Shutterfly Winners!!

The giveaway ended at midnight EST last night, so today I get the pleasure of announcing the very lucky winners!!! Here they are!

Congratulations, guys!! I'll be emailing you the codes for your free cards within the next day or so. In the meantime, you might want to start looking at their cards! =)

Happy Weekend!

Friday Project

Joe had today off, but he chose to spend the day at the range, shooting with his battle buddies. {I won't even mention that he's going to be at the military range on Monday.} That left me plenty of time on my hands today. So after some urging from Melissa, I started on a craft for my kitchen.

You see, I bought some coffee themed fabric almost a year ago and I'm pretty sure I've only used it once. Sad, isn't it? Although what I made with it was pretty darn cute:

Melissa and I got to talking about what I should make and she mentioned a dish drying mat. I don't do the dishes much anymore {thank goodness!}, but my pots and pans aren't dishwasher safe. We have a small drying rack in the opposite side of the sink, but that gets crowded sometimes. Plus, Melissa also mentioned that once Baby gets here I'm likely to have pump parts and bottles that need to be hand washed. Dish drying mat it was!

So I ironed my fabric, cut up and old {and really ugly} towel, and then cut my fabric. I made mine 18x14, but I almost wish I would have made it bigger. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes. It's really simple to make, but if you want a tutorial this is a pretty good one I found via trusty Google. ;-) In the tutorial she uses one piece of fabric and a towel, but I used two pieces of fabric and sandwiched the towel in between the two. This is how mine turned out:

Front (or top...)

{Just pretend you don't see my crooked stitching.}

Oooooh.... Aaaaaah.... ;-)

I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself! I've thought about going back and tacking it all together (think big X) but I can't decide. Anyway, I like. =)

Then Melissa suggested I make one for my SIL. Anna told me recently that she's decorating the kitchen in her new house around the potholders I made for her for her birthday.

Well, I just happen to have some scraps of that fabric leftover! So I made her a dish drying mat today too. =)



For hers, I did just as the tutorial I posted above did. I thought I'd have enough to do one like mine, but I didn't. Hers is simpler, and a little less bulky than mine but I think it'll do the trick just fine! 

I think it'd also be cute to take a bunch of scraps and do a patchwork one. I'd do that, but none of my scraps go with my kitchen and I'd kind of like things to match. So I guess I'm just going to have to figure something else out for them!

Anyways, these are really easy to make. If you're looking for a good project or just find that you need one, definitely go make one!



Well, I finally decided I should start doing bump-dates...if only so I remember all this stuff later! ;-)

How far along: 16 weeks (and 1 day)...lots more to go!

Weight gain/loss: So far I've gained about 5 pounds, which I think isn't too bad. My doctor hasn't said anything either way so I guess I'm doing okay!

Body changes: Well, my belly is definitely growing! I can no longer wear my pre-pregnancy shorts without a belly band. =)  Oh and "the girls" are growing too. They're huge. Haha, too much info?!

Gender: Don't know yet, but we'll find out on November 17th!! =D

Movement: I feel little flutters (seriously, it's almost like butterflies) every once in a while, but not a lot. Mostly it's in the afternoon or at night when I'm being still.

Sleep: Ugh. I've been having a hard time getting comfortable lately. I'm a tummy sleeper, and hello, my tummy is much bigger these days. I seriously need a body pillow. And I've been getting up a couple times at night to potty. Yaaay.

What I'm looking forward to: The ultrasound in November and being able to feel Baby more. =)

Cravings: Sour candy...namely chewy sweet tarts and sour skittles. Oh and last Friday I had a major craving for a steak... Odd.

Symptoms: The only real symptom I've had lately is cramping, which Doctor says is just round ligament pain. Yay. Thankfully the nausea went with the first trimester. =)

Best moment this week: Feeling Baby tickle my belly as I was trying to go to sleep a couple nights ago.... And hearing Baby's heartbeat (160!) today was also pretty awesome. =)

P.S. Don't forget to go enter for free Shutterfly cards here!! Only a handful of people have entered and I have 3 codes to give away! Giveaway ends the 28th!

P.S.S. If you have fall photos, please, please, please email them to me by tomorrow for the Fall Foto Contest!



I suppose there comes a time in every marriage (or relationship) when you forget certain things. Or even when both people forget something. Even something significant. Like a day.

This time has come in our relationship. *sigh*

On October 11, we "celebrated" 5 years of being together. We celebrated by going to my doctor's appointment, Joe going to work afterward and then bringing home my prenatals. That's right folks, both of us forgot. I mean, completely forgot. Want to know when I remembered? When I was laying in bed one night thinking of all the things we had to do that week. I grabbed my phone to see the date and suddenly realized... We forgot. Or if Joe remembered he didn't say anything. =P

I actually think it's kind of funny that both of us forgot. It's not unusual for Joe to forget dates (other than our wedding anniversary and my birthday; he's good about those), but it is unusual for me to forget dates. Especially significant ones. What's even funnier is that when I scheduled that doctor's appointment, I knew that there was something important about the 11th. I just couldn't figure it out... And there wasn't anything in my iCal to tell me otherwise. Lo and behold I was forgetting an important Joe & Sarah date. Pregnancy brain definitely is taking the blame for this one!!

After I realized the important date (as in the next day), it made me think of how completely different our lives are now...and not even in a way that we imagined those 5 years ago.

Taken a few days after our first date in 2006.

We were in college, both seeking teaching degrees and our "significant other." I think maybe we hoped we would be that for each other, but didn't really have a clue. Well, I guess we didn't really have a clue about a lot of things back then (and I'm sure we still have a lot more to learn!). I highly doubt that either one of us thought that Joe would be in the Army 5 years later. Or that we'd be living in Hawaii. Or that he'd be sent to Iraq; to spend a year far away from me in a strange desert, being shot at on an almost-daily basis. The only thing we were certain about then was that we were going to be teachers. And even that isn't true today. Teachers at heart, maybe, but definitely not by profession.

One week ago.

Geesh, we even look different now. Not in a huge way, of course, but in subtle ways. Both of us have gained a few pounds - even discounting my baby belly. Joe likes to call that his "happy fat" because he was so happy - and extremely well fed - when we got married. He's got a high and tight these days and is only unshaven on the weekends. My hair kinda looks the same. =P There is one difference though:

Hellooooo baby bump! That's definitely the biggest change from 5 years ago. I definitely couldn't have told you back then that in 5 years I'd be married to Joe and pregnant with our first baby. =) It's absolutely exciting (even a little scary at times), but so completely different from back then. I can't even begin to imagine what's going to happen five years from now. And maybe it's better that way. But at least I know that whatever happens, it'll be with Joe. With him I think I can pretty much handle anything.

So here's to many more years...and even years when we forget to remember our first date. ;-)

P.S. If you'd like to send in photos this week, I'd love to start the Fall Foto Contest! Make sure you email them by Thursday.

P.S.S. Don't forget to enter for a chance to win FREE Shutterfly cards!! Only 3 days left! Go here to enter.


FREE Christmas Cards!

Yes, you read that right. FREE Christmas cards for bloggers, courtesy of Shutterfly. =)

They did a similar promotion last year, which I was also super excited for. I started thinking about what I was going to do if they didn't offer it again this year, but fortunately I don't have to worry about that now! All I have to do is choose from a bazillion cards that I like. They have everything from Christmas cards to greeting cards - and even photo books - all with some pretty great designs.

I loved the cards that I got from them last year:

I'd never done a photo card before and was excited to see how they'd turn out. I'd also never used Shutterfly before. I was very pleasantly surprised to see how well they turned out. =) It's really a great alternative to the "traditional" Christmas card. These can be hung on the fridge with all the rest of the pictures instead of put on a table or in a drawer somewhere. =P

This year, I'm inclined to do the photo Christmas card again... But I'm having a hard time deciding which design I like best!!! Here are the front-runners:

The "here's what we did this year" card.
Covers the photo part and adds in a nice little letter for those we don't talk to every day.

I like this one simply for the Hawaii factor. 
Plus, who doesn't like decorated palm trees? ;-)

Again with the Hawaii factor. I also like the collage of pictures.

I think this one is just plain cute.
It also kind of reminds me of Joe's grandma because she's all about Santa. =)

Traditional, vintage spin on the photo card. Me likey. =)

These are just a small taste of the many, many designs they have for cards. Now do you see why I'm having a hard time deciding?!

If you're a blogger, Shutterfly is offering you the chance to get 25 FREE Christmas cards! Woo!! All you have to do is go register on their website, http://goo.gl/DDw7Q. Easy peasy!

Even if you're not a blogger, Shutterfly is offering you a chance at free cards too!! I have 3 codes to give to 3 lucky readers. All you have to do to enter is this:

Leave me a comment telling me what you will do with your free cards. One entry per person. Contest will run until October 28 at midnight EST. Winners will be posted the following day.

Note: You must have a working reply-to email address in order to comment. If I can't reach you by email, I will choose someone else. Don't miss out on this chance because you don't have your email set!! 

{Go here to find out how to do that.}

Zip, Zilch, Nada

That's exactly how many fall photos I have for you today. Sad face.

I'm a little - okay, a lot - disappointed... But I suppose it's mostly my fault. I didn't exactly plug the Fall Foto Contest every single day this week. I definitely didn't do it like I did last year, so maybe that's it. According to my "stats," yesterday's post - in which I reminded everyone to send in photos - got a whopping 9 views. That doesn't count people's reader feeds though.

I really want to do this again, if only because I really enjoy it. But now I'm faced with questions.

So the questions are:

1. Should I push it back a day because maybe no one was ready?

2. Does anyone really want to participate in this little 'ole contest of mine?

3. Should I do away with the contest?

I'd be okay with not posting photos until tomorrow (Saturday or even Monday) if I knew for sure that people were actually going to participate and email me photos. But I don't know for sure. Obviously, if no one even cares to email photos - or take them - there's no point in attempting to do this. I want to, but that doesn't really make a big difference, now does it? {If you're a new follower, go here to find out the details about the contest.}

So, you tell me. Do you want to take a photo a week, email it in to me, vote on your favorite photo and be entered to win a to-be-determined prize? I'd love to do this again, but it's all up to you guys.

Go ahead, tell me what you think.

Seriously. Seriously.

I may or may not have been watching a lot of Grey's lately... ;-)


Call Me Grace

I swear, it really should have been my middle name. I'm a klutz and have been injuring myself on a regular basis probably since I learned how to walk. It's not like it happens on purpose...but random things always happen to me.

In high school, there was carpet in some of the "newer" rooms in the school. Almost every day, I'd trip while walking into - or out of - the room. I really wish I was kidding. Fortunately I was usually early to class and few people ever noticed...or made fun of me for it. These days, I'm just more likely to run into a wall. Not just any walls either, walls in my very own house. Yes, you read that correctly. My husband likes to make fun of me when I do that and ask me if the wall just jumped out in front of me. He's a winner, folks. ;-)

My favorite recent run-in with a wall was just a couple weeks ago. I was standing in the doorway of our bedroom, telling Joe something as we were getting ready for bed. Once we finished our discussion I turned to leave the room....and BAM! I ran smack into the doorway with my shoulder. Fail. We both got a pretty good laugh out of that one.

This weekend I did something that's not my usual kind of klutzy. As I said before, I do a lot of things to injure myself on a regular basis. It's not unusual for me to find bruises on my arms or legs and have no memory of how they got there. Anyways, this weekend my left foot was kind of itchy. I didn't really think about it until later when I noticed this little gem along with a little swelling:

Y'all, I sliced my foot with my own nails. And I didn't even realize it at the time. You'd think I'd notice something like that. You'd think. I guess only non-klutzy people realize when they're hurting themselves? LOL! Joe found this particularly funny and strange. =P I just still can't believe I did it.

Note to self: Pay better attention when scratching.

Oh the things our kids have to look forward to... And Lord help them if they inherit my klutziness!!

❉❉❉ Are you guys out taking fall photos?! If so, make sure you email them to me tomorrow!!!! Can't wait to see {and post} them!

❉❉❉ P.S. Stay tuned to find out how you can get FREE Shutterfly Christmas/holiday cards this year!


Date Night

But first, a note. =)

Don't forget to send me your fall photos for the Fall Foto Contest this week!!! Be sure to send them to me by Thursday evening (my time) so that I can post them on Friday for everyone to vote on their favorite. 

Now that that's out of the way...

Friday night, Joe and I went out on a date. We haven't really made a huge effort to do this in a while. Probably mostly because I haven't felt like doing a whole lot. Thankfully the 2nd trimester has been nice to me so far. =) Since I'm picture-happy these days, we took some before we headed out for the evening.

Had to have a preggo pic. =)
{14 weeks 3 days here} 

And us. =)
P.S. Joe says I "glow." Thoughts?

So our first stop of the evening was one of my favorite local restaurants, Cholo's. Fortunately, the place was pretty empty so we didn't have to wait for a table. And we got to sit outside and enjoy the nice breeze as the sun was setting. We enjoyed some very yummy food and chatted for a while before heading to our next location. The only sad thing about being at Cholo's was that I couldn't have a margarita. =P

After we stuffed ourselves, we got in the car and headed to the movies. We had a bunch of time to kill before the movie so we went ahead and bought our tickets and wondered around the little shopping center that the theatre is in. While we were walking around, we noticed there was a band playing in the gazebo in the middle of the shopping center. I think this was the first time I'd ever seen a band playing there, so it was really nice. As we got closer, we realized that they were playing - wait for it - Christian music. It was a really nice treat for us. =) Not that we don't listen to other music ever, but it was nice for a change. Then, we decided to walk around a little store for a while and I found some great treats that I've been wanting for a while.

Apparently I've been craving anything sour lately. About a week ago, I really wanted to get those sweet tarts from the shoppette. But they don't carry them. =( I haven't really seen them anywhere since the last time I was in OK... So when I saw these at that little store, I all but did a happy dance right there in the candy aisle. We bought 2, along with the sour Skittles...which I have since completely devoured. =)

After we bought candy for the movie, we stopped in at a little yogurt shop. Neither one of us had ever been to one before (I know. Shame, shame.) so I thought it would be fun and a nice, yummy treat. Of course I was right. ;-) We shared some cookies and cream yogurt outside while listening to more music from the little band. It was a really nice evening, even before the movie.

For our movie, we decided to see The Big Year with Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. I kinda wanted to see 50/50, but I figured The Big Year would be better for a date night...and hopefully a little more funny. It turns out that the movie we chose was about birding, better known as bird watching. The three main characters are all doing a "big year" in which people race to find as many different species of birds as possible in one year. I gotta say, it wasn't the best movie ever... But it was a cute film, and with guys like Steve Martin and Jack Black, it was definitely entertaining. =)

We didn't end up getting home until almost 11, which is way past our bedtime these days. =P But we had a really, really good night. We've been trying to do more of this kind of thing lately. It's good for us, and it's a good thing to do regularly since before we know it Baby will be here and we'll either need a sitter or take Baby with us.

This week is already off to a busy start... Did some labs for my doctor today, got the flu shot (yaaay), FRG meeting this evening (more yaaaay) and then Dave Ramsey class tomorrow evening. Hope yours is going well!

Don't forget to email me your fall photos by Thursday if you want to enter!!!


Yummo Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

Over the last several weeks, I've started meal planning...at the request of my husband. Say what?! Seriously. I suppose it does make things a bit easier, but I'm not the best at planning a week full of meals. It's been difficult but it's also lead to me trying new recipes... Like this one that turned out to be uh-mazing.

Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

You will need:

❉ Crock Pot (duh)
❉ 1 envelope chicken gravy mix
❉ 1 can chicken broth
❉ 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
❉ 1 bag frozen mixed veggies
❉ 1 jar (4 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained {not pictured or used because I hate mushrooms}
❉ 1/2 cup sour cream
❉ 1 T flour
❉ 1 1/2 cup Bisquick
❉ 4 med. green onions, chopped (1/4 cup)
❉ 1/2 cup milk
❉ 1 cup frozen peas, thawed {I didn't use any peas except for what was in the mixed veggies}


{I sorta forgot to take pictures during the process so there aren't any...sorry.}

1. Mix gravy mix and broth in crock pot until smooth. Stir in chicken, veggies (I put mine in frozen) and mushrooms.

2. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken is tender.

3. Mix sour cream and flour in small bowl. Then stir sour cream mixture into chicken mixture (in the crock pot). Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes.

4. Mix Bisquick and onions in small bowl. Stir in milk just until moistened. Stir in peas. (Or don't if you don't want to. =P) Drop by spoonfuls onto chicken gravy mixture. (I used my Pampered Chef cookie dough scoop for this and it worked like a charm!)

5. Cover and cook on high for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick (or fork) comes out clean. Serve immediately.

And voila! Chicken Pot Pie. =) Just a note... Because my crock pot is kinda big, I added a little bit extra of the biscuit mix so I'd have more on top. If you have a smaller crock pot you might need less. 

Also, my husband absolutely loved this recipe. We barely had any leftovers!!! 



Seriously, guys, I have got to get back into the habit of posting regularly. At the very least, I'd like to post every other day. I guess I just feel like my life is sooo boring these days! In reality, I suppose it's not...considering I find a reason to tweet at least 5 times a day. =P I'm working on it, but who knows when I'll get back to being a regular blogger.


In other news, I was really planning on starting season 2 of the Fall Foto Contest this week. I meant to post about it on Monday, but Joe kept me busy cleaning out our indoor storage closet. And then I meant to yesterday, but I had a doctor's appointment and was entirely too tired by the time I got home to do anything but veg on the couch. So here it is Wednesday and I've yet to post.

Fall Foto Contest

In case you don't remember, to enter in the Fall Foto Contest I need a photo emailed to me by Thursday evening my time so that I can have the Fall Fotos up on Friday. Then, I put up a poll so readers can vote for their favorite photo. Whoever gets the most votes wins! Easy peasy, right? Right. =) I would really have liked to start it this week, but I know it's kinda late notice. So we'll do it this way: if I get enough photos in tomorrow evening, I'll post it. If not, we'll start it next week. How's that sound? It may not seem like it, but I'm really eager to start this up again and be able to see what fall looks like where you are! It's one of my favorite seasons and I really, really miss it.

Entries from last year's contest.


I also wanted to say thanks for the comments about our church search! We visited a new church on Sunday and really liked it. The worship was really good - though not quite as contemporary as we're used to - and the message was even better. During the service, I realized that I felt like I was actually being taught and convicted of things that I need to change/let go of...and that I hadn't really felt that way in church in a while. Now I feel even better about our decision to leave the other church we were attending. We're not sure if this is the church God wants us to be a part of, but we are going back next week to learn more. I'm excited. =)

And while we're talking about church and faith, one of my BBs wrote a thought-provoking post that I think you guys should read if you haven't already. So go check out JG's post. You won't regret it.


Let's see... What else is there? Oh yes, the baby bump:

As of yesterday, I'm a whopping 14 weeks. =) Apparently there's some sort of dispute as to when the 2nd trimester starts. Some say 13 weeks and others say 14 weeks. Whenever it happens, I'm feeling pretty good. 

My nausea is gone as far as I can tell. For about a week, I would get sick whenever I was riding in the car but it hasn't bothered me the last couple of days so who knows. =P I'm not nearly as exhausted as before, although I do still get tired fairly easily. Like yesterday, I went to a doctor's appointment (for my lungs, not baby) and was completely worn out by the time I got home. *sigh* I'm having cramping off and on, but I'm sure it's just my belly making more room for my ever-growing baby. I told Joe the other day that I think my uterus is just extra cranky. Haha! I have horrible cramps when AF is around so I suppose it shouldn't really surprise me that I cramp while pregnant.

My next OB appointment isn't for a couple more weeks and I'm ready for it. =P If they didn't cost so much, I might consider getting a Doppler so I could hear the baby's heartbeat. =) And I would love to get an ultrasound at my next appointment, but I doubt it'll happen. Another girl (whose husband works with mine) suggested that I just ask the doctor...but I'm not one to push things or ask for favors. Apparently this girl asked at her last appointment and they did a quick ultrasound and gave her a picture. So...I don't know. What should I do? ;-)


The Skinny on Church

I've been debating whether or not I should approach this topic, but church {and where I attend} is a big part of my life. As a milspouse, I know that finding a good church is going to be a constant battle and is also for many of my readers. So, I decided I'd tell y'all what's been going on in our house regarding church these days.

Most of you know that I started attending a church here while Joe was deployed. We never found a church home before he deployed, so I went to one at the suggestion of a friend. She told me that this was a Foursquare church, but I had absolutely no clue what denomination Foursquare was. I don't know why I didn't bother looking it up, but I didn't. I attended and listened closely to what the pastor taught and didn't find any faults with it. The worship was contemporary - which is what I love - and I really liked the pastor. So I stayed. When Joe came home on R&R, he went with me and seemed to like it too. I felt like I had a huge win.

That is, until recently. Once Joe came home and we weren't traveling, we attended the church's monthly "get to know us" meeting after the 11:00 service. I never attended one before because - honestly - I didn't want to go alone. Sad, I know, but this is what happens during a deployment. Plus, I didn't feel like I really needed to. So, we went to this meeting. We learned 2 things that didn't really sit well with us. 1) Foursquare denomination was started/founded by a woman in the '20s/'30s. {The Bible tells us that men are the spiritual leaders of the household, so our belief is that they should also lead churches.} 2) They have very different beliefs about the Holy Spirit. #1 is almost something you can dismiss, especially when women in the church we were attending rarely spoke from the pulpit. #2, however, is a different story. It's kind of a big deal.

So there was that. Then came the conference last month. You remember - the one where I worked nursery and Joe helped run sound. We were scheduled to serve during the Thursday and Friday night services, so we decided to attend the Wednesday night kick off service. We were pretty excited about listening to one of the speakers as well. Worship was awesome, as always. Our pastor spoke first for about an hour, and then the guest speaker was up. At first, everything was great. Then, suddenly, things took a turn. He spoke about how in debt he and his church is... {Which isn't necessarily uncommon in this economy, but we have a hard time believing God would lead someone into debt, as this man said he was lead.} Then he started speaking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then came some questionable actions... He started "speaking in tongues" {aka babbling} and supposedly performing miracles on people.

It was at this point that Joe and I started thinking/praying about leaving that church and finding a church that believes as we do.

Now, I do believe that God performs miracles, but I didn't personally witness any that night. All I saw were people who were knocked backwards by what this man said was the Holy Spirit. Honestly, I'm still not sure what to believe about that. The bigger problem was the "speaking in tongues" and how it was "okay because we're Foursquare." Here's what we believe about speaking in tongues:

Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I bet to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in notes? ...So it is with you. Unless you speak INTELLIGIBLE* words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air
I Corinthians 14: 6-10

Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers... So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
I Corinthians 14:22-23

First, can I just say that I love Paul? I can just hear him saying, "Will they not say that you are out of your mind?!" =) Anyway. So basically, speaking in tongues/unintelligibly shouldn't happen in the church. The babbling, in unintelligible "languages" are what I've come to know - through our church in NC - as prayer languages. The Bible says that when we don't know how to pray or don't pray intelligibly, the Holy Spirit will interpret for us. We believe that this kind of speaking in tongues should be done in the privacy of your own home, where you alone are talking to God. It should not be done in front of hundreds/thousands of people.

This isn't to say that I don't know people who have spoken in a different language...while not meaning to. I believe this is what true speaking in tongues is. When we were in college, Joe and I had a friend who went to China for a mission trip with our college ministry group. The group ministered to students in different ways, but this particular guy went to teach English. So, of course, they told the school that he would need a translator. I think it was on his first day... He went into the classroom with the translator and began to introduce himself to the class. As he turned to the translator to wait for him to speak to the class, the translator looked at him and said, "What do you need a translator for?" He had been speaking Chinese to them and had absolutely no idea. God put him in that position for a reason; God wanted to use him to minister to these people and gave him the brief ability to speak their language so they could better relate to him. Now, that is speaking in tongues! Also - going back to what Paul says - if you're going to speak in tongues {i.e. a different language}, have a translator.

Now, I kind of skipped over the baptism of the Holy Spirit part earlier... So let's get back to that.

This has a lot to do with salvation, so I suppose I should cover that first. In the Baptist faith {which is how both of us were raised, and still feel is true/right}, there's a lot to salvation. In order to save time, and to keep me from getting a headache, we believe that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, the only life. He died on the cross willingly to save us from our sins, and so that we could be with Him one day the way God originally intended it. It is His grace that saves us, and we can do nothing to save ourselves. In order to become saved, you have to repent - meaning you have to truly feel as if you've done wrong and be willing to turn away from it all - and ask Jesus to come into your heart and take control of your life. {That was a lot of paraphrasing, so if you don't understand this or want more explanation along with verses, feel free to email me. Seriously.}

It is at this moment - the rebirth or regeneration, as some call it - that we believe we receive the Holy Spirit. John 14:25 says that the Holy Spirit is our helper, and our teacher. We believe that the Holy Spirit starts speaking to people - teaching, guiding, helping, comforting - the moment they are saved.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance...
Ephesians 1:13-14a

Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at salvation, not at a later date/time. {More info found on the Southern Baptist Convention's website, here. Scroll down to II, A.}

Now, Foursquare believes relatively the same things about salvation. By faith in God, belief that Jesus died for our sins, through God's grace and repentance of sin. Whew. This is where the similarities end. Interestingly enough, Foursquare's site quotes the same verses in John {and others} to prove their belief about the Holy Spirit as Baptists do. This isn't necessarily uncommon, but I always find it interesting how different denominations can take verses and change them into something they want them to say. They also believe the the Holy Spirit is a helper, comforter and teacher. However, they do not believe that this happens at salvation nor is there Scripture on their site to back up/confirm this belief. {More info can be found at Foursquare's website, here. Scroll down to X.} They also do not say when the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place...only that it does...at some point. That alone is questionable.

All that to say this: we can't under good conscience attend this - or any - Foursquare church any longer. Honestly, I'm a little upset about leaving this church. The people are very kind and welcoming, and I love the worship. I think the pastor is a very good man, as are the rest of the staff. However, we can't attend a church because we like the people and the worship. Over the past few weeks, we've also felt as if the teaching is a bit...lax; not very thought provoking, or including deep teaching. As much as we are called to reach out and teach others about our faith, we also need to be "fed" by our pastor. We need to be taught, we need our toes to be stepped on {don't doubt that God does that} and we need to be challenged. Most importantly, as we bring a little person into the world, we need a church that preaches and teaches the truth. Not just what we think is right or good, but what we know God is telling us is right.

I hate to be "church shopping" once again, but I know it's for the best. And I am perfectly okay knowing that the church I attended while Joe was deployed was there to get me through that time in my life. I'm also okay knowing that I "chose" a church that wasn't right for us. This is why I'm not the spiritual leader of this household - among other reasons. I'm a little sad to be leaving a church full of great people, but I know that God has great things ahead for us and I'm just going to trust Him on this.

If you think about it, I'd appreciate it if you'd pray for us on this. I don't like being between churches and searching for a new one. We would both like to get "planted" as soon as possible and start making more friends and getting involved in church again.

And if you're in the same boat as us, let me know. We can all pray for each other and vent our frustrations together. ;-)


Marriage Retreat

Yeah... I'm a little late in posting this one. You know, considering it was almost a week ago. =P Oh well.

Wednesday afternoon we dropped Jasper off at Annie's house and headed downtown! Thankfully there wasn't much traffic and we were able to get there in plenty of time for our scheduled check-in. We stayed in the Ala Moana Hotel downtown which is somewhat attached to the Ala Moana mall. Thanks to the Army, we stayed there for 2 nights (for free) and had all our meals paid for. Hooah! ;-)

When we checked in, we were able to chill out for a couple hours before dinner was "served." This was a good and bad thing. Good because we were able to relax, but bad because I need snacks and hotels are kinda short on the free versions of those. =P There was a little convenient store way past the lobby, so I was able to feed my hungry belly before I got cranky and passed out. Haha!

The first night was pretty laid back. We had dinner in one of the conference rooms and then were moved to another room for some fun. 4 couples were selected to play the Newlywed Game. Sadly we weren't one of those couples. =( I was really looking forward to beating all the other couples too! After that, we watched part one of the Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar. The seminar is done by a pastor out of Phoenix...and it's seriously awesome.

Thursday was chocked full of "training." The first two sessions after breakfast were led by one of the chaplains on post. This is where things got a little...interesting for me. Don't get me wrong, the things that he said totally made sense and were even helpful at times. I enjoyed his sessions for the most part, but you could tell that he was avoiding certain topics. Important topics. For being a chaplain, I was pretty surprised that he left out the importance of faith and what God/the Bible has to say about marriage. Then we got into the problems in marriage and how to diffuse arguments, forgiving when one person is hurt, etc. At one point, he mentioned cheating which we can all agree is far too common - not just in military marriages. But the one thing he wouldn't talk about that is rampant in the Army/military? Pornography. I could literally see him trying to find ways to not even say the word. As if he'd get chaptered out of the Army just for saying pornography can kill/harm marriages. Honestly, I don't understand the point in having a chaplain lead marriage retreats if the man can't say a single stinkin' word about God, the Bible, sin and what real forgiveness is.

Fortunately, we were able to get some of what God says about marriage - even sex and the way pornography can kill marriages - from the other portions we watched of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. {And, yes, the Bible talks about sex. I dare you to go read Song of Solomon. Go on, do it.} The name of the pastor who does this seminar is Mark Grungo. It's fabulous. He's funny and darn it if he doesn't know what he's talking about. He talks about the different ways men and women think about just about everything. He teaches men how to romance their wives in order to have an incredible sex life {his words, not mine}. We only watched a portion of the seminar, so I'm sure there's much more to it than what we heard. We also were able to get his book (of the same title) for free thanks to the Army.

Click here to view on Amazon

I'm sure you can purchase the DVDs of the seminar from Amazon too. I just didn't look it up. =P

After a grueling day of training, we got the evening off to talk and just hang out. Seriously guys? It was the best part of the retreat. We got to relax, chat and just be ourselves. Plus, since the hotel was attached to the mall I got to do a little bit of shopping. ;-) Don't worry, all I bought was a pair of maternity pants.

If you're ever able to do one of these retreats, I highly suggest you do it. I think it was really beneficial. Not to mention we didn't have to worry about anything the entire time we were there. It was definitely a nice little break from the real world. And if you have kiddos, they have free childcare so you don't have to worry about them all day. Just so you know. =)