Thursday, April 9, 2009

As the laundry piles...

It never fails to amaze me how much laundry Ben and I have, and also, how terribly horrible we are at actually doing it. You'd think we'd learn: doing little loads all the time is much better letting is all pile (quite literally) up. But nooooo! We let it pile...and pile...and pile...and pile! I really should take a picture of the mess we have downstairs, but I'm too ashamed. Only my beloved and I shall know the utter chaos we choose to live in. It's okay though, I have five days off, I'll do the laundry in that time, right? Of course! So, naturally, I wait until 7:30 pm the night before my stretch of work to start on the monster job of folding ALL of our clothing, and I'm obviously dilligently working as my sweet husband is out serving our Lord. Yes, yes, yes, I'm dilligently tackling my project...I'm just taking a break...a blog break.

I'm taking a break because as I was folding Ben's jeans I found a pair I swear he hasn't worn in years (yet they are in our pile of just washed clothes...hmmm...). I looked at them and thought "What jeans are these? Calvin Klein? He doesn't wear these anymore. He hasn't worn them since we first started dating. Actually, these are the pants he wore to meet me for the first time!" That thought instantly took me back to February 8th (I think!) 2006. After 5 months of emailing long-distance I was finally going to meet my "internet buddy." To prepare, my friend Jenny skipped our nursing class (I don't actually remember this detail, but I'm sure we did, it's so something we would have done) and made out way to the mall just to get out. I'm also sure we were both broke, so naturally, we made our way to Clinique and drowned our I'm-a-poor-college-student woes with some bronzer and lipgloss. We eventually made our way to the Gap and Old Navy where I found an adorable pink shrug that would be perfect for the evening - which was not a date, just two friends meeting for coffee. Not a date. Oh, and yes, I'm pretty silly and remember exactly what each of us were wearing that night. You may call me lame, I'm dealing with it. Anyways, as the afternoon went on, I was calm and not at all nervous. Time started inching closer to the appointed meeting time and I began getting ready. It was almost time. I wasn't nervous. The time was here...any minute now. At this point, news of my meeting my internet man was out and all the girls on my floor were expectently waiting to see what this mysterous man looked like. Most curious was my good friend Ashley, who happened to have a room overlooking the parking lot. Ashley served as lookout that night. I still remember her sitting ontop of the window sill looking out and squeeling as every car entered the lot until finally: (mini-yell) "He's here!...and he's hot!!" I was calm up until that moment - then a million butterflies erupted in my stomach and I began to shake. My phone rang. "Stephanie, it's Ben, I'm here." I made my way downstairs and opened the door for the handsome man waiting for me. He said "Hi, I'm Ben." I said "I know." (with a BIG smile) He started to shake my hand and I said "We should hug" and we did, right there in the doorway (literally, he was still holding the door). Then, I said, "I'm so nervous!" I took him upstairs and introduced him to my suitemates and let the others get a glance at my hot-stranger-internet-man. We made our way down the block to Starbucks and once we sat down with our lattes (actually, I had a chai and he had a drip coffee) the conversation began to flow and every ounce of nervousness faded. It was as though I was sitting with an old friend (and old friend I was very, very attracted to) and it was perfect.

It still is perfect. Well, maybe not "perfect" perfect, but perfect enough.

This has been a tough season for my internet-man and I. We have been challenged in more ways than we imagined, but it's humbling us and helping us to see our multitude of blessings. It's hard to stay calm when I don't know what tomorrow will bring and when we are totally out of options, but I know that our God is an AWESOME God and that He is mighty to save! I've been using those verses, among others, as my mantra of faith. I know that He who has begun a good work in us will continue it until completion. I have hope and I have faith. Our Father is a provider of much more than simply the basics. He gives joy in the midst of suffering and hope when there seems to be no physical way. I love that even in hard times He helps us to see the sweetest moments in our lives and lets us savor them again and again.

I am so thankful for every gift that I have in my life. I feel so unworthy to be as blessed as I am, and I know that every trial we are going through is also a gift from Him. He is strengthening us, and refining us by fire. I pray that through these times we are able to be used for His glory. I pray that we are good stewards of this life that he has given us and lights to those in much darker situations than ours. God is my provider, my strength and my song. I pray that my actions, my words, my thoughts and my life reflects His grace in my life. Every day, no matter what.

God is good and only good.

Be blessed and filled with joy...

Mrs. BigTime

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Beautiful Day

The sun is shining in Portland! It's beautiful and I'm so thankful for a break from the often-present gray. My absolute favorite part of my house is its windows. We have 4 skylights and windows on 3 of our 4 walls. It is so peaceful in our living room when the sun is shining. Everything is soft and glowing. It's warm and peaceful. I've had many days since living here when I just sit and soak it all in. Days like this refresh my soul.

These last few weeks have been really busy for us. We celebrated both of our birthdays with a trip to Vegas, which was super fun. My dad surprised us and came out to visit too. It was so good to see him! Our birthday celebration didn't end there however, next up was a wine night at our house (also, super fun, we have to have another one again soon!), a birthday party at a friend's house (we have 5 end of Feb/March birthdays in our group of 8 friends!), then we had Ben's sister Hannah out to visit (the same weekend we hosted some of my friends & their family while they were visiting their neice who was sick in the NICU at DCH), I went back to Vegas with some girlfriends for a conference, Ben had finals, Pearl Bridge put the finishing touches on their CD, then to wrap things up, we celebrated another friend's birthday at a Blazer game (my first. We had a catered sky box - so, so, so fun!). Whew!

March also presented us with a huge struggle. As mentioned in the previous post, our friend Nathan was released from this world and taken to be with the Lord. Our hearts ache for his family, who demonstrated amazing grace and faithfulness in the midst of this tough time. Pearl Bridge had the opportunity to play at both of his memorials, which was such a blessing. The spirit of the Lord was so very present as we worshiped. Our hearts were aching, but a presence of joy filled as we knew Nathan was sitting in the hands of our sweet Father. We know that hearts were touched, not only by the loss of this boy, but by the peace his parents and siblings demonstrated as they comforted others while dealing with their own grief. We don't always understand why tough things happen in this life, but it is our prayer that God be glorified through this loss. Ben also had the opportunity to record bass on a beautiful son that Nathan's brother wrote for him. I wish I had the link to it...I'll search for it and add it later. It's beautiful.

Pearl Bridge has been hard at work for the past few months finishing their first recording, and I'm so excited to say that it's done! Their self-titled EP will be released a week from today at Radiant's Easter service (Radiant is pastored by John and Pam Vredevelt, Nathan's parents). You can check out some songs from the CD on Facebook or Myspace.

Well, I should wrap up, since that handsome man of mine is finally ready to go out and enjoy this spectacular day with me.

Oh, one last thing: Congratulations to my sweet friends Jen & Ben who delivered this beautiful baby yesterday:

Welcome to the world baby Sterling! You are so loved!

- Mrs. BigTime