Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mountaintops and Valleys

God is SO GOOD!
So many good things are happening but it is so easy to start looking at our circumstances and getting distracted from the work that God is doing in us. I went to church on Sunday with one of my cheerleaders who was getting baptized and God did what he always does when you sit down to listen (learning more and more that it is pretty key to stop what you are doing long enough to hear something).
This theme of being obedient when things are difficult is reoccurring in my life. OVER AND OVER AND OVER. Something that someone said at church struck me for the very first time and was very powerful. We love the mountaintop. We love the view. We love to be able to look out and survey everything and know where we came from. It is exhilarating. It is awe inspiring. And it is the thing we hope for all the time.
But what really struck me, more than that was that nothing grows on the top of a mountain. We cannot stay up there because we would literally starve. We would be isolated, we would be cold, and eventually we have to come down. So many times I am striving for everything to feel like a mountaintop. To be able to look out on my life and make sense of it all and put everything in its place feels really good. To have the peace of understanding my situation and feeling like my life is in place is my mountaintop. But nothing grows on a mountaintop.
We get really uncomfortable in the Valley. We can't see what is ahead of us or above us. It is difficult because we are always having to work to get up and out. Yet here is where the water flows. Here is where God's healing takes place. Here is where all of the food we need grows and we find shelter. Maybe not the most comfortable or restful place, but the place where we find sustenance and growth.
"For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For things that are seen are transient, but the things that are seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Friday, September 25, 2009

More house updates...

Here are some photos of the rest of the cool stuff we did to our house while my parents were here.
I just loaded my new dishwasher and my feet and back are so thankful that I did not have to handwash any of the dishes...

Plus an entire new cabinet and c0unter space for my pots and pans and cooking.

New french doors and window in the living room.
On a hot day like today (close to 95 degrees) we just open the front and back door and the breeze flows right through...

Here is another view of the beautiful work my dad did.

Now I just have to move furniture around when some of it leaves in November with Katie.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I've spent the last 2 hours watering my flowers, washing clothes, cleaning the house, and listening to a worship mix my roommates and I listened to for hours and hours and hours when we were in college. In fact I can honestly remember listening to this CD pretty much nonstop the entire time I was in Bolivia.

As I listened and went about working, stopping to kiss Kuma and drink water, I talked to God. That is really how I pray. I just think and talk to God in my head all day long. And never do I hear God more clearly than when I am listening to music. I thought back to the time in my life when I really listened to this CD last and I remembered how difficult, intense, heartbreaking, healing, scary, lonely and utterly desperate that time was. All I could think about was myself and I think that was A VERY GOOD THING. That was my season for God to take me in His arms and love me through all of the breakthroughs He needed to do for me to be able to walk fully into His plans for my life. I truly believe that every person needs to travel outside of their comfort zone, get out of the boat, and walk (albeit sinking and feeling the waves begin to overtake us) arms outstretched to Jesus.

That being said, I am so glad that God requires that of us for only a season. Many of my closest friends are going through that stage right now and to you I say "Believe in the journey that God has you on, because the end point is really not the goal. This journey you are on is the most important thing you could ever undertake in your entire life. " Also, listen to a lot of worship music, journal what God is doing in your life so you can go back later and see the AMAZING work God has done. Even if it seems insignificant I promise you will look back and cry to see how FAITHFUL God is and how much he cares for even the most insignificant of needs. " Being confident of this that HE who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

The season I find myself in is very different. For the past couple of years the Lord has been walking me along a very different part of my journey. This journey has been very rarely focused on me. To be honest it was a big relief to turn my attention away from my own wretchedness, and to focus on how I can love others. Specifically how I can love my husband. If I could give this season any name it is "Love your husband and give your life to him." When I first got married I was constantly finding ways that Dave wasn't loving me enough, wasn't taking care of me enough, wasn't being the husband that I thought I deserved. It was miserable. The funny thing about this last season is that God has spoken very rarely to me. Not to say that I am disconnected. In fact I can honestly say that I have never been so deeply rooted in my relationship with Christ than I have in this last few years. It is just that God simply said is "Love your husband." That's pretty much it.

As I listen to this song "All I want to do is give this life to you" I realized this morning that this is my service to God. God told me today again "Love your husband." Do not focus on what he can't give you right now. Don't think about your loneliness or what you don't have. LOVE YOUR HUSBAND, because when you do that you love ME. When you find yet another way to make his life easier, you find another way to encourage him, you find another way to take something off his plate, I am loving my Savior. God put Dave in this position at USC for a purpose. It is into require everything of him to become successful and to do God's work. Until God tells me otherwise, my purpose on this earth is to make sure my husband has everything he needs to do that job.

Not saying that I am the little wife sitting at home cooking and baking waiting for my husband to get home so I can rub his feet and give him the newspaper. My heart has to be completely surrendered to loving and serving my husband whatever ways become apparent that he needs me to. This is another season. The only thing I know for certain is that seasons, no matter their duration, are just that: for a time.

I encourage you all of my married friends, to let go of expectations for 1 week. Ask God to give you a heart of service. I cannot begin to explain how full my heart is of Love for Dave now that I am not concerned with anything except trying to love him as best I can. And how that has poured out all over my entire life right now. How when he holds my hand it is as if God instantly fills in all of the hours of the day that I don't get to have with him. I have also noticed that Dave wants to give back to me more than he ever has before. When God tells you to do something, and you are obedient, he does not disappoint you.

Here is the beauty in this all: It is becoming easier and easier to do. I have so much peace, so much love, and so much joy daily because Christ is still faithful to me, each and every step of this journey. Be encouraged and know that God is going to reward your hard work. He says it in His word and He does not lie.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the PROPER TIME we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6: 9-10

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And now the news you've all been waiting for...

Ashby Noel Canales
The doctors had to tell us that there is still a possibility that this is really a boy and we may not have seen it yet, but I just felt her kick me when I wrote that so I think she is trying to say something! Plus I think it would have been obvious if there was something between her legs...

Sucking her thumb...hopefully she won't do that as long as her mom did...2 rounds of braces later!

Our Daughter. I cannot believe it.
We are so incredibly happy!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Congratulations to my best friend since I was born.
Literally we've been friends since I was born and she was six months old!!!

To the soon to be Mrs. Mark Caldwell!
I love you to the moon....

Friday, September 11, 2009

garden pavers

Ever since I built my garden on the side of the house, I have been looking for a way to get free gravel to put around it so that it wouldn't be so muddy when I water it. Well, turns out all I needed to do was use the dirt, rocks and chunks of my old driveway and that was all I would need. It actually turned out beautifully and way prettier than if I had purchased gravel. Plus it just cost me getting a new driveway, which I did not purchase anyway (again, who are my parents? they are amazing)

This is the pathway that Drew made through the back planter. It looks so cool and winds all through the raised back retaining wall garden.

The he laid all of the broken pieces of the driveway in a pattern (which we were going to have pay 350$ to haul away no thank you!) and then filled it in with the pile of dirt in the back yard. Yes, we learned our lesson this time and put the dirt in the backyard thanks to my crazy neighbor who likes to call the city of Carson for eveything!

The new garden "pavers" go all the way around the entire garden.

The dirt is like cement, and every time I water it settles down further into the ground. What a beautiful garden! I am thankful beyond words to my amazing cousin Andrew who moved all of the stones around and shoveled dirt while I watched...the only thing about pregnancy that has been hard for me to get used to. This whole letting people help me and life things...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I have decided to showcase one thing a day from our amazing week with my parents.
What started out as hiring a couple of guys in the parking lot at Home Depot to mow the lawn and do some weeding turned into painting the shed, the fence and garden gate. Then they gave my mom an offer that she couldn't refuse. They told her they do concrete work. That was all she needed to hear. She negotiated a rock bottom price for a new driveway and walkway all along the east side of the house. It took them 3 days to remove the old driveway (if you can even call it that) and formed the new one. It was amazing to watch them mix all of the concrete (6 truckloads full) by hand. If anyone needs a new driveway or patio, I know some guys....

Previously the side of the house was horrible. It was dirt and there were bugs everywhere, and sometimes Kuma would try to dig under the gate. Now I can easily roll my garbage cans off the street and back next to my house!!

Here is a view of the new driveway early this morning. The new driveway is 5 feet wider than the old one, and I don't have to step in the mud when I get out of the passenger side of the car. And no I will be able to negotiate the driveway in heels! Not that I am really wearing heels right now, but if I was....

The house looks like a house to me. Not a duplex. It makes such a huge difference to the curb appeal of the house, and also now to the amount of time it is going to take me to clean my house because I know we will be tracking in way less dirt.

Thank you mom for letting that bee get in your bonnet. I love you.

PS if you want to see what it looked like before, check out my blog from July 15, 2008. WOW

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

major changes...

My mom and dad were here for the last 8 days...
Needless to say there was a lot of laughter, a lot of lattes (decaf for me, except for a few times...I know I know I am a horrible pregnant person) a lot of speed scrabble, and a lot of construction!

My dad and mom wanted to really help us out to get ready for the baby to be comfortable (or for me to stay sane once the baby is here!

Here is a sneak peak at some of the LIFE ALTERING strides they made...

I no longer am deemed "dishwasher" for something else in my house has this job...

The laundry room door is no longer the only way out back...

I am no longer going to be walking up a broken, 1/2 tar cement chunk 1/2 dirt driveway.


It's kinda quiet around here with just me and Kuma...

Friday, September 4, 2009

17 weeks...

As promised, I will start posting belly pictures...
My computer is broken but working well enough to at least do that.
Anybody want to buy this girl a new computer? (JOKE!!)
Here is a picture I took in secret when I first found out I was pregnant.I didn't tell Dave for 2 weeks so I could surprise him for father's day.

5 weeks C was the size of an apple seed.

17 weeks: baby Benby is the size of an onion.
We had an ultrasound yesterday but the little booger did not want us to know if we are having a son our a daughter so we must continue to wait.

This fun picture is from a week ago after the football scrimmage.
Yes, that is sweat. It was almost 100 degrees. Ritha was handing me a continuous stream of water bottles and we hung out in the bathroom a lot dousing ourselves with water.

My mom and dad are in town changing my life through projects at the house to prepare for the baby. More pictures to come when my kitchen isn't torn to pieces.