Sunday, September 28, 2008

Festivals and Fairs

Not sure what it is about a festivals and fairs, but I always have a great time. Now these two things are two separate events, but I happen to be wearing the same shirt.

First, Grapefest with Addison, Megan and Wes...

Last night was my first experience with the Texas State Fair. I have lived in Dallas since 2003, but for one reason or another never made it to the Fair. This weekend was supposed to be a weekend trip to Galveston with friends, but Ike made other plans for us and we ended up at the Fair instead.

Mainly we spent our time eating...

And visiting the animals in the petting zoo...

And finally playing a couple of games and riding a few rides...

Fun times!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A few of my favorite things...

I have a desire to create a home. A home that is well organized, clean, and calm. I want my husband to want to come home and to be able to find rest here in our little 2 bedroom apartment. I want it to be filled with guests and laughter. I want our home to be a place of prayer and solitude. I want to learn to be an excellent cook and run my household well. Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Proverbs 31 tell me that these desires aren't coincidence, these desires are from the Lord. I know I am only 2 months in, but I thought I would share a few of my favorite "home" things. Who knows, it is a lazy Sunday afternoon...I might just add all sorts of things I appreciate.

First, the Swiffer WetJet Mop. This makes mopping easy and effortless. No bucket, no nasty rope strings to wring out...just a simple cloth that attaches with velcro. Genius!!

Next, the KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I can't explain what the difference is between this and a hand mixer...but I know that this machine has already made amazing mashed potatoes, sheet cake, and a few other desserts. The best part of this is that we didn't receive it as a wedding present, so every time I saw one I would just stare at it and think about the day I would be an owner of one. On my birthday Kent covered my eyes and led me to the kitchen, when he took his hands away there sat my very own KitchenAid mixer!

This next one is near and dear to my heart, but has little to do with creating a home. I have fallen in love with my french press coffee maker. I grind up fresh coffee, and a few minutes later I have the most delicious coffee on the face of the planet. It has to be a weekend treat because it takes a little long for the weekdays.

During the week I rely on my Hamilton Beach BrewStation. It makes excellent coffee and you can serve it one cup at a time. Thanks Glo for introducing me to this coffee maker.

Two magazines that have been crucial to our Tuesday night guest dinners and crucial to feeding my husband...Cooking Light and Rachel Ray. I love the recipes in both of these magazines, and so far only one has been a complete bust, but that was my fault for not following the recipe exactly as it was written. Too much gorgonzola cheese and your husband will say, "Babe, it tastes like soap." Ha, ha...we had to throw it out it was so gross!

Our two favorite restaurants that we are dying to have in Flower Mound, Posados and Cheesecake Factory. You think you've had good fajitas, but you haven't had anything until you have had the fajitas at Posados! The Cheesecake Factory is good for anything you're in the mood for...meatloaf, breakfast, pasta, etc. We can't leave without getting Kent a slice of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake. Good thing I am not a fan, otherwise I would already weigh a million pounds!

All three of my blog followers know that I have always enjoyed running. I am convinced that I will buy Asic running shoes for the rest of my life. I don't know what it is, but I promise they are the best running shoe...I ran my marathon and all 6 half marathons in Asics.

I could keep going and going, but it is time to cook our Sunday dinner/Cowboys game food. I will end with three of my favorite pictures from the wedding.

This first one is after my dad and I danced. Growing up my dad and I danced a lot in our kitchen, so it was very important to me to dance with him on my wedding day.

This is my niece and I before the wedding. Addie was abnormally obsessed with me on my wedding day. We decided that I was the closest thing she had ever seen to a princess (because of the dress) and that is where her fascination came from. After she walked down the aisle, she ran back down the aisle to the bride's room. It was adorable.

Finally, my Kent and I on our last dance. In college I made a "Life's to do list", and one thing on there was play Nora Jones' Come Away with Me before we left for our wedding night. So, I made arrangements with the DJ and when everyone went downstairs to light their sparklers, I asked Kent to dance and the song was played. It was exactly how I had pictured it!

I love Sunday afternoons. Almost time for some Romo action...Go Cowboys!! Oh, I guess I could add them to my list of favorite things. Don't you think Tony looks a little like Kent. Kent is way hotter, but Tony has a few good features.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Charles and I...

Kent reads Spurgeon's daily devotions online a lot, and occasionally I will stumble upon his page looking to be enlightened or encouraged. Today, Charles' thoughts resonate with my soul.

I am longing for those rare times where God's presence is so near and thick that you can literally feel him as you pray, worship, and go about daily tasks. It's those times that faith is easy and following the Lord is truly the desire of my heart. Today is not that day. In fact, that day has not come in months. Praise God for good teaching at The Village where I have learned to still pursue the Lord and live a life of faith even if I don't feel like it. Besides that, this life would be lived in vain if I worshiped the Lord only based on the feelings that it gave me or what he could provide for me. I have got to give him glory for all things, at all times despite how I feel. May my soul be desperate in all times for him, and may I cling to the hopes of what he is doing in my life even if I don't see it. More than all of these things, let me cry out in heart-felt worship for Christ's sake...for the fact that He came as my substitution for sin, and because Christ will return and His kingdom will come!

Anyway, I just thought I would share in case you may be having that day too. Spurgeon's daily below.

"Sing, O barren."—Isaiah 54:1.
THOUGH we have brought forth some fruit unto Christ, and have a joyful hope that we are "plants of His own right hand planting," yet there are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak, each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, requiring the refreshing shower. In such a condition what are we to do? The text is addressed to us in just such a state. "Sing, O barren, break forth and cry aloud." But what can I sing about? I cannot talk about the present, and even the past looks full of barrenness. Ah! I can sing of Jesus Christ. I can talk of visits which the Redeemer has aforetimes paid to me; or if not of these, I can magnify the great love wherewith He loved His people when He came from the heights of heaven for their redemption. I will go to the cross again. Come, my soul, heavy laden thou wast once, and thou didst lose thy burden there. Go to Calvary again. Perhaps that very cross which gave thee life may give thee fruitfulness. What is my barrenness? It is the platform for His fruit-creating power. What is my desolation? It is the black setting for the sapphire of His everlasting love. I will go in poverty, I will go in helplessness, I will go in all my shame and backsliding, I will tell Him that I am still His child, and in confidence in His faithful heart, even I, the barren one, will sing and cry aloud.
Sing, believer, for it will cheer thine own heart, and the hearts of other desolate ones. Sing on, for now that thou art really ashamed of being barren, thou wilt be fruitful soon; now that God makes thee loath to be without fruit He will soon cover thee with clusters. The experience of our barrenness is painful, but the Lord's visitations are delightful. A sense of our own poverty drives us to Christ, and that is where we need to be, for in Him is our fruit found.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pictures are up!!

Go to this website

Kentsten Wedding Pics

Click on our gallery and use your email address as the password. There are A TON of pictures so you can navigate quickly by using the categories (ceremony, reception etc) in the left hand corner.

Happy looking!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Who's Who..and other random fun...

My sweet husband has been super busy at work lately, so much that at times he has to do an hour plus writing at night. Me, trying to be the quiet wife, busies herself with reading or being on the internet. Though I received the final book of the Twilight series in the mail today (and have already plunged through 50+ pages:)is choosing the internet...aka blogging (like the new background???). Here is some random fun...

Can you tell which one is the Kent part of Kentsten and which one is the Kristen part? Pretty tough, huh. Or maybe we are actually the same person and this whole marriage thing is actually some deep twisted thing with a weird outcome. What?

Next, it's been a long time since I have posted anything of my adorable niece, Addie. Here she is on our day trip to Selado a few weeks ago. (She is trying to mimic the things next to her in the pictures)

And here she is singing her version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star...

Despite what my wife-in-training mentor thought (understand her skepticism on my Wifey 101 post), I have actually been cooking...and ENJOYING it! I don't feel like posting all the recipes right now...I will do that another day, but here are two of the recipes I have tried. This first one was a recommendation from Dawntoya . If you like spicy things, you will love this dish! Get the recipe here.

One of my favorite things I tried so far was low fat crab cakes.

Get that recipe here.
I served that with Baked Sweet Potato Fries.
I found this recipe on a blog...she has a lot of good stuff I want to try!

Sara Duran was our Tuesday night dinner guest this week, and she brought all of her old Cooking Light magazines which will hopefully turn into lots of delicious meals!

Okay, Kent is still busy, but I must get back to my Vampire Saga. More to come later...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Identity Crisis

I still don't have pictures of the wedding to share yet, but posting that one blog earlier this week got my juices flowing and I have been eager to share several different things. So check back in a few days for another post. Kent also has some stuff he wants to write about, so for those of you that know him you know you can anticipate being enlightened through his words.

At our rehearsal dinner we opened the floor for anyone that wanted to share stories or toasts. Many people shared very encouraging things, and I know that both Kent and I left praising the Lord for friends and family and the story that we find ourselves wrapped up in. After the rehearsal dinner was over and my parents and I decided to join some of our extended family for a drink at the hotel bar. It was there that my mom began to question some of the stories shared at the rehearsal dinner. She said that many people spoke of me having wonderful qualities that surrounded a "type-a" person: being efficient, planned, organized, etc, etc., but she wondered where were the stories of the Kristen she knew. The little girl that loved to spend hours upon hours reading, writing, and creating things, the girl who loved to cook, and the girl who once was the complete antithesis of type-a...hiding things under her bed, waiting until the last minute to complete anything, hanging any memorabilia on her bedroom wall regardless of how tacky it was...and on and on. My mom said that she regretted not sharing at the rehearsal dinner where this now "strong, type-a woman" had once been as a child.

That night I just laughed my mom's perspective off without giving it much thought, but somewhere during the time on our honeymoon I realized that she was right in someways. I think that during middle school and high school people in my life starting recognizing leadership qualities in me, so I was trusted with responsibility. I was placed as class president, youth group leadership team, etc, etc. This continued in college with me immediately stepping into major leadership roles in my sorority. It was during my time as ZTA president that I learned the skill of efficiency and how to get many things accomplished in a short period of time. I was praised frequently for my ability to manage a good GPA, running an organization with 150 women, spending time with my out of town boyfriend, and still maintaining a good social life. I liked how that praise felt, and so I learned to refine those skills of efficiency, organization, and leadership until I found my identity in my leadership. I graduated from college a little over 5 years ago, and somewhere in there a lot of the skills that I prided myself on had turned in to anxiety, rigidity and control. With the increase in these refined characteristics was also the decrease of some of my first loves like reading and creating.

For the first time since middle school I am currently not in any leadership roles. Kent and I agreed that our primary ministry focus for our first year of marriage would be and should be our marriage. Marriage has not only brought on the death of the unhealthy, independent spirit that I once possessed, but also the death of where I once found my identity. Praise God that when He kills a sinful, unhealthy portion of our flesh He also fills us with His Holy Spirit and births new life.

My identity is not found in leading this or that, not in being a wife, not in my personality or preferences, but in Christ alone. He is teaching me in order to be fully the person He purposed for me to be, I have to be rooted and found in Him. So, my mom was right, the Lord did give me a love for creative things. I love to read, write, and have long deep conversations. At the same time, God also created me as having a mind that enjoys leading, planning, and a good organizational system! In Christ, I am allowed to be all of these things for His glory and His purposes. Any of these things become sin the second they take precedence over the gospel of Christ.

For those of you that are still reading, I wanted to share some of the books that I have had time to read this summer. Warning..the spacing of all of these is weird, so sorry for that!

The first is Sacred Marriage. One of my student's moms gave me this book for a wedding present. The subtitle of the book is "What if God designed marriage for our holiness instead of our happiness. It is rich book filled with wonderful reminders and insight on the relationship of a husband and wife.

I have not completed this book yet, but if nothing else all women should read the chapter on the lies that women believe about their body. The author does a great job at identifying the lies and then leading you through truth to repent and combat those lies.

Okay, these next 3 are apart of a series (the 4th comes out today!!!). Many of you will laugh that I have read these thick books that are intended for teenage women.

Yes, the plot is about werewolves and vampires, but I am allowed to appreciate a good story...and these are great stories. There are parties tonight for the release of the 4th book, but instead I just chose to quietly pre-order mine online.

Sacred Sex...I am a huge advocate of this book, because it completely defined what sex between husband and wife is about. We all know that we are bombarded with what sex is according to Hollywood, magazines, etc...but this book defines what God intended it be.

The Road was awesome! The author is an amazing writer and is able to paint an amazing picture and story with his words.

Excellent story that evoked a lot of emotion. The theology is very questionable, but the some of the imagery is good and author wrote a good story. Read more about the thoughts regarding theology here.

This next one is one of my husband's favorite books. I finished it this morning, and thought it was excellent, but really deep. I think for me to fully grasp the story and the symbolism I am going to have to read it again.

I am currently reading Tim Keller's Reason for God. I think this book will be excellent resource when faced with the "hard" questions about why Christ. I know I have friends out there that are cursing me for having months off at a time, especially those who also know that I have had lots of time to watch movies I have never seen like Lord of the Rings (can I say, amazing!) and cook. More on those topics later.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Um, yeah..

That's the only thing I can think of for a title when I haven't posted in over 2 months. I have been yelled at by the 4 people that still faithfully check this little blog. Side note: most likely my Psalm63 blog and Kent's Shadow Forest blog will be put quietly to sleep and a new blog will merge for the both of us. That is all to come, so stay posted.

Not sure where to begin when my life is radically different than the last time i posted. Kent and I were married on July 4, 2008. For everyone who then says,"You
got married on the Fourth of July?" um, yes obviously the Fourth of July and July 4th are the same date. (You wouldn't believe how many people say that!) Our wedding was perfect and I wouldn't have changed a thing. I prayed a lot that we would remember the entire day, and by his grace we do. I heard the stories of everything being a blur too many times, and I really was thankful to Him for not letting that happen. We don't have wedding pics back yet, but as soon as we do I will post some of them on here. You can see one of us on our photographer's blog.

Our rehearsal dinner was at Mattito's in Dallas. The food and drinks were amazing, and it was a wonderful night with close friends and family. Here is a picture of my friend Amber Cassidy and I. She has known me very well since I was about 8 years old, so you can only imagine the stories she told during her toast.

I spent Thursday night with my parents at The Magnolia Hotel in Dallas, which was a risky thing to do the night before your wedding since both of them snore terribly. Thanks to Kent and Geoff, I slept wonderfully all because of the ear plugs they purchased for me. Friday I awoke refreshed and surprisingly very calm. Lindsey Brittain, who was my wedding week right hand man, my mom, my sister, and I spent the day at the Ritz Carlton eating lunch and getting our hair and makeup done. This was a special wedding day treat from my mom and sister. Here are the pictures.

I am going to wait until I have more pictures from the wedding to share those details, but let me say it again...It was the best day of my life. Here are a few of the pictures I do have.

If you were at the wedding and you have pictures, please send them to me!! I hardly have any, and I am itching to see some.

So, the wedding details and honeymoon will be a separate post, but I wanted to share one more thing since who knows when I will actually getting around to blogging again. I have been reading through the book of Proverbs this summer, and I have noticed several themes...watching the tongue, pursuing wisdom, fearing the Lord, foolishness vs. wisdom, etc. One theme that I have been extra sensitive to recently is how many times Solomon and the other writers of Proverbs mention wives.

Proverbs 11:22 "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion."

Proverbs 12:4b "She who brings shame is like rottenness in his (her husband's) bones."

Proverbs 19:13 "...and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain."

Proverbs 21:9 "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than i a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

Proverbs 21:19 "It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman."

Proverbs 27:15-16 "A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand."

So, it may seem as if the writers of Proverbs are suggesting that wives are only annoying and out of control, but considering that Solomon also wrote Song of Solomon which is all about making love to his bride, I doubt that. The writers of Proverbs also say:

Proverbs 12:4a "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband."

Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord."

Proverbs 19:14b "but a prudent wife is from the Lord."

I share all of this as encouragement to wives and those that desire to be wives. The call is weighty and hard, but it is one that is from the Lord. We cannot submit, serve, respond, or encourage our husbands in the way scripture asks us to in our own strength, but through humility that produces dependence on Christ we will be able to fulfill the task the Lord has called us to. Ask the Lord to teach you when to speak and when to be silent. Let's learn not to be quarrelsome, but instead encouraging and supportive.

My daily prayer for Kent and I comes from Proverbs 5:18-19, "Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love." I want the love and passion that Kent and I have shared these first 3 weeks of marriage to be a fraction of what is coming in 10, 20, or 30 years. All of this is by the Lord's grace alone!

If we aren't sure where to start on the pursuit of becoming godly women, Proverbs 31:10-31 provides a strong foundation. This list isn't exhaustive, but some of the qualities of an excellent wife: She is trustworthy, good to her husband, hardworking, wise, strong, giving, creative, courageous, prepared, dignified, kind, and on and on the list can go. Again, the task is not easy, but my prayer and desire is at the end of life this can be said for me, "Her children rise up and called her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." (Proverbs 31:28-29) I think verse 10 of this chapter suggests that this woman is rare, "An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels." My desire is to be a rare woman that always remembers, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."