Monday, November 30, 2009

The Blind Side

Most everyone that knows me knows I'm a HUGE movie fan! So, it should come as no surprise to you that I am now posting a movie review! On Saturday afternoon we went to see the highly anticipated movie "The Blind Side" and it was phenomenal! Jason read the book awhile back and always spoke so highly of it, so when the movie came out I was extremely excited! (Granted, now having seen the movie, I want to read the book.) It's a very emotional, trying, and positive story about a boy in an unfortunate situation who is taken in my a family that gives him safety, security, confidence, and most of all love. Of course I cried a grand total of 10 times, but it was more out of happiness than anything. I thank God that there are people out there willing to do what this family did. It was incredibly inspiring! Serving is something we can all do, and something that I want to do more of and soon. God has given me so much to be thankful for, and I want others to feel that too. So, I'm on a mission. God has a message for me and he has my full attention! To be continued....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving thanks...

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I am thankful for the relationship I have with God, it is ever changing and growing so brilliantly. I am thankful for my amazing family, my life would not be the same without each and every one of you in it! I am thankful for my love! Jason, I am truly blessed to have a man like you in my life. You are my heart and soul! I am thankful for my friends, you are the greatest support group I could ask for. You make my life so complete and colorful! I am thankful for all of my life experiences, good and bad, they have made me who I am and continue to teach me lessons in love, trust, and faith. I am thankful for the air in my lungs...the sun rising every morning....the silence I often crave...the kindness of strangers...the forgiveness of faults....the service of others...laughter...happy tears...memories...and most of all having the anticipation of a very positive and blessed future!

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Booked!

Jason just called to inform me that his parents have booked our trip to Hawaii in July of 2010!
We are soooooooooooooo excited!!!! I've never been so it'll be a trip to remember!!!
244 days....let the countdown begin!!!!

How can I make a difference?

"Everyone can be great because anyone can serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love... " ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
With Thanksgiving only a couple of days away and Christmas soon thereafter, I have been thinking of ways that I can help give back to the community. I'm going to be checking out some of the volunteer opportunities with Chicagocares. org, and also help out through the church we attend here in the city. When I first moved to Chicago, seeing the less fortunate on nearly every corner was overwhelming, but as time has passed, and as sad as it is to admit, I've become used to it. I give when I can, whether it's leftovers from lunch, or the change in my pocket. It really does hurt my heart...I pray that God will surround them with his love, and help them through this difficult time. Life happens, and people hit rock bottom, but we can help! So in spirit of the holiday season, make a difference and show God's love to those in need!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Makes you think...

In the book I'm reading right now there was a excerpt that really made me stop and think...It was from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians in the bible and it said this:

"For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound, and to be in need..."

It's a simple idea in a very graceful language, that I wish resonated with me more. Daily life is a roller coaster, you take the good with the bad, and emotionally it can all be so exhausting. Striving to be content seems out of reach at times because as human beings we'll always want more and we'll always think we need more. Won't we?

While I am still growing in my relationship with God, I make it a point to pray for clarity for questions I have and for the questions of others in my life, and I also thank Him for all of the blessings he has given me. In these moments of prayer, I do feel content...knowing that I'm being heard, and having faith that I will one day see what I am supposed to see.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Get Well Jason & Welcome to 2009 Courtney!

Well, Jason made it through his ACL reconstruction surgery a-ok! He's doing amazingly well, and he's already on a machine that's helping to get get his knee to a 60 degree angle! Everyone at the Surgery Center was amazing, and Keith was even in on his surgery to assist! I felt horrible leaving him, but he's in great hands at my moms!

On another note, I FINALLY got a new phone! I am the proud new owner of the Palm Pre! It's amazing, and I'm sorry for anyone I made fun of out there I can NOT put it down!

Texting, and emailing is a breeze and I feel like I've finally joined 2009!

Other than that, I'll be traveling on home this weekend again to see Jay and spend more time time with family and friends while he recuperates!

Thanks to all for the warm wishes and hope to chat with you all soon:)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Engagement Party Extravagenza!

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Jason and I just got back from a great trip to Atlanta to visit Cindy and Michael for their engagement party! It was a busy weekend, but we had so much fun and Cindy accomplished a lot! We had perfect travels down to Atlanta! (This NEVER happens!) Hopped off the plane, got the rental car and headed to meet our friends. Friday morning the girls headed out to a dress appointment and Cindy tried on, and found her dream dress! (It was the first one she tried on!) Her mind was made up so now it was time to find the bridesmaids dresses and found one we did! All the girls love it so we were fitted Saturday morning and took care of it all! Then it was time to celebrate! They had a beautiful party, filled with family, friends, and chocolate covered strawberries. Michael put together a slide show, and we watched the proposal video once more. The weather was beautiful and everything came together perfectly! Sunday came too quickly, but Cindy and I finished off the weekend with spa manicures and pedicures (such a treat) and then Jason and I headed to the airport!
We're so excited for Cindy & Michael and the wedding is going to be gorgeous! We love you guys and thank you so much for including us!!! Next up...a Michigan shower, and bachelorette party in Chicago (TBD!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kate & Gary say I do!

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November 7, 2009 was the perfect day! Jason and I attended Kate & Gary's wedding in Northville, MI. The ceremony was intimate and heartfelt, the reception was nothing short of amazing! The minute I walked into Fox Hills everything I saw had Kate's name written all over it! The detail and decor was beautiful! Cocktail hour, followed by wedding party speeches started the evening off right...then came our tasty dinner, and then a huge night of dancing commenced! In total I took 200+ pictures!!! But I picked out some of my favorites to post! The happy couple is currently in Jamaica, and I can't wait to see their pics upon their return!
We love you guys, and thank you for including us on your special day!

Happy Veteran's remembrance...

We are thankful, and we remember all the sacrifices made by the many men and woman who protected and protect our great country!
~Veterans Day Prayer~
We ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces. We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe. We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home from Iraq with injured bodies and traumatized spirits. Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray. We ask for an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace, As a way to honor all the veterans of past wars. Have mercy on all our veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in. Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative posts; May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways. Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting, Moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war. Hear our prayer, Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inspiration through song...

I've always been amazed at how a song can stir up certain can call forth a memory, it can speak to you in ways a close friend can't, it can make you hurt, smile, and even bring a tear to your eye...

As I sit here, a song by Ginny Owens is playing and is speaking to me in such a personal way, I felt the need to share her story and the lyrics with you. I first heard about this woman from Miss Cindy Buell. She told me how Ginny had been invited to perform at her church in Buckhead, GA and Cindy was touched by her story and the song and passed it along to me. There is so to her story that I had to attach her bio, so please read it! In short, she became blind at the age of 3, but has had much success as a recording artist. She's sold over a million records, and continues to tour, and share her story with people all over the country. I find her story encouraging, and her faith inspiring. As much as I take for granted on a daily basis, hearing stories like this makes me appreciate what I have and the life that God is laying out around me. He embraces us and clinging to him and loving him is what Ginny's message is all about.

This song is about what lies ahead, and although there is suffering, we grow, and we grow through God's love!

"If You Want Me To"

The pathway is broken, and the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me, the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire If You want me to
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy You only said I'd never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself, And I can't hear
You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley If You want me to

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shakespeare's & My Loves

"Friendship is like a violin; the music may stop now and then, but the strings will last forever."

Friday night was fabulous! Zachary, Nicole, and Jenn we love you:) Can't wait to see you again soon....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The only day I'll be glad my brother isn't at Ft. Hood...

Gunmen in military uniforms started shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, today around 1:30pm, taking the lives of 12 soldiers, and injuring 31.
This is the most updated information that I've seen in the last hour, as I am mesmerized by the LIVE footage I'm watching online. I first heard about this from Natalee Harp-Blakely...(Jenn Monroe's sister) as she had posted a message on Facebook...her husband is safe, thank goodness, but the base is on lockdown for now. Out of the 12 killed, one of them has been identified as a shooter and they have two other suspects in custody!
This is absolutely shocking! It's one thing for American families to worry about their sons and daughters serving in general...another to have sons and daughters fall while serving's horrifying for this to have happened on U.S. soil!
My thoughts and prayers are with the families, and friends of the fallen.
UPDATED 11/6/2009

A Fine Frenzy

Last night some girlfriends and I went to Park West and saw A Fine Frenzy perform! It was a great concert! The venue was very intimate and cozy, and live music is always a treat. I think one of the best parts of the night was what we anticipated her saying between was a little awkward, but very entertaining nonetheless. "I like seems random, but I do" then she started playing another was quite hilarious and I'm sure the girls that were with me will agree! I also never liked that song "Almost Lover" but when she sang it last night, it was so raw and full of emotion...what a great performance! In conclusion, I'd highly recommend going to see them if you ever have the chance!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

He's doing well...

I talked to my dad today, and he said that he heard from my brother yesterday and that he's doing well! He said that he's dealing with outcome of his first intense day of patrols, and that he's in a good place right now. He's glad that there was action right upfront so that he'll know more of what to expect in the days to come. He's been going on missions everyday and gettin' the job done! My dad said he sounded like he was in good spirits, so I hope and pray that he remains safe, and that the days pass quickly so that he can come home to us all! I'm so very proud of my little brother!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

17 days...and counting... me obsessed, but I cannot WAIT to see the second movie in the Twilight saga! It's out in theaters on November 20, and I just wish the days would go by faster! I will admit that the second book was my least favorite of the series, but the previews that I've seen look pretty darn good! (Jason even said he'd want to see it....we'll see how that one goes!) To anyone who is laughing at this post right have no idea what you're missing, and to those other loyal fans out there (most of my friends whom I've gotten addicted to this...) I know you'll agree with me when I say I can't wait to see Edward and Jacob again:)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oh baby!

Lodge-O-Ween 09' was fabulous! Great friends, good eats, fun games, GIRLS RULE, and yes, I brought the baby! I thought it best to list some of the highlights of the evening...and enjoy the pictures!

*Jason "Baby Boy" Kingma
*Dynamic Duo Brett and Brielle....she brought back the Ketchup bottle that so many hoped for!
*Loofa #1 and Loofa #2 Keepin' it clean all night long
*Toto the dog chasing his tail
*Brielle showing me how Zoomey Zoomey (Sorry if I spelled that wrong) was played...
*Dancin' in the basement...Journey...and Party in the U.S.A...Lord help me! haha
*Girls RULE at flip cup!
*Megan making us use hand sanitizer between games (Thanks girl!)
*Wario showed up...amazing!
*Oh and for those of you who don't remember...the baby was dancing with the dummy for a good portion of the evening...he hasn't learned the word "No" yet:)
What a great night!