Re-Financing


Derek and I are closing on a re-finance of our house tonight! We're so glad this re-finance is finally going through. It's been an ordeal to finally get to this closing.

This will be such a good thing, because we will get rid of the one hundred and fifty dollars we are paying each month in primary mortgage insurance. It will also decrease our monthly payments, and we can put the difference toward the principle, instead of so much of it going toward interest.

It will also be good for the future, because when we have kids there will be less of a monthly payment on the house - we'll still put any extra we have toward the principle, but this lower mortgage payment might also make it easier for me to be able to stay home with our babies (I really want to be a stay-at-home mom).

Just thought I'd share!

P.S. The new sponge is still smelling fresh as a daisy! So far so good.

Wordless Wednesday - Girl's Night

These were from our girl's night last Friday. We had a fun time!







As you can see, we had to makes several attempts before we got a good picture of all three of us. There wasn't anyone else there to take the picture, so we had to do one of those pictures where you hold the camera out and take one of yourself. We finally got a good one!





Smelly Sponges

Do any of you have problems with your sponges starting to smell bad? I don't know why, but I've gone through two sponges in the last two weeks! For some reason bacteria seem to be proliferating in my dish sponge. It's very disturbing, because I'm an all out sponge girl. I hat dish cloths - they're always so wet and limp. No, I like a nice springy sponge, and I use them for everything. My mom always laughs at me, because I don't like to use a cloth to wipe off the counter - it has to be a sponge.

So now you can see why it is such a huge deal that my sponges aren't lasting more than a week! This is not good. I tried soaking it in my anti-bacterial dish soap. I tried making sure to squeeze the water out every time I use it. I tried washing it in the dishwasher. Nothing gets rid of that smell. And it's strong. I can smell it when I come in the front door.

My mother never had this problem! What is going on here?

So I went to the grocery store for more sponges. I usually look for pretty sponges, but this time a non-smelly sponge was more important than prettiness.


So I bought the most ugly sponges in the store, because they promised they were more sanitary! Estracell More Sanitary Sponges. Here's what the package said: "Independent test results demonstrate that bacteria will not feed and survive on the sponge fibers of Estracell sponge material . . .Naturally! Also, the unique cell structure rinses cleaner and dries out faster, eliminating the perfect breeding condition for bacteria and fungal growth. These qualities make Estracell more sanitary."

Sounded good to me! We'll see if these sponges do indeed last longer than my normal sponges. Anybody else have this problem? Any tips on what might help?

The sponges I got can be seen at www.armalybrands.com, by the way.

Superficial Prayers


Recently Derek and I decided to do a Bible Study together. We went out and bought a couple Bible study books by John MacArthur on the book of Ephesians, and we're trying to do one of the lessons each week and discuss it together each Saturday. We haven't got to discuss this week's lesson yet, but I was working on my lesson this morning, and it really convicted me.

The lesson this morning was on Ephesians 1:15-23. In this passage Paul talks about how he always thanks the Lord for the Ephesians when he thinks of their faith and the love they have for each other, and then he goes on talking about the things that he prays for them.

It just struck me how Paul didn't pray that the Ephesians would have a good day, or that everything would go smoothly for them. Does anyone else pray for others that way? I know I do - I want to pray for other people, but my prayers for them always end up being so superficial. My prayers for my own situation are the same way - I pray that the Lord would allow work to go well, or that he would help us with our discipline efforts for our dog, or that he would lead us in the way we should go when it comes to Derek's job.

Not that there is anything wrong with praying about our specific troubles. But I realized as I did the lesson this morning that though I do cast those cares on the Lord, as we are encouraged to do in 1 Peter 5:7, that's pretty much all I do. All my prayers consist of earthly concerns. And the Lord does care about our earthly concerns, and He wants to hear about them. But shouldn't I be focusing a little bit more on eternal things, especially when I pray?

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians was a request that the Lord would give them "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him" . . . "that you may know the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward those who believe".

Do you see what I mean? Paul didn't just pray for the immediate benefits of a blessed day, or that all their present troubles would work out okay. He prayed that the Lord would give them things that would last forever, things that they truly needed - to know God better, and to understand His power, the hope we have in Him, and the riches He gives us when we know Him.

The knowledge of those things is of lasting benefit to those who have them - they can get through all their troubles because they understand God and can be focused more on what is really important. They can appreciate everything they have in the Lord and bring more glory to Him through their troubles, because though the cares they have may not work out exactly like they wanted, they have so many spiritual blessings that are of a more lasting value.

This verse seemed to go well with this concept: "Therefore do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or "What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:31-33. If we focus first on honoring the Lord, drawing closer to Him, and keeping our mind on eternal things, everything else will fall into place. And I realized I need to do this not only just in my daily actions, but also in my prayer life. Those unseen, eternal things last a whole lot longer than a good day at work, so I think the proportions of the time I spend praying for each of those things should fit accordingly.


It Came!

I recently won a giveaway over at KSS, which is Kara's blog. I was so excited - I've never won anything really before! And this came in the mail on Thursday:



Alas, could this be my prize?



It was! I was so excited. I tore into the box today, and it was the super cute doormat from the giveaway! It's so exciting to get free stuff!

This is a very happy me with my lovely doormat.



And doesn't it look nice on my front porch? I didn't think about it until I got it out there, but it actually goes great with my greenish door wreath too. It definitely gives that porch that little extra something . . .



If you've never visited Kara's blog, you should check it out! I've been enjoying getting to know her better through her blog, and she always has some good, godly encouragement as well!

This has got me thinking about doing a giveaway (because they are just so fun)! Maybe for my Two Hundredth post or something . . .

I Need Girl's Night Inspiration!

Derek is off to his buddy's house tomorrow night, so I'm having a girl's night/sleepover with my sisters! I haven't had some good quality girl's time in a while, and I don't think I've actually done a sleepover since we were engaged! So I'm super excited.
The reason I'm telling you this is because I'm calling upon you, my Blogging Buddies, to give me some ideas for a fun movie that is good for a girl's night! I'll probably rent something and I wanted to hear your suggestions on a movie or anything else fun. So I'm ready; fire away!

One of Those Weeks

The past week and a half has been one of those weeks.

1. Zeke (my parent's dog) ate our wedding cake last Sunday, so we didn't get to try our cake after waiting a year. Scratch out "ate", he "licked" it.

2. Last Wednesday I found out about the birth control pill and spent a few restless nights while we were trying to decide what to do. Not to mention a ton of research. Derek got kind of tired of me being on the computer.

3. Last Friday, The neighbor called and said Zeke was in her house. I ran over there and got him back.

4. On Saturday two of our vehicles broke down.

5. Zeke disappeared. He was in our other neighbor's house. Ralphie and Quincy got out while we were trying to get Zeke. I took off in the van and we got them all rounded up again.

6. We had plans to see a movie with my brother and sister-in-law on Saturday. Nothing good was playing, so we grabbed some dinner and headed back up the hill. The plan was to rent a movie and watch it at one of our houses. About a forth of the way home, the car overheated.

7. Several stops to let it cool and an hour and a half later, the guys walked to the gas station and got some coolant. They poured it into the car and we were on our way.

8. For about two minutes. The coolant didn't work.

9. Finally pulled the car over and waited for my sister-in-laws family to come pick us up, because my whole family was out of town.

10. Took about three hours total to get home. We went straight to bed.

11. Derek got all three of our vehicles fixed on Sunday with the help of our neighbors! That was one good thing.

12. Sunday evening the water heater broke down.

13. Zeke ate a bag of chocolate chips.

14. Monday things started going better.

15. Yesterday I was going to stop at the library on the way to pick up my sister at the airport. It was closed. Not a catastrophe, just annoying.

16. Last night: Zeke ate pretty much all our food. One bag of cereal, a few marshmallows, a few granola bars, about eight Pop Tarts, and a bag of Doritos. He left the crackers alone. At least that's a plus.

17. We haven't had any hot water since Sunday morning.

Throw in a couple silly, stress-related arguments, and I'd say that's been one of the worst weeks I've had in a while! Things can only go up from here. If you have the urge to pray for me now, please do.

Almost Wordless Wednesday



We have lots of deer in our area. Very domesticated deer - you're lucky if you can even get them to look at you.



Can you see the little fawn hiding in the grass? This was right next to our driveway, and the poor thing was terrified while I took pictures.

I Did Some More Research . . .

Yes, I'm addicted to research. I need to know all the facts before I can really make a decision. Please see the addition to my previous post, because it is in answer to the thought that the available research is inconclusive on the birth control issue.

I agree that it is somewhat inconclusive, because a specific study hasn't been done to show what happens after breakthrough ovulation when on the pill. But based on the information that is available, I think the chances are significant that birth control pills could have an abortifacient effect, and until a study is done that could show otherwise, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Please see the added information in my last post, because it's important to know everything, and I spent alot of time finding all that stuff for you guys! Just consider me your own personal research assistant.

Important Information About The Birth Control Pill

I haven't written alot of posts this week, because something came up on Wednesday that required some research and prayful consideration.

On Wednesday evening I was browsing through all of the new blog posts, and I came across a new post on my friend Amber's blog. If you'd like to read her post, check it out here.

Amber wrote saying that one of her friends had recently brought to her attention a fact about the birth control pill that she had not been previously aware of. She wrote that the pill works in three ways to prevent pregnancy:

1. Prevents ovulation (we all knew this one, right?)

2. Thickens the cervical fluid to make it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.

These first two effects are contraceptive - they prevent conception, that is, the joining of the egg and the sperm. However, there is also a third effect that I had not heard of before.

3. Thins the lining of the uterus so that if an egg is fertilized, the feritilized egg will not be able to implant in the uterus. The fertilized egg would then die and be lost with the next menstrual cycle.

I am very pro-life, and I believe that life begins at conception. But this third effect means that the pill can cause a fertilized egg (which I believe to be a human being) to be lost. It's an abortive effect.

This information sent me reeling. I hadn't ever heard of this before, and I was pretty skeptical. I knew some methods of birth control, like IUDs (intra-uterine devices), caused fertilized eggs to be lost, but I had never heard of the birth control pill doing the same thing.

I'm very scientifically minded, so I decided to do some research on this before making a decision. Here's what I found out.

First I tried to find other resources that would give me information on whether or not this effect actually occurs, or whether it was just one of those theories that some anti-birth control person had come up with that didn't have alot of supporting evidence.

Every medical website that I checked listed all three effects of the pill. I checked out my specific birth control, and though the website for my birth control didn't list that third effect, it was confirmed to me by the other medical websites I checked that said low-dose hormonal birth control (which is what I take), does thin the lining of the uterus. I couldn't find one website that said that the pill does not thin the endometrium - every website either listed that as one of the effects, or didn't refer to it at all, but I couldn't find a source refuting it.

In addition, the statement that the lining of the uterus is thinned with hormonal birth control made sense to me. Don't most birth control pills broadcast that they can give you shorter, lighter periods? The lining of the uterus, or endometrium, is what is shed during your period, so if the period is lighter, the lining of the uterus must have been thinner.

I found a good paper on this topic written by a couple pro-life doctors, as well as an abbreviated version of the information in a book entitled Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? by Randy Alcorn. Please see resources 1 and 2 for links to those resources.

I was pretty disturbed by this information. I didn't want my birth control to have that effect. I like the pill - my periods were extremely irregular and heavy before I started the pill, and I liked the lighter periods and knowing when my period would be.

I wondered how often "break-through ovulation" occurs on the pill. I mean, the pill makes your cycles regular, and if ovulation almost never occurs on the pill, Derek and I could just guess the time that I would ovulate, if ovulation were to occur, and we could abstain during that period.

However, after a little more research I found out that in a study performed by Dr. Don Gambrell, JR. 4.7% of women on high dose birth control had breakthrough ovulation (meaning they ovulated even though they were on the pill), and 14% of women on low-dose birth control (50 mg or less) had breakthrough ovulation (see Resource 3). And apparently the only hormonal birth control that is really available today is of the low-dose variety. That means that you'll probably ovulate a couple times a year, even on the pill. If you ovulate and don't get pregnant, it's because one of the other two mechanisms kicked in. If the sperm never reached the egg, there's no problem, but if it did reach the egg and there was no pregnancy, then the egg was unable to implant and was lost.

What about staying on the pill and just trying to guess when you ovulate and abstain during that time? Unfortunately it seems that it is possible to ovulate any time during the month (see Resource 4). Even if you try to monitor ovulation through taking your basal body temperature or cervical mucous, those methods really can only tell you when ovulation has already occurred, or when it is imminent. In order to ensure that the egg isn't fertilized you have to stop having sex about seven days before ovulation, because sperm can survive for up to seven days inside the woman's body. I couldn't find a reliable way to predict ovulation that far in advance.

My conclusion from all this information hunting was that, yes, hormonal birth control of any kind (ring or pills) can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting, which, in effect, is very early abortion. Breakthrough ovulation can and does occur on hormonal birth control, and it is difficult to determine if and when ovulation occurs until after the fact, making the option of abstaining when ovulation is suspected to occur unreliable. *(Note: See update to this information after the Resources section.)

Update 8/2010: Since writing this post I have done alot more research on the signs of ovulation and how to predict ovulation in order to prevent , which appears to be alot more do-able than I originally thought. However, I still think it would be difficult to predict ovulation when taking the birth control pill, because of the additional hormones that the pill introduces to the body and the effects of those hormones on the quality and amount of cervical fluid (see the above list of the effects of the birth control pill). Changes in cervical fluid consistency must be observed in order to predict ovulation and prevent the fertilization of the egg. It would be very difficult to identify changes in cervical fluid when taking hormonal birth control because the pill causes a dry-up of cervical fluid, and that sign would then be obscured. Therefore, my previous concerns with adequately predicting ovulation when taking hormonal birth control are still valid.

I thought all you married, pro-lifers out there had a right to know this information. Each couple has to evaluate the information and decide for themselves. Hearing about this has resulted in a few restless nights, a ton of time spent researching, and quite a bit of prayer, but we finally came to a decision.

Knowing all this information, Derek and I could not justify continuing to use hormonal birth control. If the abortive effect of the hormonal birth control were to occur it would most likely be extremely rare, and may not even happen at all; however, there is a possibility it could happen, and there is no way to reliably prevent an egg from getting fertilized, should breakthrough ovulation occur.

If there is even a chance that a human life could be ended because of our choice to take birth control, can we really justify it? Derek and I couldn't. And believe me, I tried. I researched every avenue and excuse I could think of, but nothing can assure me that losing a fertilized egg won't happen. I really don't want to stop taking the pill - it makes my life so much easier and better, and I honestly don't think I'm ready to be a mother.

But do I want to answer to God someday for continuing to take the pill, even though I knew there was a possiblity that I could be losing babies by taking it? I don't want to be judged for that someday.

I believe every human life is precious, and I believe human life begins as soon as that sperm fuses with that egg. I have to try to do what is right, even though it's not what I want to do right now.

I prayed before I even began my research that the Lord would show us the right choice, that He would make the choices so clear that there wouldn't be a way that I could pick the wrong one. And I feel like He made His opinion on it pretty clear to me.

To be honest with you, I'm absolutely terrified! I don't want to get pregnant right now, and even though Derek and I have a pretty good plan for not getting pregnant, the chances are certainly higher that we might. But there was a fork in the road - choose my own way, follow my own desire and stay on the pill? Or do what I know is the right choice, take a leap of faith, stop taking the pill, and trust in the Lord to take care of us? If I really call myself a follower of Jesus, I have to choose the second. And I think my Jesus will continue to take care of me, whether we get pregnant right now or not. He's never let me down so far, and I really have no reason to believe He will now!

For a little more information on how we plan to try not to get pregnant, check out Resource 5 and 6. I'll do another post ASAP on our game plan, just in case any of you are interested.

My original post stopped here, but another question was brought up in the comments section which I spent some more time researching. My response and conclusions are below.

Brittany, my dear blogging friend, brought up a point in the comments section that referred to how some doctors think the research is inconclusive on whether the thickness of the endometrium in pill-users can cause fertilized eggs to be lost. So yes, I did more research! Here's some more stuff I found out.

I did a little more research on why some doctors think the research is inconclusive for the third effect. I found a research paper (see Resource 7) that stated that some doctors think that if breakthrough ovulation does occur in women who are taking birth control, the associated increase in estrogen will help to thicken the lining of the uterus at that time. There are no studies that show that the endometrium does thicken after breakthrough ovulation, but there's no studies that show that it doesn't either. That's why some pro-life doctors are okay with birth control, because there hasn't been a study done to see what the endometrial thickness is in women on birth control after breakthrough ovulation.

I did a little more research on the average pre-ovulatory endometrial thickness in women who are not on birth control. If the difference in thickness between women who are in the pre-ovulatory phase and women on birth control is pretty significant, that would be some information that I would consider helpful in my own decision-making process.

The average pre-ovulatory endometrial thickness in women who are not on birth control is anywhere from 3-8 mm (I found one page that said it could be 3 mm, but I lost that page - one resource I found says 4-8 mm usually before ovulation - see Resource 8). In the ovulatory phase (right before and after ovulation) it is usually 6-10 mm thick, and post-ovulation it increases again to anywhere from 7-14 mm thick.

I found a study (see resource 9) that measured the uterine thickness in pill users and non-pill users, and concluded that "Endometrial thickness was significantly smaller in the pill-using group, correlating with the well established fact that oral contraceptives cause atrophy of the endometrium". "In the pill-using group, endometrial thickness was 1.1 mm in both phases . . ."

In women on birth control the thickness starts out at about a third of the thickness of the lowest number I could find in a pre-ovulatory, non-birth control estimate (1.1 mm compared to 3 mm). The minimum thickness for implantation to occur can be anywhere from 5 mm to 9 mm to 13 mm (see Resource 1 again).

Since the thickness starts out so much thinner, and stays that way throughout both phases of the cycle, it seems to me that it would be questionable whether it would increase in thickness to the point that it could support implantation after breakthrough ovulation, if the thickness increases at all (remember there are still no studies on what happens after breakthrough ovulation on oral contraceptives).

The third effect of birth control seems to be pretty well accepted in the secular community (and why shouldn't they accept the evidence as it is - it doesn't affect their belief system like it does ours). The debate on whether that third effect does indeed happen seems to be mostly within the pro-life community - because it affects our pro-life belief system so much, I think it's harder for us pro-life people to be totally objective on this. But the secular community can be pretty objective, because they don't care if it inhibits implantation or not. I think more research should be done on the thickness of the endometrium in pill users after breakthrough ovulation. Until more studies are done, there is just no way to be sure what exactly happens.

I think the secular community to be more objective (as much as it pains me to admit that) on this topic because of their lack of belief that they need to change their behaviour depending on whether or not the third effect happens. So I'm going to go with the thought of the group that I would think to be a little more objective on this issue, until more research is done.



1. Larimore, Walter L.; MD. Stanford, Joseph B.; MD. "Post fertilization Effects of Birth Control and Their Relationship to Informed Consent." Arch Fam Med. 2000;9:126-133. Link: http://archfami.highwire.org/cgi/content/full/9/2/126

2. Alcorn, Randy. "A Condensation of Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?" Link: http://www.epm.org/artman2/publish/prolife_birth_control_pill/A_Short_Condensation_of_Does_The_Birth_Control_Pill_Cause_Abortions.shtml


3. Schibler, Ann. "Growing debate over abortifacients: abortifacients, drugs or agents that cause an abortion, are commonly sold to women who think they are getting substances that prevent conception altogether." The New American, January 21, 2008. Link: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-33824001_ITM

4. Grunebaum, Amos; MD. "Ovulation Issues", MedicineNet, WebMD Live Events Transcript, February 2, 2004. Link: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=54668
Quote:
"Member question: Is it possible to ovulate the day after you stop bleeding?

Dr. Amos: It is possible to ovulate any time in your cycle, even the day after you stop bleeding. Most women usually ovulate around CD 14 or so, but much earlier and much later ovulations are possible."

5. A website on information on pregnancy. Check out this link for some good information on how to prevent pregnancy when you are not on the pill. Link: http://www.epigee.org/guide/natural.html

6. TheBump.com's Fertility Chart. Link: http://images.thenestbaby.com/tools/pdfs/fertility_chart.pdf

7. Johnston, James P; D.O. "Do Oral Contraceptives Cause Abortions?" Updated january 7, 2005. Link: http://www.prolifephysicians.org/abortifacient.htm.

8. Daiter, Eric; MD. The New Jersey Infertility Treatment Center. "Procedures Tutorials" page. Link: http://www.thenewjerseyinfertilitytreatmentcenter.com/ultrasound_cases.php

9. McCarthy, Shirley; MD, PhD. Tauber, Cheryl; RT. Gore, John; PhD. "Female Pelvic anatomy; MR Assessment of Variations During the Menstrual Cycle With Use of Oral Contraceptives". Radiology, Volume 160, Number 1. 1986. Link: http://radiology.rsnajnls.org/cgi/reprint/160/1/119


*Update 8/2010: Since writing this post I have done alot more research on the signs of ovulation and how to predict ovulation in order to prevent or achieve pregnancy (see the post "The Fertility Awareness Method" for more information). Predicting ovulation appears to be alot more do-able than I originally thought.

However, I still think it would be difficult to predict ovulation when taking the birth control pill, because of the additional hormones that the pill introduces to the body and the effects of those hormones on the quality and amount of cervical fluid (see the above list of the effects of the birth control pill).

Changes in cervical fluid consistency must be observed in order to accurately predict ovulation and prevent the fertilization of the egg. Hormonal birth control causes a dry-up of cervical fluid. It would be very difficult to predict ovulation by identifying changes in cervical fluid when taking hormonal birth control, because that sign would be obscured as an effect of the pill. Therefore, my previous concerns with adequately predicting ovulation when taking hormonal birth control are still valid.

A Late Wordless Wednesday



Oh, For Blue Hawaii



Alright, this may just look like a picture slide show, but it's so much more! I have pictures of our honeymoon along with some stories of some of the things that we did in this scrapblog.

If you've never visited Scrapblog.com, you should check it out! It's a scrapbooking website, and it allows you to make digital scrapbooks. I think you can even get them printed into books whe you're done, which I hope to eventually do with our pictures. If this doesn't show, here is my scrapblog page and you can find it on here. It might be easier to read some of my captions too if you go to the actual page.

Looking at these pictures makes me want to go back to Hawaii so badly! This time last year Derek and I were exploring Kaui and we might have even been on the zipline by now. And last year tonight I would have been enjoying my first real virgin Pina Colada - nothing comes close to a Pina Colada in the Hawaiian twilight. Not to mention my first real swim in the ocean, the beautiful plants and flowers, the pinapple and mangos, the soft sand, the exploration of the island in our rented Jeep Commander, the macadamia nut pancakes for breakfast and Mahi Mahi for dinner. *sigh* I better be careful, I'll plunge myself into the I-want-another-Hawaiian-honeymoon blues again.

Where did all you marrried ladies go on your honeymoon?

Anniversary Stuff

Derek and I agreed to make something for each other for our anniversary. This is what He made me: a jewelry box!





It's made out of Walnut, and the cross on top is a special African wood. I thought he did a beautiful job on it! He filled it with candy and wrote me a love note to go with it. It was a beautiful gift.

This is what I made him, if anyone was wondering.



It's one of those card deck books. On each page I thanked him for something, or wrote something that I love about him. I was worried when I gave it to him, but he really loved it! And he loved to read everything I wrote for him too!

Some anniversary pictures that we took at my parent's house (we're actually standing right in front of the place where we had the ceremony).







It was a special anniversary! It doesn't seem like it's been a year, but at the same time it feels like we've always been together.

Today I tried on my wedding dress. It still fit, thank goodness! I don't think I'm bigger than last year, even though I'm a pound or two heavier than what I weighed last year. I think it might be attributed to better muscle tone, because I know my muscles are in better shape than last year. I love that 30 Day Shred DVD!



I have a touch of the first year anniversary blues though. I think it's just because I keep thinking about how this time last year we were in Hawaii. I really need a vacation.

Honeymoon stories are coming soon!

The Top Layer of Cake

You know how your supposed top eat the top layer of your wedding cake on your anniversary? Derek and I decided to follow this tradition, because Derek's sister took special attention to make sure to save the top layer of our cake for us, and my parent's held it in their freezer the entire year. We were also actually excited to eat the cake, because we didn't really get to eat any at our actual wedding reception - we were too busy talking to people.

So we went to my parent's house for lunch and got the top of the cake. We stopped by the house and I left the cake on the counter to thaw out while we were gone.

We decided to go see Transformers at the Imax theater. It was pretty fun - watching the movie on that big screen made it feel like you were almost in the movie! Afterwards we got ice cream at Cold Stone and sat on a bench near a lake and just enjoyed the twilight. It was very relaxing and romantic.

Just by chance we also happen to be watching my parent's Australian shepherd for a couple weeks because my parents are going on a cruise for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. And we this just happened to be the first night we had the dog at our house. We thought he'd be fine in our basement, and we locked him down there while we were gone on our anniversary date.

When we got home we noticed the gate that we had used to block off the basement was knocked down. I was a little nervous to come upstairs, because I was worried my parent's dog might have got into the trash. But as I peeked around the corner there was no sign of any food or anything on the floor, so I thought we were home free.

I was wrong.

Here's what I saw as I turned the corner into our kitchen:



The funny thing is, he didn't really eat the cake. He just licked the frosting off all the sides!

We're a little bitter about not getting to finally enjoy a piece of our wedding cake. But I couldn't help but smile and chuckle just a little bit. I think this time next year we'll be howling with laughter over the wedding cake tragedy. But for now we'll be bitter.

Stay tuned for a post about the anniversary gift Derek made me!

Why I Married Him

A year ago today I married the man of my dreams.

He is always there to hold me when I want to cry, cheer me up when I have a hard day, laugh with me, be silly with me, discuss politics or theology questions with me, listen to me when I need to talk, correct me when I'm out of line, or just sit and relax with me.

He's strong, smart, godly, responsible, fun to be with, caring, chivalrous, and down-right good-looking, if I do say so myself (*wink*).

He's my best friend, and the only one I can imagine spending my life with. The Lord blessed me more than I ever thought when I met him, and I'm so glad to be his wife. I love him more than I can say.

Happy Anniversary, Babe! Just one of many, many years to come!











Where'd the Time Go?



This first year of marriage has just flown by! I can't believe tomorrow is our one year anniversary. In some ways it seems like it's gone by so fast, but in other ways last year feels like so long ago. Derek and I have learned so much together and grown so much together, it almost feels like I'm not quite the same person as I was a year ago. I guess in a way neither of us is quite the same - marriage has a way of maturing you, because you have to learn how to function as a unit with your spouse. It's the process of becoming one, I guess.

Of course this year has also held a lot of trials for Derek and me, and that has a way of maturing you as well. The Lord has taught us so much through our trials and through our good times this year. Here are a few of the things that I believe He has taught me through our first year of marriage.

1. Don't worry about money (or anything for that manner). Especially when there really isn't anything to worry about. Last year when Derek and I first got married we stressed a lot about our budget. Which was absolutely silly, because we had plenty of extra money! We soon learned how silly we were to worry when Derek resigned from his job for another job that fell through. They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, and that one of the most stressful things you can go through in life is a career change. And we had to deal with both at the same time!

Lesson One: Don't worry about things - the Lord might give you something to worry about to show you how silly you were to worry over nothing.

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34

2. How to rely on the Lord. We had to learn this one well. It was four months before Derek found another job (we all know about the market trouble last fall - not so great timing for that to happen), and another three months after that until I found a steady job situation. That's seven months of unsteady income and having to rely on the Lord to provide enough money for us to pay our bills each month. When you have to learn to just trust in the Lord and do the best you can each month it certainly strengthens your faith, because relying on the Lord is the only thing you can do. He pulled us through that hard time, and I think we came out with a stronger faith and a stronger marriage because of it.

Lesson Two: The Lord is certainly worthy of our trust; He always knows what He's doing.

"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37: 5-7a

"But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked and save them, because they trust in Him." Psalm 37:39-40

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5


3. I am a very selfish person. This is one thing that I feel like the Lord has especially been convicting me of over the past several months. On the other hand, my husband is a very unselfish person - he's always thinking of me first. I tend to think of myself first, then everyone else. That is not a godly attitude. It's not a loving attitude. I think marriage is sort of like a flashlight - it tends to shine a light on all of our flaws. Selfishness is the root of pretty much every sin, so I've been working on attacking the root. If I can work on my selfish tendencies, hopefully everything else will get better too. Selfishness will probably be a constant, lifetime sort of struggle, but I'm hoping to eventually improve with the Lord's help.

Lesson Three: Selfishness is one of those relationship killers, and the Lord certainly doesn't approve; selfishness should be nipped in the bud.

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

4. How great our Lord's love and grace toward Derek and me (and everyone who believes in Him as well). The Lord has shown us so much love and grace through the various troubles we have faced this year. He took care of us through our months of unemployment. He helped us to make it through financially. He provided us with jobs that allow us to pay the bills. He taught us how to work together as a couple and grow stronger in our marriage, even with all the stress and conflict that financial difficulty brings. He showed us His faithfulness through countless every day problems and personal struggles. And He's always brought us through to the other side.

Lesson Four; The Lord is eternally faithful, even through the worst of trials, though we are so undeserving of His grace.

"For great is Your love, higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies." Psalm 108:4

"But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him . . ." Psalm 103:17


Isn't Walmart Great?


I'm a Walmart shopper. I love Walmart. Nowhere else can you get such great deals every single day. I try to avoid Safeway or King Sooper's at all costs, because Walmart is just so much cheaper - it's worth driving a little further for those prices.

What do some people have against Walmart anyway? They run a grocery store for the people - who doesn't like saving money? If someone can explain the anti-Walmart position to me, please try. Just know that I probably won't be convinced, but I would like to know the reasoning behind all that complaining. I just done't get it.

What has prompted this Walmart fan club post? Well, I've always loved the store, and yesterday I was reminded of one more wonderful aspect of it. The clearance! Walmart is already the least expensive place in town, and then they have clearance sections in practically every department!

I've been wanting some perfume for a little while, because I ran out of the last perfume I bought. The perfume was Shania Starlight; it's one of Shania Twain's perfumes, and it is heavenly. I don't like perfumes that are too musky, and I don't like perfumes that are too sweet. And generally I prefer florals over fruity scents (though there are exceptions). Well, Shania Starlight is a perfect blend of musky and sweet, and it has a floral essence to it. Definitely one of my new favorites.

Enter the beauty department clearance section! I got two bottles of my Starlight perfume for ten dollars! Granted they are really small bottles, but I learned that those little bottles are normally thirteen dollars each! Twenty-six dollars compared to ten dollars. I don't know anywhere else where you can get brand-name perfume for so little. I was super excited.

Just one more reason to love Walmart.







Above image taken from this Shania Twain Perfume site.

Tying the Knot Thursday - The Getaway

The cake was cut, first dance was done, the food was eaten - it was time to make our getaway! Everyone filed outside and Derek and I got ready to make the mad dash to our car. I really didn't think the "rice" (which was actually birdseed) would be too bad. But gracious, our wedding guests just pelted us with it! They had big baskets of birdseed and were taking handfuls of it and it just kept coming and coming. When I got undressed later there must have been at least a handful caught in my dress and underclothes. It was bad. But we got some good pictures from the ordeal!












We got to our car, all ready to get in and drive away. But alas, the groomsmen had put shaving cream on all the door handles and filled the interior with toilet paper and balloons! Derek had to dig out a place for me to sit before I could get in. He got in on the other side and got ready to start the car. Nothing. Apparently they had also disconnnected the battery to the car. Everyone had a good laugh over that while my brother reconnected the battery.





This is a picture of the culprits at work while Derek and I were blissfully ignorant inside the reception hall.



Finally the battery was reconnected, the toilet paper cleared away, and the shaving cream wiped off Derek's hands. I love the "Just Married" painted on the windows - it was fun to drive around with the car all painted like that. And yes, there were also cans tied on the rear bumper!







Off to the Honeymoon!

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

Way back when . . .





A Big Bag of Cheese



Not too long ago my husband introduced me to buying in bulk. At first I was skeptical - I saw his freezer when he was a bachelor. A big bag of chicken, a big bag of vegetables and a big bag of cheese. Healthy, but you can't eat chicken and vegetables every day.

A couple months ago he took me to Sam's Club. We bought cheese, vegetables, frozen chicken breasts, frozen fruit, and a big box of individually wrapped chimichangas (Derek likes those). It came out to close to one hundred dollars worth of stuff! I was having an anxiety attack thinking about how quickly our grocery budget had been depleted, but Derek assured me that this stuff would last us for months.
Alas, he was right! I still have some of the frozen fruit and chicken from our first shopping trip. Yesterday we went back and stocked up on vegetables and more chicken and cheese. I had another anxiety attack. Derek reassured me again. I think this will be our ritual every three months.

It's worth it though! I love being able to pull out a frozen chicken breast and throw it in the oven for lunch. It's really nice not to have to buy shredded cheese every other week - I can just pull out one of my frozen baggies of cheese and let it thaw and we're ready to go (I bag the cheese up and freeze it). and we always seem to have some nice fruit around, which is a great plus, because I'm a big fan of strawberries and blueberries on my cereal. My hubby was right - for some things, buying in bulk is the way to go. He's a pretty smart man. Anybody else buy in bulk?



The pictures are just me and smart husband, by the way. The first is from Easter, and the second is from back when we were first dating - boy, I look young in that one! They don't have alot to do with this post.
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