Monday, February 20, 2012

Homesick & a little bit of Texas

We have been in California for about 2 months and maybe it's just the change in weather from winter to spring, but I get waves of homesickness every now and then. I don't know if Mitchell does but he hasn't said anything. What I miss most of all is the people. My friends and family. I know for sure Mitchell misses our people too. We have been blessed with some great friends out here already and those relationships are steadily growing but it's not the same yet as people you have been friends with for years and years and know your history. I get waves of nostalgia when I think about the time I spent with my sister and how I won't see her for several more months. Or when I have memories of all the fun I had with my roommates before I got married. Or the easiness of being able to go visit my family if I was bored or lonely because they were only a few minutes away. 

I'm not seeking sympathy, just recording when I feel homesick. I love being out here and we have experienced so many cool things from stretching our wings (and comfort zones) a bit. Northern California is a beautiful place to live and since we have had such a mild winter, I am greeted daily by beautiful blue skies and warm afternoons. 

Luckily for me, my mom and grandmother will be here Wednesday through next Tuesday! Texas is coming to California at just the right time. I am looking forward to the adventures we will be taking while they are here and good conversations and laughter. Lots of laughter. I will take lots of pictures and update the blog after their trip! :D

Yay for making it to 50 photos in Project 365! Check it out! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Weekend + Valentine's Day

We were proud of ourselves after this weekend... we actually did fun stuff in Sacramento!

On Friday night, some friends from church invited us over for Trivia & Tapas Night at their house. It was a big group of people, mixed from various places in this family's life (i.e. church, neighborhood, kid's friends, etc). After mingling and eating, we divided up into groups for the trivia game. There were 30 questions and we worked as a group to answer them. They were hard! After doing our best to get answers down, we went over them together and found out the correct answers. And guess what?? We won! (I'm working on getting the picture of the winning team and when I do, I'll post it!)

You may be wondering what "tapas" are... I'd never heard of it before but from what I gathered that night, they are a bunch of appetizer-like foods. So you kinda just graze the whole night because there isn't just one big entree, but rather a bunch of little finger foods. Everyone contributed and it was yummy!

Saturday morning, Mitchell went out to a shooting range and shot with some fancy automatic rifle. Apparently, he is quite good. Like, really good. He attributes his skills to reading about Navy SEALS. Btw, he is beyond excited about the movie, Act of Valor that comes out on February 24th that has REAL Navy SEALS in it!
First time shooting a rifle, from 100 yards away

Saturday night, we went downtown for the Second Saturday Art Walk. The art galleries downtown stay open late and you can walk around and check out all the cool art. Some places had DJs playing music and some were serving wine. We walked through a clothing store that had art propped up on the walls for the night. We walked through a car museum that an artist had decorated with their art (Mitchell was more interested in the cool cars). We met the artists and told them how incredible their work was. We listened to some live music by guys whose name was "Naked Body" in Spanish. And then we went home. :)
Naked Body people
One of the galleries with cool cars

Sunday after church, my friend Allyson and I went to the Antique Faire in downtown and checked out tons of cool antiques. While most of it was dumb, there was some really cute furniture. It inspired us to be creative and artsy. Allyson wants to re-do some of her furniture and since I have some experience making furniture look old and antique, I'm going to help her. (I am very mad at myself for forgetting to take a picture of the experience. Grr!)

And on to Valentine's Day...
My socks :)

We received very sweet V-Day gifts in the mail from both sets of parents that added to the celebration. Thank you for making us feel loved!

When Mitchell got home from work, we had dinner and celebrated V-Day by making strawberries dipped in chocolate OR powdered sugar (or both, if you're Mitchell :P). We also watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith (randomly) and because I'm saving watching the movie, Valentine's Day for Thursday night with the girls. For people who don't go all out for Valentine's Day, we had fun. :)

Hehe, he's such a good sport

On to other news, my mom and Memom will be here in ONE week! Can't wait!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Clearing out the cluttter

If you've read the blog you know that right now I am not working and struggle some days with not having enough to do. If you knew me before we moved out here, you would know that I was a teacher of two different high school science classes and had a very busy, stressful life. Fun, but busy a lot of the time. Now I am anything but busy. Because of this lack of busy-ness and stress that often filled my mind, I've had a very interesting revelation.

I hear, feel and experience God more. Maybe that sounds weird so let me explain. Before moving out here, when I studied the Bible it was usually squeezed into 20-25 minutes right when I woke up in the morning (at 5am) before work or maybe a calm Saturday morning. In those few minutes when you're half awake and have a very short time to study, there's hardly any time for God to really speak to you. There's hardly any time to think about what you're reading and how that applies to your life before you're on to the next thing. I'm not saying that I didn't get anything out of it or didn't grow or experience God but compare that to now...

I have time. Precious, much-desired, fleeting time to study God's word. I have time to sit and pray. I have time to reflect and read books. I have time to hear God speak (not audibly of course, but in my heart). When the busy-ness of my mind has quieted out here, I can experience God more. I feel more of the urgency to obey what he has asked me to do. I feel more of what he feels when he sees the people who don't know him. I feel more of what he feels when he sees people who don't have a place to sleep or enough food to eat. I feel more.

I don't want anyone to feel resentful about or envious of this brief moment in my life right now. I share this with everyone just to share that it really is true what our pastors say or what missionaries say, when we empty our minds from the things of this world, we fill it with the things of God. My mind has been emptied lately and as a result God is closer. I wish and pray that somehow in the midst of chaos that is the American life, that all would be able to empty their minds of the things of this world to hear God.

For some reason, God has put me in this place where finding a job that fits my needs is difficult. He has put me in this place where I don't have enough to do. I don't know why he has but I have experienced the biggest blessing from it. I know this most definitely won't last forever and at some point I will reflect on this time and wish I could de-clutter my mind to hear Him more clearly. For now though, I will continue to listen and ask Him to keep speaking.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Realization about my post yesterday

After I posted yesterday's blog about our 6 monthiversary and went along with my day, I realized something was missing. My post was about all the things I love about being married and not so much the things I love about being married to Mitchell. I didn't give him credit where credit is due. Marriage is wonderful because I'm married to a wonderful man. I shall not post a list of all the great things about Mitchell... that will just be for me to know as his wife. :) As my BSF leader said last night to the single women, "The only thing harder than waiting is wishing you waited". (haha, it's ok to laugh) I have not had that thought once thanks to my incredible spouse! Cheers!

Monday, February 6, 2012

6 Monthiversary

Today is February 6th which means Mitchell and I have been married for 6 months! It has been quite an eventful 6 months! I think most people know what all we have been up to in our first 6 months of marriage like the trip to Disney World, deciding to move to California and the entire process of moving. So instead of recapping what all we've done in our first 6 months, I thought I would share 6 of my favorite things about being married, thus far...

#1: Constant Companion
I love always having my best friend with me. When you're married you always have someone to do things with. On weekends, I don't have to think, "Well who can I hang out with tonight?". When I go try a new place, I don't have to go by myself. I'm never bored at home because Mitchell is there and we can hang out. You have someone to experience life with.

#2: Cuddle Buddy
Sorry, this is the only one that will make some readers cringe (i.e. my family). I think girls have this desire to be held and boys like to do the holding. Sometimes I would come home from a hard day at work and just need to be held. In our house in Cali, we have been turning the heater way down at night so in the mornings, Mitchell will scoot over and warm me up before we have to get out of bed. Watching movies on the couch with your spouse is a lot more comfortable than sitting on opposite ends with a friend.

#3: Traveling together
We can go on trips together and not have to worry about sleeping in separate rooms. We never spent the night together before we were married and so we were limited on what trips we could take together. Or when we went to visit people, they had to prepare two separate places to sleep. Now, we sleep in the same place so we can stay in the same hotel room or sleep in the same tent. Quite convenient compared to dating/being engaged. All those boundaries, gone!

#4: Food
As a single person, it's really hard to cook. If you prepare a meal for yourself you are eating the leftovers for the rest of the week. Now that we're married, I plan out meals for each day of the week and we both work on the leftovers for lunch the next day or on the weekend so you only eat the same thing once or twice. Gone are the days of frozen dinners or a week of the same food.

#5: Revelation & Refinement
Our faith in Christ is a very big part of our lives. We pray together, we go to church together and we study the Bible together. The metaphor of Christ and His church being like a groom and his bride is a lot more clear now. You can't separate the two. Their love for each other is too strong. They pursue each other. You can't love one without the other, no matter how messy the church can be. With marriage comes refinement of your character. Your life is no longer just about you. Denying ourselves, no matter how little, is against our nature and it's not always fun. Having to keep your mouth shut when you want to yell is denying yourself. Cleaning up after someone else is denying yourself. Doing what the other person wants to do instead of what you want to do is denying yourself. Loving the other person when they are driving you crazy is denying yourself. It sucks sometimes, but if it was all about me, our marriage would fall apart. You don't have to be married 25 years to figure that out. Our pastor said yesterday, wedding vows are a promise of predictable love in unpredictable circumstances. You don't know everything about someone when you marry them and you don't know what life will bring you, but you have promised to love that person unconditionally as long as you both shall live.

#6: One accounting word: D.I.N.C. :) We have made great progress on our debt (car + student loan) and will very soon be debt free at a very young age. Our goal is to keep it that way and be able to bless others financially.

Now, to be fair, we have only been married 6 months and many think we are still in that honeymoon bliss phase. So here are some things that maybe I wasn't expecting before we were married.

#1: Gas. Any married woman knows, XY chromosomes produce more of it... somehow.
#2: Showers. I have a biological clock that tells me I have to take a shower every 24 hours and the alarm goes off when it's been longer than that. Mitchell's standard of dirty is different than mine and he doesn't have that alarm clock inside so his showers are less frequent. It bothers me sometimes when he climbs into bed and I think, "When was the last time he showered?" (side note: He is not bad at taking showers. He just has a different standard.)
#3: Sharing a bed with someone else takes getting used to after a lifetime of sleeping alone. At first, every movement wakes you up. Eventually, you don't even notice.
#4: I'm pretty tough nowadays when I'm sick. Mitchell is kinda a baby when he's sick. I really want to say, "Suck it up!" but instead I say, "Aw, I'm so sorry you feel bad."
#5: I have to make sure I don't have a double standard. I'll get frustrated if Mitchell leaves something out, like his shoes or a cup, but if I look around the same room, I see my stuff out too. Pot calling the kettle black?
#6: Mitchell falls asleep on the couch every night while I take a shower. If I want him to sleep in bed, I have to wake him up and get him to move. This is nothing new. Any past roommate of Mitchell can attest to the fact that he can fall asleep anywhere.

These lists were fun to compile and reflect on our first 6 months. I love Mitchell very much and I know he loves me too. I hope for many more months and years with him!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Good Days, Bad Days, Going Half Mad Days

"I've had good days and bad days and goin' half mad days" -Jimmy Buffett

Good Days:
A couple weeks ago, I was getting ready for the day in the bathroom when I thought, Wow, this place actually feels like home now. When you move somewhere or you're staying in a hotel, it doesn't feel like home because you don't know where anything is. You have no routine because your stuff isn't where it normally is or things are always changing around you. I realized that day that I finally had routine because this place was familiar now and I've been here long enough for it to feel like home.

We found a church that we are going to join and get plugged in to. This is such a huge answer to prayer because as soon as we got here we started praying God would provide us with a church home and community (aka friends!) and He most definitely has. We found this place through a friend of a friend of a friend... literally! I emailed with this friend of a friend of a friend, Janelle and she invited us to her church. That night, Mitchell went to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and met a guy who goes to that same church and offered to introduce us to a bunch of people our age. This last Sunday, we went for the second time and sat with a group of people our age and went to lunch with them afterwards. We felt really welcomed and comfortable with them. They invited us to come to their Sunday school class this weekend and I've hung out with one of the girls a couple of times. We really like the pastor of this church and feel he delivers solid messages. We feel like God has led us here and we are excited to have a church home!

Mitchell's work situation has been really good as well. He can walk to work and really enjoys doing that while he listens to his audio book. It's a great way to warm up to the day instead of waking up, driving 8 minutes to work and then getting started. This is a good 30 minute warm up to his day. His actual work has kept him busy and stimulated. He often comes home telling me about how his day was like a whirlwind but he loved it because it's interesting and he's getting to do what he loves doing - identifying problems and finding solutions to those problems that puts them in a better place than they were before.

The weather here has been beautiful and consistent! With the exception of a few rainy days (=snow on the mountains), we've had such a mild winter here. Most of the days are sunny with temps in the low to mid 60s. And things grow here! Rose bushes, orange trees, cactuses (cacti?), grass, evergreens, avocados, and a bunch of other plants that I'm unfamiliar with.

This good list could go on...

Bad Days:
There have been those bad days as well. I went from going 100 miles an hour in Houston with teaching (prep for 2 classes, grading, tutoring, etc), preparing for Christmas, preparing to move to Cali, spending time with family to a slow, slow crawl in California. It's been hard to adjust and there were some days when I didn't even leave the house. I grew up in a small house with 5 other people. I shared a room with my sister most of my life there and a bathroom with 3 siblings... I was around people a lot. As a result, I like to be around people so being by myself all day has taken some adjustment, with a few depressed days during that time. I've put some applications out here in Cali for teaching, substituting, coaching, tutoring and I've heard nothing. Thankfully, the Lord has provided for us and we don't need my income so there is no pressure but I will go crazy sitting around here. I am working on figuring out how I will spend my time here so keep me in your prayers please. :)

I haven't really experienced this so much, but I know it's been hard for Mitchell to keep up with friends back home because of the time difference. We're really only 2 hours behind Texas but by the time he gets home from work, eats dinner, cleans up, it's 7:30 or 8 and that seems too late to call people to chat back in Texas.

Going Half Mad Days:
The days between getting our house set up and finding something to fill my time

My interaction with the California DMV. It was easy breezy getting our Cali driver's licenses but getting our car registered here has been such a pain. The car was bought by myself and my dad (although I have paid for it) so the title (which we don't own yet) is in Chrissy Schoelman and Kurt Schoelman. Well, the car must be registered to the people on the title so that is how the car is registered in Cali. Sheesh, that makes me nervous since all my IDs say Chrissy Martin now but it will all be taken care of in the next few months when we pay off the car and get our names changed on the title. Now our CR-V has California license plates on it! Next challenge: getting the scooter registered in Cali and passing the scooter driving test so we can get licenses to drive it! Can't wait for more half mad days in the near future!

Don't forget that you can see what we're doing day to day through Project 365 so check it out! :)