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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving recap

On Thursday, Thanksgiving day, Ginger went to her mom's to begin making pies and casserole's and basically, spending a day with Mom. Her Dad had to work, we wouldn't be eating till around 6:30, so they had some time to spend with each other. Sadie, Ginger's dog, had taken a turn for the worst, so it gave Ginger some time with her beloved dog.

So what did Paul do. Well, it started with putting some boxes up. Yeah, it always starts this way. Then I look at the floor, it needs to be swept, and so I thought I'd do it for Ginger. She'd started laundry so I decided to help out with that. And then I was in full clean, make ready mode. I began cleaning baseboards, dusting, wiping faceplates and doors, and I even cleaned the bathroom for her. A couple of hours later, the apartment was cleaned, the laundry was done, the christmas boxes were out. I don't really know what possessed me to do all of this, we would learn later why God put it on my heart to do so.

Friday, Ginger and her Mom took Sadie to the vet and had to make a tough decision. Sadie had cancer and two tumors on her rear leg. The smallest of the two had ruptured, so there was an open wound. Basically, the vet said that they could prolong her life, for a day or so, but it was about quantity of life now, not quality. And so Ginger said goodbye to a family member. Ginger would then say now she knew why I'd cleaned, because she really didn't feel like cleaning this weekend, and I couldn't blame her.

She came home on Friday and honestly wanted to just sleep. We were going to go get a Christmas tree, and it looked as if we might postpone it. But we didn't. I talked with Ginger a bit, I let her get some of her grief out, and she decided, hey, let's go ahead and do it. Again, God intervened. We went out to eat (she wanted to eat out) and then went and got our tree. Ginger's mood was elevating. It was the first tree we actually saw, and we knew it was the one. We got the tree, and brought it home. As soon as we put it up (it's a real tree) we knew God had led us to the right one. We pulled out the decorations and began decorating. We decided we needed to go to Walmart to get a few things and suddenly we were on a road trip at 9pm! We were having a blast. We got home and continued to decorate, Ginger doing the tree decorations, and I worked on the mantel. I'd move some things around and then Ginger would look, move some things, then I would, until...perfection. We turned the lights off, lit the candles, and turned on the Christmas lights and suddenly we were transformed into the Christmas spirit.

Our apartment, yeah we swear she is alive, well, you could almost hear the joy she had in this creative transformation we had embarked upon. She gave her approval and if she could cry tears of joy, she would have. From the passing away of a beloved pet to the making of holiday memories we had experienced a wide range of emotions this day. But we'd done more. Ginger and I both love going to our parents house at Christmas. There is a feeling there, one of home and comfort, of the Christmas spirit.

Well, what we had found, as we sat on the couch is that we had created that exact same feeling in our home. Don't get me wrong, we love going to our parents house, however, now, we didn't have to go anywhere to get that feeling, we could go into our living room and we had that same vibe, that same essence. It is born out of love. Go to either of our parents house you get the feeling of love, and family, and, most importantly God. Our parents taught us well. And we were able to start our own tradition, in our own home, and the feeling of contentment is indescribable.
As my Mom said, we are making memories.

So we mourn the loss of our beloved pet and yet what comforts Ginger the most is that she is running around in heaven. Do animals go to heaven? Who knows, but if it lessens the grief, then I say run Sadie run! We've had lots of highs and lows this holiday, but we are thankful, we are so thankful. Needless to say, right now we are sitting in the living room, our Christmas lights on, the candles going, and so in love with each other and with these memories we've made....


Can you believe 3 posts in 8 days!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Something to Ponder

Yeah, it hasn't been a week and I'm posting again, can you believe it! Thank you for your wonderful comments!

Last night Ginger gave her testimony at Celebrate Recovery. It has been 3 years since she's given it. I got to hear it 3 years ago, it was when Ginger and I were first starting to get to know each other. Wow, did we ever not know each other? We got to reflect upon those wonderful times at the beginning, the butterflies, the anticipation on seeing each other during the week. One of our favorite things to reflect on is how I got Ginger's phone number.

Her friend Paige had been trying to get me to get her number for a few weeks. She thought we'd be perfect together. Me, I was praying to God. I mean I thought she was beautiful, but you have to understand my track record with relationships and I wasn't suppose to be dating in the ministry I was at, not CR by the way (and that is another story in itself). Sometimes we ask God to make the path clear to us, show us a sign kinda thing. Well, it wasn't exactly a sign, or maybe it was, but Ginger was sitting next to me at the greeter's table and a friend of her's asked her for her phone number. Did Ginger write it down, no, she blurts it out, and I found myself memorizing it. Over and over I said it in my mind till I had it in my head (I could have written it down if I'd of thought about it). Then, after the small groups I put it in my phone and texted her, Is this your number, Paul. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ginger has grown tremendously. She has an incredible faith and love for God that astounds me. For someone who struggles with bipolar and anxiety, you'd never know it. She doesn't complain, though in our private moments she has questioned why at times, but ends up giving it to God as her thorn. She values her sound mind more than just about anything and we are both thankful that she has been stable for several years. God has done mighty works through her just in my life and we are both soooo thankful for each other. Ginger often says, What would I do without you? My answer, you wouldn't laugh as much! She gets to see a side of me few do, guard down, defenses down, and being my goofy self. Which is how it should be right? My wife is my best friend and we can laugh, joke, cry, and have moments that are reserved just for each other. I'm amazed as I look into those beautiful hazel eyes and see the woman of my dreams. And God made her for me.

Which leads me into my relationship with God, for which I am thankful. I'm the same way with God now, and Ginger has helped me so much with this. I don't have to come to God all perfect and with my act together. There are times I'm sad and let God know, I get angry and let God know, and I share happy moments with God. God isn't some distant being that I have to fear lightning bolts coming down if I stumble. God is right there with me, picking me up if I do and in a loving gentle way, telling me a better way to live. Most times, as I ask God to guide me in a decision, He does, from simple things like, should I make this purchase? To which way should I go to work. Sometimes He prompts me to read His Word, or to call Ginger, He will guide your life if you let Him. Don't get me wrong, I can take the rein's back, but usually I start messing things up and I give them back. I mean, if I have a hard time delegating 5 people, how about 5 billion? Nah, don't need God's job, I mean, can you imagine herding 5 billion sheep?

Sometimes, when following God, we have to put our own desires aside to do His. Isn't that the sacrifice? Isn't that when your faith is tested? When you have to put your own desires aside because God has a higher purpose for you? It can be a challenge. But when you see it, when He gives you a glimpse and you realize that God is at work, it can be an awesome feeling. I've heard it preached that you will not always have a peace when God tells you to do something. I tend to disagree because I've always had a peace in my spirit when I've followed God's direction. Now my flesh may argue, but that is where we must tame the flesh. I'm working out my own salvation, and God is teaching me so much. The place, however, that I see God more clearly than any though, it in my wife's eyes. She has a look, you know, a LOOK. That I love you look that is so much more than that, and it is as if Jesus is staring through her at me. It is a glimpse of my Savior's love, and in those moments I'm prone to tear up just a bit, because it doesn't matter what is going on, with that look, everything is at peace. Someone once told us the magic will fade after a year of knowing each other. Well, it has been 3, almost 1 married, and that magic, well, it has only gotten stronger. I know the meaning of a soulmate now, of a missing rib, of having a true love, for I've found mine, and the secret, you may ask, well, it is because Jesus is in her....


Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Thanksgiving Week!!!!!

First let me say that yes Tanna, I'm glad there wasn't a big fire too! My Dad gave me the greatest idea, which I use now, that is to put the pot pies on a sheet pan with tin foil on it. That way, no mess. Thanks Dad! And I clean the oven manually now.

So it has been two weeks since I've posted. I've come in and checked blogs now and then, but I've been adjusting to work, which I love, and Saturday's have become my fix it, clean it up, organize it, go get the groceries day. Oh don't get me wrong, I love it. I spend 5 days a week fixing up apartments for people to move in, so I have a list that I add to during the week, like cleaning up my tools, organizing them, etc.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving and there is really alot to be thankful for this year. I mean hey, I got married this year! And we have had a very happy and blessed time. We've had funny stories like the oven and not so funny stories, like Ginger's dog having cancer. There is a strong emotional attachment to her dog, Sadie was there for Ginger as she stabilized from bipolar. And Sadie is part of the family. I'm not sure how much longer, but she'll be in doggy heaven soon.
We have learned to communicate with each other (we were pretty good at it before) and can express our feelings to each other honestly. Sometimes too honestly on my part, there was a meal recently that I said wasn't very good (it was frozen stir fry from the store). Ginger asked what I thought, I told her, and suddenly it was a failure in being a good wife, not a bad meal! How'd we get there? Okay, I'm not a woman so I don't know how women think, but I do know that I don't want to go there again! Yes, all things you learn in marriage. I do know this, Ginger always told me she wasn't a flower person. Well, for her birthday I got her flowers for the first time. Guess what, she's a flower person.....I have Mom to thank for that one, she suggested strongly that she'd love them.....I guess Mom being a woman and all would know....she was right!
We've had a good birthday weekend, Ginger has been happy and satisfied! Went to Villa Montez last night!

I'm thankful for my new job as well! Ginger and I both are. I didn't realize how much stress my last job was taking on me. I mean wondering if your getting paid, doing work that you would do it differently, etc. I love working with my hands, It's genetic, and I know I have two grandfather's looking down at me smiling, and a father who is proud of his two son's. One didn't stray, the other, the prodigal, is back, and making good use of his talent's now. And now I believe so much in quality. I know where I get it too...

And I'm thankful for my identity in Christ. My identity use to be what everyone else wanted me to be. Oh, I still struggle at times, codependency has been in my life for a long time, but I'm coming into my own. I can honestly say, at 42, I love my life and who I've got in my life. God talks with me each day, shows me His beauty each time I wake up, and throughout the day guides me, corrects me, molds me and shapes me. I'm becoming more vocal at work, talking to people, and I realize that God opens doors. I'm where I need to be, and want to be where He wants me.

And I woke up this morning with God speaking to my heart about being thankful for what I've asked for in the past and didn't get. Think about that a minute. What do you not have that you so wanted, and find out later that thank goodness you didn't get it, that God knew better? I mean it's easy to find things to be thankful for, but how about those prayers that weren't answered that protected you? I've had a few and can think of a few that if they had been answered I wouldn't be sober today. When we put our life in God's hands, when we say here you go God, here are the reins, your the boss of this life, I'll follow, well, He takes that serious. Don't get me wrong, we are not a puppet, we can take back control. But why? When God says no, why would we want to say yes? There is a sacrifice, yes, because you don't get all the shiny things the world has to offer and for the most part distract you from God. But as we save our money we are able to do things, but something we've done is we pray about our purchases. Do you believe God will guide you when you shop? We do.

We got to talking about where we lived at work, some of us rent, others have houses. The one's with houses saying I would never rent, some of the renter's not wanting a house. What about you Paul, I was asked. Funny you should ask, I love my apartment, Ginger does to. It was as if it was made for us. It has history, it has character and it has life. We decorated for Halloween and will for Christmas and she seems to enjoy the love that we put into her. I mean, I have a studio that I just made some changes to that added character. But what it comes down to is that there is a thankfulness and gratefulness there. We walk in, we are home. Get that, home. Not where we are living for a time, not a place just to dwell, home. We make memories here, and I believe the old girl has taken a liking for us. But the most important part is, we invited God here. He dwells here, heck, He was here before we moved in, preparing.

There are lots of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Our faith, jobs, relationships, home's, etc. I challenge you to take some quiet time this week and thank God, for what you have AND for what you don't. Rest in Him, be content in Him.

And now that my schedule seems to be evening out I hope to blog more. I got on facebook and was able to find my best friend from the ministry I was at, but I've found that blogging is more of what I enjoy. I'll put my pictures on facebook, but my words, well, they are reserved for here. I'm thankful for each of you that read this, I love the fact that my Mom and Dad read it, and I have to give a special thanks to Evan and Tanna, you hold a special place in Ginger and I, and our family's hearts.

And Aaron, a special thanks to you, we made it through some tough years together and if anyone would "go to the wall" with me, you did!

A thankful baa....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Oven Story

Okay so all married couples have funny stories that create memories right? Well, we have one we will be talking about for the rest of our lives, I call it, the oven story. It has a very good ending.

I was cooking dinner one night, homeade pot pie. It is one of Ginger's favorites, and we've tweaked it to satisfy our tastes. I like mine with potatoes, Ginger does not, so I got these cute little baking pans at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to cook four individual pies, two with potato and two without, yes, the things you will do for love...

For the most part they work perfectly, but if I put too much sauce in and the crust breaks, it bubbles over in the oven. This just happened to be one of those times. I got the pies out, smelling good and tasty, and decided to self clean the oven to clean the oven of the mess that spilled over. Set the timer, and everything was good. I had the trash to take out so I took the trash out and took the trash bin to the street, walking along in my flip flops and just enjoying a cool night.

Walking up the drive, I hear Ginger's voice. I can't quite understand so as I get closer Ginger yells, "The oven is on fire!" Well, you can imagine the thoughts blazing through my head as I begin sprinting, in flip flops, around the corner and up the stairs. I'm expecting to see smoke, hear the smoke alarm go off, you know as I'm trying to figure out how the self clean caught the oven on fire?

Well, I sprint through the door, going mach 12, spin around the corner and there is the kitchen, in tact. There is the oven, in tact. No smoke, no fire, no alarms. Then Ginger says, in the oven I saw flame. So I look in the oven. Remember the spilled over sauce? Well a lazy flame was over it, burning it up. In about 5 minutes it was gone, and the self clean began doing it's thing. Ginger's heart was going ninety to nothing, I was still full of adrenaline ready to save the day. Ginger asks if we have a fire extinguisher. I grin and point right by the oven. This is one of those times I'm glad that a) the oven locks when in self clean and b) Ginger didn't know where it was. Needless to say the oven didn't burn down, the pot pies were excellent, and we had a good laugh after the fact. I did end up turning the self clean off, Ginger was just a little freaked out about the whole situation.

Well, at work we actually clean ovens before people move in, of which I've done, so this weekend I got some cleaner and manually cleaned the oven. Looks great and I didn't have to worry about freaking my wife out! We've had more pot pies since then and other things, the oven works fantastic, and we have something to laugh about. Ahh, the memories.

Work has been going absolutely wonderful. The days fly and sometimes there is not enough time to finish all I want in a day. At least I'm not bored. I'm the painter, but I've done drywall, fixed bathroom tile, re leveled a toilet, fixed faucets, fixed doors, changed blinds, cleaned ovens, steam cleaned apartments, changed locks on doors, the list goes on. Ginger loves her handyman. I'm known as the quiet one. They put me in an apartment and they don't hear from me till lunch. And it get's done. I'm still on my 90 day probationary period but I've been told I'll do just fine. Another instance where you let the actions of what you do speak more than your words. I learn alot, many things I didn't know I just ask how to do, I'm shown and I do them. Makes me think of God and how there are times He just asks us to do things, and without grumbling and complaining we do them. Don't get me wrong there are other times I do grumble at God, but how much smoother is it when you don't? Things that make you go hmmmm.

My role at Celebrate Recovery has been changing too. Without really realizing it, I see I'm going into more of a teaching, encouraging role than a leading role. I'll be honest, I'm a lousy delegator, I tend to just pick up the reins and do it myself. Which can lead to burn out if your not careful. My strengths are, believe it or not, the manual labor side, doing things where help is needed. There are people to organize the help and there are people to do the help, I'm the latter. Don't get me wrong, I can organize, but if I had my choice I'd be in the trenches. And now that God has taught me the organizing part, He seems to be leading me back to my strength. Where ever God wants me is my heart. I'm willing to work in weakness, because He makes me strong.

Anyway, wanted to give everyone an update on our little ole life. Ginger and I are deeper in love now than before, and it just gets stronger. The other night she laid her head on my chest and was out in about 5 minutes (everytime). And I just began thanking God. For her, for our life, for our apartment, for Him, who without Him none of this would have been possible.....