90 days proceed with strength

Some say that a strong marriage rarely possesses two strong individuals at the same time. Interchanging ideas and unity between the husband and wife is the critical piece that may be lacking in some. Two strong individuals, acting in unison, make for an incredibly strong relationship.

Ninety days after our nuptials and we continue to sort out what our normal looks like. In these three months we've shared a number of heartaches and joys, doing all of it together. A 'normal' day is anything but, taking the hustle and bustle by the boot straps and just going. We take each day in stride and are looking forward to the next year. With each passing day it becomes increasingly difficult to remember what life was like before we met, before we were engaged, and before we were married.

Looking back, our six month engagement was one of the fastest periods of our life. We learned how to love each other best, planned an intimate wedding together and are now learning what life looks like living under the same roof. But, is it as easy as that just sounded?

I can remember the week when we got engaged, it was one to remember. As most have that time to share with their family and friends, I was in the midst of a unique situation. In 6 days I was to fly home, to my home, without my fiancé. Sharing the excitement alone and awaiting his homecoming. I remember sitting and looking out the huge glass paneled barrier, that separated myself and the airplane I dreaded to board. It was a dark feeling, like a pit in my stomach feeling, but I did as I always do - shrugged it off and ahead I went. 

One of the things I have unintentionally learned to do is comparing in order to dilute. See, if you know anything about me then you know I am not shaken easily. I know that what I am going through at the time must be affecting someone else in a different way. So comparing my struggles to what someone else may be going through helps me understand that others may be having a more difficult time than I am at the present time. I mean, me boarding a plane without a fiancé is pretty minor compared to what others struggles are.

and then the move happens and we are united

Planning a wedding for 30 people sounds easy but all the ideas in my head said otherwise. Attending and photographing a dozen or more weddings each year makes for high expectations, even when you try to avoid it. Meeting my own lofty standards may have been the highest expectation of all. My goal was to have all of the beautiful details sorted beforehand, I wanted to enjoy the day with my family and my new husband. 

The gathering of my favorite local vendors started. I started with florals and went on to renting farmhouse tables, collecting china from the local thrift and starting the design of what I wanted to be a simplistic invitation. Spreadsheet upon spreadsheet were the ideas, numbers, pricing and guests of who I wanted to attend. Everything started to come together in what seemed to be a simple fashion. We knew we wanted a ceremony right between our homes and close to the property line of where we grew up as kiddos, and so that is what we did.

So many friends and family were there for us. The weeks leading to and the day of.

We had help with the catering, our timeline for the wedding, the flower arrangements and with the tent setup. People donating their time to set-up, drive and deliver, which was a blessing. 

The morning of the wedding I can remember just relaxing and trying to calm my nerves. Which I could tell were starting to get a little uneasy, knowing I would be seeing this handsome groom soon. One who I fell in love with months ago and still to this day. My sister, Mom and I had the house together. Spending time and getting ready as a family, which I decided long before that I wanted my sister alone to stand by my side.

The 3'oclock hour hit and it was time. Time to walk out the door and into the arms of the man I loved more than I could even describe.  As I hustled into my dress, I slipped my wedges on and on the earrings went. As I walked outside, I felt the warm sun and the breeze blow the sides of my dress up and down. Around the east side of the barn we went, to hide for the intimate moment. As I turned the corner I caught glimpse of a man who loved me unconditionally, even when I am dumb and make stupid choices. The man standing was passionate about his love for me and was not ashamed to show me every single day. He stood there, bold, knowing he was marrying his lifelong partner in just a few hours.

and then he turned around and I smelled what reminded me of something safe. We both uttered "hi" like we hadn't seen each other in a decade. Our eyes locked and he whispered "the first thing I noticed were your eyes, you're gorgeous" 

We finished up with our photos and the ceremony was approaching. We had the most perfect intimate ceremony out in our field. The birds were singing, goldenrod was blooming and I could hear the sounds of the violin and cello as my daddy and I hoped out of Wes' Camaro. We exchanged vows with not a dry eye, kissed and had a lavender exit with our closest friends and family.

Once the wedding was over, moving my things in with him began. Loads of clothes and shoes galore. We rearranged our living space to accommodate both of our needs and we still do that to this day. We try our best to take one another desires into mind. Working as a team, with each other, and not against. We learned to mourn together, one of our beloved pups passed away only 3 days after our wedding day. We have adjusted our life from single to married, and with that comes trials.

Of course we have disagreements and we bug the living heck out of each other. I know I get on his nerves but he chooses to love me endlessly. When I have him clean up his 473638 pieces of clothes laying around, he does it without a fight. Cooking is a team effort, one being the cook and the other the dishwasher. Laundry is my therapy and I think he is coming to learn that, so it stays untouched. But, all that doesn't matter as much as just having him by my side. Sitting with our hips touching and watching a movie, with one arm around me. The small kisses he randomly gives me and the strong embraces, just to say "I love you."

Nothing beats the patience and calmness of a man, when you're upset. The firm stance when he tells you that it is going to be ok. The daily reassurance that you are for his eyes only and knowing he thinks you're the prettiest thing ever. Surly, more than ever, the love he has for Jesus and his compassion for others outweighs most qualities. Because, if he tries to be like Jesus every day of his life- I'll marry him again, every day of my life.

Because, if he tries to be like Jesus every day of his life- I’ll marry him again, every day of my life.

Looking back, the hardest edges of difficulty have softened and the beautiful moments still fuel our fondest memories. Because long before our paths crossed we had moments where we thought we would never find hope in a good relationship. Daily reminders of being lonely filled with gaps of that presence needed by another individual was growing and growing. However, we were both raised with faith in knowing that we serve a mighty God and there are not any miracles too big or small for his hands. Keeping that reassurance within us but living a daily life of the norm sure was hard, but nothing is harder than what you make it.

Echos of our milestones together grace the walls and fill the shelves of our small home; each photograph and keepsake telling a story of its own. Our walls are small but I like it that way. There are no expectations to meet for our love. We don't need a huge house and lots of money. If we have a car that can get us from here to there, we are settled. Our dogs are spoiled brats but we keep spoiling them more every day. If we get to share the love of Jesus with the world, we will do it as many times as he allows. Keeping in the "meantime" an every day occurrence. Showing those around us that love is meant to be known, without validation from others.

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photo credit: http://jpballphotography.com | coffee bar: https://www.yieldcoffee.com | MUA:https://www.flawlesshairandmakeupllc.com | hair: ColleenFoxxHairDesign |

Commit to your calm

This week sure has been a tragic week. Has it been the only devastating time our country has endured? Of course not. Has it wrecked homes, buildings, farms and peoples lives? It absolutely has. Facebook, Instagram, the news and media are surrounding us with updates on what is happening and to come with these horrible storms. People are rushing from state to state, lending a hand, rescuing people by boat, and hauling basic necessities to those who have nothing left behind.

and this is not the end.

Horrible storms are headed to a place where my heart lives and many more. Places are preparing for a whirlwind, literally, of what is to come these next few days. I see people leaving their vacations, trying to get home but can't. Frantic because they are outside of their element, but most of all trying to remain calm.

Emotions are running wild. Hearts are crushed to see those devastated and hands are wanting to reach out and help, but not able to find a way. Sometimes that is the most lifeless feeling.

So this I ask you, where is your calm amidst this storm?

This afternoon I was sitting in the sun, right across from a bay window, plucking each little rice sized lavender petal from the stem of a plant. There were two bags full so I had some time to myself. My mind and I had a date and a much needed date for that matter. So, I plucked. Smelled the aroma as it was released and just thought about my calm. I reminded myself that my calm is contagious to those around me. It is the ultimate weapon against all my challenges and to be calm meant to relax.

 

I plucked and smelled, plucked and smelled. I thought about what my goals were, thought about life, I ran through my "to-do" list for the wedding and remembered how proud I was of my soon to be. Now, this plucking lasted for a good 20 minutes and my fingers were saturated in the scent by the end of it. My mind was saturated with clarity.

I had my calm and it refreshed me.

Some of you are thinking, calm? How in the heck can I be calm with all these snot nose children running around, hanging on my legs and pooping their pants all day long. Maybe you feel like your days are consumed with errands, lists of to-do's, work and giving your time to other people. Well, let me be the first to tell you: Job well done! I am totally not a parent but I feel you. I babysit my niece once a week and bathroom breaks are a comedy act around here. When I go, she follows. Pretending to poop, grunting involved, as I place my little tooshie on the toilet seat. (I hate to crush her beliefs and let her in on the secret that not everyone poops when they sit on the toilet)

Life is hard and this world is facing tragic events. It needs us to be calm.

Finding your calm can be 5 minutes or it can be 1 hour. It can be once a week, once a month or once a year for beginners. Whatever that means to you, I'm encouraging you today to find that personal peace within yourself. It can be different, it can be the same, it can be irregular and irrational but make it your calm.

by that I mean, stop trying to always calm the storm and work on calming yourself first. The mind benefits from being still and the body needs moments of rest. Creating your own calm is motivational and beneficial for self-development. Sometimes just slow down and slow your speech. Ground yourself and silence it. Listen to yourself instead of others.

Be a Lavender. Calm but powerful with scent, rubbing on others in a pleasant way. Commit to your calm, remind yourself, grab hold of a accountability partner and practice what this world needs most. Grab me, meet me for coffee, call me and reach out. I am up for it, are you?

 

I like creamer with my coffee

As I sit here this morning with a heavy heart I know there is someone needing this today. You know those days when you feel like you need to say what you feel but hold back because you're scared how others will perceive it?

Why can't this world be filled with less fear and more encouragement? Why can't we have coffee and sugar in our coffee without judgment or why can't we dress a certain way without someone snickering with a friend behind our backs. Why are we so scared just to be? More importantly if we want to be different, why can't we do just that?

This world we live in is such an ungrateful place. Full of noise, voices of distraught, disatisfied humans filling every inch of space and people wanting instant gratification. People who want to be bigger, better, bolder, richer, prettier, thinner - people who just want, want, want. To my ears it's just noise that vibrates an aggravating tune, never harmonizing.

About 2 weeks ago I flew home from Massachusetts to Ohio, having a connection flight in Washington D.C.. It was late and our connection was hitting the 10-ish hour(pm). We were one of the last flights to fly out of that airport for the evening. Every little snack station was closed, shops were pulling their cage doors down to the floor, the janitors were working so feverishly to complete their tasks and the airport felt so still.

"10:20pm flight delayed" The departure time was changed then to 11pm.

Not a big deal. I got my phone charger out of my bag, went to the charging station and just relaxed. Listened to the chatter, catching conversations bit by bit.

"11:00pm flight delayed" This was the second time now. Departure time of 11:30pm.

Alright, not a big deal but it then turned into a huge ordeal in a split second.

I heard someone behind my right ear huffing, cursing and getting up from his seat. As he walks over to the workers he asks with such anger

"Why is this flight delayed? Do you guys know what you're doing? Is it that hard to pull a plane to the gate? This is bull-(and I am sure you know what completes that sentence.)" He then launches his bag at his seat, forcefully falls into his seat and begins ranting to a friend traveling with him.

I just stared in disbelief. Alright, maybe I took a few snapchats to send to my fiancé to actually prove that what I would tell him later was not a fib. Nonetheless, I was floored by his behavior. This grown man throwing what I would call a temper tantrum, in a public space with eyes on him- and the kicker, he didn't care! I was embarrassed for him if that says anything.

Why?

Why are we so easily angered by things we cannot change? What if we don't get our way? What if that job isn't the job for you? What if the dreams you dream aren't the dreams for you? What if you never amount to anything? Would you still find triumph in all the disappointments? What if you struggle day after tiresome day? You struggle endlessly only to experience an occasional reward when things happen to go your way. Is a coincidental reward worth all that fuss?

Why couldn't that angry man just find peace in knowing the plane wasn't safe to fly? Our life was being protected by the men and woman who do this on a day to day basis. Knowing our safety comes first and not just for the pleasure of time.

What if you don't make it to your child's soccer or football game, and you make it to every other game that season? Are you a bad parent? You want to make more money but you are doing life fine with the earnings you currently have. You want your hair brown but someone told you that you look younger blonde. If you could only weigh 13lbs less on the scale, then you'd look like that model on the walls of Victoria's Secret. Oh wait, this person did this today so I have to one up it. Sally and John have the perfect marriage because they are always smiling, but do they really?

It's such a chaotic cycle that gives me a headache. Like a hamster wheel, it feels like it just keeps spinning and there is never a end. What if you could make it end?! I will let you in on a perfect secret that comes from someone who loves you more than you can fathom.

You are wanted and you are chosen. You are not unloved. You are important enough to someone that they would die for you. You are not alone and you are His. How reassuring is that? We give God so many reasons for Him not to love us, yet none of them are strong enough for Him abandon you. We fail Him every single day but He loves us more each day. He is not waiting to love you until after you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today, understanding all of your struggles. Loving so radically, some will wonder why.

If you like creamer in your coffee, drink creamer in your coffee. If you want to wear green tomorrow, wear green tomorrow. If you want to hug your spouse but you're scared that change might be bold, hug your spouse. If you want to pray with your kids but are uncertain how they will react, pray with your kids. If you want to be more physically fit, be that, without comparison. When you go out today in public, find the beauty in others instead of finding the flaws. If you want more peace in your life but can't find it, fall into the peaceful love of Jesus. It is not a religion, it is a love relationship; a personal peace that will quench every painful thirst in your life. In Christ, you have nothing to lose.