Monday, February 28, 2011

The sweetness that comes with time

As he walked through the door with his best friend by his side, a uncontrollable smile came over him. Excitement seemed to swell with each passing second and with each friend who graced the doors of the chapel. The doors were flung open and the harpist's music changed as her beautiful smile and bouncing curls came into view. There is something magical about the way a groom looks at his bride on that day. He holds her soft hands and looks deep into her eyes and proclaims his undying and unchanging love.
But it will change. Love gets put through the ringer after that first day. It begins with all smiles and laughter, but that first fight brings tears and hurt feelings. Love grows, love changes... it deepens and expands far beyond anything you can imagine.
I've only been married for 2 months and know so very little about what it means to be faithful until "death do us part." But one thing I do know, my love is not the same. Even in the short 70 days we have been one, I can say I love him more today than I did on December 18th.
But there is a sweetness that only comes with time.
This weekend I saw the beginning of a new life together through the sparkling eyes of our friends Richard and Tania.
This weekend I also got news of my grandmother. She has been taken to ICU because of an infection in her body that has gotten into her bloodstream. Last time I went to visit her, she told me that my grandfather was a gem for taking care of her for so many years. My grandparents first met when my grandfather saw a picture of my grandma in the newspaper wearing a kimono (she was the only asian on the Univerity of the Incarnate Word campus to "show off" this newly acquired piece). My grandfather was so smitten by her beauty that he said to himself, I need to meet her! That was the beginning of their relationship that has lasted over 50 years.
As I looked at this picture my dad sent me of my grandpee praying over my grammee, I was brought to tears. This is a picture of faithfulness. I wonder what it'll be like on the day that I look in the mirror and wonder who the old lady staring back is. I wonder what we will have seen in the 50+ years we walk together. I wonder about the day that Steven takes my shriveled, wrinkled hand in his to pray for me. I can guarantee you that the love my grandma has for my grandpa is not the same as the day they said I do... now he takes her wrinkled hands in his, looks deep in her eyes and his prayers mean so much more than "till death do us part" could ever truly say.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh first Valentine's, how I will never forget you...

No matter how hard we girls try to get it in our heads that things are never like the movies or even as perfect as they might be in our heads, we still have it made up in our minds that it WILL be a certain way... which is what I thought about our very first Valentine's together. Seriously, God laughs at my well set plans, I'm not kidding. So here's how it went:
I was gone last weekend to help my grandmother, so when I got home after 10 hours in a car over the span of 2 days, I was pretty tired. My sweet husband bought me a dozen roses and a funny card (my favorite!), which made my day wonderful and made my hopes of the perfect Valetines that much greater!
My plan was to make Steven's favorite food: homemade pizza (with his mom's awesome crust recipe!). So, I made the crust the night before and was so excited for the perfect Valetine's dinner.
When I got home, I realized, for some reason the crust had not risen... not at all. But I thought I could still make it work... nope. It just fell apart. Steven, being the amazing husband he is asked if we needed to call out for pizza and in my distress, I almost cried. Steven took the crust from me and SOMEHOW managed to roll it out and keep it together, so I thought our perfect Valentine's was saved, until I turned on the oven. For some reason, our pizza stone started to sweat and that created smoke and that began to pour out of our oven and fill our house! And before we knew what was going on, the fire alarm started screaming. As Steven was grabbing a chair and a magazine to fan the fire alarm, I threw open doors to let out the smoke. By this time it had moved from depressing to hysterical. Over the sound of the wailing alarm, Steven says to me, "Happy Valentine's Day!"
Next Steven wanted to suprise me with chocolate covered strawberries, but since we didn't have wax paper, we thought aluminum foil would work just as well... it didn't. Half the chocolate stayed on the plate. Once we finally had the pizza ready to go, we realized that getting it off the counter and onto the pizza stone was going to be a task. It began to split down the middle and ended up quite the mess on the stone. But, believe it or not, the pizza was edible, we still ate the half-chocolate covered strawberries, we laughed a lot and had a great time.
One thing is for sure, we definitely won't forget our first Valentine's Day together!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

City Life...

Two weeks ago we moved from the suburbs of Dallas to Uptown. At first, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Would people be nice? Open? Closed? Suspicious? Our questions were quickly answered by our neighbor above us who greated us warmly as we were bringing in our furniture. Friendship has begun to grow as Steven helped them move a table and they gave us a lamp!
I thought to myself I think we are city-type people.
I was blown away when we were in Bed Bath and Beyond and Steven stopped a saleswoman to ask her directions to the nearest Home Depot. She was already helping a very well-dressed woman and I was expecting the woman to be irritated by the interruption, but instead she added that there was one closer and gave us directions! We are definitely NOT in Plano anymore!
Steven and I are friendly types who like to meet people, but we have never met so many people who are interested in meeting US. Just last night I met our next door neighbors who approached me as I was putting things in the storage closet outside. They introduced themselves with smiles and nice to meet yous. I could get used to this.
While we were in Colorado in December, Pastor Murphy challenged the congregation to pray for 2 people for a month and see what the Lord would do. One of Steven and I's people were our neighbors. We were disappointed at our old apartment complex because during the entire month of January, we only saw our neighbors once. But we continued to pray... and I think the Lord is answering our prayers by giving us new neighbors to minister to!
Be sure to stay tuned... I have a feeling that over the next year, we are going to have some wild and crazy city stories to tell!

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's my RIGHT... or is it?

Over the past several weeks, we have come up against some resistance in our apartment experience. It all started with a phone call made from our new apartment to Steven saying that our old apartment complex wouldn't release our information because we hadn't give our notice to vacate. When Steven called me to relay this information, I took it graciously. Oh wait, that was the "loving patient Jamie" that doesn't come out in situations like this. Instead, I flipped out and started telling Steven all the ways that this was NOT possible. He, of course understood my point, but it didn't change the manager's mind.
It took me the 40 minute drive home to cool down to the place that I wouldn't completely let the manager of our complex have it. I wish I could say that this was a moment where I trusted the Lord and said, "Its in your hands." But instead I told Him all the reasons that this couldn't be happening and how UNFAIR it was and how it was my RIGHT for it to turn out the way I wanted.
As we walked into the office, I tried to compose myself as I told the manager that I had informed one of the other ladies that worked there in DECEMBER. What I had never heard before was this: every apartment in the state of Texas requires a 60 day WRITTEN notice. An anger and resentment flooded my mind: What are we going to do now??
Over the next week, the manager graciously came up with some solutions, but it was all dependent on someone renting out our old apartment. After the anger subsided, I realized that I was not in control and that I really had no choice but to either trust the Lord or lose my mind worrying. I decided trust was the better answer. About half way through the week, the Lord changed my heart from being irritated at the management to love. Steven challenged me to pray, not only for the situation but for the manager. So we began to pray that God would bless them and make them prosper. And you know what? It didn't change our situation one bit. We are still currently paying for 2 apartments praying that someone will rent out our old apartment. Do you know what it did change? Me.
Steven is taking a class on Jonah this semester, so I thought that, being a good seminary wife, I too would read Jonah. As I got to chapter 4, I was stuck by God's response to Jonah's anger: "Have you any right?" Later God "provides" a vine to grow to ease Jonah's discomfort and then "provides" a worm to eat the plant and make it die. And guess what? Jonah's mad again. So again God says to him: "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" And Jonah's response? Angry enough to DIE.
God taught me a few things through this passage... he PROVIDES to bring me comfort but also to open my eyes to MY SIN. I deserve NOTHING. I have no rights. Anything he gives me that's good, is only out of his grace. Anything he provides for me that hurts is for my growth. Was Jonah sent to Ninevah to change the Ninevites or to change Jonah? Or to change me...