Love for a Lifetime

This weekend, my parents sent Jason and I, and my brother and his wife, to a FamilyLife marriage conference called "Weekend to Remember". The weekend involves three speakers that lead the entire weekend and share with us their personal experiences. After each session, you are given projects to do with your spouse that helps you open up and communicate about how to build your marriage. And on Saturday night, you're encouraged to have a date night to spend time with your spouse and reflect on everything you've learned. The topics ranged from communication, what the roles are of a husband and wife, to leaving a legacy for the next generation.

It might seem weird that we went to a marriage conference. I mean, we've only been married for eight months and we haven't even had a real, serious fight since we started dating. And let's be honest, it wasn't exactly how we had wanted to spend a valuable free weekend. But, my parents thought we would get something out of it, so they covered the costs. How sweet of them!

So, we attended and it's probably one of the best experiences we've had so far as a married couple. And while I married a fantastic man who is no stranger to all the critical values and principles that a married couple should have, I think we both learned a lot and were reminded of what it takes to have a marriage where we are truly one, so we were really thankful for the opportunity to attend the conference. I'd probably be so bold as to brag that we have a fantastic marriage with very few flaws at the moment. At the same time we haven't even been married a full year yet and we're still in that newlywed state where we still just always want to make each other happy. So, I guess I can't expect that it will always remain in this perfect state of bliss.

And I'm not naive. I know, without a doubt, that we're eventually going to face some difficult times in our marriage, and the way we handle those situations is really going to play a role into how strong we are as a couple. The way we address each other's needs, communicate, and support each other can make or break us.

I definitely was reminded of some of my weaknesses. But, I know that with God's guidance and my husband's support, I can strive to become the very best wife possible, which Jason totally deserves. This weekend inspired me and reminded me of all the valuable tools that are necessary to maintain and grow a great marriage.

For any couples out there that have recently been married or are getting married soon, I definitely recommend attending one of these conferences. It's not lame, it's nt cheesy, and it's not a waste of your time. It's a great way to jumpstart your marriage and build a marriage that is built on God, love and oneness. I definitely hope that one day I'll be able to bless my children with a gift like this.

A Mother's Love

This year, I had the joy of celebrating Mother's Day, with not one, but two amazing mothers and one mommy-to-be, and I'm so grateful for each one of them.

On Friday, the Kobza family came over so we could celebrate Mother's day with my sweet mother-in-law, Cee.  I cooked one of my favorite meals, Chicken in Basil Cream and Garlic Angel Hair Pasta and Charis brought, salad, garlic bread and appetizers!  So, we got to spoil Cee and cook for her this time.

Cee is always energetic and bubbly and loving on her boys.  I love that over the years they have established their holiday traditions and have so many fun memories. And it means so much to me, that Jason has a mother who taught him values and faith. She's so nurturing and has even taken care of me at times when I either injured myself or wasn't feeling well.  I hope I never take for granted the relationship that Cee has with Jason, and even with me.  I'm thankful that we can share things with each other and build our relationship.  I know that there are plenty of couples out there that don't really get along with their in-laws.  But, I am so grateful that that is not the case with me!  Cee and Hank definitely raised two amazing men and she's a wonderful mother!
On Sunday, we had over my family, and this time Jason cooked!  We had sushi!  Lessye, my sister-in-law is the mommy-to-be!  Super excited for July!!  I absolutely can't wait to have a baby in the family to spoil.  Lessye is so sweet and caring and I've never doubted whether she'll be a good mother or brother, on the other hand...I still wonder.  ;-)  It's been fun to watch her and Michael plan the baby room, decide on a name, and watch Lessye grow!  I know, she's going to be a fantastic mother.

And my favoritest mom of all, my mom!!  I truly am so thankful to have her in my life.  She has taught me so many amazing things.  She's so creative and has the gift of hospitality.  I love spending time with her and sharing my dreams for the future.  She's wonderful at listening and giving advice.  I definitely know that I can't take for granted my mother.  She's always been there for me and been supportive.  I'm so thankful that she raised me the way she did, and I truly hope I can carry on her legacy in the future.  I hope that I'll be able to positively influence my children the way she has influenced my life.  I love you, mom!

The love that these mothers have is so tremendous, and I am so blessed to have each and every one of them in my life!

Best Friends are like Diamonds

It's been said that "Best friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like leaves, found everywhere." As my best friend graduates from graduate school at the University of Miami this week, I can't help but reflect on how we got to where we are in our lives and still managed to maintain being the very best of friends.

We became friends playing basketball for a homeschool league in Tulsa in 2002. And while friends have come and gone in my life, Laura has always been a constant. Sure, we've had our ups and our downs. We've yelled at each other, cried with each other, judged each other, and gone days without speaking to each other. We've celebrated in each other' successes, laughed at each other's mishaps, and shared in enjoying many of life's milestones, and through it all we've remained the very best of friends. Laura is one of the very few people that I can spill my guts to and not fear that she's going to use my secrets against me. We know everything about each other. And even though we've lived the last seven years apart, I still dream of the day that we'll live in the same town and and our children will become friends and we'll sit on the patio and reminisce about the crazy times. The crazy times that consisted of racing cars across 101st and Sheridan and cutting across parking lots to see who could get home the fastest, partying throughout the summer nights of our Sophomore year in college, and having competitions about who could do wall-sits the longest.

Never once has Laura turned her back on me. She's stuck with me through a lot. In fact, I'll never forget the feeling that ran through me when I told her I had gotten my first college acceptance letter, to the University of Miami. She was genuinely more excited for me than I was for myself. I couldn't believe that I had a friend that cared so much. But clearly she cares. Shoot, she even talked her dad into switching wireless phone companies when my dad decided to switch plans, so that we could talk for free while we lived apart.

So, here's to you, Laura. As you graduate from grad school, I pray that God leads you down the path that is perfect for you and that you may find a home and a job that you are proud of. Whether we are provided the opportunity to see each other every day in the future, or only on our yearly girl's getaway, I look forward to what our friendship will grow into. If 10 years has been a blast, I absolutely cannot imagine what 20 more will be like. I love you.

Life in the Kitchen

Today, we somehow ended up spending over three hours in the kitchen doing various things and had fun doing it! The first thing was that Jason decided to spoil me with Porcini-Crusted Lamb and Asparagus & Bacon Risotto. He is such a spectacular chef!! The lamb was a Williams-Sonoma recipe we used when making our Valentine's Day dinner, we just omitted the sauce since we didn't really care for it the first go round.
While Jason cooked, I continued the job we had started on Sunday of organizing our pantry. We already can't wait till we have a much, much bigger kitchen!!! So, here's a picture of our pantry as it is now. Honestly, it shares quite a lot about Jason and I, individually, and how we have influenced each other. I'm super organized and Jason is a food guru. So, now we have all our foods in awesome containers and we have an amazing selection of foods to choose from when cooking. I mean, how many pantries have four different kinds of flour, five different kinds of pastas and six different types of grains? So, Jason's love for cooking and gourmet foods is quite evident in our pantry!
After all that was done, I decided to continue my cupcake experiments and decided to try Boston Creme Cupcakes. They were quite easy to make and yummy! I think we'll be experimenting with the recipe to see if we can get more of a custard taste and may try to thicken up the ganache frosting, but it was a great first try. Much better luck than I've had with some of my other cupcakes!