My Garden

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. Romans 5:18

“One trespass resulted in condemnation for all people. You may be tempted to ask, is that fair?” began the preacher, “but I would then ask, do you really think you could’ve done a better job than Adam?

I heard shuffling on the row behind me as a voice, tiny but confident, squeaks out a strong “yes!” and the room erupts with laughter. It was the voice of a small girl, maybe four or five years old, and I was trying to hold in my own laughter as I took the girl’s feelings into account. The laughter died down, the pastor smoothed things over, and the sermon continued as though nothing had happened.

But in the corner of my eye, I saw the small girl crawl into her father’s lap. I heard her whimpering quietly. I was just enough distracted from the sermon to continue feeling sorry for the young girl’s embarrassing moment when I heard her father speak. Stroking her hair, I heard him say, “It’s alright, baby. Everything’s okay. I’m so proud of you for paying attention. You did so good.”

Aside from sharing this touching moment between father and daughter (parenting win!), I’ve told this story so that we might take a moment to think about that little girl’s point-of-view. When the pastor asked if anyone could’ve done a better job than Adam in the Garden, he was asking a rhetorical question. A question to make a point. A question that is meant to make you think and is not meant to be answered. Hence the hysterical laughter of 600+ people when that unknowing little girl gave her answer anyways.

The pastor’s point was that we would NOT have outdone Adam. I would’ve eaten the apple. You would have too. We can all be wise adults and own up to such things. Especially in church.

But in our heart of hearts, your heart and mine, do we really believe that? Because I know that day after day I find myself trying to out-do Adam in every aspect of my life. My Garden is just a little different than his.

We look at Adam and scoff because God literally gave him EVERYTHING besides that one tree. Everything. And we look back to the Garden and wish that we could have walked and talked with God. Adam did. How could you choose an apple over that?

But my Garden is no less filled with God’s presence, and my temptations are no more tempting. While Adam may have walked with God, I have Him in my heart. And while Adam felt God’s love though His grace and provision, all I have to do is look at the cross.

All of God’s people have been blessed through a relationship with Him, but salvation does not bring perfection–YET. Thanks to Jesus’s one righteous act, I will one day spend my eternity in Heaven. God WILL make me perfect! And until that day, I want to spend my every day on this earth striving to be more and more like Him.

But the important truth is, we can’t do it on our own. And that’s easy to say when we’re begging God’s grace. Easy to agree with when the pastor preaches it from the pulpit. But I hope that day after day as we continue to eat apple after apple, constantly proving our own unworthiness, that we will see ourselves as the little girl sitting behind me in church and understand that much of the time we DO think we could’ve done better than Adam; we try to prove that over and over again in our vain attempts at perfection.

So, while on this earth I may answer rhetorical questions and try unsuccessfully to direct my own heart, I’m thankful for a Father Who pulls me into His lap, strokes my hair, and says, “It’s alright, baby. Everything’s okay.” And thanks to the second half of the verse and God’s unending mercy, I can say with confidence that everything will be okay.

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. Romans 5:18

Thank you, Jesus, for justification and life.

Advertisements

The First One

In life, firsts are exciting. Your first day of high school, your first car. Your first job. No matter what it may be, it’s just a little bit better when those first-time jitters are present, hopping around in your stomach. But it’s also exciting to be the first one! The first one to dip a spoon into a brand new jar of peanut butter. The first one to cross a finish line. The first one to try something new.

God has a plan for each and every one of our lives, and it just so happens that his plan for me was to be the first one. First one of my friends to get engaged. First one of my family to move out of state. First one of mine and Trigg’s siblings to have a baby, which also means first to give a grandchild to both sets of grandparents (and great-grandchild to my grandma). As I mentioned earlier, these are all exciting things. But being the first to cross the finish line means there will be a period of time when you stand there alone as the other runners catch up to you.

Sometimes it’s hard to be the first one. It was hard to move away and see my friends rooming together in college. While they remained close, I was miles away in the middle of planning a wedding, choosing a place to live with my soon-to-be husband, and trying to make new friends. New friends my age were surprised to learn that I was engaged. New friends married or engaged were surprised to learn that I was so young. I was the first one.

Now, years have passed, and many of my friends are married. You can imagine their excitement and the excitement of my family as Trigg and I announced that we were having a baby! Sweet Nellie is surrounded by friends and family who go above and beyond to love on her. So many women have been there for me time and time again—already in just these short seven months. And yet, once again I find myself across the finish line from everyone else. Friends and family who are mothers have had experience raising babies—but all of their babies are grown up. Friends my age who are there for me haven’t had babies yet—and if you are a mother, then you’ll understand why this matters. I’m the first one.

The first month of Nellie’s life was the hardest month of my life—but it taught me so much. First, and most importantly, it taught me that I can get through ANYTHING in this life—bring it on—as long as I have my Jesus to lean on. And since in His word it says He will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6), I don’t have anything to worry about.

Next, I learned that postpartum is stinking hard, people.

H. A. R. D.

And every single mommy has to get through it. Now it just wouldn’t do to be angry with God for making me “the first one” to have a baby, since, as I said, He was the One to bring me through it, after all. So instead, I’m focusing on the realization of just what a blessing I’ve been handed.

I know postpartum. I have experience teaching a baby to nurse (and failing to teach a baby to nurse, at first). I know how it feels to take that little “bundle of joy” home and wonder why your “joy” is hidden beneath so much fear. I know what it’s like to distort motherhood into this unrealistic picture of supermom—the woman who always knows why her baby is crying and never needs naps. And I know what I wish I had after having a baby. What nobody—perhaps not even myself—knew that I needed.

People.

People—mothers and non-mothers—to be there for me when I thought I didn’t need them—or at least thought I wasn’t supposed to need them. When I was too embarrassed to admit that I didn’t have it all together. People to take time out of their day to bring a meal for my family. People to hold my baby while I cry (yes, it happens) and let me get some rest. And mothers to stand by me and say,

You’re doing great. Your baby loves you so much. Keep it up, momma.

Being “the first one” means that I didn’t have any friends in my stage of life to share postpartum with. But God put all of the right people in my path to make it quite clear to me that He doesn’t want it to be that way. So now, on the other side of this finish line looking back, I’m ready. I’m ready for all of the new mommies who don’t yet know that it’s okay not to have it all together, and it’s okay to need other people. And when they need me, I’m ready for them. I’m ready to be there for each momma, holding her baby while she cries and saying,

You’re doing great. Your baby loves you so much. Keep it up, momma.

 

-Cari

Teaching them to crawl

“Come on, Nellie, come on!” I coax, as I flap my arms excitedly. She flashes me a huge gummy smile as her arms and legs fly into the air. She starts to flail.

“No, sweetie, you have to keep your arms and legs on the ground. It’s your tummy that should be in the air! Like this!” I lay flat on my stomach and dramatically lift my stomach higher until I’m on my hands and knees in a crawling position.

More flailing.

Nellie doesn’t know how to crawl–yet. But I do. And as her mom, I want to do everything in my power to help her learn. So I coax, and I demonstrate, and I encourage. I place countless toys just inches out of reach. And so far, Nellie has responded in the same way every time:

Flailing.

Nellie doesn’t understand my words. She may not be strong enough or coordinated enough to copy my movements. And yet, on any given day of the week, you could come upstairs to Nellie’s room and find me sprawled out on the floor motioning frantically for Nellie to crawl to me.

Why is this? Because I care for my daughter. I want her to learn. I want her to explore. I want her to be mobile. And I want to be a part of her process–that is, the process of her learning to crawl. All of these are good things, but at the end of the day, Nellie has to crawl on her own. She has to understand the need to keep her arms and legs on the ground…on her own. And she has to build up the strength to lift her tummy off of the ground.

My desire to show Nellie how to crawl–and ultimately the realization that I can’t really show Nellie how to crawl–has helped me to reach an important understanding.

One day, Nellie is going to face a challenge in her life. She won’t know what to do. I’ll want to hold her hand and lead her forward–to coax her and encourage her. I know I’ll try my best to help her in any way–to give her every answer that I have. But when that day comes, I won’t be able to fix all of her problems, whether I have the answers or not. It will be up to her. My precious girl.

It is on that day that I hope I remember these afternoons on the floor of her room. All of the prodding and flailing. I hope I remember that as much as I love her and want what’s best for her, there are certain areas of her life that a mother can’t control. But that doesn’t mean I have to get off of the floor. Because although right now Nellie hasn’t figured out what I’m trying to tell her, one day she will.

And one day she will crawl.

The Biblical TRUTH About Childbirth

What do you know about God’s Word pertaining to labor and childbirth? Probably the basics. You know that painful labor is a large part of the punishment God placed on women after The Fall (Genesis 3:16). And you’ve probably read the one million verses in the Bible comparing other pain and hardship to a woman’s experience at birth. Here are a few to make you cringe:

Jeremiah 22:23,You who live in ‘Lebanon,’ who are nestled in cedar buildings, how you will groan when pangs come upon you, pain like that of a woman in labor!”

Isaiah 13:8,Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.”

Psalm 48:6,Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.”

Jeremiah 4:31,I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child—the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, ‘Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.'”

Groaning. Pain. Terror. Anguish. Writhing. Trembling. I’ve read all of this before, but I’ve always skimmed past quickly, thinking, “Yeah, yeah, it’s painful, I get it.” It really hits home now that I’m only weeks away from this painful labor myself. So as I’ve read verses such as these multiple times in my quiet times in the last few months (because trust me, labor pains are every Biblical author’s favorite metaphor to really get their point acrossthey show up all the time!), I’ve really been searching for God’s truth in the Bible regarding labor and childbirth. Many times, such as in the examples above, I really believe it is simply used as a metaphor to describe immense pain. But, as I have kept searching and studying, God has spoken to me about His greater purpose in childbirthpast the simple use of a metaphor.

1 Timothy 2:15, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

This verse immediately caught my attention because it’s a reference to childbirth that isn’t all about the pain. But, saved through childbearing? I wasn’t sure exactly what Paul meant by this at first, but I knew being saved is a good thing—and it looks as if childbirth is a way to bring this salvation about. After searching and studying, I have four possible understandings pertaining to this verse.

  1. Pain in childbirth is woman’s condemnation for sin, but Christ saves us through this. While painful childbirth is what women face on this Earth in punishment for our sinful natures, Jesus offers us that which we don’t deserve—eternities free from pain in Heaven.
  2. Through childbearing, women fulfill their God-given roles and demonstrate “true commitment and obedience to Christ” (from the Zondervan Application Study Bible). The verse is not taken to refer to the instance of salvation from sin but to the act of living out salvation. God’s plan for wives is to bear children and raise them up with care.
  3. God planned for salvation to come through childbirth—the birth of Jesus Christ.  Women (and men, too) receive salvation because Mary gave birth to Jesus.

    Genesis 3:15,And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

    Did you know that “he” in this verse refers to Jesus? I have always loved to jokingly refer to this verse as the reason behind my fear of snakes, but this was mainly because I took “her offspring” to refer to females. As in, there is enmity between “your offspring” (snakes) “and hers” (females). But, the verse clearly says HE will crush the serpent’s head. So the enmity stretches farther than just to females. This early in the Bible, God was already foreshadowing the birth of His son. And while the serpent gets to “strike his heel,” such an act isn’t deadly. Crushing the head, on the other hand, is deadly. From the beginning, God planned for Jesus to come to this Earth through childbirth in order to deal Satan the final blow.

  4. Through the difficulties and trials of childbirth, women develop qualities that make them more like Christ. God designed childbirth to train women after His heart in faith, love, and holiness. These bring about salvation for women (just not salvation from sin, which only Jesus provides).

Basically, while childbirth is painful, God has designed it to provide women with so much more than just the pain. He chose painful childbirth as the vehicle to bring His son (and ultimately our salvation) to Earth, and He continues to use childbirth to bring life-change to women.

Romans 8:22-23,We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

Just as painful childbirth was the precursor to the first coming of Jesus, the trials and hardships of this world (and of Christians particularly) are the precursor to the Second Coming. We must endure these struggles as we await the return of Jesus, our hope, but the laboring mother also has hope and a reason for her pain: the precious life of a new baby.

Romans 8:22-23 (above) gives an important Biblical perspective on childbirth. In the spirit of Paul’s comparison, we ought to treat labor and childbirth the same way the Bible teaches us to treat life on this Earth—as temporary, but not without purpose. And just as God promises to end our struggle on this Earth, we can trust Him to keep this promise in childbirth. We are blessed to be able to do the work we are called to do while fixing our eyes on what is to come: Jesus, and in my case, Nellie.

IMG_8127

-Cari

 

P.S. My new Biblical perspective on labor and childbirth has also given me a new perspective on CHRISTMAS! We all focus on precious baby Jesus (who does deserve all of the glory), but I often forget the part about Mary actually having to birth him. Alone. Without experience. In a stable. So, this Christmas let’s remember the most important birth that this Earth has ever seen.

P.P.S. I’m so excited about CHRISTMAS!!!

Many are the Plans

I suppose you’ve heard by now, but the La Tour family is growing by one, and my husband Trigg and I are expecting the sweetest, tiniest bundle of joy in November. We found out recently that it’s a girl, which means in a few months this world will welcome Miss Nellie Grace La Tour! The fact that there is another life inside of me is one I’m still getting used to, but we couldn’t be more excited. And so begin the days of preparing for and dreaming about baby. 🙂

But this post is less about the biggest thing happening in our lives right now and more about everything else. Of course Trigg graduated almost two months ago, so big changes have come for him months before Nellie arrives! In May he began working full-time at RCAL Products Inc. in Prairie Grove, AR (about 25 minutes outside of Fayetteville). He’s worked there for almost three years as an intern and is now transitioning to design engineer!

For the past three years, Trigg has driven almost an hour every day to get to and from work, so we knew when he graduated that we’d like to move out closer to RCAL. The plan was for it to be my turn to commute, since I still have three semesters of my applied mathematics degree/Spanish minor left at the University of Arkansas.

Well, I’m excited to say we recently closed on a sweet little fixer-upper farmhouse on an acre of land, merely seven minutes from RCAL! We’ve seen God working all throughout this (very long) process, and we trust Him to continue to take care of us. Now Nellie will have a real home to come home to!

File May 01, 9 01 08 PM

Of course, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). After much prayer, Trigg and I know it’s not God’s plan for me to raise this baby while I’m still in school. I will not be finishing my degree at the U of A. At least not any time soon! This summer and in the beginning of next fall, I will be taking classes from the Northwest Arkansas Community College in order to finish out an associate’s degree. I’m scheduled to finish by October at the latest, so school will be long gone before Nellie Grace arrives!

This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my whole life. The world tells me that I need a degree to fit in. I need a degree to be an intelligent individual. I need a degree to get a job. I need a degree to be worth something. But God is teaching me to overcome my pride and trust in Him. Because raising children is not easy, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. But raising this baby is God’s plan for my life, and not finishing my degree is part of the price I need to pay to follow His calling.

So, friends and family, I seek your understanding and support in this crazy time in our lives! Through all of it we are seeking God’s guidance, and through all of it we continue to receive His blessings (the tiniest of which is coming in November!!).

 

Cari

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. I think I’ve gotten into thinking that since nothing “big” has been happening in my life, I have nothing to write about. But God is always at work, and that is a very big thing.

Here is a “quick” update on my life, for my interested family and friends. Christmas was a beautiful time for Trigg and I, as it was our first as a married couple! I had a BLAST decorating our tiny apartment with all of the Christmas cheer I could find for free or little money. Here’s a picture of our tree. I’m pretty proud of it!!

file-feb-23-11-32-46-am

I got to spend my entire break from school with family: Trigg’s family, my family, and the Blush family (who Trigg and I have claimed as our adoptive family). It was restful and tons of fun, but I was pretty much out of town for four weeks straight! I calculated that I was on the road for 75+ hours. Needless to say it feels good to be home. 🙂

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Christmastime!

First came Christmas cookies with Anna Beth! She doesn’t like to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving (and of course we all know how I feel about Christmas!!), so we’ve started the tradition of having our own personal CHRISTMAS PARTY every Thanksgiving night at midnight, to celebrate FINALLY getting to listen to Christmas music together!!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Then came Trigg looking like a monkey as he pretended to hold mistletoe above us…

file-feb-23-12-07-37-pm

And a super fun Christmas party at the church with our best friends Jeff and Caitlyn!!

file-feb-23-12-10-25-pm

We had a Christmas party with our small group…

file-feb-23-12-07-56-pm

And Trigg took me on a CHRISTmas date that consisted of Hot Choffee (that is, hot chocolate with coffee and whipped cream–HEAVENLY), CHRISTmas lights, and a ride in a helicopter to see–you guessed it–MORE CHRISTmas lights!!

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

We traveled to Colorado with Trigg’s family and a couple of friends…

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

And upon returning home, we saw this:

file-feb-23-12-09-06-pm

Turn into this:

file-feb-23-12-08-24-pm

Turn into THIS! Kyle and Ginny are engaged!!! This means that my sister-in-law/best friend is marrying Trigg’s best man/best friend! I can’t wait!

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

After Christmas, we traveled to Louisiana to visit my family, and then back to Colorado with Kyle’s family, the Blushes!

file-feb-23-12-16-34-pm

And we discovered our restaurant!!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

And finally, Ginny and I traveled to see our long-distance best friend, Kaitlyn!

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetfile-feb-23-12-11-59-pm

And now after reliving those memories, I’m feeling exhausted again. 🙂

But God has been good to us. Now Christmas is over, and we’re back in the full swing of things. School is going strong, and we can see Trigg’s graduation in the distance, as well as our one year anniversary!!

One thing God has been teaching me lately is that sometimes our excitement for the future can swallow up the present. Counting down the days is fun, and exciting, and good! But don’t forget where you are in life right now. Don’t forget to enjoy all of the sweet moments you have now. Don’t forget that your happiness shouldn’t dwell in the future–nor should it dwell on your current circumstances. Happiness comes from God’s blessings, but JOY, my friends. JOY comes from Above. And God wants your life to be full of joy.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.

 

Cari

P.S. I’ll be writing more soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Laundry Blues

Does anyone else out there dislike having to do the laundry?

I’ve been married for almost a year now, doing the laundry on my own, and you know what I’ve noticed? The laundry never goes away. No matter how long I wait. No matter how much homework I have (or don’t have). No matter how many times I finish the laundry, the laundry always comes back. And when I finish it, it comes back again.

You know I’ve also noticed that I seem to be able to keep my home decluttered and my kitchen clean.

But laundry? No, I don’t have time for laundry. Here. Enjoy a Cari La Tour original poem I like to call “The Laundry Blues”:

When my laundry creeps out of its bin,

I tell it I’ll never give in.

Then it screams and it kicks,

and I look for a fix,

But I’m out of socks—laundry wins.

Cari

A Prayer for North Carolina

Oh Lord, why?

Why must the people of this country be so violent?

Why must they be so hateful?

God, I don’t understand why……well.

Sin.

Sin is what causes this. The devil causes this. Lies and deception of the heart cause this. People are being brainwashed. Their own selfishness and pride cause them to seek what they perceive to be “justice.” Because their sin tells them that they must vindicate the death of one of “their kind.” Because they take it as a threat to themselves.

Lord, thank you for the brave law enforcement officers of this country. For all of those men and women in riot gear throwing tear gas at the oncoming oppressors. For the officers of this country who protect and serve the people, no matter the skin color of the threat.

Please God, take it back. Take America back to you. Rid this foul country of the hatred and death. Let the Christians of this nation RISE UP and stand for truth and righteousness. Teach America to love.

“The cords of death entangled me;

    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

 The cords of the grave coiled around me;

    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;

    I cried to my God for help.

From his temple he heard my voice;

    my cry came before him, into his ears.

The earth trembled and quaked,

    and the foundations of the mountains shook;

    they trembled because he was angry.

Smoke rose from his nostrils;

    consuming fire came from his mouth,

    burning coals blazed out of it.

He parted the heavens and came down;

   dark clouds were under his feet.

He mounted the cherubim and flew;

    he soared on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—

    the dark rain clouds of the sky.

Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,

    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.

The Lord thundered from heaven;

    the voice of the Most High resounded.

He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,

    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.

The valleys of the sea were exposed

    and the foundations of the earth laid bare

at your rebuke, Lord,

    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

    he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,

    from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,

    but the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;

    he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

Psalm 18:4-19

 

Delight in me, Lord, and rescue me.

Amen.

 

 

**For information about the riots in North Carolina, go here.

Wrapping up the Summer like a CHRISTmas Present

As much as some may not like to admit it, it’s August now. The summer (but not the heat) is rolling to a stop as school is beginning (or has begun) for many. I personally go back to school a week from Monday. And as my summer internship ends and school is about to begin, I’ve been thinking a lot about what God has been teaching me this summer– and what I’ve still yet to learn:

Trust and control.

A little strange, right? If you grew up in a hymn-singing Southern Baptist church like me, you’ve probably heard these lyrics a little differently:

Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Well sorry church, but this summer I changed the words. Trust and control. God, I trust you! I trust you with my marriage, my job, my finances, my future. But I still get to control them right? Like, I get to know all of the answers now? And everything will happen like I think it should? No struggling?

Nah.

I think the writer of the lyrics got it right the first time. God tells me to trust him AND give him control. And doing so will NOT make me happy, but it WILL make me happy in Jesus. The second verse of the song goes on to say that Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, can abide while we trust and obey.

I pray that I can give God complete control.

I pray that no shadow can rise.

I pray that no doubt, fear, sigh, or tear can abide in my life. And trust me friend, that’s praying for a miracle. (Good thing my God is a God of miracles.)

That’s the happiness I want. Are you trusting the Lord today?

 

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear,
  Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove
The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do;
Where He sends, we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

**P.S. There was your summer wrap-up, and here is your CHRISTmas present:

CHRISTmas IS COMING!!!!!!!

THIS. IS. NOT. A DRILL.

I know some of you claim to share my enthusiasm, but not until after Thanksgiving. Well that just won’t do for me. CHRISTmas only comes around once a year, so I’m going to milk it for all that it’s worth. And (speaking of God being a God of miracles) if you know what CHRISTmas is really about, then you know it’s worth a lot.

So, I haven’t decided how CHRISTmas will affect my blogs yet, but I just wanted you all to know that I’m getting ready. This will be my first CHRISTmas in my own place with my own decorations, and since Trigg and I are choosing to save money on gifts and decorations this CHRISTmas, I have no clue what that will look like. But get ready 😀

Countdown Cari says………. 135 days, 5 hours, 58 minutes, and 15 seconds until CHRISTmas!!!!!!!

Cari

 

W-day!!

Yeah, so, I’ve been pretty busy.

In the past month, I became a wife, left the country, came back, moved into my first home with my husband, had my first day of work at my first full-time job, and spent four days at Kids Camp.

Phew.

In all honesty, I can’t tell you (everyone) who was at my wedding…or even what it looked like. I remember walking out at the top of the hill (I walked down a hill instead of an aisle), looking down, and seeing over 250 people who care about me. In fact, many were standing for me. Not because I was the bride (though they did all eventually stand for that reason), but because there were not enough seats, and that didn’t matter.

And I can’t tell you what it looked like because flowers, decorations, food, and tables, etc., were all taken care of by an amazing group of people I get to call my family. Talk about love. Thank you to all of you for being so helpful, loving, and supportive through it all. All weekend I was shown over and over how much my friends and family love me. And then Saturday morning I got to show Trigg how much I love him! Yay!

Trigg managed to keep our honeymoon destination a surprise to me. Sunday morning, Trigg and I had our first flight at 6 am. By around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, we landed on the beautiful island of St. Lucia, in the West Indies! All week I saw some of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen in my life.

The first resort we stayed at, Ladera, only had 3 walls. You heard me right– 3 walls! And the room wasn’t shaped like a triangle. The fourth wall was open to a spectacular view of St. Lucia’s twin mountains, the Pitons. Check out this picture I took of the view:

File Jun 07, 9 01 07 PM

Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about.

We stayed at Ladera for two nights. While we were in the vicinity, we took in the beautiful views, explored a drive-in volcano, and visited a warm-water waterfall!

File Jun 25, 8 32 50 PMFile Jun 25, 8 33 11 PMFile Jun 25, 8 33 31 PMFile Jun 25, 8 33 46 PMFile Jun 25, 8 34 00 PMFile Jun 25, 8 34 12 PM

We spent the rest of our stay at the Sandals Halcyon of Castries. There, we swam in the Caribbean, sailed our own Hobie Catamaran sailboat, snorkeled, made our own chocolate bars, had a mud bath, read a book together, and drank lots of coffee. Overall, the week was beautiful, restful, and an absolute blast with my husband.

File Jun 25, 8 35 21 PMFile Jun 25, 8 35 35 PMFile Jun 25, 8 36 05 PMFile Jun 25, 8 36 17 PMFile Jun 25, 8 35 51 PM

We left St. Lucia on Sunday, flew to Atlanta, and stayed the night in an airport hotel. The next day was super great, as we woke up leisurely, headed to the airport for a fantastic breakfast of bagels and coffee at Einstein’s, and boarded the plane for home.

After a sweet week away, it was so exciting to finally be together in our very own place. I started my job the next day (and I LOVE it!), and we’ve been busy ever since.

Just in my first four weeks of marriage, Jesus has been speaking to me in so many ways. He’s spoken to me through the love and selflessness of my husband. He’s spoken to me through all of the staff at Cross Church Fayetteville. He even spoke to me a couple of weeks ago at Kids Camp! Trigg and I both were counselors, Trigg for second grade boys and myself for second grade girls, and we both agree that Kids Camp was an amazing opportunity to invest in the lives of some precious children.

I’m so thankful that God chooses to work through me, and I praise Him for His unfailing love and continuing grace.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.            2 Peter 1:2

-Cari

Hey guys!! If you weren’t able to attend the wedding, check out our wedding video here!

**UPDATE** Our wedding pictures are in! To see our gallery, click here!