Friday, November 28, 2008

A look into our Thanksgiving...

let me just preface this by saying.. my brain is fried..so this will probaly seem scattered.. read at your own risk or confusable state..

Yo Yo..I hope y'all all (i know... grammar police) had a good/relaxing Thanksgiving. All is well in our part of the country. We were blessed with an enjoyable day yesterday. Ryan and I took the morning a little slower, which was nice. I cooked all of my favorite things from home purely for leftovers sake. It's funny how something so silly brought comfort to me. My mom coached me over the phone on how to make her stuffing and sweet potatoe casserole. I also made green bean casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, and a turkey! The company I work for gave all the employees a free turkey, so yes.. we baked away. Ryan took care of prepping the turkey as I gagged next to him (seriously). We also watched bits and pieces of my favorite parade and relaxed! Close to 1 we headed to his family's house for the rest of the day/evening. It was a good time and great food. I talked to my mom a few times throughout the day, but I decided I couldn't handle calling once everyone was around the table... a little too much for this homesick prego! Getting married and moving away lands you in this weird in-between emotional state... thankful for new family and support here, yet simply missing your own. It's a blessing to have so many people to love both here and there. We are blessed.

Ryan and I had a few purchases in mind for the traditional "Black Friday" shopping. Ryan was kind enough to get in line at Wal-mart at 3:45 AM while I slept a little longer and got ready. I met him by 4:45 AM and we began our shopping day. We purchased a "throw in your purse camera" (bc my nice one has to stay in a safe bag) and a flip camcorder... we saved some serious $$$ on these 2 items! I have never seen so many people waiting in line at Wal-Mart... maybe it's just because the population is bigger here.. I don't know. People are serious about the deals, which they did prove to be beneficial for us. After that we hit Old Navy and Target. YAY for lines!! Target's line began near the door and wrapped around... ehh! Ryan started in line while I finished shopping. I spotted a smaller line at the jewlery counter and then we managed to get in a really quick return line. We probaly weren't suppose to, but the girl said that she could take us... maybe my belly was poking out more today bc of all the food!! We ended our day by hitting a couple of stores at the mall and we were done by 11. Wooo.. my feet HURT!!! We chowed on some leftovers and went straight to bed for 3 hours. Not a great idea for this whole acid reflux thing that has become a part of my life.. sweet!

My husband deserves an award for shopping with me today.... no begging involved... I think he just knows how much I wanted to be with ...oh..my mom, nanny, 2 sisters, and niece...all shopping together on our little Moore family tradition. Moore girls are hardcore the day after Thanksgiving!! Usually all the kiddos are sleeping at home with their dads, but this year my ALL girl niece, Addie, set her alarm clock for 4:30 AM to go shopping with the gang. My sis didn't know she had this plan in mind, but became fully aware once she was ready to go by 5!! It's in our blood... Ads is 7 by the way!!! Our day was profitable because I think I am 90% done with my Christmas shopping for the year!! woo hoo!!!

I'm not sure what's going on in my prego body tonight.. a little tired, achy and my stomach hurts... ugh. I'm sitting on the couch with the trash can next to me.. just in case.. I'm not sure what's going on!!! I hope it's just reflux...

Don't you love this season!!! Christmas is coming in less than 4 weeks.. holy cow!!! I love when it's finally ok/normal to listen to the music and have ALL your decor up!!

Peace!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I’ve Never Thanked God for on Thanksgiving….


It’s not because I’m original.. It’s just that I was listing some things I’m thankful for this year and realized…hmmm… I’ve never said these things at Thanksgiving before. Sure I’ve prayed for them, but it’s never come out of my mouth during the “go around the table and say what your thankful for thing.” Some are just obvious.. sorry—like I said it’s not that I’m original.

1. It didn’t rain on my wedding day. We all laugh now, but last year at this time we had just gotten engaged and my DREAM wedding was in the planning phase. We took a chance and prayed a ton for a BEAUTIFUL outside wedding. Sure, we would have still been married rain or shine, but I was so envisioning a beautiful spring day and PTL it WAS PERFECT. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. It was my finest day...and through the midst of my husband getting a call saying he was deploying asap, I saw God protect me and ultimately him in many ways.. I could go on and on about how God was so at work before and on that weekend. Thankfully he didn't end up getting deployed and we were able to spend our first year of marriage together.

2. I am married to my best friend. I read a quote the other day that was really good, “You don’t find great marriages, you work for them.” I am so blessed to have a man who loves Jesus, me, and our baby on the way. He’s a hard worker and a passionate man. I’m thankful that he is willing to work together to build a strong marriage..in the good and hard times!


3. I have amazing in-laws. I’ve never had in-laws until this year and let me just say, I’m blessed. Last year at this time I had not even met a single one of them!!! I was a brave girl to agree to marry their son without having met any of them. What a pleasantly AWESOME surprise… this is not something I take for granted! They even have a ton of kiddos for me to love on…what a fun gift!


4. I have a healthy baby boy growing inside me. I think I might birth my heart on the day he is born, as I can’t imagine what it will be like to know he will be living in this broken, fallen world. I dream about him and imagine what he will look like… I wonder if he will have our pointy noses or his daddy’s lips.. so yes.. I’m thankful for this precious surprise! I'm also thankful that my husband is going to let me pick his name... right ryan...????

5. God has provided for our every need. It’s not that I’ve never said this one at Thanksgiving…it’s just that I’ve never been on my own and been the one paying the bills until this year. Ya know when you hear how random checks show up or money from old aunt sally comes just when you really need it. That’s happened this year, and I’ve grown because of it. It’s been nervously neat to see how God has taken care of us… oh me of little faith.


6. I have no idea what 3 months from now looks like. I'm not sure I'm actually thankful for that unpredictable fact, but truth is it forces me to grow and completely depend on Christ. In reality, no one really knows what the future holds day to day...we hope and plan... and now I'm learning we trust God and just let go... Maybe change is my friend...it sure has lent itself to blessings in disguise.


Bonus—ok so the title isn’t completely right, but I couldn’t leave this out…
-I have an amazing family of origin. My Mom and Dad are the most giving people I have ever ever ever known. They give and give and give, without asking for anything in return. My Dad is a humble and kind man. He would give me the shirt off his back and not think twice. I can remember when I was moving home from college after a really hard season in my life… my dad was checking airline tickets like there was no tomorrow just so he could drive home with me. He didn’t want me to make the trip by myself. I had to convince him I would be ok before he would let go of that idea. I was even following friends and he still wanted to ride with me. What a sweet man he is! I could think of a million examples like this. My Mom is a prayer warrior and ridiculously SELFLESS. She takes the time every day to talk to me even amidst her busy life. She listens, she understands, and she’s my best girlfriend. This woman has a heart of gold and heaven only knows all the stars she'll have in her heavenly crown. My sisters, bro-in-laws and nieces and nephews are all equally amazing gifts that I cherish each day. My sisters are simply what you hope for in a sister. I love to call home and here those nieces and nephews talk over the phone (or try to talk in a cute little red head’s case). They are precious and I love them all dearly!


So yes, I am so blessed…Praise God for this season of thanksgiving--as cliche as it may sound. :)

-ok so I feel bad for not saying I’m thankful for God and then making an exception for my family… so yes, know I’m so thankful for my personal relationship with Christ, my salvation, and the way he daily renews me.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I was hoping today that my baby would be old enough to say “gobble gobble” next year.. but I think that might be a little over-achieverish (as he will only be like 8 or 9 months). Well… maybe not… he obviously will come from good stock! ;)


--Now for the Macy's Day Parade while sipping coffee and cooking, Awesome food and family, and SHOPPING On BLACK FRIDAY (this is easily in my top 5 favorite days of the year)!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and week 24!!!


Dear Sweet Baby of Mine,

Mine.. did I really just say mine? Some days it’s hard for me to believe that you are entering our family as a permanent resident with mahwah as your primary caregiver. I must say that sounds totally intimidating! I haven’t fully grasped how the whole gain a person, lose an income thing works, but I think God has it all under control! When I insert Mom into the equation my nerves relax a little bit and I remember my desire from childhood to enter this role. I can’t wait to rub your little arms and legs with baby lotion and snuggle with you. Your Mimi sent you a cute little outfit that I can wait to put on you. It will be in our bag for the hospital! I know that no matter what the labor process contorts your little head to look like, I will think you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on! I see that you particularly like the right side of my body because it seems like you’ve taken up occupancy there. That side feels harder and has become the primary location of your kicks. Thanks for kicking by the way….I like to know you’re still there and growing. This unknown paranoia called being a mom sometimes lends itself to asking the “what ifs.” Thanks for the reassurance every hour or so! I’ll try to take my thoughts captive over the next 18 years… ughh… yea let’s just make that the rest of my life!

Yesterday, we were late to church.. I know you’re shocked! We’re trying.. I’m trying.. I got the talk and everything! So anyways.. we were late and therefore in the balcony. Since my attention span is 2 seconds long, it was a double whammy for me… late and not able to pay attention. When I sit in the balcony, it’s a little over-stimulating with all the interesting people to stare.. i mean.. look at! I think Satan was working overtime! So in my attention lapse, I caught sight of a 2 yr old little boy in his daddy’s arms. His Dad was lifting his hands in worship and so was the little boy. His little toddler hands were firmly fixed in a high-five position straight through a few songs. Your dad and I caught the giggles…so cute and random! It was adorable to see that little tod wanting to be just like his dad! What a good reminder it was to think how your little eyes will follow us throughout our days. I sure hope our lives lived out before you will nurture and encourage your little heart to love Jesus!! Alright little tiger, in less than 16 weeks you’ll make your debut and forever change our lives…not to say you haven’t already! For the meantime, keep baking and I’ll keep growing rounder (just know that’s love right there). By the way…you’re over a pound and ft (about the length of an ear of corn). We love you and talk about you all the time!! Happy Thanksgiving… I’m so thankful for my boys!

Love, MOM

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today...

This morning I started thinking….

Do you ever feel like you live for the weekends? I could think of numerous reasons why it’s much more fun to sleep in and spend time with friends and family, so maybe that’s my justification. During college I couldn't wait until my last class on Thursday (if I planned my semester right) for the weekend to begin… almost seems like a dream world after the first month of a full time job!! It seems like most people in the working world get excited when Wednesday rolls around and by Friday we all have great attitudes, only for the Monday blues to meet us just a few days later. What a pitiful way to live!! In this crazy economy it’s a blessing just to have a job, whether it’s fulfilling or pull your hair out boring. With that reality, why complain?!

I began to wonder how things may look once I’m a stay-at-home mom. It’s true, I’ve never thought of myself as career woman, nor have I had much desire to be the bread winner. Becoming a wife and mother is certainly one of the greatest desires of my heart. I wonder if I will continue to look forward to Friday or for time to fly right on by. Yes, how great it will be when this baby finally smiles, and then sleeps well. Oh, and how fun to see him walk, and say I love you for the first time. Eventually, we’ll be able to leave him for a night out. Here I go again… anticipating the passing of time...just like I do with Friday. With eternity in my heart, the passing of time isn’t freighting and I believe to some extent the longing for more is God-given. However, I do desire to savor each moment. Even the times that are hard where I am stripped away from the person I wish to leave behind.

The stark reality of today begs me to live fully here. Sometimes in my clouded brain there are moments of clarity. Today was one. I realized for the first time that I will most likely long for this day 20 years from now. I will long for my baby boy to come home from college and go back to the days when he was safely resting inside my womb. I wondered what I would one day give to go back to the mornings when Ryan talks to my belly and feels our child’s movement for the first times. It’s true I’m not into cheesiness and often get uncomfortable when things turn sentimental! So forgive me as the cheese ball factor is great on this blog scale!! But how could anything so pure be anything but sentimental!

I continued to think how this is the last 3 ½ to 4 months with just Ryan and Jessica. Sure we share the same last name and are one, but soon we’ll be a family! In the women’s bible study I attended, many women would state what a joy each season was, but how they longed to go back to when their kids were all at home. Its true there is great joy and blessing in each day, but I don’t want to miss out on anything in my attempt to look forward to the next big thing on my agenda. It’s also true that in a perfect world where I received 10 hours of sleep at night (I need a lot) I might continue to feel so warm and full of good tidings, but maybe that’s when it becomes more of a choice….just like today at work. So as I sit here and think how this mini-elastic panel in the front of my pants is annoying, or how I’d love to not have heartburn, I’m choosing to savor today…the quiet.. the drear outside, and the sweet kicks from my baby boy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Turkey Turkey!

Hello all! Can you hardly believe that Thanksgiving is only 10 days away…which makes Christmas 37 days away. (I think… I might be a day..or so off). Never-the-less.. it’s coming quickly! I am planning on waking up slowly on Thanksgiving morning and sipping coffee to the tune of the Macy’s Day Parade! Oh how I love that cheese ball festivity. I would love nothing more than to be right there in the heart of NYC amongst the madness and crazies!

Despite popular belief (mostly just myself), I won’t be the stuffed Turkey this Thanksgiving. I may feel like “I’m done, stick a fork in me,” but I guess I’ll hang in oh.. another 16 weeks! The person that told me pregnancy is 9 months totally lied! Why are we giving the mama’s out there only 9 months worth of credit?? It’s 40 weeks people!!!

We will be celebrating Thanksgiving Epp style this year. I am excited to see what an Epp Thanksgiving is like, despite a few “east coast” inevitable tears. I’m so thankful for my family here… they're awesome...it’s just sometimes the reality hits of missing out on things in Charleston. Oh if I could only be in 2 places at once.. maybe that should be my New Year’s Resolution… it’s not like they come true anyways!

I’m sure our Thanksgiving will entail lots of laughing, fun, and great food! I will get to be with 8 of my nieces and nephews, which will be a fun treat. I think I’ll have to mix up a batch of my mom’s homemade stuffing and mac and cheese. I think I dream of that stuffing all year long.. or maybe I just do in my pregnancy brain. I don’t know if I can hold out another 10 days for it though!! I could live off of it! Even better is the leftovers.. no turkey needed… just stuffing, homemade macaroni and cheese and cold cranberry sauce. Ahh.. I’m hungry and excited just thinking about it!! Well, look at the time… lunch! Mom, you’re on my radar for our daily lunch time chat!


Peace out peeps!

-Jessica

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Applesauce!


For the past 6 weeks I have been participating in a ministry called Apples of Gold. My mother-in-law is one of the mentors for this program and she was so kind to mention it to me. It’s a ministry where the older ladies teach the younger based from a scripture in Titus. As tired as I am after work each day, I have thoroughly enjoyed this ministry for the past 6 weeks. A typical meeting consists of arriving at the home it is held in, eating appetizers while a cooking demonstration takes place, a bible study on anything from submission (ya-hoo) to loving your husband, and concluding by sharing the meal you learned how to make. Ryan has thoroughly enjoyed the new recipes I have tested on him!

These ladies went all out on giving the royal treatment. We had pretty name tags, GORGEOUS place settings with fine china, they served us the entire 3 course meal all while in our company, gave us a handout each week consisting of the lesson and recipes, and most importantly loved and shared their lives with all of us. These women were SUCH a hoot when sharing “little marital secrets!” I nearly passed out when this dear older lady passed out the strip poker cards.. she def does not sport the moo-moo around the house!

While driving home each evening I would think to myself how blessed I was to have these sweet older ladies love on me each week. They made me want to be a better wife and follower of Christ! Most of the older women have been married for 25+ years, so they offered a ton of wisdom and insight on marriage. If that wasn’t enough…holy cow.. these women can cook! I had no idea people actually take the time to make homemade whipped cream! It was quite tasty, but I’ll probably stick with the fat-free Cool Whip (sorry Ryan). I can feel the Lord continuing to develop in me a love for women’s ministry…I’m excited to see how he will use me to serve women.. young and old! So last night we had our “Celebration Dinner.” All the women brought their husband to join in on the finale. We had awesome food (again) and fellowship! So now….drum roll please.. I’m no longer an apple.. I’m Applesauce..or Apple Sassy (as Ryan referred to me as)! Haha!
(if this picture means something bad... I'm clueless... I just thought it looked funny..like a women beating an apple.. yea ok.. you get it)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Merry Early Christmas!!


Ok, so we all like Christmas right? Some, a little more than others. I would be in that category. My parents have always had a way of making Christmas big for us. Not meaning gift wise, or spending tons of money ( that’s not to say we didn’t get much for Christmas.. just not to where Christmas lost meaning elsewhere.. yea you get what I’m saying), but Christmas has always been a huge thing in my family. I can remember growing up when we would load up the car with all of our “luggage”… cough…Santa Clause presents) and drive late on Christmas Eve, after our church service, to my Nanny and Pa’s house (a 4 hr trip). Christmas began with me begging my parents to get up at 3 AM and them convincing me to go back to sleep for just a while longer. After all, Santa had not arrived yet. My parents never pushed the whole Santa thing, yet I was allowed to play and pretend.

This year Ryan and I have decided to get into the cheer of the season a little early. I just started listening to Christmas music a couple of weeks ago, which is late for me. However, yesterday my dear husband (in his really awesome desire to speak my love language) suggested that we decorate our house for Christmas. Y’all this was a huge suprise to hear him suggesting it and not me begging! He made yummy hot chocolate with peppermint coffeemate and we went to town.. on the décorating of course! I had a blast! Last year we soaked up the after Christmas sales at Target on their Christmas décor. I have been looking forward to decorating literally all year long. The only thing that is missing is our tree, and that's because they're not out yet! We like to justify all of this in our mind by saying we want to enjoy it early because we will be going to SC, but truth be told we’re not leaving until almost Christmas! I don’t feel completely crazy because we have seminary friends who have jumped into the festivities as well!

So with all of the deck the halls accomplished we began talking about our own individual family traditions. From that we started brainstorming on some traditions we could begin doing with ________ next year (I’m 85% sure we have a name.. but I’m still sworn to secrecy!) Well actually, we’ll probably start doing little things this year together. It’s nothing earthshaking, but just little things like…

-going to see the lights, getting a Christmas tree and decorating it together as a family
- having a Christmas party
- giving one ornament each year to one another and to our kids (and opening it on Christmas Eve)
- reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve after a Christmas service
- a big breakfast on Christmas morning
- a family project each year to bless someone or a family
- making Christmas a big deal because of Jesus… birthday cake…balloons etc. Obviously we know it’s probably not the actual date.. but I love the celebration of the gift of the Christ child… so yea… making that a big deal!

Any more neat suggestions?!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Life today!

Greetings from a rainy Portland! Yes, I do believe that the rain has started for the winter… oh Lord be with me! Seriously, I’ve been dreading it knowing that, simply put, I love the sun. I may find myself singing the song, “Oh Mr. Sun..Sun.. Mr. Golden Sun.. please shine down on me….” I’m reminded that as the seasons change, God doesn’t. He hasn’t left his throne and he still hears his people. Sometimes I quickly become disheartened with change; I’m a creature of habit and thrive on routine, yet inevitably change happens!

Along with the rainy winter we as a family are experiencing some great uncertainty with Ryan’s job. The economy plus rain can equal great job ???’s in the painting and restoration field. Ryan has been encouraged by his company’s affirmation regarding his work quality, however during the first week of the rainy season he will have 1 ½ days without work. Booo. With a baby on the way, our hands begin to get a little sweaty. What to do?? Wait..pray..seek… that’s kind of where we’re at. We don’t have any answers yet on what to do.

Ryan and I are both called to ministry. We want that and even amidst the craziness of our ever-changing family. Of course we can serve now whether he is on-staff at a church or not, however his calling is to do that as a full time job. I long to minister at the side of my husband, and I see his desire as well. We know ministry is hard, and Satan’s attacks on ministry families can be brutal, yet somehow we want that?? That’s God putting his desires in our hearts. We are not sure God’s time frame on that, therefore Ryan’s job now would not be forever. So here we are asking God to be with us, meet our needs, and guide our steps. Man, faith surely feels good when you’re sitting on the other side of the fence, and honestly I’d like to be there today! But for know, I’ll choose (it’s so a choice) to know God has us here in this place, and his faithfulness in the past months gives me no reason to doubt him now.

So yes, whether it’s change in our lives geographically (or in 10 other different ways), in the economy, in friendships, politics or whatever; I’m fixing my eyes on a constant.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Saturday, November 1, 2008

We made it 8 months!


1 yr. since getting engaged... 8 months married.. 5 months pregnant= fast track life.


Some days the past year seems like a foggy blur. I remember the initial days of our relationship, but after that things begin to seem a little foggy. My first impression of Ryan Epp was walking into a small group and thinking, "that boy should really un-pop his collar....2001 called and they want that trend back...but he's cute, nice, and maybe he'll be my friend!" And my friend he did become. One day he was strictly platonic.. the next...a major prospect.. the next...my boyfriend! I can remember that Sunday like it was yesterday. I wore a cute red cotton dress to church. Nothing special, but I liked it. Randomly on the way home I got a text. For many of you that know, Ryan is the TEXT KING. Our new cell phone plan is greatly decreasing this sport, however he was a bachelor then with unlimited. So yea, a text was a common thing in planning hang outs etc. Except this time he said, "You looked really pretty today and I just thought you should know." Rules say... if he isn't calling he isn't interested.. so I said "Thanks buddy," and disregarded it completely. The next day we talked for 2 1/2 hours (hmm that was a call.. but not date.. and after all I really have never thought about Ryan like this). The next day.. a "coffee date"... and so it goes. By the weekend he had asked my dad for his permission to pursue me, and 4 months later he secretly managed to ask my parents for my hand in marriage. To keep our life simple (yea right) we do things in 4 month increments....


4 months of dating...4 months of engagement and then married... 4 months later we found out we're pregnant.. 4 months later we move 3000 miles.. and around 4 months later we are having a baby. Can I tell you how much I'm praying that the next 4 months will just bring joy, good tidings and normal life?! I'm praying for little change and lots of happy times TOGETHER! Feel free to join me!


Oh Ryan, for a girl that dislikes adventures and surprises... you have been every bit of both, but somehow I love you! You can make me the happiest girl alive and the maddest! With all my amazing hormones both can be done within 15 min! Thanks for loving and growing with me... it's a journey and I am starting to believe this marriage thing is really about making us more like Christ... It's hard to say the same. I treasure time with you, and enjoy being your friend. I'm privileged to be your wife and the mother of your son! Thanks for passionately loving me.. heaven knows we have enough passion in our personalities to make the world go 'round! (Instead of strongwilled... we like to refer to it as "passion.") I love you!