Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eagerly Awaiting

Every Wednesday night, at 7pm, I meet a wonderful group of ladies at the Starbucks down the road to study God's word. Particularly, the book of Philippians. I love these nights because the fellowship is so sweet with these girls, and His word becomes so real, so alive and so relevant as we dig in and discuss.

Last week, we approached the end of Philippians 3, and there was one particular verse (and one particular phrase) that really jumped out, stuck with me, and has caused me to continually meditate on it since then:

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21


Paul ends the chapter by giving warnings and exhortations and then gives guidance and hope. Paul states the we should eagerly await for the return of our Lord.

eager·ly adv. 1. Having or showing keen interest, intense desire, or impatient expectancy.

Ya'll. I can not stop thinking about this term. This line. This desire for one day getting to meet my true heavenly Father.

I'll never forget this time at NC State, I went with a group of friends to see Shane & Shane in concert at a local church. A young girl opened for them (I hate that I can't remember her name) who sang some beautiful songs of worship. She was maybe only 16 or 17? I remember when she took a break to speak to the the audience, she mentioned this:

"you know, a lot of my friends and family often ask why most of my songs tend to be about life after death and heaven...and basically dying. Well, I guess I never realized that it was the common theme in most of my music, but I do know that I write music about my passions and what I'm passionate about. And ya'll, one thing I am SO passionate about is our Lord and getting to meet Him one day!! So yes, I AM excited for life after death and I AM excited to get to heaven to meet our Father...SO EXCITED! If he even came tomorrow to take us home, I would be the happiest girl ever. Because you guys...this is NOT our home."

Whoa. Right then. Right there. I was slapped with so much conviction and shown a selfish mirror of my heart and mind that I had been ignoring. This girl, who's barely even experienced life (being only a teenager) was already excited to...die? What!?!

Honestly, until that night when I heard her share this, I slightly feared the thought of death. I knew that I was supposed to be excited about my eternal home and life in heaven with our Father one day...but I always thought...what is this life after death really like? This home, here on earth, is all I know? But what if I don't get to have a family and kids before our Lord returns? But I'd really like to see some more of the world and get to travel before our time on earth is finished?

HA! How ridiculous was I!?!? I'm almost ashamed that I ever let my sinful mind trick me into thinking that ANYTHING here on earth could be better than experiencing eternal life with our Almighty God in HIS Kingdom. But that's what our human flesh is accustomed to...sin. And that's what is so great about finally going HOME one day...There will be no more sin. We will struggle no more. There will be no more pain. No more sickness. No more hate. It will be finished.

I can confidently say now, that I am SO excited, with an intense desire, to meet my heavenly Father one day. Afterall, this is not our home.

So until that great day comes, when He turns our lowly flesh into His glorious image, I will push on to live out this life for Him, to strive for His perfection and to be in His image.

Are you willing to give up this earthly home and these wordly things in order to meet our sweet, heavenly Father one day? Are you willing to say goodbye to sin and welcome life...eternal life?

Are you eagerly awaiting His return with me?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Too yummy to keep to myself

Last night, I came home from work and I didn't leave my kitchen until I went upstairs to go to bed. We won't talk about what time that was.

What we do need to talk about is how great these recipes were. So yummy in fact, I would feel bad if I kept them to myself. So I had to share.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Peanut Sauce and Vegetables
(I adapted this meal by combining the noodles and veggies idea from this recipe and used the sauce in this recipe. And then I added some grilled chicken..gotta get that protein!)

Andrew and I took this hummus to work today for a snack, and I received a sweet message from him (at 9:30am, mind you) stating that this hummus was the best hummus he has ever had, and that he's had a LOT of hummus from living over in the Middle East, and that we should go open a hummus shop in the Middle East. I love that man, and love that he eats hummus at 9:30am and love that he wants to move to foreign countries to make a living off of hummus.

Ya'll. These are amazing. And so easy. And healthier than store-bought chips. And particularly spectacular when paired with that cilantro lime hummus above! mmm.

More thanks to Erin, for bringing Nutella into my life (and for this recipe!) Seriously...hooked on that hazelnut goodness.

So do yourself a favor and try one (or all) of these delicious finds sometime soon! Plus, they're all healthy...score! (And yes, we'll just say even the cookies are healthy since they have peanut butter and Nutella, which are both good for you...?)

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A simply sweet 2 year anniversary

Andrew and I have now been married for 731 days. wowza.

Yesterday Andrew and I had a perfectly relaxing, sweet and simple 2 year anniversary. We were so fortunate this year that new years day fell on a Sunday and therefore gave us an automatic holiday on Monday (our anniversary!). What a great way to end a long weekend :)

Knowing that we both were going to have the whole day off together, I didn't want to pack our day full of "stuff" and running around. We already had enough of that happen with the holidays. So instead, we opted to use this day to relax and enjoy a solid, full day of quality time together. No schedule. No house work. No errands. No to-do's. And let me tell was exactly what we needed and exactly the kind of anniversary we both loved.

We started the day by sleeping in (hallelujah!). Sleeping in was then followed by hot coffee and waffles and warm blankets and cuddling on the couch and harry potter movies. And that, my friends, was a wonderful combination of events.

Andrew was then sweet enough to take me to get a pedicure. Lucky for him, there was a TV in the salon that had football on. What took place right here is what we call "compromising". It's a major key to this marriage thing, folks! :)

As we approached dinner time, we had 2 options. 1) Fancy dinner out. Or 2) keep it simple with the same "tradition" that we started on our wedding night - Chanello's pizza with a side of wings (remember last years post from our 1 year anniversary?).

Andrew was absolutely giddy with the idea of having Chanello's on our anniversary every year from here on out. In his words, "It's awesome! No one else has a tradition like it!" ha. That's for sure! But let me tell ya...he's so darn cute when he gets giddy excited. So how can I not agree with him!? Plus, I is kind of a fun and quirky "tradition". So why not!

Here's us last year...on our 1 year Anniversary....with our half cheese/half pepperoni pizza and a side of wings.

*(I apologize right now for the mixture of quality canon camera pics and semi-blurry instagram iphone pics that you are about to view)

This year. Year 2. Waiting on our half cheese/half pepperoni pizza and a side of wings - Look at that sweet and handsome "anniversary" face :) Love that I get to see this face every day, for the rest of my life.

There it is...our now traditional White wedding anniversary meal.

Holding up a 2 for 2 years! Or doing an Asian peace sign. Whichever you prefer to view it as. I sort of prefer the least my eyes are going along with it.

Just a little "cheesy" chow down picture here. Ha, get it? (Insert a "womp, womp")

No anniversary is complete without a fancy dessert! Or in our case, Sweet Frog. SO yummy and the perfect treat to top off our night. (5 bucks to whoever can guess which cup belongs to Brittany and which cup belongs to Andrew. Easiest 5 bucks you'll ever earn.)

My favorite part (and ending) to this simply sweet anniversary day was the time we spent reading our bibles and praying together right before bed. One of our goals for 2012 is to read through the entire bible...together. We picked out our reading plan and last night we began. I can already tell this is going to be my favorite part of every day. And now that you all know this is our goal, you can help keep us accountable!

Well, what a wonderful year 2 it has been - Our first full year back in Virginia. Moving into a new place. I started a new job. Almost a full year with our wonderful new home church. So much to be thankful for and so many blessings to praise our heavenly father for.

I also love that our anniversary date falls right at the beginning of a new year. It falls during a time when we all generally reflect on the past year and look forward to what the new year holds. I am SO looking forward to what this new year of marriage holds - but more than that, I am looking forward to what our sweet Lord has in store for us this new year. Because whether it may be good or bad, all I know is that HE is good. And He uses all things and all circumstances for His good and glory. So our prayer for this new year is that we would continue to trust Him in our relationship and with our relationship. What a beautiful gift marriage is and how merciful our Father is for letting us experience such a wonderful thing - considering we are all so undeserving. So what better way to be thankful than by glorifying him with all that we are and all that this marriage is.

So here's to year 3 - I pray that Andrew and I would use this marriage and this year to grow in His love and share it with others.

Happy 2 years, babe! And thank you for spending a simply sweet anniversary with me :)