Good Friday

He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. - Isaiah 53:3-6, 8, 9 NLT

(Thanks, Em for posting this translation.)

Happy Birthday Isaiah & Evelyn

We celebrated Isaiah and Evelyn's birthday last weekend. Isaiah turned 8 on Monday and Evelyn turns 5 next week. I don't know where the time has gone.

Greyson and I have aunt and uncle guilt because we do not see the kids as often as we would like. We decided to take them to dinner at Logan's Saturday night.

They felt so big to go out to eat with us. And since we picked up their birthday cakes for Heather, we had to have dessert at Baskin Robbins.

Heather and Michael threw a family party for them on Sunday. Isaiah's big gift was an I-pod. His Uncle Greyson taught him how to FaceTime. We've had fun talking to him this week. Evelyn got lots of dolls and Barbies. Ruby and I are working on bonding. She's become rather attached to her momma. I miss my sweet cuddle time with her. I guess I need to see her more often. Check out these sweet kiddos. (And yes, Ruby's hair bow is BIG. The Painter women believe the bigger the bow the closer to God... Ha ha!)

13 Days?

I still can't believe it.... I think we sold our house... in 13 days!

Everyone kept saying it would happen but I didn’t believe it. Real estate in Rutherford County is back booming. I’ve had friends recently sell their house in as little as a week. I never thought anything would happen like this for us. After all this talk about how real estate is booming, G and I were a little discouraged when on day 11 (this past Saturday) we had not had any showings.

Anytime there is change in my life, my prayer is always for God to only open doors that are meant to be opened and close doors that are supposed to be closed. I need clear yeses and clear no’s from the Big Man upstairs. I can honestly say when we put the house on the market we gave it completely to God. We knew it was a situation where we did not have to move. For one of the rare times in my life I surrendered my need to control.  We wanted His will, even if that meant staying here. So on our way to G’s parents’ house for the weekend we talked about how this may be God’s way of telling us to stay put. Well, as soon as we moved onto the next topic both of our phones buzzed. It was a text from our realtor saying someone wanted to show our house at 3 pm on Sunday. You can imagine my complete surprise when Chris called me Monday afternoon to say he would be e-mailing us over an offer within the next hour. I didn’t know what to expect. I was on pins and needles waiting for the e-mail. The couple sent in an offer which was close to our asking price but we decided to counteroffer our asking price. Our thinking process was that this was our first showing and we do not have to move so we really didn’t have anything to lose. I was almost hoping they would say no. Our phone rang back in less than twenty minutes and they had accepted it. From everything we can tell it looks like everything will go through and we will close April 25. Yes, you read that correctly. Strangely enough, we have another showing tomorrow from someone who knows we currently have accepted an offer. This is crazy. It is looking like God is sending us a pretty clear yes.

So where are we moving to? That is the million dollar question. We have just really started looking. We are hoping to find something before we close. If not, who knows! Looks like it will be back to an apartment for a few months.  I pray we make the right decision when selecting our next home. Again, never in a million years did I think we would sell it this quickly. Isn’t it amazing what God will do when you put your full trust in Him.  I pray I am able to do this when finding our next home. I can already tell it won’t be as easy so prayers are appreciated.

Tips from This Event Pro

I’ve wanted to do this post for some time now. I just haven’t had the time lately. On average, we plan about 24 weddings a year. I’ve worked at DoubleTree now for three years. That means I’ve oversaw over 70 weddings. Whew, I am tired just thinking about. Over the past few years I’ve seen mistakes that my brides often make. Some of these mistakes I made as a bride. So here are some of my top wedding planning tips. I plan on doing a series of wedding and event planning tips. I hope they are helpful to you.

1. After you determine your budget, rank items in order of importance to you. Let’s face it weddings are expensive. You can try with all your might to be as conservative as possible but there’s not a bank account that won’t feel the impact of a wedding. My top priorities planning my wedding were a great band, unique location, and wonderful food so that is how I prioritized my spending. I also booked those items first. I spent more on my band than I did on flowers and decorations. By starting with what is most important, you are more likely to stay within your budget because you are more willing to compromise on items that aren’t as important to you. If I had picked out my flowers before booking my caterer, location and band, I would have blown my budget.

2. Have a timeline for everything. And yes, I mean everything. There is so much to get done the day of the wedding. Start a timeline for the day before and day of the wedding. Weddings involve lots of people and people need structure. Share these timelines with your bridal party, close family members and friends. If you want to make mom mad then cut your cake while she is in the bathroom. (I have seen this happen twice.) Make sure all your key people are aware of the timeline of the pre-wedding activities, pictures, ceremony and reception. (Reminder to myself: post wedding planning timeline template.)

3. Take pictures of you and the groom before your wedding. I would have never believed I would be saying this three years ago. G and I were adamant on not seeing each other until I walked down the aisle. Everyone told us to do pictures before but nope we weren’t doing it. I had this fairy tale pictured in my head. I would walk down the aisle and G’s lip would tremble as he saw me for the first time. It would be a magical moment. Then we would go to the reception and our guests would let us eat and then we would have a wonderful time visiting with everyone there. That’s not how it happened….at all. G’s lips didn’t tremble. I don’t think he shed a tear when he saw me. He actually looked away a few times. I think it was his tactic for his lips not to tremble or to cry. I guess he didn’t know that what I wanted. By the time we got married, I had already planned a few weddings at the hotel. I had seen how guests get restless without food so in order to not have any hungry guests and to appease my mom because she hated the idea of pictures afterwards, I decided to let our guests go ahead and start eating without us. The entire time our photographer was taking pictures, we were rushing her because we wanted to get to the party. By the time we got to the reception, everyone had finished eating dinner so we decided to cut the cake. You don’t want to keep a bunch of Baptist away from their wedding cake. Therefore, we never ate. And to add to this never ending point… a bride drinking wine on an empty stomach can be a not so great combination.

4. I am so glad Pinterest didn’t exist when I was getting married. It would have been the death of me. Ladies, if you are planning a wedding get off of Pinterest. While there are some great ideas, I keep seeing brides get caught in a Pinterest fog. They are so focused on the details; they forget the big picture and forget logistics. So don’t waste your time on the favors that will go into someone’s junk drawer and that’s if the favor makes it home.  Focus on the big items and the flow of the day, then add those finishing touches and personalized details.

5. The best piece of wedding advice I was given was once you make a decision about something move onto the next item. Don’t second guess yourself or nothing will get done.  

Are We Crazy?

There is something about the first couple of months of the year that cause G and me to make big decisions and purchases. Last year, we bought our first home in January. This January we bought another car. We now have  his and her’s Nissan Altimas.

Oh but I guess that wasn’t enough because we have decided to put our house on the market. Yep, our first home that we love is going on the market this week. Are we crazy? I think so. While we love our first home and all of its amenities we’ve come to realize that this is the perfect time to sell. Our section of town is in demand and with interest rates at another all-time low; we have the opportunity to move into a bigger house for the same mortgage payment each month. We pray we are doing God’s will and that we will not move unless we feel Him “moving us.”