Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's on television?

When we got married, Derrick and I easily decided that we didn't want to spend money on cable. We would much rather save a large chunk of money and get Netflix. And we've never regretted that decision.

The dangerous thing about Netflix is that it causes obsession. Back when we had "normal TV", you had certain shows on certain nights of the week that you looked forward to. The show came on one night and then went off. You had to wait until next week to see the next one. (Unless you were a big fan of Criminal Minds or America's Next Top Model. If that was the case, you could easily find marathons on all the time.)

With Netflix, though, you discover a new show...and you have the ability to watch another episode. And another. And another. And another....Yep, and another.

Right now, Derrick and I are obsessed with Parenthood (the show, not the responsibility) - which we heard about from our awesome friends, Allen and Sara.

The show is simple enough. It's about four siblings in their 30s and 40s and the drama they deal with with their children and their parents.

The thing I love about the show is how real the families are. How real their lives and their conversations and their issues are. They struggle. They make mistakes. They laugh together. They eat together... a lot. And lean on each other a lot. They have to learn to deal with health issues. And they have to learn to discipline their kids.  And sometimes they hate each other - but they always love each other.

And, as we watch it, Derrick and I comment on their parenting skills, what we would have done differently, what they did well...and about ten times a night, I mention that I wish I were a part of their family.

We only have about ten episodes left to watch before we're caught up to "live television"...and we just started watching it a week and a half ago!

So, soon, we're good to need a new Netflix show to discuss and look forward to and laugh at.

Give us suggestions. 
What's your TV obsession? What's your favorite show or a new show you've just discovered?

Monday, September 24, 2012

'Til Death Do Us Part...For Now.

Someone mentioned to me the other day that it's crazy that all brides and grooms stand up on their wedding day so happy and so sure that their love is going to last forever. And yet so many marriages end. So many spouses hurt each other, leave each other, destroy each other.

I've only been married a year, so I could hardly offer this person an abundance of advice or comfort. He or she has their reasons for doubting, and I wanted to be able to fix it. I'm no marriage expert, but I do have a few thoughts on the situation. 

It is scary. That someone else holds so much power to devastate my world. That I am trusting someone else with so much of my life, my security, my reality, my heart.

But you can't let it be scary. You can't focus on the people who didn't get it right. You have to decide that not getting it right is not an option.

You have to be wise in choosing. 
And once you choose...
You have to be determined.
You have to be committed.
You have to choose to love.
You have to give it everything you've got. 
You have to never let leaving be an option.
You have to realize the other person is just a person.
You have to lean on GOD to complete you, because other people can't help but hurt you sometimes.
You have to pray a lot.
You have to laugh a lot.
You have to talk a lot. 
You have to be honest with each other.

You can't let it be scary. 

You have to let it be fun.
You have to let it challenge you and teach you.
You have to grow.
You have to be best friends.
You have to have inside jokes and things that no one else understands.
You have to surround yourself with loving friends and family.
You have to make time for just the two of you.
You have to start traditions.
You have to be silly together.
You have to look out for each other and be each others biggest fan.
You have to forgive imperfections.

 You have to choose to be married. Today and every day. 
And so far, I've found marriage to be pretty awesome. 

(In this post, I am not suggesting that anyone stay in an abusive household.
 If that is the case with your family, you should seek counseling and stay somewhere safe.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thank God...for my prayer journal.

I'm a writer.

I love when words flow from my fingertips, and I feel like my mind works better when it is putting together the romance that is words.

Sometimes when I talk aloud to the Lord, I get distracted. By the radio. By the things I need to be doing. By that noise I just heard. By so many things.

I've found that, for me, the best way for me to pour out my heart consistently in prayer is by writing my thoughts, my words, my thanks, my requests. And I do this in a variety of ways.

I have a prayer journal on the computer that I write in a few times a month. I write in it at the beginning of each month - to bless the month, pray for the events of the coming month, and bask in the fact that God is already there. He sees. He knows. He's there. And I write in it periodically throughout the month when I just want to bask in awe or pour out a burden.

I also have a daily notebook that I write in alongside my daily devotion. This is where I reflect to God. I thank Him specifically for that day. I share my feelings and thoughts. And I write my requests for that day.

The really cool thing is that every time I go to God, I can also see where we've been together. How He's been so faithful. How I've grown. How prayers have been answered and are being answered and which prayers still need to be faithfully brought to Him.

I encourage you to start a prayer journal. If you aren't a writer, then simply make a list of daily requests and praises as you pray aloud. Really, God wants you to come to Him completely - whether it's through spoken word or written word.

But it's really cool to write it down. See the journey. See your God work in amazing ways.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Worship...that's what's up.

I am pumped.

Tonight is Relationship Church's first official youth group worship night.

My life group - which meets on Wednesday nights -gets to jump in, help serve, and worship with this group of teenagers.

Being a part of a church that just launched a year ago, I love being able to serve and watch as God blesses and grows Relationship Church. Tonight will just be another example of His faithfulness.

I would love for you to come visit us at RC. We're just sinners saved by the grace of an awesome God who sent His Son to die for us and rise again so that we can have a daily relationship with Him. We're just trying to help people follow Jesus.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Is this 1952?

I am a woman. Derrick is a man.

I am his wife. He is my husband.

And when God made Eve, He made her to complement Adam. To support Adam. To be Adam's partner. Lover. Friend. Person.

I think marriages need roles, and families need leaders. If you were to take a snapshot of Derrick and my life - it is pretty old-fashioned in a way.

I budget the money. He worries about the money. I love my job so so much. And we need my job. At this point in my life, there is nothing in me that doesn't want to work. But I've never felt like being the provider was my role. Most men find much of their identity and confidence in their careers. Their ability to provide. And I am completely on board to support Derrick's career dreams and be appreciative of him as the provider.

He changes the oil and mows the grass and catches mice. I clean and do the laundry and cook. Derrick likes taking care of me in the way that he is comfortable with and created for. He makes sure my car is safe. The outdoor work is done. The gross mouse that paralyzes me is dead and gone. And I take care of him in the way that I am comfortable with and created for. I nurture and nest...I do our laundry and organize it in the closet. I plan our menu and cook. I find purpose in making sure our house is clean and a warm, safe haven for our family.

I speak my opinion, and he values that. He makes the final decision, and I respect that. I hardly remember a time when I disagreed with his final decision, and letting him make the final decision doesn't mean that my opinion is any less valid than his.
A team needs a leader or else chaos will ensue. A team needs a trusted captain who has the wisdom and responsibility of listening, assessing the situation, and making the final call. That's what a husband should be in his family. The team captain. And all the team members have important parts. There would be no team without all of the other members and their talents and skills and responsibilities - but there has to be a leader. And that is no easy task. It comes with pressure and responsibility and accountability.

And when my team captain calls the wrong play and we lose the point - it's my job to love him through it, not call attention to it, and have his back. That's what marriage should be. 

So we are old fashioned. We, for the most part, fall into very traditional roles. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank God...For Barnabas

I want to be like Barnabas.

Have no idea what I'm talking about? Let's dig deeper.

I've been doing a bible study on Paul. What an awesome Christian with such an amazing passion for the Lord! But he's not my focus for today. See, in the beginning of his spiritual walk, Paul had a sidekick...

His name was Barnabas.

His birth name was Joseph. But his friends called him Barnabas - because it means "Son of Encouragement". 

Barnabas was one of the first Christians to accept and encourage Paul after his conversion.

Barnabas traveled alongside Paul as a partner, mentor and encourager.Paul was the fiery zealous preacher, Barnabas was the encouraging, supportive cheerleader.

They were persecuted together. They were called Christians together. They made a world of difference together.

I wasn't given the fiery passion of Paul. And maybe that's okay.

In my life. At work. In my marriage. I want to be a like Barnabas. I want to encourage. Support. Cheer for those I love.


Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 
 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
Acts 4: 36-37

He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, 
and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 
and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. 
So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people.
 The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Acts 11:24-26

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's up with Renee?

I am low maintenance in my wants. But I'm high maintenance in the realization of those wants.

I want things to go how I want them to. I want to be in control. I want things to go smoothly. To go off without a hitch. To go like I planned and imagined.

And I pout with that doesn't happen.

What else do I pout about?


Yesterday morning I woke up early. It was a beautiful morning. Spent a little time talking to God and thanking Him for the day before heading to Bojangles for my breakfast meeting with Bethany. But I really wanted coffee. Not Bojangles.

Frozen coffee with lots of sugar and white chocolate and amazingness. Heaven in a cup. The kind of drink that real coffee drinkers don't consider coffee.

My lunch plans were to meet my mom on campus where we would get free subs at the campus Subway. But when Mom got there for lunch, I wasn't hungry. Bojangles biscuit had filled me up. We headed to Subway any way and were met with a line that could rival the Chick-Fil-A day students and free food.

So at this point I'm getting moody. I didn't get my coffee. I'm not even hungry. And our Subway date isn't working out. We change our plans, but in the process of plan changing, I hear that my favorite coffee shop is having $1 coffee all day. All coffee.

Inwardly pouting even more at this point.

But we have a nice lunch. I always enjoy my Mom-time...but all day I am still thinking of free Subway and $1 coffee. Pouting.

Finally, after work, I head over. I have a plan. I will use my Subway coupon to get Derrick's lunch for tomorrow. And then reward myself with coffee.

I wait for 15 minutes at Subway, happy to get his sub. Walk over to Creek Coffee. And the line is out the door. I have an appointment I have to get to. So I give up.

No coffee. A long day for Renee.

Yes, it's silly. Yes, I am beyond blessed. Yes, lack of coffee is NOT a real problem. Yes, I knew all of this. But what can I say...I really wanted my coffee.

So what did I do this morning? I paid a good amount more than $1...but I got my heaven in a cup.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marriage Monday: My Person

Derrick is my person.

He. is. my. person.

Married people understand what I mean. Those who aren't married - if it's God's will - have much to look forward to when the time is right.

See...I don't think Derrick is a perfect person.
Sometimes he's a frustrating person.
Sometimes he's a silly person.
Sometimes he's the cutest person...sometimes he's not.

I know, better than anyone, Derrick's imperfections. I know and experience when he's having an off day or the best day. When he's ready to give up. When he's on top of his game.

But, no matter what, he's my person.

My person I can be completely crazy around. Completely vulnerable. Completely absurd. Completely real. 

I think that's what makes marriage. And makes marriage work.

Because he's my person. More than my partner, lover and friend. My person. Forever. We are intertwined. Our lives are one.

I think Wuthering Heights explains it best...

" If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it... My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thank God...for His blessings!

It is Easter afternoon this year. We're all having Easter lunch at Derrick and my home. Mom and Dad arrive - carrying a nice brown cloth laundry basket. It's an adult Easter basket of sorts...and my mom can't wait for us to open it.

Inside there is chocolate bunnies. Art. Gift cards. Shower gel and perfume. Clothes. Home goods: toilet paper, windex, paper towels, etc.

Jump ahead five months. It was my birthday, and Mom and I had spent a wonderful day together shopping. We're all at their house for my birthday dinner - and she brings over a reusable grocery bag. I reach find jewelry. Clothes. My favorite shower gel and body spray. A new Beth Moore devotion book.

I always feel badly when my mom goes out of her way to shower us with gifts. It's too much. Really. Yes, I love it. But I also really really appreciate it and really really would be okay just spending the time together.

But, I've come to realize and don't take for granted, my mom loves giving me gifts. 

She loves picking out things just for me. She loves putting them in nice packages. She loves watching us get excited. She loves when we open each gift. She loves sharing our inheritance with us now. And she loves knowing that the gifts she's given us will bless us in the days to come.

How much more does God, my heavenly Father, love to shower His children with gifts! He is the Creator and Lord of all the earth. Blessings are His to create and bestow. And, oh, how He loves creating blessings for us. Wrapping them in nice earthly packages. Watching His children light up with excitement. Watching us realize each gift. And knowing that we will be blessed in the days to come.

Don't take His gifts for granted. But don't push them away either. Your Father loves blessing us beyond what we could ever ask or imagine. He loves surprising us with things that only He could do!

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, 
according to his power that is at work within us,  
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
 for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 

 (Theme for got it!...Thank GOD... it's Friday.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What's up? ...Politics

I like alliteration - can you tell? So our theme for Wednesday will be "What's up?" - which pretty much gives me the freedom to write about anything and everything on Wednesday.

Today I'll write on politics. Yep, I'm going there.

First of all, I don't believe either sides' ads. Of course they're going to twist things and turn things and put on a happy face and say what the public wants to hear. They want to win, and both sides are willing to do and say what it takes to get there. A part of me thinks that anyone smart enough and trustworthy enough to be the best president is smart enough to not run for president.

Secondly, I think that both candidates are probably great fathers and great husbands. I am sure that they watch movies and eat dinner and laugh at jokes with their families. I am sure that they are loving and caring and funny. But being a great family man and being a great leader of our country aren't synonymous.

Third, I'll admit that I judge people by the stickers on their car, the status' on their facebooks, the issues that they side with, and the candidate that they support. I walk by a car for a sticker of the candidate that I like, and I respect the driver a little more. I identify with them. They feel how I feel.

I think there are some important things to consider when voting, and it has nothing to do with the color of one's skin or which candidate has picked the winning NCAA team. Here's what I look at:

1. Leadership - First of all, I think a president should be a good leader. I do not want someone who can take care of me or who spends his (or her) time taking care of everyone else.  I DO want someone who can lead the country and take care of the big issues. 
2. Spiritual Beliefs - My worldview is completely colored by my relationship with Jesus Christ. Which candidate has a similar spiritual world view as I do? Whose beliefs cause them to support the same issues I support and give glory to the God that America was founded on?

3. Economic Policies - Which candidate deals with taxes and healthcare and business and other economic issues in the best way for our country, for our states, and for individuals?

4. Old Fashion Values - Which candidate stands firm on old-fashioned American values? I believe that this country was founded by a certain set of rights and beliefs and goals - and I want a candidate who understand that and values that and supports that.

5. Experience - Which candidate has the most knowledge, experience and understanding of the task at hand? We need someone with experience and inside-knowledge and management skills and training in what it takes to be a leader in the political field.

6. Hardwork - I want a leader who is a hardworker and who respects my hard work. Yes, I want someone who cares about others and is ready to help when needed, but I also want someone who doesn't give hand outs to those who aren't willing to try.

With this being election year, it's hard not to have thoughts on the subject. It's hard to hold my tongue. It's hard not to let people's political beliefs shape my view of them. But - no matter who wins - I have the responsibility to support my country and pray for our leaders.

One final note:  

Yesterday, I had the privilege of seeing a young lady get commissioned into the army. No older than 20 years old, just a college student, she swore to protect our country and to be willing to give her life for my freedom. In a moment like that you realize, that is what being an American is all about. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Marriage Monday is back...

I really want to get back in the routine of posting regularly - and with specific topics in mind...

So...Marriage Monday is back!

I was going to give you some insight on married life from my wonderful husband - but he declined the interview. :)

Then I was going to share marriage quotes with you. Other people's encouraging words and inspiring insights...but instead I want to talk about one specific quote.

If I get married, I want to be very married.
Audrey Hepburn

I love this. Too many people get married and only give 50 %. They're either lovers or best friends or partners - but they forget to be all of it.

I want to be very married.
Make decisions with my husband.
Talk about life with each other.
Worship together. 
Laugh together. 
Dance together.
Kiss a lot. 
Go out with friends and make memories together.
Be a homemaker and take care of our house. 
Dress up and look nice as a reflection of my husband.
Be a Proverbs 31 wife.
Cook dinner for us and eat together.  
Work at it together.
Share life and moments and adventures.
Vacation together.
Spend time with family together. 
Celebrate each day. Each moment. Each month.
Do it all together and wholly and completely.
I want to be very married.
So, what should you expect coming up on Marriage Monday?  
Special guest interviews from newlyweds, a couple who has been married for over 30 years, a couple who got married in their 40's, and - of course - normal Renee thoughts :) Plus, our one year anniversary will be here very soon!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Everything but the kitchen sink...

Originally, I was going to post thoughts on pop culture and news...then my best pal had posted on what she was looking forward to in September - and I thought that was a great idea (Check her out at Whitney Writes.  ) And today marks one more month of marriage to my Love - 11 months today!  So this will be a random collection of all of that...

Labor Day. Cooler weather (hopefully).
 Life group at church starts back up.
 Dinner with the Bauers and Smyths.
CU's first Visitation Day of the semester. 
CU Arts & Sciences Pig Pickin'.
My Dad's Birthday!
October's even crazier! 

11 months
Being married is still awesome. We have our routine. We have our roles. We have the silly things that make us laugh (today we made the google dictionary lady on the computer say all kinds of hilarious things). We sing together. We do day-to-day together.
We do decisions together. We do life together. We do love together. 
Excited about one year!

Prince Harry
My goodness, he's everywhere. I think the world should just give him a break. I feel like he's doing what so many other single, rich, twenty-something guys have probably done. He just has the added pressure of being a flippin' prince and having the world watch. 
It's just like in the movies...

50 Shades of Grey
I haven't read it. I'm not planning on reading it. I'm just thinking that if a guy advertised his love of porn on facebook, there would be a lot of people who had a problem with that. I think husbands and wives have enough temptations without adding more. I get especially disappointed when I see Christian women like the book or post about the book or be excited about the book. 
Whatsover is pure. Phil. 4:8

I don't believe the ads. When you see a million messages, all contradicting each other, it's pointless. Politicians should just save their money...Or, here's a crazy idea, use it for something good! 
 I know who I'm voting for and why...I wish I could turn the ads off.
Can't wait 'til it's over. Hope my guy wins. 

My Blog
Thank you to all of my readers. I have faithful friends who follow me. Dear acquaintances who read. And I've had readers in Germany, Russia, New Zealand. I am humbled...and unsure why you've stuck with me. But thank you! I love that God allows me to share my encouraging words, spiritual insights, marriage advice, and random musings with you. I always love hearing your thoughts, ideas, and sharing your heart. I'm hoping to get back on a blogging schedule soon - and maybe even add in some guests bloggers and giveaways!
 Stay tuned!