I have a part time job at a home decor store, and after a short five days of working there, I am so inspired to decorate my home–future home that is, for soon I will be registering for my wedding. After changing my mind a few hundred times, I have decided I want to go with a happy green in my kitchen, and I want to use pears as the inspiration. Not yellow pears, or red pears, but bright, happy, green ones. And I don’t want to go overboard, with a pear clock, and pear towels, and pear wall paper. I just want people to know when they walk in that is the muse. Simple. Clean. Green.

I also decided that the previous dishes I thought I wanted were not neutral enough and it would be better if I picked something out that will be able to morph into different seasons and phases I go through. So I picked out (by picked out I mean I wrote it down on the back of a scratch piece of paper…nothing is actually ‘picked out’) some interesting textured Noritake stoneware that is a brown shade, and some pretty white Lenox china. Then I picked out some cute green glasses and some neat tortoise glassware that has some great brown tones. But then I started flipping through the tabs I had open in my browser, and realized none of it really went together! It all fit into the theme and color scheme, and I loved it all, but the browns in the stoneware clashed with the browns in the glassware and the green glasses didn’t really go with any of it. What’s hard is that each item stands out to me and is unique in some way, and I wouldn’t know where to start diverting.

Now. For those of you who aren’t married or engaged, let me give you a window into the mind of a bride…or at least this bride. Everything to do with the wedding or registry gets blown way out of proportion in my mind, and may at times somewhat resembles the last 30 seconds of an old Superman cartoon that is ‘to be continued…’ Imagine the following narrative in a deep yet troubled voice: “What will become of Kristin’s pleasant pear-adise? Can these conflicting pieces be aligned by something as simple as a place mat and some napkins or will this be the end of her green gourmet get-a-way? Find out next time on The Indecisive Bride.” [See me below.]

Let’s migrate out of the kitchen before I have a panic attack. Not really, but let’s go anyway. I have always said to myself that I don’t want my bedroom to be too girly when I get married, because it’s not just a girl living in the room. Why would my hubby want to be in a room that was flowery and pastel pink? I want it to be a place we both enjoy. I listened to a pastor talk about things that can be done to keep a marriage healthy, and one thing he mentioned was having a place in the house where the couple can escape. He called it Engedi. Engedi was an oasis near the Dead Sea, and that is the idea: creating an oasis. So when I thought of when I was most relaxed, I thought warm sunshine and clean, crisp air.  I am drawn to nautical influences for our engedi. Now, as with the kitchen, I don’t want the theme to be heavy and overbearing. No seashell bedspreads, no sailboat wallpaper, and absolutely NO FISH on the wall. Again I want people to feel like they are at a spa on the beach when they see it. I found a great bed spread that is a white and cream pattern, and I imagine most of the accents in the room to be white: white throw pillows, white sheets, a small bundle of white hydrangeas on the bedside table. Put things in the room that are mostly monochromatic but have great textures. You get the picture. Again, simple. Clean. White.

I am in my happy place just picturing it. I’ll keep you updated on the chronicles of the indecisive bride. The end.

I am finally joining the masses of my peers who are finishing their education and taking that coveted walk across the stage in which we receive a diploma. I have everything squared away: graduation announcements ordered, cap and gown purchased, assignments completed, student teaching under my belt. In all my years of preparing for this point I was solely focused on attaining that piece of paper. Now that I’m about a month out with everything checked off my list, I realize that completing that list means one monumental thing: FINDING. A. JOB.

Never did I imagine this feat so daunting and ominous. Never did I think I would have to put much effort into it. Not for lack of people informing me, or watching others go through the process. I just assumed, “It’s teaching! There’s always jobs in teaching!” While this statement isn’t necessarily false, I have mislead myself into thinking that a job would fall into my lap and there would be no work, effort, lost sleep, or tears put into this process. Let me clear the air: I was beyond misguided.

I will say that I was not naive 100% of the time. Some of my moments of care free thought can be attributed to my attempt to trust  the Lord. But the last week as been a rollercoaster. There have been many moments in the car, laying in bed, and in the teacher’s lounge when I had to beg God to give me peace and take away my anxiety so that I didn’t dissolve into a weeping mess right there.  Throughout college the Lord has taught me to trust and obey, to wait on his timing. But for some reason that lesson doesn’t stick. It is so hard really, truly, whole-heartedly, no take-backs give it to God.  I know he’ll provide, and I know he has a plan, but acting upon that knowledge is like cooking 3 meals a day from Paula Deen’s cookbook 7 days a week and NOT gaining weight. It’s like telling a gymnasium full of middle school girls that Robert Patenson is across the street and trying to keep them from stampeding out the front door. It’s like trying to eat a century egg without so much as gagging. That last one may not translate it you’ve never had one, but you get the point: it’s near impossible! The problem with near impossible is the fact that it’s still possible.

This thing I’m talking about-actions that match what you know or believe-is called faith. According to the book of James, faith without works is dead. That does not mean that works give way to salvation, for we are saved by grace through faith. What it does mean is that if faith truly exists in your heart, then actions will come out of that faith. It means that if you say you trust God to provide, but frantically scramble for control of the situation you aren’t really, truly having faith in the Father. This is so convicting and motivating at the same time. It says in Hebrews that without faith it is impossible to please God. So in order for me to please him, I must act on that knowledge I have of his providence and sovereignty.

Why is it that it’s so difficult, in fact near impossible, to simply let go and delight in the Lord?

I spent have spent the last week in a wedding marathon. My fiance and I went to my parents house for the week and saw a different vendor each day. They were all splendid and I am so pleased with all the plans so far. This has been and will be one of the biggest blessings of my life. But I am learning a hard lesson while planning a wedding: between choosing the flowers, invitations, food, and cakes, talking about how the room will be arranged and where everyone will sit, stand, lounge, gather, and walk, and being told that this day is all about me and I should get whatever I want, between all that somewhere along the way I began to be consumed by a little monster name Selfish. Selfish then invited his friends Stressed Out and Moody. I became easily frustrated with my Hubby-to-be and didn’t know why. I sat down to do some reading this evening after a tense car ride home from church, and the author was talking about our call as women to love our husbands and train younger women to love theirs, as it says in Titus. The author makes an interesting point: there are at least five different ‘flavors’ of love, if you will, in the Greek in which the New Testament is written. The love of which Paul speaks in Titus is phileo. Phileo is the love used to describe love between very close friends. It is not dutifully self-surrendering nor is it selfishly seeking desire, but it is tender, affectionate, and passionate. We are called to love all as Christ loves, which includes phileo as well as agape (an unconditional, selfless, serving kind of love) and others. We are to love our husbands using all kinds of love as well, but the author of my book points out that maybe phileo is woman’s weakness. We serve our husbands daily without thinking; yet do we often take the time to enjoy their company and delight in their presence? No where in the bible does God directly tell us we need to work on showing our husbands agape, but he does say we need to be trained to love our husbands with phileo. And by saying that we need to be trained insinuates that it isn’t something we naturally come be, but must be taught and must practice in order to do well. As I read this, moments and memories of the last few weeks flashed through my head. I remember cooking for my fiance, and helping him with homework. I recall bringing him  medicine when he acquired a mild allergic reaction, and bringing him dinner one night when he had to work late with nothing eat. But even with all that, Moody, Stressed Out and Selfish seemed to steal my attention and demand my focus rather than simply enjoying being with him. Not many of the words I spoke to him today could be considered tender, affectionate, or those for a close friend. I have been lacking passion and joy when it comes to spending time with him. I have been doing agape well, but phileo poorly if at all. Then as I thought about it more, do I phileo God? I serve him at church, and seek His will and desire His plans, but when was the last time I enjoyed being in His presence? When did I last long to be like close friends and share an affectionate word with Him? Wow. This is heavy stuff. And people say that being married is sanctifying? If this is what it’s like to be engaged I have no idea what the Lord has in store for us! I am enjoying this time, and I am glad to know that God is using this wedding to teach me to love better. I’m gonna go finish that chapter and see if I can listen to Him long enough to hear how to straighten out this mess! 🙂

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