Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One Year Later

After a beautiful spring-like weekend the cold weather crept in like a thief Sunday night, leaving us with temperatures of 35 degrees yesterday and today. Even for a Northerner like me, that’s COLD. It later warmed up to about 55 in the afternoon.

I left for work yesterday morning with my jacket zipped all the way up to my chin and a travel mug full of freshly brewed, piping hot coffee which I sipped during my half hour commute. Something about warm flavored coffee on a cold morning just puts me in a good mood. It relaxes me and helps me focus better, even if it is decaf. This morning, we ran out of creamer and there is no more milk in the house, so I went without. My whole way to work I wished I had that nice comforting cup o’ joe with me, but I’m not going to drink it black. That’s just never gonna happen.

Last night was Gregg’s Sound & Vision dinner for new volunteers. We were going to have it in the Pavilion at the edge of church campus, but since it was downright chilly we moved it into the music room in the education building. After going home to change and let the dog out, I showed up around 5:20 to help Gregg get set up. We had it catered by Sonny’s BBQ which was much, much easier than trying to do everything by ourselves like the last time. It turned out to be an even better deal than we thought, too. They didn’t have the order ready when he went to pick it up, so to smooth things over, they gave him a complimentary dinner for two. Score!

The dinner went very, very well. Everyone enjoyed and was impressed with the selection of food, and they showed a lot of interest in volunteering for areas which Gregg really needs help in. Afterwards, there was enough food left over to feed an army. We put most of it in the church refrigerator and made a few plates to take home. One of Gregg’s volunteers & his family stayed to help clean up and we were out of there by 9:15. When we came home, we took Tess for a walk and the whole way Gregg talked excitedly about the great response he got.

I was very happy to see him so encouraged. Every week he pours himself into this job and the volunteers which he already has, and it’s wonderful that he is seeing the return of his investment. He really is in his element. This morning I told him it was one year ago today that he was offered the position of Minister of Technology with Covenant. It’s hard to believe that was a whole year ago. He called me at work late in the morning that day and told me the news we had been waiting two weeks to hear. We were moving to Florida!!

That began the whirlwind process of finding a place to live, packing up all of our belongings, and saying good-bye to family & friends. Just three weeks later, we arrived here in Palm Bay ready to begin a new life. We were so ready to leave the crushed dreams of the past behind. Three years of one disappointment after another where it seemed as if some invisible force was preventing us from moving ahead. The stress and frustration of running a business that put out very little return for all the work and money we invested into it. All the waiting, hoping, praying and wondering what God what was up to was a long and difficult journey, one that aged us. I know now that was Him testing our faith, maturing us and getting us ready for what lay ahead.

It’s hard to describe the vast difference between living back in New Jersey and living here. Over the past year, I’ve seen my husband come alive with passion for his work and settle down and just enjoy life. I feel like I have him back, in many respects. It’s brought a lot of positive changes to our marriage that I am very grateful for.

God has certainly blessed the broken road that led us here.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Well, today and yesterday we got a little taste of winter here in the Sunshine State. It was 38 degrees overnight and 40 when I woke up this morning. There was actually frost on the rooftops. Of course, now it's back up in the sixties and it will climb to about 74 for tomorrow. But for one brief moment, it was really nice to wear soft, warm snuggly pj's to bed and turn the heat on in my car.

More developments have taken place, regarding the whole drama going on with our church, since the meeting happened Monday night. A few of the youth pastor's supporters wrote a letter to the elders apologizing for their behavior and asking for forgiveness. Yet others have decided just to leave quietly. Gregg informed me yesterday that the Children's Ministry Director quit her position because she "could no longer submit to the leadership of the church". Incidently, she was one of his biggest supporters from the very beginning.

The complainants are dropping their complaint by not taking it to General Assembly (which is the next step in the process). However, they are now going ahead with filing charges of sin against at least three of the elders, which they made known in a mass email. This is their right, according to the Presbytery. I misunderstood one of the committee members that if they pursued this course of action, it would destroy the church- he meant that if they continued to circulate the complaint among members of the congregation it had the potential to do that.

This whole charging of sin will be handled in private, with them going directly to the elders and then on up the "chain of command". It's confusing, but a complaint is different than a charge. With a complaint, they can't ask for a trial, so they're taking it one step further. They first tried to have a hearing at the congregational level, which would have been completely inappropriate. In their most recent email they didn't outline the specific sins they're going to address, quite rightly, because the congregation doesn't need to be involved. We were never supposed to get involved.

So our church is undergoing some major pruning right now. Families leaving because they can't submit to the leadership, and still others wrestling with where they really stand on this issue. Some may leave simply because our church is so unstable at this time. The session, on top of everything else they're dealing with, needs to fill three staff positions. We haven't even been here a year yet and just within the last four months, the church has lost three of its staff members. And there are only nine to begin with.

I wonder what's going to happen next? I know God has a plan in all of this, and that sometimes pruning is necessary to accomplish His will for His church and people. Please continue to pray.

Tonight Gregg and I are going to a movie night at one of our small group couple's house. The film slated for viewing is Cars, which neither one of us has seen before. Should be fun! We don't have any plans for the weekend as of now. I know that I really need to get the house cleaned, since I've had very little time to this past week. It's supposed to be another beautiful day tomorrow though. Enjoy your weekends, everyone!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #7

This week, like most, has been busy with various events, meetings, Bible study and worship rehearsal. We usually just throw something not-so nutritious together for dinner so we can get out the door on time to wherever we have to go. With this harried lifestyle, it’s nice to unwind in front of the tv and escape into the fantasy world of our favorite programs, whether it be drama or comedy. Some of our favs have recently returned to primetime after being on hiatus, like Prison Break and American Idol.

I thought I’d devote this week’s Thursday Thirteen to the shows we enjoy watching together, including those that we’ve enjoyed in the past, because of the return of some old favorites and the “tv dinners” we’ve been eating lately.

13 TV Shows I Enjoy Watching With My Husband

1. American Idol. I never thought I’d get hooked on this show. I’ll admit that it’s my guilty pleasure. Actually, it wasn’t until the 4th season where Carrie Underwood won that we both became obsessed with it. Now we look forward to the tryouts where it seems that all the people with no talent whatsoever showed up together in one place, to the actual competition where the contestants get to meet famous celebrities each week and sing a song of theirs, or in their genre.

2. The Apprentice. We’ve been watching this one since Season 1, and got hooked right away. As I mentioned before, since we have a very limited range of cable we don’t get NBC, so we have to watch it online after it airs on regular television. It’s kind of a pain, but better than not being able to watch it at all. It’s interesting to see the candidates get through the tasks Trump assigns them and what leads up to the big heave-ho in the boardroom. “You’re fired!”

3. Little House on the Prairie. With modern life so complicated, it was nice to take a trip back to simpler times with the Ingalls Family. The show came on TBS towards the end of 2005, and Gregg & I just fell in love with the classic series. I joked that we had become like a fifty-ish couple because we loved to watch Little House and play board games to pass the time. Yup, just call us Ma & Pa.

4. Prison Break. Taking a walk on the darker side, we started getting into this highly suspenseful show when it started last year. With all its twists and turns, it grabs our attention each week and we wonder how long the inmates can run without getting caught.

5. King of Queens. We’ve been watching re-runs of this one on the new CW network pretty much every night since last spring. Doug and Carrie never fail to crack us up with everything from trying to find the perfect couplefriend to doing anything they could to become just like another couple whose pictures they accidentally got at the drug store. Some of the funny things Doug does reminds us both of Gregg!

6. American Chopper. My husband was really into this show a few years ago, and then I started watching it with him. Before this, I had no idea that a chopper referred to a certain kind of motorcycle, but I got into watching the Teutel’s build custom bikes while hashing out their family feuds each week. Two years ago in March, we actually drove up to their showroom and store in Montgomery, NY.

7. Trading Spouses. Every week, this show convinces us that we would never ever want to trade spouses. Even for $50,000.

8. Bones. How will Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth solve this week’s spine-chilling crime? And will they ever get together? We tune in each Wednesday night to see.

9. Junkyard Mega Wars. This one we only watched for a period of time the first year we were married, but it’s another that I never would have watched if it weren’t for Gregg. Teams of 4 have to run around looking for parts in a junkyard with which to build these machines that will later go head to head in fierce competition. Weird, huh? I know. It must be a guy thing.

10. House. It’s fascinating each week to see what kind of crazy, never-before-heard-of diagnosis Dr. House and his colleagues will come up with. Often times it’s a race against the clock to find out what’s wrong with the patient; then, about ten minutes before the show ends, House has a major breakthrough and solves the mystery saying “Oh of course, that was it all along! Just start him on some penicillin, and he’ll be fine.”

11. Reba. This light- hearted comedy invites us to laugh at a dysfunctional Southern family and makes ours’ seem like the Walton’s in comparison.

12. Doc. Ah, that cheesy PAX show where Doc Cassidy always saved the day and taught a valuable life lesson all in one hour. We were suckers for it until it ended, with Doc and Nurse Nancy ending up together and running off to be healthcare workers somewhere in Southeast Asia.

13. Beauty & The Geek. Another guilty pleasure, because in all honesty this show is pretty dumb. I mean, they take the most stereotypically nerdy guys and pair them with these blonde airheads who can’t even add two plus two to do various challenges each episode. In the process, they’re supposed to learn that beauty is more than skin deep and even geeks are lovable too. It’s hopelessly cliché, but so much fun to watch. Gregg says that he’s a geek and I’m his beauty. Aw.

So what does this tell you about the two of us- that we watch entirely too much tv? Probably.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Good Things Come In Three's

Three Names You Go By:
1. Marisa
2. Maris
3. Beautiful (Gregg’s nickname for me)

Three Screen Names You’ve Had:
1. mt727
2. bubbls727
3. mb111

Three Physical Things You Like About Yourself:
1. My eye color
2. My weight
3. My hands

Three Physical Things You Don’t Like About Yourself:
1. My feet
2. My baby- fine hair
3. My ears

Three Parts of Your Heritage:
1. German
2. Italian
3. American!

Three Things That Scare You:
1. Spiders and other creepy crawling things
2. Horror movies
3. Heights

Three of Your Everyday Essentials:
1. Chapstick
2. Cell Phone
3. Car Keys

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. Wedding Rings
2. Glasses
3. A nice comfy blouse from the Gap

Three of Your Favorite Bands or Musical Artists:
1. Rascal Flatts
2. Jeremy Camp
3. Sugarland

Three of Your Favorite Songs (by above artists respectively):
1. “These Days”
2. “Wonderful Maker”
3. “I Don’t Want To (If You Don’t Want To)”

Three Things You Want in a Relationship:
1. Honesty
2. Intimacy
3. Laughter

Two Truths and a Lie (in no particular order- put your guess as to which is the lie in comments!)
1. I met and married my husband all within six months.
2. I’m the oldest of two girls.
3. I majored in Education in college.

Three Physical Things about the Opposite Sex Which Appeal to You:
1. Strong arms
2. Nice eyes
3. Dark hair

Three of Your Favorite Hobbies:
1. Blogging
2. Reading
3. Shopping

Three Things You Want to Do Really Badly Right Now:
1. Go on vacation
2. See my husband
3. Relax at home with a good book or magazine

Three Careers You’ve Considered:
1. Social Worker
2. Teacher
3. Bookkeeper

Three Places You Want to Go On Vacation:
1. Italy
2. The Caribbean
3. New Jersey (just to see old friends and family)

Three Kids’ Names You Like:
1. Katelyn Amelia
2. Riley Christopher
3. Jacob Ryan

Three Things You Want to do Before You Die:
1. Have children
2. Take a trip across America with Gregg
3. See my family come to Christ

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically a Boy:
1. I like my meat one step above rare, and I eat chicken & pork right off the bone (no forks or knives necessary, just a lot of wetnaps!)
2. I don’t paint my fingernails or toenails
3. I like to channel surf

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically a Girl:
1. I get freaked out by bugs
2. I wear make-up every day
3. I love the color pink

Three Celeb Crushes:
1. The lead singer from Rascal Flatts
2. Brad Pitt, my old standby (yes, I know he’s almost 45!)
3. The actor who plays Michael Schofield on Prison Break

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Waiting on the world to change

So, last night’s meeting…

wasn’t the mud slinging fight I thought it was going to be. But it was still tense, frustrating, heart breaking. Oh yeah, and mind numbing. Going round and round in circles over the same issues for two hours will do that to ya.

The meeting was very controlled and orderly because members of the Presbytery of Central Florida came down to conduct it. In fact, it was the very ad hoc committee that reviewed the complaint in question last week. These are highly respected and godly men with twenty, thirty years of service in the Presbytery. The moderator started off the meeting by introducing each committee member and then had one of them explain the whole Presbyterian structure and process so we could put the discussion into context. Then the floor was open for questions.

There were those who simply wanted clarification on the process and stated they weren’t taking any sides in the matter. Then there were those who clearly had an agenda, and tried to air out all the grievances they had against the session. The Presbytery was great in their responses and not allowing the meeting to turn into a political battle. They shushed claps on both sides.

They also said very plainly that the complaint had been heard, it had been dealt with, and all that was left for the complainants to do now is either submit quietly or leave quietly. One said that if they were to pursue this farther by trying to bring a charge of sin against the elders for the way they handled the youth pastor’s termination, it would destroy the church. They were unhappy with the way the former pastor and his “band of followers” were disseminating the complaint among members of the congregation, which clearly violated Presbyterian Church policy. They said that no congregational meeting could be called by these men to discuss the complaint because it’s not supposed to be a matter of public opinion. The congregation cannot vote on whether or not the elders acted appropriately in their dismissal of the youth pastor- that’s entirely up to the Presbytery to decide, and they have already done so.

Last night it was clear who supported the group of men and women who were opposed to the session’s decision, because they spoke up. It was basically them bantering back and forth with the committee members while the rest of us watched in horror. What makes this so unnerving is that they’ve drawn the line in the sand between themselves and the rest of us, and it’s difficult to see them now as anybody other than the “troublemakers”. I hate that. We’re supposed to be one body of believers, but a few members have set themselves apart (in a bad way) and are jeopardizing the unity of our church because of their refusal to give up this fight. I don’t know what they’re hoping to accomplish. The complaint was heard and that’s the end of it.

Sometimes you just have to suck it up, even when you feel you’re 100% right. During the meeting, I kept thinking of that passage in 1 Peter 2- “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (verses 21-23, NJKV)

These men and women have done a great deal of damage to the church with their words and actions. I pray that they will stop trying to be right and just be righteous. I don’t know where this is all going from here, but it seems to me that the matter has been settled and they’ve been defeated. Just deal with it, people, and move on!

I’ve processed what’s happened with Gregg last night and a little this morning with my boss since he goes to our church, and I’m sure we’ll discuss it some more at small group tonight. Frankly though, I’m kind of sick of talking about the whole thing. It’s just a lot of drama that we could do without.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Binding Up the Brokenhearted

These past few days have me feeling a lot better since Friday. Thank you for your sweet comments and prayers! You guys are the best. (Erin, I've tried several times unsuccessfully to leave feedback on your blog, but it won't let me.) :(

Friday night I had some closure with what was troubling me. Gregg and I had dinner outside on our back porch, and tried to make it romantic by lighting the Yankee candle we have on the patio table & putting out a small vase with a rose in it from our rose bush. As dinner was winding down, the conversation came around to weddings, and I took the opportunity to apologize to Gregg for letting those friends and my mother basically steamroll me and cause so much disunity between us. He said that that was years ago, and not to even worry about it. I felt really relieved, and free to put the past behind us.

Saturday continued the reconnection with my husband that I so needed. We lounged around in bed until almost 9 and then had breakfast and got ready to do some exploring. There's still so much of this area that we haven't seen yet. We set out on I-95 South and got off a few exits down, heading towards the Sebastian Inlet. It's a good place just to spend the day fishing or doing other recreational stuff. There’s a state park right there, and a spot to have barbeques & picnics. We spent a little bit of time there before looping around and driving north again, taking another highway.

Once we got back into town, we stopped for lunch at our favorite sandwich shoppe. From there we went straight to the church so Gregg could set up the stage for worship. He usually does this early Sunday morning, but he anticipated having a lot of other things to do then. I helped him at best I could, not understanding half the technical names for the pieces of equipment. It was good to get that out of the way, and Gregg appreciated my help.

When we got home we took Tess for a walk on a different street, which she didn't like too much. Other dogs barked at us from their yards and she got freaked out and started pulling a lot. We enjoyed going outside of our "box" for once, though! That night we just snacked instead of having dinner, since we were still full from our late lunch. Gregg worked on power point slides for the next day's service and I relaxed with the latest edition of Marriage Partnership. When he was done, we watched last week's episode of The Apprentice on NBC.com, since we don't have cable. It kept blipping, which made it not so fun to watch. I told Gregg we’ll have to go back to watching it on Yahoo.

I'm so glad we had a chance to relax this weekend, because the week coming up is going to be pretty busy. We have a special church meeting tonight, addressing some serious issues going on in our congregation. You may recall that our youth pastor was fired for insubordination in November, shortly after our senior pastor resigned. The session was unanimous in their decision to let him go and sent out a letter to each church member underlining their reasons. The youth pastor then decided to file a complaint against the session early in December because he was unhappy, and they responded (again unanimously) by upholding their previous decision. Unsatisfied with that response, he took the complaint to Presbytery, which is our governing board in the Presbyterian Church. An ad hoc committee was formed to review the complaint, and after doing so, upheld the session's decision and discussed their reasoning with the complainants for an hour and a half afterwards.

Still unsatisfied, the former youth pastor and a group of his friends sent out an email calling for a congregational meeting so that their side could be heard and new elders could be elected. In this email, they made some pretty serious accusations against the elders. At the end of yesterday's service, the chairman of the session announced the special meeting for tonight in which the Presbytery will come and discuss their reasons for upholding the elders' decision. He advised the congregation not to listen to these men who were going around with the petition for the congregational meeting and trying to stir things up. Following the service, this group of disgruntled members surrounded two of the elders and demanded they be able to speak at this meeting. Things got pretty heated. It was really upsetting, and completely uncalled for. Are we a church or a junior high school??

Please pray with me for our church. It's clear these men are trying to divide the church by asking members to go against what the elders have ruled and joining them in defying leadership. Their actions and presence are causing a lot of pain and turmoil right now, and our church has already been weakened by the loss of its senior pastor.

I have some concern about going to this meeting tonight. I anticipate things getting ugly. I prayed yesterday and this morning that God would grant us peace and restore unity. Our church is really hurting right now, unfortunately because a few men just can’t let this issue go and won’t rest until they’ve taken the session down.

While having my reservations, I do want to go to show my support for the elders and solidarity with other members. They swore to uphold God’s word and do what was right for the good of the church, and I believe they’ve done that. I’m going early with Gregg because he has to run sound and I might sit with him up in the loft. That’ll give me a bird’s eye view of the “fireworks”. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Meme #2 of '07

I can't resist these fun little quizzes! Here goes...

A. Available or Married? Married

B. Best friend? Definitely my husband Gregg

C. Cake or pie? Cake all the way

D. Drink of choice? Diet Dr. Thunder, which is the generic Walmart brand of Dr. Pepper. I drink it with dinner every night and if I need to cool down in the Florida heat.

E. Essential item? Cherry flavored Chapstick. I have this weird thing about my lips always needing to be moisturized.

F. Favorite color? Pink!

G. Gummi bears or worms? The bears. They're so cute.

H. Hometown? Scotch Plains, New Jersey. That's where I spent my years growing up.

I. Indulgence? Oreo cookies

J. January or February? January, because it's when I got married.

K. Kids and names? Maybe in another year or so we'll have a little one. :)

L. Life incomplete without? Jesus Christ

M. Marriage date? January 11, 2003

N. Number of Siblings? 1 sister

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples

P. Phobias/fears? Spiders, heights, small confined spaces

Q. Favorite Quotation? "There's a God-shaped hole in all of us."

R. Reason to smile? My husband and how incredibly blessed we are by all the things God does and provides for us.

S. Season? Definitely Fall- the leaves changing, weather getting cooler... all stuff I don't get to experience anymore living down here in FL. :(

T. Tag three people: Erin, Audrey, and Brittny

U. Unknown fact about me: I love listening to Lite FM. In fact, it's my radio station of choice, besides "Today's Christian Music". Go ahead, just call me Granny.

V. Vegetable you hate: Tomatoes. Yucky!

W. Worst habit? Putting things off to the last minute

X. X-rays I’ve had: Teeth and abdomen

Y. Your favorite food? Barbequed Chicken

Z. Zodiac? Leo. I used to be way into horoscopes when I was in high school, as if my sign actually defined who I was. But now, notsomuch.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The First Meme of 2007 (if you don't count T13)

My dear blogging friend Erin tagged me for my first meme of the year, and I am more than happy to oblige:

1. If you had to choose one vice in exclusion of all others what would it be?

I'm with Erin on this one. I absolutely love ice cream- in a bowl, in a cone, on a stick, whatever. I prefer it to most all other desserts. And since it's warm year round here in Florida, it's always time for ice cream!

2. If you could change one specific thing about the world what would it be?

That people would stop being so incredibly materialistic and gaga over celebrities, and focus on helping others less fortunate and work on developing their spirituality.

3. Name the cartoon character you identify with the most.

I don't know if I really identify with her anymore, but I used to love watching MTV's Daria. She was always watching people from the outside looking in and used dry, sarcastic humor in a lot of situations. She knew she wasn't popular and just didn't care.

4. If you could live one day in your life over again which one would it be?

Since I've been thinking back to the period when Gregg and I got married a lot recently, I'd have to say either our wedding day or the first day of our honeymoon- both were fresh, carefree and romantic.

5. If you could go back in history and spend a day with one person who would it be?

Okay, I'll give the Sunday School answer here: Jesus. I have no idea what he'd say to me- maybe something like, "Child, stop obsessing over ice cream and focus more on God!"

6. What is the one thing you lost, sold or threw away that you wish you could have back?

Shortly after becoming a Christian in college, I threw away the journal I kept in 11th grade because I didn't think it would be good for me to "relive" my past. I would come to regret that decision because it contained a lot of memories from my high school days.

7. What is your one most important contribution to this world?

Being a godly and supportive wife to Gregg while he ministers to our church.

8. What is your one hidden talent that nearly no one knows about?

I think I can sing pretty well. I was in the regular choir and the special all girls choir in high school. I would never actually sing by myself in front of people though.

9. What is your most cherished possession?

My engagement/wedding ring. Gregg picked out the engagement ring all by himself, with no help from me, and it's very unique. My wedding band was specially molded to fit together with it. They remind me that I am my beloved's and he is mine.

10. What one person influenced your life the most when growing up?

My mother. She had the most impact on the way I thought and behaved, and the way I carried myself.

11. What one word describes you better than any other?

Sensitive. It can be both a good and a bad thing.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday Update

Ugh, it’s so hard to go back to work after a nice weekend. The weather was gorgeous, and not too hot either. Friday night wasn’t that special. After dinner we decided to go to Sears to get ideas for what we could spend our gift card on. There were only about ten cars in the parking lot when we pulled up to the store. Neither one of us are big fans of Sears to begin with, so this was kind of disparaging. Gregg’s family is however, and I joked that they’re the ones probably keeping it in business.

It was a complete ghost town inside the store. I can’t be sure, but I thought I saw a tumbleweed come down one of the aisles. All of their sales people looked bored to tears. We looked in every department they had, from housewares to electronics, and found some things that we could use like new garden tools and kitchen products. We also looked at their gas grills, because ours stopped working a few months ago. Their nicest inexpensive one was about $150, not bad.

Saturday, we tackled about a week’s worth of laundry because, hallelujah, we have a working dryer again! The new motor finally arrived last week and Gregg finished installing it Saturday morning after breakfast. Once we got a few loads going, we went to Sam’s Club & Walmart and had lunch out.

I was not having a very good day, unfortunately. My hormones were in overdrive and I was having major mood swings. I had trouble for some reason remembering to take my birth control pills this month, so I’d double up the next day. This threw my whole system out of whack and by Saturday, I was feeling absolutely miserable.

It started when I made pancakes that morning. As they were on the griddle, Gregg looked over my shoulder and started offering advice on how to cook them better. I freaked out a little and thought, what, I don’t know how to make stinkin’ pancakes correctly?? It’s not rocket science, for heaven’s sake! I stayed moody all through breakfast.

At the grocery store, we argued about how much salad to buy for the church Salt Shakers dinner we were going to that night. Then when we got home, we couldn’t agree on which bowl the salad should go in and I lost it when he admitted we probably didn’t need two 2 lb. bags of romaine lettuce after all. Just two days before, we were lost in reminiscing about the romance of our wedding and now we were arguing over… vegetables.

About an hour before we were supposed to leave the house, he started folding one of the last loads that came out of the dryer and I went into the bedroom to help. He said how great it was that we stayed on top of the folding that day because usually we end up with a giant pile of wrinkled clothes that we select from during the week. (Did I ever mention how I bad I am at keeping up with the laundry?) That seems to be one of Gregg’s pet peeves, and though he doesn’t ever really mention that it bothers him, that past week he probably said something to me about five times. As we folded whites side by side, he kept going on about how discouraged he would be seeing that pile accumulate again, and

I. flipped. out.

He could see it was going to be a losing battle for him to stick around and watch me carry on, so he stopped folding clothes and left the room. This, of course, just made me even more mad. But I sucked it up, went into the living room where he had retreated, and apologized. At that point though, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball on the bed in the dark. The Salt Shakers dinner was the last thing I wanted to go to, but it turned out to be just what I needed. We had a great evening of food, fun and fellowship. Upon stepping into our bedroom to get ready for bed that night, I was so grateful not to be greeted by a monstrous pile of unfolded clothes. Everything was in its proper drawer or closet. Just the way it should be.

Sunday, Gregg gave the ministry highlight in both services. He talked about what’s going on with the “new” Sound and Vision Ministry (formerly Tech Team) and how people could get involved. After church, we went home to change and decided to go to this little Mexican restaurant we had heard was good. By the time we got home, it was 3 o’clock already! We just kind of lounged around on the couch for the rest of the afternoon and watched last week’s episode of The Apprentice on Gregg’s laptop.

To sum up our weekend: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Four Years Later

To celebrate our anniversary last night, we used the gift card Gregg’s aunt sent us for Christmas and went out to dinner at Cracker Barrel. Gregg found out yesterday that he is getting a 5% raise this year, so we had two things to celebrate over dinner! Right after we arrived at the restaurant, his parents called to wish us a happy anniversary. His mom said that they were sending something small that they thought was perfect for us, and it should arrive next week. This, in addition to the $100 Sears gift card they already sent! On the way home, we stopped for soft-serve at Twisty Cone even though it was a bit chilly out (ha, you know, only 60 degrees instead of the usual 75). We were both full from dinner, but wanted a little something sweet to top it off.

To complete our night, we watched the DVD of our wedding. We had only seen it once together two months after getting married. Watching it again four years later, I’m struck by the fact that our wedding day is only one day, while (God willing) we have the next fifty or sixty years to “do life” together. It was beautiful and nearly perfect in every way, all the details coming together seamlessly- very much unlike marriage itself with all of its ups & downs.

Watching it we remarked how little our niece and nephew, who were our flower girl and ring bearer, looked, how shiny my ring was and how I couldn’t stop laughing the first two minutes of our first dance together (my guess is it was just nerves since every single eye in the reception hall was on us). I got choked up when I saw Gregg holding back tears as he danced with his mother, laughed as I watched us dance all the traditional wedding songs like the Hokey Pokey and the obnoxious Macarena, and snuggled closer to Gregg as we watched us say our vows.

We also realized that we no longer keep in contact with over half the people we invited to our wedding. I’m not friends anymore with the three girls I asked to be my bridesmaids (my sister was Maid of Honor). Things were tense between myself and two girls in particular during our brief engagement, in large part because they were jealous I was getting married first and they thought I kept blowing them off. In reality I was trying to keep my sanity while working full-time and planning a wedding in 3 ½ months, and I was stressed out and probably said some things out of frustration that I shouldn’t have, which rubbed them the wrong way. I know one got married about a year after we did, and another is getting married this August.

The video ended two hours after it began, with a scene of us waving good-bye and driving off in Gregg’s Jeep which had been decorated by his friends. As the screen faded to black, I think both of us secretly wished we could relive that day over and over, with all of its magic and romance. I know I just wanted to camp out there and not have to go back to the daily routine of life which for us right now involves piles of bills and minor annoyances like a broken dryer.

I really enjoyed looking back on our special day, which was truly a dream come true, but I’m also grateful to be at a point in our marriage where we’re so comfortable with one another and are best friends. The first two years were hard, as we learned how to live together in a tight space (a.k.a. apartment) and combine our finances, values, goals and pasts. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of clashing going on. We had to learn to get rid of most of the expectations we had of each other, based on how we watched our parents interact, and let things go. Most of all, we had to learn how to trust God when faced with difficult circumstances that wouldn’t seem to go away no matter how hard we prayed. I wish I had paid better attention to our pastor as he instructed us how to “get along” in marriage.

Our wedding day is a wonderful and precious occasion in our lives, to mark the beginning of our history as husband and wife. The DVD shows a blissfully happy, giddy couple, a sacred ceremony involving the joining of two people by God, lots of laughter and tears. Everyone was dressed to the nines, smiling and laughing celebrating. Ironically, you’d never know that only weeks before our wedding I had an all-out, shouting down the house fight with one of my bridesmaids and she almost wasn’t in the wedding. Or that just one week before, I sat on the phone for hours in tears as I listened to my mother tell me what a huge mistake I was making. Everyone “put up and shut up” so to speak for that one day, as Gregg and I began our future together. I’m so glad they did.

I thought I knew Gregg on our wedding day. I thought that I loved him. But I learned that there was much, much more to know and love. We’ve really had a chance now to see each other at our absolute best and worst, and can still say to one another four years later “you are my beloved and best friend”.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

From This Moment: Thursday Thirteen #6

It was four years ago today that Gregg and I stood up and said our vows in front of over 100 friends and family members at Hawthorne Gospel Church. That day was one of the coldest that winter, but the adrenaline pumping through me kept me warm. The ceremony was almost a complete blur (thank goodness for videography!) and it felt surreal, almost dream-like, to be getting married. At the reception we danced and ate rich, yummy food for nearly five hours. It felt wonderful to finally be Gregg’s wife and we could now kiss all we wanted to, hee hee. I remember that I couldn’t stop smiling, and it was as if the world had stopped just for us on our special day.

Four years ago that we embarked on a journey together which has been peppered with joy, strife, misunderstandings, laughter, tears, disappointments, and maturing in our faith and our concept of what it really means to love. This journey is far, far from over. We still have many miles to go as a married couple, and I look forward to what our fifth year of marriage will bring.

So in honor of our anniversary, this week’s T13 is a list of things that I love about my husband and being married.

13 Things I Love About Marriage & My Husband

1. I have a partner, a teammate, to navigate through life with. Two are better than one at solving problems and I always know he’s praying for me, which gives me strength and courage to face each day.
2. The intimacy we share, not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. No one makes me laugh like Gregg does, and we have a lot of little inside jokes only we know about.
3. My husband loves God and wants to please Him. I appreciate that he gets up early in the morning to read the Bible and prays before starting his work day.
4. I love that there is no better or safer place to be than in his arms. When he wraps me up in them, I melt.
5. I love the way he takes care of me, from making my breakfast in the morning as I rush around getting ready for work, to asking if I’d like anything when he gets up for a drink or snack.
6. I like that no one knows me as well as he does- all my little quirks and idiosyncrasies- yet he still loves me and is quick to forgive.
7. I appreciate all the things marriage has taught me, about not giving up and loving unconditionally.
8. Gregg continually affirms my self-worth by telling me what a great wife I am and how much he loves me.
9. I love the history that we share. We have triumphs together that have come after a long period of trusting God to do His perfect will in our lives and also trips & special occasions we’ve experienced as a couple that all make up the story of us.
10. I am grateful for my husband’s commitment to me. I have never doubted the promises he made on our wedding day to love me until “death do us part”. I am secure in knowing that I will always be the woman he cherishes in this life.
11. I like that he shares my interests, even if they aren’t his favorites, and that he’s introduced me to a wealth of his own. Over the years, we’ve picked up some new ones that we enjoy together.
12. I so appreciate how he sacrifices for me, when he puts my needs ahead of his and spends a few hours at the mall when he’d rather be getting a root canal.
13. I love that our marriage is a beacon in a day when over half the marriages end in divorce.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Since living here in Florida almost a whole year now, we’ve only experienced one season: summer. It’s January 8, and it feels like the middle of August. Ugh. We did have a few days in November and December when it got down into the 50’s and even 40’s, but they’re nowhere to be found. The weather forecast keeps calling for high 70’s and 80’s. I know my friends up in the Northeast are rolling their eyes as they read this. I mean, come on you’re complaining that it’s 75 while we’re here freezing our tushes off?! Yes, yes I am. It’s no fun when your office feels like a freaking sauna every day, and all your makeup has run off your face by lunch time.

Anyway, we had a nice low-key sort of weekend. It was good to relax and have some down time before my evil alarm clock went off at 6 am this morning. Ziggy said it well: Mondays truly are the potholes on the road of life. We slept in on Saturday and then went to the Laundromat because our stupid dryer stopped working. That horrible buzzing noise it was making since the week before Christmas led to the inevitable. It crapped out an hour before we were supposed to meet up with Jeff & Liz for dinner on our way to the airport two Fridays ago.

So, Gregg ran over to the Laundromat to dry our clothes while I finished getting the house ready for my in-laws’ visit. He figured out what caused the dryer to stop working and ordered the part the next day, which was only about $50, but wouldn’t arrive at our house until early this week. I did a load of absolute must-haves on Thursday night to tie us over and Gregg dried them in the economy sized dryer at church while he was at rehearsal. Then we spent a few hours at the Laundromat on Saturday, grabbed a pizza for lunch at Little Caesar’s in the same shopping plaza and got everything washed, dried and folded for… $20! What a rip-off. But it had to be done, because we're at the mercy of this part getting here.

After coming home, we put our clothes away and I sat down on the couch & promptly fell asleep. A few hours later, I got a sudden burst of energy and started putting the Christmas decorations and presents away. It felt good to have the house back in order. We heated up leftovers for dinner and ate in front of the tv, calling it a night by 10:00. Yup, what a wild and crazy Saturday.

Yesterday was the usual: Sunday school, church, then lunch at home. I checked my email and perused my favorite blogs in the afternoon. I also resurrected a concept that helped me many a night answer the age old question, “what’s for dinner?” Gregg and I both realized that I was falling into a rut, sometimes completely forgetting to take anything out of the freezer the night before. Something needed to drastically change. So I went online to a few favorite recipe sites and copied & pasted a variety of dishes whose ingredients I had in the house, and made out a menu for the week. Tonight I’m trying something called Baked Spaghetti.

Things at work have settled down somewhat. I still have a few more reports to do and stuff to file with the IRS yet. Tomorrow night, we are resuming our small group meetings after a three week hiatus. I’m looking forward to getting together with everyone again, and delving into another thought-provoking study. Although, there is one down-side to having SG on Tuesday nights: we’ll miss the new season of American Idol! Oh well, I’m sure I can find a blank videotape somewhere. :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5

My first post of the new year! I can't believe it's 2007 already. Where did 2006 go?

Our visit last week with Gregg's family was very nice. We had a BEA-utiful weekend, so we were able to enjoy some outdoor activities. While it was great to have them here it was also good to "get back to normal", just in time for the new year. I've been swamped at work since I went back on Tuesday, because not only did I lose an entire day but it's also the beginning of the month, the beginning a new quarter and the beginning of a whole 'nother year. I've been working on getting ready to send off our corporate taxes and the W-2 forms for all the employees. Fun stuff. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!!

This week, I thought I'd do a T13 about the things I'm looking forward to in 2007. It's fun to look ahead to what the new year will bring, and there's lots to anticipate.

1. Our anniversary! One week from today, we will celebrate four years of wedded bliss. Gregg usually works on Thursday nights because he has to be at worship rehearsal, but he took the 11th off so we could enjoy a (hopefully) romantic night together. He is the love of my life and I am so blessed that he is mine.

2. Wishing my mother and sister happy birthday as they celebrate momentous landmarks in their life. My sister will turn 25 and my mom is going to be the big 60.

3. The birth of our niece sometime in May, Jeff and Liz's expectant little one.

4. Finally getting a freaking vacation! To get any vacation time with my company, you have to work there for at least a year so I'll be able to go away for a week or a few days come April 3.

5. The lease expiring on Gregg's truck in August. It's costing us a small fortune to have that vehicle, plus the insurance, plus the gas. By turning it back in and getting a used motorcycle that Gregg can take back and forth to work, we expect to save about $600/month.

6. Being eligible for homestead exemption. We didn't qualify in 2006 because we bought our house right after the deadline to file, and also since it was flipped, it wasn't the previous owner's primary place of residence so we couldn't ride out the rest of his exemption. $25,000 taken right off the top of our home's estimated value will save us in property taxes this year.

7. My 10 year high school reunion. Okay, I don't really think I'll actually get on a plane and go but it's kind of cool/weird to think that it's been ten whole years since I graduated HS. It doesn't seem like that long ago.

8. Tess becoming older and growing out of her puppy stage. I know I shouldn't want her to grow up so fast because dogs only live like, what 15 years? She's so hyperactive sometimes though, that it's down right irritating. She has gotten a lot better since the day we took her home five months ago, however.

9. Gregg getting a raise the end of this month. Employees of the church get a raise every year, and I'm praying he's recognized well for all the hard work he does there.

10. The hot, sticky humid FL weather July through September. Um yeah, notsomuch.

11. Getting to know people in our church better and making more couplefriends.

12. Celebrating Christmas, possibly in New Jersey.

13. Uh, ringing in 2008? I ran out of things!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!