Have you done your taxes?! April 15 is coming up and I'm sure a lot of people haven't done them yet. I know I'm a CPA, but I don't know much about individual taxes. I do partnership/corporation taxes at work. If you haven't done yours yet and you are looking for ways to prepare them, here's a list of resources. If yours are simple, please don't pay someone to do them...or at least don't pay much. Do them yourself! These websites walk you through them very easily! These are all verified. I have used each of them at one point.
Kevin and I recently signed up for a membership at our city's recreation center. It is awesome! It is so cheap to get a membership, has a workout gym, a basketball court, pool tables, classrooms, classes, sand volleyball court, walking trails, etc. It's seriously a fraction of what a gym membership costs and so close to us! I'm quite excited!
I know I'm so far behind the times, but I looked at Zulily for the first time this week. I don't think they're all really great deals, but some are and they have such cute items! I bought this wall art for just $11.99. Love it!
I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. And let me tell you why...
I feel like the saying "everything happens for a reason" is very commonly used in times of heartache and pain by someone trying to comfort another person. Or maybe it's used to explain random events in someone's life. No wonder so many people hate God! It's hard to believe in a God that you think forced a bunch of pain on you.
Bad things happen in the world. As a result of sin entering the world in the Beginning with Adam and Eve, bad things happen to both good and bad people. Here is where I think our view on that saying needs to change - God can make good come out of a bad situation - He can use those times to teach us a lesson or get to a place that we'd otherwise not be, but I don't think that He causes all of that pain.
There is a huge assumption beneath "everything happens for a reason." Christians often say this when explaining the good that came out of an event - "God made this happen so that A and B would result." I believe that this is true SOMETIMES, but not always. In the past, I would go through some horrible time in my life and believe that God "made" it happen so that I would learn a valuable lesson. The truth is...I DID learn a valuable lesson and maybe that's true, but God is not sitting up in Heaven with puppet strings forcing a bunch of pain on us. In fact, there are many times that what happens is just a result of sin in the world. Here is what DOES happen - God can make something beautiful out of the "bad" that occurs in this world.
When a man, woman or child is raped, I don't think that God made that happen, but He can make good come out of it. That's so hard to understand when there's so much pain involved. There doesn't have to be a "why". Let there be a "what can I do with this to glorify God?" I know women who have been raped and have used that horrible experience to share her healing with other women who have experienced the same thing. Francine Rivers wrote a book called "The Atonement Child" that shows another way that God can use such a horrible thing to bring beauty, life and purpose into this world, while hating the act.
Think about the good and the bad that has happened in your life. Perhaps you're angry with God for something evil that happened to you. Consider how He can bring you out of that hurt and into healing rather than blaming Him for it happening. He wants to bring good out of it. Just ask Him for healing. Openly talk to Him about it, even if you're angry. I believe that He mourns right along side of you. You are His child, He hates to see you in pain. He is the great Healer. He can direct you along the "perfect" path, by using something you that didn't deserve, for good.
Welcome back! This is the story of Kevin and Kelli told in many different pieces. I last wrote about how we met so if you want to catch up, read that story here. Now onto how we started dating...
We pick up during the spring of 2012. We had been close friends (actually, best friends) for a year and a half. God was working in each of us for a common goal at this point. I started having feelings that I didn't understand. I became jealous of his other girlfriends (friends that were girls and girls he went on dates with).
I talked to a couple friends about it and prayed and prayed and prayed. My friend Dawn (during an FC Dallas game pictured in the last post - the one where my hair was blowing up like crazy - Kevin calls it my "Medusa Hair") suggested that I just be honest with him and let him know what I was feeling. So I did that night which was wonderful because it started that conversation, but it just caused confusion for both of us at that moment.
The turning point: I was so frazzled about everything that I took off work one day that week to just pray. I'm a huge advocate for PRAYER, but I've never been that girl who can spend many hours in prayer without getting totally distracted...except for this day. I spent 4 hours on my knees praying about what to do. I thought so many things - "what if we date and then break up and our friendship is ruined?", "What if we date and then he decides he doesn't like me?", "What if this means we're getting married?", "Am I really ready to give up dating and settle down?" After many hours of prayer and spending time in The Word, God gave me an answer which was this:
"Kelli, stop asking for a definitive answer. I'm giving you these feelings so that you'll try it. Stop worrying about if you'll get married or if one of you breaks the other's heart. Just try it. Tell Kevin you want to just see where things go and trust Me in the process."
Wow! That was it. And then I had peace. It was so weird. This verse really came to life for me:
"...the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
So I sat Kevin down and had that conversation with him the next week. I was nervous as heck, but he was so sweet and made me feel calm. He was happy that I came to him and said that he wanted to try it too.
And that's it! We started dating and very quickly God started telling me that Kevin was the man He wanted me to marry. We didn't start having those conversations for a while, but it was such a wonderful thing to experience God showing me what He had planned all along. I no longer had anxiety about it, just excitement and the start of a love that grew like nothing I had ever experienced. It felt right.
A huge part of this process and the Lord speaking to me came through reading a book called "The Meaning of Marriage" by Tim Keller. I'll do a whole post on that in the future.
I'll finish up this post with some photos of us dating... Enjoy!
I have to admit, this whole blogging world has opened my eyes to a lot of new things. It's also made me feel pressured to become someone I'm not. I don't know anything about fashion and don't make up most of my own recipes which is what a ton of blogs are about. I'm very impressed with the women who do those things though! But I am proud of who I am and the things that interest me. I can enjoy other blogs that post about those things, and post about what my passions are on mine.
I recently read a post called Sharing Your Faith Through Blogging on Kelly's Korner blog that spoke to me more than almost any other post I've read on blogging. The key things I needed to hear (read) were:
Blog for yourself!
She also talks about writing about things that are important to you, not just what you think others want to hear. So this is what I'm doing!
I really hope that you choose to follow me and take this journey with me. I've loved getting to know other bloggers so far and hope that continues!
Follow me on Bloglovin, add me to your Reading List, save me as a favorite!
Thank God it's Friday!!! I'm linking up with April, Natasha, Christina, and Darci again for 5 on Friday so I've got 5 random thoughts for you today.
Trader Joe's recently came to the DFW area and I had yet to visit one, even though that's where the wine for my wedding came from! My coworkers were sweet and provided all the wine as a wedding gift to us.
Yesterday, my coworker and I ventured out during our lunch break and went to Trader Joe's and it was awesome! I really wish there was one closer to where I live! I'd go all the time! They have way more food than I was expecting. They have fresh produce, frozen pizza, all kinds of oils, cheeses, breads, and even household products - mostly organic. I bought some lotion with aloe without "fragrance".
These Irish Bangers make me laugh....Arrested Development anyone???
I think I'm going to revamp my blog. It'll have a new look and possibly a new name soon! I never realized how technical blogging can be. I'm super impressed with all of the blog authors I currently follow! See my blog roll on the right side!
I've been trying to make us salads for dinner lately. It's so much lighter and we haven't been home until later, yet go to bed early. I definitely can't go to bed with a full stomach so a salad settles a lot better.
Red Bell Peppers
Sliced Banana Peppers
Balsamic Vinaigrette (I love making my own with the little Italian packets)
My friend, Carroll, is a consultant for CAbi, a very cute, classy clothing line that you will love! For the next week, we're having an online "party"where you can purchase anything on the website with free shipping, including free shipping if you have to send it back in to exchange for a different size. I know you will love the new Spring Collection!
If you want to purchase something, just contact Carroll directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't miss the beginning of my Wedding Story series. You can read the first post about how Kevin and I met here. Many posts to come that complete our story!
I'm thinking about doing a blog series on my wedding! This is the freshest it'll ever be in my mind (seeing as how it happened last October) and I'd love to have it documented here so I can come back and enjoy it over and over again.
So I start with how Kevin and I met and our story of dating. I hesitate sharing this with you...why? I'm afraid of being judged. I'm afraid of people thinking that I'm a jerk. But our story is quite beautiful considering how God orchestrated it all. If I had to summarize it all in one sentence, it would be this: God works in ways that you will never understand or ever be able to predict, but He is in control and knows what He's doing AND what is ultimately best for you.
So in November of 2010, I was not in a happy place. I had just gone through a really tough breakup and to be honest, was pretty depressed. I was 27 and not understanding why I was still single. Though I was NOT old, I thought I was because most of my friends were already married and on baby #2. Thankfully, I have a very supportive family who has always loved me and NEVER pushed me to marry quickly or feel inadequate because I was not married yet. They believe in God making your story happen the way He wants it.
My roommate and I decided to visit the young adult gathering at my church on a Thursday night, November 4, 2010 to be exact. Ha! It was on this night that I met Kevin, my future husband. I remember thinking he was a good-looking guy who was very sweet and seemed down-to-earth. At the end of the night, we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to hang out again.
Now a bit about my thoughts at this point: my heart was very broken. I still cried daily and just couldn't get out of my depression that started the previous September. I had considered counseling before, but never wanted to pay the money to invest in it. The daily crying finally convinced me that I should give it a go. I was sick of being in a such a terrible place. I got a recommendation from a friend for a great Christian counselor and started going weekly. I cannot tell you how BIG this time in my life was! I learned SO much about myself, my desires, why I process things the way I do, what in my childhood affected the way I handle situations today, the kind of men I was attracted to, and more. This all came from the LORD and His guidance in this time of counseling.
Ok, back to Kevin. We immediately became great friends and hung out often, even just the two of us. I think that because of my brokeness, I couldn't see past being friends at the time. I knew I was not in a place for a relationship. I did go on dates with others in the meantime, but nothing became of any of it. I got to know Kevin very well. I knew deep stuff about him and he knew deep stuff about me. I was always honest with him about my intentions - being friends. He so graciously accepted me where I was and accepted me as his friend, best friend. There were times that I felt like we shouldn't hang out as much but I just couldn't stop....I LOVED hanging out with him. I felt like he got me for who I really am and accepted me despite all of my inadequacies. In fact, I had an ex-boyfriend that viewed my querks as annoyances. He rolled his eyes at the things that Kevin loves about me. I was always 100% myself around Kevin.
So for a year and half, this was life. I continued my counseling which went from getting over the ex-boyfriend to moving onto bigger and deeper topics that I had never dug into. I highly recommend counseling for everyone - we all have stuff we need to dig into, no matter who we are. No one is too good for counseling. But hear me on this - there are good and bad counselors! Get recommendations! Ask around! Don't just Google someone.
I was also digging deeper into my relationship with God and getting a true understanding of grace and His unconditional love.
Kevin and I became better friends. During this time, we got to know each other's hearts without the temptation of becoming too physical or caring way too much about what the other thought since we weren't dating. I so appreciate that phony filter not being a part of our friendship.
Here are some photos of the random things we did while we were friends over that year and a half: