patient

Can you picture me without reducing me?

So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable? Can you picture me without reducing me?  Isaiah 46:5 The Message

God, through the prophet Isaiah is challenging us - I dare you to compare me! There is no comparison. I blow the scale out of the water. You have no reference point for just how big, how powerful, how amazing I Am.

Can you picture God without reducing him? I’m not sure I can. My imagination is capped by the limited reality of my experience.  But I’ll give it my best shot.

Imagine God placing the stars in the sky, calling them by name, shaping the constellations and deciding that the universe would never stop expanding, new stars would continue to be born at a rate of 150 billion per year. The sheer scope of our sky is a small reflection of the mind-boggling creativity of God, not to mention his knack for beauty.

God created man and woman wanting fellowship and community, but already having a plan in place for when it all fell apart - knowing that the seed of the woman, Jesus, was the lamb slain from the creation of the world. Revelation 13:8 God is a strategic planner.

God is also incredibly patient.  Waiting through about four thousand years from creation to the birth of Jesus and four hundred years of silence for the perfect moment to initiate his redemption plan.  Through the expanse of time he never lost hope, knowing his dream for restoration would be initiated at the exact, appointed time. Galatians 4:4

The Easter season reminds of God’s tireless endurance and his willingness to suffer. It tilts my scales for sure to think that an excruciating death was all part of the plan, part of the dream, endurance motivated and carried by joy.  Hebrews 12:2

In my scale tipping thoughts of this incomparable God, one thought crushes the scale completely. You and I are made in the image of this God. For real! Did you catch that? We are made in his image, created to reflect his nature and reveal his character.

Can you imagine your life in the hands of this God without reducing you?

Own It

It was at my last New Year's Eve party that it happened. I'd spent all day cooking food and cleaning and planning so that I could have my friends over. As people started trickling in, I noticed that one of my closest friends seemed a little grumpy. So I stepped up my game and tried to make sure she had a good time. Towards the end of the night, our conversation took a quick turn into Sassy City. And in front of everyone, she snapped at me...Cue the awkward silence. I had no idea how to react. So my simple reply was, "Ok", as I angrily walked out of the room. After that, I didn't mention it for months. Even when she text me an apology right after she'd left. Big mistake.

You see, I thought that not saying anything about it and "letting it go" was the proper thing to do. I thought, "Well, I shouldn't get this mad about things." And I didn't want  to make the situation worse by bringing it up again. But, inevitably, my frustration came out in a big way months later. Not only did it come out, but it came out stronger than it should have because by that point, I'd held it in pretty long.

What I'm learning is that sometimes, it doesn't matter whether you should or shouldn't feel a certain way. What matters is that you feel it! Yes, ideally, we'd always be patient, forgiving, understanding, and all that jazz. But, we're human. And sometimes,  you just can't force yourself to feel those things. So, try to recognize when it's beneficial to speak up and own your feelings a bit more.

Now all you sassy ladies, don't go to the opposite extreme either. This does not mean you should give every emotion you feel free rein. Don't just confront people whenever and however you feel like, because that really doesn't accomplish much either.

Communication truly is an art form and it's tricky to learn. But your relationships deserve your honesty. Proverbs 24:26 says, "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." So the next time you feel yourself stifling your feelings of hurt or frustration, just try and address them in some way before they consume you. Because the only thing worse than an uncomfortable conversation with someone about how you feel is unresolved tension that eats away at your relationship!

What is Love?

What is Love?  When we get married, we are confident that everything will be perfect because “we are in love”.  We read in I Corinthians 13 that love is patient and kind; and feel confident in our ability to be just that to our husband.  I Corinthians 13 does give the characteristics of real love; but how we want to receive love and feel loved, as an individual, can be very different from what our spouse desires. We have all heard the phrase, treat others the way you want to be treated, but have you ever thought what we really should do is treat others the way THEY want to be treated.

Growing up, I was blessed to have a mother who cooked every night.  I now know, one of the reasons I felt loved was because she gave of herself by preparing a meal for our family. Fast forward to the first couple of years in my marriage; I worked so hard to have extravagant meals each night, the kind with at least 10 ingredients in it.  I was showing my man how much I loved him.  Imagine my surprise when he said, “You know I am good to have a sandwich for dinner every now and then”.  What?  I couldn’t believe it.  He would much rather have me sit on the couch, side by side, with him to watch a movie  instead of in the kitchen preparing a fancy meal.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe 100% that meals should be eaten together as a family at the table, even if it is just the two of you. The time that is spent together during a meal is priceless. I realized to show him love it did not need to be a dinner that took hours to prepare, he needed something else from me, not wrong just different, from what I knew. He needed more side by side with me.

Whether you grew up in loving home or one that was less desirable, you have determined what constitutes real love.  If he is doing this, then he must love me and if he is not doing that, he must not love me.  We have to stop to realize that we have come from different families with different backgrounds and traditions. 

So back to the question, what is love?  Have you asked him?  I have seen so many couples work hard to show the other love, yet missing the very thing that the other needed the most to feel loved. It could all be quickly resolved by simply asking the question:

  • How would you know that I loved you?
  • What do you need from me to show you I love you? 

Wow, a few simple questions that can save so much heart ache and wasted time on things that may not be important.

I have learned that I can not tell my husband I love him and then ignore the fact he has asked me to shop within a budget, even if it means buying him something new.  He cares more about the finances of our family then how hot I think he will look in the new shirt. On the flip side, while out shopping, years ago, with a girlfriend, her husband was a little hurt when she did not return with him a little gift that said she was thinking of him while we were out.

To show me love, my husband has learned going on a long walk, just to talk (thankfully he likes that too) or helping me with household responsibilities is more important than any fancy jewelry or flowers.

 Philippians 2: 2-4 says:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 Instead of showing love the way we want or how we THINK he wants, let’s save ourselves some time and put our energy towards “what is love” to him.

Be Our Guest

The Fun Part Among the many tasks of wedding planning choosing invitations is one of the most personal and creative choices to be made. It is one of the many things I was ecstatic about doing myself. A few short months after the engagement however, I realized time (and perhaps my lack of self discipline) would not allow for me to put my own invitations together. My original idea was a "story book" invitation. It would be a short story about Kristian and I, the engagement, and the invitation would follow. Although I didn't put my own invitations together, they are in fact being hand assembled by a much more patient and creative soul then myself, I am still infatuated with the idea of the invitation. My invitations will still be personal to me. I have chosen the wording, the font, the paper, and the envelopes. However, in having someone volunteer to help me with my invitations, I shaved down the specific details I first had in mind. Some brides however, cannot give up so easily on their design ideas and I tip my hat to them. Months have gone into some of the invitations I have seen. They are simply marvelous and the fact is if you are a bride and have a creative streak the possibilities are endless. Below are a few of my favorite invitations. Aside from this blog, I spend hours rifiling through DIY websites and other wedding blogs. And now that I think about it... I probably could have put my own invitations together with all the time I spend obssessing over others! Anyway, I hope you enjoy my finds and are inspired to try your hand at personalizing your big day!

This idea I found on stylemepretty.com

To make this adorable invitation:

1. Choose image and/or text to be printed. 2. Make a carbon based print of image/text (xerox copy or laser printers work) 3. Place image on gocco machine – make master screen using the gocco and gocco bulbs. 4. Once the image is burned into the screen, you can ink it.  Smear ink on the image burned into the screen, insert back into the machine, then press image onto paper invitations as desired.  Re-ink as necessary. 5. Let it dry fully before printing any other sides (let each side dry a full 24-hours).

This idea was also found at stylemepretty. Though the idea is very personal I like it because it can be changed. The creator simply created what was sentimental to her. She drew it freehand then took a picture and uploaded it to her Adobe Illustrator. It sounds a little complicated to me because I'm absolutely horrible wth computers. If you're tech saavy though this idea is precious! They were printed by a professional and 65 invitations were finished for about $150. Not bad for such cute and personalized invites!

Ok, so I hope the pictures do this invitation justice because I absolutely love it!  The ribbon, the tree, the deep colors... ahh, I'm in love.  I don't know that this one is a DIY. Even without explicit instructions though it seems like with the right tools it can be done without professional help.

The Details

I must admit invitation etiquette is a little foreign to me. While I love attending a good party I rarely ever throw one. With wedding invitations the formality is at a whole different level. I chose not to use inner envelopes so the wording of the outter envelope was a bit tricky. I used Google to figure out "Do I use 'and guest' on the outer envelope?" and "What about people with kids?". I also took advantage of the fact that our wedding is a bit informal. I have been extremely lucky with the help I have with my invitations. I haven't had to buy any of the materials except for the envelopes. With that said, I was a little surprised by the cost of envelopes! For those of you doing it yourself I totally reccommend Envelopes.com. I was able to purchase for 150 outer envelopes and 150 response card envelopes for under $100. After a little research I found that this is quite the deal! I did choose recycled paper so it isn't glossy but for me the cost difference was totally worth it. For a cute return address stamp (and to save yourself from carpal tunnel) check out thepaperwink.com. They have adorable stamps and labels at reasonable prices. I found one for about $20, which is so worth it to not have to handwrite my address 300 times. Another little detail we had to think about was the fact that our wedding is technically a destination wedding. Even though I'm from New Orleans, Kristian's family is in Texas, and many of our friends are in Florida. To accomodate people traveling for the wedding there is an insert with the invitation. It includes a few details about hotel and car rental options. More importantly though, it mentions our wedding website. This is so important. Even if you're not having a destination wedding, a wedding website just makes your guests life so much easier. I made ours at theknot.com but there are so many options out there I reccommend you explore and see what works best for you!

Breathe

While I get all girly thinking about my invitations and planning all the details, I still get a little overwhelmed. With the invitations I wanted a certain font but it didn't work out. I wanted a particular style but I couldn't get it done. I have had a few bumps in the road but I could not be any happier with the way they've turned out. I have entrusted my limited vision to someone who has just run circles around my ideas. The invitations are beautiful and all of my stress had nothing to do with their outcome! So remember, relax, breathe, enjoy the process. Don't let the little things take away from the plesaure of the big picture-- your wedding!