Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Preparing Ourselves for Marriage: The Importance of Prayer

This past Saturday evening, Joe and I along with my future mother-in-law watched "The War Room."  If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend.  The creators wrote "Fireproof" and "Courageous" both of which I've enjoyed.  I couldn't help enjoy the beautiful North Carolina scenery as well.  The movie provides humor and heart of the power that prayer can have in our relationships, marriages, home, and in our heart.  Although the movie ends on a positive note, its a vivid reminder that prayer is a powerful weapon.

Prayer can be so hard for some because it creates this place of vulnerability.  Many of us only seem to pray when things aren't going right but forget to pray everyday, along the way, through the good and the bad.  Prayer is important for both personal growth but for marital growth.  I'll be the first to admit, I don't pray like I should.  I guess you could say, I never really know how to pray. Prayer isn't always about asking God to do something because we all know it's in his time but prayer brings us closer to God.  Prayer provides an intimate relationship with God.  When it comes to prayer in a marriage, I believe prayers are about focusing on each others imperfections.  I want Joe and I to wake up every day and chose to love one another not through our own strength but by the power of Christ's perfect love.  Only God can help us do that.

In the movie, Miss Clara, an actress, used a closet in her home as her prayer room.  She went there each day to fight her wars with the devil and allowed God to take complete control over her life.  I struggle with this myself on a daily basis.  God wants us to give all our troubles, worries, concerns, doubts, fears, and anxiety over to him.  The weight is too heavy to burden ourselves. When we give something to God, it feels wonderful because we are essentially giving the burden, worries, and cares of that thing over to Him. We are doing what Philippians 4:6 instructs us to do which is to, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And when we do this, (present our requests to Him), we feel an overwhelming peace knowing that it is in His hands, which is what the next verse explains will happen…”And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The devil is out to destruct.  The only thing we can hold onto is the power of prayer.  The movie talks about having a battle prayer plan in place since we are always going to battle with the devil.  It's time we fight for our marriages, families, home, and the world we live in.

We are Christians, we sin, and no one is perfect.  Do you pray for your husband, wife, your family, your kids, your home, your marriage, your community, and the list goes on?  I've read so many Christian based articles about marriage trying to learn tools to equip us for the years ahead.  And EVERYTHING I've read talks about the power or prayer and why it's important for emotional intimacy, growth, allowing God the reigns of a relationship, and creating unity as one.  My hope is for Joe and I when we get married to pray together each and every night and to pray separately for one another. I have no doubt through the power of prayer our marriage will continue to be a blessing. We are not here on this earth to change one another but God can change our hearts, soul and mind if we allow him.  All you have to do is ask him.  Jesus taught us to be answers to our own prayers when, in the Sermon on the Mount, He told His disciples, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt 7:7-8).

Although this time of wedding planning is exciting, it's the marriage that I'm focusing on the most. The devil is out each and every day to seek and destroy.  Create your battle prayer plan and send the devil home packing. My God restores, and heals but all we have to do is come to him and pray.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wedding Wednesday- How Joe and I Met

I've had many people ask me how Joe and I met, so let's dive into the details.  After being in an about a year and half relationship and the relationship not working, I decided soon after to join the online dating world.  Everyone kept telling me I would meet a man in God's time but I knew in the back of my head, God just wasn't going to put this guy right in front of me the way I wanted him too.  I knew nothing good from meeting guys at bars and clubs, and the guys were just few and far in between at church.  The older I got, I realized all the good ones were beginning to get taken.  I knew God had put this desire in my heart to be married but again, it's all in his time. 

My Christian counselor, who I had been seeing to handle the grief of losing my father encouraged me all the time to give a try.  I was very hesitant at first because of the time, vulnerability, and all the crazies I could potentially meet.  But I knew in the back of my mind, I would never meet someone if I didn't give it a try.  Many of my friends had tried various dating websites, so they were suggesting Match, Plenty of Fish, E-Harmony, and Tinder.  I never ventured down the E-Harmony track but I did use Match, POF, and Tinder.  Tinder wasn't for me at all.  I had one date from Tinder but Tinder just wasn't how I felt like I should meet a man.  If you don't know much about Tinder, it's an app where you swipe whether you like or dislike someone based on picture and a few short words about themselves.  Match seemed to be winning choice for me during this online dating adventure.

At the time I decided to join Match, my best friend had not long lost her job.  With that being said, I was over at her house one evening and she said, "Let me manage your match account."  We can set it up tonight with pictures and I'll help you craft your bio.  At first, I was like this weird but I knew all the time it took to wink at people and email, so I said what the heck. She helped me pick out my pictures and write my bio.  Once we had the account setup, she began the winking part.  By winking at men, it shows you think they are interesting by their bio and you seem attractive to them based on pictures.  Sara would do the initial conversations and help set up my dates.  To be honest, I think in one week I had like 4 dates including my now fiance.  I wouldn't know what I wanted or didn't want in a relationship if I didn't go on all the dates.  Something funny about all of this is that I can't keep up with that many people, so my brother's girlfriend created me a spreadsheet so I could remember what I talked about with the men on the dates, characteristics I liked and didn't like, and anything that set them apart from the others.  I even placed emoji's beside their names so I could keep track.  Talk about WORK!!!!!!!!!  

One evening Sara calls me up and she's like I came across this guy that went to LR.  We HAVE to message him.  LR is Lenoir-Rhyne College, a small private college in Hickory, NC. When I say small, at the time we were there the student population was only about 900.  Being in Greek Life and out and about on campus quite a lot, I felt like I knew every single face on that campus.  When she sent me a screen shot of his picture, I had never seen this guy before and neither had she.  For about the first week and half, she emailed Joe back and forth getting to know more about him, finding out about his likes and dislikes, and just making small talk.  It wasn't until almost the 2nd week where he began to ask some in-depth questions and wanting more detail about things that Sara just didn't feel comfortable answering, so she handed the conversation over to me.  

Joe and I met at a local restaurant for dinner on July 7, 2014.  I had just started a new job so we had a lot to talk about.  But Joe didn't talk.  I even asked him if he was just shy or doesn't talk a lot.  I have a very outgoing personality so I was looking for someone to be able to match it.  After the date, I just wasn't sure.  I kept going back and forth whether to give it another shot, asking myself, was he just shy or just soft-spoken.  Sometimes the first date isn't always the best.  Sara encouraged me to give it another shot, so I did.  Between the first date and our second date I was still talking and going on dates with a few other guys.  Every single time I would be on the phone with a guy and Joe would beep in, I would IMMEDIATELY take his call.  Something about just hearing his voice and hearing about his day and learning more about him, drew me closer.  Our 2nd date consisted of meeting Joe at a park in Salisbury with Buddy, my dog.  I did not want the date to end.  The boy talked up a storm, a lot different than our first date and I just felt this sense of reassurance, comfort, and peace being with him.  I knew after the 2nd date, I could see this going somewhere.  I never believed people when they would say, when you meet the right guy, you will just know, well I knew.  I had no doubt, fear, worry, or concern in my mind.  Buddy and I took a picture before leaving the park after that 1st kiss with Joe. 

We were both all smiles! 

Our 3rd date, I was sold.  Joe came and picked me up and we went to Childress Vineyards for a wine tour and lunch in their bistro.  I kept telling Joe if he was on his best behavior, I had a surprise for him.  He was on his best behavior.  To kill some time before the surprise, he went shopping with me and I showed him where I lived.  I knew Joe loved racing, so that evening I took him to first Bowman-Gray race and the rest is history..........

Now, let's back-up a bit and talk about how God had this planned all along.  I don't believe it was coincidence at all that Joe and I met on Match, I believe it was God the whole time. First, my mom met her boyfriend online and Joe and I met online.  My mom's boyfriend lives less than 10 miles from Joe's parents house and I used to drive by Joe's road all the time.  Who knows many people where mother and daughter both have long distance relationships and yet the men they date are from the same area.  Joe and I went to the same college, both in Greek life, and somehow our paths never crossed.  I have pictures of hanging out in Joe's fraternity house.  I joke with Joe and say, God was just preparing our hearts for one another.  If we would have met in college, we probably would have never worked out.  Lastly, unfortunately and sadly, we don't have fathers.  At ages 29 and 32 we don't have fathers.  I have no doubt God didn't bring us into each other's lives for a reason.  And deep down, I really honestly believe my Dad had his hand in some of this. 

God opens doors and allows us to open our hearts in crazy ways but we have to trust him and know it's all part of his divine plan.  My heart is full of so many blessings and to marry Joe on April 23, 2016 will be the biggest blessing so far. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The BEST is yet to come.

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the last 12 months. This past year has been quite the busy one, and it seemed to go by in a flash. I had so many incredible opportunities and dreams come to life in 2015.  I can't believe 2015 has already come to a close.  My absolute favorite part of 2015 was saying "YES" to my fiance when he asked me to marry him.


Joe and I bought a king size bed, attended the Wake Forest vs. Carolina basketball game (GO HEELS), and I started my weight loss journey with Beachbody's program Focus T25.


Experienced the first snow for the year, Spent Valentine's in Waynesville, NC at The Yellow House Bed and Breakfast, my best friend had her first baby shower for her sweet girl Catherine, saw Jason Alden with my love, enjoyed spending time with high school friends, and started the Plott house renovations. 


Continued with Plott house renovations, decorated the Plott house, finished T25, took a cooking class with my friend Jamie, and went and saw the UNC Clef Hangers perform at the Carolina Theatre.



Spent a weekend in Columbia, SC for Joe's friends wedding, sweet Catherine Carson was born, and went hiking at Morrow Mountain,


MY FAVORITE MONTH!!!! Attended two bachelorette parties, started attending Bowman Gray on Saturday nights, Maghon got married to her high school sweetheart, Sara and Josh got married, I said "YES" on May 23rd, gathered my old youth group for a picnic, spent Memorial Day on the lake, visited Morgan Ridge vineyards. 


Celebrated the best friend for her couple's shower, went to the beach with my love, signed our contract for our wedding venue, celebrated Jason's 30th birthday.



4th of July celebrations on Lake Norman with friends, Tim McGraw concert, and best friends wedding! 



Bowman Gray races, staycation, weekend lake adventures, and first hog hunting experience.



Ripped up nasty carpet at Joe's house and enjoyed attending the Cabarrus County fair.


Engagement party, bridesmaid dress shopping, fall festivals, Dad's memorial golf tournament, day trips to Boone, and engagement pictures.


November & December

Holidays and cherishing times with family and friends.

It's been a year that stretched me, grew me and blessed me all at once.

What were some exciting things that happened in your life in 2015?