Saturday, October 30, 2010

I am the luckiest

Today is husband appreciation day, atleast for me.
Even though life has been challenging lately, Zach has been my knight in shining armor and he deserves a heap of credit. Thank you Zach for:
  • designing four different resumes for me 
  • helping me job hunt
  • selling your guitar so I could get a nice camera
  • bringing me chocolate-covered oreos (or the occasional doughnut)
  • brushing my hair (sorry I just told everyone that :))
  • washing the dishes and taking care of the kitchen
  • playing extra gigs just for the extra dough
  • encouraging me, supporting me, and loving me even on my most miserable days
  • and serving me in about a million other ways. 

I love you and appreciate you so much. I am honored to be your wife and am the luckiest person on earth. This video doesn't even come close to showing you what you mean to me, but it is a start...

(for those of you watching this, make sure you stop the music player at the bottom of this page before starting the video!)

The Luckiest from Zach + Shelly Kale on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Navigating the Wilderness

So many thoughts lately... let's see if I can write a cohesive post!

God has been doing some very interesting and unexpected things in our life over the last six months. I knew God had a lot planned for our life when he brought Zach and I together, but I had no idea it was gonna start off like this! It has been quite a whirlwind and what one might call a "wilderness time" leaving us with lots of confusion and even more questions. Questions like,

"Why Lord are we so far from Allie?"
"Why Lord don't I have a job?"
"Why Lord are things so much more stressful and complicated than we ever anticipated?"
"Why is this happening? Do you really work like this?"

I will confess at times I have been practically paralyzed by fear and anxiety, not knowing what to do next when everything we seem to try fails. We feel confident we are in God's will and have been constantly seeking it, but I would be lying to say we haven't asked ourselves a time or two... "Did we hear Him correctly?" One thing is for sure, our faith has been more challenged during this time than ever before as God has asked us (among all our constant questions):

"Will you continue to trust me for everything even when life is completely upside down?"

This is much harder than it sounds when the pressure is on! Honestly, I have struggled with disbelief and fear... believing God wants to do immeasurably more than we could imagine, but deep down asking,

"But...does he really want to do that for us? Will he really work miracles and provide for us like he did for Israel?"

The answer of course is a hugely emphatic, "YES!!!" but I have suffered (as Whit calls it) that dreaded 'grace amnesia'... forgetting all God has done for us in the past - even just the past year alone! I have allowed my perspective to be limited by our circumstances instead of God's character. And what do I personally know God's character to be?

I know God to be loving...I know God to be kind... I know God to work for the good of those who love Him... I know God to be faithful... I know God to work in creative ways... I know God desires to do immeasurably more than we could imagine... I know God wants to work miracles... I know God's plan is deliberate and intentional and personal for each one of us.

How do I know this? Because in the past year God has:
  • brought Zach and I together in a dramatic and marvelous way (this alone is more than I could have ever asked for!)
  • worked many wedding miracles (like getting our venue for 1/3 the price, our generous musician friends (and non-musician friends!), my custom-designed dress by my dear friend Corinne, etc)
  • provided a new ministry opportunity for Zach at Beachside
  • helped us pay for our new rental house and a new car through my car accident (yes you heard me right! He works in very creative ways.)
  • blessed us with a free car to leave in Alabama so we have transportation when we visit Allie
  • provided non-stop direct service to Allie's home town through AirTran's new route 
  • enabled Allie's fear of flying to vanish and be replaced with excitement and joy
Even among all this blessing, I have sadly allowed my joy and peace to be stolen by a lack of understanding and fear of the unknown as critical needs seemed to go unmet. Only recently, through some friends, books, and studies have I solidly come to find freedom from fear as I place all my life in God's hands with the confident expectation he will answer prayers and work on our behalf.

Recently I started re-reading "Shadow of the Almighty" by Elizabeth Elliott and watching the Priscilla Shirer study, "One in a Million."Wow... how encouraging these two things have been in my life! To think that one of Christianity's most known missionaries, Jim Elliott, who died so prematurely by our standards while doing mission work, had a wilderness time...a "waiting for God to reveal a path time" while being at home in Oregon. That's crazy to me! Didn't God want to use every second of his short life? Didn't God want him to do more? It is very apparent these times of unknowing and waiting are critical for our development in the faith and God's refinement process. It is terribly painful, but purposeful. That whole "dying to self daily" Paul talks about is really challenging when the rubber hits the road! Even so, I want to be the type of person with child-like faith, the type of person who completely believes God still does the impossible even during these times when our way seems undetermined.

Years ago I told God I want an extraordinary story... a story that can only be explained by His love and active involvement in my life. I promised I would share it with whoever I met. So this is me, following through on my end of the promise since God has so obviously begun to unfold that story through some already extraordinary circumstances.

Although it has been hard to see God working during this wilderness time, he has been fast at work, uncovering potential in us and developing our character. Oh how I have clung to James 1! Due to this intense refinement process I am so unbelievably excited and joyful to see what God has in store for our future, our ministry, our marriage, and our family. In an effort to understand and see what God is up to, here's what I have seen him do in us:
  • strengthened our new marriage immensely and completely unified us in everyway (mind, body, spirit)
  • expanded and encouraged our creativity (together and independently)
  • increased our dependency on Him and our firm belief that what we can accomplish is by His strength and not our own
  • stretched our faith like dang playdough. Ha!
  • invested in us and the refinement of our character
I am so unbelievably excited to see what God has planned for us in the next month, year, and decade. To think how far we have come in such a short time! His plan is great and nothing is impossible for our God. How blessed we are to know him and know that following Christ is not a lifestyle, it IS life! Nothing compares to the peace and joy of knowing Him and the presence of the holy spirit reigning in your heart!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A taste of childhood

I grew up in a family that ate practically every dinner at home and around the dinner table. Shocking in today's society, I know! Many good memories were shared here as well as bad (the bad mostly related to dinners involving peas. Ick.)

I remember a variety of my mother's recipes, but my favorite meal as a child was probably taco salad. (I know my sister would agree it left tuna casserole way, waaay in the dust! Ha!) This weekend I experienced an intense need and craving for taco salad so I introduced Zach to the Joiner family recipe.


Doesn't my plate look delicious? It was and Zach approved. And I will be eating the leftovers tonight to prove my devotion to the deliciousness.

So if you are interested in creating your own taco salad, here's how we do it up at the Joiner house, or now Kale house I guess!

Ingredients:

  • Cool Ranch dorritos
  • lean ground beef, browned and seasoned with taco seasoning
  • shredded lettuce
  • coarsely chopped tomatoes
  • freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese


And I add...

  • chopped onion
  • cilantro
  • and a dollop (love that word) of fat-free sour cream


Crush dorritos slightly so they are easier to eat, layer ingredients however you see fit and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A world away

Yesterday was a great day.

For months I have been wanting to go to Universal to see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you know me at all, you know I love Harry Potter. I'm not one of those obnoxious people who dress up for the movie releases or buy books on Quidditch and other HP related topics. I just love the story. It takes me away and captures my imagination. I've read all the books, I've seen all the movies and am counting down until the next one hits the theaters in November. 

Yesterday, Zach scraped together all our pennies (quite literally actually!) and surprised me with a trip to the place I have been dreaming of since it opened this past summer.  Although there were more crowds than we anticipated, it was a great day and I loved every minute of it and got to do everything I wanted (minus the show in Olivander's wand shop). I'm not a huge fan of standing in line for things so I didn't have the endurance to wait for this attraction. 

Here's a look at our magical day in Hogsmeade and Hogwarts... 

the adventure begins at Islands of Adventure!
Hogsmeade
Hogwarts Express
inside Hog's Head
unbelievably delicious Butter Beer (it tastes like shortbread cookies and butterscotch!)


lunch at the Three Broomsticks!

candy from Honeydukes Sweet Shop
Hogwarts Castle!!!!
waiting in the Herbology greenhouse
performing a spell with Hermoine's wand
Oh how I love Harry Potter and this magical place!
Thank you Zach for taking me here and for 6 great months of marriage. You are beyond my wildest dreams and my most favorite person in the world! 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Did you know?

Two interesting yet totally random tidbits we recently came across... Since we live in Florida, it's only natural that this pertains to flamingos and palm trees.

Fact # 1:
Did you know that pink flamingos get their color from the beta-carotene content in the shrimp they eat?  Flamingos that don't eat shrimp are white. Yes you heard me correctly. Like this one...


How cute is that? Like for real. It's like a duck with long legs. I want one. One named Mildred. And maybe we could feed her tacos instead of shrimp.

Fact #2:
Did you know that there are male and female palm trees?
There are a million different types of palm trees, but apparently only the female ones produce fruit. This is the case with the date palms near our house.


Crazy right?
I think I am going to try and collect some of these dates to dry and make one of my favorite recipes - baked dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto! Yum!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lost Love

So I don't think I've mentioned that Zach and I love Netflix. Since we don't have cable, Netflix and Hulu have become our closest friends by bringing us consistent entertainment and contact with the outside world. Ha!



A few weeks back, Zach and I started watching Lost, or shall I say "re-watching" Lost. I have been a Lost-follower since that epic pilot episode back in 2004 and stayed with it right up to the bitter end. We were thrilled to find all the Lost seasons available for instant download on Netflix and began watching them religiously. We got half way through season 3 and then the unthinkable happened. 

Right when we were fully committed, addicted, and obsessed with spending way too much time watching a tv show, Netflix's instant download licensing for Lost expired and they are now only available by mail. 

This major hiccup in our continual Lost watching caused us great distress and has led to the most surprising and alarming turn of events: a return to Blockbuster video.


Please note the ANCIENT Blockbuster sticker on the cover. 
In all honesty, I didn't know you could still go to a Blockbuster anymore. It's been years since I walked into a blue and yellow store with wall-to-wall racks of over priced videos. This is by far the most inconvenient way of watching something, but is apparently necessary since we cannot wait the few days of mail time required by the Netflix mail process. Yes, we (umm... ZACH) is that into watching it. :)

In case you were wondering, Blockbuster is a very interesting place these days- empty, overly spacious and stocking more candy than actual videos. There are NO old movies anymore and by "old" I mean something released more than 3 years ago (unless it's a series). It is actually quite sad to see something that was such a big part of culture be cast to the wayside and left to slowly die away, forgotten and bankrupt.

Anywho... we have taken to going here on an almost daily basis to get our crack cocaine of tv and head home. The final leg of season 3 was watched with take-out from our lovely indoor candlelit "picnic area" as pictured below.




I feel like Lost is like the movie Inception. The more you watch it, the more confused you are. Ha! But I guess that makes for a great show/ movie when you can talk about it or think about it forever and never end up with a good solid explanation. 

Those writers... they definitely keep us entertained and looking for answers. 

So with my dilapidated Blockbuster card in hand, we now begin season 4 with a bunch of new characters and about a million new plot lines. Ha! This is my favorite season though because it introduces one of the most pivotal and interesting characters in the whole series: Daniel Faraday. 

Oh how we love Lost. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Urban Cotton

A few weeks back I mentioned our new fabulous Canon camera. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that we thoroughly enjoy taking pictures, maybe too much. Zach and I pretty much love doing anything creative together. This fresh past-time has taken us in a new direction and led to the launch of our new photography site, Urban Cotton.

Urban Cotton was born during one of our many trips to see Allie in Alabama. As stated on the site, Urban Cotton "is a reflection of our rural roots and city souls. We have a complex infatuation with places like the quiet fields of Alabama and the edgy streets of Atlanta. Our photography focuses on capturing and combining this contrast through the detailed textures and dynamic personalities found in everyday life."

We are still learning a lot about lighting, the camera, and editing, but we have been pretty happy with our initial portfolio. Here's a few of our favorite shots thus far...







We are open to taking clients, and actually have our first engagement shoot already on the books. Yay! We look forward to the future and expanding our knowledge of photography and creative ability. Stay tuned for more on the site!