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Hi, welcome to our blog! We are newlyweds living in Memphis, TN. We love life, adventure and of course each other. We're starting a blog to keep track of any and 'all things Jacques' so we can look back and cherish memories from our first year of marriage. We'll be sharing memories, I'm sure a lot of our dog Bella, favorite recipes, books, trips, spiritual thoughts, home projects, and anything we're enjoying in life at the moment! We hope you enjoy as well. Much love, Michael and Rachel Jacques

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Tea Cup Theology

I am reading such a wonderful book that I wanted to share with you.

I am a part of a Women's Christian Book Club that some girlfriends and I started about 2 months ago. We are meeting once a month and doing brunch, chatting about girly things, prayer requests and discussing our book. The first book we chose wasn't that great so last meeting we decided to start over. We picked "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow.


What an awesome choice! I am only mid-way through Chapter 2 and I am already in love with it. Last night I literally turned off my Kindle and said, "Wow" out loud.

One thing from the first chapter that I really loved was her analogy of each woman being like their very own special tea cup (hence her paragraph title, "Teacup Theology").

Picture credit: http://www.handmadepotteryart.com

Some may be dainty with lace pattern trim, others may be bold with funky patterns and some may just be plain and solid as a rock... unbreakable. We are all designed differently. And each tea cup also holds a different amount or portion. God knows exactly what we need to fill our cup. What I have in my cup will look different than what my friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers have in their cups. The cool thing about it is that God fills our cup with our portion. He knows best and knows what we can handle. So instead of wishing to be like another cup and have what the other cups may be holding, we need to learn to trust God and be content with what he has given us.

I know right? Easier said than done. Even Jesus asked for a different portion in his cup in the Garden of Gethsemane (when was praying to God about his crucifixion)

"And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

But later when he went away again and prayed he said, "...My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done." Matthew 26:42

So how can we expect to do this? Just like Jesus did. By taking our cup handle and lifting it up to God. After all, every tea cup has a handle. And I am so, so thankful that through the blood of Jesus, we do.

I am so looking forward to continuing this journey to contentment with this book, God, and some good girlfriends! I can't wait to finish reading and I'll definitely share more. Hope everyone is having a great start to Holy Week and is focusing on the cross... the one thing that truly matters in this world.

Love,
R & M

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

More than just a house.

Today is the day that our investment house goes on the market!(For those of you who may not know, Michael and I officially closed on a foreclosure property on February 8th with the intent of flipping the house and selling it. This was by all means Michael's idea and one that I was skeptical of at first... more on that later.) Here's a picture of my man in front of the house and for sale sign!


I am one proud wife. :)

This journey has really produced a number of emotions for the both of us: fear of the unknown, excitement, stress, joy, a little bit of sadness (sadness during the loss of his grandmother nanny and reflection back on the good ole days when his grandfather was starting their family business), humility, and unexpectantly a lot of love and appreciation for one another. Let me start from the beginning.

Michael has always had big dreams and big plans. I enjoy listening to what he wants to do and I do believe in him 100%. His passion and his drive are qualities that I admire in him. One of the most serious fights we have ever gotten into was involving this investment house and that's because... it was about money... dun, dun, dun (you know what sound I'm going for right?) It's what we were told couple's fight the most about in premarital counseling and something we knew we'd have to continually work on because we are both so independent with our money. To add to it, I am conservative and risk adverse and he is not conservative at all and is very comfortable with taking risks so that makes it even more interesting. It made me nervous to take out a loan to do this. Hey, I blame it on Dave Ramsey. I still carry cash that I get from my envelopes each month. :) Michael assured me that he knew what he was doing. After all, this is his career. This was lesson # 1 for me: Trust in God and submit to your husband. As much as I wanted to fight back and say no, we can't do that... it's just too risky, (okay well I did say that), I realized that this is something that he really wanted to do. And something that he says that is so sweet and touches my heart every time about why he wants to do these things: "I'd love to be able to make money in order to give more money back". Who can argue with that? Plus, God commands that I let Michael lead our family. "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:21-24 So, after one big fight and a lot of discussion and prayer, we decided to take out a loan and begin the search for the right foreclosure.

Michael looked for the house for months and finally found this one. I don't know what I was expecting... a house with maybe a little bit of work needed like paint and light fixtures? Boy, was I wrong.

Words cannot describe the condition we found the house in... nor the smell. So here are some pictures to show you what the house first looked like.


FRONT

BACK

DOWNSTAIRS LIVING AREA

DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOM 1

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOM 2

UPSTAIRS LIVING ROOM

KITCHEN VIEW FROM ENTRY WAY

KITCHEN VIEW FROM DINING AREA

DINING AREA

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 3

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 3

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM 2

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 4 (OR OFFICE)

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM 3

UPSTAIRS MASTER

UPSTAIRS MASTER

"BOY, DO WE HAVE OUR WORK CUT OUT FOR US..."

MICHAEL AND I DAY 1

I know what you are thinking... there is no way you could pay me to live in something like that. What hit home the most for us is that there really are people living like this today. And in case the pictures didn't do it justice, this is before the old mildewed clothes and dog feces was on the floor. How many times have I complained about my house because I didn't have the perfect mirror for the entry way or the right window treatment in our master bedroom? I know, I know God... "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." Philippians 2:14-16. This is a daily struggle for me and one I intend to work on.

Again, I was hesitant about the house but Michael was confident and assured me he had everything under control. Have I mentioned how much I love and admire this man?

Weeks went by and we cleaned, power-washed all of the inside and outside walls of the house, got sheet rock done, pulled up old carpet, replaced floors, cleaned, painted, cleaned again, got all new fixtures and kitchen/bathroom appliances, and cleaned some more. This is my version of it... I'm sure Michael would tell you a MUCH longer story. He and his dad were there day in and day out. I'm so proud of him and how hardworking he is. He keeps ME motivated! Love you, Mike. :) Here's some pictures of the "in between" before and after pictures.

MIKE POWER-WASHING

ISN'T HE CUTE?

SHEET ROCK GOING UP

THE BEGINNING OF NEW KITCHEN CABINETS

BATHROOM PROGRESS

CARPET UP

LOTS OF CLEANING

MIKE AND HIS DAD (THESE ARE THE TWO THAT DID MOST OF THE WORK!)

CLEANING CREW!! ME AND MRS. RONDA

BELLA GOT TO COME AT THE END WHEN THE CARPET WAS DOWN. SHE SAYS SHE WANTS CARPET IN HER HOUSE!

Throughout this time I can't tell you the sense of joy I had in my heart and the love that grew even deeper for my husband. I always tell him how proud I am of him because I always am. But throughout this process I hope I told him enough. It's hard to describe with words how much I love him and how extremely proud I am that he is my husband. To be honest there were times that I struggled with wanting to go to the house and clean. Picture a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. What would you want to do? Sip coffee on the couch? Go to the park? Shop? Me too. And for the most part I still got to do that stuff but some Saturdays were sacrificed and after I actually got there I was so glad I did. He needed my help with cleaning. After all, we are a partnership and I know (for a fact) he does things for me all the time that he doesn't particularly want to do(sweet boy). Plus, we had his wonderful parents there to help which made it so much easier. (I have the best mother-in-law in the world... love you Mrs. Ronda). After I would help it felt so rewarding and like the least I could do for my husband who was working on this house every day of the week (including the weekends). He thanked me and appreciated me in a different way than he had before... and we learned to express that appreciation didn't we Michael? :) Yes, I need words of affirmation as does Michael. It's one of our "love languages". If you don't know what I'm talking about, google it! Great book.

Finally, yesterday, we went back to the house to take all of the after pictures. It was even more put together than when I had last seen it. It is truly a place that will make some family very happy and I can see many memories being built there. We went to eat sushi to celebrate and a little TCBY afterwards. :) Here are some of the after pictures!


FRONT 1

FRONT 2

BACK

UPSTAIRS LIVING ROOM 1

UPSTAIRS LIVING ROOM AND DINING AREA

UPSTAIRS LIVING SPACE

DINING AREA AND SOME OF THE KITCHEN

KITCHEN 1

KITCHEN 2 (KNOCKED DOWN THE WALL THAT WAS HERE)

LIVING ROOM AGAIN

PRETTY DECK... MAKES ME WANT ONE!

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM 1

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 1

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 1

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM 2 (OR OFFICE)

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM 2

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM 2

UPSTAIRS MASTER

UPSTAIRS MASTER WITH DOORS TO THE PATIO

DOOR TO THE PATIO

DOWNSTAIRS LIVING AREA

DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOM 4

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOM 4

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOM 5

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOM 5

VIEW FROM UPSTAIRS LIVING ROOM... NOTICE THE SIGN IN THE YARD! :)

So you see, this was not just about building a house. We learned a lot about each other. We learned even more what marriage really means and how we want to build our family with a strong foundation in Christ... (“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49) That's what Michael and I want for our family... to build our home on a solid foundation that will not waiver... that is all about Jesus.

Michael learned a lot that he will use for his future investment house endeavors, a lot about himself, a lot about me, and a little glimpse of what his grandfather must have went through starting the business... How incredible! I'm sure there is much more he would tell you he learned but the man is not a writer... or a reader for that matter so you'll have to just read my version. :) And I, well, I have learned a lot this past month and a half. I have learned (yet again) how incredibly blessed I am to have such a loving, hardworking and intelligent husband and more than anything how blessed we both are to have family and friends supporting us and a God that has been through every emotion that we experienced, who loves us unconditionally (even when we wanted to strangle each other or walk away), who we can talk and walk with daily, and who has overcome the world. We are both so humbled, thankful and blessed.

I am so glad I got to experience this with you, Michael. I can't wait for our next one! But first, we have a house to sell... and prayers are always welcomed! :)

Until next time,
R & M