Our Newlywed Experience

Within the Body of Christ

Daily receiving life and grace from His constant hand:

"I said to the Lord, 'Thou art my Lord;

I have no good besides Thee.'" Ps 16:2

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Story of a Girl

This was originally supposed to be the little “About Me” blip that goes over there on the side of the page, but this is what happened. Enjoy :)

Until I was about 4, my Daddy did his residency in Orlando, Florida (which included one of Disney World’s hospitals) ergo we got into Disney World free every day except Christmas and New Year’s. ‘Magic’ doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of my experience. I attribute this to my idolization of Princess Belle and adoration of all things Disney.

My four siblings and I were all born in different states [Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, & New Mexico] and all of our social security numbers start with a different number. Can you guess where I was born??

Grand Cayman seems to run deeply in my family’s blood. The bond began in about 1980 when my Grandpa Wilson’s job relocated him there, WAY before the island was commercialized [no TV’s, one radio station, you get the picture…] and before land cost $2,000 per square foot [seriously…] My Granny has a big (OLD) photo album she compiled from all their time there- flipping through it is like skimming through a dream. To this day our family goes back to Cayman and stays at little ol Bodden Town on that stretch of secluded paradise.

When I was born, Mama completely quit her job to raise me. Countless ‘story times’ at the children’s library. Adventures to the children’s museum that left my little heart in awe. ‘Helping’ her make dreamy vanilla cakes with homemade, delicate candied flowers. Trips to the park wearing cute lil rompers to see and feed ‘duckies.’ Prayers over my soul that began long before I was born. A lifetime of eagerness, involvement, and nurturing that has yet to cease. I am the woman I am because Mama was ‘Mama’ to me.

Though I see myself going into family medicine, I absolutely adore surgery. I shadowed my first surgeon after Sophomore year in college for ‘resume gold stars’ but fell head-over-heels in love with it. Did not see it coming. Who knew?

My Daddy defines my definitions of ‘manhood’ and ‘character.’ Sometimes I think that the Lord favors and identifies with my father’s heart the same way He did with King David. I want to be who I am because of who Daddy is. I married Grayson because there happened to be another man out there that was also such an outstanding exemplification of this same ‘manhood’ and ‘character.’ I want to bring sons into the world that are like them.

When I was 13 I was quite the comfortable little brat, and was forced to go on my first foreign mission trip. A big ol “reality = check!” and Christ’s grace melted my icy heart, and through that same grace I have been on about 13 foreign mission trips since then.

A short list of some of my most favorite things would have to include Pilates, Yorkies, Scripture, fresh flowers, laughing so stinking hard I can’t make a sound/breathe, and long intimate conversations over fabulous cups of coffee with the people I adore. This list is not comprehensive or complete. But includes stuff I’ve been doing a lot of this week, plan to do lots more of, and get excited butterflies when I think about them.

From ages 3-6, we lived on an Air Force Base in New Mexico where Daddy served as a doctor. My favorite memory was how toddler Garrett would give the most precious salutes to the guards at the base-entry check point as we drove through. One day, one guard saluted Garrett back. He squealed and giggled in his booster seat the entire ride to our home.

My least favorite memory from Holloman Air Force Base was discovering (prematurely) that Santa was a big fat hoax. We’d been to the mall 30 minutes away and visited Santa before going to a Christmas party at Daddy’s hospital on base. I asked Santa how he’d gotten there so quickly. He told me something about a sleigh and reindeer. I thought: “Dude… we are right in the middle of a desert… you are lying to me…and I can see your black mustache…”

Spring of my Junior year in college I shadowed a cardiothoracic surgeon and held a beating human heart in my own hands. About 3 days later I finally fully processed what just happened.

The Christmas before I got married I went to Uganda and came back a different woman. First mission trip where I myself, in and through Christ’s grace, was responsible for foreign ministry by personally, intimately, one-on-one sharing Christ: from Rosette, the precious single mother in a thatched roof hut raising two children-Paul and Pauline- all of them abandoned by a father that ran off with a Muslim woman; to Pastor John in a refugee camp bordering the Congo whose wife and baby were once taken hostage by the LRA but lived both to tell about it and praise the Lord. Their lives are branded on my heart.

I adore cooking, it runs deep in my blood. My first memories of it are when I was a little girl, watching my mother’s mother’s mother make a Sugar Cream Pie. I was mortified because she used her hands to make and stir everything. I can still hear her aged, honey-like voice responding to my horrified question: “Well baby, God made these first so I figured they must work better.” A peep into the legacy of cooks I come from.

Mega confession- I also adore motherhood in a way that is so innate, so a part of me, that it is incredibly hard to describe using words. I remember when Mama gave birth to my brothers, I myself pretended to ‘give birth’ to my dollies and teddy bears and nurse them at my own chest. Told ya- mega confession.

From the very instant I was knit together, Christ spoke ‘Mine’ over my soul. In second grade my heart was introduced to His precious Face. Each day is a new precious discovery of that Face. After my last breath is drawn I will see that Face with my own.

“…With unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord…” 2 Cor 3:18

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Light of His Glory and Grace...

Laying here in bed again… We’re gonna see if hub hub can fall asleep with me typing away. Bet he’ll be snoring in minutes.

Not sure why I think so much at night. I guess cause when my busy body is forced to actually hold still my busy thoughts keep going. And this entry ended up much longer than I intended, so if it’s too much to read, just skip to the end- it’s the part where the Lord steps in- and it’s really all I want you to hear ;)

It’s been a dreamy/peaceful weekend. Yesterday morning was the most precious thing in the world for this new lil wifey. One of those mornings you’d want every morning for the rest of your life to be like, but know it couldn’t possibly be that way.

Definitely felt the Lord’s help in peeling my sleepy body away from our warm fluffy bed early that morning. He and I both knew how precious it is when mornings start out with just Him, myself, and Grayson.

Even in a half-zombie, pre-coffee state ya girl knows how to ‘nest up’ her lil home: tidy up the breakfast table, twist open all the blinds to get that dreamy morning sunshine streaming through, get some Shane and Shane playing softly on the iPod, sweetly filling our home with the sound of Scripture.

Then I wake up Betsy, our Cuisinart Grind AND Brew Coffeemaker- just the very sound and smell of her brewing up a fresh pot of coffee is enough to make ya wanna wake up and conquer the day! We’re BFF & E & E [in case you can’t already tell]…

My hunky hubby has finished his shower and steps into our sun-filled, coffee-smellin kitchen to give me a big good morning hug. That child is a classic, by the book MORNING GLORY. He wraps his arms around me (his shower gel smells divine):

G- ‘Do you know HOW MUCH I love you??’

K- face muffled in his big muscle-y freckle-y shoulder ‘Probably not’

G- ‘I love you times a million times a million times a million times a MILLION!!!!’

Yup. Morning Glory. What’d I tell ya. But it melts my heart :)

I start cooking breakfast (cheesy grits, scrambled eggs, and butter toast) and hub hub sits down to do his morning devotions at our breakfast table. He is reading Growing in His Image (a beautiful reinterpretation of the classic The Imitation of Christ). The thought of my husband being shaped into the image of my first love, Christ, gives me a joy and excitement beyond explanation.

I place our breakfast on the table in front of him [this just tickles a wifey in ways you wouldn’t imagine] and join him. He prays over us and blesses our food. Shane and Shane are still singing the Scriptures over us. Breakfast is amazing. But hubby is precious- he is so excited and moved by what he is reading that every sentence seems to excite his soul and he just has to share [which also tickles me in a way you wouldn’t imagine]. We talk. Share Scripture. Eat homemade breakfast. Unbeatable.

He heads back to suit up for another day at the bank. I pack him lunch [homemade barbeque sandwhich and sliced peaches and blueberries] and tuck a note inside [ ‘I adore you! –K’ ] A quick kiss then I send him out the door.

I sit down at the table and whip out my day planner (aka my peripheral brain) and start writing out the gazillion things to get done that day, before I forget. I run out of lines and have to use the margins (pathetic). In the back of my mind, I know I need to ‘pencil the Lord in’ but tell myself ‘well, I’ll spend time with Him when I get a moment so then I can really focus on Him’ (the whole time knowing it does NOT work like that!)

So, poised and ready at the starting block to sprint off into another busy day I head to the bathroom. I haphazardly pick up A Woman’s High Calling by Elizabeth George (love... her...) that was lying open and my eyes go to where I left off:

“She had the grace to know that her spiritual needs at that moment came first. Time spent finding comfort and conformation from God’s Word through her Bible and prayer was a priority…and a necessity! And she had the sense (again, thanks to God’s grace) to just stop, leave things as they were, and look to the Lord for His patience and a quiet spirit.”

Ughhh, wow, I hear you Lord Jesus. I’m coming. Immediately.

I sit down into the Word and my prayer journal and just talk with Him for a while. About how wonderful this morning was. About how much I love being with Him, and being a wifey. About how scared I am that when PA school starts in Sept that I will not have time to spend like this- with the Lord, with Grayson, with our home. Then…the flood gates op-en. Wide. All my fears about PA school I’d been bottling up for months flooded out. Tears drip down and splosh everywhere. I was terrified. Afraid. Scared. Was PA school really the right thing? Could I really handle the ‘soul-crushing’ semester that was about to come up? What if I just wanted to be a wifey???

Still sobbing and half-aware of what was happening, it was like the Lord lifted His arms under my body and led me over to the couch.

I was with Him. He was with me. I could cry. And cry cry cry cry cry I did.

And you know what He did then? Bestow sage-like wisdom? Nope. Turn on ‘divine light bulbs’? Nope. Shower me with prophetic revelations? Nope.

He engulfed me in that firm familiar grace, grasped my heart- that deepest part of me- forever untouchable by any other mortal:


Look at Me.


Look at My Face.

Look at My Face…”

Just that. Only that.

And His grace filled my heart with immeasurably, invaluably, unexplainably more than enough.

“When Thou didst say, ‘Seek my face,’ my heart said to Thee, ‘Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek.’”

Psalm 27:8

GRAND CAYMAN- the adventure begins...

Wow... Saw this on our way out of Fayetteville and just HAD to capture it. How HILARIOUS is this? It looks like the mean boys' Go Kart from "The Little Rascals" movie (remember???) or the bad guys' chariot from Ben Hur. And you KNOW this driver guy thought he was the JUNK!
Umm, really wanted to capture downtown Charlotte at night because its so gorgeous. BUT we were going like 65 mph down the busy, confusing interstate that loops around it and this was the only shot I could get. But you know... it really accurately captures the only mental image of Charlotte I got that night ;)
Bed at midnight. Up at 6. Scarf down breakfast. Rush onto shuttle to airport.
Need I say more?
Waiting to get onto our plane at Charlotte-Douglas
Katie-"Im a GIRL! Lets photodocument EVERYTHING!"
Grayson- "If that woman takes ONE more picture..."
Mommy and I waiting to board :D
HAHA! Speaking of boarding airplanes... You HAVE to click on this link sometime and hear what Brian Regan has to say ab this...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17PEUZvoxho You will CRY from laughing so hard!!
Looks like someone was EXCITED!
I can't take him anywhere...
Ready to go faces...
My face was cropped out of the first...unacceptable
Filling out customs and immigration forms
Tee hee... Look at my name... 'Katie Smith'  Has yet to get old.
AND each FAMILY gets one blue customs forrm. Notice Grayson and I shared one. We're family.
Oh, the things that tickle 'newlywifeys' ;)
Floating somewhere above the West Indies...
Katie- "I just...want to lay out...on that white sand..by that blue water.."
Grayson- "Snorkle, snorkle, snorkle...FISH ...snorkle, snorkle"
our first view of Caymanian shoreline...
Sailing into Georgetown
Look at da harbor!!
Mommy's so EXCITED! Hehehe
Da Airport!!
The steel drums playing outside just beckon you in
'Welcam to de islan mon!'
Mommy and Garrett getting off
So stinking excited to be here!
Its been way too long!
Look at tha lil chiken things that were just running around
outside where we were getting our rental cars!!!! HA!
When I travel, I usually get that 'country come to town' feeling
but def felt like a city girl at how much these chickens made me LAUGH!
Mommy driving!
Yup, Cayman Islands are a British colony, so...
 its RIGHT side of the car, LEFT side of the road
Garrett and Daddy
Eating lunch at our FAVORITE casual restaurant in Georgetown... Cimboco!
Hurley's grocery store!
When my Grandpa and Grandma Wilson lived on the Island back in the 80's they were good friends with the owner/founder Hurley Merren.
Mama even learned how to water ski off the back of his lil boat :D
If you know Grayson Michael Smith...Or his father, Michael Grady Smith...
You know those boys DONT do heat
Lets just say this was Grayson's "I'm sweating and I DONT LIKE IT" face
Many more of these faces were made during the extent of the trip.
We were so tripped out by these lil fish!
YES-they are real
AND YES- they were for sale
Holdie usually picks 'good-humored' fights with Daddy, anytime anyplace
This was probably just before or after one
"Wanna go old man??"
"gasp" The beautiful, bright "poinsienna" trees that just drip down over the road... they're Mama Becky's FAVORITE
Aren't they gorgeous? You really won't see them anywhere near Georgetown.  This is on the way to where we were staying on the other side of the Island in Bodden Town.
Just pulled in...
Taking a just a moment to 'take in' the quiet exotic beauty and to imagine all the amazing fun about to be had!
Reach Gway!!!!
He wanted a coconut.
I told him no.
Susan, I had to pop his butt for it.
Oh my gwah- ecstatic!! Were finally here!
Ahhh... da purdy blue ocean
You BET we could not WAIT to get our gear on to head out here and snorkle!
Of all the dozens of places we've been, this place behind our lil villa has to be one of the top places to snorkle!
The place we stay every year- Turtle's Nest Inn in Bodden Town.
So quiet, so relaxed. Tucked away in the middle of nowhere.
When you stay here you really feel like family, you get to know all the staff and the guests it lures in from all over the world  :)
The main hotel part of Turtle's Nest Inn
We stayed in the villa's in the previous picture :)
Mmmmm... :)
The pool in front of the main hotel
Underneath the palm tree in the foreground is a grill that we made MUCH use of that week, and the sandy part in the background is where the BEACH VOLLEY ball net is!! You bet the Freel-Smith's TORE UP some volleyball! :D
Checking in and reunited with one of the Inn's many criters- Vitamine :)
Haha, he's making a really funny face, but he's a really sweet little tabby that will just roam around the Inn and scratch on your door every so often to be let in and visit :)  More pics of him later...
Mama and Garrett
So happy to be here!!
Unloading the cars really quick- but DEF not unpacking yet because that crystal blue water is beckoning us to come SNORKLE!!
Another one of the Inn's critters- MANGO!
He was such a happy, playful mess! We fell in love with him!
Sweet mango puppy :D

MEGA props to Lauren Faison and Ellen Long for helping me get through all the technical difficulties of BLOGGING today- I swear this thing has a mind and a will of its own sometimes...
...to be continued...