Thursday, April 28, 2011

When Christ Comes

Over the past few days, I've been reading Max Lucado's book: When Christ Comes (I would suggest it). And I think that it has challenged me and comforted me in many ways.

The rapture, the moment when Christ comes back and moments that follow, has always intimidated me. The unknown can be scary. And, I'll admit, I like my life on earth - and I want the chance to get married and have a home and a family. So, as I notice signs of the end times and grasp the reality that it could very likely happen soon, I began searching for information, for knowledge, for comfort. I want to be excited about it. I want to look forward to that moment. 

 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would 
have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you 
to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14: 2-3

This book, along with much other prayer and research, has made me think about the big picture and instilled in me desires to be actively waiting for Christ's return.

A desire to do more - In 100 years, the color of my room or what I ate for lunch won't matter. What will matter is what I did for Christ. The hours I helped others. The ways that I used my talents and gifts to reach the world. The smiles that encouraged, the hugs that helped, the words that healed, the time and money given that helped in ways that I never knew.

I need to serve in whatever capacity I can. Serve at Campbell, by being an encouraging light to all I come in contact with. Serve by publishing my books, my stories, the words and characters that God placed on my heart. Serve my family and friends, serve at church and serve alongside others. I need to quit being so selfish and realize what really matters is not making myself happy today, but hearing "Well done" from my Creator and Savior then. 

A desire to tell more - The last chapter I read was about the reality of hell. Hell represents justice, helps us appreciate God's grace, and validates our need for a Savior. But it's real - and what a tragedy it would be for someone that I know, someone I care about to spend an eternity in pain because I didn't share the most important thing with them.

A few weeks ago, I had a student who was really stressed out. She had tests, quizzes, presentations, and personal stuff all piling up. I told her that "this too shall pass" - in 3 weeks, it will all be over. Whenever I have a doctor's appointment or a presentation, I have faith in knowing that soon it will just be a memory in the past. There's always something to look forward to and God is in control. And I think that will be the worst part about hell. There is no release from the pain. There is no end to the torture, the loneliness. And there is no longer a Savior to reach out to, a God to trust in.

As Christians, we always have a light at the end of the tunnel. Even in stress and pain, even in death, we can have faith in knowing there's something better waiting for us. How can I stand back and not offer that same salvation and hope and joy to those around me? How absolutely horrible would it be to know that the end of pain in this world is only the beginning of pain for eternity.

A desire to hug Him - Every time I hear "I Can Only Imagine", I imagine. How will I react when I see Jesus for the first time? When He's standing before me - within reach? But it's easy to imagine, and oh so sweet to think about. I'm going to hug Him.

Whenever I'm stressed, I close my eyes and I will the Holy Spirit to give me a hug. To wrap me in peace and comfort. Before I knew who he was, I would pray that God would give my future husband a hug for me. Let him know that someone cares. And, when someone I know is struggling, I still pray that God will wrap His arms around them in a loving embrace.

I love hugs from Derrick. At the end of every day, it's what I look forward to most. Whenever we first see each other, we wrap each other in love and let the world disappear for a minute. Last Friday, I wasn't feeling well, I wasn't in a good mood, I was struggling - and I knew that if I could just see Derrick and fall into his arms, then it would be better...And it was.

How much more amazing will my hugs from Jesus be! His hug will take away all burdens, wipe all tears, and give peace above all understanding. His hug will be perfect. And, when I think about hugging Jesus, I can't help but be excited!

And, more than being a comfort for me, I want my hug to be a big Thank You to Him. One of my favorite, and the most touching, parts of the book by Lucado is when he talks about our heavenly clothes.The elders and the angels are all robbed in white, and we will be clothed in white too. But Jesus, who deserves the pure robes of white more than any, is cloaked red. Every time we sin, we stain our robe. We taint the beautiful wedding dress. But Jesus volunteered to take the stains for us - and the only way to cover all of our sins and stains and impurities - is by shedding His blood and covering the stains with crimson. When I think about hugging Jesus, I can't help but be thankful!

Know Him. If you're reading this and you aren't sure if you know Him, if you are going to heaven...if you aren't sure if you're going to have that "I can only imagine" moment...I want you to know that you can have a relationship with Jesus and confidence in the future. You just have to accept Him as your Savior. And it's more than knowing there is a God, it's choosing to have a relationship with Him. Choosing to do your best to live for Him. Choosing to acknowledge His place in your life and what He did to offer you eternity with Him.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Girl in the White Dress

Today I just want to brag on my wonderful fiance. He is so talented and has an eye for good photography and video. I love watching him work and working with him.

On Monday, we decided to do a little mini-photo shoot - with no specific purpose in mind. Here are just a few of the amazing photos he captured:


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chicken, Green Beans, and Potatoes

Derrick's family thinks that I am picky. And, in some ways, I am. I don't like tomatoes, onions, or peppers. I'm not a big pasta eater. I don't really like red sauce. I don't like shredded chicken... But, other than that, I don't think I'm very picky.

Of course, my staple meal is pretty much some kind of chicken (although my dads grilled ribs are my favorite meat), some kind of potatoes, and green beans.

Whenever I get the opportunity to cook, which I love, I go to - and I search through dozens of different dishes that inspire me. On Monday I found a few new recipes, and I cooked a meal for Derrick and I. It was fun, and thankfully it went off without a hitch.

Recipes below (I do not believe in strictly following the recipe. I am all about altering it to your taste. ):

 Mustard Chicken
If you like mustard, this is a great, very simple recipe. Delicious.

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place mustard in a shallow dish or bowl; place onions in a second shallow dish or bowl. Dredge chicken in mustard to coat both sides, then dredge in onions. Place coated chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 50 to 60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Roasted Potatoes

2 lbs. potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place potatoes in a casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil. Add spices to coat potatoes. Stir potatoes around.
Place half of the Parmesan cheese on the potatoes and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Check potatoes, stir (add more olive oil if the potatoes are getting dry) and add remaining Parmesan cheese. Return to oven for 30 minutes or until they are roasted to the desired color and texture.
Let stand for 3 minutes and serve warm.

Green beans with Pecans

3 tablespoons I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT BUTTER!® Spread, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon LAWRY'S® Garlic Powder with Parsley
  Pinch ground red pepper
  Salt to taste
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 pound green beans
In small bowl, blend I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® Spread, sugar, garlic powder, pepper and salt.
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons garlic mixture over medium-high heat and cook pecans, stirring frequently, 2 minutes or until pecans are golden. Remove pecans and set aside.
In same skillet, heat remaining garlic mixture and stir in green beans. Cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 6 minutes or until green beans are tender. Stir in pecans.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review

Just finished reading Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggrichs. This book lays out the biblical command for husbands to love their wives (and gives pointers on how women need love) and for wives to respect their husbands (and shows wives how men desperately need respect to be shown). Going through three different possible cycles in this process, Eggrichs breaks down the core of these desires, the differences between men and women in this area, and principles to move forward loving and/or respecting. 

It was written based on an amazing principle, but I was disappointed. Maybe I just had high expectations because of all the hype...but I expected something more. Don't get me wrong - it has some great principles. Anyone who is struggling in their relationship should definitely pick up a copy and make time to read it. It is definitely biblical based. I didn't disagree with any of the points presented. For some people, the love and respect concept is new - and I think it's an important one to grasp.

But I felt like 60% of the book was redundant. I would have enjoyed the book more if it had just been chapters 16-21 (which focus on respecting a man's desire for conquest, hierarchy,authority, insight, relationship,and sexuality). I did appreciate his point that the marriage relationship is just as much about your relationship with God as it is about your spouse - and I pray I can remember that.

I prefer, and would suggest to anyone in a serious relationship, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes. This book focuses on seven qualities that men long for in a wife. The woman of your man's dreams: prays for him, respects him, adores him, is his friend, safegaurds her marriage and home, encourages him, and sexually fulfills him.  Sharon gives quotes and opinions of real men, and she also includes ideas of ways to show adoration, encouragement, things to build you husband up, things never to say to your husband, etc.

I thought that Jaynes covered everything that Eggrichs did - but she didn't tarry too long on one topic. She gets to the point, provides plenty of detail and support, and gives some great advice and ideas. She gives real world examples (Eggrich does too) and also gives ideas of how we can follow through (I did appreciate the points at the end of the Love and Respect chapters as well). I found Jaynes to be an easier read - and the fact that she's a woman writing to women may be helpful in relating to her.

So which one should you read? Both. I believe you can never be too good of a girlfriend, fiancee, wife, or woman. Both of these books have some great points, and even if it only helps in one or two ways - it's still going to help you become a better person, a better husband, a better (future?) wife. So grab a highlighter and curl up with a good book.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I had a human relations class in college in which we learned that women communicate face-to-face, men communication shoulder-to-shoulder. I never forgot that. But I don't think I ever really got it either.

Derrick is perfectly fine sitting beside each other and talking. I want him to face me and look at me. I understood that was because of this difference in gender communication styles. But that was the only time that I really thought about this strong difference...until today.

Derrick likes for me to just sit with him. He often calls me in there and just wants me to stop what I'm doing and sit. Maybe the tv is on. Maybe not. We just sit there. Resting. Cuddling. Sitting. My mind runs through a million things we could be talking about. And a million things I should be doing. And most of the time I surrender, get up from the nothingness, and go on about my tasks. Cleaning. Cooking. Things elsewhere and more important than just sitting. He can sit by himself. No need to waste time. 

Sometimes when I'm over at his house he works on videos. He's at his computer, not giving me his attention, so I finally pull out a book and begin to read. I do like being alone together. Doing our own thing. But I often feel guilty - like we should be talking. We should be focused on one another. And, I'll admit, sometimes my mind complains whenever I go with him to do a video, to film a wedding, or whenever he wants to show me all of his latest computer updates. I don't understand. But it makes him excited...

He loves it when I play Mortal Kombat with him. He often asks me to play video games with him. He is perfectly content being on the computer while I watch a television show with my mother. He doesn't mind just sitting in the kitchen while I rush around cooking. He doesn't respond much when I whisper sweet things to him as we do video at church.And he doesn't like small talk.

Today I got it. We aren't wasting time just sitting there. To him, we're growing closer together. To him, it's nice to just have me there - being. For me to get up prematurely and move on to another task is like if he were to bolt in the middle of a conversation. And it truly makes his heart happy when I work with him, when I sit beside him and look at his latest computer updates, when I listen to his ideas. It means a lot to him that I'm just there. Most of the time, he prefers that to chit-chat.

We don't always have to be talking. And I don't always have to be doing. Sometimes just being is good enough.

Now, this is going to be very hard for me. I'm a doer. If I'm still for more than 5 minutes, I feel guilty - and begin to think of what I need to get up and do. And I can't stand when other people don't have that same drive and motivation to constantly be producing. To constantly be doing something. There's always something to do. Something that can be done. I need to be doing.

I need to learn to be. with him.

God created me to be his partner, his helpmeet. God created me for him. And, if being together is what he needs, then I need to be.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Favorite Songs

There are some new songs that I really love. And I must preface this by saying that country music is in my blood. I don't hear it, I feel it. It's a part of who I am. I do like most types of music - but nothing compares to country, and so many country songs from the past 20+ years equal memories to me, equal growing up.

I have included below some new songs that I really like and some other songs that I get excited to hear.

This is Country Music - Brad Paisley. Need I say more? I don't think Brad has the best vocals in the world, but he chooses some good songs. And this one says everything I feel about country music. 

 "...You’re not supposed to say the word “cancer” in a song.
And tellin’ folks Jesus is the answer can rub ‘em wrong.
It ain’t hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and mama, yeah that might be true.
But this is country music and we do..."

Old Alabama - Brad Paisley. My Dad loves the country group Alabama. They are his favorite group, so I grew up listening to them. I have positive feelings and many memories associated with this classic group, so a song about falling in love to Alabama songs hits home for me :)

"...And Barry White ain’t gonna work tonight, if you really wanna turn her on;
Play some back home come on music that comes from the heart,
Play something with lots of feeling, ‘cause that’s where music has to start…
Now we’re listenin' to Old Alabama, and we’re drivin' through Tennessee,
A little Dixieland Delight and It Feels So Right and its Love in the First Degree..."

Honey Bee - Blake Shelton. Call me country (and in musical taste I'm country to the core) but this song is very sweet to me. Plus, from an English nerd point of view, this song is a lyrical poem of comparisons and analogies.
Any song that has the line "You be my little Loretta, I'll be your Conway Twitty" is a winner to me, and I'd never turn down a guy who wanted to be "my sweet iced tea"!

If you’ll be my soft and sweet, I’ll be your strong and steady
You be my glass of wine, I’ll be your shot of whiskey
You be my sunny day, I’ll be your shade tree
You be my honeysuckle, I’ll be your honey bee

If you’ll be my Louisiana, I’ll be your Mississippi
You be my little Loretta, I’ll be your Conway Twitty
You be my sugar baby, I’ll be your sweet iced tea
You be my honeysuckle, I’ll be your honey bee

Mean- Taylor Swift. I am not a Taylor Swift fan. I think she's very talented and a good entertainer, but a little awkward with weak vocals. Her latest song, though, is so catchy! I can't help but sing along.

"...Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can't sing
But all you are is mean
All you are is mean and a liar and pathetic and alone in life
And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean..."

Some old favorites for you non-country fans.

Livin' On a Prayer - Who doesn't love Bon Jovi?
Don't Stop Believin' - Turn it up, roll the windows down, and attempt to belt the right words!
Keep on Lovin' You  - One of the best.
Two out of Three Ain't Bad - I will admit that I like Meat Loaf (not the food) and reference him often.

I'll probably post on music again. But for today here are some songs to make your weekend a little better :) 

"Music is what feelings sound like."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I like about us!

Over the years I have read many books on love, marriage, and family. These are my favorite kinds of books  - and, although many say the same thing, they provide support and encouragement, and I believe they've helped prepare me to be Derrick's wife. Currently, I am reading Love & Respect...but, as I write this, my mind drifts to another book I read a few years back. I don't remember the name, but there is something important that I picked up from the book...

In my relationship, I can't let  little negative things become bigger than the truer positive things.  Too many men and women focus on the negative - and they don't look at the amazing, positive things that their person does to love them. Maybe your husband rubs your shoulders, but you're too busy thinking about how he forgot to call to appreciate him. Your wife cooks your favorite meal, but you're too busy focusing on the messy house to care. Don't let the negative become bigger than the positive and take time to appreciate the wonderful things. (Sidenote: if there is a problem that needs to be dealt with, then talk it out and take measures necessary to work through it.).

Derrick is my favorite and, I have written a list of some of my favorite things about our relationship. These are the things that make it easy to focus on the positive:

1. We're best friends. He is my best friend, and I enjoy doing everything with him. We enjoy talking with each other, going on adventures, and making memories. We are real together and crazy together. Transparent together. We know each other best. We are best friends in an adult-way - we're there for each other and support each other. And we're best friends in a little kid kind of way - we share popsicles and look forward to having pajama parties together.  One of my absolute favorite things? When Derrick looks at me and says, "You're my best friend."

2. We're partners. It is natural for us to be partners in everything. Before I buy almost anything I talk to him about it. Before he makes a purchase or makes a business move, he discusses it with me. We talk about his video business and brainstorm together. We plan our weeks together and talk it out before we make any plans. And it is not because we feel pressured to ask permission or get approval. We have always, since before we began dating, desired to talk to each other about everything. I respect his opinion. He values mine. 

3. We take time to dance. We dance in the kitchen, in the living room, when I walk him out. This is so important - because it means that, for those few seconds, we make the world disappear. We hold one another and focus on each other. He twirls me and dips me and tosses me in the air - and we laugh and flirt. I pull him close in a hug and we talk about our day. But, in that moment, supper and the dirty floor and the computer and the television evaporate. It's just us.

4. We annoy each other. We do. Sometimes, like everyone, we annoy and frustrate each other...but we both have these looks that we give each other. Looks that say, "Really? Do you have to do that?". And sometimes we'll even say "argh, that's annoying. I can't deal with it." Normally, out of stubbornness, the annoy-er will do the annoying thing once or twice more. Then we'll smirk at each other, grunt in frustration, and it'll all be over. I like that.

5. We understand the jargon. We both have degrees in Communication and took practically the exact same classes. We have different tastes and passions - and our minds and creative eyes are definitely not identical. But I understand when he talks about video, and I know enough to discuss it with him. He understands target audiences and marketing to a specific group - which is a passion of mine. We share a passion for photography, although we have different styles. We both enjoy writing - although our words and our stories are hardly similar. I like that we are different in the way we artistically see the world, but that we still understand and share a similar passion.

6. We're silly together. With Derrick, I can act like a 4-year old. I can be completely ridiculous. I can speak in a British accent. I can make up words or songs or dances. We can let our guard down and be stupid together. I don't do that with anyone else. Most of the time, I try to be reserved and graceful and mature. With him, I can be silly. And being silly is such a fun thing to be :) I think it would benefit all couples to be silly together.

7. We step up for each other. We are both fairly positive people, but we have our down moments. When I'm in a bad mood, when I am being negative, or when I feel like crying - Derrick steps it up and is the positive comforter. He reminds me of the blessings we have. He holds my hand when tears fall down my cheeks. And, when he's feeling down about something, it's natural for me to forget whatever might be wrong with me and be a positive encourager and cheerleader. Sometimes I just rub his back and sit with him. Sometimes I encourage him with words. Sometimes we pray together.

8. We compliment each other. We complement each other, but we also compliment each other. He tells me I'm beautiful. He's proud of me. Some days the compliments are specific, sometimes it's just "you're awesome" or "you're beautiful". Words of affirmation are important to me - so loving that way comes natural to me and I constantly try to shower Derrick with affirmation, but I am so thankful that he takes the time to appreciate me as well.

9. We serve together. We do video at church together. We've worked many weddings together. I have been an extra or an assistant on many videos that Derrick has worked on. We do photos together. We're partners, we're best friends - and this translates into serving side-by-side.

10. We love music. This may not be a top 10 for anyone else, but it's important to me. I love music. Listening, discussing, feeling the music. All kinds of music. And Derrick shares that passion with me. The sounds of Celine Dion, Lil John, and Garth Brooks filled the car on our 9-hour roadtrip to Ohio. We watch the country music awards together and discuss the meaning behind Eagles songs. We watch Meatloaf music videos and have been to see Keith Urban, Sugarland, Little Big Town, Skillet, Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, James Otto, and OneRepublic. It's a wonderful, crazy collaboration.


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. 
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dream House...House Dreaming :)

In less than 6 months Derrick and I are going to have to have somewhere to live. A place that will become the setting for so many wonderful memories. Crazy newlywed moments. And those precious times that can only be shared and understood by a husband and a wife. This will be the place where we have our first Christmas, New Years, Valentines. This could be the place where we raise our children. And, I pray that in 50 years, the walls of this place will be able to share some crazy, wonderful, blessed stories...

For now, though, we have to find that place. And so the adventure begins. First of all, where do we want to live? Do we buy a house? Where will we find this house? Do we want a modular home? What about building a house? And...most of all...what can we do to stay within or under our budget? We do not want to be paying for this for 30 years!

All of these questions, and the search for the perfect home, force you to dream. And dream we have. Derrick has dreams of a theatre/entertainment room - and I'm completely on board. This room would have to be on the other end of the house from our master bedroom, so that it would be the perfect place for the kids to hang out with their friends. This can be a place that we spend hours entertaining friends with popcorn and boardgames, or a place that we can snuggle in and watch a movie marathon. Then there's the master suite - our place to relax and be together...a big closet would be ideal. An awesome spa-like bathroom would be great. It has to be the perfect haven. The kitchen needs to be nice...and then there's the guest bedrooms, our offices, Derrick a studio...Did I mention that I like stone? And a fireplace would be cozy.

We want our house to be the perfect setting for life, for memories, for moments. We want it to be an inviting place for entertaining. A quiet getaway for relaxing. The perfect place for newlyweds and for a family.

And then there is that moment. That moment that I get Derrick to look into my eyes and I remind him: We're 22 and 23. We are so incredibly beyond blessed, and we already have so much more than so many people around the world. We need to focus on saving our money and spending it wisely - so that one day we will have enough to spend on those things that we dream about. And, at the end of the day, it's going to be our home. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to have all the nicest stuff. It's going to have him and me...and, at the end of the day, that will be enough.

I love dreaming with him. But I love knowing that we love life and live life to the fullest - even without all that stuff...

Not that I speak in respect of want: 
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content.
Philippians 4:11

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wedding 411 :)

I am getting married in less than 6 months! I get to become Mrs. Green in 180 days. What a blessing! Life right now is a mixture of preparation and celebration. Enjoying the moment and looking forward.

I have been working on a wedding website - but we don't have our engagement pictures yet and there are some details that are still forthcoming. We may, one day, have a website completely dedicated to our wedding...but I don't mind blogging about it and sharing details this way.

Wedding Details

We will be getting married on October 1, 2011 at 5 p.m. The setting is Campbell University's Butler Chapel; this is the perfect backdrop for our union. Campbell was the only college either of us applied to, it's where we met, where we became best friends, where we fell in love, where we earned our degrees and became passionate about Communication, and it's where I'm blessed to work now. God has blessed us so much through Campbell!

The reception will be at the Dunn Shrine Club - 15 minutes away from Campbell. The outside doesn't look like much, but the inside has everything we are looking for.

Bridal Party

I am so blessed with so many wonderful friends. These girls constantly bless my heart and uplift my spirit. I have more than a handful of beautiful women that have grown up with me; they are the backdrop for so many of my memories. Their influence in my life made me who I am today. And I truly, deep within my heart, wish that more of them could be standing up next to me on my special day. But I am so thankful that they will all be there to celebrate with me in many different ways.

I am so honored to have the four beautiful women who make up my part of the bridal party standing up next to me on my wedding day. I am looking forward to so many moments and memories with them along the way!

Matron of Honor - Whitney Bauer

Whitney and I became best friends in 4th grade on the swing set, and we have been best friends every since. 8th grade was a favorite time for us, full of crazy memories, and 9th grade held a lot of challenges. I could write a book about our I'll leave it with this: There are those people who not only know all of your memories but were there for all of your memories - that is Whitney. We even went to college together and, some fourteenish years later she is still my very best pal. I loved seeing Whitney fall in love with Aaron - and am inspired by the love they have for each other. I was blessed to be her maid of honor, and even more blessed to have her as my matron of honor.

Whitney and Derrick knew each other before Derrick and I were romantically interested in each other. They met when Derrick wore a Chris Tomlin shirt, and Whitney commented on it. Then the three of us had Biology lab together...where Whitney and I did all the work and entertained Derrick with our adventurous tales:) Whitney and I also agreed, long before Derrick and I were together, that Derrick was cute enough to tip extra for :) Now, it's such a blessing to have Whitney and Aaron as some of our best friends!

Bridesmaid - Jessi Chiu
Jessi and I were always friends-ish...but I didn't want to get to close to someone who serenaded me with "Renee's Got a Banjo!" and kept me up until 5 in the morning because she thought her dad was a burglar.  Senior year we took current events together and played with each other's hair. And, one spring break day senior year, I get a call from Jessi, asking me if I wanted to go prom dress shopping with her..we fell in love that day. She has been through many college experiences with me and has been a constant friend through many growing pains. We both act mature, but share a "wow, is this really happening?" mentality and a love for cute underwear. She and Evan met and fell in love quickly - but I am amazed at how real and supportive and fun their love is.

I enjoy watching Derrick and Jessi interact; he definitely loves giving her a hard time. No worries - he cares enough about her to make sure we have pasta at the wedding so she can eat :)

Bridesmaid - Bethany Taylor
Bethany and I are third cousins, playing Mother May I and Simon Says at family reunions when we were little. It wasn't until middle school, right after she had came to Wake Christian, that we became friends. We may have began hanging out because we were related...but she is now one of my dearest friends. We have been through a lot together and made so many memories in middle and high school and recently...I have loved seeing her become the woman that she is today. She knows where I come from. She gets it. And I can always count on Bethany to be there for me. She was the first to get married, and I am proud of the wife she is. 

Bethany was the first of my friends to friend Derrick on facebook (other than Whitney) - as she was curious about this new boy that I was interested in. She and Jeremy are great friends to us, and it's nice that they're right down the road. 

Bridesmaid - Jessie Green
The first time I met Jessie was in the Moe's parking lot. I'm pretty sure she tried to warn me about Derrick that night, but I fell for him anyway ;) I've never had a sister, so I'm so blessed that Jessie is in my life. She and Derrick have always given each other a hard time, but they love each other fiercely, and I love the way that Derrick looks out for his little sister. Jessie and I have many memories together - and I am looking forward to many more. Plus, it's great that my kids are going to have Jessie as an aunt -  she can babysit anytime she wants to :)

Special thanks to my wonderful parents and supportive family for all they are doing to help out! My mom has been so great about the details and my parents have always been a wonderful example of marriage!
Derrick's family has also been an active, supportive part of this process - and I'm glad to be marrying into their family! His parents are always there to offer their advice, assistance, and support.


We just went to register yesterday! It can be very overwhelming - trying to think of everything we may need. But I already feel so overwhelmed with blessings...and I have a hard time understanding why people would want to give up their time and money to shower us with love and gifts. I have a hard time sitting back and letting other people do things for me. I want to be the one planning, preparing, working hard... But I am thankful for the love of all of my wonderful family and friends. It truly warms my heart.

Currently, we are registered at Walmart and Target - and you can find links to our registries below:

We also invite people who want to give us a gift to give us gift cards. Of course, we need basic kitchen supplies, and we tried to register for things we know we'll need - so check that out. But there are so many details and things that we'll need to choose for ourselves or that we'll forget to register for. We would love gift cards to Target, Walmart or Kohls...and, if you want to give us something a little different, there's always Kroger, Food Lion, Ruby Tuesday, Zaxbys, and McDonalds :)

Thank you all for sharing in this time with us! 

Renee Johnson

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." ...But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:18-24