Summer reads

Before I immerse myself in the textbooks and journal articles associated with grad school, I thought I would write a bit on the books I have read this summer for enjoyment...something that unfortunately often gets pushed aside while I'm in school. BTW, my first week of school went pretty well. I'm excited about most of my classes and have some great opportunities this year. I'll do a post about one of my internships called TIPS for Kids soon.

The first book I had the opportunity to read (again) was Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Some dear friends of ours, the Shanks, gave us this book at our wedding. I started reading it on our honeymoon, but as a naive young wife I set it aside and didn't think it was applicable to our relationship. Oh, how I was wrong! I'm thankful for the opportunity to re-read the book with a little more marriage experience under my belt. The basic premise of the book is that men need to feel respected and women long to feel loved. As husbands and wives, we have been commanded by God to give love or respect to our spouse unconditionally -- no matter if our personal tanks are being filled. It's so valuable to realize that Sean and I do not feel fulfilled in the same ways! If one of us is not being loving/respectful it becomes very easy to get stuck in what Dr. Eggerichs calls the "Crazy Cycle" where: if I act disrespectfully, he reacts unlovingly and the cycle repeats until we deny our personal needs. What I love most about this book is that it not only tells us what to do, but also gives ideas of how we can get off of the crazy cycle and onto the energizing cycle. I would definitely recommend this book to any married/engaged couples I know!

A friend of mine who is one of the leaders of our Twenty-somethings Bible study loaned me this book about financial decision making for young couples. Although the book was written about 30 years ago (and the number figures in the book reflect that) it does have some good information on how to view your money from an eternal perspective and also gives good insight on the concept of budgeting. Neither Sean nor myself are budget people. We like to spend responsibly, save a lot, and know where we stand financially, but sticking to strict budget isn't our cup of tea. (at least at this stage of life) The author gives good examples of common mistakes that young couples make, often influenced by the fast-paced culture we live in. Young couples today try to acquire in 2 years what took our grandparents 15! As Sean and I begin the very early stages of purchasing a home, it was helpful to read about various types of loans and the benefits of paying more than your mortgage each month. It's an easy read and has some good info if you're a beginner in the financial world.

I also read a book entitled "The Strong Willed Wife: Using Your Personality to Honor God and Your Husband." I actually purchased this book when Sean and I were engaged and never read it....until now, I guess. If I were to give this book a grade, it would probably get a B-. It does start off with the importance of recognizing our strong willed tendencies instead of downplaying them all of the time.Guilty. It also talks about how being strong-willed is typically a good thing - it's what makes me a hard worker, persevere through difficult situations, and seek out the next challenge. However, it's very easy for my strong-willed nature to turn into something harmful - when I have to win an argument, don't value others' opinion as much as mine, and overtake conversations and important decisions. Later chapters discuss the important of letting our husband lead despite our desire to do so. The book grade is a little low because it gets pretty repetitive. If you're strong willed I would give it a quick read, but it may not tell you anything earth-shattering.

Right now I'm halfway through Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Love it! (If you read this Teresa, I promise to mail it back soon!) I've wanted to read this book for a while and finally got my hands on it a couple of weeks ago. I have always been a busy-body, thriving under the pressures of never having enough time. This book, though, explores our desire and need to have an intimate relationship with God, which requires discipline, quiet, stillness...all that are complicated by our busy lives and to-do lists. As Mary sought after Jesus in the living room, listening to his every word, her sister Martha is busy preparing the meal and cleaning her home for her unexpected guests. Martha gets a bit frustrated and acts Jesus to tell Mary to help her out -- but gets the response that Mary has "chosen what is better." I totally relate to Martha in this story -- c'mon, help a sister out! But God wants us to do a little less doing in the name of a little more listening and obeying. I'm looking forward to the second half of the book as it is one of my favorites so far!

Sean is re-reading Wild and Heart right now. I don't know a whole lot about it, but know that it tries to get at the core of God created masculinity. One thing Sean did share with me is that there are many references to Braveheart/William Wallace...so guys have to like it, right? I will hopefully read it myself when Sean is finished.
Well...it was good to reflect through some of these books. It's a goal of mine to increase my leisurely reading time. I've never been a big reader, as I usually equate it with studying. I'll let you know how it goes....
This weekend was wonderful...full of naps, sleeping in, and movies. I'm looking forward to another week of school to help establish a schedule again and am hopeful for a fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding semester ahead.


2500 miles, 12 days, 7 states, and 1 speeding ticket later...

...we're finally home!! What a fun couple of weeks Sean and I have had! After I finished my internship I spent a few days in Branson, which worked out perfectly because I was able to make Kristel's going away party. (She got a job near San Antonio...we're so excited for her!) Here are a couple of pics from her Texas-themed party. We got her a banner that said "Kristel is boot scootin' it to Texas! Good Luck!"

Me and my brother, Austin.

Sean and I made a trip to Colorado and spent the first couple of nights with my Aunt Pam at their awesome home in the mountains. They were close to our rafting trip, which was great. We rafted the Royal Gorge...the weather was perfect and the water was awesome. Wouldn't it be so great to wake up to this view every day!?

We snapped a pic off of their deck just before we headed to the cabin in San Isabel for a few days alone.
Sean in front of the cabin. Sean's maternal grandparents bought this cabin in the 80s and it has been a fun vacation spot for his family for many years. It was really fun to hear Sean share stories from his past family trips, but to also experience as our own little family for the first time.

This is a view of the little town in which the cabin is located, called San Isabel. We took a morning walk around the lake, which is why it's still a bit foggy out. My handsome husband. One of my favorite parts of the trip was seeing how happy he was to be in the mountains!

We hiked to the top of Greenhorn, a mountain about an hour from the cabin. Sean was really encouraging to me as I was struggling a bit in the high altitude conditions.

We decided it was important to us to make another swing through Branson on the way home to see some family and friends we weren't able to see the previous week. We had a nice dinner with Sean's dad, breakfast with his brother and sister-in-law, then we had a wonderful visit with one of our favorite families, the Rapps. It's always so fun to meet with them...we miss them like crazy sometimes!
Tomorrow I start my last year of school (for now, anyways). I will have to confess that I'm not super excited for school to start again, but I do know that the sooner I start, the sooner I will finish. The school year is always a busy season for both Sean and myself, so we don't get to see each other as much as we would like. I'm praying for peace about our future and learning to trust deeper in God's timing.
I'm off to the pool to enjoy some of my last few hours of freedom... :)

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I love Sundays! They have always been one of my favorite days. We get to wake up, get our cups filled at church, then usually have time to get things done around the house and relax in the evening. Today is no exception to my great Sunday experiences. I went to church, deep cleaned our apartment (which needed it!), watched some HGtv, laid out at the pool, finished a book...and it's not event 5 o'clock yet!

Yesterday Sean and I had the pleasure of attending a wedding reception for our friend, Andy. He and his new wife, Lindsay, were both glowing and were surrounded by so many people who love them. The coolest thing they did (well, besides get married) was to have their friends make art to auction off at the reception. The money raised from the art auction is going into a 'giving fund' that they will use to bless thsose around them. They are off to Korea at the end of the month to teach English for year and will be missed by many here in Columbia! Here's a pic of the bride and groom:

Sean and I at the reception:

Tomorrow is my last day at work for the summer...PTL. I'm headed to Branson for a few days to hang with the fam and Sean will meet me on Thursday. Friday we're driving to Fayetteville for a campus visit at U of A then Saturday we're off to Colorado for a week! Sean and I are both very much looking forward to some time away together. That's all for now...more from Branson later!

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Twenty Four!

Can I first please say that this summer is passing entirely too quickly! School starts up again in a few weeks, which is bittersweet. I like the leisure of summertime, but I also know that the quicker I start school the quicker I'll be finished! Here is a pic from our first golf lesson, which went pretty well. Unfortunately, Sean and I have been so busy that we haven't made it back to the range since then. We're working on that...

Yesterday was Sean's 24th birthday!! Sean asked for new speakers for his b-day (it comes with the job...literally), which he purchased before his b-day...so, to make up for my lack of physical gift I planned a little surprise party for him! Some good friends joined us for his celebration and he was so excited to have quality time with these people. I ordered a cake that looks like the Best Buy sign!

I'm really glad Sean was born. He's the most loving, respectful, kind, genuine, servant-hearted and honorable man I know! I am so thankful for all that Sean is to me...from is massive amount of semi-random knowledge to his love for all things manly to his tender heart. He's my God given protector, provider, and best friend.

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