Monday, September 29, 2008

Picture Perfect

We met in downtown Sanford, Florida with Cory Callahan of Callahan Photo for our engagement photo session. The photo shoot itself was a lot of fun and we are more than thrilled with the results. Cory and his wife Mandi make up an incredibly talented, artistic team.

Visit to view the rest of our photos.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Busy as Bees

[Jill] Bees seem to be the recurring theme these days. Dan and I, along with our parents, are busy as bees with all of the planning and preparation that's going into our upcoming wedding day as well as my cross-country move after the honeymoon.

Life is abuzz with preparations for my sister Julie and I as we ready our house to put it up for sale...pulling weeds and laying sod. I'm collecting cardboard boxes so that I can begin packing up all of my belongings, putting my furniture on Craigslist in hopes that it might sell, and simultaneously searching for a job in Washington via the internet. Meanwhile, Dan is in hot pursuit of an apartment for us to live in and the best moving plan to relocate me and my belongings there as well as helping me with my job search and finalizing our honeymoon plans (which are a surprise for me).

I think we might even qualify as being busier than bees!

Bees were also the theme at my bridal shower, earlier this month. Hosted by Reidi Lott and her daughter, Lindi, who are longtime family friends, the party was incredible! Reidi went above and beyond in her preparations and decorations.

The theme was "Meant to Bee" and she had a customized banner with our names on it, personalized honey jars for each guest to take home, and three "beehives" of delicious, homemade bee cupcakes. A beautiful gourmet buffet was laid out for the 60 plus friends and family members she invited on my behalf. It was a lovely and very special celebration that I wish Dan's Mom and sisters-in-law could have attended as well.

In all of our busyness and stress, Dan and I are trying hard to maintain our sanity and keep our focus on the Holy God who has a perfect plan for our future. Having witnessed His plan that orchestrated our meeting one another in Colorado and a romance that blossomed over 3,000 miles of distance, it's not too difficult to believe that He isn't finished with us yet and that He will indeed work out all of the details of the months and years ahead. So why not start with trusting Him with today, right?

Please keep us in your prayers as we strive to do just that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Whole New Spin on a Tale of Two Cities

[Jill:] It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

I think I have an idea of what Charles Dickens meant, although I'm taking a radically different direction than he was. He may have written about London and Paris, but I'm writing now about Orlando and Seattle. Who would have thought that the period in my life when I would FINALLY be getting married would simultaneously be one of the most difficult times I would encounter?

One moment I'm drunk on love and grinning ear to ear because I can't stop thinking about how blessed I am to be marrying the man of my dreams. The next moment I'm crying uncontrollably because my job here in Orlando is ending and Dan and I don't know whether we should live in Florida or Washington. I could practically hear The Clash repeatedly singing "Should I stay or should I go?" in my head as I tried to sleep at night.

For months we struggled prayerfully over the cold, hard facts before us. We weighed the pros and cons. We asked God for guidance, but the neon signs never flashed in our eyes. We listened to sermons, read Scriptures, asked friends and family for advice, and even posted an online poll just for kicks. We asked God to open doors or close them. (Note to self: closing doors sometimes crush toes and pinch fingers!)

In the time that passed without flashing, neon signs and thunderous Charleton Heston voices descending from above or any nearby burning bushes, I think we began to look at our circumstances a little differently.

I was visiting Dan in Seattle and we were driving around town listening to a Mark Driscoll sermon series on Ruth. I had wanted to listen to the sermon for one purpose, but God brought a different message to light that afternoon. What we heard Mark say loud and clear that day was that God doesn't ever leave us hanging. If we pray for answers, He gives them to us. Sometimes we're just too busy looking for the answers that we want to recognize the answer that God has provided. And it was that day that we decided to look around at what God had already given us, rather than what we were hoping He would provide.

With newly opened eyes, we began to watch the doors closing on Orlando. Seattle is going to be our home come November.

I'm sad to be placing more then 3,000 miles between me and my parents and sister, to be saying goodbye to my incredible friends, to my church, and to the familiarity of my Publix, my bike trail, and my neighborhood Starbucks. At the same time, I'm excited about getting to know my new family members and Dan's friends, about the adventure of exploring new biking trails and hiking trails, and having mountain views outside my windows! And I know I won't have any trouble discovering many new neighborhood Starbucks locations in the town of Seattle!

Although I do love change, change breeds discomfort. I'm pretty certain that there's always something lost in the process of gaining something great. Just as victory carries a price, so life charges us with grievous goodbyes as we charge toward new horizons and yet-to-be-seen blessings bestowed by God's firm and loving hand.

I look forward most to seeing how God will show Dan and me more of His greatness as we trust Him to provide a new job for me in Seattle, to provide a new place for us to live, and to provide a new home church where we can be fed and serve alongside one another. I know that God works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose and I cling to that knowledge when I'm unsure of where He's leading me or why.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. But it was all in God's timing.