July 9, 2010

my best friend

Today Ryan comes home from camp and I can not tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing him. I honestly don't think I have ever been more excited to see Ryan and to be with Ryan!

I've realized a couple things this week as we have been apart. I hope that I can remember them as we are together again and get back to our normal routines.

1. If at all possible, always do big things together.

Ryan's week at camp was amazing for him, he was able to have so many experiences that will, small or big, shape him and change him. I missed not being able to share those things with him. There is a little bit of a disconnect that doesn't feel quite right.

A few months into our marriage Ryan and I were involved in a book club. One of the books we read was, "A Severe Mercy", an autobiography by Sheldon Vanauken. This is a super great book and I would highly recommend it to anyone. As the young couple in the book begin to fall in love they make a sort of pact with each other that no matter what, they would always do everything together, I mean everything. I would quote from the book because it's so good, but I don't actaully have the book anymore.

The characters in the book may have taken the idea of doing every little thing together to an extreme in some peoples opinion, but at the same time, there is a lot to be said about walking through life together and sharing all of life's experiences together. In any case, I want this to be more real in my marriage.

2. As a wife, always look for ways to build your husband up and encourage him.

Having Ryan gone this week has really made me appreciate him more for who he is and what he does. Husbands NEED to hear this encouragement from their wives. While we as wives can't be our husbands only source of fulfillment or validation, we are called to respect our husbands and build them up.

Ryan, thank you for always being such a loving husband to me. You always want to make sure that I am taken care of, happy, and that I have the things I need. I love that you always greet with with a huge smile and a big hug, even if I'm not very lovable. Thank you for all that you do to help make our house a home. I know we don't always agree on style or decorations for the house, but I can't think of anyone that I would rather disagree with! Thank you for appreciating cleanliness and expecting our home to be a home of peace. Thank you for all of your hard work in the yard the careful attention that you give to everything that we have been blessed with. Lastly I want to thank you for your desire for growth. I love growing with you and working through hard things together. I love that our strengths compliment each other. Thank you for wanting more, for not settling, for not taking the easy route. Thank you for persevering with me.

3. Always take time to foster oneness in your marriage.

Oneness is so key in marriage. When Ryan and I went through pre-marital counseling at our church, our pastor and his wife charged us with the lifelong task of oneness. This task is not always an easy one, but it is so rewarding. I am not complete without Ryan and he is not complete without me. We can't live without each other, but it will be really hard to live with eachother if we don't continually practice oneness.

We have spent our marriage (almost two years now), trying to make decisions that will ultimately move us more towards oneness with each other. It's easy to forget at times that you are just one part of a whole and that we as selfish humans can often do hurtful things, sometimes without even realizing it that puts the oneness of our marriage in jeopardy. Ask yourself, what can I do today to foster oneness in my marriage. Or, better yet, ask yourself, "Is there something in my life that is hurting the oneness in my marriage, or hindering it from growing? An attitude, an addiction, a job, a family member, a friend?

4. Always make sure you are each others best friends.

More then ever, this week I have truly realized that Ryan is my best friend, my soul mate. Funny how it can be easy to loose sight of this. I'm sad that at times I do, but pray that I never will again. This week while Ryan was away, I missed laughing with him, dreaming with him, sharing with him about my day, reading and having coffee with him in the morning, and telling him about my struggles.

I know that this blog post is about the things that I learned while apart from Ryan this week. But, because I struggle too, I do want to encourage all of you who are married, or will soon enter in marriage to not take lightly the role you have in your marriage and the covenant that you have entered into with the Lord.

Remember that even if it doesn't always feel like it, you are on the same team. Take a breath, say a prayer and talk it out. If you can't talk it out, ask a wise couple in the church to pray with you and help you talk it out together. The evil one is out to get your marriage, but you can't let him. As I wrote about last week, we need to take up our shield so that we may be able to resist the evil one and the temptations that may come. Don't give the evil one a foothold! Keep each other accountable. Pray with each other. Love each other.

I'm thankful that I had this week apart from Ryan to be reminded of these things. I'm looking forward to a deeper, stronger, more intimate relationship with my husband, my best friend. I love you Ryan!

July 5, 2010

off to camp

Ryan left for camp yesterday. He will be gone all week. It's the longest we've ever been apart so naturally I'm missing him just a tad, well actually, a lot. But, I'm excited for this opportunity that Ryan has to serve the Lord and grow in different ways.

The week at camp will fulfill one of the requirements that all Portland State University students must meet before they graduate. It's called a Capstone. There are many different options that a student can choose but all are serving the community in one way or another.

Ryan heard about the opportunity to complete his Capstone with Royal Family Kids Camp. The organization partners with churches all over the nation to serve kids in their community who are abused and neglected.

Each child is partnered with one counselor who they will spend the week with at the camp. The group that Ryan went with sent over 90 counselors to the camp, many were return counselors who have been coming back for the last four or five years. Some counselors even stay in touch with the campers who they are placed with throughout the year.

If you think of it, please pray for Ryan and the rest of the staff that are there. There jobs won't be easy as they tend to and look after kids who perhaps have never had anyone put their arms around their shoulder and love them. Ultimately these kids need the love of Jesus and this week at camp they will have multiple opportunities to hear who Jesus is.

I selfishly wish that Ryan were here with me now, but I can't think of a better person than my husband to reach out to a young boy who so desperately needs someone to love him. Ryan's perfect for the job!

I miss you Ryan and I'm praying for you!

July 2, 2010

granola bars

I found this recipe for granola bars online a few months ago and we haven't gotten tired of them yet! I've made a few additions and improvised a little. Well, I'm pretty sure I've never made them the same way twice. Hope you like them, we sure do!

2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup of flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup minced flax
3/4 cup raisins
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup any kind of nuts. (I use something different every time and toast them in the oven)

Mix dry ingredients together. Then add the follow wet ingredients.

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Mix together and pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Then, cut into bars and place on cooling rack. They may be a little gooey at first, but once they finish cooling completely, they will be harder.

I've been making a few batched at a time and freezing the extras. They are great to put in a lunch for Ryan and I like to take one to work for a mid-morning snack.

my shield

This morning I spent my time in God's Word reading from the Psalms. So many verses jumped out at me. I took the time to write each of them down in my journal, cross-reference them and write the cross references down as well. Here is one theme that the Lord lovingly spoke into my life today.

The Lord is my shield.

Psalm 36:7 How precious is Thy lovingkindness O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Thy wings.

Psalm 18: 30 As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 91: 4 He will cover you with His pinion, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

Psalm 57: 1 Be gracious to Me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in Thee; and in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, until destruction passes by.

These truths were such a sweet reminder to me. I dwelt on the truth that the Lord is my shield. I often think of the Lord as being my strength, which He is, but I don't always think of Him as my shield.

Of course I am reminded of Ephesians 6 and the passage that talks about the Armor of God. Ephesians 6:16 says, "in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one."

I Peter 5:8 says, " Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."

I think that in my life, it is not always evident to me that the evil one is prowling around and throwing flaming missiles my way. Because I don't face persecution, because I have a job, a roof over my head and food on my table, I become ignorant to the missiles that are coming my way. I'm not on the alert to the sly ways of the evil one.

These missiles, left unshielded will pierce me and root themselves in my life slowly, yet deadly in the form of pride, jealously, bitterness, anger, arrogance, and so many more. Before I know it, instead of being a vessel fit for the Lord's purpose, I have become half devoured by the evil one, paralyzed, and what's worse, because of my ignorance I don't even know that it is happening.

Earlier in chapter 6 of Ephesians, Paul warns us about these struggles that we will face in verse 12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but again the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, again the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

I Corinthians 10: 12 warns, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" This is referring to temptation from the evil one. If you think that you're ready, your probably not. If you think you can resist the temptation, whatever it might be, you probably can't.

This is where the "faith" part comes in. Ephesians says it is a "shield of faith" and I Thessalonians calls it "the breastplate of faith". Jesus. Jesus is the object of my faith, my shield. I'm constantly in awe of the simplicity of the Gospel and how complicated we as humans at times can make it.

If Jesus is the object of my faith, and my faith is my shield, how important is it for me to spend time with my Jesus. To me the answer is clear, but I know how unclear it can seem when you have been enslaved to the missiles the evil one has attempted to throw your way and paralyze you with in an attempt to make you useless for the kingdom of God, but not only that, making your life here on earth, painful and miserable. Know that this is from the evil one and not from the Lord, for Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly." You can claim the abundant life. You don't have to be enslaved to the schemes of the evil one.

Paul's answer to this is in Galatians 5:16-18, 22-25 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh, for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."

Do you have flaming missiles from the evil one in you life that you need to crucify? I know that I do. The abundant life is yours to claim. I am going to close with my favorite verse.

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."

July 1, 2010

forest park & pizza

Summer has arrived and along with it has come a need for exploration! Even though I have lived in Portland my entire life, I can't honestly tell you much about the city and all it has to offer. One of my goals for this year is to do some exploring in this great city I call home.

So, last night after I got off work Ryan, Rougie and I ventured out to Forest Park for a little hike. I had been there once before but wanted to check it out again, so off we went. We left our humble abode in Tigard at 5:30 and almost hour later arrived at our destination. I guess rush hour traffic isn't quite the ideal time to trek 20 miles via car over almost every major Freeway in the city of Portland.

But alas, we made it to the park and had a super time! The park is over 5000 acres! It is very wooded which allows for cool temperatures during the heat of the summer.

Notice the love between the Oregon & Oregon State hoodies... who says the two can't be best friends!

We chose a route which indicated we would be hiking 3.3 miles, but it really only turned out to be 2.7 miles. I know this because I used my cool new app on my Smartphone called RunKeeper. You should really check it out, I use it for all my runs to track my location, distance, time, pace, elevation and calories burned. It's really fun!

We let Rougie run without a leash which of course he loved. I'm not sure if that's really allowed but we weren't the only ones doing it, so it makes it right, right?

After our Forest Park expedition, we made our way back home and proceeded to feast on my all time favorite, easy, go-to dinner, PIZZA! Who doesn't like pizza right? My herbs I planted are doing o.k. I can't say they will even be close to the most stellar herbs I will grow in my lifetime, but they served their purpose last night. I picked some Oregano and my favorite, Basil, to garnish on top our regular cheese and sausage pizza!