Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Showers of Blessing

Here are some pictures from the shower my home church, Grace Baptist of Taylors, and Tia Olga threw for Ryan & I this weekend. The womenfolk of Ryan's family all came down (or up, depending on where they live normally); his grandmother Martha Presley, his Mom Tamara, his sister Courtney, his Aunt Karen, and his cousin Kelly (Kasey couldn't make it). My maternal grandmother, Lulu (aka Mama Lulu) came as well, and of course the Greenville Tias came-- Olga & Sylvia. It was the first time the grandmothers met, as well as some of the other family members. It was also the long-awaited first time Ryan met my sister Nicole's boyfriend, Colin-- they've been hearing about each other for months now, lol. Though, Colin, i don't think the gift you let Nicole put your name on made the best impression... since when is Sense & Sensibility a guy movie? ;D

I can go on and on about how wonderful the whole weekend was, and I probably WILL eventually, ...I mean, my family really outdid themselves, and so many sweet memories were made... but I HAVE to get these lesson plans started, so I'll post these pictures to appease some of you clamoring for updates, as a temporary/intermediate fix.

The plans for teaching the very DAY after we get back from our honeymoon daunt me a little. I was wanting to be made more to feel my dependance on, even my desperate need for Divine Grace... I think this is an answer to those prayers!

Love and grace,


Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Two Sets of "Tony & Angie"s

I realized I have pictures of both of them, so y'all can see them!

The Hepp variety
Ryan knew Tony through Cross of Calvary Baptist in Corydon, IN. We ate sushi with them last week. Tony just graduated from Southern & they'll be moving to Texas on August 18th...sadly for us!

The Taylor Variety (married on May 5th!)
They're members at Immanuel with us, and we have Bible Study on Thursdays at their house. Ryan usually dresses up for the occasion, as the following picture will show

(sporting Tony's daughter Destiny's, nicknamed Nini (aged 4), hair tie. He thought he knew how to 'work' them, but didn't really. So Angie & I showed him how it was done.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Side By Side Living

Well, I've been told by many that I need to update, and I've even wanted to myself! What's kept me has chiefly been the inexplicable aversion of this particular computer to blogger. I don't understand it, but it takes usually 3-4 tries, often with several minutes of blank screen at a time, for the editing pages to load, and I've gone whole hours, attempting multiple times, to no avail. Sometimes the pages just won't load. Thankfully, posting original entries is easier than editing older ones, so at least this should work. It's not that I've been too busy to post, per se, it's more that if I have to choose how I'm going to spend a 2 hour chunk of time, with a wedding, ensuing marriage, new teaching jobs, and buying & adorning of a home all bearing in on me in less than a month, there are other things that quickly take priority.

So, how's life been as in-state fiances? Well, it's been life. =D Some of it has been great. Let me list some highlights: sushi at our friends Tony & Angie Hepp's place (I rolled my own for the first time, and Ryan tried it all, even finding he liked the roll containing raw tuna the best!); Bible Study on Thursdays at Tony & Angie Taylor's (I know, two couples with the same names); a Sunday afternoon spent working together on VBS laminating, coloring & cutting; reading Harry Potter 7 out loud to each other, a chapter at a time; the weekly ritual of me bringing him lunch at work (on our 1-year anniversary, I surprised him with a scrapbook of 'Our Story' and take-out from the Kashmir, where we had our first date if you recall-- another time I managed to drop my entire soup bowl upside-down, lol); church small group every other Sunday evening; the Church Wedding Shower hosted by Jillian & Brian Preston for us last Sunday-- we sat out in Shelby Park, and ate BBQ and even gluten-free hamburger buns for me (made my day); evenings talking with Glen & Bethany (the couple I live with), and often laughing very hard at Glen; Sunday lunches with a whole motley crew around our "table" (we have to sit in the living room cause the kitchen table only seats 4), with a large percentage of the food being consumed by Rob Smythe (a favorite tag-along in my mind); watching Transformers with Lyle, Ryan's work buddy, and Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix with Ashlea, my roomie from last summer; Q'dobas and Moes meals; strolling through the mall hand-in-hand, looking for wedding bands or a queen-sized bed; the increasingly frequent spells when Ryan cracks me up and I can't stop laughing, no matter how much it hurts! (then he starts laughing at me, which makes me start up all over again) He's gotten a technique down pat called 'Seductive Eating'-- guys, never, ever try seducing ANYONE with it. I also must mention David Devasto's week-long visit last week. In his honor we had quite a number of great times, including our Dairy-Del ritual. Dave was with us that fateful day last summer when I first met Ryan, and when Ben Hedrick dared me to eat...well, you know. Anyway this year, Sarah, Karis (now a very cute 1-year old), and Ben joined Ryan, Dave, John Letoto & myself one night after VBS. Before we arrived, Bed told the servers to give me, no matter what I ordered, another bubble-gum-covered-chocolate-cone. They did, to my utter astonishment, and everyone's laughter. It was as gross as I remembered it, but this time, I just fed the coating (aka gross part) to Karis, who loved it.

So, to sum it all up... living near Ryan is wonderful, AND it also gives us opportunities to practice forgiveness and forbearance like you wouldn't believe. We're now in the same local community of faith, and part of the package is friction. I'm quite the sinner (I know you're shocked, right hehehe). We've had to learn how to relate to each other in a group all over again, had to address questions of teasing and what a united front means, and how we show respect for each other all the time. We've had to (and still are) grow in bearing with daily annoyances and grievances, which has led to lots of confession of sin and forgiveness. Glen & Bethany really have encouraged us in this; we're trying to take into account each other's family's 'culture'-- how things were handled, and what was expected in our different families growing up. We're learning that the "one-flesh" marital unity doesn't come by becoming clones of one another, but rather by each becoming more and more united to Christ, so as a part of that we're trying to be more diligent in encouraging one another towards Him. There have been some hard conversations, some real soul-searching, and even crying. But it's all been in a context that makes the overall taste so sweet that I wouldn't trade it for anything. We've discovered that we'd much rather talk than not! So this week we've tried to make time to just talk, to just be together.

Pre-marital counseling has been really good, and it's led to some good conversations. [I have much more to say about that.] This past week wedding prep has picked back up, and today actually felt a little overwhelming, especially in relation to the work I have to be doing getting ready for school next year. I'll start teaching the day after we get back from our honeymoon! So I have to be READY, and 2 weeks ahead of time, because I won't be thinking about lesson plans on the honeymoon, let me tell you that!

Well, packing must be done. We'll only be in Greenville 2 nights, and my sisters have way cuter clothes than I do anyway, so I'm not too worried. =D Like I said, I've got more to say about pre-marital counseling, and also about my own spiritual state & growth. There's lots of thoughts, as always. I just finished CS Lewis' A Grief Observed if that gives you any hint as to the direction of some of my musings of late. Also working on The Moon By Night (Madeleine L'Engle) and The Sacred Marriage, as well as Margaret Paton's Letters from the South Seas (so encouraging!).

Loved and with love,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Walk in Shelby Park



Shelby Park.

Sarah, excited and happy and free.

Crazy Paton (we say "Sina's getting walked by the dog").

John, lagging behind with "his hobo bag"

Jenna faces...Jenna feet...

Jenna in General.

Juice cups.

Morgan half grown-up.

John's swordfighting leaps.

Baby Abigail, sleeping safe & warm like every baby should.

These are the moments I savor like summer watermelon-- slices of sweet, hot days.

My New Room

Behold my setup at 719 Gwendolyn Street, upstairs front bedroom. :)
Bethany [Moore] had it set up in a blue and brown color scheme, which suited me just fine. ...the only challenge has been integrating frames and decorations from a green-and-purple scheme. I just plain couldn't use some stuff. lol as if I needed any more frames out! I had fun rotating pics, and figuring out how best to arrange them all. The other night I stayed up WAY too late doing that. Those of you who recently saw my room back in Greenville may be able to tell which pictures are differently framed, or are new! :)
View upon entering. The windows provide a lovely light. It's quite a large room, too!

As before, the nightstand is the place for Ryan's Shrine.
(Notice the sweet card & flowers he had to welcome me home!)

The view from by the bed. The table & stools are gift from Dave & Sina [Shuey], who recently bought a bigger kitchen table, so now all 5 of them can fit around it! :)

My closet and 2nd nightstand-- another gift from Dave & Sina. I'm rather proud of the organization of my closet. Things fit rather nicely. And I just did my first load of Louisville-dirtied laundry today.

The view of Shelby Park ("the park") from my window. 5 mornings a week I start out my day running there, sometimes accompanied by Sina. See how close it is? And the church is only a block to the right. I cut through the back yard, an then through Mark & Libbie Timmons' yard, directly behind us, then cross the street (Oak St.-- where Dave & Sina live), and pass 5 houses, for a 2 minute commute to church. It's great!

Home Sweet Szrama Home

As per Ashley's request, some pictures of what may soon be the Szrama home! It's still being renovated, but the inspection went well, and the owner's agreed to do all the work we asked on it. We're excited! We spent some time last night pricing beds and wedding bands, and tomorrow will likely do the same...and pick out paint colors for our new walls... and try out towels to register for. Hehe exciting 4th plans, no?

Ryan's First Wedding

I mean his first time OFFICIATING a ceremony. (Saturday, June 30th-- same time Todd & Kara Edwards were getting married in Pennsylvania!)

Details to come... pictures for now :)

Preparation-- definitely the most challenging part. I got to help him find vows and type them up. Gave us some good ideas for our own ceremony comin' up!

Mollee (the bride), getting ready

The wedding & reception were in this Forest Museum of sorts-- beautiful! The windows gave a gorgeous view of the Indiana farmland. We're going to make a trip to the orchard nearby (Hubris Orchard). The Shueys, with Sarah & Abigail, are gonna come too if we can work it out!

Ryan praying with Mollee and Shawn. He did a wonderful job in the delivery. God answered prayer!-- he was clear, to the point, personal, and not mincing in his words of charge to the couple and the audience. He presented the Gospel (which is inherently central to any wedding, whether the couple knows it or not) very clearly and simply. Made me proud, and very thankful. :)

A new favorite of mine

(Can you see the rolling hills behind the happy couple?)