November 22, 2012

Full of Thanks

There are so many things we all have to be grateful for. The Lord has blessed me beyond what I deserve in so many aspects of my life, and I am reminded of these blessings very often-not just on the day of thanks. But this year, was very different from all the other thanksgivings I've had. It was my first thanksgiving away from my family, and my first thanksgiving as a fiance.

Today, I found myself replaying memories of the last couple of years and looking at how much has changed year to year.

2010: Thanksgiving in Dallas with my parents, sister (with cale in her tummy), and brother-in-law. It worked out well for me that we were in Dallas because my long-distance boyfriend would be there with his family- and I got a WEEK in the same city with him!

2011: Thanksgiving in KC with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, 7 month old nephew, and my boyfriend. He had to work the next day, and couldn't go home until Friday night. It was his first Thanksgiving away from his family, but we were so thankful to have him be with us!

2012: Thanksgiving in KC with my fiance and family-friends, the Hovelsruds, who I consider to be family.  We are so grateful to have people who love us well, and take us into their home to celebrate and be family with.

2013 (*Lord-willing): Thanksgiving with my husband, who knows what city, and who with!

Looking over the last couple of years and at least the next year to come, Lord willing, change is written all over it. Change is so good, so healthy, and such a time the Lord uses to teach. But. Change is hard. and sometimes unwanted. But thanks to the heart of our God, and his mercy He gives us daily, He uses all experiences (especially change) to bring us closer to Him.

I am so thankful for a God that loves me, regardless of the number of times I mess up. I am thankful for my fiance,that the Lord saw it fit that we prepare for marriage together, and the loving, servant-hearted man Brett is. I am thankful for my family, the love and the deep relationships we have. I am thankful for my health, for my limbs and that I can exercise. I am thankful for my education, that I get to study something I love and one day, Lord-willing, practice in a field I am passionate about.

God will always use times to help us become more like Him and bring us closer to Him, so that we may love and live in the way He hopes for us. I am so thankful for our God. He is good.

November 7, 2012

weird in grad school

Grad School is a very funny thing.

I have a lot of feelings about/towards the whole constitution of graduate school. But all of these thoughts were spurred by a sermon we had Sunday and my current state of life. Sunday, we were talking about what our "beautiful fight" is. That thing that we are fighting through, just trying to cross the finish line- regardless of how it looks or what place you get- getting to the finish line is a big enough battle in itself. I think everyone is fighting their own "beautiful fight"- honestly, i think most people are fighting multiple beautiful fights. I know I am, and for me, grad school is one of them.

I have learned a lot- outside of the content of what i'm learning in the classroom- about graduate school, master's degrees, and higher education in general. First of all, I have so much more respect for people who have received their master's degree, higher education, and/or PhD. I knew it was a great accomplishment before, but I didn't know what really went into before now. And i don't say that to toot my own horn- at all. But I say that because I think in so many situations, we think we understand what it's like, or what it took to get to a certain place, but until you are walking through it, you don't really understand.

By this post I am not complaining, and I am not wanting to be glorified for the fact I am in grad school- not the case at all. I am in grad school because of the Lord- He gave me the passion for nutrition, and convinced the KUMC people to let me in (and pay less attention to my GRE score). I know if I make it through grad school, it was not through my own strength and knowledge. that is for sure. The Lord has made Himself very evident throughout the last 2 years about how inadequate I am, yet, through Him, He makes me adequate (a lesson learned on repeat since K-West 2008- shoutout to my kitchies/ nanu).

As I am working towards my Master's degree in nutrition and dietetics, I find myself in an awkward state. I am graduating in May, Lord-willing, and will have MS,RD behind my name, yet, I have no true work experience under my belt. Most of my college friends will have been in the working world for 2 years. It's constant- there's always something to be worked on, or studied for. It's uncomfortable- I'm not working 40 hours a week in a structured way, yet, i am putting in 40+ hours towards my job, studying, class work, etc. But no structure is a way to challenge me in discipline and in faith. It's undefinable: I don't know how to classify my state of life right now. BUT I think trying to define my state of life would be confining to what the Lord has planned and is doing. I feel tired and overwhelmed. (I have a left eye twitch that has been hanging out for a month) BUT, I am constantly reminded (thank you Jesus for your grace) that I love what I am studying, and what I am passionate about. I feel like I'm running 100mph with my eyes closed- going in blind to something is a common task nowadays.  BUT, the Lord gives me the strength and the humility to get through it.

Grad school is a very funny thing, and a very funny place to be. But the Lord is so good in His ways. He continues to teach me through His small and BIG lessons through my experience while in grad school. 

Grad school, you are so weird. But Thank you Jesus, for you are so good.

I am sorry if this post didn't make sense. I have a big test in the morning, and brain is a little jelly-fied.

September 25, 2012

overwhelmed with love.

To all of you who have showered Brett and I with your love... THANK YOU. I feel like a "thank you" does not suffice how loved and encouraged you have made us feel these past few days.

Brett Moore and I are engaged. <-- that sentence is something i have been dreaming about (and guarding my heart about) for about 1 year and 8 months. It only took 4 months of dating that guy [long distance] to have the first thoughts of "wow, this guy may be the guy I get to marry". Of course, those thoughts were hopeful and kept to myself for along while... [I mean who has those thoughts 4 months into a long-distance relationship.] Little did I know, he was having those thoughts too.

Brett and I started dating, officially, 2 years ago [tomorrow] on September 26th, 2010. As we began this relationship-- not knowing what we were thinking getting into long-distance our senior year of college-- I started to see more and more of the Lord's hand in my life. He revealed things to me about myself and the refining process I had been through with Him through Brett and I's relationship. His timing is perfect, always. And i feel like that is a theme I am reminded of often. I was not ready to meet Brett (meet him in an available way) before summer of 2010. The Lord has guided, refined, challenged, and loved me to help me get where I am today...Brett Moore's fiance.

I could go on and on about the proposal and days leading up to it in detail- but i'll save that for another time.

On thursday, Sept 20th, 2012, Brett and I were going on a "surprise date" I was a little suspicious but really not sure if this was it. He took me to the arboretum [KC peeps- go check it out, its awesome] for a picnic. He was acting completely normal, not shaken, not nervous very calm and confident- as Brett tends to be- and i was convinced he wasn't proposing. After we had a short picnic, we kept walking and stumbled upon an adorable secluded bench...

At this point, i began to shake because i knew this was it. I started to get teary when I saw the photobook he made. The book consisted of pictures from us as babies to us in college- with our seperate lives- then outlined our dating story in pictures and inside jokes to end on a page with a picture from new years, 2011 when he told me loved me. under the picture it said "the day he told her"

i flipped the page and the very last page said "Sept 20th, 2012: the day he asked her" with Eph 3:20. I began to cry, even more, at this point. Brett began to speak the sweetest words to me, talk about our God and His plan for us individually as well as His plan for us together. He got down on 1 knee, and asked me to marry him... to be his wife.

I was in shock and couldn't believe it. The next part was one of my favorite things I've gotten to do. [obviously, behind say yes to marry this amazing man] I have worn a true love waits ring on my left ring finger since i was 14,and it was my plan to wear that ring as a promise to the man i would one day get to marry, and on the day my dream man proposed, I would get to give the ring to him and it would now be his. I got to give that ring to Brett before he put the ring on my finger, symbolizing a promise to the Lord and to each other of our engagement and soon to be marriage.

So here were are. Brett and I are engaged to be married. I have no words to express my excitement and happiness to be his fiance and soon-to-be wife. One of the 1st things I said to Brett after he put the ring on my finger was this is going to be so much fun. I can't imagine life without Brett, and I cannot wait to see the adventure the Lord takes us on. I do know it will be full of love, smiles, and lots of laughter.

I am confident that the Lord is using Brett as a way to show Himself to me more each day, as well as a way to express His love to me, in human form.

The Lord walks with us through the tough times, sometimes has to carry us, and He sends us His unending love through people and relationships. Our God is so personal- He knows us better than we know ourselves. So sovereign. So timely.
He is so good.

for more pics of the engagement and more details.. check out my sister's blog here

September 4, 2012

moving on.

So 2 weeks ago, today, I passed the RD exam... making me a registered dietitian.

The sentence above is one I have been dreaming about being able to write for about 5 years. For those who don't know, do become a dietitian, it is a 5-year path. And with me being lucky, and knowing nutrition was a passion of mine, I have been studying and striving towards becoming a dietitian since my freshman year of college, beginning in aug. 2007.

As crazy as it may seem, this test has been one that has always been hanging over my head- for 5 years. Obviously, freshman year it wasn't super heavy since I knew it was years away, but what was heavy was to keep my grades up for the day that I apply to internships, which ultimately lead to the RD exam. So for 5 years, I have been working and pushing and being miserable some days to get to this point. The past year, the RD exam was on my mind daily. The internship year is known to be the hardest year of your life, and now experiencing an internship, I can agree with all of those that warned me. It was the hardest year, by far, of my life (thus far). And now, that it is finished. I finally get to "move on".

It has taken me 2 weeks to write this post because I have been battling and praying through the question "what now?", what does moving on look like? I have spent hours studying, working, worrying, praying, and talking about becoming a dietitian, and all the stuff it took to get here. So what does it feel like to have a weight that has been on your shoulders and a cloud hanging over your head for the past 5 years to be lifted off, and it be sunny again? I can't explain it, nor do I totally know what it feels like, I am still feeling it out.

The "what now?" is somewhat hypothetical- I do know that I am finishing my master's degree this year (will be done in May!), and working. But the "what now?" is more of a question I am excited to get to figure out while holding the Lord's hand, and allowing Him to show me. These past 5 years would not have happened without the strength, peace, patience, focus, and confidence that only the Lord is capable of providing-- and many of those who walked that treacherous road with me know that. I do believe my passion for nutrition comes from the Lord, or at least, I know He wants to use it. He has lead me to this point, and I know this is just the beginning. I am so excited to see what the Lord wants to do now.

I feel a little bare, a little vulnerable. I don't have that weight I got so used to carrying around the past 5 years anymore, and as weird as it is, I feel a little exposed. But I think this is exactly where the Lord wants me: open-hearted, weight-free, somewhat-exposed, vulnerable, and willing.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially (and finally) Courtney Kreul, R.D. My favorite thing I have learned over the past 5 years, and what I am looking forward to most in the 5 years is that our God's ways are way better than our own, and He is good.

August 15, 2012

full of love.

The past week or so, love and marriage has been a major theme of my life. It is so refreshing to be reminded that 1. love still exists, and fairy tales can become realities and 2. marriage can last a lifetime.

Engagement. On Friday, two of my most favorite people became engaged. Mallory and Adam have been dating since our sophomore year at Arkansas, and it has been such a blessing getting to watch their relationship go from a first date to a proposal. I had been waiting for the day Adam proposed for a long time, and it could not have been more perfect. The biggest treat for me was that I got to go with him to get the ring, AND I got to be apart of throwing the engagement party afterward. Going to get the ring, and planning the party was so. much. fun. I'm not a crafty person, but getting to do something like that for two people I love dearly, was such a treat. The "set-up" of where it all went down was unreal, and Adam blew it out of the park. Mallory was so surprised. It was pretty much perfect. Friday marked a new chapter in their life, and a beginning of a life together. God is so good in His ways, and His timing. Watching the Lord do His craftsmanship through both Mal and Adam over the years has been the best thing and one of the best gifts to me! Witnessing times of bliss, and times of less bliss with the two of them has shown me the power of love, faith, prayer, and patience in a relationship- and get this people, they were only dating. I cannot wait to see what the Lord is going to do through their marriage. I am so excited to get to be apart of it all, and walk alongside of them as they prepare for their wedding day and a lifetime together.
my presh engaged friends: Adam & Mallory

Marriage. Today, August 15th 2012, is my parent's 32nd wedding anniversary. 32 years. Wow. I cannot comprehend that--I am only 23. I don't know what it means or what it is like to be with someone longer than you ever were without them (they got married in their early 20s). But I do know, it takes a lot. It takes a lot of love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, work, strength, fight, and promise. Getting to be their daughter, and witness their Christ-centered marriage, and what it means to love has been one of the biggest gifts and blessings- I cannot put it into words. One statistic says that 50% of marriages end in divorce. I totally believe that. Marriage isn't supposed to be easy, and it isn't supposed to be done without the Lord being in the driver's seat. I don't know how to do marriage, or even what marriage is like- i'm not married. But I do know what a successful, Jesus-loving marriage looks like. What a gift that is. I cannot thank our Lord enough for my parents and for their 32 years of marriage. As I get older, i am learning and seeing what it takes and what they have done to be in the place they are today in a much more real way. They have fought so hard, because to them, giving up is not an option. I hope one day, Lord-willing, i will get to have children and that they could witness a fraction of what I have witnessed being a child of a marriage like my parents.

my wonderful parents

The fact that He has chosen others to show us His love and His power blows my mind. How creative is He? He and His love are, oh-so, good.

August 1, 2012


Stillness. Being still may be one of the hardest things for me to do, yet the Lord asks us to sit before Him and be still multiple times in the bible.

"Be still and know that I am God"- Psalms 46:10
"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him"- Psalm 37:7-9 
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” - Exodus 14:14

A few days ago one of my besties and I were talking about what it meant to be still, and how to actually do so. I think stillness can mean a lot of things, depending on the person. For me being still is to totally "unplug"- turn off phone, tv, computer, even music, and sit in complete silence in front of the Lord. And honestly, that doesn't happen very often, or i feel as though it was not "successful". For others, it can mean listening to music and going on a walk; whatever it means to stop your everyday life/routine/busyness we have created and going openly, and vulnerably in front of the Lord.

It's so interesting to me, but when I think back on some of the seasons in my life where times of stillness seemed to be a theme of my days, I was the most broken. I remember the extremely broken states, trying to fight or think of something to do, or fix the situation, or fix/change how i felt because it just hurt, and I kept feeling like the Lord was not "fixing" what I wanted to fix at the very moment I didn't want to hurt anymore. It was obvious, the Lord was saying "Stop. Stop trying to do, stop trying to fix, stop trying to not feel... just stop." And as hard as that was, and still is today, i believe the most healing is done in those moments of stillness.

Thanks to technology, and living in the 21st century, being still is nearly impossible, unless I force myself to do it, and focus on quieting your mind. Yes, completely "unplugging" is a great first step, but getting my mind to stop racing, and stop thinking.. stop doing- is hard. My friend and I were talking about how crazy it is how our minds can still race so quickly, when we are making a conscious effort of being still. As i said earlier, i sometimes feel as though my efforts were "unsuccessful", because i felt as though i failed to get completely still. And i probably did. but our God is so great and He uses that still... even though we know it wasn't a success and feel like a failure.

The Lord is so good, and he knows our hearts better than we do. He commands us to be still, because He knows we need it. He designed our hearts, he knows our needs perfectly. How awesome is it we have a God that created us in His perfect image, and knows us better than we will ever know ourselves?

Being still may be one of the most challenging things for me to do, but it is so good. And again, as always, in all of His ways... He is good.

July 6, 2012

down to this very moment.

So, as most of you who are actually reading this (probably ALL of you) know I have been in the KU Med dietetic internship (and master's program) the past 11 months. And before that, I studied and worked super hard in undergrad to get into a dietetic internship program. Therefore, it can easily be said that the past 4 years and 11 months (let's just say 5 years) I have been working to get to this point. 2 weeks from today, i will be taking my "exit exam". This exam is a exam I have to take to "pass" my dietetic internship, and the get paperwork needed to take the registered dietitian's exam (aka like a boards exam or a nclex for nurses.. it's our national exam). It is very similar to the RD exam, 200-300ish questions, 3 hours ish to take it-- with the content of the questions being anything i have covered in the past 5 years.  If/when I pass the exit exam, i will be waiting for paperwork to get in, and take the RD exam late august/early sept.

So pretty much, what I have been working towards the past 5 years is now in the next 2-8 weeks of my life. That's a lot of pressure. I don't remember a day that I haven't thought about my "end" goal [in regards to school].. the completion of a dietetic internship, and passing the RD exam... being a registered dietitian. It is finally here, and it feels so good. As much pressure there may be, I feel confident in the pressure. No, that confidence is not being translated as i will easily pass, i'm not worried about the tests but rather the confidence in the Lord and His ways.

The past 5 years have been through some of the most, if not the most, transforming years of my life thus far. 18-23. those years are full of change and transformation. I am an anxious person, and I can look back on many, many hours spent worrying about something related to school/dietetics. And every time, the Lord's promises and grace are the only things that got me through those times, and to where I am sitting today. Continuing to point me in a direction that is for Him.  There were days I woke up and went to bed only holding onto His promise that I am not alone, and His ways are perfect. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. -Psalms 18:30. He delivered me through those times, whether they were due to heart ache, disappointment, confusion, stress, worry, or the simple unknown.

I am confident of where He has lead me, and confident I am not alone. What a blessing it is to be so passionate about something (for me it is nutrition) and for Him to work that into His story. Or perhaps, I am passionate about nutrition because of Him.

So as I study for the 2 most important tests of my career (mind you- i am still anxious about these tests, and studying has become my life :)), I know my work is for Him, and if He can heal my heart, help me overcome my worries/fears/etc., and show me His overflowing grace through it all... I will be fine in this season, and the seasons to come.

For He is so good.