Saturday, July 21, 2012


The tragedy in Aurora, CO. You all know the details.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims, the witnesses, and the community of Aurora. Words almost seem useless in light of the true pain these people are feeling, and I know many others share in my prayers for the families. But my mind and heart are especially hurting tonight for the family of James Holmes as well. I can't imagine what it would feel like to know that your son caused the amount of destruction that he did, and would venture to say that they are hurting nearly or equally as much as those who lost family or friends in the shooting. I pray for peace and comfort for them during this time as well, and I can only hope that their community in California will give them the respect and privacy they deserve during this time. Also, I don't know the state of mind of the victim, but I know that God loves him just as much as He loves each of us. I hope you'll join me in praying for every individual involved in this tragedy, not just the obvious victims for which we are all hurting.

A few verses that come to mind right now:

In response to a man being born blind from birth, Jesus said that "this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." -John 9:2-3.
        While we can see Satan's influence during tragedies like these, it's also important to be watching for how God is working even through the hurt, anger, and sadness. I have already heard and look forward to hearing more stories emerge about the generosity and acts of love and kindness among the victims of the tragedy. I challenge you to be watching for how God will work and show his love through this tragedy, since he is the God of All Comfort! So glad that we serve and are loved by Him.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2 Cor. 4:18
     Again, while it is normal for us to focus on the here and now, we can find comfort in that fact that all of this pain and hurt is temporary. I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to heaven where all the heartache of this life will be no more! I hope that you share that hope with me as well.

Please join in me continued prayers for all those involved.
Many blessings,

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Goodbye 325.

Hey friends out there. Long time no see!

We said our official "goodbye" to our first little apartment today. Apartment 325 was our happy little home for our first 2 years of marriage and life here in MD. Brent, Pumpkin, and I arrived in July of 2010 with a moving truck full of wedding gifts and new furniture that barely fit in the apartment. We decided to paint a few walls to enliven the stark walls with some color, and then began to unpack and decorate. By our first family visit in October, the apartment was set up and filled with family photos and quite cozy!

With no friends (yet!), 2 new jobs ahead, and a brand new state, it was quite an adjustment, but we quickly found our way. God blessed us with this apartment being within 10 minutes of our jobs so that we could easily carpool to work together each day. We love getting to start and end our work days together. We both started jobs that we still love. We found an awesome grocery store (Harris Teeter for the win!) and an incredible church family at Arundel Christian Church where we are now involved with the best lifegroup.
Another fun culture shock when we moved was living so close to DC and being within driving distance of some big cities! I have loved every trip to DC that I have taken with family, friends, and school field trips (I'm still amazed that we go on field trips to Washington, D.C.).

The thing I loved most about our apartment was the layout of the space so that the living room and office were connected with sliding doors that we left open all the time. That meant that if I was in the kitchen cooking, working at the table, grading papers, or watching TV, we were always within close enough proximity to have a conversation. I guess that's the newlywed in me still... I love just hanging out with Brent all the time! After 4 long years of long distance, the apartment, and living together, and being in close proximity, was and still is a dream come true!

I was a bit sad as we were packing, moving, cleaning, and repainting the apartment. We slowly turned our sweet little first home back into the boring white box that it was prior to our arrival. We had so many fun memories there with friends, family, each other, and Pumpkin that we will never forget. There are things that I won't miss about the apartment either, but why write about them here?

As I have been getting nostalgic about moving, I was reflecting on what I really loved about the apartment: spending time being married to Brent, having family come visit us here, watching our favorite shows together on the couch, cooking together in our tiny kitchen, and coming home together to our place. It was where we became "the McLaughlins." But ya know what? I have all of those things to look forward to at our new house. Every single one. I still get to be happily married to my best friend and spend time with him. I get to have family visit and have somewhere to stay with us. I get to cook in our amazing new kitchen. Brent gets to smoke meat since we have a deck. We still get to ride to and from work together and come home to our place together every night. I'm a pretty lucky gal to have been blessed with all of those things at the apartment and to have all of those same blessings follow me to the new house. I can name so many blessings that have come to us since we've lived in MD, and I will remember many of those happening at the apartment. But God continues to guide and bless us as we settle into this new home, and I am so excited to see the plans he has in store for us while we live here for this season of life!

This was the first day we arrived at our apartment in July 2010. Our first family photo!

The first day of owning our house on Ellen Way! Can't wait to see what the next few years will bring! Don't worry, Pumpkin is still with us, she just didn't make it into this photo. :)
God bless!