Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Thoughts & Our Outdoor Makeover

Happy Tuesday! Just one day of work, guys. One day of work stands between us and the best day of the year. We can do it.

I've been loving every second of this week counting down and looking forward to the holiday weekend. I just love Thanksgiving. It's always been my favorite holiday and always will be. A day just for family, food and celebrating all we have to be thankful for? There's really nothing better.

We're staying in town this year and spending Thanksgiving at Jonathan's parent's house. I'm bringing dessert, obviously. I'm planning on a pumpkin bread and need to decide on one other option. Breakfast in bed on Thanksgiving morning is a given. We're seeing the new Hunger Games movie on Friday and plan on spending Saturday with my parents. I'm planning on squeezing in one or two long bike rides or runs with my man. The weather here has finally cooled down just in time for these few days of complete joy. Gosh, I can't wait. I'll leave work tomorrow afternoon and probably cry happy tears because I look forward to this holiday so much.

I know I'm all over the place, but believe it or not, I came here with a purpose and that is to show off our completed patio and outdoor space. It's safe to say I'm going to be spending as much time out here as possible this holiday weekend.

The farm house table is a dream come true. It's one of those things I'd pin on Pinterest thinking to myself, "maybe someday...." and here it is on our patio in all its glory. Jonathan knows a guy from high school who has started his own business making this kind of stuff. I sent him a few photos of what I liked and told him my main concerns were that the table seat 8 people and for it to be so that there isn't a bad seat at the table. You know how there's always a seat or two that gets stuck with the leg of the table in the way and when you sit there you have to kind of straddle the leg? I wanted to make sure no matter where you sit at this table, it's comfortable. This is why I had to get that last photo of the table legs. It's perfection. I wouldn't change a thing about the way it turned out.

I was a little concerned buying chairs for a table we were having custom-made. I was worried what we chose wouldn't end up matching or would be too tall or too big for the size of the table but I absolutely didn't want to end up with uncomfortable chairs just because they looked good. I love these chairs from Home Depot - they ended up working perfectly with everything.

This patio has been a work in progress for a while. We've tackled it little by little and slowly, we've figured out exactly how we want it. When I'm back here swinging on the hammock, there isn't anything I would change and it feels good to have it finished and to be so incredibly happy with the outcome.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Adult Field Day Recap

I mentioned we hosted the most fun adult field day in honor of my sister's birthday at the end of October and it was every bit as perfect as I envisioned it would be. As the most competitive girl in our family, she loved every second of it and I hope she felt all the love we all have for her as we celebrated all day long.

In my passion for planning any sort of event, I committed to making this day perfect for my sista. We rented out a softball field down the street to make sure we the space we needed for all the activities. I spent the whole week before prepping to make sure every little detail was special. I wanted to have all her favorite foods for the after party at our house which meant homemade snickerdoodle cupcakes and all things potato - her favorite food. Since we wouldn't be at our house for the games and wanting to make sure we still had fun event-themed decor, we made a few signs to hang at the softball field. I even special ordered her a sporty birthday girl shirt to wear. I'm so happy with how this day turned out!

Once the teams were chosen and more important, team names were selected, we kicked off the competition with a good old water balloon toss. Only two of us ended up completely soaked because of this competition (myself included). Of course this set off a bit of a water balloon fight because what else would we have done with all the extra water balloons?

Next up was a fierce game of kickball and I'm happy to say that my team won and I didn't get injured, both of which are worth celebrating!

We ended the competition with the highly-anticipated three-legged race and it was probably my favorite part. None of us could stop laughing during the entire race. It was pure joy for me to see everyone having such a good time.

Thank goodness, the birthday girl's team won the overall competition because she would not have been any fun the rest of the night!

Once the games were over, this fun and hungry crowd headed back to our house for food, fun and more competition in the form of slap cup and flip cup.

What a day. It was nice to switch things up and do something different with such a fun group of people. Seeing my sister so happy and carefree enjoying something so perfectly her made my heart so happy. It's safe to say we'll be planning another field day as soon as possible because this was a perfect day not to mention the fact that I'm sure we all want a rematch.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Life Lately

Well, hello there. I can't seem to slow down and/or remove distractions long enough to get a few simple thoughts written out. Anyway, as usual, life has been full of excitement lately. Here's a little peak into what we've been up to.

The work we've been doing on our yard and back patio is complete and it was so absolutely worth the wait because as I sit out here on this beautiful Saturday morning, there isn't a thing I would change. Well maybe I would have Jonathan out here with me instead of working, but that's a given. I can't get enough of this space. As every weekend approaches, I am already trying to figure out how I can spend as much time as possible out here. More photos of this happy space to come later this week!


I just finished my second week of Couch 2 5k. I kinda stopped running a few months into this year and then after breaking my toe in July, it absolutely wasn't going to be an option for a while. While I've stuck with my boot camp routine, I wanted to ease back into running because while I love boot camp, I was sort of missing the additional cardio I used to love. I've never tried using a program like this but it was just what I needed to get back into running at a healthy and safe pace for me. Even though the impatient side of me feels like I should be doing more, It feels good to be following a plan. I'm certainly not the fastest I've ever been, but it feels better than expected to run again. The time outdoors is good for me after being stuck at a desk all day and I'm fairly certain it does wonders for my sanity. On my run last night, I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude for running at all, no matter how slow. A few months ago I couldn't walk without intense pain because of my injury and knowing it could have been so much worse makes me extra thankful to be running again.


We hosted some friends for dinner last weekend and it's worth talking about for a few reasons:

One: Life is chaotic for all of us but when the six of us get together I am so grateful for these friendships. These friends are two of Jonathan's best friends and their significant others. I love that meeting Jonathan brought these great guys into my life but even more so, I am lucky to call their better halves my very good friends. These girls support me, lift me up and give me so many reasons to be thankful for them.

Two: The boys prepped dinner while the girls chatted which is worth celebrating.

Three: I made this picture perfect pumpkin cream cheese bundt cake and in my humble opinion, it tasted just as good as it looks. It's funny because I'd been so focused all day of prepping our dinner menu and getting the house ready for guests, I hadn't even thought to whip up something for dessert. I like to think I've built a reputation at this point when it comes to having homemade goodies ready for all occasions so I tracked down this super easy and delicious recipe at the last minute and I'm sure glad I did. 


After church last Sunday, we found ourselves with a whole day ahead of us with no plans. We didn't know what to do with ourselves so we started throwing ideas around since there were a few things we both wanted to do. Jonathan wanted to shop for new sneakers and we had a few other stops we wanted to make and of course, I suggested, "Let's go to Target" to which Jonathan replied, "Why? What do we need there?" I laughed, obviously because you never need a reason for Target. The joy of Target is grabbing a coffee and wandering around a bit. Whether you go there for something (and leave after buying 6 other things and forgetting that one thing you needed) or you wander around for a bit and leave empty-handed, it doesn't matter. It is time perfectly spent either way. He wasn't sold, but into Target we went and it didn't take long for me to see that he was finally getting it.

I probably pushed my luck by making him take a selfie of us on top of this but I had to capture the moment.


At the end of October, we hosted the most fun adult field day and after party for my sister's birthday. This super fun day deserves a post of it's own but for now I'll leave you with this:

It's certainly my favorite time of year and we've got some exciting things going on. I can only hope I get a little better at documenting all of it over the next few months!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Weekend Perfection

Hello, friends. I feel like I blinked and it was already Wednesday, which is great because we've got another epic weekend planned but it's also not great because I've got quite the to do list to check off between now and then. Also, I'm still basking in the perfection of this past weekend and it wouldn't be right if I didn't take some time to document the happiness. 

It was one of those weekends. The ones where you lay in bed Sunday night not wanting to close your eyes because that means it's over. The ones where you stop multiple times a day and wonder how on earth you've been so incredibly blessed. 

After being out of town the last two weekends, I was feeling super grateful for a low-key weekend at home. Our big plans Friday night included prepping the yard for sod installation which I was surprisingly really looking forward to. The weather around here has been incredible and I was pretty psyched for the quality time with Jonathan. In exchange for my hard work, all I asked him for in exchange was to push me around in the wheelbarrow so I think everyone won in this situation. Honestly he had gotten most of the work done already but it was fun for me while it lasted. 

Saturday morning I woke up to Jonathan's landscaping crew getting to work on our sod installation and as I spent the day doing some chores around the house, it was pretty awesome to watch how quickly our yard transformed. I also love the opportunity to watch my husband in action. He had five of his guys working with him for the day and had also taken on 3 other small landscaping jobs he wanted to get done that day. I would stop what I was doing here and there and just watch him in awe of his ability to manage his employees and his business so well and still be so positive and motivated. He is kind of awesome and I am so incredibly proud to be his wife.

What was I accomplishing while they were totally transforming the outside of our home? I was catching up on tons of chores, prepping for the adult field day we're hosting this weekend and running errands here and there. I also finally decided what to write on our kitchen chalkboard and felt this was pretty perfectly in line with some of our conversations lately. I've had the chalkboard blank for a few weeks but I am confident this quote will be up for a while. 

By Saturday evening, our front and back yard had been completely transformed and I am still in disbelief over how beautiful it is! I will get around to sharing some better photos eventually but in the meantime, here is a photo of Taylor giving the new grass her approval. In case you are wondering, I had nothing to do with the purchase of a leash for our cat. That was all my husband thanks to a recent flea market visit. I'm not proud to say we have a cat leash or that it is used, but you can't deny how cute she is in this picture.

Moving on...

After such a productive Saturday, our Sunday plans were all about relaxing and enjoying our day together. We decided to attend the late morning service at church so we could enjoy the morning and take it easy which meant I could snuggle up and enjoy my coffee in bed and I don't think there's anything better than that. 

After church we made a quick stop to pick out some pumpkins to carve. I scoured the pumpkin patch for the closest thing I could find to a perfectly round, minimally flawed pumpkin and Jonathan opted for searching for the ugliest pumpkin there because he felt bad that no one else would buy that one. Hey, at least there was no chance of us both wanting the same one, right?

I couldn't let us leave without taking advantage of this perfect photo opp. I'm glad we did because I've confessed to looking at this photo a ridiculous number of times since it was taken because there's just something about it that makes me incredibly happy. 

Once my sister and her boyfriend arrived, we chatted for a bit over snacks and beer before we dove in to our pumpkin carving. At this point, I still had no idea what I wanted to carve. I hadn't looked at ideas or inspiration - nothing. This worked out great because the idea to carve the heart eye emoji just kind of hit me out of nowhere and I knew it was the perfect choice. Not a lot of room for error and very little detail work; it had my name written all over it.

The above photo will go down as one of my all-time favorites. I truly believe this. We had so much fun carving pumpkins and I'm so glad my sister and her man joined us, too! By the time they left later in the evening, my body was so ready for sleep but my heart wanted more of this perfect day. Luckily Jonathan was all about watching Jurassic World before bed so I poured myself a glass of wine and snuggled next to him thankful that we could extend the weekend just a little longer. I think I interrupted the movie multiple times to tell Jonathan how incredibly happy I felt or to cheers my wine glass to his cup of ice cream but honestly, who can blame me? 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

All the Fall Things

Well, hey there. Things have been a little hectic around here. We've had a sickness lingering in our house for over a week now. Jonathan had it all of last week and I felt it coming on as I headed off for a friend's bachelorette weekend at the beach. By the time I made it home Sunday, it had hit me full force and I've been in bed the last two days trying to get rid of it once and for all. You'd think with all this downtime, I'd be writing up a storm, but I've been feeling less than inspired and cold meds don't exactly make me want to do anything that requires effort or thought.

The good news is that I'm starting to feel normal again which is good because we have a productive and fun weekend planned. I mentioned before I feel like once October comes, our lives kick into high gear with so many exciting things going on. With so much to look forward to about the next few months, I thought I'd share my Fall to do list today.

Carve pumpkins. I'll admit when I'm up to my elbows in pumpkin guts I wonder why I chose this activity for myself, but it's been a few years and Jonathan and I have never carved pumpkins together so it is absolutely on my to do list this year.

Make a pie. I have a confession. I've never made a pie before. From cobblers to cookies, I've made a lot of delicious treats but it's time I finally baked a pie and there isn't a more perfect pie making time of year than the Fall, right? I'm not just planning on making any pie, I'm planning on conquering this beauty of a pie crust I stumbled upon recently.

Host an adult field day. I'm planning this for my sister's birthday at the end of this month and if the weather is as perfect as it's been lately, it'll be the best day of fall fun all in celebration of my sweet sister. I'm still working out the details, but kickball and a three-legged race are on the agenda and of course, beer and lots of shenanigans, I'm sure. We'll follow up our day of competition with a bonfire at our house to continue the celebrations.

Treat myself to some yummy fall flavors at Starbucks. In the last few years, I've significantly cut down on my Starbucks visits and these days, I usually stick with a regular coffee with a pump or two of vanilla. With that being said, I have every intention of treating myself now and again to a Pumpkin Spice Latte and the new Toasted Graham Latte. Yum.

Give our outdoor space a total makeover. We've spent so much time perfecting the details inside our little home and now that we're pretty satisfied with what we've done inside, it's time to turn our attention to the outdoors. We decided a while ago once Jonathan's busy summer season was over, we would lay new sod and clean up the yard and by we, I obviously mean he. Don't judge me. I help in my own way by offering love and support and Chik-fil-A for lunch. Not only are we going to give our landscaping a huge makeover, but we're finally going to put the finishing touches on our back patio. We've been getting by with random furniture back there since we got the patio built over a year ago. We're ditching all of the random furniture and getting the most magical farm table built for the space. Between that and our hammock out there, I'm pretty sure it's where I'll spend every free minute over the next few months. There couldn't be a better time to do all this since the weather around here will be just perfect for enjoying our happy new outdoor space.

Our farmhouse table is a work in progress, but I can't help but share this little preview we got today. I might have squealed when I caught a glimpse of this beauty.

Treat myself to some yummy fall flavors at Starbucks. In the last few years, I've significantly cut down on my Starbucks visits and these days, I usually stick with a regular coffee with a pump or two of vanilla. With that being said, I have every intention of treating myself now and again to a Pumpkin Spice Latte and the new Toasted Graham Latte. Yum.

Watch a scary movie with my husband. I typically have zero interest in watching horror movies. I think the last time we watched a scary movie together, our breakers kept popping and the electricity was going in and out at which point I shouted "that's enough!" and turned the movie off. Jonathan loves them though and no matter how many times he tries to convince me to watch with him, I insist on something more like Pitch Perfect 2 and we meet somewhere in the middle. But the thing is, I love that guy and there's no better time to suck it up and watch a scary flick with him. Just one though because I'll probably regret this 5 minutes in.

Not dress up on Halloween. I'm glad we decided early on to have a night in with some friends on Halloween. All I've wanted to do the last few years is make sure we're somewhere we can sit in the driveway, drink a few beers and hand out candy to the neighborhood kids. We've done this the last few years at my in-laws and it's been the perfect low-key way to celebrate. Any year I've committed to going out in costume and getting crazy, I've always regretted the decision the minute I step in the costume section of any store. I immediately feel overwhelmed at what to be, what to do, where to go, how much money I'm about to waste on a costume. It feels good to not participate in the costume nonsense and just use Halloween as an excuse to have a fun night with some friends and also indulge in some sweet treats.

There you have it! I have to be honest and say how relieved I am this list isn't all food-related because for a minute I was worried in might go in that direction.

Now tell me...
  • What's on your Fall to do list this year? 
  • How are you planning on celebrating Halloween?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Important Lessons from the Weekend

We spent Saturday night in Tampa for a comedy festival featuring Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer and a handful of other comedians I hadn't really heard of. It was a blast and we were blessed with perfect weather for it, too.

Every now and then, I look back on what was an awesome weekend and the only way to share the highlights is to pass along some important lessons I think are worth passing along. I did this a while ago here and I think it really gave you some fun insight into my weekend, so let's go for it again.

- Don't go to a particular German restaurant in a group of 3 couples and be the only girl who drinks beer in the group. Why, you ask?  Because the boys will inevitably order a boot full of beer which requires 4 people to pass it around the table and drink it until it's empty and you will involuntarily be one of those four people. If this happens once, certainly don't make the mistake of going with the exact same group to the exact same restaurant again. The boot will arrive at the table, everyone will look around the table until you make the connection that yet again, you have to chug beer out of a boot while the entire restaurant sings and cheers you on.

- Sometimes on a Saturday morning, you need to ignore what you were supposed to do (work out) and do what you want to do (browse Target with a pumpkin spice latte in hand).

- Speaking of Starbucks, you should do yourself a favor and try their new toasted graham latte as soon as possible. You can thank me later.

- Don't try to take a photo of Amy Schumer on stage from what seems like a million miles away. Security will be on your case before you even have you camera open meanwhile there's a guy 5 seats away from you who has been smoking pot all night but no one in charge has seemed to notice that or the overwhelming scent in the air.

- If you're ever at the amphitheater in Tampa, don't decide walking to the casino would be easier than trying to get an Uber. It's not easier. It isn't the nice evening walk you had in mind. Instead, it's a walk reminiscent of a Walking Dead episode with mud and dirt roads and you can see the casino in the distance but it's really not as close as it looked when you guys first made this brilliant decision. Luckily, I had great company but still, just don't.

- When you're up $200 at the casino and your husband thinks it's time to call it a night, don't say, "but we just got here! Let's at least keep playing with our winnings." It'll be just three minutes later and you'll be wishing you'd kept your mouth shut and told your husband how smart he is.

- When your husband is doing yard work and calls you outside, be skeptical. One second he is asking you to help move one thing and the next thing you know, you're picking up rocks and carrying tools around. I'm not saying you shouldn't help, but I am saying you should know what you're getting yourself into when you say, "yes honey?" and step outside.

- When in doubt, do stick to your original plans. After we made plans to go to Tampa for the weekend, tons of other things came up that we really didn't want to miss at home. We even considered canceling our Tampa plans since we knew we couldn't do it all if we went away. I know if we had stayed in town, we'd be just as happy with our decision but I'm happy we stuck to our plans and had some fun just the two of us. It doesn't hurt that we have lots of fun plans with family and friends to look forward to the rest of this month!

There you have it. It was quite a weekend for us and with a friend's bachelorette weekend in St. Pete just a few days from now, I'm looking forward to enjoying some downtime at home this week. I hope your weekend was full of some beautiful fall weather and fun!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Few Things on Friday

Happy Friday, friends and happy October! I love October. I feel like our lives kick into high gear every fall with lots of events, travel plans and family fun. I just love it. So much to look forward to, so much to enjoy. I've got a few random things worth sharing with you all on this beautiful Friday, so let's get to it.

You've gotta try this recipe for sweet potato hash.  I get a huge kick out of treating Jonathan to breakfasts like this and I had the perfect opportunity to give this recipe a try a few weekends ago. I do recommend trying to do some prep the night before because it took a bit of time to put together on a Sunday morning. Totally worth it the effort but still, a lot of prep for breakfast. You've gotta make this one. It's delicious! 

I'm a huge fan of any posts on marriage and relationships and these two posts, well they rocked my world this week:

We're heading to Tampa this weekend to see Aziz Ansari and tons of other comedians at a comedy festival and I can't wait! I love little getaways like this because they involve minimal traveling but tons of fun with my husband. Perfection. 

I also have my sweet friend, Laura's bachelorette weekend coming up and at the end of the month, we're hosting a birthday celebration for my sister in which I've planned an old school field day and bonfire. I told you, October means lots of fun to look forward to. It's gonna be great!

I've had the latest issue of Real Simple sitting on the counter for weeks now just waiting for the perfect time to lay in the hammock and soak in every last bit of Real Simpleness but sadly, it has yet to happen. It's funny because every month I read Real Simple and it gives me the best ideas and I keep reading it because I just love the ideas but I never actually do them. Yet I will never stop being a huge fan and saving special time to read the issue for that month. Anyone else? 

I started reading All the Light We Cannot See and even though I'm enjoying it, it's been a little hard for me to get into. Then I saw Mindy Kaling's new book was out and right now I'm just resisting the temptation to start it. I don't like moving on until I've finished a book and from what I've heard, I know All the Light We Cannot See will be amazing. The good news is that I love having some really great reads in my near future. 

Cheers to Friday! I hope your weekend is full of whatever you're craving - fun, food, rest -- enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Just a Bad Day, Not a Bad Life

I was convinced I was pregnant last month. I was 5 days late and I am never late. Rather than quieting the voices in my head telling me I could be, I let myself feel hopeful and excited at the prospect of it all. I had decided that telling myself 'no, you're not' when I really hoped and felt like I might be doesn't change the outcome either way so I was going to choose joy and hope. Whether I thought I was pregnant or kept telling myself I wasn't, I'd be sad and disappointed either way if it wasn't our time yet so why not let myself be hopeful?

I had just finished a conversation with Jonathan about this before we went to bed on that fifth day. It was one of those chats I never wanted to end as we knew we should have been in bed an hour ago but we just kept talking and dreaming and loving every second. I told him I don't want to have to keep myself in check with anything in life. If I feel hopeful or excited prematurely, I don't want anyone to tell me I am getting ahead of myself. I know that already and I would rather get ahead of myself than tell myself no, no, no. He agreed and we made a pact that we weren't going to talk ourselves out of being hopeful or excited about our life. Whether it's hoping/thinking we could be pregnant this time or sharing our love of Jesus with others or raving about how much we love Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We don't want to worry what others might think of us being so open and excited about things they may not understand or relate to. We need to let ourselves love what we love and feel what we feel and not worry that others will criticize our naivety or optimism.

A few hours after that bedtime chat, I woke up from a peaceful sleep and knew immediately that I was no longer 5 days late. I got up and confirmed that I was in fact, not pregnant, and with cramps and tears in my eyes, I climbed back into bed and told Jonathan it wasn't our time.

I cried myself back to sleep and I have to admit, I cried on and off the whole next day. I was okay, really. But I couldn't control the tears. I was disappointed and just sad about how our journey to becoming parents has been thus far. I felt frustrated and when I'm frustrated, I just let the tears fall and fall. Jonathan was great and of course, worried about me but I just had to keep telling him I'd be fine tomorrow - that I just needed to get it out of my system that day. When I say I cried most of the day, I'm not exaggerating. I think it was a mix of exhaustion and disappointment, but I knew I just needed to let myself cry it out and get those feelings out of my system.

I don't really know who Alex Tan is, but this quote from him sums it up pretty well for me. "Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again." 

The next day, I woke up and moved on with my life. Hope rushed back in and replaced my disappointment from the day before. I think Jonathan gets a little worried when I have a rough day like that and worries that I might have lost hope or that I might be letting these little bumps in the road make me unhappy with my life. I know it's hard for him to see me fall apart and he wants to fix it and be there to remind me that everything will be okay, that we'll try again next month.

The thing is, sometimes it's just a bad day. Sometimes I just need to allow myself to react to disappointment or frustration. Sometimes I just need to cry it out and get it out of my system. Despite how unreasonable or upset I am in the moment, I know I will be fine tomorrow and that my life is unbelievably full of happiness and joy. It's just a bad day, not a bad life.

Tell me...
  • Do you ever have those days where you just need to "cry it out?"
  • What helps you keep everything in perspective? 
  • How do you pull yourself back together?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Extending Grace in Marriage

Several months ago, I won a copy of "Team Us: Marriage Together" by Ashleigh Slater in a giveaway Lisa hosted on her blog. She gave it a great review and I couldn't wait to read it. I received the book in the mail just a few days later and it proceeded to sit on my bedside table for a few months before I finally picked it up and finished it in just a few days. It was a quick read but full of some really great insight on marriage.

It's been months since I sped through the book and while I really enjoyed all the insights on marriage Ashleigh has to offer, especially the discussion questions at the end of each chapter, there is one topic I continue to reflect on months and months later.


It's a word we hear and throw around a lot, but this chapter really helped me refocus on the meaning of grace in my faith and also, in our marriage.

The author reminds us of the meaning of grace, "disposition to to or an act of kindness, courtesy, or clemency" and that it is foundational to our salvation, therefore it should be foundational to our marriages.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God extends grace to us daily, without restrictions, conditions or limits. We should strive to do right and do good, but his grace is given to us for free no matter the circumstance. I remember reading this chapter and really allowing that to sink in. I read it over and over again and spent a few moments basking in how amazing this fact is.

She goes on to say, "We decided that we wouldn't withhold it from one another or force the other to earn it. We'd give it freely to each other, just as we'd received it from the Lord."

I got to thinking about times I could extend a little more grace to Jonathan.

He can be a little forgetful. He forgets names, forgets to tell me he made plans for us next Friday night and if you ask him when my birthday is, he might give you a guilty smile and ask you if if it's May 12th, 1986. If you know him, you absolutely know that his forgetting isn't intentional and it doesn't mean he doesn't care.

It never fails. At the end of every day, I'm likely to find his clothes from the day sitting on the end of our dresser. Whether the clothes are clean or dirty, he takes them off and puts them in the same spot.

Early in our relationship, I can count too many times where I let these little things irritate me. We'd end up double booked on a Friday night because I told him we had plans and he'd commit us to something else and I'd give him a hard time for forgetting. There was a time I might have made a sarcastic comment as I picked his clothes up off the dresser, asking him why on earth he walk a little further to the closet where our laundry basket is and drop his clothes in there.

It didn't take long for me to learn to let these simple things roll off my shoulders. In those forgetful moments, I try to remember that Jonathan has a lot on his plate. He is busy running two successful businesses, strategically managing our finances and setting us up for a truly incredible future, he is constantly thinking and working on bettering our lives and helping others. If he forgets a thing here and there, how can I be bothered by that knowing all of the other things on his mind?

As for the clothes on the dresser, it's so much easier for me to enjoy that quirk than it is for me to be bothered by it. God brought this hardworking, supportive, loving man into my life and I still can't believe I'm married to him. His days are spent working harder than most can imagine and if at the end of the day, he is so ready to get in bed that he doesn't want to walk to the laundry basket, I can't blame him a bit. I love him and want to strive to make life easier on each other. If I can make his life easier by cleaning up after him here and there, why wouldn't I?

I love how the author mentions two important things about practicing grace in marriage:
  1. Practicing grace doesn't mean anything goes. It doesn't mean you turn a blind eye to each other's sins. 
  2. Deciding to practice grace and actually doing it aren't the same thing. She points out that even though her and her husband are determined to extend grace, it's not always easy and doesn't always happen.
I'm glad she mentions these points. It would be big fat lie if I told you I never get irritated with my husband. While I make an effort everyday to extend grace, I'm certainly not perfect and the author is absolutely right, practicing grace doesn't mean we shouldn't call each other out on certain things. On that note, I'm sure of my own little habits and imperfections that require Jonathan to extend grace to me daily and I'm thankful for his grace and acceptance of my quirks.

I'm far from calling myself an expert on marriage and I guarantee I never will. I know for certain though, that in the day-to-day moments when I could become irritated with my husband and instead, choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt and extend a little grace has made all the difference in the world.

Tell me...
  • What situations have you experienced where you could have extended grace, but didn't?
  • How do you strive to see past the trivial quirks that might normally bother you in your relationships?
  • What books on relationships and marriage have you read that stuck with you? 

Monday, September 21, 2015

When there's so much you want to do so you don't do any of it.

Hello hello! I'm hopeful that someday I will have a consistent posting schedule but I have officially accepted that it's not going to happen right now. I'm okay with it. I have good intentions every day after work to go to boot camp, come home and cook dinner, then do any of the millions of things I want to get accomplished, including blogging. Instead, I come home from boot camp,  maybe cook dinner and feel so overwhelmed with everything I want to do that I end up doing nothing productive at all.

I'm suffering from a major lack of focus lately. I'm all over the place when I just need to decide to do one thing at a time really well. This past week was a little different because Jonathan's sisters are in town and so are our sweet nieces and nephew which means I don't feel bad at all about skipping out on our evening to do list for all of this happiness lately:

It's been quite a week! We even went out on a Wednesday night which is pretty rare for us. That photo up there is from our dinner on Wednesday at Prato in Winter Park. It was somehow my first time there even though it's been open for a few years now and it was amazing. The shrimp ravioli, the pizza, the drinks and especially the company -- perfection. We go through phases where we are in such a routine on the weeknights that we forget we are a young married couple who should go out in the middle of the week every now and then and have a little fun. Sometimes we need a night like that to remind ourselves that fun and spontaneity don't have to be reserved for the weekends.

Oh and that sweet angel baby up there is our newest niece, Ella. I'm feeling pretty lucky lately to be an aunt to so many beautiful children. It's the sweetest thing.

Switching gears, I'm writing this on Saturday morning and I'm parked in Starbucks because this seems to be the only way I stay focused long enough to crank out a few quality blog posts. It feels good to be here not worried about the stuff I wanted to do around the house today.

Speaking of our house, our laundry room got quite the makeover last week and I am over-the-moon excited about it. I never thought I'd use the words laundry and excitement in the same sentence but right now I absolutely am. Adulthood, you are funny to me. I have a few more finishing touches to make but hopefully I can show you all the beauty and joy that is our new laundry room later this week.

Happy Monday to all of you. Here's to a week of more focus and more fun.