Our Little Life

Here we are bringing our baby tree home.  It's definitely real!  It's the cutest thing ever.

My man stringing the lights.  I believe it was a box of 50.

Ornaments!  My job.  I loved going through them this year.  Each one really means something special to me.

Such a pretty, happy tree.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Praise

My Dad has a check-up with his heart surgeon every year around November.  The nerves always kick in with full-fledged anxiety in the mix.  There's always that chance that the reports will come back with Dad needing another heart surgery.  Last year I shed tears and didn't handle the pending appointment so well.  This year God really put His peace in my heart as we anticipated what the results would show. 

Last year I was shopping in the cheese aisle in Harris Teeter when Dad called with the good news, and this year I was driving home from Kohls with the GREAT news that his heart is doing well.  Whew.  I just have to praise God for another healthy heart year for my Dad.  It.  Is.  Such.  A.  Relief.  =)

I love you, Father!

Too Much

Today is one of those days.  It actually started last night.  Got some disturbing (to say the least) news over the phone about someone I really, really care about.  About someone I love.  As I tossed and turned in the night, my prayers for this person were my waking thoughts.  I'm glad God can make perfect sense out of those twisted, half-awake prayers. 

But before I even went to sleep I received another disturbing text from a friend whose Granddad was dying.  He may or may not have a personal relationship with God.  News like that seems to sprinkle my heart like black dust that you wish you could just wipe away with an old rag.

So today began with a heavy heart, which caused me to lay (or lie?  I never know.) under the covers longer then normal.  There's nothing like a sweet husband to crawl BACK in bed with me in those moments, though. 

As the day has progressed, the weight of the world looms like a cloud over my head.  The text confirming the death of my friend's Granddad this morning, the text of a family member facing huge disappointment with their job, and continued battle over the news of my struggling loved-one makes for one of those days.  It's no wonder I'd rather curl up on the couch with my new favorite quilt and do nothing but watch Christmas movies.  Sometimes life feels like it's just too much. 

Vacate

It had been a year and five months since the whole side of my immediate family had been together until last weekend.  Our previous gathering was Chuck and I's wedding, and since then another family member has been added.  Meet Rocky, or rather Rockford Glenn.  He is just the sweetest, chubbiest little guy you will ever meet.  Much bigger then his brother was at seven months. 

Our destination was a house in Western VA that belongs to Chuck's side of the family.  It's pretty much the ideal vacating spot because it's warm the majority of the year, yet surrounded by beautiful farm land AND mountains.  Literally surrounded.  The view there is breathtaking.  I even contemplated getting married on "Granddad's" land.

So there we landed, all 9 of us in one big happy house.  We were able to exchange Christmas gifts (for those who won't be together for Christmas), and celebrate November birthdays.





Much of our time was spent sitting around the fireplace that Chuck kept a close eye on.  The great thing was, the weather was in the 60's during the day, but cool enough at night to still have a fire going!  We enjoyed our family dinners and played games.  We shared about our lives and prayed for each other.  We walked around the property and the guys shot guns.  We even had our own display of fireworks, compliments of Johnny.


And of course we spent lots of time with the babies.  It really touched my heart anew to watch my parents with Chail and Rocky, their grandchildren.  There is this fierce, unspeakable love for those boys that can not be explained on paper.  To watch them care for and love on the boys was a gift for me to see.  I felt even more blessed to be apart of a family that is full and overflowing with unconditional love for each other.



I, as well, was a doting Auntie.  It was almost more then my heart could handle waking up in the morning and having Chail toddle over to me ready for a huge hug.  When he whispers, "TaTa" I would do almost anything in the world for that sweet boy.  I mean just look at him!


There is no place like home, Dorothy.  And home is where my family is.



I am not at liberty to share the complete family photo as I believe it will be sent out on certain Christmas cards, but I'd say this one just about sums it all up.  I love you guys dearly!

High in the Sky

Several years ago Chuck began quite a search.  He had already graduated from college, and was working a job in his field.  He began to feel restless and knew that God was leading him to something else, but he just didn't know what.  The story that I'm about to tell came about because of this very search.

Early last week, my sweet husband surprised me by saying we were going OUT on Friday night, on a date.  Normally we like to consider Fridays or Saturdays our date nights anyway, but I knew this one was going to be special.  He informed me that it was a surprise.  But in the end, the surprise only last about 2 minutes as I am not a fan of anticipated surprises.  Because I knew where we were going and what we were doing, I was able to revel in the complete form of excitement.  Unfortunately, Friday turned out to be very windy which put a damper on our date, so we rescheduled for Saturday.

Now, as I was saying earlier, back in the day when Chuck was searching for his life's calling, he decided to pursue helicopter flying!  He began to take lessons, which is a whole other post, but the moral of the story is he ended up receiving free vouchers for 2 hours of sight-seeing in a helicopter.  This brings us back to Saturday.  We were going helicopter flying!

Our pilot was a fun guy, and before we even stepped foot into our tiny little helo, he offered to take our picture.  Too cute of him to ask.

Before we climbed in, Pilot (I can't remember his name so I'll just use Pilot with a capital "P".) gave us some brief instructions.  This is where I learned how flimsy and paper-like the doors were- the only things protecting me from plummeting to the ground and ending my life as a pancake.  This gave cause for concern, but for some reason I trusted Pilot and of course, trust my hubs.

Once inside, we got to put on the ear protectors that also allowed us to speak to each other (Pilot, Chuck and I) and sound like real-deal pilots.  We looked like they always do on 50 % of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette dates. I even said that out-loud and felt like a complete dweeb in front of Pilot. 

As soon as we began to hover only a few feet off the ground, I knew the grin would not leave my face the whole time we were flying.  It was such a surreal and incredible feeling.  So different from flying in a plane.  As we climbed higher and higher into the sky, all I could do was gaze, for lack of a better description.  I found myself feeling utterly speechless at the beauty I was beholding.  Since I didn't want to hurt Pilot's feelings, I eventually said words like "Awesome", "Beautiful", and "Amazing" which compared to what I was seeing and feeling, were completely lame.

 
Pilot described where we were and what were we seeing at several different points during our tour.  There were some absolutely crazy amazing farms and homes out there.  One farm had horse stalls nicer then motels.  This same farm owned it's very own private landing strip for it's very own private plane.  I'm still dying to know who they heck the owners are!  We also got a see this enormously massive rock quarry. 

I think God's creation is just way to....for words.  All in all, I give the experience two thumbs UP.

video

Since we've been back on land, I have thought about our time in the air quite often.  It was just so much FUN.  Especially when the helicopter dropped quickly at once and my stomach lurched into my throat!  Way better then a roller coaster, which Pilot thought was quite funny.  Mostly it was FUN because I got to experience it with my Love.  I think I was gripping his hand the entire time, just too excited to let go for even a minute.  Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

A Chance

There are just times when I know God is subtly speaking to my heart.  I can't pinpoint the exact moment this started, but I know when the realization of God's prompting came alive recently.

A leadership group of teens from our youth group meet twice a month on Sunday nights.  On this particular night, the teens were instructed to pick anyone in the room and ask that person a question from one of four areas of spiritual growth.

Prayer Life
Bible Reading
Evangelism
Christian Fellowship 

As soon as our Youth Pastor mentioned to the teens, "You know you can ask leaders, too." I got a sinking feeling inside.  I knew I would be the next to be called on.  And so it was.  The guy sitting beside me said, "Abby Dubbe" (he only ever calls me by my first and last name because he finds it amusing).  At that point my heart started pounding because I KNEW he would ask me to share about "evangelism" in my life.  If you haven't guessed it already, that is the area I had already been sensing God working in my heart.

So I was honest.  I shared that I used to somewhat look down on people who claimed they didn't know any unsaved people.  I had grown up in a public high school, always worked in secular environments, and had many people around to share God's love with.  As I told the group, now my life is drastically different.  I am a stay-at-home-wife, and spend many hours of my week discipling, mentoring, and building relationships with other Christian women.  All that to say, God has been prompting my heart about reaching out to those who do not yet know the love and sacrifice of Jesus. 

I do know my four neighbors and I have tried to build relationships with all of them, but haven't seen much happen.  Until this morning.  One of our neighbors is moving.  We've chatted with her several times about her move, and even stopped by her place last night to help out with a couple packing issues.  This morning, as I was reading my Bible, I heard my neighbor crying on the other side of the wall.  At first I wasn't sure so I froze and tried to listen harder.  Sure enough, there were undeniable tears. 

As nervous as I was to admit to her I could hear her crying, I knew God was leading me to go over there and check in.  With watery eyes she answered the door and my suspicions were confirmed.  My heart went out to her as I know the feeling of moving far far away from friends and family.   I was able to share a tiny bit of my own personal journey of heartache, loss, and change but that WITH GOD I found joy, peace, and ultimately healing. In order to protect her personal life, I won't go into all the details.  What I will say is I thank God for giving me the chance to show His love to her.

As I told her I would be praying for her, more tears came to her eyes.  When I asked if I could pray with her right then, it was by God's leading, and still even more tears came.  I am in awe that God gave me a chance.  A chance to share HIM with someone that doesn't yet know Him. 

Beth Moore

has a blog.  I am ecstatic!  =)

http://blog.lproof.org/

NO SCHOOL FOR ME!

I wrote in my personal journal this morning how grateful I am that I'm NOT going back to school today.  It's true.  I feel anxiety just imagining the thought of going back to school again.  If you're reading this, you probably already know that I have hated school for my whole entire life. 

It must have started in Kindergarten when my oldest brother left me in the hallway all alone, scared, and having no idea where to go or what to do.  Apparently I really liked my first Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bird.  When my family moved in the middle of my Kindergarten year, I even called her from all the way across the country. 

Like I said, I'm just beyond grateful that today I do not have to go back to school.  Yes I've been out of school for over six years now, but the relief has never worn off.  When walking through Target, seeing all those pencils, folders, erasers, folders, notebooks, and binders I STILL get this sick feeling in my stomach.  I know that stuff is no longer for me, but I STILL feel the dread.  That horrible feeling was apart of my life for so many years, that I assume it will last for quite a few back to school seasons still.

I fear what it will be like when my own kids have to go to school.  If they hate it as much as I did, I'm sure I will be the Mom that says, "Oh, you can stay home honey!"  Thankfully my Mom let me do that, too.  My Senior year of HS she let me skip 37 FULL days.  That's not even counting 1/2 days missed, or coming late, or leaving early.  I actually got called into a meeting where I was informed if I missed any more days, I wouldn't graduate.  Please.  THANK YOU MOM!

So if my kids hate school. where will that leave me?  Ha!  I have a feeling they will be nothing like me and will love school, excel at it, and be much more like their Daddy.  Until that time (and we have lots of time!) I am just going to continue to BASK in my FREEDOM.  =)

TGIF

Amber sent us a gift card to Friday's for our anniversary earlier this summer. We went back to thee very Friday's where we met for the very first time less then two years ago. Who knew we'd be married, living just a few miles away, only a few months later in life? I still have a hard time believing it's true. Thank you God! Happy and blessed.

Where it all began.
Not our original table, but it worked.  We try to embrace change. ;)

Progress

Summer time brings life to my soul. Especially in the state I live in. According to Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, I am officially a resident of the South. And the South brings amazing heat. This week it's been in the cooler lower 80's, but before that we were averaging high 90's into the low 100's. I could be found with a huge smile on my face any and every time I stepped outside as the heat washed over me from blond, sun-kissed head to flip-flopped toe.

Though I absolutely love where we live, and I absolutely love my husband, it has been a bit of a tough summer for my heart. Chuck started working on staff with the Sr. High from our church at the end of May. It's his dream job, and my dream job for my husband. Since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a Youth Pastor's wife. I can't say exactly why I had that dream but I suspect it's because I wanted to marry a man just like my Daddy. And in many ways, Chuck is much like my Dad.

Being in ministry full-time is exactly what I expected and nothing like I expected all at once. I adore the girls I have the privilege to spend time with, go to coffee with, have Bible studies with, go to activities with and Facebook with. I adore sharing my heart with them and hopefully sharing God's love as I do that. I love it! What I didn't expect was the drastic shift in our marriage.

After a year of mostly smooth sailing, Chuck and I hit a wall of change. With that change brought an enormous amount of stress, anxiety, newness, navigating, and role changes. We each handled these situations in totally different ways. The way I handled it was trying to cling to Chuck and trying to cling to the way things had always been in our marriage. I desperately wanted our first year of marriage back. I knew how to be an IBM wife, but I din't know how to be a youth Pastor's wife.

Because I wanted to cling to the way we were, I became hurt and eventually resentful towards Chuck and his new job. I became jealous of the attention that so many more people were getting when it used to be just me. I felt lost in a sea of teenagers, youth volunteers, and staff members.

What I have learned up until this point is that without change there is no progress. If the circumstances in our lives never changed, then we would be totally stuck. Chuck would be miserable working at IBM knowing he's called to work with teens. We'd eventually be bored out of our minds living out the same old hum-drum routine that we did for our first year. God knew that we needed to grow closer to HIM (this being of first importance) and closer to each other.

As Andy Stanley puts it, "Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there's no progress, there's no growth. If there's no growth, there's no life."

Neither Chuck nor I want anything close to the status quo for our lives. In order to progress, we must change. And that includes letting go of the way things were and embracing this new phase of our relationship. After having realized that, God has let the scales fall from my eyes and I have never been more excited to dive into youth ministry together with my husband.

Together were are ONE. One team. One mission. =)

Ruby Red Slippers

It's been a whirlwind the past 7 weeks. Seriously. I feel like Dorothy in the scene where she looks out her bedroom window in the midst of the tornado and see's bits and pieces of her life (cows, fences, people, pigs) whizzing around her. Thankfully there are not many cows, fences, and pigs in NOVA, but there are PLENTY of people in need of God's love. And those people are whizzing around us daily. Chuck and I are very honored to be apart of Reston Bible Church's Sr. High staff as we strive to love on and serve teens full-time. (I say "we" but really only Chuck is on staff. I am still processing and finding my role. You can pray for me in that area.)

Chuck is very happy in his new role, but spends of lot of time battling stress, being overwhelmed, and finding his way in this totally new ministry. He has an awesome mentor and leader (his "boss"- the head youth Pastor, Bob) and that is a big answer to prayer. I think we are battling those areas together as a family as well. Finding the balance of family/marriage and ministry is a new rock for us to climb.

Yes, I have been writing! Here are links to 2 of my most recent articles.

iMPACT

A Christian teen E-magazine put out by BBC. I write for them once a month.

The Baptist Bulletin
A magazine where I did my internship in college. They contacted me to write an article on one of my very best friends!



Remember to search "Abigail Dubbe" as the author. Some people have gotten confused looking for "Amos". ;)

Chuck and I would love your prayers for us. Pray for our marriage as we navigate our way through this entirely new journey of ministry with teens. Pray for Chuck July 25-31 as he'll be at summer camp. He'll be speaking on Wed and Fri mornings. He is spending a lot of time and energy this week preparing and I know it's overwhelming for him.

Jersey Shore

We celebrated our ONE YEAR Anniversary at the Jersey Shore! Wonderful family friends gave us a wedding gift of their beach house, right on the shore. It was awesome to be able to show Chuck my family's all-time favorite vacation spot. Life is good at the beach. =)

Great Falls

An incredible date we went on recently.  The marvelous GREAT FALLS.  I really do think they should be called "Marvelous Falls", Great doesn't do any justice.   




Suddenly

All of the sudden life has gone from easy-going, laid back, and chill to full speed ahead, faster than the speed of light, and plain old BUSY.  I anticipate life to remain at this speed as we continue to move forward in youth ministry.  With all the craziness going on, I just had to stop in and say PRAISE THE LORD for the privilege of serving him full-time and getting paid for it!  Could there be a better job on the planet (For Chuck that is, I'm just the faithful side-kick.)?!

Nature Walk

My friend, Laura, was sharing with our ladies prayer group last night and her thoughts really spoke to my heart.  She was almost exclaiming how tired she is of suburbia.  Laura has such a longing for God to use her mightily alongside of her husband.  She longs to be out in nature, even on the top of a mountain and be able to open her arms wide and proclaim....everything....to God.  Though she struggled to make sense of the deep longing in her heart, those of us women in the room felt it, too. 

I was particularly convicted because God has been stirring my heart about how I spend my time.  My days are a joy to my soul.  I am living in the freedom of doing what I love each and every day.  I have the privilege of watching my husband begin a new job that he finds so much passion, purpose, and meaning in.  Together, we are honored to serve God and teens. 

Yet there are times when I know in my heart I haven't made the most of my day.  Like Laura was sharing, I don't want to wake up when I'm 80 and say, "How did I spend my days?  What a waste."  So today I decided to cut out some of my usual distractions.  It's embarrassing to admit that I often schedule my work outs, cleaning, and fixing dinner around TV programs.  For instance, I go to the gym at 9 or 11 so that I can watch "Live with Regis and Kelly" or "The View".  Or, I'll fold the laundry at 4 when "Oprah" is on.  I'm not saying any of this is bad, I'm saying it's distracting

A couple ladies shared last night that they really find God in nature.  That hit home, hard.  I often spend my days indoors because I love, love, LOVE being in our apartment so much.  But as I considered where I live, I am truly blessed.  Our apartment complex is pretty much a mini paradise.  We are surrounded by woods, trees, and pretty flowers.  There are sidewalk paths that wind all over our town.  We also have a beautiful pool, also surrounded by trees and woods.  It's all very serene. 

So thanks to Laura, the ladies, and God's leading, I went for a Nature Walk this morning.  What an incredible way to connect with God.  Each step I just reveled in God's creation and in the beauty of nature.  I could feel God's peace and love bursting in my heart so strongly,  I wanted to hug a tree or something.  There was a moment where my eye caught site of a beautiful, bright, red bird and my heart actually skipped a beat as I realized that the site of that pretty bird was a gift from God to me. 

I'm happy.  I am reminded, and a bit remorseful that I don't always give God the chance to move in me and bless me the way He so desires to.  Thank you for today, God, and thank you for nature. 

New News

As Chuck and I's one year anniversary approaches (20 days!) this month there have been some significant changes going on.  Before our wedding, we chose to take a year off from full-time youth ministry.  As we sought wisdom and counsel from others we were really excited to spend our first year focusing on our marriage and each other.  Chuck agreed to a verbal contract with IBM for one year.  We joined a church just a couple miles down the road from our apartment (Reston Bible Church) and began volunteering with the youth group there.

We desired to serve God in our church for the year and believed He would lead us to full-time ministry come summer time.  We began the process of searching for churches in need of a youth Pastor.  It was incredibly encouraging to be in contact with several wonderful church bodies.  Deep down inside though, Chuck and I both truly desired to stay at our current church that we know and love.  As we talked with RBC's youth Pastor, his desire was to be able to hire us on staff as well.  Thus began the process of interviews and meetings.  In the meantime, Chuck was unexpectedly laid off from IBM.  He had less than 2 weeks until his last day.  I had to laugh as this was such a clear sign from God that we were headed in the right direction.

Chuck's last day at IBM was a Friday and by God's great provision, his first day at Reston Bible Church was the very next Monday.  He was hired as the Sr. High Youth Pastoral Intern.  We are floored with excitement because all the things we desired in a youth ministry, God has given us through RBC.  Chuck will be working with a youth team, as well as being mentored by the youth Pastor.  RBC will also be working with Chuck to eventually become ordained, which has been a great desire for Chuck.  We are excited to be apart of this youth ministry, hopefully for many years.

Some of you know that we were looking for a new apartment to be closer to our church building once they move locations (from Reston to Sterling), but we've decided to stay in the apartment right where we are.  We couldn't be happier about this! 

Thanks to those of you who have prayed for us!  We can't wait to share with you all that God does in and through us in our new role!

iMPACT!

God has flung the doors of writing opportunity wide open for me in the last several months. Baptist Bible College (my Alma Mater, yay class of 2004!) has recently developed a teen E-magazine that just came out yesterday. I had the privilege of writing an article for them.  I guess they liked me because I am now going to be published monthly by iMPACT.   If interested, you can check out the magazine here:

http://digital.turn-page.com/issue/10983

iMPACT is looking for feedback on their first edition.  There is a "comment" button that you can click on at the top right corner of each page.  Please feel free to share any insight, helpful suggestions, or positive feedback that you have.  It would be extra great if any TEENS out there could check it out!

I'm super excited!

Published?!

It's been mentioned before, but now I can finally post the real, live version of my first published article in a magazine since being a Dubbe. I praise God for absolutely amazing opportunities! (Published in the May/June 2010 issue of The Baptist Bulletin)



View article in new window

Highlights of the Week

~ Hearing my Grandma tell me she's proud of me

~ Chuck and I attending our first ever marriage conference

~ Watching "Chocolat" and both enjoying it

~ Having a sister-in-law who is a nurse practitioner

~ Chuck confiding in his sister

~ Talking to my Mama on Mother's Day

~ Talking to both of my Grandmother's on Mother's Day

~ Receiving a gerbera  daisy after our church service

~ An unexpected steak cook-out with new friends

~ Awesome leftovers!

~ Responding to God's leading

~ Hearing about the new SOY 1/2 price Frappuccino's

~ Receiving a surprise $10 in the mail

~ Roomie and Craig visiting from England

~ A wonderful Shepherd Group

~ Being published!

~ Being contacted to write an article for June, and being able to interview one of my best friends in the process

~ Going out to eat at Cafesano's with my hubs

~ Getting my first sunburn of the season

Welcome Babe!


My Beloved has started a new blog!  He's actually had the address for awhile, but hadn't kept up with it. He spent the majority of his blog time working on the youth blog from his last church.  Now Chuck's own personal blog is up and running.  http://chuckdubbe.blogspot.com/  Pay him a visit, leave a comment, and make his day!  =)






Day Trip to the Water

Meet Annapolis.

Ben and Jess.

Man painting right next to the water.

Tony, Jennifer, and nephew.

Happy day.

Enough said.



Chuck's friend started a church in Annapolis a couple years ago.  He invited us up to check it out, and 4 of us couples went to Buddy's Crabs and Ribs for their famous Sunday Brunch. http://www.buddysannap.com/  YUM-O!  Leisurely strolling up and down the cobblestone-like streets was just what the Doctor ordered for a perfect afternoon with friends.  We started and ended our time right next to the water.  What could be better?  See you again soon, Annapolis! 

Ich spreche ein bisschen deutsch!

Translation:  I speak a LITTLE German!  I have completed my first two weeks of German class and am really excited about the next 18 weeks.  But, backing up the truck a wee bit...

One of the most fascinating aspects about my husband, Chuck is that he was raised as an American-German.  When I first met him I wanted to ask a billion questions about Germany and I couldn't wait to hear him speak the language.  Luckily I refrained from going over board, and it's a good thing because I found out later how irritating it is to him when someone says, "Say something in German!"  It's now hilarious to me when I watch it happen to him.  ;)

While we were engaged, Chuck went back to Germany for 10 days.  It didn't work out for me to be able to go and I was devastated.  I dreaded the day he flew over there without me.  I wanted so badly to experience the only home he had known.  I wanted to learn about the culture he grew up in and watch him interact with his family and friends that were still over there.  Now, a little over a year later, we are married and are planning a trip to Germany TOGETHER!  Excitement does not do justice in explaining how my heart feels.

In preparation for our big trip coming up, I have committed to a 100 day, 20 week German-speaking class.  Chuck found me the sweetest online teacher, Catriona.  She works out of Radio Lingua International and their philosophy is to teach German "Step by step, day by day, phrase by phrase."  It's such a blast!  I really desire to know some basic German small talk so that when we go over there I can put forth great effort in connecting with the Germans that I get to meet.  A lot of the people Chuck wants me to meet will be equivalent to the Heritage Baptist Church crowd from my growing up years.  My goal is to speak as much German as I can to show how much I care.

Plus learning German has helped me to connect with Chuck and his family even better.  Hopefully I'll be able to understand a bit more during those times when they throw German words into the conversation and I'm left elbowing Chuck under the table saying, "What did he/she say?!"

In honor of Chuck's up-bringing, his family, and my fascination with Deutschland we decided to visit the brand new German-American museum in DC last weekend.  (Though I must confess I chickened out in practicing my German to the lady working there!)

Schluss für heute. Tschüss!

Reading the many plaques on the walls.

Traditional German costume dress.

Cute little apron!  My Grandma wears these, too!

Chuck with Handel's "bust".

8 Weeks....

I've had several blog posts swirling around in my head for awhile now.  I even have some new pictures to post to add to the excitement of the posts on the bench.  BUT in lieu of those pending stories I must share some pressing news.

Just about 10 months ago Chuck and I tied the knot and officially became husband and wife, with a free pass to finally live together!  Glorious!  The Sunday after we married, we drove 5 hours to our new home.  We had found an apartment pre-wedding, but I went to my parent's house before it was officially ours to move into.  Therefore Chuck did the laborious task of moving in all of my stuff and his stuff without me.  Once we arrived at OUR new home, I was hooked.

Chuck had organized the boxes, set up his twin bed in our living room (it became our couch for several months!), set up our bed, and even bought us a cactus to add some life to the new place.  (Woops!  He quickly found out I had a major aversion to cacti as I'm always afraid of getting stabbed.  Good-bye cactus!  It was sweet of Chuck to buy you.)  It was perfect.

On top of all the new items we had received at showers, we even had wedding presents to open still, which just added to the excitement! I spent the next several days unpacking and settling in.  I organized our home room by room.  I made many phone calls to my Mom about which cupboards to put my plates in, where the linens would fit best, and how to clean the fancy stove top.  I kid you not, setting up our home was beyond anything I had ever dreamed about!  Each day I would find new treasures to put up around our cute little apartment and proudly show Chuck my progress for the day when he came home from work.

I have spent the last 10 months blissfully adoring this place Chuck and I call home.  Every time we go out and return I smell the familiar scent of our home and my heart lights up with joy to be back where we belong.  We have had countless friends over, guests from out of town, dinner nights, movie nights, dessert nights, cook out nights, breakfast mornings, coffee dates, you name it, we've utilized it!

Not to mention this is the home where Chuck and I came immediately following our honeymoon.  It was where we had our first married dinner (spaghetti and sauce I got at a shower) while sitting on the floor at our coffee table.  It was where we had our first fight, first cry, first breakfast, first cup of coffee in our new machine, first time to use our dishes, first time to use our new sheets and towels, first time to do everything as a newly married couple.  I've truly felt like our apartment this year has been a vacation home.

But now, that will all come to an end in 8 weeks.  Our lease is up and it's absurdly expensive to rent month-by-month.  (Almost $2,000/mo for a ONE bedroom, I think not.)  We have no idea where God is leading us next, but I guess we'll get there sometime in the next 8 weeks!

I trust God and I have complete faith that God has the right youth position for Chuck out there.  But, my heart hurts at the thought of leaving this, our very first home.  I've spent the last 2 days crying off and on about it.  It hurts too much to picture putting it all back into boxes.  One thing is certain, I will NEVER forget this haven.  Never.