Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Rules.... 1950's edition

I was thinking the other day about the place in life I was at right before Ryan and I started dating. I wasn’t a fem-Nazi in any way, but I was making plans for myself, confident, and secure in the person God had created me to be. I had decided that I was going to go to seminary and pursue a master’s in counseling, and I was ok with graduating without a Mrs. Degree! I was at a place where I realized it was time for me to enjoy friendships with the opposite sex, as this would only be a season of life where this would be possible and who knew the timeline but God! So that’s what I did. After many talks with my older, wiser sisters I was advised some “Rules” to behave by. I have to admit, one of my sisters, who's identity I will not disclose, had the whole dating thing down to a science. This was some of her approach… not all… but some of the rules she lived by in the dating world. Otherwise, the guy was “just a friend” and would be treated in the way all other friendships went. I used some rules, broke many, but had a good laugh through it all! If I was still in the single world… I’d def keep taking the good with the bad!! Side note- Ryan was in the “friend” category (until the week of the 4th of July). I remember saying to him… “We should all take a road trip to visit some of these seminaries since there are a couple of us interested in going!” Boy, did we ever take a road trip…

The Rules… 1950’s edition (Again… I’m not suggesting all of these)

01: Be a “Creature” Unlike Any Other (I like this one)
02: Don't Talk to a Man First (and Don't Ask Him to Dance)
03: Don't Stare at Men or Talk Too Much (yup)
04: Don't Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date (yup.. or don’t go back out with him if he does.. is that too harsh.. oh well.. I wanted a man. If he doesn't then maybe he should be in the friend category)
05: Don't Call Him & Rarely Return His Calls (you gotta communicate though)
06: Always End Phone Calls and dates First (yea that’s good)
07: Don't Accept a Saturday Night Date after Wednesday (make him work for it!)
08: Fill Up Your Time before the Date (yes… don’t make it seem like it’s your first date.. even if it is!)
09: How to Act on Dates 1,2, & 3 End the date first especially if you like him.
10: How to Act on Dates 4 through Commitment Time
11: Always end the date first
12: Stop Dating Him if He Doesn't Buy You a Romantic Gift for Your Birthday or Valentine's Day
13: Don’t See Him More than Once or Twice a Week
(I didn’t follow that)
14: No More than Casual Kissing on the First Date (that’s good)
15: Don't Rush into Sex & Other Rules for Intimacy (I vote for just waiting period..duh)
16: Don't Tell Him What to Do (yes!)
17: Let Him Take the Lead (YES YES YES)
18: Don't Expect a Man to Change or Try to Change Him (so true..but be a person he wants to be more like)
19: Don’t Open Up Too Fast (whops)
20: Be Honest but Mysterious (I LOVE THIS ONE.. be a challenge…)
21: Accentuate the Positive & Other Rules for Personal Ads
22: Don’t Live with a Man (or Leave Your Things in His Apartment) ..duh refer to #15
23: Don't Date a Married Man (double duh)
24: Slowly Involve Him in Your Family & Other Rules for Women with Children (can be a good thing..we did this..just guard your heart)
25: Practice, Practice, Practice! (or, Getting Good at The Rules)
26: Even if You're Engaged or Married, You Still Need The Rules
27: Do The Rules, Even when Your Friends & Parents Think It's Nuts
28: Be Smart and Other Rules for Dating in High School
29: Take Care of Yourself and Other Rules for Dating in College
30: NEXT! & Other Rules for Dealing with Rejection
31: Don't Discuss The Rules with Your Therapist.
32: Rules May Be Pulled Out of Thin Air If the Situation Requires
3: Do The Rules and You’ll Live Happily Ever After!
34: Love Only Those Who Love You
35: Be Easy to Live With

I found some updated rules… this is just for thought or laughs!

Be a creature unlike any other. (still my fav..let your depth, passions, and love for people show)
Show up to parties, dances, and social events even if you do not feel like it.. do something to increase your chances of meeting men... yea try to be outgoing..good point
It’s a fantasy relationship unless a man asks you out. (SO true..if they are interested.. they act.. if not.. they don’t.. bottom line)
In an office romance, don’t e-mail him back every time he e-mails you unless it is business related.
When considering placing personal ads, you place the ad and let the men respond to you (eeek)
If he does not call, he is not interested…period.
Close the deal-Rule- women do not date men for more than 2 years. (ouch.. I’m not endorsing all of these.. just food for thought and laughs)
Buyer beware- Observe his behavior so you do not end up with Mr. Wrong.
If you are in a long distance relationship, he must visit you at least 3 times before you visit him.
Keep doing the rules even if things are slow.

-one more I would add.. be clueless until he is defining the relationship.. let him bring it up and don't assume anything unless he says it to you...and don't appear desperate...if you are..tell your mom and girlfriends..but I'd say I really had to work on that in my heart. If only if it was this easy. Ok why on earth am I doing this... ya'll I am bored at work! But if you need a coach.. I will root for ya! I think I had intentions to let this lead to another blog... I can't remember...Oh this pregnant brain!

So now that we are all sick and tired of these stinkin rules.. I hope that you have a great day!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Project Runway!

Since moving into our new house I’ve noticed more than ever similarities in Ryan and I’s personality. I think sometimes in marriage you can wake up and think who are earth is this person sleeping next to me and why is he so weird! Hmm.. never happens to ya? Ok never mind! Well this weekend we have come together on some budget friendly teamwork!

It’s been funny to watch our scattered minds and organized personalities dive into getting everything this side of heaven situated in a matter of a week! It was as if the need for nesting threw up in our house and made it a home! We painted, hung pictures, decorated, cooked for a month, and yes, even made the bed each day. Ryan has been such a help to lift, hang, and paint. Things that normally my “I can do it by myself” personality has greatly appreciated in my current state. This past weekend we had some free time to relax and enjoy one another’s company. More than anything, I discovered my husband’s ability to fulfill little visions I have, but cannot recreate myself! Usually Ryan is more visionary and I am more detailed, however we did a little swap yesterday!

My first dilemma arose when I bought a blank canvas 50% off to paint and put in the baby’s room. 3 hours later it looked more like a new age mess than a cute baby room painting room. I vividly remember Ryan saying, Jess that’s not gonna work.. you should do….. Needless to say I ignored his suggestion until I saw the disaster. In distress he once again offered his help and created a perfect picture! My idea was to get scrapbooking paper and recreate one of the little animals from the bedding. Haha… I had been practicing but my rhinoceros kept looking more like a cat! In less than 5 minutes Ryan had a perfect drawing cut out and ready to place! A few hours later he had a masterpiece. I kept telling him, “if I was you I would be really proud of myself about right now.” I could tell he was surprised he created a cute picture when he wanted to go ahead and hang it! How cute! Yup, that’s my masculine husband secure in arts and crafts and loving that baby growing inside of me!

A little later in the evening I brought out the highlighting kit from Target. As Ryan laughed hysterically at my head and hair stuffed into the highlighting cap; he graciously helped me by pulling out each little cluster of hair… one at a time! Even better, he applied the cream and helped me wash out my lightened look! I could end here with us both realizing this Army guy is a stinkin good husband… but it gets better…

WE CUT MY HAIR! It was the first time I have gotten my hair cut in almost 8 months, and we both pitched in. I did my bangs and some random layers and he did the rest! My plan is that every other time we will do a little project on my hair! I must say.. it all turned out pretty well, and I’m hoping the back of my hair is even with the front!! Way to go babe and thanks for ministering to my heart! I think it takes a man to humble himself to craft projects, highlighting and hair cuts! So yes, a fun and interesting weekend indeed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A week of blessings!

Greetings from a RAIN FREE week in Portland. I have enjoyed my oh-so-straight hair thoroughly this week!! I know the rain is coming, but that’s not to say I have not soaked in my best bud, Mr. Sun, even from the confines of my office desk and kitchen window.

That’s right, you did hear correctly when I said my; although both have temporary parameters attached to them (job and house). I was placed by a temp agency with a company for 6 weeks, and we are renting our house for 2 years! Woo hoo! I am praying that after this job assignment, I can continue to be placed with as little overlap time as possible to other jobs until this mister comes. The house.. holy cow.. every morning I wake up and Thank Jesus for this blessing! We were able to meet with the owners and state-side landlord for dinner this past week and I was so blessed to hear how this house has been used to help seminary families get through school. It’s awesome to hear how the families that have lived in this house have gone on to reap an eternal harvest all around the world.
This was such a huge prayer request in my life, and it has been such a joy to see how God has worked things out better than my worrisome mind could have. We praise you God for your faithfulness in our lives, knowing we deserve none of it!

This past week has been full of boxes and more boxes. I am nearing the end of my unpacking and it feels oh so good. We were so blessed by family and our small group’s help to move us in Wednesday night! Yea, such a blessing as I’m little help with moving heavy boxes!

Ryan started painting Wednesday evening and will finish touch ups tonight. He has rocked our house with a brush in hand and hammer in his pocket. Not only does he look like Ty Pennington from Extreme Home makeover, but he has decorating style and can use a paint brush like I’ve never seen! It’s been fun to work together in our decorating endeavors. I love that he is so handy! We are so pleased the 3 rooms we painted… they are bold colors but we LOVE it… it fits well with our personalities! Can I just say if I never lived at 409 ( what we refer to as our first house…it’s the number address, not the cleaner… although that might help if a 409 bomb went off inside of it) I would never recognize the need to appreciate so many extras in this house.. like painting the walls! I can hardly wait to show all the 3 of you the pictures!! Just be prepared if you have a panic attack when you see apple green kitchens, or gold dens, and chocolate brown rooms! The baby room is my favorite! Ok enough about us!

This past week was a joyful week with the arrival of my 10th nephew, Andrew Campbell Ethredge. This makes 17 nieces and nephews total!! They are such a blast and I can’t get enough of them! Andrew is just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen with his dark hair, squinty eyes and chubby cheeks! So as I count down the weeks until I can hold him for myself, I am enjoying pictures and updates from the home front! We are so thankful that my sister, Joy, and the baby are doing well after a short 4 hr labor. With number 4, she deserves it!! We are now praying this baby wins the award on sleeping well and transitioning into their adorable family!

I am earnestly praying for a 12 hour labor….well really just long enough for my mom to get here! She has such a calming effect on me, I would love to have her and Ry’s support right next to me in the delivery room!

So a good week…exciting and filled with many thanks. I will post pics soon.. we just have to get internet access at home so I can upload pics on my computer! Peace out!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Interesting facts about Portland... from a newbie

**update**I forgot to mention one of my favorite things.. You aren't allowed to pump your own gas and you aren't suppose to tip the people (I doubt they'd refuse, but it's not expected). Pure laziness on my part, but I love this special treat at all Oregon gas pumps. I hear it's to increase jobs, but I think it's because the government knew I would have a better attitude if I didn't have to get out in the rain and do it myself!

1. They don't have La Haciendas or Senor Tequila type of Mexican restaurants.. or if they do.. I have not found one. You might ask.. what makes it a La Ha or Senors (yes I had nicknames for these places)? Well, 1 would be unlimited chips and the other REALLY important thing is QUESO QUESO QUESO....... need I say anymore?

2. There is no sales tax. I haven't gotten used to this but if you buy something for $2.99... you pay $2.99! Sweet, but people say they make up for it on property taxes. Either way, I LOVE IT.. it's like tax free weekend EVERYDAY... like I need another reason to shop?!

3. The speed limit on many of the highways in town is 55mph. I'm not sure about this one, but Ryan said it may be to increase state revenue.. who knows?!

4. The coffee shop frequency could be compared to baptist churches one every corner in SC. Seriously, I've never seen so many Starbucks in all my days. Last night I was at the mall and I literally counted 4 Starbucks in less than a mile radius. The Targets even have Starbucks in them and then a free standing one in the same shopping center.

5. Minimum wage is $8.00/hr compared to SC's new raise to $6.55. Ya ho!

6. Anything goes here.. Really.. I think people have this game they play in the morning where they put on a blindfold and put whatever they touch on and must where it proudly throughout the day. Ryan worked at a job this past week and said a decent looking man would walk by every morning proudly sporting his clean cut hair, mini skirt, and stilettos.

7. Let's just say I see a million more Obama signs than McCain here. Ya know, I was tempted to be the one McCain/Palin bumper sticker, but I wasn't sure our full coverage auto insurance would cover our tires being slashed.

8. Churches have original names like The Well, Mosaic, Imago Dei etc, and I've yet to see any First Baptists... or really any baptist anything. However, I do kinda have to take that back because Western has affiliation with something called conservative baptist. I think its similar to southern baptist.

9. Portland doesn't carry mustard based BBQ sauce (I know, what a tragedy) .... I think I will fill a whole carry on with travel sized shampoo bottles when coming back from Christmas so that I can get my fill until the Summer.

10. The last one weighs heavy on my heart, however I will just type it out quickly so that I can keep my composure.... THERE IS NO CHICK-FIL-A. Prego girl misses those deep fried chicken biscuits once a week (ok maybe more)....Jethro misses them too!!

(did you pick up on that? No, we aren't naming our baby Jethro.. just was making sure your didn't skip the greatest tragedy of my week (No Chick-fil-A)
-If anyone finds the closest one here, I'd love to know! Maybe Ryan will take me there for our 1 year anniversary... so not even kidding!! hmm wait... I don't know if I'll be allowed to travel at that point in pregnancy! Oh my life...

We.. well mostly I am continuing to go through the adjusting stage in getting used to Portland. I am trying to embrace the differences and enjoy the similarities. It's been a blessing to have awesome family here, yet I continue to miss mine as well. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.. we need it! We are moving into our house this week; so it will be a busy time, yet hopefully good! Have a great evening!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

Good heavens, if life hasn't sent me enough surprises in the past year, today was another one!!! WE ARE HAVING A BABY BOY!!!! We are thrilled and I am in shock!! My cheeks are hurting from smiling so much! The boy world is going to be a new adventure for me as I know so well how to have tea parties or play with dolls! I'm not so sure I'm good at playing in the mud yet, but I'll learn..wait that's what a dad is for! So I'll save my bows and start thinking blue and boy names!! I've always thought sons have special relationships with their moms and I love the idea of Ryan having the son he's always dreamed of. I think it will be awesome to start strong with a son and big brother.

So many thoughts keep running through my head as I remind myself there is a BOY growing inside of me! I keep thinking.. I hope he likes me!! Good grief, you'd think I'm going on a date or something! Good thing we get to start with a baby and not a teenager right?!

I have to admit, I'm a little intimidated with the responsibility! It's hard to believe we will be raising a son who will one day lead and support a family. Oh Father, we have so much to learn! Oh how I pray that our SON will have a tender heart for Christ. As much as it is intimidating, I'm so excited for the joy and challenge. What a humble blessing! My little bookshelf (or not so little) will find an addition to it soon, Bringing Up Boys. As much as I love to find my nose in a book, I'm sure nothing will prepare me for the journey and reality of parenthood. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and if there was a perfect parent their fault would be being too perfect! I pray that Jesus will take Ryan and I and use it to minister and grow this little guy in the best way we can!

Little Boys (unknown)

In and out of weeds and dirt.
squealing, laughing, getting hurt.
Arms held out for loves and hugs.
Tiny fingers finding bugs.
Rough and tumble, sweet and shy.
Snuggling for a lullaby.
Who could name the countless joys
That come from raising little boys

Here is a little preview of the bedding I found 75% off for our Nursery (thanks to Target)! We are thinking chocolate brown walls and a white crib with camel colored accents.. fun fun!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

12 hours..boy or girl?!

Tomorrow by 10:00AM our lives will most likely (if all goes as planned) never be the same. We will know what our first born child will be.. son or daughter. Tonight, when I stop to think my stomach jumps with excitement. First off, I pray that this child will be healthy. I will always remember and remind myself of so many who have toiled with the news of an unhealthy child.

I have so many hopes and dreams for this child... will I have a son who loves the outdoors like his dad and shares a call for ministry, or will I have a daughter with whom I will share a close friendship long after the years of parenting take on new meaning? Who knows!? As much as I have dreams and hopes for this sweet baby that, I pray that God's dreams for "it" will unfold in the home of his or hers mailable heart.

Sweet Baby, know we pray for you in so many ways.. most importantly that you will know and love Jesus. We love you, we can't wait to meet you, and we'll always be in the cheering stands for you! In the coming months we'll name you, decorate your nursery and prepare for your welcoming. Once you meet me, you'll know how much I like to plan and be prepared (which means I really am not a big fan of surprises), but I've never in my life been given such an amazing surprise in finding our we are having you. The day I meet you will be one of the most precious days of my life! I wouldn't trade you for a castle on a hill!!

I love you! MOM - (I'm stealing the way I write mom from Mimi.. she always writes it in all caps with a smiley face in the imagine the smiley face!)
Oh by the way.. we'll teach you modesty and purity as you grow... but can you just make yourself known REALLY well tomorrow?! Thanks!

my final prediction is a girl (although I'm wavering) and your dad's is a boy. We'll see!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

East to West pictures

Farewell beautiful South Carolina!!
beautiful sky.. could this be the end of the world?! We started thinking that with the gas crisis!!

one of the best meals EVER... Cheesecake Factory DID NOT disappoint us!

we unhooked the Jeep to go out to eat.. and on our way back to our hotel we eventually started running on the fumes (after passing 10+ gas stations) so we had to get a wrecker to take us to one of the only gas stations open.. thanks USAA roadside assistance!!!

gas crisis in Nashville... for real!

we were having so much fun with the Simons.. we forgot to take pictures in St. Louis

somewhere between MO and NE

Kansas to Nebraska..cows and corn fields could sum it up!

fearless driver!
hey mom..

Goodbye tire #1.. I neglected to take a picture of our trailor brakes exploding in Idaho


Hello Wyoming!! it started snowing.. for real!

The heavens declare...

beautiful Wyoming

Wyoming.. Idaho.. I don't know.. I think this pic screams The Lion King..Circle of Life


Sweet Kendra! We are kicking ourselves for not getting pictures of the rest of the gang...

Ben and Uncle Ryan

Fun times in Boise, Idaho with family!

Columbia Gorge

trying to have a good attitude.. you did a good job Ry!

SERIOUSLY?! We're so close though....

Ryan is trying to give some hand ratio perspective... this is a fish hatchery just outside Portland

looking at fish.. while our tire people come..

Can you sense my excitement?! The P- in Portland is suppose to represent a tree...that's my drawing skills.. ha!

I thought you might get a good laugh at our trip in pictures... It was an adventure to say the least..

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy 17 weeks baby girl or boy?!

We're growing... as you may be able to tell. I am feeling more and more baby flutters these days. It's the most endearing feeling I've ever felt! I love knowing that our baby is growing inside of me complete with a soul and personality. I can hardly wait until we know what we are having... 7 days!!! Ryan and I's final prediction is that we think it's a girl, although we will be thrilled with either! I am a little nervous because this is our big ultrasound, yet excited to see my sweet baby. My mind is jumping with baby room ideas and names (I've pinky promised not to tell...)

So Here we are...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Patience is a virtue.

What a week we have had. I think I touched on some of the blessings from our first couple of days in to rent, ryan a job, and good doctor's visit. God has been so good. I have also started my job search. I will be working with a temp agency for the next couple of weeks and then I'll go from there. I am hoping that those two weeks will give me some time for other places to follow up with my resume. I would love to find a good job for the next 5 months. It's just a waiting game... which I'm wonderful at (yea right).

Ryan is working hard with his new job. He started Monday and has worked quite a bit of overtime this week. He's awesome and boy am I thankful for a hard working man!

He enjoys painting and is happy for work, however his heart is elsewhere... which explains why he is going to seminary. Sometimes I dream about the day we will get to serve in full time ministry; knowing full well how uneasy and challenging that role can be. Excited to know our hearts are already there in some ways, yet knowing this season of training and waiting is greatly needed. We are learning some major lessons. A year ago I had no idea about so many things... 401ks, taxes. how to buy a car, how to pay this that and the other... yea the learning curve has been straight up for me on life in general. Please pray for our wisdom.. we are both so young and in the learning phase.

We are still looking for a truck. We were looking at one and thought we might buy it, but someone else bought it before we could get it fully checked out. I have to remind myself that this purchase has been bathed in prayer and that the best car for our family will come. I think that is just how life is sometimes... daily waiting and seeking.

Whether its a big move, a sweet baby on the way, purchases, finances, the "right" guy or girl to come along or to pop the question, jobs etc.... we all have things that rest heavy on our hearts and can bring unwanted frustration. I hate the feelings of anxiety during the in-between times. I remember SO vividly how nervous I was about this move wondering if we would find a place to live within our humble budget or if Ryan would be able to find work. I'm reminded of that process today as we seek to make more settling decisions.

So what to do as we wait....ughh..that's usually my response.

I once heard a sermon about "waiting".. good thing he didn't tell us the week before that was what it was going to be on. After all, who wants to wait or spend energy thinking about how to wait on things we want now!! Thinking about it would force us into the realization that things aren't happening on our time table! In our "me" first society it doesn't usually work so well! Anyways, he said to imagine yourself as a waiter or waitress serving God's table. Instead of explaining it, I'll just let you go there and imagine what that would look like in your own life. Right now for me, it's to spend time and enjoy his company seeking his face for the wisdom I severely lack!

For Ry and I.. we've tasted and seen his faithfulness this week... Praise God from whom all blessings flow!