Sunday, September 18, 2011

casa de mckee continued....

we have completed so much in just two weeks. unfortunately, not too many pictures to prove it. our lives are hectic to say the least, but it's only for a season, right?

the entire house has been painted (closets and all) with the exception of the kitchen. that project won't be complete for several more days. luckily a man who is on staff at our church with jesse has volunteered to come "float out the walls". we have been hard at work for a week straight peeling paint off of some super thick texture. you know those hole in the wall italian restaurants that want to make you feel like you've stepped into tuscany, but really just make you feel like you've stepped into a room covered with brown frosting? that was our kitchen. now that the paint and most of the texture is off jesse's co-worker, robert, is going to smooth the walls out. it already feels so much bigger. quite the undertaking, but it will be worth it.


other projects completed: new kitchen light (no more fluorescent) and wainscoting up in the dining room. typing it out doesn't seem like a lot, but we have been working non-stop! the kitchen took up lot of time. 


all of this housework has provided some really special time with our friends and family and time to reflect on where we're at and where we're headed as a family.


  • if you had told me a year ago that i would be joyfully buying a house in lewisville i would have probably responded with a sarcastic, bitter remark. but now, i can't imagine settling down anywhere else. God has been so faithful to soften my heart and use our community to minister and challenge me. it's not that something big happened and i now love lewisville and think it's the hottest place to live, but rather the Lord has given me peace. 
  • we have had an awesome time with our family. shout out to our parents who have been so generous with their time! jesse's dad and my mom have been over almost every time we've been at the house. my parents spent all day thursday and friday painting while we were both at work. and jesse's mom came and helped us on labor day and will be over again on tuesday night. i think it's so special that the four of them get to be a part of this with us.
  • our friends are incredibly selfless. so many people have offered their time to paint, scrape, and feed us. and the best part? they expect nothing in return! their hearts are so pure in wanting to serve us. it has been a great lesson for me in receiving help and letting go of my false sense of control. 
  • we are blessed! as Christians i feel like we use this word a lot (and rightfully so), but sometimes do you think maybe we use it without really thinking about the implications of it? last sunday night we were at the house about to leave to come back to our apartment. i needed to use the restroom, but we had no toilet paper. in my head i thought "oh i'll just wait till i get to our apartment." (first world pains, anyone?) wait - what? let me leave my house! and go back to the other place i have to live to use the restroom. TWO places! jesse and i currently have TWO places to live. holy cow. in that moment my heart was overwhelmed with gratefulness. for whatever reason God has entrusted us with this home for his glory. nothing that we have done has made us entitled to own this house. the Lord has blessed us immensely. it may sound dumb, or horrible, but some days i forget what i'm leaving behind when i leave work. everyday at 3:30 or 4 i drive away by extreme poverty, addiction, brokenness, etc. and drive to my suburban lifestyle. this house is truly a gift. knowing that it could be taken away from me at any moment gives me some perspective. it's not my own.
so as we continue to choose where to hang a picture or what color of countertops we want, my prayer is that before it's cute or finished or cozy, that our home would be a place of tears, laughter, hospitality, refuge, service, and fellowship all to the glory of our great king who has so graciously blessed us! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

casa de mckee.

last time i blogged i mentioned there might be a big announcement. and there is. we have a house! it all happened kind of quick. we closed on august 31 and planned on renting the house to the previous owners for one week so they could get out and move into their new house. turns out they only needed it for a couple of days, so we got in saturday, september 3! we spent the whole day in canton buying things for our new home. we went to the house that saturday night and found a leak. welcome to home ownership! we just laughed about it. some friends came over that night and we got to work the next day! that extra weekend was so nice.

we're working against a bit of a deadline to move out of our apartment and into the house. before house talk ever started we wanted to take a trip to california and see some friends. when we started looking, the trip got put on hold. we decided a vacation was a good idea, so we went ahead and booked our trip. we leave september 30, get back october 9th and need to be out of our apartment october 13th. time is of the essence, but i think we'll be okay. it's a good lesson of letting go and not needing control.

we have a lot to do! jesse and i have been waiting on a house to work on. we are both creative and visual so it's fun for us to get to plan and see our vision come to life! we have a lot to paint. they loved brown. seriously, the whole house was a carmel/brownish - yuck. and they loved textured walls - sick. our first project was the guest bathroom. jesse's grandpa is going to paint the cabinets for us. so the bathroom is not fully complete, but super close.

before:


after:


in other non-house related news, we went to the ranger game a few weeks ago. jesse and our friend, brad, were determined to make an appearance on the fox sports post game show. and they succeeded. they jumped up and down (imitating dolphins jumping out of water). the camera's shot couldn't have been any better. here's a still from a dvr recording of jesse mid jump. so funny. 


more house updates to come! can't wait to share with all 2 of you. if there are even that many who read this. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

nanny.

a couple of weeks ago my family got to celebrate my beautiful grandma! we threw a huge 80th birthday party for her. the theme you ask? "queen for a day." my grandma is english. she and my grandpa (who was in the us air force) met while he was stationed in england.

everyone formed a receiving line waving flags as she pulled up. 


the cake. (society bakery, y'all. do it)


she even had a special throne and crown for the day. 


everything had a flag. even the strawberries had to represent. 


i got some quality nephew time in at the party. 


nanny rose.


i can't decide what the best part of the party was. the slideshow with pictures to old pub tunes. or when she got to skype with her sister, nieces, and nephews in england. our family across the pond made a video that we showed her at the end. it was so funny. and so sweet. 

the slideshow was so special. it had pictures from her whole life! as a little girl she had to leave london during ww2. one of the coolest pictures was of her and a group of kids on ve day. of course the pictures of her and my grandpa melted my heart. 

it was an absolutely beautiful day! the Lord has given her 80 incredible years. and she's not done yet. my nanny has lived a life of abundance and walks in so much joy. it was so evident in the photos and the laughter throughout the party. 

she is so special. and i am so lucky. if i make it to 80, i hope im still rockin it like she is.

love you nanny!



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

wedding fun.

april, may, june, and part of july were filled with weddings in some form. i worked weddings. celebrated at bachelorette parties. or was at or in a wedding. it's been a busy few months, but it's been a really fun few months.

i love weddings. i love the reminder of the gospel. i love getting dressed up. i love dancing. and i love that everyone is together in one big room celebrating!

on june 11th my lifelong best friend, megan, got married. she was so beautiful. and i couldn't be happier for her. we've known each other literally all my life! i'm so thankful for her friendship and was so honored to be one of her matrons of honor. i bawled through my toast. of course. the cool thing about megan's wedding was because we've grown up together i know her entire family. it was so great to see everyone.


megan and me. 


jesse even danced with me at this wedding!


family photo! brother, sister in law, mom and pops.


the joy luck club! minus one. and the little babies. 


just love them. 

this past weekend i flew to midland to celebrate my friend, hope! i've known her for four years and just love her. she's hilarious. and her wedding was a blast. we danced for hours. 


the girls before rehearsal. 


hope and me gettin' our photo on. 


"mmmmm mmmm" - this was the tactic we used to get free food at the gaylord. worked like a charm. 


so fun that sonya was there, too. she did all the flowers. check her out - www.dirtflowers.com 


dance floor... heyyyy!

i've had fun, but i'm so thankful for a time to rest! i love my friends and couldn't be happier. 

PS... an announcement may be coming soon for the mckees. and no, it's not a baby. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

one. whole. year.

3 months since my last blog. and one month since our ANNIVERSARY! this is definitely blog worthy.

i can't believe it's already been one year and one month since jesse and i got married. it has been the best year of my life. on the real. before we got married everyone wanted to give us advice and their input. and everyone we heard from was right. marriage has been so much fun. it has been so difficult. but at the same time so easy. i am so thankful for jesse. and still get giddy about him. and that we get to do life together. i'm thankful for a church family that encourages us. and thankful for the pre-marital counseling we had. though we prepared as much as we could, we just couldn't know completely the struggles we would have and what habits would drive us bonkers.

nothing has been more sanctifying. nothing has been more life giving. and nothing has been more challenging. jesse loves and leads me well. i've battled homesickness. long commutes. health problems. and job changes. and when i've freaked out, cried uncontrollably, and been completely irrational, he has learned to sit, listen, and just give me a hug.

such a special year. i just don't even know how to write about it all in a blog. the Lord is so stinking good.

Our wedding - May 8, 2010


Our honeymoon in Jamaica



to celebrate our anniversary we took a road trip to fredericksburg, tx - the cutest town in texas. it was so nice to get away and just enjoy time with each other. we ate so well that weekend. and laughed. and exchanged presents. because i love presents!

friday night we ate at hondo's on main. stinkin' good food and the best atmosphere.


this is the precious bed and breakfast we stayed at.


we climbed this on our actual anniversary - enchanted rock.


i'm afraid of heights and it was hot. so i'm not sure why i thought it would be romantic, but it turned out to be so incredible.


jesse is a video producer. so he just got the raw footage from our wedding and planned on editing it himself. i had bugged him all year to edit our video. and it never happened. i was thinking it'd be the perfect anniversary gift, but didn't want to expect anything so i didn't get my hopes up. (having expectations has been a big lesson this year) but because my husband is so incredible, guess what i got for our anniversary. the most perfect video that you can see here

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

same kind of different as me.

today i met a man who changed my life without him even knowing it. of course it was the Lord who used his story to change my life. but it was still a huge blessing to meet him.

3 years ago i had back surgery. and my friends and family were so nice to bring me gifts like magazines, books, dvds to read/watch while i was hanging on the couch. steph west gave me same kind of different as me. and i didn't pick it up until about a month or two later when i was headed to london and paris. i finished that book in one night, bawling my eyes out in a paris hotel room. if you haven't read it yet, it's my number one recommendation.

i had found myself in a season of self-pity and confusion. (what's new?) my heart was so stirred in my affections for Jesus and stirred to action. not long after our trip i began serving at the stewpot and was able to go spend some time on skid row in LA. i quickly realized two things: the gospel is for all people and nations. not just trendy white kids in v-necks and toms who listen to indie music. and no matter where you go - beverly hills or south oak cliff - people are hateful, greedy, and hurting. and need the redeeming love of Jesus to transform their hearts.

today, ron hall, the author of same kind of different as me, walked into our flower shop for an appointment i had no idea about. he said his name and i flipped out. and then almost cried. and tried to quickly pull myself together. the author of my favorite book was standing right before me. and not just a book, but an incredible story. that actually happened. that began a chain reaction of events. that impacted my life in an incredible way.

i felt so affirmed today after i was able to talk to ron (mr. hall? ron hall? what do i call him? i feel like we're friends now). like the Lord was reminding me of my part in the kingdom. to serve the homeless. and really to just love people and make myself available.

i find it so difficult to put into words how my heart changed after reading that book. like, i just can't tell you how much that story means to me. and i can't help but think how good the Lord is. how truly perfect his timing is. and how great his love for us is. that a back surgery would result in a book that would lead to life change. our God truly is indescribable. i am so grateful.

done.

i'm done with tumblr. no comments? how will i become a big blogger with no comments.

i'm back, blogspot.

faithful.

one humbling truth i’ve learned (over and over… and over) is that when i am not faithful, the Lord is. over the past several months i’ve had so much bitterness and anger. why flower mound? why did i leave my job at the stewpot? why did i move further away from my friends? i just felt confused. and a little bit lost. never confused about jesse, though. he was a gift - and of that i was sure. 
through the steps program at church, hard conversations with friends, and some good ole’ conviction of the Holy Spirit, the Lord has opened my eyes even more to the nasty state of my heart. i am never content. though i know it’s not true, i think my plan is always better. i just refuse to acknowledge everything good that is surrounding me. 
up until a few weeks ago i was riding a roller coaster of “okay”. one week i would be fine living in flower mound. the next week i would throw a fit wanting to be in dallas again. for several months i have been on this ride. i was able to have dinner with a few friends from college over valentine’s day weekend. we kept talking about my “situation” - like it was something horrible. and on the drive home, it finally hit me. i’m an idiot. i am doubting God’s sovereignty. and i’m making everything about me. of course this town isn’t my first choice, but it’s home. arkadelphia wasn’t my first choice, but by the time i graduated from obu, it became the sweetest place in the world to me. so basically, God knows what i need. when i need it. and apparently flower mound is it. maybe just for now. maybe until we get really old, have 8 million grandbabies and die. either way, the Lord knows. 
i have a full time job! the flower shop gig was technically full-time, but jesse and i both knew that it was only temporary. last week my friend, jean, called from the stewpot and said there was a position open. my heart has been so sad that i ever left, even though at the time i really felt like i was making the right step. anyway, after talking, praying, seeking council, i accepted the position of administrative coordinator for the stewpot. i start march 14th. it’s still in dallas, but i’ll be able to work early and get off early. i am so eager to be back. jesse and i have talked and feel so great about the flexibility this job will afford us. no more getting home at 7pm. and we can start planning (in the distant future) for some babies. 
yesterday i had a diagnostic test run on my back. i was put under some anesthesia, and the dr. injected something (i dont remember what) into my back around where the screws are. if the pain and inflammation go away, i can have another surgery to remove them. praise the Lord. every time i go to the back dr. i am so amazed that they know how to do what they know how to do. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

moving.

jesse told me i should use tumblr instead. so that is what i'm doing. you can follow my blog at stephmckee.tumblr.com

check, check, check it out!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

all you need is love.

valentine's day is the holiday of extremism. you love it or you hate it. you're sappy or you're cynical.

i think it's so fun. of course, i'm married, so i have a valentine. and he is so cute. but even before i was married, valentine's day was not that bad. it was an excuse to go out with my girls and have fun. i am fully aware of the "single awareness" thought camp. or the "it's just another holiday made up by hallmark" camp. and here's what i have to say to those people - you just refuse to see how much love there is in your life!

let me give you the perspective of a floral designer. valentine's day is our busiest day of the year. i see the men buying flowers for their girlfriends, wives, etc. but i also get to see the people buying flowers for their parents. or friends. or children. i see preparation and thought when people order ahead of time. i get to see their meticulous selection. i get to see the thought they put into their cards. i get to see their love for all the people in their lives. not just the steamy romances.

here's a little love list of mine:
the Lord and his grace
Jesse McSexy
afternoon drives with the sunroof open
reunions with my friends from college
a good belly laugh
ice cream!

also, i love that the guys in our homegroup served us dinner last night. it was precious indeed. and more than that, i love the flower arrangement jesse made me. it included a peony (my absolute favorite and the reason we got married in may) and a hydrangea (a close second). it was in a cute vintage jar. maybe i'll post a picture next post. i think blogs are more fun with pictures. he is so thoughtful.

hope you felt the love yesterday. and everyday.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

the body.

jesse and i had such a fun time in little rock thanks to our sweet hostess, kat. the weekend was one big OBU reunion, which probably isn't his idea of a perfect weekend, but it is for sure mine. my years at Ouachita were so sweet. and i made the absolute best friends in those 4 years. there is an official campaign to get jesse and i to move to little rock. i'm all for it :) coming home from a weekend in arkansas is always a little rough. my transition to flower mound hasn't been horrible, but the mound still doesn't feel like home. and having that community of friends you can call at the drop of the hat for a sonic run or good cry isn't quite there, though it is growing. the Lord was gracious to remind me that my friends at ouachita weren't my best friends from day 1. it took time. and life there is different from life here. we don't live in the dorms, work, study, etc. together. we have different jobs, live in different neighborhoods. it will happen. i've already seen the sweetness of our growing community here. i have learned so much from my new friends and am thankful for them.

on tuesday i was invited to attend the 3rd annual Soup's On! luncheon benefiting The Stewpot. if you've been a part of my journey at all in the past 3 years, you know the homeless community in dallas has been a huge part of it. after i had back surgery i read a book called "same kind of different as me" which shook me to the core. in a season of self-pity, the Lord used that book to completely flip my perspective on life and how i was spending my time. i began spending my time serving meals with the Stewpot and quickly fell in love with those people. a few months later i spent some time on skid row in LA and knew that God had placed a burden on my heart for the homeless. i worked for the stewpot for over a year until jesse and i got married and i moved to flower mound. i love, love, love that place. it really is incredible to see all that they do. what's just as incredible is to witness the generosity of so many people with both time and money. last year i was behind the scenes of Soup's On! working on organizing underwriting contracts and donations. my sinful heart is so quick to judge the rich. thinking "they hoard their money. do they really need to drive a bentley?, etc." but after working on Soup's On! my eyes were opened to the necessity of people who can financially support missions such as the Stewpot's. people donated thousands of dollars at a time. something i will never be able to do. but that's the beauty of the body of Christ. (check out 1 Corinthians 12) the 2010 luncheon raised $250,000. im so excited to see what the 2011 luncheon raised. if you're in the dallas area and looking for a place to spend some time giving back or a place to donate money to, check out The Stewpot.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

hard.

this blogging thing is hard! how do people do it so consistently? of course, i'm driving across the metroplex every day for work. and our weekends fill up so quickly. so, time to think through a blog and actually write it out (which is a long process for me) is hard to come by.

the holidays were busy. and sweet. poor kitty struck once more. this time it was caught on film. absolutely priceless. and ridiculous, but a sweet memory nonetheless. i love my precious grandma. i'm so thankful that jesse and i are able to see our family as often as we are. over christmas i was reminded repeatedly of the Lord's faithfulness. i saw the fruit of prayers i have been praying for 8 years! praise God that he hears. and responds. and knows exactly what's best for his children.

i recently started the steps program at our church. i am so eager to see how God tears away layer by layer my fears and the lies i believe to sanctify me more. in one week i've seen the Lord move in a powerful way. i have been so encouraged.

jesse and i get to go to little rock (one of my favorite places) this weekend for a dear friend's wedding. i cant wait to celebrate! and see some special people. i love weddings. maybe that's why i enjoy working with flowers so much.

this post is dedicated to this little guy who has my heart. Declan is turning 2 on saturday. i can't believe he's already been around 2 years. he truly is the sweetest little boy i've ever met. and i love him so stinkin' much.