Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wishin' and Hopin'.

When I was thinking about this post, I thought about this song from My Best Friend's Wedding.

I am involved in a women's Bible study that meets on Tuesday nights. I initially was hesitant about joining, because of the whole busy factor, but I am so glad that I did and God clearly led me there. We are reading Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, and it's speaking to my soul. It's basically about worry and anxiety, which is something I struggle with.

Last week we discussed being content in our current circumstances. It was a convicting chapter for me, and also encouraging. It's so easy to get wrapped up in planning for the future, that I miss some of the blessings God is giving me right now.

This is especially true for me currently, as this next year will be huge for us, with graduation, moving, buying a house, children possibly, Kley starting to work...lots of change. All good things, but it's been a struggle for me to trust God in His ultimate plan, because I want to be the planner and have everything work out exactly like I want.

The question that really hit me was: Do you believe that God is the Blessed Controller of all things in your life?

Sadly, recently I have been thinking and acting like the answer to that question is no.

God has placed me in these exact circumstances right now for a purpose, and if I am wrapped up in something else, then I am missing the blessings God is lavishing on me today. I don't want that.

It's not bad to think about and plan for the future. But, I need to be trusting enough to allow Him to work. Trust His timing and not act like I am God, when I am clearly not.

God, thank you for your perfect plan and timing for me. You are the Blessed Controller of my life. I don't want to wish and hope for what I want, but what You want. Your plans and purposes for me are GOOD, even if it doesn't always appear that way to me. Give me faith to trust what You say, that You're good and Your love is great! (lyrics from one of my current favorite worship songs)

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Thanksgiving 2013 was a great one! Hope it was for you as well! 

Kley and I both had Thursday/Friday off of work and school, which was really nice. We stayed home (in Des Moines) for the first part. Keaton and Karlie were home from college, but Karlie had to go back for the weekend for v-ball practice because her team is sweet and is going to nationals next week! It's fun to watch her team because they are super good. :) 

So, Wednesday night after work, we headed to my parents and had dinner and played Taboo. 

Thursday morning I attempted to make chocolate pretzels (like I did last year at Thanksgiving and here), but it bombed a little. Last year I melted a bunch of chocolate and poured it in, never thinking of using Hershey's kisses. (Duh!) This year I tried the kisses, which is much easier (although crazy taking all of the wrappers off), but unfortunately I burned my first two batches beyond repair. I was bummed. But, I bought more to make later. Then, since I burned the chocolate, we were running out of time, so we sped cleaned and got ready for brunch.

We headed over to my parents again for the rest of the day. We had delicious brunch, and then hung out until dinner. We went for a walk, sat around, looked at Black Friday ads (but did not go- it's too much), read a book, and prepared food. It was awesome.

Here are a few snapshots of dinner and my lovely family.

Prepping the bird!

It's ready!

Family shot (check out my brother- what a cave man.)

After dinner we headed to the Groen's (family friends) house for games. It was so fun! My best friend, Stephanie, was home from DC, so we got to see her!

We took Schut family pictures on Friday morning, which was freezing but good. Then we headed up to OC for the weekend! The Ver Steeg clan (my MIL's side) got together Friday night at the Mexican restaurant and then went to the Swart's house (cousins) for treats/games.

Here are some pics of Kley's family- so nice to get a shot with everyone!

Today we are headed to see grandparents and hang out (hopefully watch a movie)!

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kley's birthday celebration weekend!

Even though Kley's birthday was in October, this weekend was the big celebration! My parents gave Kley dinner at Fogo (his favorite restaurant) and tickets to the John Mayer concert! So we headed up to Minneapolis for the day/night. 

It was really awesome! We had a great weekend. First, we met my brother at Fogo. If you have never been there, it's an experience (an expensive experience), but Kley LOVES it. It's meat heaven for him. If you've never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, it's basically men walking around with gigantic skewers of all different cuts of meat, and you can try whatever cut and however much you'd like. It's pretty insane, but a great place for Kley's meat love. :)

He was pretty pumped, if you can't tell.

There is bad window glare, but you can see the meat turning on the skewers. 

Each person gets one of these- turn it to red if you are eating or full, and turn it to green if you want meat!

Salad bar trip. They have an intense salad bar also!

(They had heart of palm in the salad bar. Do any of you know what that is? I didn't, and I should have tried it. It's a vegetable harvested from the inner core or growing bud of certain palm trees, according to google.)

Kley and my brother, Keaton. 

Kley and I.

Then we headed to the concert! Phillip Phillips opened. 

John Mayer! This was such a good concert, and great that we both like him, so we both loved it! Kley had always wanted to see him, so this was an awesome birthday present! It was a great show.

We also had amazing seats- best we've ever had at a concert by far! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

He sang so many great songs, but this was the backdrop for Olivia- makes me wish my name was Olivia! :)

Encore at the end was Gravity.

We stayed the night at the Downtown Marriott, and I had Kley's best friend and wife, David and Jacquie, surprise him at the hotel this morning for breakfast. He was very surprised, and it was so good to see them!

It was a GREAT mini trip! :)

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tree Lighting.

My dad and I love Christmas. Not that the rest of my family doesn't, but my dad and I love it the most and are all for celebrating early, including listening to lots of Christmas music way before it's deemed socially appropriate. :) (106.3 in Des Moines has been playing non-stop Christmas music since November 1 this year, and it's been awesome!) So, when I heard about the tree lighting at the mall, we had to go. 

Before we went, I hadn't heard of this before, and was wondering how I could have possibly missed something so great related to Christmas. Unfortunately, I think I built up the event a tad too much in my head. It wasn't as great as I was expecting, but I'm still glad we were able to go. (It didn't help that it was only a balmy 19 degrees outside either.)

First they had a band play Christmas music. They were from Des Moines, called Decor. They were okay- more rock than we would have hoped without much singing. We watched them for a little bit, then headed into the mall to warm up.

Kayla and Dad enjoying the musical stylings of Decor. They requested a picture and this is what I got. (Mom had already headed in to warm up. She lasted maybe five minutes.)

I must say, the end of the event was much better, and worth waiting for. (If you're going to go next year, you could just go for the last 10 minutes!) They had fireworks and lit up the big Christmas tree. They first had one firework shooting right to the tree from across the lake, and when it "hit" it the lights went on. (Dad thought it was a misguided firework. Ha.) Then they had a bunch of fireworks after that, which were really good!


Then my battery died at the end, so I didn't get many good firework pictures. Kley had to miss out because he was working, but he came to dinner afterwards. 

Merry Christmas- start celebrating now! :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My blog is famous!

Last week I was contacted by someone at Dwellable. Ever heard of it? (I hadn't before she emailed me.)

It's a site people can go to if they are planning a vacation. You can check out reviews of places all over, complete with pictures, maps, blog posts, etc.

"Vacation rentals and reviews with photos, maps, and more. Where do you want to go?"

Remember in July when we visited Beaver Creek, CO with Kley's family? You can check out each day of our vacation there here. The person from Dwellable specifically contacted me about my Day 6 post of our vacation. She asked me if she could feature my blog post on their site, for anyone looking for a review of Beaver Creek.

I said sure! So, now my blog is famous.

Check it out here (my day 6 post- I blogged every day of our vacation). This is a link to my blog post- at the bottom there is a Dwellable button that connects you to the site.

I was impressed they found me, and thought my post was good enough to feature!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

The De Jong household is ready for Christmas! It's only November 16th, you say? Oh well. I say it's better to decorate early and enjoy it longer- Christmas is the best! (Also, weekends are the best.)


Window clings. (The teacher in me can't resist buying these.)

Stockings with our names! We got these as a wedding gift, and it was one of my favorite gifts, because it's so meaningful, you will use it every year, and you'd never think to register for stockings.

Nativity scene. I love this, and I just completed it last year when my mom gave me the ox and goat. :)

This was another one of my favorite wedding gifts. When I was 12, my family went on a mission trip to Ecuador with other families from our Church. It was a very meaningful trip and impacted my life a lot, so when one of the families gave me this Ecuadorian nativity scene for our wedding, I loved it very much.

This is from my mother-in-law (one of the many super cute things she has given me over the years.)

Snowman/star stand and berries under the candle.

Door wreath.

Merry (very early) Christmas! Enjoy your decorating!