Learning To Love, FRIENDS (Week 2)

Valentine’s Day has come and gone! Naturally, I got behind on posting weekly about my Learning to Love Study. 😉 So…even though the holiday is officially over, I will still finish out the four weeks of the Learning to Love Bible Study.

Before I get into that, though, I have to tell you about our exciting Valentine’s weekend! Abe, Kali, and I had a beautiful weekend celebrating, and I got a very special present on Saturday. For years, I have been saying I will get my ears pierced. Like for the first time. Once I was finally old enough that my parents would let me get them done, I had lost all desire. I wasn’t big into earrings, and the thought of a needle stabbing my earlobe wasn’t worth it to me. By the time I got to college and was in a dorm full of ear-pierced girls, the idea was starting to grow on me. I kept thinking that one of these days I’ll just go get it done.

College came and went, and I still hadn’t found enough courage to do it yet. My sister, Tricia, also had never pierced her ears, and was begging me to go with her. (You would think by the time we’re in our twenties we could be independent of each other…but nope.) I told her we would both go get it done whenever the first one of us got engaged, so we could wear beautiful earrings at the wedding. Thenn…my wedding came and went. I just cannot find the desire to willingly get TWO needles. Now Kali (my step-daughter) is turning five and is also begging me to get hers pierced. Her father…my ABRAHAM…told her she can’t have her ears pierced unless Mom does. (He did that on purpose!) Honestly, I could probably go my whole life without pierced ears and not care too much. I think Abe and Tricia were both finally understanding that, because they came up with a secret “surprise” for me. Abe’s Valentine’s gift to Tricia, Kali, and me was to take us all to the mall and get our ears pierced. I think he knew if it was a romantic “gift” from him I wouldn’t be able to turn it down! 😉 So I now, FINALLY, have pierced ears. And believe me, I did not like those needles. Kali went first, and was amazingly brave. No tears, and only one grimace when the needles went in. Great, now I have to be brave. Then Tricia was second, because I was hyperventilating. (I’m serious.) She was SO calm and didn’t even blink her eyes! Finally it was my turn. If you could have only heard the battle going on in my mind. “You have to do this–No I don’t.  You want to do this–Yeah…not really. Abe just paid money for this–Ok I’ll do it. It won’t hurt–YES IT WILL. You’ll be able to wear earrings–So what. Kali said she’ll hold your hand…she is on cloud nine looking in the mirror–Ok I’ll do it.” 

Somehow I managed to sit still until they shot those little studs in my ears. It wasn’t too bad, and I can honestly say I am excited about the earrings I’ll be able to wear. I admitted to Abe I’m glad I did it, even glad that he cornered me into it! ❤

 

I’ve been continuing with my Learning to Love Bible Study by Darlene Schacht. (For a link to her study see my last post Learning to Love Week 1.) This week we studied the friendship type of love.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen or done any other study on love between friends. Somehow the other types of love seem more important. Love for your spouse, love for family, love for God and His Word/ministry seem to all overshadow any type of friendship love. But there are tons of stories about faithful friends throughout the Bible. Jesus called Himself our “friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Growing up next-door to a family with kids the same age as all of the kids in my family, I have always treasured the verse in Proverbs “Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother that is far off.” Friends are important!

God valued friendships enough to teach about and give examples of them in His Word. This week I’ve enjoyed learning about some of the famous friendships in the Bible. Here’s what I learned about friendship love this week:

  1. Love speaks up, stands up, and shows up for its friends. (David and Jonathon)
  2. Love cares for friends even when they hurt you. (Job)
  3. Love is faithful to friends at their lowest points. (David and Ittai)
  4. Love generously thinks of the comfort of others. (David and Ittai)

I’ve added more prayer requests in my notebook this week. I can think of some friends right now that can relate to one or more of these points. I have a friend that I could speak up for right now; a friend that I can forgive and care for even though they have hurt me; a friend that is going through a hard time; and in general I can always think of the other person first and what might make them more comfortable.

Do you have friend situations in your mind right now that you need to be a faithful friend in? I’m inspired to love my friends more, and be the friend God wants me to be.

Hope you are enjoying this snowy February! Hard to believe March is right around the corner. Don’t forget to go stock up on Valentine’s Candy that’s on sale this week! 🙂

Love,

❤ Flossie

Learning to Love Week 1

February is here. Officially almost one week ago. How did that happen? So much for blogging once a week. (Sorry!) I’ll start being realistic and try for once a month…

Since this is the month for love and Valentine’s Day and all that, my mom printed and gave me Darlene Schacht’s Learning to Love 4-week Bible Study. It’s in a pretty pink folder, and she gave me a small pink 3×5 notebook with it, so naturally I was excited to get started. 😀 (P.S.–A Christian bookstore was going out of business near me, and I got a beautiful pink Bible for half price! I was so excited. If you are one of those people who hate pink…I apologize. I might put a picture up though. 😉 )

I thought I would share what I’ve been learning from it this past week. What I love about this Bible study is it is very open-ended. The questions aren’t the specific, fill-in-the-blank type questions that you find in most Bible Studies online. (Ex. “How many times was the word love mentioned in this passage?”). She divides the studies by types of love–Storge, Philia, Eros, and Agape. This first week has been all about Storge, or the natural affection between family members. She simply puts the day, Bible passage, and main characters at the top of the page, and then asks two questions.

  1. What is the main concept, or what is God telling you?
  2. How can you apply this to the way you love others?

I love that set-up! At first, I was a little thrown off. You ask me to read fifteen verses and then tell you the main concept?? Isn’t that like what we did in Doctrines class in college, except we always had some type of hint based on the notes? So I was stuck, academically trying to figure out what the main concept was. I even thought about cheating by using my study Bible to read the footnotes about the main concepts. But as I kept doing it each day, it was easier to see what the main idea was that God was trying to get across to me.

This week can be summed up for me in one main idea, actually.

Love cares for others first, no matter the circumstance. 

The verses I read this week illustrated over and over again how family members sacrificed, hurt, and surrendered their rights for the ones they loved. What stuck out to me most was how in almost each story, love was shown in the most dire circumstances. Here’s a few examples.

I learned from…

  • Jochebed that love is creative, determined, and will always find a way.
  • The un-named mother in Solomon’s kingdom that love is more important than being right or winning an argument. She was willing to surrender all her rights to the child in order for her baby to live.
  • Naomi that love grieves for and wants the best for others, even when it’s own grief is greater.
  • Ruth that love chooses the hard and difficult road over the easy way out. 

That’s just from this first week! I’m so looking forward to the next three weeks of February. If you’re interested in downloading this free Bible study, here is the link to her site and the study: Learning to Love Bible Study.

I am using the small pink notebook as my personal prayer book. (I already have a prayer notebook that I write down a lot of requests in…honestly, I have about two or three of those. I write down my prayer list, and then lose it…and write another one, and find the old one… I really am trying to have a more consistent prayer life. Now I need to find a consistent spot so I don’t lose all my stuff!) 🙂

Anyway…this little pink notebook is prayer requests that I have for myself, for God to change my heart. I wouldn’t normally share what’s in my prayer notebook, but what I have written down has helped me so much regarding the Bible study. Each day I only wrote one prayer request–basically the words in bold above. For instance, the second one in my notebook is that I would “give up my rights and trust God to fight for me.” I’ve found that writing just short statements from what I’ve learned, and praying it every day along with any others I add, has helped me remember what I learn each day. Many times I do a Bible study and feel like I am drinking from a fire hydrant–I can’t remember from one day to the next what I have learned, because I am learning so much! Praying this way has been a huge blessing to me and a way to remember the main idea of what I learned the day before. Just FYI, something that helped me. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed learning second-hand through this Bible study. Maybe you will have time to read it yourself soon! And maybe I will have time to blog again soon. 😉

Next week I turn 26! And Abe is taking Kali and I to get our ears pierced for Valentine’s Day. Since it’s part of my “present” I guess I have no way of chickening out this time. Besides, Tricia is coming too and she and Kali are dying to get theirs pierced so I will be brave for them… Speaking of low-pain tolerance, at the end of this month I will be getting all four of my wisdom teeth removed. They are almost all in and impacted and facing every which direction, so it will not be fun. Abe is also getting his four out–we are both going in at the same day and time. We must be out of our minds, I know. 😉 Kali already agreed to be our nurse for the weekend! (Just kidding…she will probably spend the night with her cousins and we will sleep away our misery, while texting our moms to bring us ice cream and pudding! What a romantic end to February that will be…)

Happy Early Valentine’s Day!

Love,

Flossie ❤

bible study

 

 

Our Life, 2015

Recently I clicked on that “Most Used Words on Facebook” link that I noticed most of my friends sharing. It showed the words used most in your status posts in a neat little word cloud. I’ll show you mine, because it goes perfectly with my 2015 post. I think you can see from the large letters what my life was like this past year! 🙂

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As I close out this crazy year of life changes and firsts, I realize how much Kali and I have grown and changed together. Abe and I have grown as a married couple (hey, we made it through the first year!!) but the differences for Kali and me are more noticeable. So this New Year’s Eve post is dedicated to my special little girl and the bond we made this year. (And sorry, Abe–but Kali’s name is just bigger than yours on my Most Used Words cloud! 😉 ) 

Life with Kali

#1 thing I learned this year: Kids grow SOOO fast!! It is hard to believe that this time last year Kali was a little toddler who needed me to carry her up the stairs, lift her onto couches and her bed, and kind of basically do EVERYTHING for her. Now she is a tall-for-her-age beauty who walks on her own, is fully potty trained, and has a better sense of style than I do! Her confidence has sky-rocketed this year. And so has mine.

She is more confident in my love for her. She doesn’t ask Grammy any more if her mommy will “love her forever, or just for a little bit.” (And break my heart!)

I am more confident in her love for me too. No matter how many times it happens, it touches my heart every time when she wants me over all else. I love when she runs past her dad so he doesn’t grab her (it’s a morning ritual haha) to get to my side of the bed so I can pull her up and cuddle before we have to wake up. I love when we’re at church and she tells everyone around her that that’s her mommy playing the piano up front.

I’ve seen my confidence grow in the area of parenting. And trust me–I’m no expert!! But I’ve noticed that a key, at least for me, is knowing Kali. I’ve read a lot of books trying to get a handle on the whole instant-mom deal, have gone to parenting classes at our church, and watched other parents. But only Abe and I really know Kali, and sometimes all that stuff just doesn’t work. Kali and I went through a lot of rough patches this past year. It wasn’t easy going from “best-friend/sleepovers-every-week” during the engagement phase to just mom.

I remember one day she was being pretty difficult–nothing too crazy, just a lot of whining… and crying… and acting like I was the most terrible person on earth. 😉 I went into her room to tell her she had to put her night braces on, and she burst out crying yet again. “You ALWAYS make me wear my braces! I don’t WANT to wear them!!” At that point, after the whole rough day, I was ready to cry myself. I couldn’t handle our repeated conversation with her about why she needed to wear them, and definitely couldn’t handle a battle where I just made her wear them. Just from lack of knowing what else to do, I picked her up, sat on her bed, and just rocked her in my lap for a little while. I was tired of trying to have all the answers like “real moms” do (in my opinion at the time).

I was a little shocked when just a little later she stopped crying and hugged my neck and told me she loved me. She seemed calmer and easier to deal with, we got her night braces on with no problem, and she was even laughing and begging me to read her a book. It was a miracle from God and I thanked Him for getting me through!

#2 thing I learned: Kids pick up on and copy actions that you might not even know you’re doing!

I can’t tell you how many times Kali will say something and I wonder where she heard that, only to find out I had said it! I didn’t realize I said this one certain phrase a lot–“If I said it’s time for bed, it’s time for bed!” and “If I said it’s not, it’s not!”  Then we got in the car one day and Kali said it’s sunny out. Abe and I looked at each other, and Abe said, “Actually it’s pretty cloudy, Kali.” Kali replied without blinking an eye: “Daddy, if I said it’s sunny, it’s sunny!” Ahhh!!! Abe definitely knew where that one came from. 😉

But then there are the times when I didn’t know it was possible to feel so proud of someone. Like when she picks up on my teaching habits, and teaches her dolls how to play the piano–with lots of praise for how well they do! Or when I realize that what I’m saying might actually be getting through to her–like when she uses please and thank you without being told.

I’ll end with one of the most rewarding moments of my year.

(BESIDES when she went a week with no accidents and finally was potty trained–I HONESTLY was more excited on that day than I was at my highschool graduation!) 

We were at a family gathering, and all the cousins were eating at a smaller table in a different room from the adults table. At our house, Abe and I always pray before meals with Kali, and she loves to beg us to let her pray for the meal. She and I also pray before lunch at school. In the busyness of getting all the kids their food and drinks and being all together, I didn’t even think about praying before the meal. Suddenly I heard Kali’s high, loud voice above all the commotion–“MOMMM!! We didn’t pray!!” Apart from being a little embarrassed as all the eyes in the room turned to me, I felt an enormous sense of satisfaction that my girl remembered and wanted to make sure we prayed before we ate. I quietly told her she can pray for herself and her cousins, then the whole room got quiet as my little Kali prayed in her cute little way.

I realized that day that investing in the life of another person is worth it. Whether you are a step-parent, biological parent, teacher, mentor, friend–any time you make a difference in someone’s life, all the struggle is worth it. I’ll go through a thousand more nights waking up to Kali’s cries at 2am and rubbing her legs for 15 minutes until she falls back asleep because the night braces hurt her so much. I’ll take the extra 10…15…20 minutes it takes to get out the door each day with her in tow. LOVE does that to you somehow, you know??

I wouldn’t trade a single day with you this year, Kal-Pal, and can’t wait to see how much you grow in 2016. I love you so much. ❤ Mom

 kali an me

P.S. Goals for 2016??

Abe and I are cutting Facebook out of our life this year, just for one year. We’re focusing on our family and limiting distractions. I’m committing to wake up earlier and exercise…yeah, yeah, that’ll last about a month. 😉 We’re saving to go to Disney…if that dream will ever come true, for Kali AND for me! And we’re praying about decisions for the best option for Kali’s schooling. We are so thankful for all that God has brought us through this year, and all that He has in store for 2016.

Happy New Year!!

 

 

Better to Die in Egypt

Have you ever been at a point in your life where you wanted something different, something better? And then something happens…and you change your mind and want your old life back?? (Not speaking from experience, I promise…. 😉 )

I have occasionally wanted something and then got it, only to find out I didn’t really want it at all. AKA, a small sporty car. Give me back my big engine Explorer! 🙂

Abe and I are attending a class on Wednesday nights offered by our church, called “Restoring Love in the Blended Family.” This was our first week. We are watching the “SMART Stepfamilies” video series by Ron Deal. (If you are part of a blended family, which a HUGE percentage of Americans are, please check out the site: Smart Stepfamilies You will be encouraged!)

Before I get to the reason why this blog post title is about Egypt, let me back up. I was excited and cautious when I found out our Pastor was doing a blended family parenting small group class on Wednesday nights. For those of you who don’t know me, I married my husband Abe in December of this past year, 2014, and became an instant step-mom to his beautiful daughter Kali. So we are about 9 months into the whole blended family deal. And it is true, NOTHING can fully prepare you for this life. You think you are ready, and you prepare, and you pray…but it is simply, as Ron Deal puts it, “complex” and there is no easy formula! 

So back to this class, I knew I wanted to go…knew I needed to go. I tried to think through our church families…Umm, who besides Abe and me will be there?? I actually knew of many in our church that would possibly go to it. Will we have to talk? Because I’m positive there’s no way Abe will say anything so that means I will have to. I was relieved when Pastor announced that it is open to people not in blended families as well, as they could still learn from it. Phew!

Another part of me was scared to admit I needed to go. So many well-meaning people took it upon themselves to talk to either me or Abe or both of us about what we might be facing when we got married. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the advice…but when you are the main pianist at a large church, a lot of eyes watch you! And when you are a staff member, pianist up front, teacher to most of the kids in the church, AND you are about to marry a man with a daughter…there is no END to the advice offered, warnings issued, “I’m praying for you” phrases heard. I remember patiently trying to graciously accept each and all and take as much truth out of them all as I could. But then the wedding happened…and life went on. People still watched, but didn’t talk as much. They just watch us walk into church with Kali, watch Kali calling me mom and getting excited to watch me play the piano, watch us both try to keep her quiet during the service. (Haha! She turned 4 right after we got married…so we got to deal with those fun times right away!!) And somehow the combination of all the talk before the wedding, with the silence after the wedding, and the reality of our life after the wedding, put a little guard up on my heart. All of a sudden, it wasn’t about appreciating prayers and advice and kind people. It was about proving that we could make it, that we don’t have problems, that being a step family is the most natural thing in the world. 

But it’s not.

It’s really hard. 

There, I said it. 🙂 All of the kind people at my church are truly kind–it is only in my heart that I feel pressure to live up to expectations. This class on Wednesday nights is slowly taking that guard off of my heart, and helping me realize I can admit that sometimes life is a struggle. Whether you are part of a blended family or not–life will be hard!

Ron Deal made a statement that was like cool water refreshing my soul: “Feeling lost in the wilderness is par for the journey of a step-family.” How did he know?? 🙂

Sometimes I do feel a little lost in the wilderness. Sometimes when I see the hugeness of it all. Like the fact that Kali is growing up. And just like I grew up in my stable home with mom and dad and brothers and sisters, she is growing up in my home. Is it stable enough for her? Are Abe and I a good team, do we let our own problems affect her when we think she doesn’t understand? Will she ever resent me? Am I doing all the right things as a mom for her? How on earth will I get her through school and make sure she learns and does well in her class? If you are a mom out there–step mom or biological, I’m sure you can relate to the myriads of questions and concerns that bombard my mind constantly regarding Kali. I simply feel inadequate to meet all her needs.

Sometimes I feel lost in the wilderness because I’m not sure where I belong. My life took a turn that I never envisioned–so how do I go forward when I’m not even sure what our family life is supposed to look like? After 9 months, I’ve accepted the fact that we are, and always will be, a blended family. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We’re not like my parents, or my family. We’re not like Abe’s family. We’re not like the families that most of our own generation grew up in. So where do I fit in? I’m embracing this new family life, embracing Kali and everything that comes with her. But I realized in jumping in wholeheartedly, it is easy to actually lose my heart’s orientation…lose who I am, myself, as a person, why I chose what I did, why I do what I do. Hence…I’m lost in the wilderness. 🙂

As we sat in the dimmed chapel and watched Ron Deal on the big white screen speak about the Isrealites in the wilderness, I thought about the verse he read about Isreal wishing they were back in Egypt. First they wanted out of their slavery. Then they got what they wanted, and found out they didn’t want it at all. They were envisioning the Promised Land full of milk and honey, peace for their families and land to build a life on. Instead they were stuck in the wilderness–wandering, lost, losing sight of God’s plan and provision for them.

We heard about how that picture is similar to a step-family situation. Two people fall in love–and envision the Promised Land. And then we find ourselves in the wilderness, and wonder what on earth went wrong.

If you are like me, and tired of wandering in the wilderness–don’t wish for your Egypt! Abe and I were encouraged on Wednesday night to not quit until we reach our Promised Land. We WILL get there. It could be long, hard, dangerous, difficult–but God is our God in the wilderness AND in the Promised Land. He IS leading us to right where He wants us right now–in the wilderness. Depending on Him. With the hope of the life He promised when He said, “For I know the thoughts I think towards you…thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jere. 29:11) And until then, we are finding God’s peace in the wilderness. When parenting problems arise, and worries crowd out our joy, we know we can depend on God to teach us what we need to learn in our wilderness.

It is NOT better to die in Egypt. I’ll stick through the wilderness and die in my Promised Land, thank you very much. 🙂

Honestly Yours,

❤ Flossie Phillips

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Our family when our Promised Land journey began ❤

25 Years of Wishes…and Prayers

MAKE A WISH

Yesterday, I turned 25. I don’t feel too different…yet! Over the past week or so I was thinking of making a list of my top 25 Bible verses, quotes, pictures, or memories for my birthday post. But with a full time job, keeping a house running, a three-year-old occupied and dinner on the table, my life right now is not very conducive to coming up with lists of 25 of anything! (Unless it’s a to-do list…)

So I thought we could talk about wishes. Do you have any wishes? A bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list…but randomly I’ll find myself thinking “I wish” this or that.

I have seen two shooting stars so far in my life. I know lots of people who haven’t seen any, so I feel “lucky” to have seen two. One was just randomly when I was driving my car at night while in college. My first thought was cool! My second thought was it’s silly to make wishes, everyone knows it’s not for real but my third thought was well just for the fun of it, I wish… and I made a wish that night that I could continue eating ice cream like I did then for the rest of my life and never get fat. (Seriously. Anyway everyone knows they don’t come true right??) 🙂
The second one I was sitting on a bench by a fountain on the front campus of my university, with my boyfriend at the time, and we both saw the same one. Romantic, right?? Yeah well we didn’t get married. We just weren’t right for each other and we both knew it. But I made a wish that night too–I knew I probably wouldn’t marry that guy I was sitting with, so I just wished that I would be happily married someday to someone.

Do you make a wish when you blow out candles on your birthday cake? I can still picture my family’s small living room on cold February nights, year after year, lights dimmed, people crowded, and a big pink and white Valentines cake with flickering candles sitting in front of me. My big extended family would sing at the top of their lungs, off-key, “Happy Birthday” to me, and of course when the song ended, everyone would be laughing or clapping and calling out for me to make a wish. For someone who doesn’t believe in wishes coming true, I sure have made a lot of wishes! 😉

So at 11:11 or birthdays or shooting stars I maybe will make a wish for the fun of it, but there is something better than a wish that I believe in, and I hope you do too. I believe in prayer. I can trace who I am today, and all the blessings I have, back to someone’s prayers. My Poppop Koechig used to tell us all the story many times about how it was through his mother’s prayers that he married a Christian girl (my Grandmom) instead of the Catholic girl he was dating. Prayer saved my dad’s life when he was in a serious car accident in his teens. Prayer kept my family’s finances going–through five kids, a stay-at-home mom, and Christian School payments. And now, God has answered our prayers for college funds, and four out of the five kids in our family either are, or will be in the next year or two, graduating college debt-free. (Our youngest sibling, Jacob, leaves for his first year of college this fall!)

In my own personal life, I love looking back and seeing all the prayers that God answered–whether I realized it at the time or not. I know that I owe who I am right now to my own mom, who has prayed for me since before I was born. She has even fasted for certain “bigger” concerns in my life, and God answered her prayers. To this day, if I really really need something, I call up mom and ask her to pray for it. I am incredibly thankful for that heritage and hope to pass it on to Kali and any other kids I have!
And it is amazing to see the answered prayers in Abe’s life. Someday maybe I will be able to share some of his story with you, but it gives me chills sometimes to think about Abe’s life before I knew him, and all the prayers his mother prayed for him, that possibly kept him alive, and made it possible for me to marry him. I’m thankful for a godly mother-in-law who didn’t give up on her son, or her faith in God.

I wish I could give you a snapshot of what I envision in my mind when I think of prayer. It is my dad–at the crack of dawn, driving his old station wagon into crime-ridden downtown Chester, sitting in the car outside his plant, opening up the old wrinkled Bible and praying through the aged, creased, single piece of notebook paper with his prayer list scribbled in his own writing on it. It is my mom–in her robe, sitting in the living room easy chair with the lamp on next to her, reading her Bible and praying until we woke up to get ready for school and she went in the kitchen to make our lunches. It is my Grandmom–gathering everyone into one room at her house every time we came over so that she could pray for our “needy family”. It is teens in our youth group, kneeling in their classrooms and fasting for the upcoming revival meetings. Check out http://youthablaze.us/ to see what God is doing in this fiery group. I hope you have a picture in your mind of what prayer looks like. Has it changed your life? The most important prayer that you could ever pray is the prayer to let Jesus into your life.  I hope that you have done that already!

Do you make wishes? Have they come true? I’ll be praying for you, whoever you are reading this blog. I hope on your birthday you say wishes and enjoy seeing movies of wishes come true…but if you ever find yourself in a place where the fairy-tale ends, and the wishes are just blown away in the wind like the dandelion seeds, I pray that it will lead you to find the One who really wants to give you your hearts desire…and He is as close as a whispered prayer!

Flossie ❤

P.S. I had a wonderful birthday–got to sleep in due to a delay because of ice, bake cookies with Kali, and then spend a quiet evening at home. Abe continued a new tradition he started last year…my favorite store is White House Black Market (http://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/) but it’s a little pricey for me! Last year on my birthday he went and picked out a dress from there and got shoes to match it. This year, sure enough, I woke up on Tuesday morning to a beautiful White House Black Market box with an even more beautiful dress in it, and and elegant matching bracelet and sweater! He definitely spoiled me…hope he knows this is an expensive pattern to follow!

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Heart to Heart

Happy February!

Since I’ve started keeping up with my blog, I have a whole folder on my computer of started blog posts, ideas for future posts, lists, etc. that I want to post at some point. I was actually feeling like I had too many ideas to keep up with! Now it’s been a little over a week since I last posted, and I just wasn’t feeling any of my topics or previously started posts. So I thought I would post something random about February–my favorite month of the year–and maybe that will boost my inspiration again!

January seems like a “cold” winter month to me, while February seems to be a “warm/cozy” winter month. I don’t know why that is–maybe it’s just me! But seeing all of the Valentines decorations and crafts out in the stores, looking forward to President’s Day off school, and knowing it’s my birthday month have always made me love February. Yup–I’m going to be 25 in 5 days! That is really hard to believe. (I just got an inspiration for a birthday post! That’ll keep me going for another week 🙂 ) So today I am going to share a story that has to do with my husband Abe and my birthday, and then I’ll post some Valentines inspiration. Hope you enjoy this post!

When Abe and I were just beginning to talk, but weren’t officially dating yet, we went out to eat with a group of friends, and the conversation came up about what age is the perfect age to get married. Some friends said early twenties, late twenties, etc. (I’m thinking in my head, the earlier the better! At age 23 at the time, I had already noticed that my Grandmother had been married three years by that time, my mom was about to have her first baby when she was 23, and my sister-in-law was married and pregnant at that age. And I, on the other hand, was sitting there with my other single friends who all lived at home and worked during the week and went out on the weekends to talk about the perfect age to get married!)

ANYWAY, one particular friend of ours mentioned that he thought 30 was the perfect time to marry and settle down. I hadn’t been saying much in the conversation, but I couldn’t help making a comment there…I told the table that if I wasn’t married by the time I was 25, then I didn’t want to get married at all. Abe was sitting next to me and started laughing when I said that, and I immediately felt a little embarrassed. I didn’t want to scare him off! I just stubbornly wanted to be like all the other females in my family and be a young mom and young grandmother, and if I couldn’t be a young bride than I didn’t want to be a bride at all. (So I might definitely have some of my Poppop Koechig’s blood in me…)

Shortly after that conversation, I went on a missions trip to Vanuatu. While I was there, I saw and did and experienced tons of crazy, life-changing things. I remember one particular day, early in the morning (you have not experienced a beautiful, warm, listen-to-the-birds early morning until you have been to Vanuatu!) that God was working on my heart in the area of giving over every desire to Him. My wish to be married before I was 25 kept coming to my mind–I did NOT want to give that over to Him. I did NOT  want to be married as an older lady! But I finally surrendered to Him, and told Him that I give my life to Him– If I’m supposed to get married later, than that is the best way my life could go. Now, I had to pray that again several times when the anxious thoughts and worries came back, but I never struggled with the heartache nearly as much as I had before that trip.

Now fast-forward to July, 2014. One of these days I will share our full engagement story, but for now just know that after the thrilling jump and parachutes were up and the sign was seen and the ring was on my finger, one of the first conversations we had was about when we wanted to get married. We had two options–do a 6-month engagement and have a winter wedding, or wait almost a year until spring. Being the slow decision-maker that I am, I wanted to weigh all the options and pros and cons of each. To Abe, the decision was simple. I remember him smiling at me and saying, “I don’t care what date you want as long as it’s before February 10, 2015.” Do I have an awesome guy or what?? And I have an awesome God too…who wants to give us the desires of our hearts! We joked about how if we don’t get married before then, we won’t be able to get married because I vowed that I wouldn’t get married after 25. I’ve always wanted a Christmas wedding anyway, so our December 19th date was finally set, and I was married at the medium-old age of 24. As I’m so close to turning 25 now, I can’t help but continually thinking of that story and how God worked out my life for me in His perfect way and timing, and how giving over all my stubborn desires is definitely the best way to go. Even if He doesn’t work it all out exactly how I want it…His way is still best!

So there’s my heartwarming story for this week before Valentines. Have you ever had a desire that you gave over to God, and He gave it back to you better than you could have imagined? I hope so! I’ve also had experiences when He gave back something entirely different, but that was still just right. I hope you recognize and look for those times, and thank God for all that He does in your life. I know I have so much to thank Him for!

Enjoy your Valentines Day!

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Just love this! Here’s the link: http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/01/24-valentines-cards-for-2-49-shipped.html but looks like you could DIY it too!

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This is cute and looks easy!

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