720; Vanilla

The past few days I’ve been teaching the Sylvester boys that if a pizzeria doesn’t have good plain pizza, they don’t have good pizza. 
If an icecream shop doesn’t have good vanilla, they don’t have good icecream.
If the bare bones of their product are quality, the rest will follow suit.
I love icecream and I love pizza ,
 but if you can’t get your basics right, what’s to say the rest of it will be good?
Why am I gonna put my precious taste buds through that?
As I think about my responsibility as a wife, sister, daughter, and friend
 I think about how if I don’t invest in getting the core good,
 if I don’t invest in producing QUALITY at the day to day of what it means to be a good wife, sister friend, daughter etc.
 the rest will follow suit. 
Don’t get crazy with the toppings, 
if the base is disgusting.
Prime example : Greg.
It means nothing for him if I plan spontaneous elaborate dates of everything he loves – hockey games, brewery tours, attending concerts, and historical adventures –
 if I don’t take the time to listen to him, hold him, 
and just enjoy being with him .
That’s the core of our relationship.
As I am consistent in those things,
 and provide a good base 
the romantic gestures are more meaningful, 
they’re more fun,
 because Greg knows it comes from someone who enjoys him, 
someone holds him when life gets hard,
& someone who  listens to him when he speaks .
I feel like sometimes we get consumed with being Ham + Pineapple or the Coffee Oreo , when all the people in our lives need is a good base.
Not an entertainer, but a constant.
Someone who makes the plain EXTRAORDINARY.
Be someone who makes the plain extraordinary.
may we be challenged to be the 
Friends,
Mothers,
Daughters,
Fathers,
Brothers,
Girlfriends,
Boyfriends,
Cousins,
Nieces,
Nephews,
Aunts,
Uncles,
Grandparents,
Grandkids,
Teachers,
Coworkers, 
Bosses,
who listen extraordinarily 
who share extraordinarily 
who sacrifice extraordinarily 
who forgive extraordinarily 
who laugh extraordinarily
who advise extraordinarily 
And so on and so on 
For far too many of us know what it’s like 
getting all the toppings on there…
 but the moment  you bite into you’re buffalo chicken pizza you realize 
‘EW this places crust is awful?’ 
or
when you take a big spoonful of your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough,
and it makes you gag because the base is gross.
Toppings / Extravagant flavors, 
no matter how delicious,
 don’t cover up the base.
Don’t show up trying to be the Mint Chocolate Chip or the Chicken Bacon Ranch in people’s lives when the vanilla or plain you’re offering is ratchet.
Let’s make sure we’re serving others the quality bare bones of who we are before we get all fancy.
Let’s make sure we’re working on providing the best vanilla + the best plain slice, 
so that our above and beyond moments can be so much more meaningful.
Let’s make sure we never lose sight of the value, of making the plain extraordinary.
Com Carinho,
T
 

719; The Solution

I’m not the savior.
Sometimes I’d love to rescue people
from their pain, to rid them of it.
I’ve always been one to attempt to
bring peace & resolution growing up,
if I could make it all better, I
would do whatever it takes to get there
,
but what about when that’s not your
call?
What about when the pain needs to
be felt, because the sin is real
.
What about when you know its God, chipping
things away
,
pressurizing those coals to produce
diamonds
,
putting that clay pot in the
furnace,
so that it may be purified.
What about when it pains you
beyond measure to not be the rescue, to not be the remedy
,
but that’s when you’re reminded you
need to sprint to the one who defines freedom.
The one who is the rescue and the
remedy.
Sin is real and it produces
consequences.
There is pain and there is damage,
There are tears that must be
shed,
and feelings that must be
felt.
But,
There is healing and there is hope.
There is healing and there is hope.
There is healing and there is hope.
I will repeat and shout that out
from the rooftops until it sinks in.
There is no condemnation for those
who are in Christ Jesus, yet the solution is life on God’s terms.
“With the arrival of Jesus, the
Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved.
Those who enter into Christ’s
being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black
cloud.
A new power is in operation. The
Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the
air,
freeing you from a fated lifetime of
brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
God went for the jugular when he
sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and
unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition,
entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right
once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human
nature, could never have done that.The law always ended up being used as a
Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it.
And now what the law code asked for
but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own
efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.” Romans 8:1-5
Sin is real.
Pain is real.
We
are not helpless and we are not hopeless ,
for healing and redemption is
available !
Top of FoBottom o
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, WE HAVE PEACE with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 
 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of UNDESERVED privilege where we now stand,
and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
 And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinnersRomans 5:1-6


UTTERLY. HELPLESS.

I love that.
I’ve been there.
I’ve felt that.


He came, He is here, He rescues, He heals, HE is the solution.

I can rejoice
You can rejoice
We can rejoice
And as we are joyful in hope,
patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer 
I can rest.
You can rest.
We can rest.
For THIS is our solution,
amidst the worry
amidst the hopelessness
amidst the pain;
 “as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
I am not the savior, but I will respond like the savior responds to me.
I will smother myself & my
brothers and sisters in His grace, mercy & love.
I will smother myself and whoever I can in the truth that
because He stands in victory,sin has no grip on us.
Sin has NO GRIP on us.
He’s all we want He’s all we need He’s everything.
Nothing phases him.
Though we may feel utterly helpless,
there is nothing he hasn’t seen coming and nothing he doesn’t know how to handle.
What’s on us then?
What’s our role in all this?
What’s our responsibility?

The remedy, the rescue, the solution…
our only hope,
is to live life on God’s terms.
  •  that means praying when we don’t feel like it
  •  that means forgiving when we don’t see a point
  • that means getting rid of – once and for all –  the sin in our life that Jesus has been telling us HAS NO GRIP ON US
  • that mean’s believing when we would just rather, let worry, fear & hopelessness consume us.
  • that means living life on God’s terms.

I will find hope in the truth that
Jesus has overcome,

so no matter the battle a friend may face,
I can rest
assure that the TRUTH is he or she holds the keys to victory for the war.
So I will not worry, I will pray
I will not worry, I will trust
I will not fear, I will rest assured
I will not give up, I will believe
For I know that He has overcome.
And WE have the solution.
com carinho,
T

717; Cleaning House

717 ; the number of days we’ve been married
the area code for us Lancaster folk.
In May, I quit my job.
Wow, that was much harder to type then I thought it would be.
I quit for personal reasons, to which I have no regret.
It was the best thing to do, in order for me to take care of what had become a sudden priority.
These are the kind of things one doesn’t broadcast on social media.
These are the moments that aren’t advertised on the highlight reels of peoples lives.
These are the things I write about.
Never, ever , EVER would I ever have envisioned myself as a housewife.
The sheer thought used to make me cringe.
Honestly, the first housewife that I ever respected and valued was Greg’s mom.
Her dream was to be a mom who raised loving children who followed Jesus.
That was her dream job.
Prior to that, I had only known housewives who HAD to 
 because there wasn’t any other financial options to take care of the kids.
I used to roll my eyes at housewives, 
because I never understood how you could not want to do anything else.
After meeting Greg’s mom & seeing her in action, I got it.
I thought it was beautiful & rare how she chose that.
I saw how she came alive around her kids, 
and I learned in those early days of dating Greg that;
 there is INFINITE value to being a housewife.
ESPECIALLY a stay at home mom.
Greg, unlike me  (as usual ) 
in addition to his dream of being a home brewer, 
dreams of being a stay at home dad.
Needless to say Greg’s got the whole HOME thing down pat.
But I…
not I said the Tree…
 I get STIR CRAZY.
So these past few months of not working have really challenged me.
Mentally,  Emotionally, & I suppose a little physically.
When all you know is pursuing the next success,
 working for the next bill, in order to enjoy life,
looking for the next goal,
striving for the upcoming achievement etc.
when you pump the brakes on that madness, 
and just STOP 
put the car in park
put the E brake up
take the keys out of the ignition,
there is a stillness
a calm
a chance to get out of the car,
lay in the grass,
 lookup to the sky and dream.
Some days have been really easy others have been really challenging.
I got discouraged.
I got confused.
I got lost.
Wondering what my place was.
Knowing full well this season was supposed to be teaching me something,
 but the longer I took to learn it, the longer it would last.
Application after application.
Interview after interview.
Rejection after rejection.
After a while you figure why bother looking up at the sky to dream,
I’m better off crying into my pillow.
And sometimes you do need that good cry,
that rejection,
that moment of stop trying to get in the car again and just learn what God’s trying to teach you.
AND FINALLY
for the past few weeks I have been.
I’ve been soaking up my word, 
listening to God’s voice as I walk Lady three times a day,
sitting on my front porch journaling,
even as I -yup – cook & clean day after day
it’s in those moments that I’ve been receiving clarity and vision.
it’s in the realizing in this season my job is to learn, that I have been finding peace.
it’s the recognizing thanks to Greg’s constant gentle reminders, that my worth isn’t 
based on the cash I bring home or what I accomplish in the day.
it’s teaching me a bunch on dependency,on that being one with Greg means what’s His is truly mine,
on whats mine is truly his.
its reminding me that love isn’t earned.
its reminding me that we are a team and showing me that whether I’m extremely productive that day, or not at all my husband is concerned with the state of my heart.
He is gentle patient,  comforting, and encouraging
Does he worry, ohmygracious we joke that its almost as if the Bible says WORRY about everything, 
instead of don’t worry about anything,
but never for a moment making me feel inferior,
never for a moment letting me forget that I am gifted and valued,
and always telling me, that being at home is exponentially appreciated,
even though to onlookers it may seem crazy,
because we know what others may see,
 but we also know what God said.
Greg says thank you on the days I do much & on the days I do next to nothing
so to whoever stumbles upon my words,
married or single
house wife or 9-5’er
WHATEVER SEASON YOU’RE IN,
don’t belittle the value of staying still,
learning those lessons ,
& just taking the time to … 
hmmm, wow
now I get it, 
revel in the time that is being set aside for you to cleaning house.
(in my case both figuratively & literally)
com carinho,
T

716; Find Friends Who Fuel You.

We twirled in the fields of Maryland shamelessly.
Post-Adventures to Rehoboth,swimming in the deep blue sea, straddling state lines, sipping some land sharks in the biergarten,catching Pokemon, making some go-karting memories {that we’ll laugh at someday, but not quite yet  }& indulging in nico-bol-i’s + gelatis to make it all better,
 the song BRAND NEW played in my mind as we span about in circles.
You know what I love ?
When people come back into your life in the most unexpected of seasons, in the most unexpected of ways, when you need it the most.
Devon and I met in fall of 2009.
Her laughter, drive ,& commitment to Jesus have always been (and continue to be) contagious .
Sometimes, the best way your spouse can celebrate your marriage, is by supporting your time out with friends.
Greg gets that. 
He see’s the way that my friends help me come alive, the way they meet me where I’m at & recharge me like no other .
Once upon a time when Greg was annoyed with my friends , he said ” I don’t get it Thressa, why do you put up with them & still wanna be their friend even when they’re m.i.a. right now?” 
How many men have felt that about the friends of the women they love ?
-don’t get to hype , here comes the rest –
I responded in two ways ;
” well, first of all ( yep that kind of first of all that you instantly realize you’re about to find out ) before you were my knight in shining armor, they were
followed by, ” …& I still stay in a relationship with you even though you annoy me right ?”
Ever since then , he figured out that it in order for our marriage to be maximized, finding the friends that fueled me was a necessity.
So this is a chapter on friendship.
This is a chapter on growing up.
This is a chapter on learning ,that sometimes the best of friends, are always there.
This is a chapter on learning, that sometimes the best of friends, come back when you least expect it, & after a huge span of time has passed, you realize … they never really left.
This is a chapter on saying sorry for not being there when she needed me the most,& recognizing my humanity.
This is a chapter of receiving grace & starting brand new.
WE WOULD HAVE ROLLED ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING, had somebody told us that in 2016 we would be living in the same small city that is Lancaster City, PA.
But I don’t mind it,
because I love to laugh & I love surprises.
I love the adventure of going on spontaneous mini road trips with a friend who is as excited about life as I am.
I love the value of a husband who understands the value of a ladies day out.
I love the E N D E A V O R of friendship .
I love all that it entails .
I love how they enrich your marriage.
I love how they make you realize, that in this massive world you live in, you’re not so alone after all.
I love the way friendship allows me to talk about a million different things, & in a million different ways .
Greg is my best friend, & a massive component in attaining that title is in his understanding of how friendships enable us to thrive.
Devon challenges me,listens to me, & is as compassionate as she is free.
She embodies freedom.
She illustrates friendship at its finest.
She sees how Greg & I function, how we maximize each other’s strengths in a multitude of ways, and she cheers us on.
Those are the friends readers.
Those are the ones I celebrate today.
Surround yourself with the friends who  embody freedom, who illustrate friendship at its finest , who sees how you + your man function, & cheers you on towards the future that God has in store for you.
Both in the day to day, & spontaneous endeavors;
Find the Friends who Fuel you.

700 ; Cheers to Husbands Who Pursue Their Passions and To The Wives Who Root for Them

Early on in my dating relationship with Greg,
a wise woman by the name of Mariah Walker once taught me;
love your man, by loving what he loves.
Thus began my study of the history of hockey.
I became to determined to learn as much as I could, 
so that the next time Greg & I were together he would be blown away
by my historical hockey knowledge.
When the time came, and I began to drop dates of when hockey started, why its called hockey, 
and the rules of hockey, I did not get the reaction I anticipated
First, he looked confused, tilting his head at me as a dog does 
when they’re trying to make sense of what they’re human is doing.
Then, I explained myself and he began to chuckle.
APPARENTLY, that’s not how you talk sports, but he appreciated & got a good laugh out of me trying.
It wasn’t just about learning the facts, it was about loving the game. 
As Mariah had said, “loving what he loves”.
Girlfriends, and wives reading this, 
some words of wisdom from one woman who loves her man to the other;
don’t belittle or make fun of what your husband comes to love, 
because you’re one of them.
Hockey has become infinitely more fun to watch, & talk about , 
creating increased bonding opportunities for us,
(you know once I dropped my  pursuits of its  historical facts) and chose to love it.
Greg’s biggest passion + dream for about the past 2-3 years has been home-brewing.
He is fascinated by the precision, the process of creating, the calculating, the chemistry, the endless possibilities, the outlet for socialization, the art of waiting, and most of all… the reward.
Greg loves to homebrew, I love to homebrew.
I believe in Greg, and the delicious beer he produces.
Not because I have to, but because I choose to.
I love Greg, Greg loves me, I love what he loves.
Now of course not in the same way, I am certainly no chemist and I can only take so much brew talk,
but I LOVE THE WAY HE LIGHTS UP.
I LOVE seeing him expand his knowledge & inventory.
I LOVE GREG & I LOVE WATCHING HIM COME ALIVE.
This may all be self explanatory, but I think its too easy to just say you support the dreams of your guy, but not invest in them.
INVEST; the time, the money, the conversation…even if  for the millionth time about the fermentation process, what the temperature needs to be for the wart boil, 
and the difference between top / bottom fermenting yeasts.
On our 700th day of marriage, we celebrated by spending the day visiting 3 breweries with a married couple, where the husband is on the same page of brewing passion as Greg, where the wife drives 3 hours – not only because she loves hanging out with us 😉 – to show her husband how she loves him, and she loves seeing her husband pursue what he loves.
That weekend was such a blast because
  •  she & I both love our husbands, though we don’t understand home-brewing A LOT of the time, we understand that it matters to our husbands, & because it matters to them, it matters to us.
  • he & Greg were as giddy as little kids on Christmas morning to spend time with a fellow home-brew enthusiast, exploring breweries, and pursuing their passions
SO CHEERS;
  •  to 700 days with Greg
  • to husbands who homebrew
  • to the wives who root for them

LIKE FATHER,
LIKE SON

Lancaster Brewing Company’s Food & Brews is our favorite
This one will be framed at their future brewery

Cheers to Husbands Who Pursue Their Passions and To The Wives Who Root for Them