Wednesday, June 29, 2011

a day with arielle

Sometimes you are lucky enough (or blessed rather) to meet a kindred spirit. It's pretty easy to know if you've ever meet one or not, because you'll realize it right away. I have met several in my lifetime and for that I am thankful. With every passing year, I am realizing more and more that life is rather meaningless apart from relationships. Part of the reason I have found a love for blogging is because of the wonderful friendships I have formed with some amazing people.

One such person is Arielle.

This past weekend, Jonathan and I had the pleasure of meeting Arielle and her husband Jay. If you would have told me that this would happen a year ago, I would have laughed. Me, meet people online? No way. It's funny how things change. It has been a huge blessing to meet other godly women who are striving after the Lord in our different walks of life. There may be a great distance between us, but we have a bond in Christ. I can't even count how many times I have been encouraged to press on because of the things I have read, because of the reality of Christ that I've seen in Arielle and others like her.
I was so thrilled to find out that we'd be able to meet up. Jonathan and I seriously had a ball getting to know them better. It knew that we'd be similar, but I didn't know just how similar! Even in the midst of the scorching heat, getting lost and the long wait for food, we managed to have a little fun. :) Surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of young married couples our age we are (or at least not that we know of), so it was a treat. (Maybe people just aren't getting married in their 20's anymore?) Anyway, it's always a blessing for us to be around people in a similar place in life and walk with the Lord. 
Well, you can't meet up with a photographer and blogger with out snapping a few pictures can you? Of course not! Ha! Arielle is a super talented photographer, so she got a few of us. She even had a polaroid camera with her! How cool is that? Here are the 2 she gave to us.

To be honest leaving was kind of sad for us, because we knew that the chances of seeing each other again in the near future isn't very likely. But then again Jonathan and I are willing to go anywhere, so who knows?

They are such a sweet and godly couple and it was an immense privilege to get to meet them!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Difference Project: 2nd & 3rd Month

It has officially been 1 day without any coffee at all.

Honestly, I never thought I'd be able to say "I don't drink coffee". I have loved it since middle school. Despite being extra tired from lack of sleep, I woke up this morning with no desire for coffee whatsoever. No headache. No desire for it at all. (This never happens! Normally I head straight to the kitchen to make a pot.) In my last update, I really felt like I should give up coffee. I don't need to be so dependent on it, especially when I go to Ethiopia this fall. God is proving to me time and time again that He will give me the strength to do what He has called me to do. As silly as it may seem, quiting coffee has helped grow my faith in God...and so has the rest of this project thus far.

These past two months were a whole lot harder than expected. I had to go to Target to get a few wedding presents and had to force myself not to take a peek at all the cute summer clothes. I've had several strong urges to buy some new things, especially before going to weddings. I've also found myself making a mental list of all the things I "need" for my trip to Ethiopia. Yet, time and time again God breaks me, breaks my heart and I remember why He led me to do this. Through this project, my heart's sinful, selfish, and egocentric ways have come to light. At times I pity myself, feel proud of this project and others I am humbled before my Lord in tears, appalled by what is in my heart. Oh, if it were not for grace!

Today I read Psalm 57 in a different perspective. I challenge you to read this from the point of view of a young girl in sex-slavery, forced to be with 30-40 men a day. She cannot escape. Imagine reading this as an 8 year old boy forced to fight and kill in a war that is not his own. He must murder innocent people, or die. Feel the pain of a poor mother who has just had her first child. She is so malnourished that every day is one step closer to death by starvation. But her child, her precious there any hope?

Now read it. How can I now go out and spend money on frivolous things? How can you?

Psalm 57

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
2I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 
4My soul is in the midst of liona; I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
 whose tongues are sharp swords.
5Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
 6They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.
7My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
8Awake, my gloryAwake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
9I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
 I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
11Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

I'm not saying all this to make you feel bad for drinking coffee or buying things you don't need. I certainly have lots of things that I don't need still. I am just hoping to be a part of a generation that lives for more than American dream, a generation that lives for Christ above all else. My desire is to be the difference to the needy in the name of Jesus and in order to further the gospel.

Watch This

It's powerful. Promise.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Very Vintage

My love for all things vintage has been going on for quite some time. It all started in middle and high school, because I could never afford the latest styles. I remember when Tommy Hilfiger was the must-have, but it soon gave way to American Eagle and Ambercrombie. Now it's Anthro. As much as I love fashion, I also despise it. The fashion industry thrives off of materialism. It is fickle. As soon as you nail one style, the next new look emerges. Unfortunately, I am drawn to the ever-changing nature of the beast. However I am trying to simply be happy to have clothes to matter if they are "in" or not. 

To be honest, I struggle with placing too much emphasis on what I wear. My friend Jhen mentioned to me the other day, "I can be happy with the same things in other countries, why not here?" Well, here it is so easy to get caught up into materialism. This is why I love vintage. Old things are already out of style. 

Well, the other day I really felt the urge to know the "I have nothing to wear" feeling. Whenever that happens I try to combine what I have in different ways. This time I happened to find an old dress I bought for a costume party last year. It was see-through, so I never wore it. But guess who found a perfect slip for it under another dress? Yep, me. I threw on a Target cardigan I've had for years and voila. Classy and classic. Trying not to buy anything isn't easy, but I am learning to be happy with the same things for months...years possibly. After all, they are just things. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where I've Been: Philippines (Second time)

I never got over the things I saw and learned in the Philippines in 2007. By the summer of 2008, I was a new person in more ways than one. In that short period of time my health had rapidly declined. (I was very sick for most of college, but then God healed me...which is an amazing story I will tell another time.) For the first time in years I was whole physically, and I had just met Jonathan a few months back. We started dating just before I left to fly across the world. I kept a picture of him with me at all times, and I'll admit that I was more than a little love-sick for him. Still I felt compelled to go, so I did.

This time I was even more exited to return and see the people with whom I left part of my heart. However, this was definitely not the same trip. We still woke up early to visit and speak in the schools, but the team and terrain were vastly different. Before we had a small, intimate group. Now there were over 70 of us on the team and we were closer to the coast in the northern region of the Philippines.

I was struck even more so by the beauty of the country.

As I was sharing the gospel with a group of students at this school, I noticed the teachers nodding in accordance to the things I was saying. These teachers came up to us afterwards and with a new light in their eyes said, "Brother and sister, I will see you again when we are with Jesus!" I can't explain to you what it feels like to hear something like that.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Don't you love the umbrellas? Everywhere we went there were rice fields.
I loved making the kids laugh by speaking the phrases I knew in their language. The only things I remember now are "Mahal ka ng Diyos" (but I don't remember what it means) and "buhay na walang hanggang"...I think it means "life is good but eternal is better."
The children stole my heart once again.

This was the most interesting I ate while I was there...and yes, I ate it. Most of the food was absolutely delicious and the people were so hospitible! I especially love the mangos. You haven't eaten a mango until you've eaten a mango from the Philippines!
We stayed at a place near this beach for the last week I was there. They have brown sand here, not like the beaches in the States, but still beautiful nonetheless.

Some of the team came back from my first trip, like the lovely girl to my right and her sister. One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to hear everyone's testimony on our long treks from school to school. Every day there were different people in your group, so there was always a new testimony to hear.

At one school they asked us to sing for a large group. Since I was the only singer in the group, I steped up to the plate and sang "How Deep the Father's Love." I don't think I've ever sung better in my entire life or ever will. It was a powerful moment to be singing of how God sent His Son to die for us, for them, though we were the ones who had sinned against God. I stood there singing and praying that the love of God would penetrate the hearts of these people, the ones He died for. I'll never forget it.

By the end of the trip, I was very ready to come home to see my man (and family too). I was excited to come home because I knew that this wasn't the end. My life had a mission - to make Jesus famous and God had just led me to man walking down that same path. Though it was not as soul-shaking as my first trip, I came back with a new love for sharing the gospel. I wish I could tell you that I was incredibly focused on the Lord after that, but first relationship ever had my head more that a little in the clouds...but there is more to come about that in the next "where I've been" post.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vlog: He will give you

Do you have dreams and desires that haven't come to fruition yet? 

Here is quick video of a recent revelation. I was reading Psalms 37 and found a video by Christy Nockels. It was exactly what I needed today.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Perfection

This past weekend was perfect in every aspect of the word. My Dad called me up on Thursday and said:

"Hey Jenny, I've got a crazy idea for you. What if we came up for the weekend?"
Crazy? Nah, maybe the idea was a little cramped sounding (we only have 1 spare single bed). It might sound a little like me cleaning the house like mad the next day, but crazy? More like wonderful! Who could say no to being with their Dad on Father's Day? Not me! I relish every chance I get to see these people. They are my favorites.

So Saturday morning my parents packed up my two youngest siblings (there are 6 of us total) and made the 4 hour trek to our apartment. My parents are pros at this by now. All of our family lives 8 plus hours away and most of the time all 8 of us rode together in a van. Traveling with only 2 kiddos in a regular car for once? No problem!

Anyway, once they got to our place we spend the rest of the day having fun just being together, eating, shopping at our favorite outdoor apparel store, and watching Tangled. Perfect, and again I say perfect. On Sunday, my family was able to see us lead worship at our church! It meant a lot to me for them to witness such a big passion in our lives. Then to put a big fat cherry on top, we went to lunch with Jonathan's parents at the best southern comfort food type of restaurant I have ever been to. (It's so good that we go there almost every Sunday.)

Oh, and we snapped some pictures too!

Aren't they just adorable? They both have my mom's moon shaped eyes. I love those baby blues!
The classic family Father's Day photo
 They would! My parents are so silly sometimes. Now you know that I come by it honestly! If you only knew the amount of silly pictures I have taken in my lifetime...let's just leave it at that.
Could we pass as parents of an 11 and 8 year 22 and 23? Haha! Maybe we'll still look like this after having a few youngsters...maybe.
I love my Daddy! He and Jonathan are my heroes!

I love my life with Jonathan, but I really didn't want to see them go. I guess you realize just how much family means to you with age. One thing is for sure, I am incredibly blessed by them!

I hope you all had wonderful weekends as well!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Spontaneous Visit

I found out Thursday night that I get to see these two cuties this weekend! My Mom and Dad decided to come up with my two youngest siblings for a spontaneous visit. I couldn't be more excited to spend some time with them! I get to be with my Dad on Father's Day too! 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend friends! 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wedding Place Cards & Life Update

Hello dear friends! I want to go ahead and appologize for my lack of presence in this lovely blog world. Life has been so busy that my computer time is extremely limited these days. I wish I could visit all of your blogs and email back a little better, but that may just have to wait until things slow down...which may be after the summer is over! Ha!

Anyway, I wanted to share one of my latest projects with you all. My old boss/ friend asked me to make place cards for her bridesmaid's luncheon. I became so excited as soon as the words "shabby chic" left her lips. Shabby chic is most definitely my forte! Here's a few photos of my creations! All of them are different and I love it!

I'm very pleased with how they all turned out! I don't think I can even pick a favorite. So what is yours? It was a fun little project! Although I must say, I am enjoying the preparation for someone else's wedding instead of mine for a change! It felt like I was always doing craft projects for our wedding!

PS: I am trying out an all white look and a new header. What do you guys think, white or color? Also, if you know a way to expand the blog width I'd love to know!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

So the pressure comes...

Heavy is the burden that weighs upon my back
My heart cannot carry it; these walls are starting to crack

I know I’m weak and ever frail, so why do I even try
This pressure is too much for me, pressure on every side

But my strength is utter weakness; my victory is to lose
My triumph is when I’m pressed down, bent, broken, and bruised

For I am pressed into knowing no strength of mine, but God’s
I am pressed into loving His staff and His rod

Though I’m pressed to the ground, I am pressed into You more
I am pressed but not crushed, and Your life in me is outpoured

I give up holding back the pressure, so that my life will be unmarred
For my goal is to know all of You, including suffering’s scars

So the pressure comes, but let it come; it’s bruising is not in vain
It will press me into You and pour me out for the glory of Your name

Because of how You suffered Lord, I will not think this strange
Teach me to count it all as joy and be poured out for Your fame


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