Wednesday, April 29, 2015

[life] I Can't Live Without... Photography #3

Linking up with Katie at ...for Lauren and Lauren for the "I Can't Live Without" link-up!

For Lauren & Lauren

I am a HUGE fan of photography! I'm not a professional photographer: I have no idea about light quality, ISOs (?), or how to work those fancy cameras. I'm more of a point-and-shoot gal, knowing how to have "good" light w/no shadows, and how to crop a photo to get the captured moment perfectly.

I love how photos tell a story and help remember a moment in time. Lately, Nate and I have tried to not be as "technology"- dependent and focus more on being IN the moment rather than have a phone or camera attached to our face the entire time... But I just really enjoy going back and looking at photos to see a fun or beautiful moment in time!

Here are a few of my favorite photos and moments in time:

Sunset in Destin, Florida (celebrating our 4-year wedding anniversary)

 The gorgeous landscape of our favorite Caribbean location: Roatan, Honduras

 Sneaking a kiss with Nate in a private, secluded cove in Honduras

Listening and enjoying an awesome Dave Matthews Band concert with Nate (his favorite band)

Family vacation in Cozumel, Mexico
Of course, our wedding day: this is one of my favorite photos from that day. The way we are looking at each other and how we are still so completelyyyy in love. Blessed.

One of our favorite places in the world: The Ballpark in Arlington (it will always be called that to me, although it is now called Globe Life Park)

Another favorite place: WALT DISNEY WORLD #kidsatheart

Enjoying the company of my favorite furry children friends: Chloe and Oliver
 Getting ice cream on an incredibly HOT Texas summer afternoon with our best friends

Graduating college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education: #lifegoals

And us, today: still can't believe he's all mine!

While reminiscing and looking at these photos, I couldn't help but smile. These moments have captured just a second of an amazing day, week, or life event. Looking at these glimpses in time help me look back on what memorable moments they each were and help me remember the event(s) in full.

What are your favorite photos? We all have the obvious: vacations, marriages, babies, etc. Any out of the ordinary?

Have a great week!

Monday, April 27, 2015

[faith] Shhh... It's A Secret

Do y'all need to hear some good news today?

"The Gospel is the good news that the just and gracious Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection so that everyone who turns from their sin and themselves and trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord will be reconciled to God forever. " (p. 22 of the 2015 "Secret Church" study guide)

Every year, our church family participates in an intense 6-hour long bible study called Secret Church. Pastor David Platt, who is now the head of the IMB (International Missions Board), leads the study via simulcast all around the world. This year, there were more than 60,000 participants!

It is such a powerful time of study, prayer, and focus on the persecuted church. This year's focus was centered around the Christians in Vietnam who have to meet in secret to pray, worship, and study God's Word. Our brothers and sisters in Vietnam are continuing to need prayers for strength, boldness to share God's Word, perseverance when they are persecuted, more leaders to be trained, favor with the government (saved officials and the ability to be seen as beneficial), and so much more. If you feel so inclined, please add these items to your prayer list!

The theme of the study this year was "Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action". There are so many "hot button" issues in our culture today that create tension between Christians and unbelievers. Pastor David's study discussed a variety of issues and how we should respond as the church. Here are a few quotes, scriptures, and notes that I took from the study (it IS 6-hours, and 180 pages of study notes in the guide provided, so this is a smallllll portion):

"Today, the greatest challenge facing American evangelicals is not persecution from the world, but seduction by the world." -C.J. Mahaney (p. 7)

"I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church..." -Charles Spurgeon (p. 8)

"I cannot endure existence if Jesus is not glorified; it is hell to me, if he is always dishonored." -Henry Martyn

"Jesus' death satisfied the justice of God." (p. 29)

"If Jesus, the Lord of Love and Author of Grace spoke about hell more often, and in a more vivid, blood-curdling manner than anyone else, it must be a crucial truth." -Tim Keller (p. 32)

"Hell is real. It is not a joke or a game: people saying, "Hell of a game!" or "Hell of a song!" have no idea."

"The gospel demands a decision... Will you turn from Jesus? Live without Christ now. Die without Christ forever. Or will you turn to Jesus? Die with Christ now. Live with Christ forever." (p. 34)

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20

Do you think you have done something awful? Something unforgivable? Please know, we are NOT guilty anymore! "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (p. 41)

"The glory of God is the ultimate aim of marriage." (p. 100)

"Christianity is a religion for those who have blown it, and we all have blown it." (p. 130)

"Contemplate the price Christ paid for your purity. See Him writhing on a cross in agony. Fight tempting images with that image." (p. 132)

"God alone knows the definition of the terms [here]. I cannot precisely define who all the nations are, but I do not need to know. I know only one thing: Christ has not yet returned; therefore, the task is not yet done. When it is done, Christ will come. Our responsibility is not to insist on defining the terms; our responsibility is to complete the task. So long as Christ does not return, our work is undone. Let us get busy and complete our mission." -George Ladd (p. 159)

Y'all, there is so much goodness and knowledge and love and promise in this study, and I would type out the entire thing (if I knew y'all would read it, ha!). Please, please, if you have never ever heard of the promises and love of God and what His Son has done for us all, please let me know. I would love to start an e-mail chat with you on sharing what He has done in my life and how He is ready to be in yours. If you have heard of God/Christ/Holy Spirit before and are confused on what it means to be a follower of Christ, I would love to share with you!

For my Christian sisters (and brothers: do guys read my blog?), be bold and strong in your faith. Share what Christ has done in your life and how He can be a part of others' lives. As Mr. Ladd said above, until Christ returns, our work is not done. We are to speak boldly, truthfully, and with love. Stand firm with your church family. We can do this because Christ did it for us.

Love you guys! Have a great week!

Friday, April 24, 2015

[life] A Morning Playlist

You guys.

I think I finally did it. I think I created the greatest playlist of all time.

I am known (by Nate) to be a notorious "song changer". I'm really big into singing along to songs (not to say that I have a fabulous voice, I just like knowing the words), so if a)I don't know the words, or b)it doesn't have a good beat/rhythm, I'm going to change the song.

Nate always tells me that if I gave a song a chance, I would learn the words. Nope, nu-uh. If it doesn't "grab" me in its intro, it's more than likely to be a terrible song.

So, I give you...

Do you use Spotify? If so, you can get this playlist EASY PEASY! Just search "Up and At 'Em" with a cute little sunshine and you should find it :) I call it that because I am NOT a morning person, so thanks to Gabby (British YouTuber), she has said that turning on music immediately has helped her become a morning person. So I'm giving it a try!

The playlist has a good combination of pop, rock, some country, a few slow jams, some 80s songs, lots of Beatles and Michael Jackson, Elton, and Stevie (Wonder, that is). Don't worry... I am a big fan of T-Swift, but I have all her albums on my iPhone... So I just listen to those all at once! Also, I am a Texan and a fan of Texas Country, but I just don't like country music that much! #craptexan. And I'm sure there are a bajillion other songs that could be added to the list. This is just a start!

Here's a list of the songs... All 52 of them, in alphabetical order (I must love you guys!) Songs with a *** are MUST LISTENS.

"Best Day of My Life (Acoustic)" -Alexi Blue***
"Single Ladies" -Beyonce
 "Just The Way You Are" -Boyce Avenue***
"Two Is Better Than One" -Boys Like Girls
"A Thousand Years" -Christina Perri
"Billie Jean" -The Civil Wars ***
"You Are My Sunshine" -The Civil Wars
"Fix You" -Coldplay
"Crazy in Love" -Daniela Andrade
"You Make My Dreams" -Daryl Hall & John Oates
"I Will Follow You Into The Dark" -Death Cab for Cutie***
"Thinking Out Loud" -Ed Sheeran
"Your Song" -Elton John
"Rocket Man" -Elton John
"Crocodile Rock" -Elton John
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" -Elton John
"Bennie and The Jets" -Elton John
"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" -Elton John
"The B---- Is Back" -Elton John (sorry guys!)
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" -Elton John
"Build Me Up Buttercup" -The Foundations
"Cry Me a River" -Glen Hansard
"Bang Bang" -Jessie J. (and others)
"Folsom Prison Blues" -Johnny Cash
"Roar" -Katy Perry
"Go Your Own Way" -Lissie
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" -Marvin Gaye
"All About That Bass" -Meghan Trainor
"The Way You Make Me Feel" -Michael Jackson
"Smooth Criminal" -Michael Jackson
"P.Y.T." -Michael Jackson
"We Can't Stop" -Miley Cyrus
'Wrecking Ball" -Miley Cyrus
"Happily" -One Direction
"What Makes You Beautiful" -One Direction
"Buttons" -The Pussycat Dolls
"Across the Universe" -Rufus Wainwright
"Kiss Me" -Sixpence None The Richer
"For Once In My Life" -Stevie Wonder
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" -Stevie Wonder
"Superstition" -Stevie Wonder
"Shake It Off" -Us The Duo***
"I Wanna Dance with Somebody" -Whitney Houston

"Come Together" -The Silver Beetles
"Get Back" -The Silver Beetles
"Eleanore Rigby" -The Silver Beetles
"Help!" -The Silver Beetles
"Yesterday" -The Silver Beetles
"Paperback Writer" -The Silver Beetles
"Hey Jude" -The Silver Beetles
"Let It Be" -The Silver Beetles
"I Want To Hold Your Hand" -The Silver Beetles

Whew! Are you still here? Those are just some of my favorite jams. I also like musicals... but that will be a different playlist for a different day :) What would you add to the list? Any songs I must learn the words to? Ha!

Have a GREAT weekend! If any of you participate with Secret Church #SC15, our church is participating tonight! If you don't know what that is, stay tuned for Monday's post! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

[travel] Yo-Ho, A Cruiser's Life For Me

Happy Wednesday to you all!

While this will SOUND like a sponsored post, I promise it is not.

Now is the time of year when families begin to plan their summer vacations. Nate and I, personally, like to travel during the off-season: inexpensive, less children traveling, and the "party" scene isn't as prominent as it is during Spring Break or summertime. 

Of course, you all know by now, our favorite way to travel is by CRUISE ship. We have traveled with Carnival and Princess, which are both favorites. They are both owned by the Carnival Corporation, but are two different fleets within the company. Both ships have things to offer to every age/personality type, but we feel Carnival is more family-friendly, party atmosphere, with bright colors and loud noises to accompany. Princess is a bit more elegant, fancy, and classic. We loved our time with both ships, so it really just depends on what you are looking for.

Here are two videos I created (on YouTube) capturing our time with both ship fleets. Forgive the amateurishness of them both, I'm not a pro :)

Princess (Spring Break 2013... I know, I know. I just said we don't like to travel during SB, but we just happened to that year because we traveled with my family: we traveled to Belize and Cozumel, and were supposed to go to Honduras, but it was too windy to dock the ship)

 Carnival (January 2015: we traveled to Key West, FL and the Bahamas)

If you ever have questions about cruising, want to know "hidden" tips from an experienced cruiser, or are just wondering what the heck you do on a massive ship for a week, please let me know! I LOVE to talk cruising!

Monday, April 20, 2015

[life] Hello Friends

In the past week or so, I have gained a new amount of "followers" via a blog community on Facebook called The Blog Love Project. It's a group of women who support each other in their blog posts, Facebook pages, tweets, Instas, and pins. It really is a great community! If you haven't found a blogging community yet, I suggest heading over there!

Because of this new following, I want to give an overview of who I am, and who "Everyday with the Jays" is all about! If you have been around here before, most of this will be the same as usual. So to all of my new friends, I say welcome! If you're from The Blog Love Project, let me know in the comments so I can come say hello to you too!

I'm Chrissy, he's Nate. We have been a two-some since our marriage in June 2009. We met in college: he was the cute boy leading worship at a college retreat and I thought, "Oh yes, he WILL be mine." A month later and he was my boyfriend! After a year and a half of dating, he proposed in the most memorable way. He gifted me a Bible with my married name on the front cover. He is such a blessing to me and I can't thank God enough for him. He leads our household to love and fear the Lord and to follow His commandments. He treats me like a princess and comforts me. He keeps me safe and I feel secure in his presence. Love this fella!

We have no children, but have two fur-babies who we treat as such. Anyone else? Chloe is the spunky Jack Russell Terrier pictured below. We got her three months after we were married, so she's been with us since the beginning. She loves adventure, the outdoors, and likes to bark at cats. She keeps us on her toes: she's extremely smart AND stubborn! We adopted Oliver, a Shih-Tzu/Lhasa Apso (not sure) almost a year later. He is kind, tender-hearted, and loves Nate fiercely. He has grown to be a snuggler and always gives us a laugh with his goofy hair.

Nate is the Lead Pastor at our church. He has such a heart for God and His people. It is a true joy to hear him preach each Sunday! He also leads the worship music: Nate sings (amazingly well), plays guitar, and piano. Sometimes I will share snippets of his singing, seen below!

I also work part-time at the church: I am Nate's ministry assistant! I do basic office duties, and also create media publications for the church (weekly bulletins, monthly newsletters, website updates). I maintain communication with our small groups and accountant, and also plan church-wide events. I really enjoy my flexible schedule and working alongside Nate. I'm able to be creative and plan/organize events, but also work on my own in a quiet environment. We have our own work spaces, so we aren't all up in each other 24/7, but just across the hall from one another.

We love to travel: our favorite way to travel is by CRUISE SHIP. We have been on six cruises together (I traveled on two before we were married, and he traveled on one, so my total is eight and his is seven). We love to experience the culture, shopping, and food of the places we visit. We also love photography and capturing moments that we can treasure for a lifetime, but we also understand the importance of living IN the moment and soak it up as much as we can.

We were both born and raised Texans and still live here to this day. I was born/raised in Dallas, while he was born/raised in East Texas (Tyler region). Like I said, we met in college at Dallas Baptist University. We both loved our time there, but unfortunately DBU does not have a football program... so we are both STRONG University of Texas supporters. I was accepted there, but my brother (who graduated from UT) strongly encouraged me to attend DBU instead because he felt UT was too big for me. Boy was he right! But- we love our Longhorns! Hook 'em!

On the blog, you will see oodles of our everyday life (hence, "EVERYDAY" with the Jays). I don't blog everyday, but my schedule will (hopefully) continue to be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I enjoy sharing about our life and travels (seen above), but I love me a good craft, party, or recipe! Plus, fashion and beauty are things I am beginning to dip my toe into, so you will see bits of that as well!

I am so so SO glad you have decided to join us on our blog journey! Thank you for reading (AND getting to this point, ha! #longpost) and I hope you stick around with us! Leave me a comment sharing where you blog and I can stop by to say hello back! Have a great week!

Friday, April 17, 2015

[life] Spring & Summer Bucket List 2015

We have been enjoying beautiful weather in Texas so far this spring. A few scattered storms, here and there, but the temperatures have been lovely! Upper 60s in the morning to mid-80s by the afternoon. We Texans relish in this time, because before we know it, it'll be summer and the temps will be in the 100s!

I compiled together a list of the 10 things I want to do more of during the beautiful spring and summer months. They are in no particular order, but I think you'll notice #10 is my favoriteee. Read on!

As Texans, we enjoy a variety of scenery. My favorite? The beach. No, they aren't the Bahamian beaches I have come to know and love, but they are beaches nonetheless. The closest is a little over two hours away from us, which would be perfect for a day trip.

We have an amazing group of core friends here where we live. We have the best times getting together, talking, and of course- EATING. Recently, we have had everyone bring over their meat of choice and we have a big ol' cookout: each couple brings a side or dessert. It is the best!

There are some fabulous local venues that have live music events on the weekend. Nothing on a major scale, but low key: acoustic, small crowd, fabulous views at the different venues. There's nothing like enjoying a cool beverage with some live music playing in the background. Nate will actually be singing/playing at a winery this summer, so I'll definitely dedicate a blog post to that when it happens.

Remember that group of friends who loves to cook-out? The girls are BIG into crafting and I love it! Hopefully we can get some more crafts worked into our schedule this spring/summer.

Y'ALL. Last week, I learned how to make HOMEMADE JELLY. It is divine! One of our friend's mom's has a jelly/jam machine and we made apple jelly. It was so fun, we vowed to do it again and again this spring/summer. Yum!

One of the local wineries near us shows movies every Saturday evening during the summer. You can bring a picnic, chairs/blankets and of course they serve their beverages too. It makes for a fun evening with friends... just bring bug spray!

Nate and I are blessed to live in an area of Texas with lots of little "treasure" towns nearby. We can take day trips in a variety of directions and explore cute/quaint towns that we have never visited before. We hope to add a few new stops this summer!

As our church's ministry assistant (and also the pastor's wife), a lot of event planning falls on my shoulders, such as Vacation Bible School (pictured above: our dear friends who helped volunteer during the week). Lots of fun events are on the calendar this spring/summer, including after church luncheons, a church water day at the local water park, baseball games, small group events, concerts, youth camp, and of course VBS. Whew!

Usually our spring/summer is full of wedding activity. We currently have two, possibly three on the calendar this year. My cousin is marrying a gorgeous gal that we have already basically had in our family since they started dating in high school (10 years ago)! Another wedding is a cute couple from my home church, and Nate is actually conducting the ceremony. My mom is close friend's with the bride's mom, so it will be an extra-sweet ceremony.

Of COURSE this will be on our spring/summer schedule! TEXAS RANGER BASEBALLLL. Unfortunately, we missed Opening Day last Friday (sadness... I don't EVEN want to talk about it), but we already have 3+ games geared up between now and July. Can't wait to cheer them on! We are actually watching them on TV right now! #devoted

What are your go-to events for spring/summer? Of course, I could add and add on forever, but 10 seemed like a good starting point. There will be some snow-cone and ice cream consumption as well!

Happy weekend!