Thursday, February 28, 2013

Favorite Ideas from our Wedding

Just wanted to share pictures of a few of the things that I especially liked from our wedding. Enjoy!

I hope this sparks some ideas for anyone out there who's planning a wedding. Feel free to borrow them—after all, we borrowed most of them ourselves! :)

We had our guests sign quilt squares and now we can sew the squares together to have a keepsake quilt!
Our quilt squares

A game for guests: Questions on the escort cards – the answer is the name of the table!

Staggered flowers on the cake

We had the men and ladies trade accessories for a photo shoot!
Mini jam jars for a favor – with John 15:5 about bearing fruit

We invited our guests to each decorate a table in their own unique style!

We invited our guests to each decorate a table in their own unique style!

We invited our guests to each decorate a table in their own unique style!

All photography © Daniel LaBelle Photography

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Patty Cakes: A Food Invention

I made a food invention today. They're nothing crazy or super-innovative, nothing with ingredients you haven't already eaten together. I call them patty cakes. 

It's one of those Saturdays where we're just working on things around the house... and then I remembered: "Oh, I guess we need to eat lunch." So, I looked in the fridge and freezer to see what I could scrounge up. And I found some hash brown patties in the freezer. So I decided to make breakfast for lunch with my patty cake invention. You can really just use whatever you have on hand in this recipe.

They're so easy. You'll need:
  • Hash brown patties (same number of patties as cakes you want to make)
  • Eggs (same number of eggs as cakes you want to make)
  • Cheese (optional, I used cheddar and pepper jack)
  • Salt & pepper (optional)
  • Other optional toppings include: sausage pieces, diced ham, bacon pieces, diced onion, diced green pepper, mushrooms, or anything else that you like to eat in your breakfast.

To do:
  1. Heat some oil in a skillet and put the hash brown patties in the skillet for about 5 minutes.
  2. Flip over the patties and heat the other side for another minute or two. Season with a little salt & pepper, if you want. Then flip back over.
  3. Try to make a little cut/hole/dip in the middle of each patty. It didn't work very well for me. It's ok if it gets messy. 
  4. Crack an egg on top of each patty and pull any runny egg goop back over onto the patty. Then flip each patty over until the eggs are cooked through. 
  5. After the egg is cooked, flip back over. Add any toppings you like—we added sausage and ham. Let cook for another minute or so.
  6. Put cheese on top. We added cheddar and pepper jack. Cover and let cook until cheese is melted. 
  7. Serve immediately. Hot and yummy. And only one skillet and one spatula to wash. Yes.
Do you have any recipes you've invented? What are they?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lessons on Marriage

What do the following items have in common?
  • Cheese balls
  • Mr. Lawyer-pants
  • Mountain meadows
  • Growing asparagus
  • 9 minutes of prayer
  • Gold butterfly necklaces
  • Sweet Dorito vomit
They all help us grow to have a thriving marriage!

Intrigued? Read on....

We just got home from the 2013 CrossWay Marriage Retreat. It was filled with all kinds of good (figurative... and literal) food to chew on and digest. I encourage you to listen to the talks (which are available on CrossWay's website) if you were unable to attend. Here are some helpful things that I took away and hope to implement in my marriage.

First Session: Mike Bullmore - The Goodness of a Godward Marriage (click here to listen)
  • "Who you love determines how you live."
  • Cheese balls: Does my marriage tip toward a love of self or a love of God? Remember: In the absence of a biblical vision, we will default toward a self-focused marriage.
  • God's purpose in marriage: relational joy, growth in holiness, fruitful service.
  • Mr. Lawyer-pants: Be committed to preferring one another... that is, don't favor your own way of doing things. We all come in with expectations. Ask: "What is it like for my spouse right now?" And have humble compassion. Don't elevate your own way.
  • Revel in forgiveness—remember that it is a privilege to extend the grace and forgiveness you've been given.
  • A Godward marriage depends on a continual orientation toward God and away from self. This re-orientation needs to happen pretty much daily.
  • Mountain meadows: When you look ahead, this does not have to be an insurmountable cliff to climb, but a very walkable uphill path to a beautiful, lush place.

Breakout Session 1: Mark Rogers - Growing Through Conflict and Disagreement (click here to listen)

We didn't go to this one... because we never experience conflict. Haha. Just kidding. I'm excited to download it, listen to it, and talk about it with Eric.

Breakout Session 2: Dan Allen - Tending Your Spiritual Garden Together (click here to listen)
  • Remember, if you want to reap a harvest, it will take labor and sweat.
  • I am the primary human agent God is using to pour out grace on my spouse. And my spouse is the primary human agent God is using to pour out His grace on me. Remember this as you interact with one another—you are brother and sister in Christ. And remember God is working in you both.
  • Growing asparagus: It can take a long time. And you may not see fruit right away. Be confident that growth is happening under the soil even if you can't see it, and keep watering.
  • (A point my wise husband made) Sometimes we might plant and water, expecting a certain result. Let's not be discouraged if God brings about a different result. We may look at the asparagus patch we keep trying to grow... let's not miss the pumpkins growing over there.
  • My spouse can not be God to me. Don't expect my spouse to fulfill/satisfy what only God can. That will frustrate me and put pressure on my spouse.
  • No part of our lives is neutral—we're either fostering or hindering spiritual intimacy with our spouses in all we do.
  • 9 minutes of prayer: God will use all of our efforts. Just because we fall short doesn't mean we'll come up empty. Example: If you're not praying at all, set a realistic goal to pray together for three minutes, 3 times a week (rather than, say, 3 hours every day). It may not be much to start... but 9 minutes is better than no minutes. 

Ending Session: Jason Dahlman - One Flesh Serving Together (click here to listen)
  • Gold butterfly necklace: This is a gift God has given to you so that you can bless others, glorify Him, and experience the sweetness yourself.
  • Don't wait to serve until your marriage is more mature/stable. Serving is something that will make your marriage more mature and stable.
  • If your serving feels like it's dividing you, you're doing it wrong. Don't stop serving. Serve differently.
  • Serving others = loving our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:25-28). Remember: you do this together when you are married, because the two have become one flesh, all of the Scriptural commands are not just "me" and "I", but "we" and "us."
  • Sweet Dorito vomit: Even the un-fun things can be sweet when you are serving in unity.
  • Your marriage and serving your church are not to be in competition with each other. If you can't actually serve together, be involved in what the other is doing. 
  • Extend hospitality. Love your church and your community. And not just the people who are like you.
  • Pray together about whether god is calling you to go and serve on the mission field together. Not all believers are called to go, but all are called to be willing to go. If you're not willing, ask God to make you willing.
  • Let God's mission for His glory to be made known in the earth give you perspective... that little thing that bugged you today about your spouse may not be such a big deal in light of the eternally significant things happening around you.

What stands out to you from these talks? What do you take away from them?