Monday, April 30, 2007

The Aventine, our quest for a home.

Good Monday to you all. This weekend was spent relaxing, studying, and apartment hunting. Anthony and I headed down to the Aliso Viejo/Mission Viejo area and started looking at places that we would like to live. We found a place called the Aventine where we took a tour and spoke with our more than friendly host, Ryan. We had a great time and we were in love with the two bedroom/two bathroom apartment we looked at. We are obviously praying diligently about this and not making a decision just yet. We won't even be applying until January 2008 so it makes sense to take our time and really research and feel God's leading on it. We know he will lead us to the right place.

We also were able to spend some quality time at home just relaxing and watching dvds this weekend. We watched the first 6 episodes of the Simpsons and laughed a little, a few CSI's and really just kicked back. I needed that after all of my finals and having one to take today. I take my last final of the year today at noon. It's in statistics and then I will be ready for the summer. This summer is going to include cleaning, organizing, planning a wedding, working out, breaking bad habits, reading for the next semester, praying, bonding, visiting family and friends, and relaxing by the pool. I am going to get Anthony and I memberships to the waterpark and we are going to visit Disneyland as much as possible with our annual passes. We are going to take massive amounts of photos, save tons of money for our future, and be creative with our time.

Anthony is doing really well at his new job and has just started his second week of training out of 3 weeks. He passed his CPR training and this week is onto wiring and putting things into people's houses. Today he is attending a big conference for all of the new workers at at&t in order to learn their new products. He is at the Anaheim stadium today doing all of that. He is really in high spirits about making good money and doing something he loves. We are excited about all that is new in our lives.

I am trying to think of all of the things I intend to work on this summer and it excites me to think about reading, hobbies, projects, outings, day trips, and wedding planning. I am stoked for all the summer brings. I still have to work but to me lately, that is nothing compared to Grad School, studying, and homework. Anthony and I both will be kicking our fitness plan into high gear and working on our nutritional goals as well. In April we both made a nutritional goal each. Mine was not having any fast food and his was no soda. We both achieved our goals and now are moving on to our May goals. We haven't decided those yet but we are sure they will be affective. I don't miss fast food and Anthony says he doesn't miss soda so we are doing a good job.

Fitness is going to be a big goal for both of us this summer and throughout this year as we prepare for our wedding and also for the next year in preparing for having our first baby. We are excited about all that the new years are going to bring and are saturating everything in prayer. We would appreciate your prayers as well. Have a wonderful day and God bless you all!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Get Your Smile On!

I was reading the side of a Lays potato chip bag and they had the slogan "Get your Smile on" on the bag. I thought to myself how hilarious it is that we are in a world today where they are trying to sell potato chips using ebonics. They are taking this multiculturism a bit far huh? That was beside the point of what I wanted to discuss today. I literally wanted to talk about indeed getting your smile on..regardless!

In the Bible, joy is spoken of several times and we are called to live a life of joy in the knowledge of what Jesus did on the cross for us. I diligently try to live that life of joy. Sometimes life takes a toll on me delivering a cold, finals, and a personal trial in the same week and I am horribly challenged in my joy! I seek God daily to find my joy and my strength in Him and he always delivers. He sometimes does it through the peace that passes my understanding in prayer, a phone call from a loved one just to chat, an email from a dear friend who is praying on my behalf (thanks Jay), or an encouraging scripture.

For a while, I have really wanted to work more on memorization of scripture not so I look good in sunday school but because they are tools in my personal walk with the Lord against Satan and his schemes. I have powerful weapons in battle when I know my word. Today, I am using the amplified Bible as my source and this is my new scripture verse:

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. Psalm 16: 9

This verse is so completely strong for me right now because my inner self is what I study on a daily basis in Psychology. My heart being glad is what I really want to be able to say day in and day out about the Lord and my life. He is so good to me. I love the part in this verse where it says "my body too shall rest" because lately I have seen a physical demonstration of what my spirit goes through. If I am in a dry land, my body feels tired and lethargic. If I am in a stressed state, my body reacts by finding the first virus it can get. If I am happy and joyful, my body feels energetic and healthy. It is a direct correlation.

Another great part of this verse is where it says "and confidently dwell in safety." I first wanted to look up what safety meant so that I knew what to think about this part of the verse. Safety is defined (by the Princeton Review) as the condition of being protected against failure, damage, error, accidents, or harm. This makes me feel 100% better about my life to know that God is protecting against failure biggest fear. When I find joy and really dwell in it; failure, damage, error, accidents, and harm can't get to me! I find this comforting and true in every way.

It is when I truly embrace Joy that all of those things don't seem to happen or get to me. I think God has a promise for us, if we rest in him, there we WILL REST! :)

I am going to my quiet place where I can be protected. I am so loved.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Pirates of the Carribbean and Jesus

I know the title of today's blog may sound strange but I promise it will make sense by the end. Anthony and I have just recently purchased annual passes to Disneyland. We are extremely excited as we saved for them and they are so we can have dates even when we are saving so radically for our wedding and future. Anyway, we are enjoying our passes and have already got our money's worth. In saying that, we have favorite features and they are different but we both love them. His is Astro Blasters and mine is Pirates of the Caribbean. They are both extra fun and entertaining but I have just recently realized how I relate Pirates to my quiet time with the Lord.

Let's imagine Disneyland is the world. It's chaotic, loud, exciting, demanding, expensive, and there are rude people everywhere. Everywhere you turn there is another gadget or toy that you just have to have. There are children screaming, crying, laughing, running everywhere. There are adults with happy faces, grumpy faces, angry faces, sad faces and the like. There are couples clinging to each other in the early stages of love. There are pictures being snapped at every kodak photo op and there are lines upon lines of waiting to get you to the next big attraction.

Isn't that just like life? It's all those things. There are always things around you that other people have that look so enticing. There are always different types of people around to make life easier, harder, or different for you. There are always opportunities to wait on God for the next thing in your life that is supposed to be happening. Lately I have been in a perpetual Disneyland Line waiting for God to do things toward marriage/career/children, etc...

So now let's talk about Pirates of the Caribbean. If you haven't been to Disneyland, it's really fantastic and here is the run down. You load onto this boat with approximately 11-17 other people. They have rows and you are given a row with whomever you are with. It starts with a relaxing row down a stream of darkness when all of the sudden you are plunged down quickly and then plunged yet again. After these plunges, you then are in a relaxing row again and you see all kinds of different scenes. You see scenes of pleading and begging for life, you see fear and trepidation, battle and warfare, and laughter and rejoicing. There are also rooms full of treasure and enjoying the plunder. It ends with a climb up back into daylight where you are deposited back at the dock and are made to go through the LINE yet again if you want to ride again.

I relate this to my quiet time with Jesus. I know, you are not quite following but I promise I am getting there. When I enter God's presence I experience a quiet peace of a few seconds where I finally feel cool and release from the days heat and pressures. Then I get plunged into his presence once or twice where I am made to see my shortcomings and feel almost unworthy or shaken up to be in his presence. After that we are rolling slowly again but I have to look around constantly because he is showing me tons of areas. I row into the area where there is pleading and begging and I think of myself and my desires and weaknesses. I plead before God for forgiveness for not acknowledging him in my life and not trusting him with all of my desires. I then see fear and trepidation when I express to Him how afraid I am to continue trusting him and how afraid I am for all of the new things he is doing in my life. I then confront the battle and warfare where Satan is attacking me throughout my day and where he is bringing hard cirumstances into my life and I ask God to help me get through. More than anything there are moments of laugher and joy where I thank God intensely for the awesome things he has done in my life and how he has always been with me and saved me and forgiven me. This is my treasure and my plunder.

The "ride" with God ends by me climbing back into my day and being ready for more time with him but realizing I have to get back into the line and do life just to get back to his presence.

This ride is my favorite and now I know why, I compare it to one of the most wonderful portions of my day. The time with my Lord and Savior. I am in love with him and next time I go on Pirates (next tuesday) ...I will realize all those seasons of prayer and rejoice that there is a tangible place I can be reminded.

I love you Lord.


Friday, April 20, 2007

First day jitters, finals, and cleaning

Hello everyone and happy friday. Anthony got up bright and early this morning at 5:30 am and went to his new job. Today is orientation where he gets a good look at his job site, bosses, etc... He was really excited this morning and apparently had NO problems getting up which if you know Anthony is shocking! He seemed in really high spirits and is really happy to be making the money he is worth and doing something interesting.

I am in the midst of final preparation so I will be MIA for a few weeks. My last day of any type of school project is April 30th. I am stoked to be done with my first year of Graduate school and to have done very well. My grades are good and my learning was remarkable. A psych program teaches you things about yourself you sometimes don't want to know. Finals are looking promising as I feel like I have plenty of time to prepare and really understand the material. I'll write again when I've finished and see if that's true.

Apartment hunting has started and we have chosen a handful of places to go and see and rate according to what we think. We are going to have to be at their mercy to a certain extent too since we are on a limited budget and my credit isn't perfect. The places we have looked at in Laguna Niguel are actually cheaper than a lot of other locations in Orange County. We are excited about our first place together after the wedding! :)

As for the wedding, no engagement just yet but still thinking about May 2008 for the nuptials. We are looking at locations right now and thinking about our budget. I am also looking around for a summer part time job to take on to make money for the wedding. I know that I will be funding it 100% Alone (with me and Anthony that is) so we are going to have to sacrifice a bit and really stick to a budget.

Today, I have a date by myself and I plan to organize my room up too. I have grocery shopping to do but that only takes me an hour or so. Now, it's on to room organization, laundry, and paperwork. Later in the afternoon I am going to take myself out. I will write more about my date later. Last weeks date was a full manicure with Acrylics. I love having my nails done. Little things for me always make me have a better week and not feel alienated while I save 15% of my paychecks!

I hope you are all doing well and updates later!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A new job, apartment hunting, and planning our lives away!

Well I have some great news that actually came about a week ago. Anthony has been praying for a new job and really putting his trust in God while working a job that was pretty thankless and not as great of pay as he needed. He was really faithful to God by doing his best and praising God for what he God blessed him with a new job. Anthony was hired at AT&T for a premises technician job which triples his income at this point. It provides full benefits and multiple little discount benefits that we are going to enjoy. It's located in Laguna Niguel so we are both excited that we will be in this area. He has a sign up tomorrow morning for all of his tax paperwork and things and then his first day is Friday April 20th. We are really excited about this new gig and really praying that God moves through it. He has to go through a 3 week training process that is pass/fail so please keep him in your prayers for a good turnout!

In other news, our search begins for an apartment. I only have one year left on my contract with Christopher so I will be expected to move out once the position ends. Anthony and I are most likely going to be married at that point so we have decided to start looking at apartments in hopes of having some options when the time comes. We are looking in orange county since his work and my school are both here. I am also going to be researching jobs in this area as early as February of next year. I am really excited about the next steps in my life of marriage, family, new job, new home, new location, etc... God is really working in my life for good!

Please keep Anthony and myself in your prayers are we march forward in our lives. We are optimistic but also very nervous and anxious with new things coming! Thanks!