Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours :)

We hope you are enjoying your Christmas Day and time with family and friends!

And may you remember the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus this year as we wait expectantly for His second coming.

Ben and I are enjoying spending time with both of our families. It is a blessing to be "home" for Christmas.

We got an unexpected and very unusual Christmas gift this year from the Commodore of Ben's training squadron. As many of you know he had his meeting with the Commodore last Tuesday to decide whether he would continue in the flight program or not. The Commodore looked over his file, and the recommendations from instructors, and decided that Ben had the skills and work ethic to remain in the flight program. This in itself was a big surprise, and an encouraging word to hear from his boss. However, Ben also shared with him that over the past two months of waiting for this review board to happen, he has been contemplating whether or not he even wanted to be in the flight program any more. He just didn't have any joy in training for this job, and was honestly getting excited about the possibility of choosing a new Air Force career. The Commodore really appreciated his honesty, and said that many students will not be that honest with him. So, the Commodore did something he has never done for a student before, and gave Ben the choice of whether he wanted to stay in the flight program or not. It is a really neat position for him to be in, and one that was completely unexpected. He is now praying about what decision he will make, and will give the Commodore an answer by January 4th, when he returns from Christmas break.

Either way, God is soooooo good! We could have never imagined His plan in all of this for us, and it is amazing to watch Him work such unexpected and honestly, quite impossible things in our lives. What a Christmas gift! With this opportunity to decide what he wants to do, either choice that he makes will be honorable and respectable, and will help us out in other endeavors down the line.

This is truly an example of how God's ways are SO much higher than ours!


Pray for us, as we search out what the Lord would have us do in the Air Force.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Its almost here! Ben is going to have his meeting with the Commodore tomorrow morning (tuesday) at 8:30 am.

It is a little bit intimidating to think about, but we know the Lord will guide his words & responses. Please pray for him when you remember him tomorrow! And we will let you know the outcome as soon as able!

It has been a crazy journey---and is definitely not over---but by this time tomorrow we will have at least a little bit of direction in the area of his career. Thanks for journeying through this with us. Its times like this when I am glad that I blog, and am able to update most everyone all at once on important life decisions!

In the midst of all this, we are packaging up Christmas presents, packing for Christmas in TX, and getting me packed and ready for a flight to Ft. Worth in the morning, where my grandmother's funeral will be held. After Ben's meeting, he will drive down to Houston on either Tuesday or Wednesday, and I will meet him there on Thursday to start the Christmas festivities.

Thats all for now! Merry Christmas :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Mimi

My sweet Mimi went to be with Jesus yesterday afternoon.

She was such a wonderful lady, and I am so sad to see her go, but am also so excited to know that she is with her Savior, Jesus & and is singing with the saints and the angels!

She loved to sing, and that is a love that she passed onto me. I like to think that I get a lot of my creativity from her too, because she (as well as my other grandmother, Mom'O) was one of the most creative people that I know. I remember learning to draw and to paint from her skilled hands; it was one of my favorite things to do with her.

She and I also loved to shop together, and would find all the good deals :)

And as a child I loved to sit with her and to paint her nails, or to dress up in all her fun clothes. I loved going to church with her and my other grandparents, and watched how much they loved the Lord and loved the body of believers


As Mimi got older, she developed dementia, and couldn't remember a lot of things. But one thing she never failed to remember was the words to an old hymn. "There's Going to be a Meeting in the Air". She would break out into song all the time, and would sing so beautifully the words,

"There is going to be a meeting in the air in the sweet, sweet by and by I am going to meet you, meet you over there in that home beyond the sky.
Such singin’ you will hear never heard by mortal ear
‘ Twill be glorious I do declare,
And God's own Son will be the leading one at that meeting in the air."



It was her heart to be with Jesus, and I have no doubt that her meeting with Him, in that home beyond the sky, has been glorious.

Love you Mim.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little update

Just a little update on yesterday's post.

The review board happened yesterday, as many of you know---thank you so much for your prayers! We know that the Lord will accomplish his purposes through it. Unfortunately, you don't really gain any information on the direction of their decision from that board. So we can't tell you much on how it went, but we know the Lord is sovereign!

The final step now, is to talk to the Commodore aka "Big Boss Man". This conversation between he and Ben will probably happen on Friday, if not sooner. By the end of their meeting, Ben will know one way or another whether he will be retained in the program or not.

We will let you know when it happens!


For now, he is getting his uniform ironed and shoes shined, I am studying for the 2 finals that I have tomorrow, and in between, we are planning a Christmas party for our youth at church and watching Christmas specials on tv :) fun times!


We are thankful for such an amazing support group the Lord has blessed us with! Thank you!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today is the Day

We found out this morning that Ben will have his review board this afternoon at 1:15. He is grouped w/ two other guys, both whom he knows, who also have to go to a review board. He was glad that he wouldn't be alone!

Please pray for wisdom and guidance over the instructors who will be reviewing his file, and for the Lord's will to be accomplished through this board.

There are three instructors who will be reviewing his file to determine whether he was treated fairly in the program or not. If they find some inconsistencies, and feel that he should get another chance, they will recommend him back into the program. If not, they will recommend him for attrition. Then, he will go talk to the big boss man and that interview will ultimately determine whether he stays in the flight program or not. The interview will most likely be tomorrow.

We are both really at peace & are just glad to get this thing moving so we can get some direction.

Thanks for praying!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Music

Favorite Christmas Music this year:

Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

We actually got this CD at Starbucks last Christmas in their clearance section. Its a wonderful classic and something we never get tired of listening to.
AND...
Our very favorite Christmas cd, is Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God. Our church back in College Station put on a Christmas Play using the music from this cd, to tell the story of Christ. I have been hooked ever since! Its an awesome worship cd, that you can honestly listen to year around, but in the Christmas season it is a great one to have, as it focuses on the birth of Christ!




Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Time!

Christmas time has always been a favorite time of year for me and Ben. It has become even more special in the past two years as we fuse the traditions from our own families and even make new traditions of our own! We have been sipping on hot cocoa and spiced tea, cutting down our own tree, decorating, making Christmas goodies, watching Christmas movies, wrapping Christmas gifts together, and celebrating the birth, death & resurrection of our Savior.

Here is a pic of our tree this year, we brought back the yarn ball theme from last year, and also cut down our own tree again this year! We love being able to do that---Especially Ben, because any man + a saw = happy camper

We are hoping to find cut your own tree farms in the places we live in the future so we can carry on this tradition.


Ben put the finishing touch on our tree---a fuzzy bronze, sparkly star!



We were so excited to get this new addition to our Christmas decor:
Granny & Paw-Paw (Ben's grandparents) gave us this nativity scene for Christmas last year. I love it!


And lastly, I had to put a picture of this Marbled Lemon Curd Cheesecake in the post. Ben is a huge fan of cheesecake, and has loved snacking on this little treat throughout the week! He says its one of the best cheesecakes he has ever had.
The only changes I made were that I used 1/3 fat cream cheese & Light sour cream, but trust me---You can't even tell.. Its super rich and creamy!





Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A few pics from the trip

Here are a few pics from our trip to Disney---sadly, our camera got maxed out on the second day there so we didn't get all the fun moments on camera, but here are a few of the ones we did catch.





it was actually cold in Orlando a couple of days that we were there! This is us leaving the Spectromagic Light Show at Magic Kingdom


Nighttime at Disney


Mom & Dad at Animal Kingdom---a few seconds after taking this shot, a HUGE gorilla came into view right behind them!


Ben & Austin & a giraffe at the Animal Kingdom Lodge---they actually have wildlife at the resort hotels!
We at here for Thanksgiving Dinner. They had African and Indian cuisine. Not your typical Thanksgiving meal!


We took a lot of shots in front of Christmas trees :)


We had a great time in Orlando with my family and drove back late on Sunday night, while the family flew back to TX on Monday.

Our first Thanksgiving as a couple was spent with Ben's family, giving them the grand tour of our new home in Pensacola. We cut down a tree together, made ornaments, and once again, had a pretty untraditional Thanksgiving meal (maybe THAT will be our family tradition).

Our first two Thanksgiving holidays as a family have been some of the best I can remember! We are so blessed to have such wonderful family to share them with!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We're going back!

To Disney World for Thanksgiving!!!





With our military discount, we got 2 five day passes to Disney World, and only used one of the days when we went back in August.


Sooooo that means we have 4 days left!

We decided it was totally worth it to make the trip again to use our 4 remaining days...I mean, how often is it that you live in Florida, within reasonable driving distance of Disney World. Hmmm....probably never again.

AND my parents and brother are coming with us! We are so excited to get away for a few days, and to be around some family. We are really missing all of our Texas family & friends!


So we will be out of touch w/ the computer realm for a few days, but will be back to the blogosphere soon, until then....


Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Blind Side



A-MAZING.


Ben & I went to see this movie last night at the midnight showing. Not really because we are all that fanatical, but mainly because we have the time now where we can do silly things like that. So we did. Little did we know that we would be waiting for our movie with every Twilight fan known to man in the city of Pensacola. Crazy.

Literally, they had one measly little theater reserved for the Blind Side and every other theater in the house was reserved for the midnight showing of New Moon. There were about 3,000 people that waited in line to get into that movie. And about 15 of us that showed up for The Blind Side. And I think some of those people were ones that came too late to get a ticket for New Moon.

I found it amusing afterwards, as we were all filing out of the movies, that I heard so many of the people who went to see Twilight saying things like, "Man, that was dumb" or "What a disappointment". And all that Ben & I could say was, "Wow, that was a great movie--what an incredible story."


So you should definitely skip all the Twilight saga hoopla & go see The Blind Side.

I cried, I laughed, I was inspired. The family that Sandra Bullock & Tim McGraw play were incredible parents to this kid that they literally took up off the streets. And he became incredibly huge in shaping their lives too. I was amazed by this family, who treated this kid as if he were their own son---pulling out all the stops for him, in the same way they did for their own children. That is incredible love and sacrifice.

The movie really hit a soft spot in my heart, for kids in lower income areas, that really are born with so little opportunity. I have seen first hand that unless someone is willing to help these kids, it is near impossible to get out of the cycle of poverty and drugs that their parents before them are living in. They can't learn, they can't pay for college-if they even get in, they can't afford tutors, they can't drive themselves to church or to job interviews. Its very difficult to get out of a cycle like that. And no government policy or stimulus can get them out either.

It takes real people. People who are willing to sacrifice their comforts, their time, their money. People who will teach the principles of working to make a living and most importantly, people who are willing to love them. It takes the church of Jesus Christ, living and serving in their community. His people, that will feed the poor & disadvantaged not only physical bread, but the bread of Life. People who will share our hope of salvation.

We need to be those people.


So, go see the movie--its well worth it!

And I hope you are encouraged and challenged as much as we were.



Monday, November 16, 2009

New Creativity

Here are some pics of my newest creations---Most of them were made using Amy Butler's new 'Love' fabric--which I am in love with :)

I will have them up soon on etsy, but here is a sneak peak!

*photography by ben :)

apron comes w/ a cute little pocket & a convenient towel loop




probably my favorite fabric ever on this new clutch

and another pretty little apron


Keep watching for a post on flight training status---coming soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gospel for Asia


There is a really neat opportunity from Gospel for Asia this Christmas to give gifts to people all over Asia. They have done this in past years as well, and Ben and I have loved being involved. One year our church purchased a Water Buffalo for men and women in need!

These gifts go to people who have never heard the gospel of Christ, as well as believers who are laboring as native missionaries to these countries.

You can find out more about purchasing Christmas gifts in this Christmas Catalog.

Gifts range from buying a chicken for about $10, to buying a simple water filtration system for about $30, to even buying a water well (which would be a great group purchase as it is about $1,000)!

I have had a lot of fun looking through the catalog--there are so many great things you can give these desperately needy people--and for so small a sacrifice!

So if you are looking for ways to give this Christmas, or would like to take the focus of off the materialism we so easily turn the holiday into--check it out! Its worth it ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Freebies

For anyone who is active duty military or a veteran of war, you may be interested in some of these freebies, being given by different retailers & restaurants around the U.S. in honor of our veterans:

Applebee's Restaurant - Free dinners to veterans throughout the day.

Outback Steakhouse - Free Blooming Onion and beverage.

Golden Corral- Free buffet dinner from 5-9 p.m. on Nov. 16 to anyone who has ever served in the U.S. military

Krispy Kreme - One free doughnut of any variety.

Texas Roadhouse - Free dinner at most outlets.

Lowe's & Home Depot - Extra 10% off to active-duty military members, National Guard and reserve members, retirees, honorably discharged veterans and immediate family members.

Sam’s Club – Over 25,000 Hugo canes will be given away to U.S. veterans in need of mobility assistance. Membership is not required, but supplies are limited, so check with your local store.

Amazon.com - Free "Veterans Day Honor" MP3 album download. The album includes 12 songs by The Bands and Ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Cabela's Outdoor Store - Offers their employee discount to all veterans, active-duty military and reserves, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel Nov. 11-12. Discounts vary from 5% to 50%, depending on the item.

Build-a-Bear Workshop - Members of the armed services including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserve Officer Training Corps, will receive a 20% discount Nov. 11-15 on any one transaction at Build-A-Bear Workshop.



Hope everyone has a wonderful Veterans Day! We are thankful for those who have served & for those who will serve our country :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Waiting.

Not much has changed since Monday's blog post. In other words, we are still waiting. Ben will probably have a flight tomorrow and it will be a very important one. Either he passes, and they move him right along to the next flight, as though these past two weeks never happened. Or he fails, and although we don't know the whole story on what could happen then; he would be sent to a review board to see if he stays in the flight program.

His instructor on Tuesday was very encouraging and really thinks that Ben can pull out of this--he saw him as very trainable and told him that most of the flight went really well--he really wanted to pass him, but needs him to get just a couple of things down pat in the airplane before he can justifiably do that.

Its challenging to see failure as a blessing, or to see the good that God is doing through it. Its much more tempting to just measure yourself up to everyone else, the way the instructors measure you all day. Its exhausting to work so hard and to not reap the visible "reward" of passing. Its tempting to wonder, "is all this hard work I've been doing over the past year in vain?"

Those have been the struggles of this week so far, and of the last week too. We have to look for the good in this situation, we have to trust God's faithfulness & be thankful. We have to remember that God has not told Ben to leave the flight program, and we have to press on. Waiting, all the while for His plan in all this to be revealed...waiting to see how the next flight will go. Trusting, that God has had a plan in giving Ben success in flight school for the past year, and that he has a good purpose now in allowing him to fail these flights.

We are waiting...trying not to grow impatient or weary of working hard. I was very encouraged by a sermon from John Piper on Impatience & Unbelief this morning. Here is an excerpt:

"Impatience is a form of unbelief. It's what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God's timing or the goodness of his guidance. It springs up in our hearts when the road to success gets muddy or strewn with boulders or blocked by some fallen tree. The battle with impatience can be a little skirmish over a long wait in a checkout lane. Or it can be a major combat over a handicap or disease or circumstance that knocks out half your dreams.
The opposite of impatience is not a glib, superficial denial of frustration. The opposite of impatience is a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness either to wait for God where you are in the place of obedience, or to persevere at the pace he allows on the road of obedience—to wait in his place, or to go at his pace."

This is what we are striving to do, to grow in a peaceful willingness to "persevere at the pace he allows on the road of obedience.."
Like I said, He hasn't called us away from flight school up to this point, so we need to persevere & trust him.
Pray for us. That as we wait, our strength & courage in Jesus would mount, and that we wouldn't crumble in exhaustion. Pray that we have a right response to every which way He leads us this week. Pray that we would not dwell in the unbelief of impatience---but believe in patience!
"Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31


Monday, November 2, 2009

Trusting His Ways.

****comment on post below: I wrote this primarily, to let you all know what the Lord is teaching us right now. But I do realize that in focusing on that, I left out some important details about what may or may not happen in the coming week. Please check the comment section for a better explanation of that.****



What a week.

Possibly one of the hardest we've had in flight school thus far.

We were coasting along through flight school--difficult, yes, but nevertheless, assuming that Ben would be graduating this past Friday from Vt-10. Assuming that it was God's plan, and well, just assuming a lot.

But on Monday (a week ago today), all of those assumptions blew up in our faces.
Ben failed his first flight. And long story short, the week didn't get a whole lot better after that, and failing a flight comes with a lot of added pressure and uncertainty.

What, Lord? That's not part of the 8 week plan!
That's not what we were praying so fervently for!
How can this be your will?

It was a pretty hard blow, but of course, God's purposes in revealing these things to us are always good.

And along with all of our prayers for Ben to be successful in his flying, we were also praying for God's will to be done. Well, he wasn't exactly "successful" on Monday, by flight school's standards, but we have to believe that it was God's will.

James 4:13-16 says, "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"--yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.


We are not guaranteed anything in this life. Ben is in flight school right now, I am in pre-nursing school--and we know that right now, this where God has us. But to make assumptions beyond that is arrogant and assuming. We do not know what the future holds and have to hold our plans loosely, trusting the Lord every step of the way.

Do we believe that God can cause Ben to complete all of flight school? Yes. Yes. Yes. He is the Almighty God, who has shown us so much of His power and favor over Ben's studies (and mine too, for that matter).

But, will we assume that God is going to do that? No. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. So although, we think that it would be a great idea for Ben to complete flight school, and definitely hope that God has that in store for us--we are learning to trust Him more and more in this. His ways are best. So whatever He has for us, we will gladly accept.


We do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Its an interesting place to be. And we are still learning our right response. On the one hand, we are believing God. and praying with such belief that He can totally give Ben the ability he needs to pass his remaining flights. And on the other hand, we are also praying that we will trust Him and be willing for whatever he does have for us.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Handmade Half-Apron


I have been working on a new project this week and wanted to get it out to you guys in time for Christmas!

This is a ruffled half-apron, using some of Amy Butler's new fabric collection, "Love". I am absolutely in love with this fabric and think it goes together quite nicely to make a really fun, girly apron! The apron ties together nicely around your waist with a nice sash that can be tied into a cute little bow.

With Christmas right around the corner, I wanted to extend this to you guys--I think they would make great gifts!

Anyway, if you are interested in purchasing one please email me: benandashcarter@gmail.com

I am charging $25 each + shipping (probably between $4-5)

I am not putting it on etsy quite yet, so this is a special friends & family deal :) Also, if you like the design, but the fabric does not suit you, we can work on that too ;)





Monday, October 26, 2009

I think I'll go to Boston...

Ben and I sing that song around the house a lot...

I am not really sure why, we do kind of weird things when its just the two of us, but I think part of the reason that we sing that particular song is that we both would love to visit Boston some day.

and on Friday, Ben actually got to GO to Boston!

He got in from his flight on Thursday evening, and after the debrief was informed that he was going on a crosscountry to Boston, MA for the weekend.

Although it wasn't under the lax, vacation circumstances you would normally hope for, it was kind of cool to think that his job can take him there so easily!

But don't be too fooled by the mirage of coolness, because unfortunately this aviator had to study and flight plan the whole time he was there...bummer.

I wish I could have been a stowaway in the luggage. Maybe someday...

So it was just me and myself and I this weekend.

Thankfully, the other student that Ben flew with has a wife that he had to leave behind too, so Erin & I got to hang out with each other most of Saturday afternoon & even got to go to a free Lonestar concert. Good thing they are the only country band that I like.


I also took my pre-Nursing entrance exam this weekend & by God's EXTREME grace scored really well! (I wasn't exactly the most disciplined about studying for this one)


All in all, it was a good weekend--even though I missed Ben terribly. I didn't realize how lonely & boring it gets without my best friend at home. I am glad he is back :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I almost feel famous...


So I can't really take any credit for this, but I just found out that the photographer for our wedding was a Top 10 image winner for this photo in contest for BRIDE magazine/WPJA.


Weird. But cool.


Here's the link to his post about it and the judge's comments if you care to take a look:


The judge's comment was touching, but almost made me laugh because this picture always reminds me of how out of it my mom was on that day. Seriously, she was in a daze, floating around the room...she hardly remembers coming up and putting her head on my shoulder at all. I guess thats why you hire a photographer!
But I do love this photo of me and my mama and I am glad that Philip is using it :).





Wednesday, October 21, 2009

yipes!

***UPDATE***

Just found out that Ben passed his first T-1 flight! Praise the Lord--thank you for your prayers!!
He did really well!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ben has his first flight in the T-1 today!! Definitely keep him in your prayers...we will let you know how it goes!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

ben's new friend...kind of


This is a picture of the T-1a Jayhawk, the Air Force Jet that Ben will soon be flying. We're still deciding whether it is really our friend or not.

For the past week, he has been getting really intimate with it and all its inner workings--learning everything about this little jet. Almost like getting to know a best friend or a spouse...but well, not as friendly or forgiving when you forget what one of its buttons do.

Ben has been taking test after test on the systems of this plane, its emergency procedures, and some other stuff that was probably too complicated for me to remember.

God has been really merciful to him and he has passed all of his tests so far! He has one more to take tomorrow, and then could start flying as soon as Wednesday.

He is pretty exhausted, actually we both are. Ben said that the Air Force should give me half a wing when he gets his wings because I help him study and kind of act as his wingman. :)

I'd be down with half a wing.

Anyway, the point is....these past couple of weeks have been hard. The Lord has really been sustaining us, but Ben especially is really exhausted and still has soooo much to do.

One of his instructors made an analogy of a flight student going through T-1 training as being like a person stranded on a little boat, with all of these vicious alligators coming at him/her.
To defend their self, the person has to club the nearest alligators first and focus primarily on them, but at the same time, keeping their eye on the alligators that are coming up behind the others, because if you drop your guard, they will get ya.

May sound a little silly to some of you, but it describes very well what Ben & the other students are going through. It seems as though they have this never ending list of things they have to get done and they have to slow down enough to decide which ones take priority, and use good time management to balance the rest.

So its one of those weeks where we know 100% that we won't get through it without the Lord's divine hand. Please pray with us that Ben will have energy & perseverance to get through this difficult week and that he will complete all the things expected of him this week. Pray that he will be a shining light to instructors & students and that the peace of God will guard his heart and his mind in Christ Jesus.






Saturday, October 17, 2009

Just so you know...

Jesus answered my prayer today and fall came to Pensacola. :)


YAY! I am so thankful for this beautiful weather. Thank you Lord!



Thursday, October 15, 2009

home decor idea


This is a picture of the wall in our dining area, right behind our dinner table. Although its a pretty bad picture, at a not so great angle ( I blame it on the overhead lamp...it always gets in the way), I wanted to post it because I got all these vases for super cheap!

So if you have a problem knowing what to do with some empty wall space, and want an inexpensive solution, here's one way to do it.

The wooden shelves were given to us by some friends who were simplifying their house, so we thankfully got those for free, but I am pretty sure you can find them at places like Home Depot or Lowes for pretty cheap. They were given to us in their "natural" form, so we used some black paint we had on hand and painted them up to match our dining room table.

Then I went to Ross (but Marshalls or TJ MAX is great too, depending on what you have in your area) and was able to find all these really fun vases for super cheap! We are talking like $3-6 dollars each! The total cost for the five vases was probably equal to the cost of one vase at a normal retail store.


So even if you just need some vases & aren't looking for any decorating ideas, seriously check out one of those discount stores--you just can't beat that!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

fall, where are you?


For many of you, fall may have already shown its beautiful face, but in Pensacola...it is slowly peaking out.

Very, very slowly. Actually, I think we are still in denial that it is fall; most days it feels like a mild summer. But I am ready for it to be here, so I gave my blog a fall face-lift!

We are still in search for the perfect pumpkins to put outside our door...last year we got lost in Alabama and bought ours at this really neat farmers market, but the seeing as we were lost, I don't know if we will be able to find it again :(


We were also blessed to be in Colorado during early fall last year and got to watch leaves actually change colors! It was amazing!





See!?! look at the color!


As we look back on last year, this fall looks very different from the last...and although sometimes we wish we were back in Colorado or in Texas with family, I think we are finally really settled here, and it feels like home. We feel at home in our church. At home in our apartment. At home in our daily tasks, and at home in our lives together.

So although, the Florida weather confuses our seasons a bit, we love the fall, and love the fun & special memories God has gifted us w/ during the fall season, this year & in past years.


Lord, please send the fall weather to Pensacola soon. It would be so wonderful.

But in the meantime I will enjoy my pumpkin spice lattes, blog makeovers, and fake fall leaves.


Monday, October 12, 2009

picnic friday!

Well, we took into consideration all the great advice we got on what we should do for our date night, and although we didn't go running through the corn maze in Milton (er sorry, erin), I took a picture of some really pretty stalks of wheat ( at least i think they are wheat stalks).

I am definitely thinking the corn maze may have to be a future date night outing.... I just can't get over the fact that there is an actual corn maze near us.

Welcome to floribama.

But I digress...


For our Friday date night we took the email advice of Ben's mama and went on a picnic! We pondered over where we would have our picnic very carefully, and finally decided that we needed to get out of Pensacola. Before living here we never realized what HUGE city kids we really are and sometimes we just need to pick up and see some new scenery.


So we chose Fairhope, AL.


For anyone living in the P'cola area, we definitely recommend it... the Downtown area especially, its super charming and has lots of fun little boutiques, antique shops & a really neat bookstore/cafe. Its just something a little different for this area thats not too far away.

So off we went, our fully loaded picnic basket & blanket in tote.



pretty wheat


the happy picnikers



the yummy food!! we had grilled corn, grilled mozzarella cheese sandwiches on sourdough and tomato/carrot basil soup. it was scrum.ditly.uptious.

and ben insisted on taking this picture.
he's so pretty.


we had a fabulous time---thanks for all the help w/ ideas, i will definitely store the others away :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

creativity block

If you were going on a date night tonight, where would you go? or what would you do?

I can't seem to think of anything fun/relaxing...

So I'm calling on you...what would you do?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Results...

Here are some of the results of my bread making extravaganza, as promised :)


I thought the French Bread turned out really beautifully





And the bagels have been scrumptious too!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Helmet Fire

A comment from the one and only Josh Owen, has indeed sparked this: the second blog entry by Ben. The comment was made about the verbiage that was most likely used in the cockpit on a day to day basis. Got a little story for ya Ags.

The phase of training I just completed was Low Level navigation or "VNAVs" as it is affectionately called here at Pcola. Cliff notes about VNAVs: fly low to the ground, no instruments to help you out, have to hit certain points such as towers and buildings on course and on time. The secret to passing VNAVs: find your points and get to them on time.

After a very successful morning flight the other day, I had to pass my check ride in the afternoon. I was flying with Captain Jones this particular day. Captain Jones informed me that she would not be helping me on my check ride, that indeed she was going to be a "voice activated auto pilot." I was going to have to get to all the points within 2 miles and make it to my final point within +/- 1 minute of my predicted time of arrival. After a successful take off and enroute journey to our first point, I realized I was somewhat lost (bad way to start a check ride). I directed her to turn north along a rode I new the first point to be near. After a few minutes of not seeing a point I was expecting to see after just a few seconds..."Uhhhhh ma'am, I think we're north of point Alpha. I think we need to turn around." (Which of course we were. In the debrief she informed me that she didn't think I truly ever knew how far off course we really were.)

Josh Owen, you know me well. The Lord has been teaching me a lot about perseverance, prayer, faith, and the the importance of judging myself honestly.

9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (English Standard Version)

www.biblegateway.com

p.s. I made it to my final point exactly 59 seconds late. I passed.




Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ben's Digs



digs: (from the urban dictionary)
home;place of residence
"my bro just moved into new digs across town."





Well ok, its not his real home, but its been his second home for the past several months.



Let me introduce you to the T-6 Texan. What an appropriate name, right?

Its the plane that Ben has been flying in for the past several months! He spent a few weeks in the front seat, flying the plane & has now moved to the backseat where he is doing all the navigation!

He has been doing so well & working soo hard. The Lord has definitely answered many prayers in his flights! And he actually has only one flight left in the T-6 before he moves onto a new airplane!


I will be sure to post pictures of that plane too so you can get a visual of what he looks like up in the air :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baking Day!



Today is baking day! I got the idea from Rachel Watters and a blog post she made a week or so ago. I have been experimenting on and off with making my own bread, tortillas, etc... and usually make some kind of cookies for our boys at youth on Wednesday nights, and after reading Rachel's blog I decided the best way to get it all done would be in one swoop.


Hence, baking day. I usually have a hard time getting baking like this done because you have to take such a huge chunk of your day out to mix the dough, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again & then bake it. That can easily take 3 hrs if not more!

So I have been planning all week to stay home most of the day today to bake & study Microbiology. A good combination, I think. Who knows, maybe my chapters will cover how yeast makes bread rise!

So whats on the menu, you ask?

Bagels...I am excited to try this out!

French Bread...more bruschetta on the way!

Flour Tortillas...a lot easier/faster than you'd think...no rising here!

Cookies or Brownies...TBA



I'll let you know how it turns out...especially the bagels! I am kind of intimidated by them!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Date Night

Ben & I started a new "tradition" in our little family, and declared Friday to be date night. We realized that with him being so busy all week, he needs at least one night of the weekend to be spend w/ just me. Although we are together all week long at different times during the day, we are usually not able to really "be together" as he is studying, I am working on youth material, or cooking, etc...

He also thought it would be a good idea to have Friday date nights, so that he can decompress from the week and officially turn his work mode switch off for a period of time.

So there you have it, the conception of Date Night. Last Friday we had a really fun date night and went to a restaurant in town called Madison's. The food was yummy & the decor of the restaurant was even yummier. And if you know me, you know that if a place is aesthetically pleasing, I am all the more likely to enjoy it--even if the food is just "Ok."

The best part of our night was that we had a $25 gift card to Madison's that I won through Swagbucks.

I traded in my Swagbucks points, that I earned through simply using their search engine, for a Restaurants.com gift card! Even if you don't use Swagbucks, www.restaurants.com offers deals on certain restaurants in your area. You can buy a $25 gift card to a restaurant for just $10, saving you at least $15! not bad, eh? The only catch is that you can only use one gift card at a time, so if you are interested, don't go out and buy 4 $25 gift cards and think that you are going to get a $100 meal for free...not gonna happen.

But anyway, check it out...we really enjoyed our dinner at Madison's and it made Date Night a lot more affordable :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Post it Notes (or a summary of the week)

The pace has really kicked up a notch this past week in the Carter household. Ben started intermediate training, which I mentioned in a previous post, and has been doing charts, studying & flying almost non-stop.

I started Microbiology, and to my great misfortune, am having to take it on Saturdays. Its interesting for sure, and something I have had experience in before, but 7 hrs in one day of any subject is a lot to handle. That and that its on a Saturday. At least it only lasts a few months.

We also started teaching the youth group at our church. I guess you could call us the youth leaders, but there are only about 6 kids to keep up with so its more of a small group setting than what some may think of as a youth group. And so far all the kids are boys, ranging from 7th to 12th grade. Thats a lot of testosterone. For our kick off week, I acted as "team mom" and brought some yummy cookies for the guys and we played Headbands, in memory of my Hawktree days in college. :)

The guys loved it, even though they had to wear my girly headbands...muahhaha.

We ended the study night talking about the Gospel, and will expand some more on it this week.
I will leave you guys with a quote from R.C. Sproul on what the Gospel really is. I really enjoyed his perspective, especially in the day we live in where the Gospel is often so skewed, even in "christian" churches. We are going to discuss it w/ the guys this week.

"There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, 'you can have a purpose to your life', or that 'you can have meaning to your life', or that 'you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.' All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.

The Gospel is called the 'good news' because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity."



Friday, September 18, 2009

Bon Appetit!



After seeing Julie and Julia it totally made me want plead with the Air Force to send us to France so I could go to French Cooking School. Or at least, quit everything else I am doing and plug through a famous cookbook for a year the way that Julie did. I love cooking and I love it even more when I learn new things about cooking and preparing food.

One of the things we saw prepared in the movie was bruschetta. Ben had never heard of it before and now insists on calling it Ambrosia for some reason; probably because he couldn't remember the word bruschetta-- but he commented during the movie that he would love for me to make that sometime.

It was a passing comment, but he usually doesn't make requests unless it has to do with the words "What" and "a burger". So I decided to grab me some french baguettes on my shopping trip this week and try my hand at it.

I kind of did my own spin on Bruschetta, but Ben and I both loved it! So here I am to share this goodness with you. Although it would be hard to make a meal out of this all by itself, we served it with a simple pasta dish with lemon & asparagus in it and our tummy's were both very happy afterward.

Ok so here's the recipe:

Bruschetta

1 loaf of french bread, sliced into 1/2" pieces
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced finely
1 bunch of spinach or arugula, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil (more if necessary)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese*


preheat oven to 450* F.

While oven is preheating, combine tomato, spinach and mozzarella in a bowl, along with equal amounts of salt and pepper to taste.

Once oven is preheated, place sliced bread on a broiler pan or cookie sheet and put in oven for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on top. Do not let the bread burn.

Once you have removed the bread from the oven, turn the oven down to 200*F.

After removing bread from oven (while still hot), take the halved garlic cloves and rub them across the top side of each bread slice. Amazingly, the aroma & flavor of the garlic will saturate into the bread just by rubbing it across each bread slice. Throw the cloves away when done. Brush half of olive oil over the top side of the bread slices. Add the tomato/spinach mixture and finally, drizzle remaining olive oil over each top.

Stick the bruschetta in the oven for a minute or two to melt the cheese. serve & enjoy!


* note: you can use smoked mozzarella or cubed mozzarella in this recipe as well. I just use the shredded kind because its cheaper & I usually have it on hand- it still tastes just as yummy!



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

oh how i love thee


Oh my goodness, I can't believe it is already the middle of September AND that my favorite apples in the whole wide world are back in stores!!

I was casually browsing the apples while grocery shopping today, thinking "blaaahhh, i can't believe i am getting granny smith again." Don't get me wrong, I love my granny smith, but I have a limit, and that limit was passed in like January. But then I saw them. HoneyCrisp Apples. A little piece of Heaven on earth.

These are the most delicious apples I have ever tasted. Perfectly juicy, and just sweet enough. Never mealy, or too sour, they are as close to perfect as an apple can be.

So if you have never had a HoneyCrisp Apple, splurge a little, and grab some on your next shopping trip. They are definitely more expensive than your run of the mill apple, but soooo worth it! And they are seriously only around for about 2 months....we are talking the priceless jewel of apples, you will be sooo happy when you've tried one.

Another reason I love honeycrisps so much is because I would bring them to the library when Ben and I were getting to know each other before our courtship. You know, during those "random" meetings in the library. I would eat my honeycrisp and we would gaze into each others eyes Oh so longingly. Yes I know I am being sappy, but its true...we talked absolutely nothing and yet it was ok. In my eyes, he could say nothing wrong or stupid or inconsequential. He was pure genius in my eyes, the man of men (of course, not much has changed there). And listening to him talk about who knows what, while eating my honeycrisp---oh it was pure bliss.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

here's what ben is up to


As promised, here is an update on Ben.

Ben finished primary, the first "stage" of his flight training at the beginning of September. He flew a final "check" ride to determine whether he had passed primary or not, and the instructor said he did really well and passed him, completing this first stage. Wooohoooo!

Its really exciting to have one phase down, but at the same time, it doesn't mean its over. Next is intermediate. We were really thankful for the way his finishing primary fell in the calendar, because he finished right before labor day weekend and got to enjoy having Friday, Sat, Sun and Monday off from flying or studying!

We basically did next to nothing all weekend and LOVED it! It was a great treat for him especially, having worked so hard and so consistently for the past four months. These poor guys and girls hardly get any down time once they start training--its like drinking from a fire hose almost 24/7!

After Labor Day, it was back to reality, and back to work for Ben. He started intermediate, the second stage of training on Tuesday and is already in over his head w/ work! I know they give them this much on purpose, but let me tell you-- I am glad I get to witness all he does because I don't think I would fully appreciate it otherwise--its a lot. Imagine having finals week over and over and over again. Thats how he feels most of the time. So I am not trying to toot his horn, although I really do think he does a great job at handling it all. I am just trying to paint a picture for you guys. And both Ben and I recognize that God's hand is constantly over him, giving him the power to accomplish all that he is accomplishing, and we also recognize that there are a lot of people out there praying for him and his success and favor w/ both God & men.

Thank you for your prayers & support, it means so much to us & we can really see God working so keep it up! your prayers are effective, and most desired!

Specifically, Ben has lots of studying and chart making to do this week, and has his first intermediate simulator tomorrow. He will have a few more simulators next week and then if all goes well, he will be up in the air again sometime in the coming week. Thats my crazy plane loving man!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

back to school. back to cool.


love that slogan.

I wish this was me on my first day of school, with my matching pink lunchbox and back pack- this girl's not messing around. Unfortunately, I didn't have any pictures of me as a kindergartener handy, so I just swiped this one.

And regretfully, Ben didn't take a picture of me heading out for my first day back to school post bachelor's, so sorry for the lack of a good visual, but use your imagination.

So, yes, I have started back to school..I am in my third week of classes. Sociology & Human Growth & Development on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And to say the least, its been.....interesting.

We spent the whole first week in both of my classes getting acquainted w/ each other. Literally going around the room to every single person & getting at least half of their life story. That was weird, not that I didn't enjoy it, but I could remember maybe once or twice at A&M that that happened and I am pretty sure that all we really said in our "introduction" was our name and what our major was, oh yea and that we were in the fighting class of....AAA!! hullabaloo.

My two classes are relatively small though, so I guess that affords us the option to even do introductions at all. Its also interesting because 18 year olds are actually the minority in my classes...there are probably more 30 and 40 year olds than anything else and I think 27 is the average age at the college. So, kinda cool as well.

My classes also tend to debate a lot, which isn't necessarily my favorite aspect of it, but in these subjects you can't really get around it I guess...everyone has their opinion and wants to make sure they voice it. The only classes I really ever did that in at A&M were spanish classes, but for all of us whities, you can't really get too far in a debate in spanish, or too heated- people just get confused too quickly and say "si". And in my nutrition classes, most of us were on the same page. So thats interesting...I think the Lord is wanting to teach me patience w/ all the outspoken people that seem to be concentrated in my classes & to see them thru His eyes and not my foggy, critical ones. I also need to discern when to speak up and when not to...not that its easy to get a word in edge wise, but there are times when I should probably at least try.

Needless to say, I am definitely learning more than just sociology and human development thru being back in school. I am glad it is where the Lord has me for the time being.

next post I will give a little hub update on ben's schooling and such!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

record breaking

Pensacola has surprisingly brought a lot of really fun people our way over the past year. We have been shocked at how many visitors we have had here and have also had some surprise encounters w/ people from college that we didn't even know lived here!



I don't know if its the beach that brings them all in, or our cute faces. Surely its not for all the metropolitan attractions because lets just face it, P'cola is not so metro. I think its probably for the beaches, especially for those visiting from Texas and have never experienced white sands, crystal blue water or seaweed free swimming.



So August actually marks the first month in about 7 months that we haven't had visitors! Crazy, I know! and you'd think that we'd be ready for the break, but actually Ben was telling me the other day that he wanted someone to come visit us, and I had to agree--we kind of liked the once a month visitor set up :)



But I do get to have somewhat of a visitor "fix" today because one of my SA friends, Becca Smith, now lives in Mobile, Al, just 40 minutes up the road and we are going to meet up for lunch! Its so fun when God transplants you nearby to a friend you'd never have imagined you'd see outside of TX!

That happened to me a lot in Colorado Springs too, when I was bored out of my mind during the week, not knowing what to do all by my lonesome in this strange new place while Ben was spending the weeks 45 min away learning to fly planes. I ended up reuniting w/ a friend from A&M who had just moved up there, met a long lost twice or thrice removed cousin and her husband, and was connected w/ at least one other friend of a friend--God always provides! He did that for me in a circumstance where it really wasn't necessary, but He knew my heart and knew how lonely I was and blessed me beyond belief with those little happenings. Nothing is too small or inconsequential for Him!

Anyway, just wanted to share what was on my mind this morning! and for all you reading this, know that there is always an open invitation for you at our house!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

disney world!


magic kindgom


fabulous 3D glasses


pirates of the carribean

space mountain--it was closed, but we took a pic anyway!

a very impressive legos store

needless to say, ben was elated

fancy car at the test track

the epcot ball!