Tuesday, March 31, 2009

love, it changes things

isn't it amazing to see how experiencing love and being loved truly changes people? you can see it on the face of a child on sunday morning who might not experience lots of love at home but when their sunday school teacher loves them, it washes over their face. you can see it on the face of an elderly widow who is more than likely alone during the week but receives love from her church family on sundays or wednesdays. you can see it on the face of a new bride who is just beginning to understand the depth of love her husband has for her. finally, you can see it on the face of a new believer when they are overwhelmed with the unmeasurable and amazing love of Christ; as well as on the face of a seasoned believer who simply feels beaten down by life but in the presence of the One who is love, allows that love to wrap His arms around them.

love truly does change things. it changes people and the One who is love came to change the world. i have been praying that the Lord would prepare my heart for Easter in the days prior...that He would allow me to soak in the enormity and the magnitude of His life, His sacrifice, His victory, and His love. it's so easy, working for a church, to focus on the "work" of preparing for Easter...planning lessons, making sure the facilities are in order, and that we are recruiting enough help to handle the large numbers that are typically in attendance (all things that must be done) but i don't want to miss Easter because i'm distracted by the preparation. i've opened my heart and asked Him to prepare me...and He is. i've also asked Him to so overwhelm me with His love that it would change me...daily and that, in turn, it would overflow into my life and my ministry.

"how great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!" ~1 john 3:1a

"this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.
and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." ~1 john 3:16


Saturday, March 28, 2009

one year ago...

(this picture was taken just minutes after he proposed!)

i said yes. yes to the man of my dreams and yes to starting a brand new life with him. it was one of the happiest days of my life and i am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with such an incredible man. what a year it has been!! we had a great time planning our wedding, an absolutely amazing wedding and an incredible honeymoon. i'm so blessed to be mrs. alley!


Thursday, March 26, 2009


overwhelmed. that word describes how i've felt the last few months, weeks, and days. some of the things that have overwhelmed me have been not so wonderful (hello...sickness and all manner of every illness ;) some have been frustrating at times and then rewarding at others (sometimes ministry can be that way) and some have been absolutely wonderful but still....overwhelming (figuring out how to go from a single girl...who was quite independent in her singleness to being a wife and a married woman whose life is now joined with another).

in the middle of all of these overwhelming parts of my life, i have been overwhelmed with something else but something completely different from all the other parts of my life. i have been overwhelmed by the Lord. i've felt His overwhelming grace, mercy, and strength when i've been sick and frankly, didn't FEEL like getting up and doing. i've experienced His overwhelming grace, peace, and wisdom as i've walked through ministry these last few months. i've experienced His overwhelming love as i've begun walking down this journey of marriage with my husband...i don't believe i've ever seen a better picture of the love of Jesus than through my relationship with my husband...just thinking about it brings me to tears because the Lord has been so good to me.

so, i've been feeling overwhelmed in all those different areas and in all those ways but recently, i've been so overwhelmed with God's activity in my life. there are times in life where, honestly, we don't always "see" Him or "feel" Him but we rest in the assurance that His word is true and He is there...despite how we feel but oh, those times when we get to "see" for ourselves and "feel" it in such a real way are sweet, sweet times. the Lord has been overwhelmingly active in my life in the last week and i have to say that it makes me want to get down on my face and lay before Him weeping with thankfulness AND it makes me want to run and shout because He is so good...all at the same time. i know, i know...i'm confusing and complex (just ask hubs ;).

i'm overwhelmed by His...

i'm overwhelmed that the King wants to dance with His daughter in the ballroom of her life.

He is good, so very good.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

and i even write his name all over my notebooks, too...

yes, i do. i do (heart) joel...very much, in fact :). i saw another bag similar to this one (a friend was carrying) and then saw a website that makes these so, of course, i ordered one. i just love it and it's a great tote bag, too. there are lots and lots of reasons that i specifically love joel but the one thing that stands out to me whenever i think about him is how he loves unconditionally and selflessly...he really does a great job loving me as Christ loves the church...being loved by him has changed my life forever. love you, baby


Monday, March 16, 2009

decorating, house guests, and everything in between...

it has been a very busy week and weekend but we had LOTS of fun! we spent this week working (of course) and getting ready to host a group of girls from our church's disciple now weekend. i spent lots of time at the grocery store stocking up on snacks, food for meals, etc. for the girls and just for us (because you know, i'm all about planning my menus and couponing and all that ;), and lots of time at target purchasing items to decorate the guest bedroom/bathroom, items for gift bags to give my girls (their very own DNow survival kit ;), etc.

here's a sneak peek at the mini-makeover the guest bedroom/bathroom received...i have bigger plans for that room but those will happen later down the road.

once the girls arrived, we (and they) were ready for a fun weekend and we definitely had a great time! we had an amazing group of ninth grade girls and two wonderful leaders; this was the first time joel or i had ever hosted for DNow and we had such a great experience. we agreed that we would definitely do this again. i hate that i didn't get pictures of the girls but maybe next year i'll remember :). by the time church was over yesterday afternoon, we were exhausted and could not wait for a sunday afternoon nap. thankfully, this week looks like it will be rather quiet (thank goodness) and i know we are going to take advantage of a few evenings at home with nothing to do!

totally unrelated (i guess this fits under the "and everything in between" part of the title of this post ;), i started clipping coupons in january and have really tried hard to figure out all the little secrets and tricks everyone uses to save lots of money on groceries. i've had some success at harris teeter (the most i've been able to save is $43.00, though) but i'm soo open to tips. i tried branching out to cvs this week and didn't really have a great experience so if any of you blog readers have any pointers or tips, pass them on!

also way random, i am loving, loving this season of 24...the old jack bauer is back and monday is definitely my favorite tv night. i do admit, though, that i would seriously HATE to be living any 24 hrs that jack bauer lives. good grief!!

last thing---do you have your brackets ready?? thursday is the official start of the madness and i can't wait! GO HEELS! :)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

trial and error

i've thought a lot about blogging this week but i didn't really have a lot to say besides, "i don't know why but i'm really tired all the time right now." so, i've been sparing you from my whining :). i'm telling ya...i look out for my peeps.

life has been super busy and a little hectic lately so i haven't been very adventurous in trying new recipes. i've been cooking but i've been relying on some old standards that i know work and are quick to fix. tonight i decided to break out of that rut and try something new and different. i'll admit that while it looked GREAT in the cooking light cookbook, i was nervous to try it. i made orange glazed chicken with cranberry rice and i was honestly really surprised at how well i liked it (i'm not much of an orange fan). i'm also very happy to report that hubs liked it (i just asked him to confirm...i don't want to spread misinformation on the blog. he just said, "yeah, i liked it...it was really good.) so, score!! i'm trying so hard to build up a collection of recipes that are healthy, easy, and yummy.

the orange glazed chicken cooking

cranberry rice

joel's plate...it was yummy.

the other exciting thing happening in my life right now is that we are on the verge of march madness and i am SO excited. seriously, it is a close second (could potentially tie) for my favorite time of year (football season being the first). so, get your brackets ready and brace yourself for some madness!

hopefully, i'll be back later in the week/weekend with a less random post. have a happy tuesday!

Monday, March 2, 2009

a trip, a wedding, and some snow...

well, we are back home, thank goodness! we had a great time in dallas and we literally did not stop the entire time we were there. we met my great friends, andrea and cari, for lunch as soon as we left the airport at an amazing restaurant, pappasitas for some yummy fajitas. mmmmm. seriously, it's one of my favorite restaurants in texas.

then, we headed to one of my favorite shopping locations in the metroplex, sam moon.

the girls...before shopping

my sam moon purchases

after lots of fun shopping, we headed to a fun place i'd never been called yogurtville. it was such a FUN little shop and the yogurt was so yummy. i had yogurt with strawberries, blackberries, and cheesecake pieces.

after yogurt, it was time to head to prestonwood for the wedding rehearsal and then on to the rehearsal dinner after that. we had such a fun time and by the time we made it back to the hotel, we were ready to head to bed! the next morning, andrea, cari, and i had so much fun together doing very fun, girly things. hair appointments, fun lunch, and mani/pedis. then, it was off to the church to get ready for the wedding.

the bride, getting ready :)

waiting after pictures for the ceremony to start...i think that's the hardest part!

the ceremony was beautiful. congratulations, kevin and stephanie!! here are some pics from the reception:

mr. and mrs. kevin paul AND mr. and mrs. joel alley...yay for newlyweds!

cari, me, and andrea...

sunday morning we worshipped at prestonwood and then had lunch at my favorite, favorite mexican restaurant in dallas...chuys. after lunch, we stopped by sprinkles (of course!) and then headed off to the airport.

after a great lunch and sprinkles, we headed off to the airport...hoping that our flight would not be cancelled because of the snow that was supposed to arrive in charlotte sunday evening. our plane did take off but it was quite the journey getting home! we circled over charlotte for an hour and finally landed at 10 pm (our flight was supposed to have landed at 8:30). let me tell you, the airport was total choas. thankfully, we made it home :) the roads were crazy but joel is an amazing driver and the Lord completely watched over us.

so, this morning, we had a lot of fun enjoying the snow...

sorry this was so long...but we packed LOTS of fun stuff in 3 days!!