Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What to Write Wednesday... Day at the Lake

So, I'm only a week late in posting, but we had a fabulously fun day with friends at the lake for July 4th!! A sweet couple in our church is so kind to share their lake home and amenities with us from time to time.  It is always such a relaxing time!!

Recently some of our friends moved back to our area, so we were able to share our fun day with them.  Titus loves having a little buddy his age to play with! And I think the girls take turns terrorizing their younger son - ha!! 

The beach area is so fun for the kiddos! The weather that day was perfect as well - it's been extremely hot here lately, but the Lord gave us a beautiful day!!


The younger guys getting advice from the pro!!  Tim had fun trying some new tricks!


Kourtney doing what she does best - chillin' in her chair!! :)


Titus's fish - He kept it in a bucket the entire day, and it was VERY hard to convince him to let it go when we left.  Maybe a fish tank will be a good deterrent from getting a puppy... :)


 I finally drove a Sea-doo by myself!! And though you can't tell, that is ME on the yellow one - very fun!!! 






Riding the pontoon boat - the kiddos LOVED it and got to "drive."




We were also able to drive to our church's Jr. camp for an AWESOME fireworks display. It was seriously the best one they've put on! Titus was scared the ENTIRE time and both girls fell asleep - go figure! :)

We are having a crazy busy but SUPER fun summer!! We've had so many adventures and our travels are not even over!  This has definitely been our best summer ever! :) The project and tutorial posts will have to wait a few weeks... we're too busy having fun to work! Ha!

Monday, July 9, 2012

10 years of Wedded Bliss! ♥♥♥

On June 22nd, Tim and I celebrated 10 wonderful years of marriage!! I really can not believe it has been that long!! The plan was always to return to our honeymoon spot in PEI, Canada for our 10 year celebration, but well, I couldn't justify spending that much on plane tickets!! :)

In order to have our parents keep the kiddos for us, we decided to find a nice place in Ohio to relax and enjoy some "just the two of us" time.  So after much google searching, I came across the site for Belamere Suites and knew immediately it would be perfect!  After viewing the Royal Pool Suite, the decision was final! :)  Of course, you can view their professional videos for an idea of accommodations, but I wanted to include some photos I took of our suite.

The area was super nice with lots of great shopping! We got the anniversary package which included, among other things, lit candles right before we arrived and a gift card for Biaggi's - a new favorite!  We ate there for lunch one day and ended up with money left on our card - which led to the discovery that we have one close enough to our home to go again - yum!!

The bath area complete with 2 person jacuzzi, 2 person shower, Bath and Body Works toiletries, a stocked fridge, and a large flat screen tv across from the jacuzzi.

The Bedroom area complete with rose petals for our arrival (part of the anniversary package),  another flat screen TV,  in-wall fireplace, seating area and table, and fabulous IKEA decor.

A close-up of some details. I fell in love with the vase/flowers and flower bowl and purchased my own at our IKEA stop on the way back to reality. :)  My mom made us some yummy chocolate covered strawberries - she makes the BEST!! :)

Our AMAZING private in-suite heated pool and dry sauna!!!! So Spoiled!!!!

More views of the shower - LOVE the walk-in shower!! If we ever build a house... :)

Another favorite amenity was the breakfast.  Every morning we called to let them know when we were ready for our breakfast - love free room service!! 
We loved it and will definitely go back - if our budget allows. :)
It was so relaxing and refreshing to have some kid-free time - 4 days and 3 nights!!  I actually got to shop for myself and try on clothes - ha! 

Forfeited Peace...

Sometimes life just throws a curve ball!! Well...actually, not really as God is all-knowing, and everything that happens in my life gets his "hand stamp" of approval. Unfortunately, though, at the onset of crisis, our human minds "forget" this as evidenced by immediate thoughts of fear and feelings of extreme anxiety.

It's been several months now since such a "curve ball" hit me square in the stomach  -  and it literally felt like it!! Anxiety/worry over the future has a way of sucking the life right out of you. :{
Fear of the unknown future was very real - especially since I "knew" in my heart the inevitable future and actually started making plans! {Which almost seems silly now}

I promise I'm not trying to be elusive in withholding the cause of my worry... Some things are best kept between family and a few close friends. And, honestly, the purpose of this post is not to gather sympathy or concern, but to share a very real lesson I had to learn the hard way. I wouldn't want the specifics of my "trial" to negate the lesson I believe can be applied to everyone for any situation. I only hope to encourage others who may find themselves in a "fog"...

I admit, almost ashamedly, that my life was consumed for about a week.  I lived in a fog with nothing else on my mind. The timing was "impeccable" as well. Several close friends and many acquaintances were going through some of the hardest days of their lives, and I just knew I was about to join them.  Ironically, God had become so real to me in the months before and I felt closer to Him than ever before. But my initial response was, "Oh, great! This is what happens when I grow in my relationship with Christ." I understood how it might be easy for some to completely turn their back on Him in fear of what it takes to draw as close to Him as possible. I certainly had my doubts about how close I wanted to become and didn't really think I could handle it. 

One day, though, during my devotions as I was reading through my devotional journal, I found this entry dated about three weeks prior:

"Committing today to a closer relationship with God through prayer...I want to know Him as a person who walks with me daily through this life - constantly aware of His presence as my Friend and Companion. Don't know where to start..."

WOW!! It became very clear to me that God was present and working and helping me to grow. I definitely felt as if He'd given me a "jump start" in my journey. The words to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" immediately came to mind and I copied these words in my journal:

"O, what peace we often forfeit;
O, what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!"

That was sooooo me - for a week I had been forfeiting the peace of God and needlessly bearing the pain alone!! My prayer time was O So Sweet that day, and I felt as if I'd experienced a miracle. Had my "problem" gone away?? Not really, but the fear and anxiety had vanished. My mind was no longer consumed with worry over the future. I do believe I experienced the peace of God like never before. 

Why is it that prayer was not my first effort? I mean, I had "prayed" about it - I actually had groaned in fear and anxiety with my "Dear God, PLEASE!!" And while, I wouldn't want to negate that, it wasn't until I actually carried my burden to Him and laid it at His feet that my worry was lifted and replaced with a peace that passes understanding. Rather than begging God to remove the circumstance, I had simply asked Him to stay close to me.  In His presence, there is true peace. I could sing with complete confidence, "For I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand!"

Most of the "future" problems we worry about never even happen! I'm so glad I didn't waste anymore of my life worrying about something that was completely in God's hands! Come what may, a God greater than any problem or trial is in control! Life at its longest is but a vapor...I certainly don't want to live mine in needless emotional wreckage!

In retrospect these many months later, I realize God was likely just testing me.  Others have faced and are facing real trials greater than any I've ever known. But I am so thankful that God used this time to prove to me that He is faithful to His promises!!

********************************************

In reading back through this post, I feel I've so inadequately described how important a relationship with Christ really is.  But it's so personal, I guess I really don't feel as if it can be shared with others through mere words.  I do know that it is VITAL to life!! So often I've tried to "go it on my own." FAIL!
It's a relationship...it takes work!! But it is an amazing journey! And though I still fail and stumble along the way, I do know that Jesus, my Friend, is right there next to me - with his arm around me offering complete peace and comfort!!  

Enjoying life with my cutie little kiddos!! ♥

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