Thursday, May 24, 2012

She Reads Truth

Hello lovelies!

Some of you may have noticed the hastag #shereadstruth on twitter (@mrs_v820), instagram (mrs_v820), and facebook.
It is a social network bible study! I found this out from the beautiful Lauren (check out her blog).
Seek First

We are reading through the 'Soul Detox' on the Youversion Bible App online. (:
I think they are on day 8 now, but I am on day 1. hehe. (:

Please join in on this and lets grow in Christ together!

true social networking and love. - Monica

♥ . ♥ . ♥

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

finding the faith to keep walking

This weekend we had some friends come and visit. We were so busy last week trying to get the house all ready for our guests!

It was so refreshing having our friends here. My friend is from California and was my roommate when Martin and I first met. She married an amazing man of God and has been a wife for 5 months.
We talked and talked about how married life is and of our hearts for the Lord. It was so wonderful.

When they left Sunday morning, Martin told me that he was sad.

It was the first time we TRULY felt homesick. Our friends reminded us of California. Of our church. Of our family and other friends.
Some doubt started to set in.

Why are we in Alabama? Did we really move here so that Martin could work so hard, all day in the sun? Why did we leave our church to come here and not even find a church? What is it for us here in Alabama?

When I started to think of alternatives we could have moved to, the doubt became larger.

Why didn't we stay in California? We could have moved to Southern California and be working in a church. We could have stayed closer to family. Why are we here? What does God have for us in ALABAMA?

My focus was completely on all the questioning.

After some text talk with my wise mother-in-law, an encouraging facebook e-mail from a friend, and some beautiful time with the Lord I found the answer -- I don't know.

I have no true idea why God opened the doors for us to move to Alabama, but He did. He opened so many doors for us to move here smoothly. It is completely evident that the Lord's hand was in this move. I just have to trust Him.

My husband and I are learning to trust the Lord in a new way before. We are being stretched further then we have ever been stretched in our lives. We are gaining more understanding of one another as well as Our God.

Yesterday in my quiet time I was reminded of the story of Jesus walking on water.

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I, do not be afraid."
And Peter answered Him saying, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 
But when he saw that the wind of boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 
- Matthew 14:25-33 (NKJV)

The first thing that I really noticed about this story was that both times the disciples were frightened, Jesus responded IMMEDIATELY! Once fear was present Jesus comforted them with either His voice ("Be of good cheer! It is I, do not be afraid) or with His touch (Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him). I love that Jesus will always come to us immediately.

Our pastor would often point out that the moment Peter started to sink was when he started looking at the storm around him.  His focus changed from the Lord's face to the scariness that surrounded him. 
We have to put our focus on God and trust that He will guide us. Not looking behind us to see what was left (a nearly sinking boat), not looking around us (the big scary storm),  not looking below us (hello!? Water that is not normally walked upon!). Our lives need to be one unbroken gaze fixed upon the beauty of His face (Vicky Beeching - Captivated).

I noticed that Peter did not ask "why". 
"Hey, uh, Jesus WHY don't you just calm the storm and hop in this boat and we can get back to it."
"Jesus, WHY am I walking on water, whats the point?"
"Wait a moment. WHY I am not sinking right now?"
"WHY am I the only one doing this? WHY aren't the others trying?"
I guess we really shouldn't always ask why and just follow Him

The other thing that I noticed is that Jesus said to Peter that He had little faith and asked why he doubted. Uh! Conviction right there. 
Peter. Okay... Peter actually got OUT of the boat. He tried. He had enough faith to step out and start walking toward Jesus. The other disciples just stayed in the boat. But Jesus said Peter had little faith. It took some faith to step out but we need to keep growing in faith so we can walk alongside the Lord. 

The last thing that I noticed in this scripture was that once they got back to the boat, the storm ceased. It stopped. 
Jesus had the ability to stop the storm but instead He decided to stretch the faith of His disciples. 


Now, I still do not know why God opened the doors to Alabama. I am not sure how long we will be here. I know that I miss my family and friends a lot. I get home sick from time to time and it saddens me to be missing out on family events (like my beautiful niece graduating high school).
But I have to yield to the Lord. I need to keep my eyes on Him, put my life in His hands, grow in my faith, and trust him completely. 

wholly trusting, learning, and love. - Monica
♥ . ♥ . ♥

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

25th day of birth

This was me a little over 25 years ago. WOW! 25 years! A quarter of a century. 

Yesterday was my birthday.

I love birthdays. I love holidays. I love anniversaries. I truly enjoy celebrating people. Even if it is not a HUGE blow out party I like doing something to make the other person feel special.

After working all day long, outside, my husband was still able to come home and celebrate me.

He bought me my first wife birthday card.
 And replaced my espresso maker. (My sister got me/us one for Christmas but in the move - - it died. )

 I made a wish while blowing out candles on a cookies and cream cupcake.

Martin enjoyed a strawberry cupcake (his favorite).

It was the simplest birthday I think I have ever had but I loved it.

Earlier in the day my friend took me out to this fun pizza buffet place. It had tons of different types of pizza (including buffalo wing and loaded baked potato!). She bought me a beautiful mug made in Italy and some delicious Italian biscuit/cookies.

I think that it is so important to celebrate each other. To rejoice with them. To tell them "hey! I am happy that you are in my life."  It does not have to cost a lot or even take a lot of time. It just needs to be sincere.

I tend to reflect a lot when my birthday is approaching. (Just like last year) I like to think about where I am at in life and where I thought I would be.
Sometimes I can get down on myself for not doing A,B, and C. Or for being a certain age and not accomplishing certain things that my peers are accomplishing. For not being who society THINKS I should be.
BUT....... when I think about where I am at... apart from other opinions, previous goals, or statistics I am so proud of my life.
I am happy where I am at. (: Yes, I will keep moving forward - learning and growing. But I refuse to allow anything to take what is mine - joy.

 So celebrate someone in your life and find the joy that is yours!

birthday wishes coming true and love. - Monica

♥ . ♥ . ♥

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Trip to the Zoo for my 25th bday

My birthday is next week and so my wonderful husband planned a little trip for us.

He got a random middle of the week day off so we decided to do it early. (:

We started out the day with errands (we finally have a joint checking account!) and then getting the car cleaned. We took it to a car wash that drives your car for you! Lol. All the car washes I have been too, you drive the car through it. In this car wash you hook your car on something and put the car in neutral and go. he he.

He was soo amazed by it! (:

After that we were off to Birmingham! I had no idea what we were doing, Martin kept it a surprise the whole time! (:
When we arrived at the Birmingham Zoo I was extremely excited! I had never been to a zoo before!!! (:

There were soo many beautiful birds when we first walked in. Right inside the gate I saw HUGE parrots and even asked Martin "are those real birds?". His reply "Of course they are real, Monica. haha. We are at the zoo!"
I was like a giddy 6-year old! He He.

Peacocks were just walking around like no big deal.
One even extended all of its feathers out and walked around in circles! We asked why the peacocks did that and the worker told us they get all puffed up when they want to mate.
Hey.. peacock...sorry but he is taken. (;
The ducks and flamingos were so cute! I fed them too.

We saw pretty swans but they were so far away.

There were the cutest little owls too!!!

I have no idea what kind of bird that was.... but it got really close to us.
There were tons and tons of different birds all throughout the zoo!!! (:

I was a little nervous to go see the alligator but he was pretty much sleeping. Martin hollered at him to wake him up though! haha
Actually a lot of the animals were sleeping when we went. haha. I guess since it was like over 90 degrees they didn't want to move around much.
Isn't this guy so stinking adorable?! He was just kicking back the whole time!

 I totally wanted to jump in the water with these little sea lions!!! They didn't stay out of the water long (and I know why!) but oh they were so cute!

Martin's favorite part was the reptile section. He is not a fan of snakes AT ALL (its pretty much his biggest fear) but when they are behind glass he is okay.

this little guy looked just like a rock. it took us forever to find him. 
Martin was playing with this snake for a long time. It was the only snake in the exhibit that wasn't sleeping. He kept tapping on the glass, taking pictures of it, and having way to much fun. I commented on what he was doing and said "I thought you were so scared of snakes, it looks like you are having fun." Martin replied "well ya... there is glass between us and I know I will never see a snake like this again."
We look down at the description and it is a 'common kingsnake' native in Alabama! I started laughing so hard when Martin tells me that he sees these snakes at work all the time! He he. He continued to play with it to "get to know him better" since he will see them again. hehe.

After the reptiles creeped me out enough we headed to the Africa section of the zoo.
 This was on the way to the Africa section... its a mama and baby bird. (:
 The elephants were so incredibly huge!
An ostrich!
Right after I took this picture I was like "Oh it is so bright!" My husband says "Well... put your sunglasses on!" lol. Oh ya! Good idea! haha
Just me, hello kitty, and a giraffe (:
Those wild African cats just looked like house cats!!! But the description said they were incredibly brutal!

Okay.. I fell in love with this little guy! He is a red panda or something like that. He was so fast I could barely get a picture but he was too stinking cuddly!

And the lions were sleeping..... of course. hehe
That was the craziest looking boar! Martin kept making jokes that he would taste good as bacon. Eeww! lol
After Africa it was off to our last stop - the primates!

Okay this next guy is amazing! Martin says he looks like a little Don King! Lol. But I think he looks like a mini grandpa monkey to a land of fairies or something. If I could take home one pet it would be THIS monkey!
And he looked like right at me! Oh my cuteness I just think he is the funniest little guy in the world. he he.

The anteater was one of the silliest looking animals too!

The last thing we did before we left was take a train ride throughout the whole zoo. It was a lot of fun! (:

My husband planned such a wonderful birthday celebration for me. We were just amazed by all of God's creations. A few times Martin said "God made this! Like He thought about this animal and created all the details." I love my husband because as I was taking picture of all the cuteness of the animal, Martin was reading all the facts about it. hehe.

I am a firm believer in acting like a kid and staying youthful! I will be 25 in a few days and I can still have a complete blast at a zoo!!!! (:

Take a moment to marvel at God's creations and laugh like a kid!

young at heart and love. - Monica

♥ . ♥ . ♥