Monday, December 20, 2010

RIP Grandma Cottle

"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now...Come further up, come further in!" ~Jewel the Unicorn, from "The Last Battle", C.S. Lewis 
Grandma Betty Cottle
"The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning." ~Aslan, from "The Last Battle", C.S. Lewis
At our Michigan reception, showing us the doily she made for us
Dear friends, it is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Dan's grandmother, Betty Cottle. We will be traveling to Michigan this week for her funeral on Thursday. We mourn our loss but celebrate the Kingdom's gain as she is freed from her suffering and welcomed home into the arms of her Savior. 
"All their life in this world...had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before." ~the end of "The Last Battle", C.S. Lewis
Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

USPS: Fail!

So this might be why the United States Postal Service is losing money...


Twenty cents due and they still deliver it? And they wanted to raise postage earlier this year?!?! Thankfully that request was denied. Think they might want to fix this problem before they try that move again :P Just to provide context, the envelope was square, which requires more postage to deliver than a normal letter...even if it only has a single page card inside like this one and weighed much less than all the junk mail we regularly receive. Glad it made it through to us though especially since it was a lovely Christmas photo card! :)

May your Christmas be white and all your cards arrive!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Progress!

Our Guest Bathroom wall plaque! Now on the wall!

So I had seen similar signs in friends' houses before but never knew where they got them. I thought it was such a cute idea but hadn't thought much about it recently until I found Wuslu. It's a home decor website that posts one deal a day at 10am Eastern. I scored the cute little towel rack for our guest bath (above) along with a cute countertop corner cabinet that we're using in our bathroom to hold a few knickknacks (below).

Small countertop corner cabinet (product image)
I love seeing our home come together and these little decor touches go such a long way towards that end. Even though I'd had the sign for awhile I just now got around to hanging it. :) Again, used the Hercules Hooks to hang it. I tried nails but it turns out that I'm much better at hanging things straight if I use the hooks instead. Go figure...

So here's to making progress in settling in. We're still working on some of the nitty gritty like cell phones and insurance but we seem to be making good headway. Loving setting up our home.

Documenting my handiwork :)
Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, December 2, 2010


So I needed Dan to stop at the grocery store on his way home from work Tuesday to pick up something I forgot the previous grocery run. I got more than I bargained for :)

His reason? "It's a Tuesday!"

For those who don't know, I never saw Dan on a Tuesday when we were dating and I saw him only once on a Tuesday while we were engaged. So getting to see each other on Tuesdays now is pretty special to us. :)

Just thought I'd share and brag on the man I love ;)

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Moving In, Moving Forward, Moving Up

So Dan has lived in our apartment since July 10th, almost 5 months ago. We started gradually moving my stuff in shortly after that. We've been married almost 3 months now. And I am so super-excited about what I FINALLY did last night...

We put our first holes in the wall and hung up a picture!! :D This is the first item to go up on our walls. I've put out plenty of knick-knacks and photos on shelves and tables, but this was the first to require holes in the wall! I had the biggest grin last night after verifying it was level and getting off the step stool. :) The frame was given to us as a wedding gift from one of the families that I stayed with frequently while Dan and I were dating. I thought it was appropriate then that their frame would be among the first hung. :)

I actually used what are called "Hercules Hooks" to hang the frame. For those that don't know about them, you can check it out here. I found them at Bed Bath and Beyond and thought I'd give them a try a couple of years ago. While each one is supposed to be able to hold over 100 lbs. I've never come close to that limit. One of the things I love is there's no hammer or stud finder required which is great when you want to hang stuff at 10pm without upsetting the neighbors and/or when you can't find your stud finder (both in my case).

I love this feeling of getting settled into our new place and beginning to decorate. Don't get me wrong there are still PLENTY of boxes hanging around that needed to be unpacked and sorted through but last night's picture-hanging made it all worthwhile and helped me to believe that there really will be an end to the boxes at some point! The boxes still stress me out, but now I can point to that picture on the wall and claim that progress has been made...well, that and the small stack of empty boxes next to the door waiting to be taken out for recycling. :) Now to work on tackling the rest of this mountain of cardboard...

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we join together with family and friends today, may we remember what we have to be thankful for and who we are thankful TO this Thanksgiving! :)

1 Chronicles 16:34 (and repeated many times in the Psalms) "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Psalm 69:30 "I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

Psalm 95:2 "Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."

Psalm 100:4 "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."

1 Corinthians 1:4 "I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus."

1 Corinthians 15:57 "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"

Philippians 1:3 "I thank my God every time I remember you."

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Philemon 1:4 "I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers..."

Just had to include this after my history buff husband referenced it Tuesday night...

Original Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln (emphasis mine)

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.  In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.  Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.  Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people.  I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.  And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
A. Lincoln

Happy Thanksgiving!
Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In this life of living...

I know...again, I've been a bad blogger :p I know I keep saying I'm going to get back into writing but, seriously, with boxes everywhere and a new life to adjust to things have been busier than I anticipated. :)

We still have boxes everywhere in our apartment! AAAHHHH!! They drive me crazy sometimes. We're slowly working through them and gathering boxes and bags to donate/recycle/get rid of/etc. but the piles never seem to shrink (even though my wonderful husband assures me that we are, in fact, making progress). We got two new bookcases from Target and I love them! One was filled up within two hours of assembling it and the other still has some room but I'm sure once we find all the errant books hiding in other boxes that it will fill up too. It reminds me of the scene from "The Incredibles" (one of my fave Pixar movies) where Helen calls Bob at work. I wish I could find a clip of it for you. She calls to tell him that after two years, they are finally, officially moved in because she has finally unpacked the last box. Hopefully, I can do so in under two years! :p

Well, time to go unpack more boxes, get lunch and tend to a sick husband. Poor guy :( Hopefully this little update will be joined by more soon. I'm learning from friends' blogs that I don't always have to have an idea in mind to write about and it certainly doesn't have to be something grand. Sometimes, I need to just write :)

Have a blessed Sunday! Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Material!

So now that I have posted my review of the Chronological Study Guide to the Bible (look down a couple of posts), I was able to choose a new item to review for the program. For those who don't know about the program, it's run by the publisher Thomas Nelson. In exchange for an honest assessment of the material I request and posting it on my blog and a consumer website (i.e. Amazon), I get to keep the item. After reviewing two books (and taking forever to read them and write the reviews), I was excited to have the opportunity to do something different when I logged into BookSneeze and saw some DVDs on the list.

So for my next review, I will be watching "The Least Among You"!

I will admit that one reason this one won out over the other DVD (no longer available and I don't remember it's name) is that Lauren Holly is in it. For those who don't watch or don't remember, she played the director and Gibbs' former partner, Jenny, on the TV show "NCIS" for several seasons before they killed her character off. Here's a synopsis of the movie as provided by

"Leaders are not chosen, they are called. Inspired by a true story.
Arrested in the 1965 Watts riots, Richard Kelly (Cedric Sanders) must serve probation at an all-white seminary. Although encouraged to break racial boundaries by its president Alan Beckett (William Devane), the school wants black followers not leaders. Even former missionary, Kate Allison (Lauren Holly), initially rejects Richard. A prison sentence looming, Richard meets Samuel Benton (Louis Gossett, Jr.) -- 'the gardener in the basement.' As Samuel guides Richard through his many trials, Richard must choose between his dreams and his destiny."

So there you have it! :) My first DVD review will be underway shortly! It arrived in the mail earlier this week and I'm hoping to have it watched before the end of the weekend. Not sure if I'll write the review right away or watch it a second time before writing it, but definitely hoping to have this review done much sooner than I've had my book reviews done! I hate that it's taken me months after I've gotten the books to write the reviews so definitely hoping this one is faster.

If you're interested in joining BookSneeze (only requirement is to have a blog and be willing to write honest reviews), click on the link here ----->

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday..."

I'M MARRIED!!! :D :D :D I want to scream it from the top of the hillsides and proclaim it in the town squares! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!! :D It's been 17 days now and we've had fun celebrating each new milestone along the way (For example: Tuesdays!! ;D)

Special thanks to my sister-in-law, Julie, who snapped a few photos (including this beauty) and Uncle Jim (Dan's uncle, who captured the one below) while we were doing photos with the photographer. I will post more once we get them back from the photographer (should be sometime next week). Seeing people's photos on Facebook makes me all the more anxious to see what our photographer captured!

It was truly one of the most beautiful, happy days of my short life. Most of the day felt like such a dream. We were up at 5:15am and the hair and makeup team arrived right on time at 5:45am. The photographer arrived at 6:30am and started capturing moments. The guys arrived at the church at 8:30am for photos and the girls followed in the limo a little before 9:30am. Pictures (lots!), fellowship, friends and prayer dominated the time before the ceremony began at 11am. At 11:30am we were declared husband and wife and at 11:31am shared our first kiss as husband and wife (Thank you Ledfords for writing this down!). Then the party started! We left the reception around 4pm after revealing to our parents where we were going on our honeymoon (Kaua'i, Hawai'i). After a few more photos with the photographer, the day was done! Hard to believe eight-and-a-half months of planning later that the event went by so fast! It all fell into place so smoothly. We had such a great time and loved getting to see family and friends! God blessed us with such a wonderful day!

(Thanks to one of Dan's groomsmen, Gary, for capturing this shot!)

All in all, it was a truly wonderful day though it went by way too fast (just like everyone says it will)! I promise to post some of the professional pictures as soon as we get them back. Our videographer dropped our DVDs in the mail today so I can't wait to watch it later this week!

For now we are settling into domestic life and I hope to get back to blogging a little more. The reviews will continue (look for a new post soon about my new item!) and I'm hoping to pick Factual Fridays back up soon too! Thank you for being patient, dear readers, during this season of wonderful change in my life.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Meghan Clark (!)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 Book Review: The Chronological Study Guide to the Bible

I'm a book review blogger with Booksneeze, an affiliate of Thomas Nelson. This book was a complimentary gift in exchange for an honest review. If you'd like to get free books in exchange for an honest review on your blog and a major retailer, check out (Disclaimer shamelessly stolen from my friend, Holly at Gypsy Feet). :)

I was definitely excited to use the Chronological Study Guide to the Bible. I felt this would be a great resource in my Bible study and it was, providing I kept my expectations in check.

The Chronological Study Guide endeavors to put the events of the Bible in order and add notes on the historical context of certain events. It divides the Biblical timeline in epochs, providing a sense of organization for the events. Scripture that was written concurrently is placed side-by-side and each book of the Bible is given its own summary. A list in the back of the book provides quick reference to where you can find each book's summary in the Study Guide.

While going through the minor prophets in my small group Bible study, this proved extremely useful. However, at times I found myself wishing it said more. I understand its purpose is mostly to show Biblical events in chronological order and provide a few historical notes, but I found myself longing for more information on certain events, periods, customs, or people.

Overall, this is a great resource for those wishing to learn more about how Biblical events line up. I will continue to use it frequently as a reference but will probably supplement it with a more thorough study guide as well.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


All our wedding invites are in the mail!! =D

And there was much rejoicing...for a short time anyway until I realized how much I still have left to do! So it’s on to the next project. But keep your eyes peeled for some purple loveliness coming soon to a mailbox near you! Special Delivery from Loveville! ;)

Special thanks to my mom for all the hard work and countless hours that she put into these! She did so much to make putting them together go so smoothly! Thanks as well to my sister, Sarah, for helping seal them and to my wonderful fiancé, Daniel, for spending time helping put them together. And, of course, thanks to everyone, including all my bridesmaids, who proofread them to keep me from going crazy. Many hands make for light work. :)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Camera!

My new camera came in the mail Tuesday! :D I’m so excited! For those who don’t know, my previous camera was being held together with duct tape and rubber bands. I’ve been using my mom’s camera since late last year so that I had a more reliable and better camera but it is still hers and with getting married in 93 days, I knew I wanted a new one so I could return hers.

So after a little research, browsing at Best Buy, seeing how they felt, stalking, and a little coaxing/reasoning/permission from my wonderful fiancé, I made the investment.
Isn’t it awesome! It’s a Nikon Coolpix P100 with 10.3 megapixels and 26x optical zoom.
The moveable screen was a big thing on my list of “wants” in a new camera along with the higher optical zoom and a good number of megapixels. I’m definitely not ready to go the SLR route so I stuck to the point-and-shoot varieties.

I’m seriously excited to start using it. I charged it last night and have to finish doing the setup and leafing through the manual. I also need to pull my photos off my mom’s camera so she can have hers back as well. :) Love my new camera! Can’t wait to share photos with you!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Factual Friday: Blogging...

Fact: I’ve been a very, very bad blogger :(

My apologies, friends. I have done a horrible job of updating my blog lately. In fact, it has been over two months since my last update. Life has been getting busier between wedding planning and my normal activities and the contract I work on has been picking up as well which has kept me busy all around.

Dan and I have been finalizing details for our wedding little by little. Most of the major players are in place and we are now simply biding our time and getting smaller projects done as we can. We went apartment hunting a couple of weekends ago which was productive and then spent a weekend in Chicago to see Ted Dekker and visit one of my bridesmaids (Danielle) who lives there. We overcame a very daunting task that I had been putting off for awhile...tackling my storage unit. I rent a 5’x15’ storage unit in town and it is pretty much packed to the gills. We started going through it to see what we need to get rid of and to find out what exactly is in there (some of it’s been there for a couple of years!). We also spent a couple of weekends with Dan’s parents at the beginning of this month and put in an apartment application (it got accepted!), had our menu tasting at the reception venue, and booked our honeymoon!! :D We also worked out some details for the Michigan reception in October.

So please accept my sincere apologies. But also know that this may become a norm for awhile as my days stay packed with work, life and wedding activities. I miss you, my readers, and hope to be back to regular posting at some point. :) For now, please accept my apologies and enjoy the random posting.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Factual Friday: Metro

*Sorry for the delay in posting!*

Fact: The last train leaves Branch Ave. D.C. Metro station at 11:24pm on Sunday nights.

This past Sunday (2/28), I lost my cell phone on Metro. I had parked my car at Branch Avenue Metro station earlier in the day so I could ride with Dan and his mom to drop her off at the airport. Afterwards, we found a place to watch the US vs. Canada gold medal hockey game, wandered around IKEA in College Park, then went to a favorite bookstore with a Starbucks in Rockville.

As the time grew late, Dan drove me to the closest Metro station (White Flint) so I could begin making my way back home. We have horrible luck with late night Metro service. We went to a Capitals game in January and ended up having to take a shuttle bus part of the way because a station was closed. This time, there was track maintenance on the red line which forced trains to share a track and delayed me. Also, late at night, there are less trains running so when I went to make my connection at L’Enfant Plaza, I had to wait 13 minutes for a train.

So I finally made it back to Branch Avenue around 11:20pm Sunday night. I had told Dan I would call him when I reached my car to let him know I had made it safely. The delays on Metro had set me back so I was running late. When he dropped me off around 9:40, I thought I would be back to my car around 10:45. As I’m walking in the cold to my car, I realized that I couldn’t feel my phone in my pocket. No matter, I must have put it in my purse instead. But as I rummaged through my purse, it was nowhere to be found. I sat in my car, almost in tears at this point, and proceeded to almost empty my purse and check all my pockets again. I remembered checking the time on my phone at L’Enfant so I knew I had had it earlier.

I prayed that this wasn’t happening as I sped out of the parking lot and pulled my car around and into the short term parking area. The tears were full-fledged at this point. I threw my car into park and ran back into the Metro station. The station manager on duty was in the lobby area and I tearfully explained the situation to her, asked her if the train that had just come in was still there. But it had already left as had the last train for the night heading out of the station. She said she could give me the number for lost and found and I could cancel the service.

But I didn’t want to leave it at that. I asked and convinced her to go ahead and call the cell phone number to see if anyone had picked it up or turned it in. She went into the manager’s booth as I recited the number to her from the door. As she waited for it to ring, I closed my eyes and prayed fervently for my phone’s return. I would’ve even put up with the embarrassment of having it vibrate in my coat or purse with her standing there.

Thankfully, someone on the other end picked up. She talked to them for a minute, saying she was calling on my behalf, and then they started discussing the train schedule. Turns out it was a Metro or security official at the previous station on the Green line (Suitland). There was a train leaving the station before Suitland (Naylor Rd.) so they arranged for someone on the train (I’m not sure who, security guard, metro official, train engineer?) to have my phone and bring it to Branch Ave. As the train approached, I waited on the upper part of the platform while the station manager went down to meet the train. I wrung my hands and continued to pray as I waited for her.

As she came up the escalator, I held my breath, the thought crossing my mind that it might not be my phone. Very illogical, I know, since she had called the number and talked to the person who was going to pass the phone on. When she held out that phone to me, I was so thankful. I thanked her profusely, telling her that she was a blessing. I was so glad to be able to call Dan and let him know I was okay and hear his voice before driving home.

I may not think I needed that adrenaline rush that night but it happened. And I am very grateful for that Metro station manager who went out of her way to help me. I don’t know her name, but she was a blessing to me in a time of stress. So “thank you” to the Branch Avenue station manager who went above and beyond to help a transit customer who lost her phone. I am immensely grateful.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And the next book is...

So I've chosen my next book to review for, the Thomas Nelson blogger book review program!! :) And the winner is...

"Chronological Guide the the Bible:
Explore God's Word in Historical Order"

Something totally different from what I just reviewed but I'm looking forward to it. My Tuesday night Bible study I go to is getting into some of the minor prophets (i.e. Nahum) so I think it will end up being a good resource to have on hand :) Looking forward to getting it in the mail and putting it to good use! Look for my review sometime in the future, hopefully in less than 5 months unlike last time!

Friday, February 26, 2010

In lieu of Factual Friday...Wedding update!

Wedding planning is going well! I guess it's kind of a Factual Friday since it's a fact of my life. :) We're at 190 days now and most of the major players are in place. We have the locations, the photographer, DJ, wedding party, etc. Save-the-dates are going out soon which I'm very excited about! They look absolutely gorgeous. Major props to my friend, Becky, for taking the photos and designing the postcards and for putting up with my ignorance of graphic design. :)

Sneak Peek (this is not the final copy but close):


Isn't it lovely? :) Becky designed them and then we had them printed through which I highly recommend. They do great work. They postcards are in pristine condition and were processed and shipped pretty quickly. They even provide an online proof so you can make sure that it looks the way it's supposed to. They do many different products from postcards to fliers to CD/DVD inserts and more. I printed all the address labels last night and will be picking stamps up this afternoon.

The one main vendor I'm trying to book ASAP now is the videographer. After a couple of days spent trolling the internet, searching websites, watching online samples, I've learned this: you CAN watch too many wedding videos. I think I've OD'd on wedding videos lately. I need to weed out those outside of our budget so we can book someone who does good work. Hoping to have it closer to being nailed down in 2 weeks time. 

Our menu tasting has been set as well for early May. Looking forward to tasting the delicious food at our venue, especially since we may not have much of a chance to taste it on the day of the wedding! Next up is booking the cake tasting with the locations cake baker. Looking forward that that one too. :)

Big news for the weekend: my dress shopping appointment is tomorrow! Dan's mom and one of my bridesmaids, Alisha, are coming into town this weekend to come with us. My mom, Dan's mom, Alisha, my sister Sarah (also a bridesmaid) and I will go dress shopping while my brother Josh and Dan go hang out for some guy time. Super excited that they'll all be here to look at dresses. :) I've been back on Weight Watchers for about a month now so I'm excited to see how I look in the dresses. Working on losing a few more pounds but definitely ecstatic about my progress so far.

Well, I guess that about covers it. Stay tuned for more wedding wonderfulness in the weeks and months to come! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, February 19, 2010

Factual Friday: Olympic Glory

Fact: The Winter Olympics were first officially held in 1924 in France.

Not even a hundred years old! Compared to the Summer Olympics which trace their roots back to Ancient Greece, the Winter Olympics are fairly young. Now, to give them credit, their roots trace back to the Nordic Games, first held in 1901 in Sweden so the lineage is a little older than the official establishment of the Winter Olympics.

Watching some of these athletes is simply amazing. There are several times I have sat mesmerized, potentially with my jaw on the ground, watching what they make look so easy. Sometimes though my amazement is held by the intensely frightening crashes and falls. One of the female Swedish downhill skiers had a particularly bad fall Wednesday night, hitting her head on the ground behind her feet, running over a “gate”, and sliding for a long time. I was astonished that she walked away from it, almost under her own power, with no serious injuries.

But this is what they train for. They know their sport, their equipment, and their limitations. They know how to take a hit and get back up. In light of the death at the beginning of the Olympics, I think each accident/fall/wipeout has been more nerve-wracking than usual. But, again, this is what they train for.

So it should be with us. Several times, Paul described our lives and Christian walk as races.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Hebrews 12:1-3
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Whether you know it or not, you are in training. But what is the goal of that training? Are you just simply hoping to get across the finish line, not caring what shape you’re in when you get there? Or are you striving with your heart and soul and every fiber to do your best, to push through, to run the race in order to gain the prize? Welcome to the Olympics, my friend! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, February 12, 2010 Book Review: “Redefining Beautiful: What God sees when God sees you” by Jenna Lucado

(This post is in lieu of my normal “Factual Friday”. Enjoy!)

Awhile back, I joined a book review program from Thomas Nelson that my best friend (and maid of honor), Holly, told me about. (The program recently changed names and is now She wrote a blog post about how you could get free books if you agreed to read the whole thing then post an approximately 200 word review on your blog and a commercial website (e.g. Amazon, Borders, etc.). I talked with her about it then dove right in, signing up and waiting for a book to catch my interest. Then, along came “Redefining Beautiful” by Jenna Lucado (with father, Max Lucado). It sounded like a good read so I signed up to read and review it.

That was back on September 15, 2009. Five months later, I have finally (!) finished the book and am ready to give my review. So continue, dear reader, for my first review.

Soli Deo Gloria,


Jenna Lucado’s book “Redefining Beautiful” wants us to define beautiful by how God sees us, not how we see ourselves. Jenna discusses throughout the book accessories (practical and attitudes) every girl can have that make her beautiful. She spends significant time discussing the most important person in a girl’s life for helping her feel beautiful: her father. Jenna points out that even if a girl’s father is absent, she still has a heavenly Father who thinks she is beautiful and is molding her constantly. She makes it a point to acknowledge all fathers are imperfect, but that God is the perfect father figure.

While the message is appropriate for all women, this book is geared towards the young adult demographic. Occasionally, it attempts to be too hip with its lingo, becoming comical. Personal stories are well utilized throughout. One of the unique features is journaling spaces. Jenna doesn’t leave her audience to ponder deeper questions, she gives them space to answer right then. I thought this was a great idea as it doesn’t leave the issue for later when you’re likely to forget.

Overall, a good read and good reminder that God thinks we’re beautiful, even when the world (or us!) tells us we aren’t. Highly recommended for middle school to college-aged young women.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Factual Friday: Through and through

Fact: Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

It’s amazing how detailed God’s creation is! A tiger is a tiger even if you were to take away all its fur. The pattern is imprinted on its skin. One cannot hide its identity as a tiger simply by removing the fur.

It’s kinda like when we say that beauty is more than skin deep. Who you are is not simply on the surface. Like the tiger, who we are goes deeper than that. It’s imprinted on our very being. But it’s more than just our physical beauty.

When God created you, it was in HIS image. That is something that we cannot avoid no matter how much we may want to. We cannot remove His fingerprints, cannot give back that part of us. He loved us enough to make us in His image. Who we are is beautiful and unique.

Think about that for a minute. YOU were created in the image of the God of the universe. He formed you and knows you better than anyone ever can or will. Nothing is hidden from Him. And He loves you immensely. So much so that He sent His son to be killed so that you could one day be with Him again (John 3:16). How amazing is that? :)

I pray, my friend, that today you may remember how special and beautiful you are just because you are who you are, not because of anything you’ve done. We will age and makeup will fade, but you will always be beautiful...through and through.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Photo Sneak Peek!

So I was working on a Factual Friday blog post that I meant to get up last Friday. I was going to put it up today but then I received some wonderful gorgeousness in my e-mail inbox yesterday that I just had to share! A good friend of mine, Becky, agreed to design my and Dan's Save-the-Date postcards. In conjunction with that, she followed us around St. Mary's City for several hours on Saturday snapping photos she could use. Here's a sneak peek at some of the wonderful work she has done! So excited to see the rest of them! :D

Near the St. Mary's College campus bookstore

Down by Church Point at St. Mary's City

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coming back...

This past Monday, I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting since my previous session ended in October of 2009. I will admit that I was a little worried. Between my last meeting in October and Monday, I had been on a cruise, celebrated Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and New Year’s, not to mention getting engaged. So with all the food related holidays and trips in there, I knew I had gained back some of what I had previously lost. But it turned out to be a bad news/good news situation.

Bad news: My suspicions were confirmed...I had, in fact, gained several pounds since my last weigh-in BUT...

Good news: I lost close to 20 pounds during my last Weight Watchers (WW) session and only gained back 7 of those! I kept off over half of what I’d lost!

So now the battle begins. With the wedding only 220 days away and my dress shopping trip only one month away, I want to look my best. I almost reached the goal of losing 10% of my starting weight last time and that will be my goal again this time (though based on Monday’s starting weight, not last year’s). Thankfully, I was able to find a meeting with the same group leader we had here at work so it’s nice to see a familiar face. She’s very encouraging and excited about what she does.

In some ways, restarting Weight Watchers has felt like coming back to something long forgotten. It was like I had put it on the shelf and walked away, forgetting it was up there, waiting to be taken down again. And now I’ve dusted it off and put it back into circulation, only with more fervor this time. Having an upcoming wedding will do that to you. ;)

Maybe there’s something you have put on the shelf, dear reader. Maybe it’s a hobby, maybe a pastime that took a backseat when other things came up, or maybe it’s something that should have never been shelved, like a friendship. I encourage you to take it up again. We’re less than a month into the new’s never too late for resolutions. ;)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Factual Friday: Words, words, words

Fact: “Typewriter” is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

I took a typing class my junior year of high school. I needed the extra credits, it was an easy class and my mom convinced me that it would be a useful skill for later in life. Of course, it helped that the teacher was willing to allow me to leave early and skip class once a week to go to my concurrent enrollment class down at the college as well.

I’m really glad I took my mom’s advice about taking that class. It’s pretty cool now to be able to hammer something out on the computer as quickly and smoothly as I can (sometimes). I didn’t always take my mom’s advice as a teenager. Sometimes things still turned out okay, sometimes the same result was reached even if it took longer, but other times my life would’ve been a heck of a lot easier and less painful if I had taken her advice.

So thank you, Mom, for all the advice you’ve given, whether I’ve taken it or not. I know as I go into the world that I am better prepared for it because of what you taught me.

“Mama, you taught me to do the right things.
So, now you have to let your baby fly.
You've given me everything that I will need.
To make it through this crazy thing called life.”

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Factual Friday: Measuring up

Fact: “The distance between your elbow and wrist is the same length as your foot!”

At least according to the back of my oatmeal packet this morning it is. The first thing I did was look at my arm and think to myself, “My foot can’t possibly be that long!” I have yet to actually pull out a ruler or tape measure and verify the veracity of this “fact” but I thought it was intriguing nonetheless. I’ve heard a couple of other things like this over the years. The one that sticks with me is that your arm span is the same as your height, which from my experience is pretty close.

It’s amazing how God knit us together. I have several friends who have recently experienced the birth of new life. For several the baby is their firstborn and for some a second or third child. I love seeing pictures of these precious souls that God has entrusted to my friends. Even though I’ve been around children my whole life in my mom’s daycare, I still never get over the amazement at how tiny these brand new people are or how wonderful they are.

God, our Creator, knows us so intimately that He has all the hairs on our head numbered. Doctors may be able to take measurements when we’re born and when we go in for physicals, but even they can’t know us like the One who made us. You are uniquely fashioned and known completely. Take comfort in the fact that wherever you go, there He is. God loves you and wants you to know Him in the same way that He knows you, a way in which no one else will ever know you.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” ~Psalm 139:7-10

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Factual Friday...on Tuesday!

Fact: It is possible for February to have five Sundays.

If I haven’t introduced you already, welcome to the randomness that is my mind. You know how occasionally we have five Sundays in a month? Well, I got to thinking about whether or not February, with its fewer days, could ever have five Sundays. Turns out, under special circumstances, it can! If the first day of February falls on a Sunday during a leap year, then the 29th will also fall on Sunday, making it the fifth Sunday that month.

And...I have absolutely no clue where that came from. I think I was still half-asleep when I figure that one out. Like I said, my mind likes to be random occasionally, though it’s usually random music associations, not philosophical questions about calendar arrangements.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” ~Psalm 139:13-17

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reception Blues & God’s Grace

I will be the first to admit that I got a bit discouraged Tuesday. Ever since getting engaged, Dan and I have been taking care of putting plans in motion for the wedding date in September. I’ve really enjoyed getting to plan our future with the man I love and it’s been a mostly enjoyable process...

Then I hit a wall. I had e-mailed over half a dozen potential reception locations and I kept getting back responses that either put them outside our budget (sometimes enormously so) or said they weren’t available the day of our wedding. So I e-mailed another half dozen, wondering if the responses would be the same.

Since then, I’ve had some better “luck” with the responses I’ve been getting. A couple of the locations are even available on that day AND in our price range! But one of the most wonderful things to come out of this discouragement was an e-mail that Dan sent me, saying that he was praying for the right place. That really put things in perspective for me and reminded me that God is the one that leads our steps, even when it comes to picking out something like a reception hall.

Not that I didn’t trust that God would work it out, but I was taking what I thought to be the solution into my own hands. With that wonderful reminder from my husband-to-be, the discouragement fled as I released the issue. My mom has been astonished at how unfazed I’ve been and I realized yesterday that it’s only by God’s grace that I can feel this way.

So I will forge on with the wedding planning, knowing that God is really the one in charge and is taking care of all the details that I can’t even begin to imagine long before I’ve thought of them.

Soli Deo Gloria!