The Center of My Universe…

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January 3, 2004 was a monumental moment in my life.  During this time I was 21 years old, in college, dating an amazing boyfriend, and started attending an awesome new church.  New beginnings were on the horizon…it was the day the man of my dreams got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.  I said yes, and on October 16, 2004 we both said, “I do.”  Four years later, I was taking an acting class in college…as a dancer, having to verbally “act” is somewhat torture…I muscled through it, and for our final project we had to write and perform a monologue based on a personal life experience.  Being newly married and still in bliss, I chose to write about the exact moment my boyfriend clearly became the center of my universe.

“The best decision I ever made was marrying my best friend.  He is the cream in my coffee, the wind in my sails, the jelly to my peanut butter, and the center of my universe.  He is the one that pushes me to follow my heart’s desires.  I’ll never forget the day he proposed.  We took a trip with my cousin down to Santa Barbara.  We walked along the pier at State Beach, had breakfast, went shopping, and enjoyed the cool, crisp January air.  The sun was shining on the water just right and the beach was desolate.  We decided to take a walk on the beach while my cousin conveniently disappeared.  I began to write in the sand “Nate and Gaby 4-ever”.  He motioned me to come give him a hug, and as we separated our embrace I watched him slowly bend down on one knee and open this tiny velvet box.  The sun shined brightly illuminating this gorgeous ring.  My heart started pounding, the world got quiet, and tears began rolling down my cheeks.  I couldn’t hear anything he was saying; I just saw his mouth moving.  This was the moment I had been waiting for!  As my mind started to digest what was happening I said, “Yes,” and we hugged for what felt like an eternity.  It’s been four years since that moment and our love is stronger then ever.  He is my rock, my partner in crime, my lover, and my best friend.”

Tomorrow marks our 10 year anniversary…as an 18 year old, I fell in love and never looked back.  Life has happened, but we have chosen to stick by one another even when all hope was lost.  I look into those green eyes everyday and thank God for blessing me with a phenomenal man, and allowing our love to create two beautiful children…having a man in uniform is simply an added bonus!

Happy 10th Anniversary to my one and only, and still, the center of my universe.

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Mi Casa es Su Casa…

As we received the text saying, “Congratulations!  You are on record and you officially own your home,”  I just smiled for a moment…no response, just an overwhelming realization of how good God has been to us.  Up until now, this moment felt like nothing more than a dream, a desire, a hope.  Now it is a reality.  We are homeowners!

We will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this week, and during those 10 years financial struggle became the norm.  So much so at one point we had to move in with family for about 3 1/2 years.  Year after year we could not catch a break.  We have been on the verge of getting evicted, surviving on credit cards due to lack of income, and at times, trying to survive on $20.00 a week.  Quick story…we actually laugh about it now, but this will give you an idea of how bad it actually got.  Early in our marriage Ebay was starting to get popular, so we decided to sell some of our stuff to pay off a few bills.  While digging through our closet, we found some items that would actually be worth some money.  Our feelings of relief lasted but a minute when we realized you needed .99 to open a PayPal account.  Sadly we didn’t even have a dollar to our name.

Through those times we stood firm in our faith and trusted in the Lord.  Don’t get me wrong…it was absolutely miserable, humbling, frustrating, and just down right depressing.  Yet one thing remained and that was God’s hand on us.  We stayed obedient to the Lord and continued to tithe what little we did have to our church.  There were several times we looked at each other and said, “Do we eat today or write a tithe check?”  Tithing is a principle that we strongly believe in and through it all we knew that if we just stayed faithful God would work it out in the end.  We didn’t think the end of the tunnel would be 10 years later, but in the grand scheme of things the time frame is insignificant.  What matters is that God has had favor on us and has blessed us beyond belief.  You see, when God promises to take care of us, He does just that.  It’s usually not in our timing, but knowing He has the bigger picture in mind is what gives us comfort.

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Can I get an amen?!

IF God is Real…

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Two weekends ago I attended a women’s conference at my church.  Let me just pause there for a moment and say that typically women events are not my favorite.  No offense to those who take time to organize said events…it just isn’t something I look forward to.  However, I do feel obligated to participate because I am a woman and I try to support events at my church as much as possible.  This time around I was asked to be a part of the worship portion of the conference…right away I felt that was an exciting incentive for me, yet excuse after excuse filled my brain that seemed like justifiable reasons not to attend.  Who’s going to watch my boys since the hubs works nights?  How am I going to make time to nurse my 2 month old during the conference?  I’m too tired to even think about attending band rehearsals…who’s going to watch the boys while I attend those rehearsals?  Isn’t it funny how those negative and complaining thoughts enter the brain ever so quickly?!  With that being said, I decided to ignore those thoughts and be obedient to the Lord.  There were some bumps in the road leading up to the conference, but knowing what I know, that is how it is when God is trying to expose you to something great!  I pressed forward, logistically everything worked out, and as a result my spiritual life has been shaken up and challenged.

Without going into too much detail about my past female friendships, I’ll just quickly say that they have not generally been the best.  I have been the girl who has had mostly guy friends…ever since junior high and high school I’ve had female relationships that have ended in me being hurt and filled with unnecessary drama.  Even recently, as a 30 something, I’m still being hurt by women.  It’s now clear to me that the cycle will never end…how I move on from it and how I react to it is now what matters.  I had to come to grips with the fact that as a Christian woman, a wife and a mother, it is spiritually healthy for me to have strong friendships with women.  Ultimately those are the relationships that I can have the greatest impact.  (Although, I will say that God had grace on me when he blessed me with two boys!)

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Throughout the last few years, God has placed several women in my life that have given me hope in female friendships.  There have been rough moments, as well as joyous moments, that I have had the pleasure in sharing with these women.  In the past I would have closed off in fear of being hurt, yet through marriage, childbirth, depression, anxiety, marriage trouble, and a miscarriage, these women have been there.  Whether or not I realized it at the time, they were there.  I did not not have this epiphany until I was sitting in my seat listening to Christine Caine (www.ChristineCaine.com) encouraging us women to essentially cut the crap, band together, and change the world.  (My own synopsis of course!)  Questioning why we compare each other or focus on who’s the next big thing.  I began to get chills recognizing that I was simply not trusting God.  I didn’t  have faith that He would allow me to have meaningful relationships because it was not happening in my timing.  One of the speakers of the conference said something that tied this all together for me.  “The Christian life is NOT a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Don’t look to the right or the left…run your race!”

All the times that I have been hurt has made me truly appreciate the women in my life that God has placed there.  They all are in my life for various reasons.  IF I believe in my heart of hearts that God is real, then why am I questioning His process?  “Affirmation from the world cannot mend a broken heart…do everything for an audience of one!”  There is a stirring in my heart for women…did I just say that?!  Yes!  I am not the typical woman…I am not emotional and I eat like a man…IF I believe God is real, then I have to let go of what I think I want, and let the Lord show me what He wants.

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