Monday, June 30, 2014

Wedding: C + A

This weekend, Greg and I were invited to Caleb and Ana's wedding! 

Let me give you the story. Approximately two years ago, before I even had a blog, I started "following" and commenting on Ana's blog. We quickly became "blogging" friends, commenting back and forth on each other's blogs (when I finally decided to start one). She took a blogging break and I knew nothing about her until I sent her a quick email. We then began a long chain of emails, where she told me all about how God had been working in her life, in her family's life, and about the man He had brought into hers. Ana and Caleb have a very neat love story! 

Anyways, it would have never crossed my mind that I would be meeting them, and attending their wedding one day!

The wedding ceremony was so beautiful. I don't know if women become more emotional after they marry, but my eyes could not stop watering! The scripture reading and the sermon spoke to our hearts...Greg and I couldn't stop talking about it on our way home! Needless to say, His love for everyone in the room, especially for Ana and Caleb, was felt throughout the entire ceremony.

I always carry my camera everywhere...and this time I forgot it! So, here go some lovely I-phone pictures. ;-)

With the Bride and Groom!
(The photographer took a picture of us four, hopefully I can get a hold of it!)

Funny story: Greg was a little nervous meeting them for the first time, so the first time he met Ana he said: "Hi, I am Greg, Gabby's...wife! I mean, Gabby...my wife. I am. her. husband."
I couldn't understand why he couldn't stop laughing as we were exiting the service.


Cutting the cake.



Troublemakers.


It was a very happy day! 

I am so thankful for His faithfulness and His love for them. Ana and Caleb, I pray your marriage is a reflection of that!

But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." Ruth 1: 16-17

Love,
Gabby

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A second first date.

     I hurried as I got home from the gym. I quickly took off my sweaty clothes and jumped in the shower. I needed to get ready in less than half an hour. You see, I had a date tonight. A second first date.

     I call it a second first date because I used to date Him a few years ago. Every Wednesday, for one hour, we would meet at His house. He had a big, old, off-white house. Some days, He had many visitors. Some other days (like Wednesdays), His house was a little more silent. We had a good relationship, but I was young, and I didn't think of Him as the Love of my life. My friends would also visit Him on Wednesdays, and truth be told, I preferred to catch up on the latest gossip rather than to engage in a conversation with Him. He was a quiet Man. He didn't seem to like to be the center of attention. Or at least, He didn't demand it. I couldn't understand why He had so many friends! When He finally caught my attention, I talked and He listened.

     After a few years, I slowly began to drift away. Not because I didn't love Him, but because I was too busy to continue to keep meeting with Him. We continued to be friends. I would call Him once in a while and at other times, in the most unexpected of places, I would meet with Him.

     This Man...He never stopped pursuing me. He sent me flowers every spring (He continues to do this!). When I called for help, He would be the first one there. He was by my side, trying to calm me, every time my anxiety sky-rocketed. He always listened when I called to tell Him I couldn't stop crying. This Man was also there during my successes...When I graduated college, when I became a Registered Nurse (I could feel Him smile from a distance as I celebrated with others). And, oh, how He loved my family! He even introduced me to my husband and He was there on our wedding day.



     Well, after so much talking, I decided to visit Him.

     Like any first date, I didn't know what to wear. I didn't know what to take. Should I read with Him? Will He think it is awkward if I start singing to Him? All I knew was that, this time, I didn't want to talk so much. I wanted to listen to anything He had to say. So, I got in my car and drove there. It was about a five minute drive. With sweaty palms, I entered His house (one of many houses He owns). Per usual, He had some visitors. Slowly and quietly, I went downstairs to where His visitors said He was. There was a guy talking to Him. However, as soon as I entered the room, the guy left. No! Please, don't leave me here alone. Now it was just me and Him in the room. Ah, the nerves! At the same time, I felt a sense of peace flowing through me. He was waiting for me, and only for me, and I knew it.

     I told Him about how I struggled with coming to visit Him…there. I told Him how I preferred to talk and pray to Him in the comfort of my home… or in the midst of His Sunday morning visitors. I told Him how I struggled to believe He was really there, like that, in that tiny piece of white bread – which represented His body given up for me. I shyly told Him that I was head-over-heels for Him, but I wanted to fall more and more in love.

     After that, I really didn't talk. He allowed me to sit and rest. He told me He chose me to sit at His table today, just like He chose the disheveled, homeless man who - ten minutes later - sat two seats behind me, and the girl with a fancy dress sitting at the back of the tiny room. He told me of the beauty of, us three visitors, being one in the Body of Christ. I was reminded – yet again – of His great love for me, poured out on the cross.

     After about an hour, I physically left the room. However, His presence is continuously within me. I can see and feel Him everywhere I go and in everyone I meet! He never leaves. He never stops pursuing. He never stops romancing me. He waits for me.

     I know He is quietly waiting for you, too.

----------

     Well, my experience going back to, what we Catholics call "Eucharistic Adoration", is something I wanted to share with you. I don't normally share "Catholic stuff" because I know many of you are not Catholic, and I totally respect that. However, I hope this provided you a glimpse into my faith. As I have said before, I struggle with some Catholic views and I am actively trying to grow more in my faith and - above all - in the relationship and love I have for our Savior. Encouraging you in your walk with Christ, regardless of your Christian denomination, is what my blog is all about. 

Happy Week!

Love,
   Gabby    

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lisieux: I choose all!


Anne, my mother in law's friend, grew up in Lisieux, France. Two months ago, she told me about an upcoming trip to Lisieux to visit her sister. I told her about Saint Therese of Lisieux, who had served in that area. Anne isn't Catholic, but she knew about Therese. A few days ago, my mother in law gave me this little pendant that Anne had brought to me from Lisieux!

"...I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers.

And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to Lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be."

...

"...I understood that to become a saint one had to suffer much, seek out always the most perfect thing to do, and forget self. I understood, too, there were many degrees of perfection and each soul was free to respond to the advances of Our Lord, to do little or much for Him, in a word, to choose among the sacrifices He was asking. Then, as in the days of my childhood, I cried out: "My God 'I choose all!' I don't want to be a saint by halves, I'm not afraid to suffer for You, I fear only one thing: to keep my own will; so take it, for 'I choose all' that You will!""

St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul

May your week be full of absolute trust and surrender to God and His will for you!

Love,
Gabby

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Diana's Bridal Shower

This past weekend, my sister (who was in Minnesota) and I traveled to our hometown in Mexico because my mother organized her a bridal shower.

We were able to spend so much time with our family and friends. I was especially glad to see my girlfriends. It's difficult making friends when you move to a new place - across the country, I might add. ;-)

My sister had her shower at the same place/restaurant I had mine. The place is so cozy and welcoming... a perfect location for a bridal shower!
The future bride.


Gabriel (brother), Diana, Dad, Mom, yours truly, and Salvador (brother).
I am so thankful we could ALL be there!


The Grandma's.


We had an "appetizer" table placed. When guests arrived to the bridal shower, they could serve themselves whatever  they wanted. Our best friend's sister made everything! It was so good!


The cake.
Well, we had cakes (lots of them) that were served.
Again, our best friend's sister made this one. Isn't the detail awesome?


We played a bridal shower game that my mom made for mine. 
Talk about DIY. ;-)
The bridal shower game includes things that the bride and groom may need once they are married. (Example: cake cutters, luggage, bedroom, washer, wedding cake, church, honeymoon, etc.)
My mom bought around 25 big prizes for the winners.


Here, you can see the centerpieces.
Have I told you that my dad made the centerpieces AGAIN (as he did for mine)?
He has such a creative mind! It is also a great way to save money.


 My Mom also made these corset photo props. Aren't they cute?






Momma's friends.
They have been friends since I can remember (most of these girls knew each other in grade school). AND, they get together every 15 days - for 23 years now!
Their group name? "Las Consentidas de Maria" ("Mary's favorite girls")



The "young" ladies. ;-)



Ah...I wish I could post every single picture my brother took! The bridal shower was so much fun - and so needed after the hectic week that my sister had. 

I couldn't be more grateful for this group of women.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you. ;-)

44 days (August 2nd).

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Love,
Gabby

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When tragedy strikes.


I have been trying to organize my thoughts. We were woken up by a 5 AM frantic call from my sister telling us the news.

What? How? When? WHY? Why? Why? WHY, GOD? Why do these things happen? Weren't you there? Why didn't you, all-powerful God, stop tragedy from happening?

You know, I've been thinking about it all day. That question we always ask when tragedy strikes. WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GODLY, GOOD PEOPLE? My mind and my heart fill with rage. Hurt.

Then…Jesus.

I am reminded that we, humans, were granted free will. Tragic, beautiful free will. We choose. We choose to do good. We choose to do evil. God did not choose evil for us. He did not cause tragedy to happen.

[I think] He wants us to see this as an opportunity to trust Him more. To pray more. To forgive. It’s like wake up call to see that we are in need of Him (just when we thought we didn't need God anymore). Jesus invites us to join Him in His suffering for a fallen church. For those that do not choose to believe in Him and what He already did on the Cross. For those who choose to do evil.

How I long for Heaven when bad things happen! Maybe that is the beauty of tragedy. Doesn't it make you want Heaven more? A place of no more suffering and no more pain. A place where His goodness reigns.
   
Lord, even though it is difficult to see this tragedy in Your light, I thank You. I thank You for what You did for us on the Cross. I thank you because, all along, you were there. You are here. You suffered with and for your children when it happened.  I thank you for LIFE and for death not taking a part of this. For goodness! And for the hope that one day, evil will be banished, and we will be Home, a place where Your love, grace and goodness reigns. Thank you for holding him, my sister, family and friends in Your arms.


How beautiful it is. 

For His glory,
Gabby

(Thank you for reading. Thank you for allowing me to share happy and sad moments with you. I thank Jesus for you, my sisters, a community of believers.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Babysitting

Should we get a pizza? Should we get a movie? Should we take them somewhere? What about the baby?

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!

You know, typical questions of first-time [official] babysitters. ;-)

Greg and I were asked by his sister and her husband if we could watch their children that night. Well, I am glad to report everything went better than planned (or hoped). 

Going to the park is always a good idea.







The baby had to be in bed by 8 PM. I placed him in the crib and allowed him to get himself to sleep. Well, that didn't work out. He wanted to laugh and play (I could hear his giggles on the baby monitor)! I had to get him out of the crib and rock him to sleep. Rocking chairs are great, let me tell ya. And having a sleeping baby in your arms is the best!

We allowed the older ones to stay up until 9 PM watching Ice-Age. After that, I read a short story to our niece. When I finished I told her to count sheep to help her sleep (the girls in the story counted sheep to go to sleep). "One sheep, two sheep, three sheep...", I heard her whisper as I exited her room.

We were exhausted by the end of the night, but it was a very blessed one! 

M, B and N - 1.
Greg and Gabby - 0.

;-)

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord..." Psalms 127:3

Love,
Gabby

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

These are the ordinary, beautiful days

That day when we left city-life. Just for a moment.


Or that day when we spontaneously went on a "road trip" up north.




And we stepped back, breathed, and marveled at Creation.


That day when we found ourselves in a small town, with a small, middle 1800's public library.


And we stepped back in time at a 1960's drive-in restaurant.


And we also found an 1852 school house.
Can you imagine how lovely it was to go to school here?


 That day when I caught our niece barefooted and with flowers in her hair.
And the sun's afternoon glory.


That day I held our baby nephew's hands, as he stepped on grass for the first time.
At first, he didn't know what to think of it, then he proceeded to sit down and play with it.
Later, I caught my husband holding him.


That day she wore swimming goggles, to prepare for "flight".


That day I realized gardening is teaching me patience.


That day I babysat two soon-to-be pre-schoolers. And I realized I met them as babies.
Time flies!


That day when our sister-in-law held some of our belongings at her house (because we don't have enough storage space in our apartment).
And then she sold her house.
And we had to "move out" our stuff.


And I moved out everything in a skirt.
And I only got one scratch in the process!


That day we heard the ice-cream truck jingle. We stopped him, of course!


That day when I had on a flowery apron, a flowery skirt, and flowery sandals.
You can't possibly wear too many flowers. ;-)


Wake up to the smell of coffee, instead of your cellphone alarm. Observe as your family engages in joyful chatter on the dinner table. Marvel at how the sun rises (or sets). Garden with your momma. Ask older family members about your family history and write it down. Sit back and read a book by the window. Take a walk along that unpaved road. Our days are as busy as we make them.

There is really joy in the ordinary.

Love,
Gabby