Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm in love.

Andy and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary on August 8th.  We still hear from people that our wedding was the best wedding they've been to!  I take that as a compliment, as I had been planning that day for pretty much my whole life :)  Just kidding.  Really though, two years is not that long in the grand scheme of things, but for us, we are thankful and excited for more.  We love being married.

It's easy to love being married when you're married to a wonderful man like Andy.  There are so many great things about him, sometimes I feel bad that he got stuck with ME!  I know I know, there are so many great things about me, too, but this post is about him.  First of all, he is so handsome.  I often tell him that my favorite feature about him is his smile.  Doesn't it just make you happy?  It makes me happy, and when he smiles, his eyes light up and you just feel comfortable.  He is so disarming.  Andy has a way about him that allows people to feel loved, secure, and wanted when he is talking to them.  He is such a good listener, too.  He loves to give people his undivided attention when they're talking.  Often people come to him for advice.  Even some of my girlfriends feel comfortable to talk to him about issues going on because he listens well, but he also is wise and kind.  He works hard on whatever he is doing.  You can expect an A+ worthy product if you ask Andy to do it.  He is an amazing teacher.  I don't just mean stand-in-front-of-the-class teacher, but even when he teaches me things in the day to day.  It can be as simple as "What are clouds?"  (I know, I think I should know that from 2nd grade) to "Tell me what you think about Revelation."  He will ponder your question, search his mind and heart, and explain the answer to you in a way you will understand.

Andy is also goofy... just like me.  Probably only Andy and my immediate family know just how weird I can be.  Definitely Andy knows best...and he is weird right along with me!  I love it.  I obviously wouldn't have married him if I couldn't be myself around him, but I still absolutely love feeling so comfortable and secure around him that I can be weird and have my sense of humor and not fear him running away.  Haha, I think some people would if they knew!  (I'm good for him.  I teach him not to take himself so seriously :)  Andy has a big heart.  I love the way he loves babies and Golden Retrievers.  (Almost equally.)  In fact, the only way I for sure know how to get a tear produced from him is to show him some Youtube video about a loyal dog.  He also has a compassionate heart (although he wouldn't agree), and he cares about people so well. 

He also cares FOR people well, too... mainly me.  I get migraines, and during our first year of marriage, I started getting them once a week for about 3 months.  They were terrible, and there was nothing he could do for me, yet he tried anyway.  He would set me up in bed, with a trashcan at my side, a cold cloth over my forehead, and with Excedrin migraine in my hand.  He just wants to help me.  So sweet.  (Sweet because I'm sometimes screaming and crying in pain, and really there is nothing he can do.)  A more recent example...  2 nights ago I pinched something in my neck and couldn't move it without excruciating pain.  I only got a few hours of sleep that night, and woke up at 4 crying.  He went to CVS around 5 to get me cold packs, heating pads, Bengay, and straws.  He held my hand.  He took me to the Chiropractor.  I mean, he is just a servant.  He serves me without any question.  I love him.

I love this man and can't wait to celebrate more years at his side!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Picture Update

Here are some pictures of our team touring ASU's campus a few weeks ago.  We wanted to get familiar with the layout since we'll be doing a lot of ministry here.  At this point, we have been on campus everyday for the past 3 weeks.  We have a table outside the main dining hall with a big banner saying, "Looking for a church?"  Each day we have about 20 new students sign up to get information about our church and ministries.  It's super exciting.  This past sunday we had 60 people at church!  We're already looking into renting a space to hold church at in a few weeks.
Travis and Andy carrying Ellie and Gracie

Such a cutie!

Baby Emmy

everyone was sweaty

Me and Lauren.  So sad to see her go in a few days!  :(

A walk thru the fountain felt nice in the heat!

Ellie being silly in the student union--they have a Chick Fil A!

Gracie and Lauren.  Gracie always does whatever Ellie does!
Next up are some more pictures of us just hanging out.  This night we were at a family's home who has been committed to our church when it was just a dream of ours.  This couple's kids were actually in our old Boston pastor's youth group in Waco way back in the day!  They have been living in Phoenix for most of their lives now, so they've been hoping an Antioch church plant would make it's way out west.  We finally did!  The Runnels family is really a treasure to us all.  I absolutely love Stan and Cheryl.  They feel like grandparents or an uncle and aunt to Andy and me.  Two of their adult children, Rebekah and Michael, are committed to our church as well.  Rebekah is a chef (amaaaaazing) and makes dinner for our church service every sunday!  We get weekly gourmet meals!  She has a sweet daughter named Eliana Grace.  Also known as Ellie.

Ellie and me

Ellie, Emmy, Lauren, and me after dinner.
Here's a picture of the new Pottery Barn duvet cover my mom got us for our 2nd anniversary!  (Oh, yeah!  That was on August 8.  I meant to post about it...  Maybe soon.)  I love our bed!

Lastly, here are some pictures from Passport, which was ASU's freshman night.  Hundreds of clubs, organizations, and groups set up tables for the freshman to visit and get info from.  This event is always held the night before the first day of school.  Miraculously, Antioch Community Church was approved to host a table at Passport!  We were busy getting materials ready for this event, and it went great.  Over 125 students signed up to get more info about our church and about 15 students actually came to church.  We are just getting our name on campus as much as we can.  It was a fun night!  We met tons of people and had a blast talking with students, handing out flyers, and giving away frisbees.
Andy and me at the table.  Adam did a great job designing our banners.

Shelly and Gracie.

Even Gracie wants to sign up for church!  :)

Ellie loved her lollipop!

This is not posed--actual conversations happening.  Our table was hoppin!

Holding up the frisbees we made!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Things have kicked into full gear, here in Tempe.  Our team has been "hitting the streets" - if you will - for the past 2 weeks, sharing the gospel, praying for people, and getting our church's name out there.  Many people, students and non-students alike, have shown interest in church or have desired prayer.  We have gotten to share the full gospel with a good amount of people, too!

One night last week, we went out to the main drag of Tempe, which is called Mill Ave., to share the gospel.  Now, Mill Ave. is interesting.  You have mainstream restaurants like Five Guys, Chili's, PF Chang's, and Red Mango frozen yogurt, there are lots of bars, some pscyhedelic shops, and a club or two.  The people who frequent Mill Ave--particularly at night--are even more eclectic.  You have students, young couples, lots of homeless youth, lots of homeless adults, and handfuls of people who are high or intoxicated.  Oh, and there is a not very friendly end-of-the-world preacher, who is disliked by many we have encountered.  So do you get the picture?  It's crazy.  Not unsafe, but crazy.

We split into groups of 5-6, with a guy in each group, and went off to pray for people and tell them about the love of Jesus.  (*We had a team in from Boston on a mission trip here last week, so there were more people than just our team.)  Before we went out to the streets, we had a fun little jam and worship session.  During that, one of the girls from Boston, Bryn, prayed and asked God if he had anything to say to her about going out that night.  All she saw in her mind was the color bright pink.  So, as we were walking around, Bryn kept her eye out for anyone in bright pink clothing, expecting those people to be hungry for God or needing prayer.  She saw one group of street kids, and a girl in the group was wearing a bright pink shirt.  She went over and started talking to them, but it was soon clear that they thought she was weird and didn't want anything to do with God.

Later on that night, Bryn and I were together in a group, and she saw the girl in pink crossing the street towards us.  Sure enough, the girl, Mary, walks right up to Bryn and says, "I've been looking for you all night!"  Of course with me being nosy, I hear this and butt myself right into the middle of the conversation :)  Mary goes on to say that she doesn't really know those other guys and just met them that night... so she "didn't want them to hear her business."  And, in fact, when Bryn asked if she could pray for any of them something inside her heart "felt funny".  She knew she needed whatever it was that Bryn was offering.  We got into a great conversation with her about where she was spiritually (very confused) and what she thought about God (went to church growing up but has rejected faith when she was old enough to choose).  To make a long story short, we shared the gospel with her, and at the end, with tears in her eyes, she nodded "yes" when I asked her if she would like to let Jesus be the Lord of her life.  We prayed, she accepted Jesus, and we rejoiced!  It was a beautiful thing.  We all had tears in our eyes.  We prayed then that she would be filled with the Holy Spirit, as the early Christians did in Acts, and she said she felt peace.

Mary is 22 and lives with and takes care of her grandmother.  Her hair is pink and black, she has gauge earrings, lots of piercings, and many tattoos.  She comes to Mill Ave to hang out with anyone she can find and with friends for fun.  Now, I say this so we will all know to never judge a book by its cover.  It is SO exciting to see and know that God is doing something here amongst his children.  The broken and hurting are aware of their need.  Regardless of people's outward appearance, hearts are being softened.  Amen! 

I am now meeting with Mary weekly to go through the foundations of having faith in Jesus.  I am so excited and expectant to see God move in her life, bring healing, and filling her with peace, joy, life, and power to share the gospel and see more people saved!  She is the sweetest girl, and I am genuinely grateful for her.  I look forward to developing sweet friendship with her.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I got a job!

So much has happened in the past couple of weeks, my head is spinning!  To start, I GOT HIRED AT PHOENIX CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL!!!  This has been a long time coming through prayer and trusting the Lord.  When we moved here, I thought I had a job pretty much in the bag, but it didn't turn out that way.  I have been applying to many many jobs since then, I've had a few interviews, but still no great leads.  I felt weird shutting the door to Children's, since I come from one of the top Children's Hospital in the country, and I love and respect the mission of Children's Hospitals.  Anyway, to make a long story short, through several words from the Lord and Him orchestrating things perfectly, I was offered a job at the Gastroenterology Clinic at PCH.  An even sweeter element to this story is that back in March/April, I said a few times to people in response to the question of what kind of job I'd get in Tempe... I said a few times, "I would love to work at the GI clinic at Phoenix Children's, or something."  God is good!  I feel like over and over again I have laid things down on the altar, things I care about but love God more... and He gives them back to me.  It's so much sweeter that way...  to choose Jesus over things and even people.  To put God first.  "Seek first the kingdom...and everything else will be added unto you."  So, I start tomorrow!  Orientation for 3 days, and then I think I'll start.  I will be in the clinic Mondays-Fridays, 8-4:30.  The nurse I'm covering for on her maternity leave worked at Boston Children's for a few years, too!  Small world.  I'm so excited to start.

Ok, so I'm finishing this post on Monday, August 15th.  Today was my first day of orientation.  Praise the Lord!

Monday, August 1, 2011