Saturday, December 27, 2008

1st Annual Ridgeway German Gingerbread House Buildoff

Earlier in the week, Blake and I realized that we had nothing going on the evening of Christmas. So we decided to come up with something to do (because heaven forbid we actually just rest and do nothing). I was talking about the fact that I had not made a gingerbread house since I was in kindergarten. Problem solved. And of course, we had to make it a competition. So we drug my parents into it. We went to Trader Joes earlier in the week, bought us and my parents a gingerbread kit.
Christmas evening, we built our houses. And since we made it a competition, we need somebody to judge. Below are pictures of the 2 houses. Cast your vote as to which house you like best!

House #1

House #2

The houses side by side....

Christmas Eve Eve

Last year we started a new tradition...Christmas Eve Eve: Dinner and Bowling. All of my family always complains about bowling, but once we are there, they have a blast. My dad has to bowl with his left hand since his right shoulder is shot, my mom just doesn't know how to bowl (I have to explain each time), Blake was really bad the first time we went bowling, so of course he doesn't want to bowl again, and my sister, well, she was just complaining.

Needless to say, we had a blast. Blake did really good. Stacey had fun. My dad didn't fall over when bowling. My mom actually knocked some pins over!

I'll let you know if I can convince them to go bowling again next year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Disneyland in December

This past weekend, Blake and I went down to Disneyland for our birthdays/Christmas (although i still got him presents and he still got me presents, even though we weren't suppose to).

On Friday night, I got to see my best friend. It was so good to see Ashley. I have really missed her. It has sucked planning a wedding when both my sister and best friend live out of town.
On Saturday, Blake and I went to Disneyland. My sister Stacey and her boyfriend Jared came with us. We had a blast. I wasn't so sure about Jared, he seemed too quiet, not really funny...well, I was wrong. I haven't spent much time with him, only a little bit at Thanksgiving and when I first met him in August. He is pretty funny, and Jared and Stacey get along great.

I love Disneyland, especially in the winter time. The way it is decorated brings such joy. Disneyland was not was nice not to be squished when walking down mainstreet. Not only did we go to Disneyland, we went to California Adventures too. Blake has never been to CA was so much fun to see him exploring everything... :)
Besides the Haunted Masnion, which is awesome at Christmas time, we got to go on a couple of kiddie rides. The lines for those rides are usually so long, but not on Saturday! We went on Mr Toads Wild Ride (which has hell at the end of it....any of you notice it?) and the Peter Pan ride. It brought back so many memories!

Looking forward to the many more trips to Disneyland with Blake!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blake's 26th Birthday Week

Blake turned the big 2-6 yesterday.
It is pretty funny to think back over the past couple of years. When Blake turned 24 and I turned 23, we had a joint birthday party. It was a redneck themed party...we had hay bales in the house and everything. We weren't even dating then. I don't think it had crossed either of our minds (well, I know it hadn't crossed mine...Blake?)

I am extremely blessed to be marrying such a wonderful, godly man. We have so much fun together. He is extremely funny, he is romantic, he is thoughtful, and he is manly. He is pretty much everything a girl could ask for. :)

To celebrate his birthday, I gave Blake a gift a day for the past week, ending on his birthday. I had a blast getting all the gifts (or having them delivered). I wanted Blake to know how special he is to me (and it was a lot of fun...I LOVE to give gifts) After day number 2, I think he began to expect something every day though...I'll have to come up with something new next year!
I am looking forward to spending year number 26 of Blake's life with him...I have no doubt that it will be full of many adventures!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One of those days....

Today was one of those days...

You know what I mean.

The one where it seems to start out really bad.

And you aren't sure what to do.

Because what you just heard doesn't quite make sense.

Hopes had been established, and they were crushed. Expectations set high, and they were met exceedingly low. And not only you were crushed, but the one you love was crushed.

So I sat in bed for about 10 minutes. Asking God what the deal was. Something that seemed so sure, didn't happen.

And in an instant, I heard God saying "Aren't I enough? I love you, and will always provide for you. But do you really believe I am sovereign?"

And I had to stop, and think about it. And that is when I called Blake back and we prayed about it.

Confessed doubt in the situation. Confessed confusion. Confessed that we wanted to believe that all was going to be ok. Praised God for all that He had already given to us. And were affirmed that all value and worth is in Jesus alone.

And what started out as a really bad day actually turned into one of the best days Blake and I have had together (although, we weren't physically together at all today, until tonight). Together, we leaned on the Lord to sustain us. The focus of the day was not on the situation, but on God. And today was a day of praying. Today was a day of trusting my Savior in a whole new way.

And I am always amazed at how He meets me right where I am at, right where Blake is at. How He touches me in the deepest parts of my soul when I invite Him in.

And although certain situations can be tough, it is so true that God comes through for those who love him. It may not look the way we want it to, but all works for the good for those who love Him.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Quarter Century Year Old...My Birthday!

Today, I turned 25 years old. When most people turn 25, they freak out, they feel old, etc etc. I however, feel the complete opposite. I feel so young and am excited for the life that is ahead for me, the life that God has planned out. This past year has been full of many new adventures and many lessons learned. I'll post my annual year in review blog in the very near future .

I had the best birthday weekend, spending time with my friends on Friday night, spending time with My Love on Saturday night, and spending time with my family today. Along with a great time being with people, I was showered with love and birthday wishes through phone calls, texts, and facebook (oh, and I got some really awesome presents!).

I love celebrating my birthday, and this year is no exception. I usually celebrate my birthday week, but this year I am taking the whole month due to turning a quarter century year old (minus Thursday the 11th for Berger's bday, Saturday night the 13th since we are celebrating Blake's birthday, Blake's actual birthday on the 21st, and Jesus gets all the credit on the 25th, and I'll give him the 24th too). On the 10th I am celebrating my birthday with Blake's parents. On the 12th I am going out to dinner with 2 of my very good friends for my birthday. On the 15th we are celebrating mine and Blake's birthdays with my extended family. On the 18th I am going out to lunch with a friend for my birthday. On the 20th Blake and I are going to Disneyland for our birthdays. And on the 28th I am going to brunch with some of my close girlfriends.

A month long of celebrations where I get to spend time with the people that I love most in this world, people who are a part of my community.

So here is to being a quarter century year old and loving every minute of it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Trip to the US Immigration Office

Last night when I was going to bed, I was thinking to myself how busy and crazy and hectic life can be. And how hard it is to hear God in the midst of all the noise. I told God that I would love if He would provide a time for me to just sit, and be, and contemplate, and pray.

And the Lord answered that prayer in the most unlikely of places....the US Immigration office in Downtown Fresno.

I had to go to the office to petition for some Visas for 5 Haitians that are coming to the US for the month of February for Missions Madness Month (also known as Missions Festival Month) at The Bridge. When I first arrived, the lady told me I was in the wrong place, yet proceeded to give me number and told me to go wait in the waiting room.

My cell phone was off, I was A10, and they were on A5, and calling E's in the midst of the A's. I thought to myself "I am going to be here all day. I have so much to do, and I am stuck here, with nothing, except me." (and there were only 2 windows open, out of 11, which reminds me of how inefficient our government really is, but that is another post). After a few minutes of pouting, it was as if I heard this laughter, but there was nobody directly around me.

I heard the Lord speak to me, saying "You asked for some time to just be, to sit, to contemplate, to pray, well, I am giving you the chance. Here you are in a huge waiting room, nobody is around you. Talk to me. Let me talk to you."

And in that instance, time stopped, and I was renewed. I was no longer annoyed at the fact I had to wait, but excited for the chance to have a moment with the creator of the universe.

And I was reminded of this passage....the Lord is in the whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-13
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Engagement Pics by Ken Kienow

On October 18th, Blake and I took our engagement pictures. We had heard about this great photographer, but we just weren't sure if we could get him (well, not really, it just depended on a free schedule) ;). Ken Kienow and my sister were good friends in high school. And who would have though that Luke and Sarah Mundy would be in Ken's parents LifeGroup?

We had a great time with Ken. It was easy to be ourselves and our personalities came out in some of the pictures most of you will never see.

Here are some of our favorite pictures! Enjoy!

We have over 100 more pictures, if you are really interested in seeing them, let me know and I'll show them to you! And if you need pictures taken, make sure you contact Ken!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mexican Food for lunch...Fajita Fiesta

Having worked at a restaurant, I am usually a little more lenient with the waiter when the restaurant is packed and they have a lot of tables. When it is the other way around, not so much.

Today at lunch, I ate at Fajita Fiesta with my mom, dad, and sister. What could be better than Mexican food for lunch on a Tuesday? In an hour, I would soon find out.

The restaurant was practically empty, even during the lunch time rush. It took 10 minutes for somebody to come greet us, give us chips and salsa and get us drinks. We ordered our food, and it took 25 minutes to get it. At that, mine and my dad's food was wrong. Overall, the food wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible. And our drinks were empty most of the time.

By the time we were done with our meal, we were all extremely frustrated. I think it is going to be a very long time before I go to Fajita Fiesta again, that is, if I ever do go back. I think I may just stick to Sal's...can't beat what tastes good and what you know.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I saw the movie Wall-e for the first time in San Francisco while Blake and I waited to pick up my friend Jenn from DC at the airport. My father got the dvd for my mom for her birthday on Tuesday.

I love this movie. The characters come alive and I actually feel an emotional connection to them, and I don't usually feel an emotional connection to humans in movies. There are many themes/lessons you can take from this movie.

The one lesson I want to take away from this movie is:

I never want to be so focused on my "mission", my life, that I don't see that which is most important in life...people, relationships.

Eve was so focused on accomplishing her task, her directive, her mission. And she oversaw Wall-e in the beginning. But as time goes on, she warms up to his unique personality. And although Eve shuts down when she sees the plant, becuase her "directive" is accomplished, Wall-e still takes care of her, provides for her, and makes sure nothing happens to her.

Think of what Eve would have missed out on if she had never realized what was right in front of her face.

Date Night! Five and Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Blake and I went on our first "nice" date since we have been back from Oahu. Sure, we have been out, but nothing where it was just the two of us and we got to dress up. Blake went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra last year (he didn't take me...I bet he wish he would have now, who knows, we may have started dating sooner :) haha). Blake loved the Trans-Siberian Orchestra last year, and he wanted to share it with me.

We had such a great time together. I hope that couples have as much fun as Blake and I do together!

So here I am to share with you the steps to a perfect date:

1. Fiance purchases tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
2. Fiance suggests having dinner at a nice restaurant neither of us have been to.
3. Fiance gives girl the tickets when they arrive in the mail so they aren't left at home.
4. Day of date, fiance is in town for work instead of Tulare (bonus!)
5. Fiance shows up at door clean shaven with nice clothes on (and smelling pretty good if I say so myself).
6. Fiance opens all doors (he always does this)
7. Fiance tells girl how beautiful she is and how lucky he is.
8. Conversation at dinner is stimulating and fun...laughter is key.
9. Arrive at concert just as it begins.
10. Sit and enjoy an amazing concert together!

Click on the link below to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing Joy to the World. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elections and Jesus

Elections are funny. Especially presidential elections. They bring out something in people that doesn't come out but every 4 years. These people could care less about politics 99% of the time.

When we elect a President, we aren't electing a dictator, a supreme ruler. The United States political system is set up with checks and balances. So even though one candidate may "promise" certain things, there is no guarantee that those promises will come to fruition.

Although I am an American, I am first and foremost a citizen in the Kingdom of God. My citizenship is in heaven. I am a child of God. And the God I serve is sovereign. He is all knowing. He knew who was going to be elected President tonight. He knows who will be elected in 2016. And the promises that my King tells me, well, I have no doubt that they will be kept. And I know my God really does care about injustice.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Master

Last Monday night, Blake and I carved pumpkins. I LOVE carving pumpkins. I am not sure why. I think that I like making a big ol' mess when I clean out it out. Every year growing up, we carved pumpkins. I discovered a new love for pumpkin carving my junior year of college. I have had many years of pumpkin carving experience. Blake, on the other hand, has not. Prior to Monday night, he had only carved one pumpkin....I could hardly believe it. (Blake had his first banana split a couple of weeks too...its like I am opening up a whole new world for him!)
After we scrapped all the goop out of the inside of the pumpkin, Blake was finished carving his pumpkin in about 3 minutes...I had just started the carving out the eyes when Blake was done.

Politics and Elections

I love politics...I love reading about what is going on...I love talking to people about politics...

What is that should never talk about religion and politics. Well, I normally talk about both of those.

As much as I love politics, I think I am sick of politicians, and I guess even politics. I am sitting here watching tv, and every commercial break has at least 2 proposition/political ads. It doesn't help that the candidates have been campaigning for two years for president.

I just want it all to be over.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love and Marriage and Jesus

Blake and I have an interesting history. When we met 4 years ago, we didn't exactly like each other. He thought I was too loud and opinionated and I thought he was socially awkward. Over the years, God has softened our edges and grown us into the people we are today. We both have issues from our past, and I can only speak for myself when I say that I needed to work it all out with the Lord, and even then, Blake inherited dealing with my issues when he chose to be with me, and vice-versa.

Before Blake and I even started dating, Blake had become my best friend. We hung out all the time. He even told me about a year before we started dating that he wanted to be with me, but I told him that I wasn't sure and I wasn't going to mess with his emotions. That if we dated, I wanted to know that I was dating him for the right reasons.

When Blake and I started dating, he told me constantly how beautiful I was. He told me how all he wanted to do was spend time with me. He told me he adored me. That all he wanted to do was take care of me.

He was pursuing me. And my heart melted.

It was during this time, when Blake was telling me all these, that I began to hear God in a different way than ever before.

God was telling me "You think Blake thinks your beautiful, I created you, you are worth dying for. You are so precious in my sight. Stephanie, I adore you. All I want is to spend time with you. I want to take care of you."

And this is when I began to really understand Ephesians 5:25:

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

It was through Blake's love that I was given a glimpse into just how much Christ loves the church, how much he loves me. How he gave up everything for the church, how he gave up everything for me.

I love that I am marrying my best friend. I love that he knows me better than I think he does. I love that I can be myself and that is more than good enough for him. I love that through his love, I am able to experience the love of Jesus in a whole new way.

Life is not always going to be easy, but I am looking forward to a lifetime of fun and arguing with Blake by my side and Jesus as the cornerstone of our relationship.

Wedding Planning and Still Trying to have a life

I love my life. I love the challenges and changes that God has placed in my life. I love that I love my job. I love my fiance.

But I will say this, I have almost decided that planning a wedding is overrated. Don't get me wrong, I love Blake and can not wait to be married to him forever, but there is so much stress and pressure that seems unnecessary.

Like every couple, Blake and I have our spats, but it is never anything big and most of the time we are just trying to push each others buttons. Planning a wedding, is a different story.

Here are some items that have caused some intense discussions:

1) The Guest List: Three words...ridiculously large family. Both of us. Which means not much room for the people we actually want there, the people who have an impact in our lives on a regular basis. We had an argument about cutting the guest list before we even knew for sure that we would have to cut it! Looking back it is funny, but at the time....

2) ....

Ok, so the guest list is the only thing I can think of right now. And maybe that is really the only thing that we had some very intense discussions about.

However, there are so many decisions and so much pressure and stress on a day that is suppose to be one of the happiest of our entire lives. Planning a wedding is time consuming. Not only do we have to make big decisions, we have to make numerous smaller decisions within that larger decision. It really is never ending.

On top of that, we are looking at buying a house.

Blake and I keep joking about eloping. As much as we would both like that, we know that we want to share this precious day with those that we love and those that love us. We (maybe I) want the big party.

There have been pockets of time when nothing wedding related is going on, we are able to just be with each other, and it is wonderful. Where we can go hang out with friends and talk about politics, church, God, and how we have become the people we are today. I love just sitting and being with Blake.

So even though life is crazy right now, and there are some days where I only get to see Blake for an hour, I wouldn't change my life and what God has in store for me (us) for the world.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It is nice having family in Oahu...

Blake and I had a wonderful time in Oahu. We had a blast hanging out with his sister-in-law. (Blake's brother is stationed in Oahu with the coast gaurd. Unfortunately, he had to go do some schooling in Florida since his wife is due in December!)

Ten days in paradise went by very fast, but we were both definitely ready to come home, get back into life and a routine, and start planning a wedding (that is a different post).

Since I can't blog about all the fun we had, I decided I was going to post some of my favorite pictures from the trip....enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunset Dinner Cruise

On Sunday, the day after Blake proposed, we had a relaxing day at the beach and then got ready to go on a sunset dinner cruise. This was a five star cruise, which entailed a 7 course meal.

The lobster was great...and Blake had fun playing with the claw.