The Estes Park Getaway!

We're back from our trip! We had a really fun time, and a beautiful Valentine's Day! I thought I'd post a few photos of our expedition to Estes Park!

At Estes Park!

We got a really good deal on the hotel, and we were able to get a suite! So our hotel room had two bathrooms and a living room and a little kitchenette along with the bedroom!

Derek bought me flowers and a teddy bear and candy hearts for Valentine's Day! We had a great day - we went out to a nice dinner and dessert, and we watched a movie and had sparkling cider - it was very romantic!

We also took an old time photo at a little shop on Main Street on Valentine's Day - don't we look good?!

We played a game of pool at our hotel too! Derek beat me! I'm pretty horrible at pool.

Some pretty scenery!

We also went to Celestial Seasonings on the way home, and we got about fifteen boxes of tea. I love that place!

My family babysat our dogs for us while we were gone, and when my mom brought them home I noticed she had trimmed the hair around their eyes (it took four people to hold them down and do it - so I have a good excuse for not being ale to get their eye-hair cut perfectly by myself). They just look so cute when you can see their eyes, so I couldn't resist posting a picture!

So those are some of our pictures from Estes Park; there are alot more, but these were some of the highlights! If you want to see the rest, you can see them in my Facebook Album. It was so nice to get away with Derek. We've been needing an escape for a while! It was a very romantic and fun adventure with my incredible husband!

The Love of God (Happy Valentine's Day!)

Ah, Valentine's Day! I must admit that I have always liked Valentine's Day; some single people can get somewhat bitter whenever anything related to Valentine's Day is mentioned, but that was never me. Even before I met Derek I enjoyed the flowers, hearts, candy, and general theme of love surrounding Valentine's Day. I will say that I did experience that little twinge of sadness at not having a special someone to share the holiday with, but I could enjoy the thought of the day anyway. Even though I used to wish for a boyfriend to bring me flowers and chocolate, the Lord knows better than me! I'm so glad that the first Valentine's Day I ever spent with a guy was with my then fiance, Derek, and now I wouldn't have it any other way.

My first Valentine's Day with someone ever was last year. Derek and I had just gotten engaged the December before, and I was still in dental hgyiene school. Derek showed up at my school and brought me flowers and a white teddy bear! My classmates were very impressed! He also bought me chocolate. Then we went out to a nice dinner and saw a movie. It was a great first Valentine's with Derek!

This year has the potential to be an even better Valentine's Day, because Derek and I have been saving our Christmas money and any extra money we could scrape up, and this weekend we're going on a trip to Estes Park! We got a great deal on the hotel; we're staying in a suite! I'm very excited to get away and spend a whole weekend with just Derek and me! We're planning on going to a nice restaurant on the 14th, and we'll see what else we'll end up doing. Estes Park has alot of cute little shops and restaurants, and we're planning on taking an Old Day picture too! And Derek also has next Monday off work, so I took it off as well, and we may stay clear through Monday or go somewhere else, but we'll be able to spend all of Monday together too. I'm super excited!

I would say that my definition of Valentine's Day has stayed the same even though my circumstances have now changed. I think the reason that I used to be able to enjoy Valentine's Day even without a guy was that I always thought of Valentine's Day as a day to focus on love in general. Not just romantic love, but also family love, friendship love, and most importantly, God's love for us. I had so much fun making Valentine's cards for all of my family members and friends, daydreaming about the day that I would get to spend a Valentine's Day with my future husband, and thinking about how Jesus died because He loves me. In reality God gave us romantic love, family love, and friendship love because He loves us! Since all forms of love spring form God's love for us, I wanted to post this hymn by Frederick M. Lehman to remind us of the expanse of that love! Let's remember to thank Him for it this Valentine's Day.

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1A

To Please God

Last night Derek and I went to our church Bible study. We haven't been going as regularly as we'd like, but we decided to start trying to go every week. It was such a blessing to go spend time with fellow believers and study God's word! Last night we were studying 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. Our church elder, Herb, who leads the Bible study called these "Admonitions On 'How To Live In Order To Please God'", and I thought they were really good things to work on in my own life. I thought I'd share this list here; you can also look up the Bible verse and read them for yourself!

Admonitions On How To Live In Order To Please God

1. Appreciate those who labor among you and have charge over you in the Lord; esteem them highly in love.

2. Live in peace with one another.

3. Admonish the unruly. (Other versions said the lazy or idle as well)

4. Encourage the fainthearted.

5. Help the weak.

6. Be patient with everyone.

7. See that no one repays evil for evil.

8. Seek after that which is good for each other and all people.

9. Rejoice always.

10. Pray without ceasing.

11. In everything give thanks.

12. Do not quench the Spirit. (I was a little confused on this one at first, but we read different Bible versions, and it was explained to me that this means not to ignore the Holy Spirit when He convicts you, or when He is leading you to do or say something. I usually pay attention when the Holy Spirit convicts me, but I don't always listen when He is calling me to some action - that is something I need to work on).

13. Do not despise prophetic utterances, but examine everything carefully. (Test everything against Scripture).

14. Hold fast to that which is good.

15. Abstain from every form of evil. (Or every appearance of evil; the Greek word there is eidos, which means "that which strikes the eye").

I thought these admonitions for living were really good, and I'm going to work on these personally; because what better goal is there than to live in order to please God?

I Was Tagged!

In addition to Wordless Wednesday, I've also been tagged to do a picture post! Here are the rules:
1. Go to your pics, choose the 6th folder and the 6th picture
2. Tell who and what
3. Pick 6 people to do the same.

This is me at the National Western Stock Show. At this point we had stopped walking around to take a rest, and we were sitting on a bench right in front of the Alpaca people. It was a realy fun day!

Okay, now I guess I need to find six other people to tag . . .

Wordless Wednesday

House, Work, and Housework

Today is a stay at home day. I'm very relieved that my temporary agency didn't call today, because I needed today off. They called me yesterday at six in the morning and told me I needed to be at the office by 7:15 AM! That may not seem like that big of a deal, but I was still sleeping when they called, so I had to get up and pull myself together as quickly as I could. My husband and I live in the mountains, so it takes me a little bit of time to get to town. I ended up getting there at 7:30, right when I was supposed to be starting my patient, and the receptionist tried to show me around. However, she works at the front desk, not with patients, so she didn't know the answers to half my questions, and the first few patients went really rough, becaue I didn't know where anything was!

And it was really embarrassing, because my third patient was in a rather grumpy mood; as he was leaving I moved the tray to the side so that he could get out of the chair, and it wasn't secured tightly. About ten of my instruments went flying all over the floor, and I was mortified, and I could tell he was thinking about how unprofessional I was! I hate it when my clumsy moments happen while I'm working.
Anyway, after a day like that yesterday, I'm so happy to have today off, especially since I start working at the office in Fairplay tomorrow! I'm pretty excited to have some regular work, even if it is only one day a week.

I was thinking about having a lazy day at home today, but on the other hand I had a whole list of things to do, so I've been working all morning. I cleaned the house from head to toe (if houses had heads and toes), and I must say, it was very satisfying! I also sprayed that pretty smelling Febreeze air freshener stuff, so it smells good too! In addition to cleaning the house, I worked out and took a nice bath and got all pretty just in case Derek comes home for lunch. And now I'm sitting and drinking a cup of coffee, and I'm pretty proud of everything I got accomplished this morning!

I decided to take some pictures of our house, because it occurred to me that alot of my friends haven't seen our house yet. So I'm going to post some of those here!

These pictures are of our kitchen! It was really ugly when we moved in, but my dad remodeled it for us as a wedding present!

These ones were of our lovely living room. The ceiling is vaulted, and I love it!

This is our wood stove, and we have really been using it to help heat our house this winter!

This is a picture of our room.

Well, there are some pictures of a good portion of our house, for those of you haven't come to visit us yet! Let me know if you ever want to drop by, because we'd love to have you!

A Question of Suffering

I recently stumbled across a website called Internet Cafe Devtions. This is a website that provides devotions for Christian women. They also have a weekly meme where a question is asked, and those who want to participate answer the question in a blog post. I thought I'd try it this week.

The question had to do with a story of a Missionary in the Congo who chose to stay and minister to the people there in a very dangerous time. She was attacked by a truckload of soldiers who did awful things to her, but she escaped with her life and was taken away from the Congo for her recovery. This is a quote from David Jeremiah regarding Helen's attitude about what happened to her.

"There was no bitterness within her, though Helen had experienced terrible, mindless evil. It would have been so easy to demand of God why He allowed these atrocities, when she had been so faithful to His service. But in her heart of hearts, she felt that God’s question would be, 'Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?'"

We're supposed to tell our thoughts about this question.

I think if something similar had happened to me my first response would be to ask God why He had let this happen to me when all I was trying to do was to serve Him. I would probably start out depressed and maybe a little angry. But I'm not the type to stay that way, and I think if I heard the above question I would be able to say yes, that I would trust my Lord that He had let this happen for a reason, even if I never knew why.

Not that my questions and anger would go away just like that. I'm sure I would struggle with the why questions for years to come, and there would certainly be occasional moments of anger or bitterness. But the Lord is in control of everything that happens, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) I would find comfort in that verse, that there has to be some purpose in my suffering, even though I may never know it.

It's easy to say how I think I would react now, when I'm in the safety and comfort of my living room. The real test comes when something bad really does happen to you. But I'm still confident that I would respond in a very similar way to what I described above. Though I may have twinges of anger at God, I couldn't stay angry at Him. Though my faith my be in danger for a brief time, I couldn't lose it entirely. Though I may cry out to God why He would let this happen, I couldn't turn my back on Him. Because without Jesus, what else do I have? I know that though I may react in a very negative and ungodly way at first, He would gently draw me back, hold me together in my time of weakness, remind me to just trust Him, and bring me out stronger in the end. I'm safely in the palm of His hand, and He would never let me go; the only way I could get through it would be to cling to Him. I have nothing, I am nothing without Him, and He suffered much worse for me.

The following is one of my much loved songs sung by Aaron Shust, and I think the section in bold would be my refrain through a time of suffering, and I think the thought would bring me much comfort.

"I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands one who is my Savior

I take Him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me; this I read
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

Chorus (2x's)
My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God: He was, my God; He is
My God is always gonna be

Yes, living, dying, let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring;
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

Chorus (2x's)
My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God: He was, my God; He is
My God is always gonna be"
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