Friday, September 24, 2010

My Radical Patrick

We celebrated our 7th anniversary last week. As my friend Karen pointed out, seven is a complete number and that's what we feel like our marriage has become. Rather than tell you about how we celebrated, I want to tell you about Patrick, because he is worthy of the story to tell.

Patrick is one of those men who gets a lot of flack by his friends because he says things with authority, has incredible discipline,  clear ideas, and says some pretty radical things. And what he says stems from what he believes. You should know this: Patrick believes the Word of God. Not some of it, but ALL of it. And more importantly, he lives it out. Let me share with you some of his radical ideas that has revolutionized our marriage and made it what it is today.

1) He was adamant that if we purchase a home, we would do it on his income.  He says the husband's role is provider and leader for the family. Fighting the desire to have a single family home on our well-paying joint income was heart-wrenching, but he firmly said we would live in a town home. I can't tell you to this day what a relief it is not to worry about how we're going to pay for a house if I don't work. Thank you God!

2) After we first married, he said our debt (my debt) was not honoring to God. So while it was incredibly painful, we ate Ramen noodles for dinner and never vacationed for two years. Every paycheck, in almost its entirety went to the mortgage and then to my debt. We went from -$23,000 in the hole, to exceeding that, in the positive. Only God can honor this! Now, Patrick helps others through the Crown Ministry to get financially free.

3) Patrick was convicted about what the bible said was the role of wife. The Lord kept showing him passages and overwhelming evidence that the wife's main work was always around the home. After a lot of prayer, radically, he asked me to stop working (although our plan had been to do that after we had children). I had a high-level job, and it was difficult to let this go, but Patrick showed me the truth, and I quit. This decision went against our culture (my family didn't understand it, they thought it was lazy that I wasn't earning) but once we did this, the stress in my life was gone. The biblical roles of manhood and womanhood became really clear as I devoted myself to our home, to him, and it improved our marriage and my health.   I was also able to use my time at home to give and serve others in need in our community.

4) And shortly after struggling with years of infertility, immediately after I quit my job, we got pregnant. Definitely don't think that was a coincidence. And radically---Patrick would challenge me and others about the way we eat. Through some revelation in the Maker's Diet, each time I went on a 40-day cleansing and ate foods, that those in the bible did, even against the odds of our infertility issues, I would get pregnant. It was that black and white. Everyone jokes about how he says sugar kills, but what they miss out on is that clean eating the way God designed it, benefits your life. 

5) Patrick says all the time that God's biblical design for husbands and wives is so contrary to the culture today. As a result of the Fall of creation, when the Serpent specifically targeted Eve, thereby sabotaging and reversing God's order (right--- he could have spoken man to man with Adam), he would say we as men have to work to reverse the order and become the husbands that our wives can respect. Well, it's safe to say after 7 complete years, my husband has reversed the order of the fall. Wow. That's HUGE. We can celebrate this today.

6) Lastly, he believes one of his key responsibilities is teaching his children. Yes, it's me who stays at home and I'm all about teachable moments, but Patrick resolved, as the Israelite fathers did, to be the primary educator of the children while they are very young. The Sunday school and CBS teachers would always tell me that Micah would raise his hand every time and already knew the answers to all the bible stories. They would praise me, and say whatever you are doing at home, it's working. Well, every night, this husband of mine, after a full day's work, would spend over an hour with Micah teaching him the Word, memorizing scripture, and reading books to the boys every night.

I did say these were radical ideas. Patrick would say it's not really radical. The bible hasn't changed, it's the world that's turned upside down.

So for me, it's easy to respect Patrick because he's never a couch-potato, pick-up-your-clothes-off the-floor husband, he is a man that is disciplined and steady. He's not the corporately ambitious, grandiose-ideas, change-the-world kind of guy -- for me, it's more important that's he's faithful with small things. He provides, protects, and leads our family. He stands up and fights against what is counter-culture, and living a life that's filled with faith and action. He is a man of honor, and of integrity. I celebrate our marriage today because of His faithfulness to God. One day, God will say to Patrick, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." I believe that's pretty complete.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sew Unbelievable!

Really? A sewing tutorial blog post from me?

A year ago, no one could have convinced me that I would ever blog a sewing tutorial. But I am proud to say that I've been stretched and inspired to sew. Look what I made! And not just one, but eight of them!

These beautiful bags were made for my small group. This year as we kicked off our fall Mothering Matters bible study, I wanted to give the girls each a bag for their book, bible, etc. They loved them. And was Patrick ever proud of me. So, if you want to know how to make them, I tried to organize pictures as a tutorial. Please note: I am a not a sewer, so you will not get a professional tutorial. :)

Materials Needed:
  • Two Fat Quarters (they come pre-cut at most fabric stores 18 x 22, or you can just purchase 1/2 yard of your favorite fabric and cut it in half)
  • Slightly less than a fat quarter iron-on interfacing
1. Fold over the fabric lengthwise, and cut the tote out 15 inches leaving 3 inches for the tote handles.

2. Pick your outside print and center the interfacing and iron it on to the wrong side of the fabric.

3. With right sides together, sew around the edges of the fabric. Leave about the center third of one of the long sides unsewn to allow you to turn right side out. Trim the corners. Turn right side out, pushing out corners. Iron seams flat. Topstitch at 1/4″ around the entire outside of the rectangle.

4. Cut the 3" left over strip in half to make two tote handles. Iron on interfacing on both. Fold over to make each handle 1" in width and sew 1/8" down both sides.

5. Measure 3" from each side of your tote and sew the handles on the wrong side. I sewed the stitch like a square with a X through it (sorry, told you I don't know the professional sew lingo).

6. With right sides (outside fabric) together, fold in half width-wise. Sew the two ends together at 1/2 inch seams.

7. Fold in the outside edges that you just sewed, towards the center, so that the seam is laying along the center bottom of the pouch.

8. To give the tote some inside space, sew across the corner of the bag, about 1.5″ in from the point, on both ends.

9. Turn the whole thing inside out and iron again to make it flat. Of course, I forgot to take a final picture of this print (probably because I was too excited!), but here's another bag to show you the final product.

Believe me, it was sew unbelievably easy and the nice thing about pre-cut fat quarters is you increase your ability to sew straight because the fabric is cut perfect. I'm all about easy! Considering that I never sewed anything before (by the way, thank you Mom Ring for my sewing machine as a birthday gift), I want to inspire you as I've made some ladies very happy with their new beautiful bags! Now, after doing eight in a row, I need to find the energy to do one for myself. Or maybe you....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Beach Weekend

So we usually spend a couple of long weekends with the Lauers at the beach, but this time, Patrick had to stay back because of work. We almost canceled, but I decided just to take the boys and go anyways. Micah and Joshua are best friends, and not a day goes by in this house that he's not asking to see Joshua. It is really wonderfully annoying, but awesome for your child to be so committed to a friend.

Our time was short, but wonderful. We had morning walks on the beach, after a big pancake breakfast.

The two best friends went for a bike ride with Andy and his dad, and the moms and the other kiddoes would go to the Outlets for retail therapy.

But we always managed to wind back up at the beach.

When the kids got cold from the water, it was time to go in.

One night, Andy's dad, affectionately called "Opie" by his grandkids, treated us to a yummy Asian retaurant in Rehoboth Beach.

It was a nice time. Next time, Patrick will hopefully get to come!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How about them Apples?

Over the labor day weekend, Patrick had one request: just chill. I run the poor boy ragged and some days he just needs to curl up in a fetal position and rock himself. So we did nothing all day Saturday and Sunday, but my introvert husband recuperated and was ready again to face the world. So we enjoyed the BEAUTIFUL day and went apple picking with my family. He said it was relaxing and fun.

We picnic'd in the apple orchard.

After we got our bags full of Cortland, Mcintosh and Gala apples, we headed to a kid-friendly winery one mile down the road. It was gorgeous country....

Seyla and Jeff with their wine and cigars!

Kids played soccer in the open field.

And played with other things they shouldn't have.

Patrick not only had fun, but he immediately
got the fruit of his labor!

My mother-in-law's recipe: Apple Crisp.
Micah must have said three times in the same
sentence, "Um, mom, this is soooo good."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Alana's 6th Birthday - A Butterfly Tea Party

Dear Lord, may I please have a girl? So one day, I can do this again?.....

(Photos by by Hueminh Tsao)

I had the privilege of hosting Alana's butterfly tea party. Jessel wanted her 6-year old to have a great birthday, but knew with a 3-week old newborn, she wasn't going to be able to do much. So she asked me to help. Of course I said yes, I needed my little girl FIX! I got to be the TEA Lady!

I taught the little girls tea etiquette, by first putting your napkin gently on your lap and sipping your tea elegantly by putting out one pinkie. Oh my gosh, they were listening!

The moms said I should go into business. I just might! First, we had to set the tone of the party by decorating the entrance. I did this by creating a personalized tea room for Alana that was elegantly butterfly and the tablescape was perfectly pink.

WARNING: If you read on, please be prepared for
femininity at its finest moment.
There are a lot of GIRLIE pictures. :)
Starting with the beautiful tea elements....

One thing that added a lot of punch to the room
without costing anything was these pom branches.
Just tissue paper and free branches outside.

The girls were taught to take one petit four and pass it to the right. Jessel planned the menu. It was out-of -control-cute! Butterfly crackers with tulip cheddar cheese, chocolate-covered strawberries, butterfly & heart shaped tea sandwiches and the perfect butterfly cupcakes.

She had crafts prepared for the girls, and Sheli, her sister led all the little girls in the games!

You couldn't find a cuter group of girls
to do a tea party with. Wow!

Here's one masculine picture for you. Patrick made sure to keep the boys clear away from tea parties. The boys & men roughhoused downstairs, fought with swords, went on a bear hunt, beat their chest, and then shot deer.

Well, it was sooo much more fun in the tea room.
Happy 6th Birthday Alana, I hope it was special!
Your mom, Aunt Sheli and I had a lot of fun doing it for you.