
Of kindred hearts combined
To hold me sweetly, tenderly
As Nights come passing by
Protect me from the looming dark
Where Rest is swallowed whole
By Monster come from Neath-the-bed
Valiantly severe body from head
Return to me sweet Rest


If only every day was Saturday...

Yes, for some reason the weekend seems to just fly by. You can't make time move quick enough during the week, but your weekend you would love to enjoy and relax during just passes on by with a wink and whistle, thank you very much. I imagine a conversation with the Weekend going something like this:

"Oh I'm so glad you have come for a visit, Weekend!"

"Are you? I'm not here long. I've come to tease you."

"Come to tea..."

"Toodle loo."

And off it jaunters only to leave with the week ahead of you ready to be stumbled through. You don't have a choice but to tumble your way through it. It doesn't care if you didn't find all the rest you needed. Nor does it worry about how excitedly anxious you are for your wedding. It just keeps on trudging through the hours, minutes, and seconds. You begin to think seconds are minutes and minutes hours and hours days until your Monday becomes your Tuesday and your Wednesday your Friday. And yet by the time your Friday seems to be coming to an end, you feel as though those hours, which have become days, are really weeks.

Even worse is the speed your weekend always maintains so that days are seconds quicker than a blink and the begrudgingly slow week-month is ready to haunt before you can even begin to subconciously think of stopping the Weekend from leaving.

Thus it feels as though October is being pushed further and further away until you can watch it being sucked in by a black hole, never to return, always out of reach. I know it will come, but I am not feeling the "blink" everyone says it will be here in. I am feeling the week-month slowly turn into an entire year causing months upon years of waiting (thank goodness we weren't having to have a longer engagement than what is already planned).


A Love-Hate Relationship

Yes. That is exactly what it is: a love-hate relationship. Would you like me to expound? Well, I feel like it so I guess you are about to find out.

I am currently sitting in the ceramics building with Ben for who knows which # time, for I have lost the count. I am unsure of how many more times we will frequent this building; I know he will be here much more than I with our different schedules. Yet, it still seems I am here with him most every day, once off of work.

As I was talking with my mom earlier this afternoon, I was ending our conversation when I blurted: "You know...it's just a love hate relationship. It can be so frustrating that the majority of my time with him right now is spent just being with him while he works on ceramics. But I know once it's said and done, we grow comfortable in our normal day-to-day with jobs, activities, exercise, etc., there will be times I will miss this phase of our relationship." As often as we do it, it can grow very dull for I often feel extremely useless. However, I also know it does mean a lot to him that I would spend my free time to just be with him.

It is fun to watch him intently working on a project a majority of the time. Something about his relationship with the clay, the purpose in his gaze, the gentle, yet firm, movement of his hands. The artist with his masterpiece. It is equivalent, to me, of listening to someone work on music. The art of building the masterpiece, of which most people do not understand the depth of emotion and length of time put into it.

There is also the knowledge of the support I am giving. I might not say much. I may not even be doing something or saying anything related to his work. But somehow, just being there says more to him than if I didn't go with him at all and were to later tell him it looks amazing (which his work often does).

But sometimes, I can't stand to do the same thing every day. I don't want to go with him to ceramics. I want to be free of anything that has been assigned as work, even though it is not mine to do. There really are some days I absolutely hate to be near that building.

Thus my love-hate relationship. It will end come May, when Ben proudly walks for two diplomas he has spent 5 1/2 years of his life working towards. And I will be extremely proud of him (I already am) for his accomplishment. And although I know I will initially be excited to be rid of this building, there is a part of me that, after some times has passed, will miss the time, memories, and normalcy found here.


My Prince Charming

Yes, he is completely 100% MY Prince Charming. He didn't come with perfection, but I love him just the same with all his imperfections. I know in my last post I hopped on my soap box with tiring of etiquette and what people think of it. I love the comment my sister left. And I completely agree (thanks, Linds)!

And with that, Benjamin and I have completely enjoyed planning this past week. We have weeded through several different tunes, some of which I don't even know why people would use as a reception song. It was a lot of fun just listening to the crappy, fun, "why on earth do you want a song talking about this at your wedding" tunes. It was a great stress reliever and, although I had yet to read my sis' comment, a great reminder of this is OUR wedding. And whether or not someone else would do exactly what we have planned, it is what we want to do to celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together.

We also have ordered the invitations.....and I am SOOOOO excited about them! First of all, I was able to get something I really, really liked, which was not originally how I was going to pick. Price ruled my thoughts, thus I wouldn't even allow myself to look at something if it was overbudgeted. Then I realized, along with Benjamin, we were not going to have to order as many invitations as we thought originally. With that in mind, Laura, our wedding coordinator, told us to start from the beginning. "I don't think you picked any of these because you just loved them," she said, "Let's go through this again. You shouldn't have to think about whether you like it. This is a flip through because you're supposed to love it right when you see it."

So we started glancing at the invite samples as Laura quickly flipped through pages. There were a couple we like but they were waaay too expensive, and she agreed. So we kept flipping. We made it through one book without really just loving anything out of it. So she pulled out another and began flipping through that. About half-way through, she had barely flipped a page when we all made a statement about it at the same time: "OH WOW! I really like that one!" I said, "Hey, what about that one?" Ben said, and Laura, with her fingering pointing at the design said, "This is really pretty. Oh and look at the way the worded the invite to the reception." Needless to say, those are the invites she sent the order out for yesterday.

I'm just loving how everything is falling into place and am so excited and building with anticipation as the day is drawing near. I just am enthralled that I am going to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend. I know I'm currently on cloud nine with my realization of doing what we want for the wedding and the idea of being with him every day, but I don't think there is anything wrong with it. I am not disillusioned into thinking we will never fight, we won't have our hard moments, its going to be "happily, ever after". Trust me, we've already had a couple nasty fights and had to come together to work through them. But as awful as I feel after, and I know he's apologized and told me he feels the same way, there is always this feeling of, "Wow! To work through this disagreement has only brought us closer together." I'm not saying, by any means, I want us to fight more so we can grow; I think we can grow together without it as well. I just know that being committed to each other no matter what may happen in our lives or what we may argue about makes me enjoy the rainbow after the storm.

And right at this moment, I just was thinking about us but more so him because I know that no matter what it takes, he is always going to do everything he can to take care of me. His dad is currently replacing my brakes, and of course Benjamin is along side him working as well. Well, when Dad #2 (that's what I will refer to my father-in-law as) popped my hood, we discovered that more acid had built up on both my + and - receptors on the battery. he said he would clean it and then started telling me about these felt pads you can place on the battery which help with build up because of some chemical in them. Of course I figured I would just get them later, however, my Benjamin just walked in the room and told me he had put some of those pads on the battery. I then said, "Oh, you guys had some here." "No," he replied, "I went to go purchase them so it would stay clean."

No, not perfect, but DEFINITELY my Prince Charming!


Not all Kicks & Giggles

Wedding planning is hard. It is quite overwhelming as well. I know most people say I've got it together because within just a months time several of my large to-do's were either set in stone or well on there way to being done.

I guess my struggle isn't with what to pick, trust me: I'm OCD and picky picky picky. I know what I want, how I want it, and why I want it that way. I also know a lot of what I want is extremely different from the norm and tradition. I have had so many different people tell me "You can't do it that way", "That's not right, you have to do it this way", "It would look much better if you did it this way", "That doesn't follow etiquette", etc. The thing is, I'm not really looking for someone's approval on following etiquette nor am I truly worried if everyone else "just loves it". If it's what I want and Ben likes it too (yes, I have been blessed with a man who actually cares about what to pick and what things look like, although I'm not 100% sure of the blessing yet :P), then it is what I want to have.

I just am not in a mindset of being able to completely understand why etiquette must be followed. I'm sure there are some areas of etiquette I will actually be following, only because it's what I like. However, I just have never quite understood it fully. I'm sure some situations call for it, and maybe in those I must conform. Part of my misunderstanding lies in who on earth set it up and decided everyone must follow? I guess I should do some research in that area. I am open to at least learning about it, although I can guarantee it will not change the choices I have already made in regards to my wedding.

I know I am completely rambling. I guess I have just been extremely frustrated with some of my plans and started thinking about etiquette and where it came from. That's pretty much my existence right now.