Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hello Beautiful!

Lover:
"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves."
Beloved:
"How handsome you are, my lover! Oh how charming! And our bed is verdant."
Lover:
"The beams of our houses are cedars; our rafters are firs."
Beloved:
"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys."
Lover:
"Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens."
Beloved:
"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste."      -Glenda and Hugo...on the top of their climb-

Ok, not really...these verses are from the Song of Songs. If it were Hugo...it would go down like this, "Sup girl, lookin' good...come here wit yo fine a$$. Lets slow jam some Ginuwine and come ride this pony."

So the verbage is a little different today...but the intent, the attraction, and the love is the same. For the past several weeks, I have been really thinking about how married folks...especially those married for a while, communicate with one another. I too have been looking at my marriage with Sarah and how we work. How do we communicate? Do we whisper sweet nothings? Do we wink at each other?...Say I Love you in that romantic, red wine and cheesecake kind of way and not just the usual running out of the house, getting off the phone, kids yelling in the background kind of way?

The idea for this post came to me about a month ago, while at work...I asked several of my married (long married) co-workers when the last time they paid their spouse a sweet compliment. The last time they lovingly said, "You look beautiful!...You are amazing!...Or in Hugo's case...You fine, girl!...to their wives. Most of my co-workers looked at each other confused...as if I asked them to explain the theory of quantam entanglement.

For the most part, I got the answers I was expecting: A bunch of "Don't remember...Months...Never." Of course, there's the one guy who ruins it for all guys who says he showers is wife with compliments "all the time!" Whatever man...

Personally, I am awful at telling Sarah how I feel about her. What I think of her. What goes on in my mind when she looks cute in her clothes...or puts her hair up to work out...or when I glance over and see her smiling. I just don't do a good job of telling her that she is (the best, most awesome, wonderful, beautiful, most amazing, the prettiest girl)! I told my co-workers that it probably had been over a month since I gave Sarah a genuine, loving, selfless compliment. And let me stress selfless! Because telling your partner that she is ___________! to get some lovin' does not count...
So, this idea of failing to give my wife a compliment led me to examine the power of our words...or there lack of. The bible tells us that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." (Proverbs 18:21) and that "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body" (Proverbs 16:24).

So we all know words can tear down (death) people. But do we consider the opposite to be true? Do we consider that our words...our sweet words brings out life in one another? God tells us that our tongue can destroy...because our words hold an enormous amount of power. But this same power can build up life. Crazy, but true...our words can build...build life! God continues to tell us that these gracious words...sweet like honey words are good for our soul. They are medicine for our lives. God tells us that when we whisper these verbal spoons of honey...we are nursing each other back to spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational health.

In regards to our spouses...specifically my wife, Sarah. God has been telling me, "Alf...speak life into your marriage...speak truth into your wife...offer your sweetest words for her...its time heal and build and bring life to your marriage."

...and this isn't enough for Sarah. No, God has been telling me that, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver" (Proverbs 25:11). There is a perfect time and place. A perfect way of saying it because a genuine compliment offered at the right time is sweet honey to Sarah's soul.

So this is to you my sweet Sarah. I love you...I'll never be able to tell you enough. I'll never be able to repay you all the "I love you's" that I owe you. I'll never be able go back and re-tell you what I think of you right now in this moment.

But what I can do...is tell you right now. I love you. You are the most precious, sweetest, most important person in my life. I am always thinking of you...and always desiring to make you proud of me....

and...by the way...

"Damn you fine girl!"
What: V-Day annual trip...i.e. Marriage Conference
When: February 14, 2015
Where: Reimers Ranch and Austin, TX.
Who: Couple College kids who verbally committed to marriage, especially after disappearing as much as they did...Reyes-Ortiz's, McCringleberry's, Pasquels, Hendrix's, and the Hardins.
So we spent a few hours climbing...kind of. Frankly it was pathetic. Most of us looked and felt sick. Some of us climbed liked it. For the most part...it looked mostly like this:
and you know what...that's ok. I think we all just needed to get away and relax. Enjoy some friends...enjoy our relationships...and enjoy a day without those little people who are constantly needing your attention, wanting food, fighting with each other, wanting more food, tugging at your shirt, complaining about sharing toys, wanting more food, and still finding a way to ruin your following morning by waking up before the sun comes up. I heard Melissa say something about missing her kids on this trip...Not me. You're alone on this one.
 
So after a pitiful performance out at the crag...we all rebounded nicely at the bar. For Valentine's dinner, we all went to Bangerz in Austin. A cool sausage and beirgarten that the Hardin's recommended.
 We drank and ate like champs! Valentine's date was freakin awesome. THis place was so much fun. Great atmosphere...great drink selection...and great food.
I think this group did Valentine's 2015 right. We started the day off slow...but we finished it off by eating and drinking waaaaayyyy tooooo much. The group even had two desserts. Ice Cream at Bangerz and then we stopped at Gourdough's Public House to pick up one of those fat dessert donuts that will run you 5 thousand million calories. So yes...we killed it.
After sending the equivalent of a 5.15b in eating and drinking in Austin...we all went back to the Hardin B&B where we enjoyed a quick fire and schooled each other on the 90's G-Funk hip hop revolution. I don't think we ironed out which coast was better...but I'm partial to Dre, Snoop, and the greatest hip hop album of all time...The Chronic...and I can't believe no one said anything about Dre's "Nothing but a G thang!"...Baby!...

Anyways...don't want to fool you...which pictures of us might lead you to believe that we are hardcore crooked "I" G-folk (well maybe Hugo)...but none of us made it to 10 p.m. We were all in bed. And that my friends...is not Thug Life. Anyways...I digress.

Again, thanks to Brad and Amy...for hosting us, always. Thanks to my friends for making this happen. And thanks to my sweet Sarah who would rather spend Valentine's down and dirty at the crag...with friends...and good beer, than at an overcrowded, overpriced restaurant that I can't afford. I love you baby boo! You my rib!

Friday, January 9, 2015

33..34..

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."

January 3rd!

Sarah and I's birthday! Although, she is a year older than I (he he). So we are now 33/34 years old! Pretty cool age to be if you ask me. We are still young, feel young, and living young! Sure, there are cold days when aches and pains are worse...my back seems more sore than ever...and recovery time is prolonged. But for the most part, physically we're strong and feeling good.

As for the mind, I'm starting to realize I'm not all that smart. The older I'm getting, the more I realize I'm not as smart as I thought. In my 20s...I had everything figured out. Why even listen to others? Matter of fact, I can say I had a bad habit of not listening to others thoughts and opinions...I was already formulating my thoughts without considering others. Looking back and thinking about it...mmm, I don't like that version of myself. Kind of a selfish dude.

So as I age into my 30s...I'm realizing that there are way smarter people than I. And you know what? That's pretty dang cool. This means there's so much to listen and learn from others. There is a world of knowledge and experience to draw from. And the more I realize that I don't even know a fraction of a fraction...the more eager I am to listen, learn, and see new things...Another really sweet deal and realization is that I'm not called to be smart! I mean, its nice if you are...but take a closer look at the scripture above. It says to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. It doesn't say, "Know the grace and knowledge of our Lord..." Today, that means so much to me. It gives me the freedom to say, "I don't know!" And often times...I really don't. There's no need to be prideful and appear to know like you know...ya know?
In my 20s...I was a know-it-all. And today...I feel a little less like know-it-all and like someone who is eager to grow. And again, that's such a revelation for me. So, what is to grow? Several quick definitions are: to increase, to expand, to develop, to thrive, to come into existence from a source, to come to be, to allow development, a process, and to change. Ok, that's a good start. But spiritually, to grow implies so much more. As a person, if you allow change, development, and your heart to be processed and transformed...you must be:
-open
-transparent
-vulnerable
-unbiased
-ready
-willing
-honest
-trusting
-hopeful
You have to be,...right? You have to have some, if not all of these qualities to constantly develop and change. How can I grow if I'm not willing to change...or ready to try something new...or trust in another person. How can I grow If I'm not honest with myself and know that I can be better. How can I grow if I'm not transparent and vulnerable with you and tell you that, "yes...my shit stinks too!" You have to be hopeful! You have to be hopeful that one day your shit can stink a little less!
So with that being said...I like the idea of change. Growth is good. Growth is what is meant for us. Yeah, I like the sound of that...I like what this means...Spiritually, I like what it implies.

I am now 34 years old and I love being in my 30's. I know I am no longer the smartest guy in the room. Nor the hippest or coolest or strongest or best looking. But I know what I want to be. I want to be the guy that is growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
*Extra Credit Stuff*
So, speaking of being open and honest...I am currently reading "Yes Please" by the wonderful, and hilarious Amy Poehler (yes, I'm a big fan and I can be her best friend if she would have me). She is great...and she has wonderful insight. I'm a big believer in all truth is God's truth. No matter what shape or form or that it can be from a raw, unlikely, unexpected, unchurch like place. So this is an excerpt from her book:

"I say "Sorry" a lot. When I am running late. When I am navigating the streets of New York. When I interrupt someone. I say, "Sorry,sorry,sorry." in one long stream. The sentence becomes "Sorrysorrysorry and it's said really fast, as if even the act of apologizing is something to apologize for. But this doesn't mean I am a pushover. It doesn't mean I am afraid of conflict or don't know how to stand up for myself."

She goes on to tell a story when she was younger about a guy on a plane being annoyed by her and Tina Fey's conversation. He bumped into her when the flight was over and proceeded to tell her that they basically annoyed him throughout the flight. She loses it, and yells out a long," F!@#(&$%^! You! and basically continues to curse him out.

Ok, so I think she insinuates that that wasn't cool, although he deserved it and she felt good doing it. But she continues in the book and now says, "But for the most part I try not to yell f!@# you. I try to say "yes please. And "Thank you." "Yes please" and "thank you" and "sorry, sorry, sorry."

After laughing out loud, I paused and thought, "huh...simple, golden rule...but nonetheless, Freakin' TRUE! And then just laughed some more. Yes, love finding truth in places I wouldn't have found truth in the past! Good stuff there.
What: Sarah and I birthday
Where: E-Rock, Fredericksburg, Reimers
Who: Bingham's, McGillicutty's, the Girls, and Beauty and the Beast.
Happy Birthday my sweet wife! This is to you! Another year, another year together...to the years ahead. I wish you the best! I don't have too! I already have it. I love you.
Ok, so here are the sights of our weekend.

 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Spirit Rejoices

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..." Luke 1:46-47
 

"Life gives us brief moments with another...but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a life time..."

Last night, after the girls went to bed,...I found myself  flipping through photos of the past year. Funny thing happened. What started out as a humorously random moment in time, turned into a spirit filled moment of continuous joy.
This past year, like every year, is a sum of the good, the bad, and the ugly. And in my humble opinion, the goulash of our everyday is absolutely beautiful. Our family, like yours...is not perfect. Nowhere near it. Actually, miles away from it. The Pasquel's are in constant need of grace and mercy:
-We fight
-We yell
-We cry
-We make up
-We do it all over again

And then there's the condition of our hearts:
-We're selfish (especially me)
-We're impatient
-We're envious
-We're prideful
-We're unsatisfied
-We're wanting more!

As I write each ugly virtue about us, albeit vague, I can think of several specific moments in the past week that make me cringe. Spiritually, we suck.

And right now, although this is nothing to be proud of (and trust me, I'm not, its the constant source of my pain)...I find myself smiling. I'm smiling...and my spirit rejoices because my God is Savior! And again, continuing in my moment of joy, I am reminded that "there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not repent."

The Pasquels are sinners. Pia is. Hannah too. Sarah...ditto. And I feel like I'm leading the league in sinning percentage. We are sinners...and we make it look easy. But man, if heaven can rejoice over us...despite of us...well,
I have no choice but to rejoice!!!!!... "God My Savior" says that "it is by grace [we] have been saved, through faith-and this is not from [ourselves], it is the gift of God."

I suck. We suck. But God loves us regardless. He pours His grace over us. Daily. And for this, my soul glorifies Jesus and my heart overflows with joy. This past year has been a daily collection of moments. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My family is not perfect, but through grace...they are beautiful.
So...more on moments and memories. The remainder of this post is some of my favorite moments of this past year (some already shown above, like Hannah's sweet letter to Pia.). Hope you enjoy:
Shaving Oliver!
Ice climbing in Ouray
This crazy little girl!
More Oliver
Jeremy and I hanging/climbing at "The Red" in KY this year
Enjoying yummy dinners on climbing trips
 Spring Breaking with friends
Crazy little girls.
Passing on my passions to my family
Meeting my "real" brother in law..."BENNY" for the first time
Spending a day with the guys, relaxing, goofing, and laughing at each other
Reimerstock...nuff said
Cousins
Teaching
Exploring
Friends!
New goals, new challenges...good attitudes.
Adventure
Wonder
Boldness...or Stupidity. Can be the same.
Asian tourists
Buzzed moments
 Trying new things 
Steeler football with my dad
Good Beer!
Mind over Matter
Proudest Climb of the Year
Sisters
Parenthood/Family
Marriage
 
Ok...2015...here we go.