Tuesday, June 28, 2011

dear nephew, CWTF.

Dear Nephew,


I told you I'd write you again after you were born. You are born. So I am writing you. Now I know your name and it is Harvey. And I love you.


If you're wondering what the title means, wonder no longer because I am going to explain it to you. Ever since I was in the 6th grade my best friend and I have used those letters (CWTF) to represent "Can't Wait 'Til Friday". It is a very important acronym with lots of history. Over the years we have made it into much longer, more complicated acronyms. For example, if I was to make a longer one for you it would be CWTFWIGTFMYAHYALYIP. That stands for "Can't Wait 'Til Friday When I Get To Finally Meet You And Hold You And Love You In Person". But normally I don't tell my best friend when it stands for and she has to figure it out. So you're welcome. I mean you can't even read or understand what letters are but whatever. You're welcome, Anna. So I really, really, really, really CWTF.

I hope you have been having a blast with your parents and Anna Ayi. I've seen lots of pictures of the fun things you've been doing over there in China. It seems as though you did not enjoy the ferris wheel as much as the others. That face you made is....priceless. And I really hope that you don't absolutely hate the flight over here. I know that your parents hope that too. And I know that the people who will be joining you on the plane will be hoping that too. So try to just relax and before you know it you will be in North Carolina! You're gonna love NC, I just know it. It is kinda hot though, I'll just warn you.

It's gonna be pretty crazy once you get over here. So many people are going to want to hold you and meet you. Your sleep schedule is going to be literally backwards so just get ready. And we are going to be celebrating Anna's birthday almost immediately so prepare yourself for that as well. We've had your arrival written on our fridge calendar all month, see?


We've been looking at it all month thinking it would never get here and now we are only a few days away. I can't believe it. When I last wrote to you, I told you to hurry up, and you did just three days later. So thank you for that. It seems like it was just May 20th and we were getting the news of your birth! And since then...well, you've seen us a few times on Skype but it has just been a tease.

No offense, Harvey, but I am just as excited about seeing your mom, dad, and aunt. I can't wait to hug them and talk to them in person and spend time with them as my family. I barely got to see your parents after they truly became my family. So I'm sure you understand how I am rationing my excitement among all of you. Jordan is too.

Well, I can't wait to see you and I'm praying for you lots. We are going to have so much fun and you are going to LOVE the rest of your family. Hopefully including me.

I love you.
Aunt Ashley

Monday, June 27, 2011

in loving memory of Benjamin Hamilton.

This was something I wrote last year after the death of my cousin. I think this was just the rough draft, but it's all I could find.

The Ben I remember had big eyes and a shy smile. He would walk over from next door and play Game Gear with me, or bring Bessie the beagle for me to pet. Ben was always ready to give me a ride in the go-cart down the driveway and past the garden, or play board games with me like Crossfire or Hungry, Hungry Hippos. We would walk over to help Grandma with her vegetables, although I think we just distracted her more than helped her. But I know she wouldn't have had it any other way.

The Ben I remember was the life of the "kid table" on Thanksgiving and Christmas. He would sit at the end and make us all laugh, dropping potatoes into Stacey's sweet tea when she wasn't looking. We would sneak into the office and play with the phone on the desk, or take pictures of all of us doing crazy things. Ben loved Grandma's cooking and especially her rice and gravy, just like me. After we would eat and I would tag along with Mandy and Stacey outside, Ben would rally up Lenny and Chad to join him on the roof of the garage, where they would toss oranges at us and we would squeal and run away. Little Blake would always want to climb up the trees in the yard just like Ben, Lenny, and Chad would do. And sometimes he still does.

The Ben I remember excelled at sports from a young age. Football was Ben's thing. He was one of the best football players to ever play at Wake Christian. Ben scored the winning touchdown in a crucial game even though he broke his thumb the play before. Ben would talk to anyone about football, and wore his Redskins sweatshirt proudly. You could always count on him to throw a football with you in Grandma and Granddaddy's front yard.

The Ben I remember was a great cousin and friend. I'm thankful for the years God gave me to spend next door to him. And this is the Ben I will hold in my heart forever.


Benjamin Loyd Hamilton
July 13, 1980 - June 27, 2010



Last Thanksgiving we put up a birdhouse where Ben grew up. Our old houses aren't there anymore...just a big road and new townhomes. Some bits of our old driveways are still there too. But whenever I drive by it I always look at that birdhouse and think about him.

This is a hard day. My family appreciates your prayers and encouragement. Thank You, Lord, that Your strength is made perfect in our weakness! And thank You that even though we can't understand Your plan sometimes, You are in control.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

happy sweet sixteen, sister!

This is my sister-in-law Anna. She's sixteen today.


This was the day that we actually became related. Glory hallelujah.


I wish I could see her on her birthday, but she is in China. Thankfully she will be home this weekend, and I can give her a proper "happy birthday". But for now this will have to do.

Anna Shelley. My sister.
My newly sixteened sister.
Since she's been across the world I can't explain how much I've missed her.
She's adorable. And smart.
Everyone knows she's witty.
She'd argue with me, but it's a fact that she is beyond pretty.
Her passion. Creativity.
Talents none can count.
The guys are probably longing for a chance to take her out.
But she's too good for them. It's true.
Their advances should be stopped.
Unless they're as good as the Shelley men, who really can't be topped.
She loves her family. And friends.
She's kind to everyone she knows.
The longer you're around her the more your love for her will grow.
She honors the Lord. Her Savior.
Only in Him does she boast.
Out of all of her great qualities, it's what I admire most.
192 months. 16 years.
But yet I've only known her one.
It's amazing in this year just how much our Lord has done.
She's my family now. My sister.
Celebrating her special day.
I guess a simple I love her is what I'm trying to say.

Happy birthday, Anna.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

new hair-do - waterfall braid.

Yesterday, I got a great idea from the lovely Kim Barrett's blog, "Grin and Barrett". She posted about a hair style called the "waterfall braid".



As my hair is getting much longer, I have been playing around with different hairstyles. I have a lottt of hair, so when I wear it completely down it gets flat easily because there's a lot more hair then there has been, so half up styles, braids, and bobby pins have been frequenting my life. When I saw this braid, I knew I had to try it. So I did. Here are the results.




It wasn't the best because it was my first time, but I think it turned out nicely. I loved how it kept my hair back, but wasn't too tight because you let the hair continue to cascade down rather than putting it all into a french braid. It would be great to practice enough to be able to do it around the back like the picture, but I definitely couldn't get that far yet. But if I can do it at all, then anyone can. Here is the video tutorial:



I'd love to try it like this someday - with curls and putting a couple flower pins in to hold it in place.


Happy braiding! Let me know if you try it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

fenway father's day - part 1.

Blake and I awoke at 5am on Sunday to get ready to go. It still didn't seem real that we were actually traveling to Boston that day. But nothing seems real at 5am anyway.




We saw Mr. Smith, my friend Nicole's dad, working at the airport. He looked very official. He directed us to what he referred to as a "good line" for security. It was good, he was right. Thanks, Mr. Smith.

We arrived in Philadelphia. A guy near us was unhappy because the food court wouldn't make him spaghetti at 8:45 am. He had on an Angry Birds t-shirt. This amused me. 

Everything went smoothly. We ate most of the Sour Patch Kids that Jordan had given me on the plane ride. Since we had been up since 5, it didn't seem too early to eat them. Also, I felt connected to Jordan by eating them.

After we arrived in Boston, we took the "subway" to get to where Mom and Dad were. Which was kind of confusing because sometimes it seemed like a subway and sometimes it didn't. It started off just like a regular bus and stayed like that for a while, and we were like why do they call this the subway, and then all of the sudden we were underground. Fun fact: Boston's subway system was the 1st in America. Maybe that question will come up in Wits & Wagers someday. So, at every single stop Blake would say Do you think this is it? until finally it was the one.


The weather was perfect. High 70's, sunny, with a breeze. Boston was beautiful. The chaos of the previous day's Bruins parade had settled. It was odd to see my parents walking around in a big city. I'm pretty sure I had never seen that before. They were excited, and very cute. I'm thankful for my parents and that they love each other.






We walked to Fenway Park, which has to be one of the greatest places on earth. The only time I have seen fans as excited about a game as they are at Fenway has been during the Stanley Cup playoffs with the Canes. And this was just a regular season baseball game. People freak out about the Red Sox. We were four of those people.


A Red Sox "ambassador" met us at a gate. She gave my dad his jersey, which was made for him and had "MVP Dad" on the back. The gift package also included some random MLB merchandise, a winner certificate which I'm pretty sure was signed by Bud Selig (the MLB commissioner), and a Vineyard Vines tie with tiny baseballs and bats all over it. I thought this was hilarious because #1 - my dad would never actually buy a Vineyard Vines tie (they're expensive), #2 - that is the most typical Father's Day gift ever, given to my dad by the most atypical source ever.






The ambassador girl then proceeded to ask me if I was actually a Red Sox fan or if I was just "along for the ride".  Another instance of assuming that a female doesn't like sports? Maybe. Apparently the Red Sox organization assumed that a guy wrote the winning paragraph. They said so in this press release article about my dad winning the contest. So, thanks a lot. They probably should have referred back to all of the information I gave to enter and the name "BoSoxGirl". That may have given my gender away. Anyway.


She led us down to the field and it all became very surreal. I mean, we see Fenway on TV all the time, we've watched and admired it for years, so to be actually standing on that field was just crazy. It would be like if you watch a fictional show all the time and then you go to the place that it's filmed and you find out it's actually a real place and not fictional. That's what it felt like.








We were hoping to maybe meet some players, but with all of the hullabaloo concerning the Bruins being there also, there was just no way. We probably would have all fainted anyway so that may have been for the best. So we waited and let it all sink in and Dad talked to some fancy looking people about what he was supposed to do.






When that moment came, Dad went out on the field with the Red Sox mascot Wally (he is the "green monster"...sorry if you don't know what that means but you can just look it up). Over the loud speakers they talked about how it was Father's Day and how this was the first year of the MVP Dad contest and announced Dad as the winner. I thought that was going to be it, but then they talked about him for a while and how he taught us about baseball and the Red Sox, was a fan even though he was from Raleigh, was a committed father, and how he has been coaching for over 20 years. It was really, really cool but I know he was probably thinking "I didn't wanna have to stand out here this long!" He was on the ginormous big screen the whole time and it was amazing to look up and be like, Hey, that's my dad. My MVP dad. 






When everyone clapped for him at the end of it, he looked into the crowd and tipped his hat. It was an awesome moment. I was so proud of him and so thankful for him and all he has done for me. I am truly blessed. Thank You, Lord, for a man who has raised me and led his family in Christ. And thank You, Lord, for this amazing opportunity to honor him! (And thank YOU, people, for voting!) :)


More tales from this trip to come.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

fenway father's day preview.

No, unfortunately I do not have time to tell all about our amazing trip today. My week feels totally thrown off since we were forced to stay the night in Philly. It feels like Monday today.

But, I will give you this picture of us ON THE FIELD at Fenway. Dream come true.


There is much to be told, but that will come tomorrow Lord willing. Now I have to focus on my Bible study tonight and diving deep into the book of James.

I hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day weekend. Count your blessings today - the Lord is so good to us!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

i'm shipping up to Boston.


So on top of all of the excitement with my dad winning the contest, the Red Sox organization called him yesterday and said that he actually has four tickets. Not two. But four. So with a few phone calls it was confirmed that my brother and I will be joining them in Boston tomorrow! Oh my word. We are so excited. It's very surreal though, and odd that I will be taking nothing on the plane but my purse since we will be returning that very night. I wish Jordan could join us, but if we had gotten him a ticket he probably wouldn't have been able to be near us. I will miss him, especially since it's a Sunday, but he's so happy for us. 

The last time I was at Fenway was the second happiest day of my life (the first being my wedding day). Not only was I experiencing the wonder of Fenway and my cherished Red Sox for the first time ever, but I received the shock of my life when Jordan showed up out of nowhere and proposed. If you haven't read it already, I'll give you the proposal story, which was written last year right after that blessed day on August 21, 2010.

I have been a die hard Boston Red Sox fan since I was born. Most of you should know this. Sometimes this passion borderlines on obsession. Before this past weekend, I had never been to Fenway Park (where the Red Sox play in Boston). It has always been my dream to go there, but did not ever become a reality until my best friend's family, the Stephensons, surprisingly invited me to go with them. I was ecstatic! I looked forward to this trip for a month and counted down the days until I could see the home of my beloved Red Sox. When the time came, I accompanied my best friend's parents & her brother to Boston having no idea what was in store for me.
We had amazing seats on the first row of the club level behind homeplate. During the Saturday night game at Fenway against Toronto, it was the seventh inning stretch. I had been very into the game as it was a close one the entire time. After we stood up and stretched singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, a lady who worked at Fenway came to my seat and said “Are you Ashley? Can you follow me please?” I was very confused, but complied. The Bostonians beside me thought I was being arrested. We walked over to the aisle where there were a few stairs leading up to the entrance. Another lady with a camera was coming down these stairs, and I became even more confused. Then, about six feet away from me, Jordan suddenly popped out from behind the camera lady. I will never be able to describe the shock that I felt when I saw him. All I could say was “How are you here?!” as he was coming towards me. I could not process what was going on at all. I started shaking really badly and had to hold onto any railing I could find. (My parents and the Stephensons had a very legitimate fear that I would faint, but thankfully this did not happen.) As soon as Jordan approached me, he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. I absolutely could not believe it. I have never been more surprised in my LIFE. I had no clue that this was going to happen soon or that he would be there or anything. He told me that he had fallen in love with me (we waited to say that until engagement) and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Then he asked me to marry him. I said “YES” like eight times and actually tried to take the ring from him before he could put it on my finger. Eventually I let him put it on and jumped up and squeezed him. After this, the next thing I remember is calling my parents (who had known the whole time of course). It was such a blur.
I was shaking and felt queasy for at least an hour. I was just in total disbelief. Even now it seems like a dream! The game ended up going into extra innings, and we won in the 11thwith a walk off home run from Jed Lowrie. PERFECT. After the game, I walked around Boston with Jordan, making some phone calls and trying to let it sink in. We sat down beside the river for a while and he gave me a list of reasons why he wanted to marry me that he had made earlier that day. It was the perfect ending to the most amazing night ever! I love him and cannot wait to be Mrs. Jordan Shelley! God is so good, and His plan is perfect!



That was taken from our wedding website. And no, that picture was not staged, it was taken at the exact moment that he proposed. Every time I think about that night it makes me smile. God did indeed have the most amazing plan for us. I remember saying, "If I ever get to come back to Fenway again, it could never top this!" Which is true. But if there was a 2nd place to that time, it would definitely be what is going to happen tomorrow. I mean, my dad gets to be honored on that historic field. The Bruins will be out there too, being honored for their Stanley Cup. I can't picture what it's going to be like at all, but I know it's going to be better than what I can imagine. I've always dreamed of going to Fenway with my dad, and I thank God for allowing this to happen in such a special way. Now I can be the one to take pictures and videos. :) Sometimes I kind of don't trust them with technological equipment. So this is good.

I will definitely be writing all about it when we get back. But until then, you can pick up a copy of the News & Observer on Sunday because the story about my dad will be in there. :)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, June 17, 2011

my dad my MVP contest WINNER!

So, as I explained when I asked y'all to please vote, I entered my dad in a Father's Day contest that the MLB was having. I wrote a paragraph about my dad and why he should win, and then 40% of how they judged it was through the public vote. Thirty winners, one from each team, would win tickets to a game, a jersey made for the winner, special merchandise, and awesome privileges such as going on the field and being honored before the game.


Before I wrote the paragraph, I checked the rules to see exactly what they wanted. Creativity? I could do that. Originality? That wouldn't be hard. Showing that he is a committed father? Easy. But then I saw that it had to be under 150 words. That is nothing. Especially for me, because as you can see if you ever have read this blog....I like to write. After I wrote it, I had to take out so much that I wanted to keep in there, so I was kind of frustrated. But I submitted it, and hoped for the best. I was probably the 9th submission or so.


I recruited people to vote on here and through Twitter and Facebook. I went back and forth between "We could actually do this!" and "Am I being stupid by asking people to vote? It's probably not gonna happen." Especially after the entries kept racking up. Some teams, like the Padres for instance, only had like 10 entries. The Red Sox had 343. That is a lot, and the odds weren't very good. But we kept voting. I voted for hours. I had no idea what the limit was and I wanted to vote as much as I could. The entry period ended, and all we could do was wait and see if we got an email or a phone call about it.


I had given up on it because it had been almost a week. I figured that they had probably notified the winners already. Last week, my husband surprised me by coming home with the little laptop I had been wanting. I LOVE it. I was so excited since my old laptop was performing like a '95 desktop. I got on it to explore, and then went to check my email on it for the first time. Sitting there, in my inbox, was an email from the MLB association. I gasped. Oh my word. Oh my word. Oh my word. I opened it and Jordan looked at it too. It was exciting, but confusing because it wasn't like "congratulations", it just explained that we needed to fill out these forms and have them notarized the next day. So I kept saying Did we win? Did we win? Are we winners? over and over. After looking at the forms which said "Winner" we started freaking out.


I had been cooking dinner, which was actually looking really tasty, but we just turned the stove off and abandoned it. We didn't even care. We raced out to the car, and I called Blake knowing that they must have emailed Dad too. I didn't want him to find out that way. We had a frantic conversation.


"Blake. This is important. Is dad near the computer?"


"Hold on, lemme see. He's getting on it right now."

"Ahh! Don't let him on it! Distract him! We'll be there in 5 minutes, I need 5 minutes!"


"What? What's going on?"


"JUST DO IT PLEASE!"


So apparently Blake then walked into the living room and told Dad that he wanted to play cornhole. Yes, cornhole. "Right now?" Dad asked, confused. They had just gotten home from work. "Yes, now." So they went outside and played. I started laughing so hard when I got to the house and saw how Blake had distracted him. That was pretty quick of him. I don't know what I would have done, probably taken the computer and shown him a bunch of YouTube videos or something. Anyway.


We walked inside and Mom has just read the email from the MLB so she was tearing up asking if he won. Yes, yes, I explained, and we're about to go tell him, come on! So we went outside to their cornhole game, walked up to Dad and just looked at him for a moment. He was weirded out. I put my arm around him and said, "Dad, we already knew this, but David Ortiz and a panel of judges have decided that you are an MVP Dad." He kept saying, "Are you serious??" and was in shock. I started dancing around the yard. Mom was squealing and clapping. It was pure jubilee. 


This was last week. We couldn't say anything about it for a while because they had to do background checks on us, make sure he was actually my dad, and make it official. So now I can finally announce it. And we are so crazy excited. I can't believe it's actually happening, and my dad finally gets to visit Fenway Park. And not only go to a game, but be honored on the field! I hope he gets to meet some players. Also, the Bruins will be there with the Stanley Cup, so that's exciting too! Ahhh! 


So I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who voted. This seriously is a dream come true. We are so thankful for God's blessings and that He's allowed my dad to experience this honor! He truly deserves it. :)


Watch this video for more info and more thank yous! Thank you so much!

a big THANK YOU! from Ashley Shelley on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

beach weekend.

We had such a fun weekend visiting Ashlee and Corey in Wilmington.

We took my car since Jordan's air conditioning is broken. About halfway there after mine started blowing hot air, we realized that mine was also broken. What great timing, cars. But we love you anyway.

We arrived and had a delicious meal at Buffalo Wild Wings, which we affectionately call B-Dubs. I love wings. Medium and Honey BBQ. Mmm. Forgot not to order beach water.

McDonald's ice cream and a trip to Harris Teeter followed. Ashlee and I were hyper as usual, creating havoc and embarrassment at the Teeter. We left with some treasures though, including Starburst Jellybeans. Which we demolished.



Last time we visited them, Jordan slept on the couch. Not this time. :)

We hit up the beach the next day. Perfect mid-80's weather with a breeze. We played in the water and lounged on the sand. 

Ashlee & Me
So fly
When purchasing a magazine to take to the beach, to my surprise, the one I decided on was Better Homes and Gardens. I felt like my former life had officially slipped away and I fell into complete wifedom.


Is that a Thirty One picnic tote? you may ask. Why, yes it is. My sweet mother got it for me through www.mythirtyone.com/brittanycoleman. (My friend Brittany sells it.) Love it. Yes, my monogram spells "Ash". It's very appropriate.

We left tanned and not burnt, so that was a success. Success turned to failure when we realized that the air conditioning in their apartment was broken. It was not a great weekend for AC. So we headed out. That night included Japanese food (yum!) and a putt-putt rematch. Boys vs. Girls. The boys won again. Ashlee and I were on a roll, but fell apart towards the end. I think our demise started with Ashlee hitting Corey's ball in the hole with her ball to give him a hole-in-one. I had never seen that happen from a long distance. 




Also we met one of the most hilarious people of all time. A security guard roaming the putt-putt place who is a modern day Barney Fife. He was lanky with his pants held up high by a holster packed with weapons and tools. When Corey asked him about his taser, he quickly explained that it was a real gun and that there's nothing they can't handle. I bet he had one bullet in his pocket. We felt so safe as we proceeded to the next hole.




Dairy Queen, Pictionary, and Monopoly Deal followed. Even though I lost every game, those three things should be included in every weekend. I wish Ashlee and Corey could be included in every weekend as well. They went to church the next day, but I was stuck at their apartment with a painful ear problem. The same thing happened last year when I first went swimming. But the husband took care of me and all is well now. 

We made the sweltering trip home with no AC, and were sad that the weekend was over. Thank God for the beach and best friends.

Friday, June 10, 2011

my favorite home decor shop.

I haven't posted any pictures or anything about our apartment and how I am decorating it, but I will, I promise! It's definitely a process and we still have a lot to do for sure. We have a pile of picture frames just waiting to be filled with our memories and hung on the walls. Everything is trying to find its place, and we're kinda running out of places, haha. But we're working on it.


Once I do post some pictures, they will include quite a few "shabby chic" items that I adore. I love vintage pieces that are redone or used in a new way. I can't wait to decorate like that more once we have a house of our own someday...I dream about it often. :) But for now, the shabby chic pieces give our apartment a quaint, cottage type feel, which is what I'm going for. 


My favorite shabby chic shop that my mom introduced me to, is The Nest, located in Burlington. My mom is my decorating inspiration, and if I could have a house like hers someday I'd be one happy little lady. She has an eye for that stuff and I've tried to learn from her over the years (I hope I have, or I failed at getting to live with her). So when she found that store, I wanted to check it out too. It is so worth the trip to Burlington.


These are just a few pictures of some of the items that they have put in the shop recently, but you can check out all the pics at their blog when you click on the link above. 


I want it all! Haha. But they have very reasonable prices, so it's been great to pick up a few things for our little place, or receive them as gifts which I am very thankful for. :) And don't even get me started about that store at Christmas time...oh my word.


Another thing I wanted to mention, was that my friend Casey has a blog called Restored Thru Grace, and has redone some beautiful pieces. I'm thinking about getting her to do a cornice board for our dining area window. If I ever get around to looking at fabric...haha. But she has talent, and I can't wait to see more items that she has made beautiful. I also love her message about how Christ makes all things beautiful! So check her out. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

my hair smells like coconut.

One of my favorite hair products smells like summery goodness, and it works wonderfully, so I had to share it with you. The best thing is that it's by Aussie, so its price is lowww! :)


Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner
And yes, the deeeeep really is spelled that way, I wasn't just dragging out the word for fun. I first heard of this conditioner from my friend Allison Pope, and decided to try it because I trust her judgment and she has ballin hair. So I got it for only a few dollars at Target, and I'm loving it a lot more than the more expensive conditioner I was using before! Especially since I only wash my hair about two times a week now thanks to my awesome dry shampoo which you can read about here, it gives just the right amount of moisture that I need to keep my hair soft and tamed. My hair used to be so much more poofy when I dried it before I started using the conditioner. Now I barely even have to straighten it! And it smells like coconut, which I love and Jordan also enjoys. :)


I've been on the search for cheaper beauty products since I got married because...well...Jordan has never had to factor these things into his budget before now. I warned him, but I don't want to overwhelm him with my girlyness and what it requires. So I'll probably be sharing some of the less expensive stuff that I've been finding - some of it is better than you think!


Hope you have a GREAT hair day :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

happy anniversary.

A year ago tonight, I was living a very different life. After months of hoping and praying, Jordan finally had "the talk" with me. And I was twitterpated. What is twitterpated you may ask? 




It had been a hard time for us because Jordan had been sick with mono. Very, very sick. Bless his heart, I hate to even think about it. He still has complications from that mono. Intense stuff that is. So usually we would just hang out at each other's places every night, watching a movie or a game, while he laid there sweating and feeling terrible. He was so sweet though, never wanting me to do anything for him. And believe me...I would have done ANYTHING for him. I was head over heels. Still trying to judge how he felt about me. 

There had been a couple times when we had talked about the fact that we were exclusive. I had told him that he was the only guy I wanted to hang out with, and he had said the same for me. Which was obvious, because we were seeing each other almost every single day. If I had been trying to get with any other guy it would have been for like 30 minutes a week. So I didn't really have to tell him that. But for some reason, even though we weren't officially a couple, it was already very serious in my head and heart. Which scared me. I knew it was completely different than any of the relationships I had experienced in the past. (Which were quite a few failed relationships unfortunately.) Jordan treated me with respect and purity, praying with me and reading the Bible with me. It was wonderful but I was hooked. 

So that night a year ago, when Jordan took me to Panera Bread and started talking all seriously, I wanted to jump around with joy. These aren't direct quotes but I'll give you an idea.

Jordan: "So I've been thinking and praying about our relationship, and I think God has put us together and we've been growing closer to Him and each other. What do you think?"

Me: nonchalantly, "Yes, I agree." (Um, DUHH it's the best thing in the entire world let's married right now!)

Jordan: "And I just wanted to let you know that I don't see this as a casual dating relationship, but I want to take it seriously."

Me: nodding, "I feel the same way." (GLORY HALLELUJAH I'm not crazy and he really likes me and I'm gonna die of excitement)

Jordan: "Great. Well I'm excited about where God is leading us."


Me: "Me too. So does this mean I'm your girlfriend?" (Make it official already, boy!)


Jordan: "Haha, yes, if that's okay with you."


Me: "Yes, of course!" (WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)


So that's pretty much how it went down. I felt like a middle school girl who just talked to her first crush. We were boyfriend and girlfriend. Going out. Officially official. In a relationship. Dating. Whatever you want to call it. I no longer had to introduce him as just "Jordan" or "my friend". I could finally tell people, YES I am taken! And somehow I knew, even then, that he was the one I wanted to be with forever. It's hard to explain but I really knew. More to come about that later. You can read more here about how God led us to each other. But for now...Happy Dating Anniversary, to my Boyfriend turned Husband!


When we first started hanging out last year :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rugrats, Power Rangers, & Harry Potter.

Growing up, I thought I had very strict parents. The scale of strictness, I thought, was what they allowed me to watch on TV or read compared to other kids. Going to a public elementary school for a couple years, and then also in Christian school, I was constantly hearing kids talk about their favorite television shows. A few that stick out in my mind are cartoons such as Power Rangers, Rugrats, and Captain Planet, and live action shows like Salute Your Shorts and Are You Afraid of the Dark. Those were all on the "No" list. Most shows were on the "No" list. Shows that come to mind when I think of the "Yes" list are Gerbert, Under the Umbrella Tree, and Sesame Street. They didn't battle robots on those shows. They didn't play jokes on their parents. They didn't make crude remarks. All of the shows I just mentioned involve puppets. Puppets who wanted me to learn stuff. Puppets who sang and danced about numbers, making friends, and how to tie your shoes. So they may have seemed a little dull and were not in the least bit "mighty" or "morphin'". 






In reality, Blake and I were in the woods more than we were in front of the TV, which is where I find myself in most of my childhood memories. We were blessed to have trees to make tree houses and forts, a pond to go exploring around, and a big yard to play sports in. Sadly, this no longer exists, and you drive through it now on your way into Crossroads. The ever expanding town of Cary took that over. But anyway, it was not a big loss for us to be deprived of the shows the kids talked about. We had plenty of other things to do. I hope it can be like that for my kids someday too.


Now that I look back on those popular TV shows, I totally understand why my parents didn't want me watching them. I wouldn't want my kids watching them either. I'm pretty sure the only reason we had cable back then was to watch sporting events. I even met someone who had many more childhood restrictions than me, and he turned out to be the most fantastic person I know. I married him. (Props to my wonderful in-laws!)


How does this relate to me now? I don't have kids. I can absolutely sit down and watch Power Rangers, Rugrats, or Salute Your Shorts without having my mind corrupted. I think my parents would be okay with that at this point in my life. But every once in a while, I hear about a big commotion to do with some TV show, movie, or book - why they are terrible, should be protested against, boycotted, banned, etc. And because someone heard about it on a Christian website, it becomes as forbidden as He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Which leads me to Harry Potter.


Last Christmas break, I dove into the Harry Potter books for the first time. I had never read any of them or watched any of the movies, so I didn't really have an opinion about them. Blake had the whole set, so I had them right at my fingertips. I flew through the first book and it intrigued me. By the time I was through the second and third, I knew the characters very well. The fourth and fifth got more intense, and the six one had me enthralled. They have provided an excellent escape for me when I want to relax and enter another world. Isn't that what reading for fun is supposed to do?






There have been many times when I mention my involvement with Mr. Potter and I get disapproving looks or a criticizing reaction. That is fine for people to have their own opinions, especially if they've actually read the books. But I think their grudge may be a little off base. I remember the uproar in the Christian community when those books came out, and now that I've read all but the last book (PLEASE don't tell me anything about it!), I understand part of their reasoning, but not all of it. I mean, I am a 22 year old, not a 9 year old.


In my opinion, which is all it is - just an opinion, the Harry Potter series is not for children, but for young adults. Maybe the first two books would be okay, but I'd just go ahead and say the whole series. Yes, it has magic in it, and evil people, and such. But when I think about most animated Disney movies, they have the same thing. And a series like Lord of the Rings. So I'm pretty sure I'd let my high school aged kids read them. And of course I'd talk to them about how it's all imaginative, and how it relates to the problem of evil, and all that. I think what most people miss, is the fact that they can TALK to their kids about what they watch and read, teaching them why things are right or wrong, asking them questions to increase their reading comprehension AND their grasp on moral values. Whether it be Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Barney and Friends, or the Andy Griffith show, I want to someday talk to my kids and help them understand the moral of the story and gather their thoughts about what goes into their minds. At an age suitable for the material. Which means not necessarily banning something for life that may not be right for them at the time. 


When I think back, I remember Blake and I using sticks as wands as we darted through the trees, or as guns as we protected our forts, or as light sabers when we fought the Dark Side. We could have been Harry and Hermione without even knowing about them. I think what was more important to us than our "No" list was the fact that Mom and Dad taught us the truth of the Bible and how it related to our lives.


So what do you think? I know it completely depends on the person, so I'm very open to more opinions on this subject! Especially from people with a lot more experience than me. :)


I was going to post some articles I've read about all of this, but there are just so many and most of them have information about the seventh book that I don't want to know yet! Haha. I'd rather have your opinion anyway. So let me know!

Monday, June 6, 2011

baptism - part 2.

I woke up in a grumbly, grumpy, complainy type mood yesterday. The day before I had slept in way too late, so that night I couldn't get to sleep. Therefore, when I woke up bright and early yesterday, not having much sleep, I was finally tired. Not good timing. I was perplexed because I didn't exactly know what to do for the baptism. I laid in bed and whined to my husband. "Do I get a shower? I'm about to get wet again. Do I wash my hair? That'd be ridiculous. What do I wear? I don't have any plain t-shirts. Do I wear gym shorts? Do you think that's okay? Wet pants would feel awful. Will I wear a robe? Should I wear my hair up or down? Should I wear any makeup at all to the first service? I wonder if I can find my waterproof mascara. What if I can't find it? What should I do afterward? Should I scrunch my hair before I come back into the service? Should I bring a hair dryer? My hair takes forever to dry. Why does this have to be so complicated? Why can't I just get baptized in the ocean?"

"It doesn't," he replied, "This is just the devil trying to provide distractions for you so you won't be focused on the wonderful thing that's about to happen." I was not happy with this response to all of the questions I had just asked. It didn't help me at all. I gave him a sour look and claimed, "You just don't understand what it's like to be a girl!" and stomped off to the bathroom in 13-year-old girl fashion, probably adding to the annoyance of the lady below us. Sorry, lady. I know you already dislike us.

Yes, I know, you want to slap the yesterday morning me. Me too. Jordan was so right. I should've been thanking God that I am His child and overjoyed about being baptized. Instead, I was worrying about trivial details and not wanting to be up in front of everyone. Yes, I know, I used to be in front of thousands of people at one time, but that was different - it wasn't as myself, it was as a Storm Squad girl. I don't like being up in front of people as myself. So the devil was indeed attacking me with these thoughts.

Thankfully, my sweet husband helped me gather my items, cheered me up, put me in a better mood, and prayed with me on the way to church. But I think that he actually put me in too much of a good mood on the way, because I was laughing hysterically at him right before we got to church. If you know Jordan, you know that he makes some pretty ridiculous jokes quite often. We then pulled up to a parking spot that had a big sign in front of it saying "NO ICE", confusing us, but then made me laugh even more after we figured out the T had been blurred out in the middle. 

So all during the Lord's Supper I kept holding back laughter for many different reasons. First of all, I knew as soon as we started singing that my dear Grandma was in the building because I could hear her voice reverberating from the other side of the sanctuary. Secondly, I don't know what it was, perhaps it was the air turning off and on, but every 4 or 5 minutes a small, short noise that sounded exactly like a kitten was heard from across the room. I was picturing the most precious kitten stuck in the air conditioning unit. I told Jordan that it sounded like a kitten, which made him laugh, which made me laugh more, and then the noise would go off again, and the cycle would repeat. I am very thankful that my mom was on the other side of me and not my brother or my dad or it would have been over. I would've been laughing so much that I would've had to leave the room. I'm not kidding. 

Also, for some reason, I kept picturing terrible yet hilarious things happening in my head. Like four men standing up to share a Scripture at the exact same time and having to figure out who goes first, or even drawing their swords and dueling it out in the center aisle. And when I say swords I don't mean their Bibles. This one lady in front of us had on a large hat, and I kept picturing the man beside her standing up with gusto, only to knock her hat flying into the air and landing on a sleeping old man. Just things like that. I don't know what is wrong with me when I get in those moods, but for some reason I can think ANYTHING is funny. Then when we were passing the bread, I looked over and Blake was trying to take a small piece off, which wasn't working, and he ended up with this long strip of bread. Which then made me think that I bet he was happy about that because he loves bread, and then I pictured him pulling out squeezy butter to put on it. This was getting bad. I had to shut my eyes and lean on Jordan, praying and concentrating very hard to not hear the kitten noise (which was still happening) as I focused on why we were there, to remember what Jesus did for us. Thankfully, God helped me have that time of remembrance without distraction...somehow. Only by His grace, definitely not by my mental capabilities. 

I share all of this to disclose how the devil had already been attacking me before the baptism even happened. At first, it was with a bad mood. Then, it turned into a giggly, ridiculous mood. Both were equally distractive. Only with God's help could I turn my attention on the reason why I was there and why I was being baptized, which you can read about here. So praise the Lord that He did help me, and I did find my waterproof mascara, and I decided on my trusty Moe's t-shirt, and everything ended up going smoothly. And glory hallelujah I was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! 

Mr. Mark Schell baptizing me - Jordan had a backstage view!

Me with the others who were baptized and Mr. Mark. And a random man behind us.



Saturday, June 4, 2011

baptism!

"For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." - Acts 12:15-16

Tomorrow I will finally be baptized. I am very excited. :) I've been wanting to do this for a long time and now it's happening for real! I get to make the public statement, as Jesus did, that Jesus Christ is THE Savior and the way, the truth, the LIFE!

This doesn't save me. My salvation was a gift of grace and mercy when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, repented of my sins, and decided to follow Him. When I did that back when I was 5 years old, I immediately received the Holy Spirit. This baptism is just an outward sign, a symbol of the sins being washed away, of becoming a new creation in Christ.

Because being a Christian is more than just realizing that God loves me and praying to Him when something is going wrong. It's more than just being a nice person and trying to help others. It's more than asking Him for safety and thanking Him for meals. It's more than a list of don'ts. It's a LIFE, it's completely following Him. Being a new creation means being absolutely different than the world. Easier said than done, but that is my goal. Tomorrow, through being baptized, I am announcing that goal to the world. 

My chains are gone, I've been set free,
My God, my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood, His mercy reigns,
Unending love, amazing grace.
(Chris Tomlin - Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone))

Friday, June 3, 2011

new poll.

My husband is making me a delicious meal of chicken tacos. I can smell it and my mouth is watering more by the second. He's the best. I'm so thankful for a night to spend with him since he's been gone all week!


Meanwhile, I just made a poll for YOU. Yes, you. It is to the right of the screen. I want to know what you like to read on here. Some of the choices I may not even have written about yet, but I plan on writing about all of them. I have so many ideas running through my head. So I thought it'd be great to ask your help. :) So please help me by voting! You can have more than one answer if you'd like. Or if you want me to add something else to the list, please do tell me!


Thank you so much, and I hope you are having a fabulous FRIDAY!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

go buy this ice cream.

I love cookie dough ice cream. I really love cookie dough Blizzards from Dairy Queen. When I go to Coldstone I get cake batter with cookie dough. It's extremely delicious.

I have never found a store bought cookie dough ice cream that I truly enjoy. They all end up being just mainly vanilla with dots of cookie dough and some hard chocolate chips. Not so great.

UNTIL NOW. Whilst honeymooning, Jordan and I randomly bought the most amazing store bought chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream you will ever put in your mouth. And now I am addicted. I mean, we were already addicted to ice cream, but this took it to a whole new level. It is Breyers Blasts Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough ice cream. There are other Mrs. Fields kinds so make sure it is specifically this one. It is the BEST. You don't have to search for the cookie dough - it is filled with scrumptious chunks. Your spoon will never lack the goodness. You won't end up with just vanilla in your mouth. Excellent.

I deemed this important enough to share with you because you will never want to go back to any other kind of cookie dough ice cream. Ever. Jordan also agrees, and he is a self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseur. So believe us. The other day I bought some at Food Lion for a whopping sale price of $1.99. Yes, all of the Breyers ice cream was $1.99. So you can imagine what our freezer looks like right now. Although I may have eaten the majority of it while Jordan was away...

husbandless.

By the time I post this, I'll probably be working and Jordan will be on his way back to NC. So I'm not being a dummy and telling the world wide web when I am home alone. I'm just throwing that out there. Be cool about internet safety yall.


But I've had a couple nights without my dear sweet husband. He has been on a climbing trip in NY, and I have been missing him like crazy. If I wasn't married, and I was reading this, then I'd probably be like yeah yeah okay get over it whatever. But seriously it is not cool. Mad props to military wives by the way, they sacrifice so much. I don't know how they do it.


Anyway, so what am I to do when my other half is gone? Besides text him all the time and Skype at night? (Thank God for that technology!) Let's see. I have:


1. Slept in a little bit. 
2. Voted for my dad to win that Father's Day contest for literally hours. We'll see what happens, haha.
3. Played Monopoly Deal with the bro. Jordan dislikes that game, so I rarely get to play it. I love it. It's such a shame.
4. Played Dutch Blitz with the fam and Travis. We love Dutch Blitz. My mom's side of the family has played it as long as I can remember. I'm not very good at it, but I try. My mom is the pro. It's kinda like Nertz if you've ever played that...but better. 
5. Researched netbooks relentlessly. I think I'm going to get one. My laptop is from 2006 and there are so many things wrong with it. Including the fact that it doesn't allow me to post pictures on here! Which is why I haven't been blogging much lately. Something new is necessary. All I need is a little friend for me to browse and blog on. So that's what I want. :)
6. Started to prepare for my upcoming Bible study with my basketball girls! Ahhh I'm so excited about this. I'll probably write about that later.
7. Read....a lot. I'm halfway through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and it is getting so good. 
8. Blasted The Beatles, Backstreet Boys, and Disney tunes. In other words, listened to my beloved music that my husband rejects. Although, in my defense I think he secretly loves that music. I gather my evidence from here and here. Yes, it's pretty solid evidence.
9. Watched some of The Bachelorette. I have a love/hate relationship with that show. It can get trashy but I like the other parts. Too bad Jordan missed that too. 
10. Most importantly, I did something very brave. Normally, no matter what the size, if there is any kind of bug crawling around our place I get Jordan to kill it. Always. Even if I saw a bug and Jordan wasn't here, I'd just trap it or something, then get him to kill it later. But today...there was a bug on the wall. One of those weird bugs that has legs all the way around it. I don't know what they're called but I hate them. And you know what I did? I mustered my courage and smacked that thing with a shoe. A very cute wedge shoe. Some of its guts are on the wall. I'm looking at them right now. Ew. He fell and hopefully died, but I didn't investigate. I'll let Jordan do that when he gets home. I assume I either killed him or injured him enough that he will not be crawling into bed with me.


I don't like life without Jordan. Now that I have life with him, I don't know how I did it without him. So I'm very thankful that he's returning to me tomorrow. Or today, since that's when you'll be reading this. 


Also I miss my sister Anna. And want to see Josh, Danielle, and little Harvey oh so badly. Only a month!

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