Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fall photos

Ok, I'm still not sure I know how to work with pictures on Blogger, but here's my attempt to share my sunny and rainy day fall shots with you. I have to give fair warning here - I am not that great of a photographer. So these aren't anything to write home about, but they are my attempt at capturing some of the colors I've seen recently.

The first one is one of my favorites. It was taken while looking straight up through several trees at the sky. I just like all the bright colors, especially the bright blue sky. Obviously, it was taken on the sunny day :)

Now, the rest of these I am posting in pairs, so you can see the contrast more easily. And I think it will be pretty self explanatory which pictures are from which day. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reasons to smile :)

A beautiful, and I mean beautiful, drive on Saturday. The trees had to be close to peak, and we had just the right mix of rain and sun to appreciate the beauty of both!

Grape pie....yummm! And grape bread! And strawberry-rhubarb pie!

Forks and napkins for the taking so you can sample your grape pie as soon as you buy it!

4 kids (the children of a good friend) who are always happy to see me and give me lots of hugs (even if they do sometimes drive me crazy)!

Officially less than 2 months until my wedding!!!

Being asked at the last minute to translate the sermon for a Hispanic women - and doing a decent job of it!

Nieces and nephews! (and the special moments I got to share with them this weekend - like when my 2 yr old niece laid herself down in my arms when sleepy; or when my 4 yr old nephew explained that his new baby sister smiles when he kisses her, so whenever someone wants to see her smile, he kisses her; or when my 2 yr old nephew recited some of the lines with me when I read to him from his favorite books....)

Siblings teasing each other!

'Talking' to my man 5 times in an 8 day period! (with camera, and little to no internet problems!)

Realizing Monday morning that in paying attention to the heavier than usual traffic, I had failed to pay attention to where I was - and had driven right past my exit!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Checking in...

So, I do have some good pictures contrasting raining and sunny fall colors - I just haven't had a chance to download them to the computer yet. But they are coming :)

I'm excited because this weekend I'm get to enjoy what has become one of my favorite fall traditions...driving with a friend down the back roads to the Naples end of Canandaigua Lake to buy a grape pie. The views are fantastic, especially if I time it right to catch the colors (which I think we've managed to do). And grape pie is one of those unusual but very yummy seasonal treats. Being able to do this is one of the perks of not leaving as early as I'd expected for Mexico.

Another perk of still being here, that I am also very excited about, is that I get to go visit one of my oldest friends next weekend :) I've known her since Kindergarten, love the man she married (he brings out all her best sides), and am looking forward to meeting the newest addition to their family. To top it all off, another good friend of many years to going with me! This is not the CA visit I had hoped for , but I am still grateful for the opportunity I wasn't sure I'd have.

In other news, good friends in Mexico (the Pastor and his wife) are expecting a baby! Very fun. They currently have 2 boys, who will be 10 and 12 by the time the baby comes :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rainy fall day

There is just something about a rainy fall day that is irresistible. I'm not big on rainy days in general. I mean, I'm not anti, but I'm not one of those people that just loves them either. But in the fall....
The colors are just amazing, deep, contrasted.

Yesterday was one of those beautiful, sunny, warm, blue sky (deep blue, like you only see in the fall) kid of days. Just gorgeous.
Today it has rained hard and steady all day. And it is at least as gorgeous as yesterday was.

I shot a few pictures yesterday. If I can figure out how to do it again today without getting soaked, maybe I'll post a couple for comparison.

For those interested in such things

Here's a link to a website for the place where we are having our reception. Can I just say, by choosing this particular place we just kicked the wedding up several notches...

Fair warning - the site is all in Spanish, so you may just have to blindly click around to find the pictures.

Villa Ferre

Monday, October 22, 2007

For prayer...

After looking at what an actual flight schedule would look like together, and how little time he'd actually have up here, FB has decided to try talking to his boss one more time and see if he might have mercy on him. Specifically, we're hoping he could have Thursday - Monday, which we're thinking is the minimum amount of time to make the trip worthwhile.

So, we'd appreciate prayers that either:
a) his boss realizes the need and is agreeable, or
b) we'd have peace (especially FB, because he's really frustrated not to be able to follow through on his planned, pre-wedding visit) about the timing of a trip here
and finally
c) for when I should head down if he isn't going to be able to make it.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Ok, so really this post only contains something borrowed and something new, but as a soon to be bride, the title just seemed appropriate.

Here's the borrowed part:
On the way home, I asked The Mom, what with her closeness to God and all, why she didn't listen to him when he told us not to go. She replied that every good Catholic knows you should never listen when God speaks. "No good comes from it. It's either sacrifice your son, or build an ark, or wander the desert, or you're pregnant with my baby and good luck with that. Trust me, this camping trip was way better than any of those things."

I just found that too funny, and had to share. You can read the whole post here.

Plus, it seemed to fit with the thoughts I have left over from a phone conversation last night with a good friend. (This would be the 'new' part - as in my new and recent thoughts on things...)

You see, at first glance, the above description of what happens when God speaks to you would appear accurate. And in reality, it is often what it feels like to walk it out. Like God is asking something ridiculous of you, something way too hard, with no clear happy ending in sight. As my friend said last night, "God doesn't answer why. The question is what for?" But we usually want to know why, and sometimes despair when that question isn't answered.

But then you look deeper, closer. You ask the right question. And all those stories mentioned above get a lot bigger, with a lot more purpose. Miraculous even. So very worth it.

This season of my life has some definite hard parts. And although I've told you about some of them here, there are actually very few people that know all the things that have been conspiring together to make this harder than I would have ever guessed. There have been many, many changes to our best laid plans. Those who know me well know that dealing with change has not traditionally been a strong suit of mine.

Yet, I have had a deep sense of peace walking this out. In the midst of everything, nothing has shaken my belief that I am exactly where God wants me, doing exactly what He wants me to do. And, of course, I've had the encouragement of His pep talks and gifts in this final stretch.

I've had several people comment to me about how well I've rolled with the changes lately. That stands as one of my most convincing proofs that I'm exactly where I should be, because there is no way I would take all this so well unless God was walking me through it and giving me His peace and confidence.

I guess I say all of that to say - as funny as I find that quote I started with, I'd rather listen even when it's hard. And I'm looking forward to seeing the answer to 'what for?'.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Good news and....huh?

So, the good news...
FB can definitely have the time off needed to go on our honeymoon. :)

And the...huh?
His boss talked to him on Saturday, and said he could have some time off to come up here before the wedding. Sounds great, right? Oh wait, how many days can he have for that (2,000+ mile) trip? Saturday and Sunday.


I mean, yes, FB does work about a 1/2 day most Saturdays. But honestly, what was the point in telling him he could have time to come here if it's only a 1/2 day off from work? Even if he could leave several hours early on Friday or get back several hours late on Monday, he'd be here in Rochester for a grand total of.....(drum roll please!)... 38 hours! And that includes time spent getting in and out of the airport, sleeping, etc.

At least this probably means we'll get my departure date hammered out before Thanksgiving (since his boss hasn't waited until late November for this conversation).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pre-Wedding Advice

So, I went around all weekend on retreat and asked married women (and widows) this question:

What do I need to know before I get married? What do you wish you had known, or what have you learned?

Here's some of my favorite answers (covering the spectrum of spiritual to funny):

* Put God first, then your husband, then your kids. It's too easy to let the kids rise to the top.
(I noticed on this one that I don't even make the list!)

* Communicate clearly about everything, from the beginning. Don't let stuff build up.

* No matter how poor you are, or how busy you are - go on dates!

* "Don't expect him to be just like Jesus. I thought at first he would be, because he loved me."

* Overlook the little annoyances. Chances are, he's clueless, not intentional.

* When you want God to change things in your husband - He'll probably change you!

* "I wish someone would have warned me - he poked me in the middle of the night, woke me up. And I was like, really? Now? I was sound asleep!"

* Laugh! Have a sense of humor!

* "Keep your mouth shut! and that's from someone who didn't :)"

* Know the difference between talking and communicating.

* There may be a day when you wake up and think, "Who are you? What am I doing here?" But push through it, and you'll come out with a strengthened marriage.

Anyone have anything else to add?? I'd love to hear from you!

A really good weekend

Well, for all those waiting with great anticipation...overall, it was a really good weekend. :)
(Warning - this is a little long)

I was able to truly enjoy everyone's company and have some great conversations with people at meals and during down times. There were times enjoying those I already am close to, and times getting to know others better. (I'm glad I am able to keep investing in new and old relationships even knowing that I'm leaving soon.) I had fun asking people what advice they had for me as I prepare for marriage, something they wished they had known or had since learned. (I'll do a post later with some of my favorite answers.) The times of worship were really sweet, and I was much less distracted than I usually find myself at church. And God sent me specific words 3 different times.

I'm starting to have some real anticipation for what God wants to do with me in Saltillo (Mexico). To receive so many clear words from Him in such a short time both encourages me and makes me curious. Here's some of the highlights:

From the woman who came with the speaker:
"God pointed you out to me last night and told me that you are pregnant spiritually. You will birth this 'baby' when you arrive in Mexico - this is a fresh anointing, a new ministry, to bring salvation and freedom to those youth and adults you will minister to. Even though you will be going as a 'gringo', it will be as though you are a fresh rain and they will absorb from you as if they were a dry sponge."

From one of the older woman from my church:
"You've waited a long time for a husband - but it was because you needed the experiences you've had to prepare you for how He wants to use you. You will stand out, be different in how you look, how you sound - but that will draw people to you and you will be able to minister to them."

From a woman I was once a flower girl for:
(This one was more a prayer that sometimes morphed into something God was saying)
"I pray that God would birth new pathways in your brain to be able to learn the Spanish quickly. I feel God is going to miraculously cause you to be able to learn the language quickly. And you are nervous, hurting to leave so many here, because you are afraid your limited Spanish will make it difficult for you to form close relationships there - but God will do it. You are feeling a tearing in leaving this place, but I pray God would sear your heart in the wounded places and heal the pain."

These words, combined with some of the teaching from the speaker, have me rethinking and wondering about the prophesy I was given a couple weeks ago. For example, I understandably took the part about delays to refer to all the changing plans this year. But I'm seeing now how it could be referring to a much bigger picture than that. I had hopes that the verbal gift meant I'd quickly learn the language. I'm still believing for divine help with that, especially after the prayer above. But the speaker this weekend had a way of categorizing spiritual gifts (verbal gifts, power gifts, etc), that combined with the word given me about a new ministry, has me thinking about other interpretations of that. Finally, OTRgirl had asked me if I thought the missionary part could simply refer to how God wanted to use me while living my married life in Saltillo. At the time, that did not strike a chord with me, but I also didn't have a clue where it might be that God would send me. I'm wondering now, though, if that might be it after all.

Finally, I know you are all wondering if I cried all weekend ;)
I actually hardly did at all. It wasn't until testimony time on Sunday that I started to lose it, especially when the speaker had our former (deceased) pastor's daughters pray for his heart and anointing to be on the new/current pastor's wife. What really did me in, though, was knowing that I wanted and needed to somehow express to these women who are like family my love and appreciation for them. I kept holding back, knowing that if I went up front to share, I'd bawl (happens every time!). Finally, I went up, made a joke about how I always cry (a few chuckles), started sobbing (lots of chuckles), and said, "So I'm not even going to try and say anything, except that I hope by coming up here, you know my heart." Quite a few ladies came and gave me hugs before the morning was over and assured me they did indeed. Which of course prompted more tears on my part. But it felt refreshing, healing, full of love.

All in all, a great 'last' retreat.

Friday, October 12, 2007


(This post will make more sense if you've already read the previous post.)

This is not a good sign...

I've been fighting a cold the last few days, so I thought I'd run over to the drug store on my lunch break to buy some cold medicine. You know how awful it is to be in the middle of a quiet (read: retreat) service, and then have to keep blowing your nose or coughing? Even though I might be able to make do, I thought I'd be kind to everyone else.

I'm kind of picky about meds, since I'm sensitive to side effects, so I had a particular kind I wanted. You have to ask for it at the pharmacy counter. So I did. And then they asked for photo ID. Well, my wallet fell out of my bag at home (I discovered just as I headed for the store), so I didn't have any. They said it is federal law, and they can't sell it to me without ID.

At which point I started tearing up. By the time I made it out to the car, I was actually crying. Because I couldn't buy some cold medicine.

I'm a little worried about my emotional state now. I can't even blame hormones - that was last week!

Emotional Ambush?

This weekend is the women's retreat for my church. This year will be my 12th. I started going my freshman year of college.

I've always really enjoyed going, even though there really aren't any other girls my age. It is always a good time of reconnecting with some women I haven't talked to lately and building relationships with some I don't know as well. Sort of like a good family reunion. Of course, there's the God part too, but that's not so much the point of my reflections for this post...

My point is this - last year, I had an emotional ambush when I got there. I knew I was engaged and would be moving away, but that was not general knowledge yet (we didn't announce it until New Years). I knew it could very well be my last retreat for a while, but no one else really knew that. And so, every time there was a chance to just hang out and chat and have fun, I ended up 'ambushed' by sadness, tears, pain at the idea of leaving so many well-loved, longtime friends. I felt like I should be living it up, making the most of it - but all I wanted to do was hide and cry.

Since things have worked out the way they have this fall, and I haven't left yet, it turns out I get to go again this year. And suddenly, a couple of days ago, I remembered last year's emotional ambush. Now I'm wondering - what will I feel and go through this year? Everyone knows where I am at this time. I'm hoping that helps. Last year, the idea of leaving and the associated grieving process was still pretty new to me. This year I've worked through some of that. But I'm afraid I'm one of those people that has a better read on everyone else than I do myself most of the time. So I really don't know what this weekend will look like.

I want to enjoy it. I want to savor each conversation. I want to ask questions of the women who are older than me, and therefore have more experience than me in at least some areas, like, "what do you wish you had known before you got married?" so I can glean every last possible bit of wisdom from these Godly ladies. But I am a little nervous that I'll struggle like I did last year...

We'll see. I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

To be a bride

After a long time of waiting (first, years of waiting for the man God had for me; second, months of waiting to marry that man once 'found'), the reality of the wedding day is beginning to sink in. It is, you may have noticed, only 80 days away...

And, goodness, is it exciting!

I went a couple of days ago for a fitting. Have I mentioned here how very, very beautiful my wedding dress is?!?! And it fits me perfectly. Perfectly. The only alterations being done are the hem and the bustle, which always have to be done. Standing there in that dress, wearing the headpiece and the shoes and gave me a rush for at least the next couple of hours :)

I tried on an awful lot of dresses before I found this one. I knew a few people that found their dress pretty early on - some chose the 2nd or 3rd dress they saw. I tried on over 30 dresses. Maybe even over 40 dresses. Many were very pretty, and since I happen to be the size that is usually in stock, many were very pretty on me. I wondered a few times if I would really find one that would be the one.

Well, I most definitely did!! :)

I've been looking at wedding rings the last couple of days. What a sense of permanence they have. Of belonging. Of commitment.

Up until now, I hadn't given much thought to what kind of ring I wanted. I figured FB and I would go shopping together and settle on something together. But since we aren't going to have much time together before the wedding, I've started to look and get an idea of what I like.

I think I want a very simple ring. I know there are some neat, and sometimes very meaningful, designs out there. But I keep coming back to the plain, gold rings. I'm not interested in 2-tone, diamonds, patterns. The most I think I'll consider is possibly a bit of edging (like this or this) or something just slightly different like this.
Sometime soon I'm going shopping with one of my closest friends for my wedding day jewelry. At the moment, I don't feel like I have the slightest clue what I want. But I'm hopeful that I will know when I see it - just like the dress and headpiece.

At times, I feel quite a bit of pressure - these are big decisions, for a very important day. But mostly - this is just fun! :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Miracles

At inkling's request (especially since I think she'll really appreciate these), let me explain the recent miracles...

The first one was indirectly for my benefit. I think all my readers know that my wedding is actually going to be in Mexico. This was the best choice for a variety of reasons, but it does severly limit the number of people from my side who can attend the wedding. All of my immediate family (parents, siblings, and siblings spouses and children) will be there, and just a few good friends. Mostly, I'm ok with this, but you know...

There is one couple in particular that I am very close to - I'll call them the Faithfuls. The Faithfuls have been to Mexico several times themselves, both with the church missions teams, and once for a personal visit with their 4 kids. They are about 10 years older than me, but through different ministries we've served in together and the fact that Mrs Faithful and I helped each other lose a bunch of weight a few years ago, we've become very close. They know FB personally and are so excited that we are getting married. Ever since I told them I was engaged, they have planned on coming to the wedding, and trusted that God would miraculously provide the money for them to do so. You see, their only income is from Mr Faithful working for our church. All year, I've trusted that this would work out fine....until the last couple of weeks. The wedding is getting close; they needed to be making plans. But they still didn't have the money.

Until Thursday, that is. When they received a check from friends that was expressly for the purpose of airfare to my wedding!
(Post script on that - they've since had a family member offer to come stay with all 4 kids for the whole time they are gone!)

I was so excited. You see, since so few people can come to my wedding, the few who can are really important to me. And the Faithfuls have been there for me through this whole process, and know and love FB themselves.

When Mrs Faithful and I talked on Friday, still so excited about it all, she told me how one advantage to not having much income is that you have a lot more opportunities to see God miraculously or creatively provide. She was encouraging me because she knows how little money FB and I currently have, and are likely to have in the coming months. Just last Monday, FB told me that he had been paid even less than we expected.

This conversation turned out to be the precursor to miracle number 2.

A few weeks ago, I was told I needed a major car repair. A repair that cost near $900 (and would have basically wiped me out at the time). That day I was crying at my desk too, but from stress and anxiety. Money is tight enough for the two of us - this was too much.

A couple of calls later, I decided to take it to a mechanic near church, who thought he could do the repair for about half that price since he happened to have the part on hand. I gratefully thought that was God's provision.

After looking at it himself, he decided the part in question just needed a good cleaning, not replacing. He said the repair (which included some other tune-up type stuff) would now come to about $200, and I could take my time getting him the payment. I very gratefully thought that was God's provision.

Now jump ahead to Friday afternoon (just after that conversation about God's provision with Mrs Faithful). I called to find out the exact amount I owed. And was told I owed nothing at all. "Consider it a wedding gift." Wow. From almost $1,000 to nothing at all. God is so good.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I'm crying at my desk - again!

For a good reason, again!

This time, I'm the direct recipient of a miracle!

Thank you again, Lord!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I'm crying at my desk

For very good reasons, though. Like, because I am so happy and blessed right now. Because I am indirectly at the receiving end of a miracle.

Thank you, Lord.
(and thanks to the person(s) He used - you know who you are...)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Propehtic Word

We had a prophet visit our church this week, and I was one of those he prophesied over. I thought my faithful readers might appreciate some of the things he said when he prayed over me. For the sake of brevity, I'm going to cut it up a little. But here are some of the key parts:

"Your frustrations are My frustrations.... You’ve been saying, Lord, I need I breakthrough. I’ve been praying for everybody else, but who is praying for me? I HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR YOU. Since the day I saved you, I have been on prayer call for you 24/7. I am your intercessor; I am your high priest."

"And so I want you to rise up and know that I am in charge of your life. The steps of a righteous man, and woman, are ordered of the Lord. And so God says My will has not been denied you, neither has it been delayed. You said, Lord I’m sure I’ve been delayed, I’m sure I’m behind times. No you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re not. I’m a big God, a good God, I’ve got you right where I want you, and I’ve been teaching you some critical issues for the next season of your life."

"And the Lord says I now need to let you know that I am going to put a fire on the inside of you.... your bones are gonna burn with a brand new fervor, a brand new fire. And the Lord says you are going to have much to say to your generation. You are going to be like a lava flow... to your generation. You’re going to have a lot to say. I’m gonna give you a verbal gift; I’m going to give you a mouth that they’re not going to be able to shut up, says the Lord."

"You’ve also been asking me for nations. You’ve been saying, Lord, I’ve got this missionary call on me. And so I would like Denny to confirm it. Ok, missionary, missionary, missionary."

I'm sure you can all appreciate the parts about frustrations and delays. I now have the perfect answer to anyone who has a negative reaction to the timing of FB's visit and my move. I'm hoping the part about a verbal gift means I'll be able to communicate clearly in Spanish. And as for missions, I've always been fascinated by, drawn to, missionaries and missions, but was never quite sure about anything for my own life outside the very short term stuff I've done so far.

Interesting, huh?