"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Rapidity of this Thing We Call Life

Wow. A lot has happened over the past few weeks. As I transitioned from what is supposedly my second hardest trimester of the program to the first, I was graciously given one whole week off. So we fled the fast-paced Southern California lifestyle and went to Texas to see my family. We had a blast doing a lot of things we only get to do there. Tracy not only caught her first fish (followed by 6 more in rapid succession!) but shot her first one too!! We were quite impressed, as was our guide (guy in the middle) who couldn't be happier to have a Southern California girl shoot a fish on his boat! The house is progressing nicely. We have the majority of the big stuff done but have a lot of little things to do. I don't think we've hung one thing on the walls yet. We're both pretty busy but trying to enjoy life as we attempt to keep all the plates spinning. I am recovering from the hard lesson that isolation is not how life is meant to be lived. As the last trimester wrapped up, I spent less and less time with other people and began to believe the lies that my relationships were either unnecessary or false. After receiving some well needed perspective, I am working on clearing things up with others and getting with people who refresh me who, in turn, I hope to refresh. It's an important part of our relationships to keep things clear. Without forgiveness, trust is broken and bitterness grows. Without honesty, a facade goes up that keeps the real you away from others. Matthew 5:23-24 tells us, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the alter and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the alter. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." By keeping relationships clear, we can experience joy and refreshment in relationships - relationships that are real.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh, the Joys

Well, Jace told me he wasn't going to add anything new to our blog until I write a post, which as you can see has taken me over 3 months to do. Well, since our last post (or Jace's, I should say) we are official home owners! Scary, I know. We "took occupancy" on June 13th, Friday the 13th to be specific, and got to work right away...and we haven't stopped since. We moved into the madness on June 21st and about a week ago it finally felt like home. We still have PLENTY of projects to do, but it's just about presentable to have guests over (to hang out, not to put to work).

Mostly, we are just thankful. We are thankful to so many of our friends and family who helped us out. You all saved us hours and hours of time and energy. And we really appreciate the attitude everyone had, even though we gave some of you really yucky jobs. And we are very thankful that God has given us the ability to be able to live in our new home. We had a couple surprises here and there and will still be stretched to get all the bills paid every month, but God has always provided for us what we need and we have no doubt He will continue to be faithful. There is a slideshow on the right-hand side of the page of the many people who helped us out. Check it out - and if we missed you, sorry. We still really appreciate you!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Answered Prayers

With the falling prices of housing over the last few years, Tracy and I began to think and pray about potentially buying property. With the way prices have been over the past few years of our marriage, we came to the point of contentment with renting indefinitely. As the prices have fallen, we began to realize that we actually might be able to purchase something after all. We recognized that since God is the owner of all things, that He would have to give us a home and that we would not be able to afford one without his help. Tracy said it best when talking to someone that if God doesn't provide us a house and if it isn't His will, that we don't want it as it would only bring trouble. We thought through our list of needs in a house and began to pray specifically for them. We talked to a realtor and friend of the Herman family who helped us think through our options. We continued to pray specifically and began looking at neighborhoods and properties on our own. The time came for us to go look at places. We selected six and began looking. Only one of those properties met all of the needs we had been praying for. It had the lowest home owners association fees and had the least damage internally. We prayed about it and talked to some more people before making an offer this last Tuesday. Our realtor called the sellers on Friday to get a status check on our offer. We had placed the first offer, but four others had followed. The property is bank owned, and the selling realtor had been authorized to accept the highest offer. He looked and we had the highest offer - by a few hundred dollars. God came through and provided us a new home. It proved to us that God is the owner of all and that He gave us this property. One person told us that this was an example of being faithful with little and being given something greater (with more responsibility) in response to this. This process has been a great opportunity to trust and God and see Him answer prayers specifically. We hope that our experience can be an example of God's faithfulness and the power of prayer. We will keep you updated as the process moves along, and I will do my best to keep this blog updated more consistently. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you soon. Oh, and our place is the one in the middle by the lamppost.

2 down, 7 to go

Well many of you have pointed out that we need to update our blog. Yes, we very much do! I was trying to post at least once a month, but school got a bit crazy and I haven't been able to get it done. With my duties as an officer for my class, leading a community group, being on the sight and sound team at church, staying on top of my studies and going to class, I got a bit pushed to my limit. I developed shingles due to my stress among a few other physical symptoms of stress. I buckled down and did my best to do everything with excellence and tried to persevere under the pressure, knowing that perseverance will build character. The temptation under duress is to bail on responsibility or cut corners. I have been encouraged in the past to endure under these times of pressure and to rely on God for strength. He uses these hard times to develop and strengthen us for even harder times to come. With some encouragement from others and a lot of hard work, I made it through. My shingles cleared up and I got good grades on my exams and for my final grades. I am now working full time for 3 weeks at Salinas Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Yorba Linda. I am learning a great deal and thoroughly enjoying my experience. Working with and helping patients has reminded me why I wanted to be a physical therapist. This experience is truly re-energizing me and I look forward to going back to school to learn more so I can become a competent therapist.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Year, New Changes

I'm sitting here trying to stay focused on the pile of books nearby, thinking to myself that I'll never get it. There's so much to learn and so little time. My vacation flew by so fast and I'm already flying through this trimester. At the end of this one, I will begin my first clinical. It will only be 3 weeks long (a teaser) but will give us a chance to give the things we have learned some context.

God was gracious enough to provide Tracy with a new job that she will begin this coming Wednesday. She is working hard to tie up the loose ends in her current role before moving forward in the next phase. She's excited about the change and is ready to start.

Texas gave us a good opportunity to step out of our routine and enjoy friends and family. We even got to see the rapidly growing Gabriel Catalano, who turned 1 right after we left. It's a different world in Texas. It's hard to pinpoint exactly way, but it was refreshing. Maybe it was the lack of traffic. Maybe it was all the nice people with their southern hospitality. Maybe it was being around people we love but rarely see. I don't know why, but it was nice.

God has been good to us and is teaching us how to rely on him each day. We're faced with many decisions and many opportunities to trust in him. Life is good right now. I'd better quit procrastinating from studying. First round of midterms hit Friday. Take care all!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Refreshment at last

Finals are finally over and Christmas is almost here! Man, this year has flown by. Finals lasted a couple of weeks sporadically with the final week consisting of the final 6 tests. I did well, overall (thank the Lord) and could not be happier to be done. The picture I attached was edited by my sister for one of my presentations on a patient who had suffered a CVA (stroke). The picture is depicting the proper positioning in bed with the involved (affected) side up. We leave in a few days for Texas to visit family and friends. We are very excited to get out of our routine for a few days and to get some time to have fun and relax. I get about three weeks off from school before having to go back. Most of my breaks will only be about a week long, but they extend it during Christmas for us. It'll be great to not have to spend quite so much time studying. Our community group also got to get together last week and enjoy looking at Christmas lights and getting to spend some time together. We have a great group of people in our group and are really enjoying getting to know them better. It's a weekly lesson for me in leading, as well. For you who I won't get to see over the next few weeks, I wish you a Merry Christmas and pray you have a wonderful time with your friends and family. May you too find refreshment during this season.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Red Cups already??

It’s November 8th with only two weeks till Thanksgiving – and yet all around me I’m already seeing (and sometimes hearing) Christmas. Where has 2007 gone? I saw my first Red Cup from Starbucks today and couldn’t help but smile, knowing that for the first time in over five years that I will not have to endure the retail torture of the holidays. With 2007 nearly gone, I can’t help but get slightly sentimental and retrospective about life. Today is Tracy’s 25th birthday and marks the five years to the day that we have been officially a couple. It’s startling to see how much change has happened in five years and how faithful God has been throughout the years. Tonight was also the first night of our Community Group meeting. Community groups within Church in the Valley (CIV) are small groups that meet weekly. The purpose of these groups is to encourage one another to love God and to love others. One of the ways that we do that is by meeting together weekly to talk about what is going on in our lives and how the Bible helps us to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him. Beyond group stating, Tracy and I are plugging away at life. I just went through some grueling midterms (welcome to grad school!) and Tracy is adjusting to new responsibilities at work. We are definitely looking forward to the holidays – a time we can spend with our families and take a quick break. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy the brisk weather and hopefully sneak over to Starbucks for a cup of coffee in my first Red Cup of the season.