8 years

Happy Anniversary, husband of mine.

It's coming, Babe. Our first decade is almost here. It's cray. What is this weird phenomenon, though, that makes us go, "Eight years!? Can you believe it!?" and then quickly be followed by a discussion of how "surely it must be longer than 8 years" because life before each other has begun to get extra fuzzy. Whatever it is, I like that it reminds me that, at the beginning of all time, the Lord picked you for me and me for you and had us planned for each other all those many many years ago. You're my person, for always. I like that.

This past year was a bit of a doozy, just like we talked about on our date the other night. It was definitely bookmarked by a lot of tears and a lot of pride showing up and a loooooot of having ourselves shattered. But we leave the past year changed, the good kind of changed, knowing more about each other, knowing more about Jesus, and understanding a lot more of what He meant when He told us how to love.

We've learned to stop taking things so personally, to "believe all things" and not read more into each others words than was said. We've learned that our little family must have margin and that family trips, the 3 of us, need to happen much more and date nights need to always be way high up on the important things scale. We've learned to laugh at ourselves more and put pride to death and say "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you" even more quickly. We've learned to parent with more patience and grace and make the everyday moments, the simple things, really wonderful. We've had our fear of men ripped out of our hearts to an even deeper place, and wow, has that ever been freeing. We've picked up books more than the tv remote and put our phones away more often. We've played more games and made more crafts and kitchen messes with AK. We've learned that having a puppy is one of the most self-revealing experiences one can walk through. We've learned that we can't be "all things" to each other and that neither one of us possesses any superpower that allows us to handle everything perfectly all the time. We've learned to be more humble, to choose gratitude, to fight for contentment, and to daily look back and say, "The Lord is faithful and so very good. He's got us."

This past year, this doozy of a beautiful year, will forever, in my mind, be the book whose spine reads: "refined." The definition of refined is: "with impurities or unwanted elements having been removed by processing." We've left those unwanted things behind us this past year, Babe, and isn't that wonderful to know!? I love the hopefulness of that.

You, my darling man, make life better. You just do. I still do sit and think back on that day we met and think about I couldn't believe that youwanted to come talk to me! Not in a self-deprecating way, but just in the way that I somehow knew, even then, that you were the best man I'd ever met. I'm so glad for that parking lot meeting. I still get butterflies when I think about it. I know I always will.

In the weighty and wonderful pieces of life, in the past year of marriage and every one leading up to it, in the hardest things we've faced and in the pieces of life that sit at the top of our favorites list, the Lord has done exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask or think. That's who He is, even when He shows us that in ways that don't make sense to us. And as we live these days, I'm just so truly, awfully, immensely thankful that He put us together. He's got it all, Babe, and we get to watch it unfold together. No where else I would ever rather be. 

Happy 8th Anniversary, J. You're my favorite.

I love you.

gift guide || hubby inspired

I used to be so overwhelmed about shopping for J. I put major pressure on myself for produce the most creative, thoughtful gifts to place under the tree for him. I lost all excitement in the process because I had placed such high expectations on myself -- expectations my sweet husband had/would never put on me.

Finally, within the last couple of years especially, I have come to enjoy the process of gifting to my husband. I have finally let go of all that self-inflicted pressure and expectation and actually listened to the encouraging, loving remarks of my husband. And in this process I've learned some helpful little tidbits. Nothing earth-shattering, by any means, but good reminders for us all to keep in mind as we shop for our guys.

simply pay attention. you see his day-to-day, you know what things he uses and needs on any given day. pay attention to see if something would help make a daily task easier or if something needs replacing.

listen to him. when he makes comments like "so-and-so recommended this book I'd like to read sometime," or "I'd really enjoy getting _______ at some point," make a note! keep an evernote folder on your phone or a piece of paper hidden in your journal where you can write ideas down throughout the year.

study your husband. J has always talked about how C.J. Mahaney encourages husbands to study their wives, to pay special attention to the comments she makes and the things she enjoys, the little things that bless and encourage her. I think it is just as important for us as wives to follow this example and study our husbands. obviously, this goes much deeper than gift buying -- and I would encourage you to take it deeper -- but it's such a good reminder for all the little pieces of life together. 

balance the practical and meaningful. remember that you're buying for him and not to get a wife of the year award.

be thoughtful of him -- what he enjoys, his tastes, his favorite colors. don't worry if you're buying him another book if he just loves to read. don't worry if this gift has something else to do with coffee if that's a favorite hobby of his. and don't compare what you are getting for your hubby to what your friend is getting for hers!

be wise. I bless my husband not just in the gifts I give him but in the way I go about buying those gifts. seasons of life change and your budget will be different depending on that ---- just make sure you're being your husband's helper in whatever season it is.

happy hubby shopping, friends! 

01 || the innovators by walter isaacson

02 || the last lion by william manchester and paul reid

03 || green sandalwood watch by Jord

04 || leather valet tray from jcrew factory

05 || lambswool shawl-collar sweater from jcrew factory

06 || sportsman's rucksack from l.l.bean

07 || men's handsewn slippers, flannel-lined from l.l.bean

08 || calvert suede oxfords from jcrew factory

happy birthday, my J

My darling husband,

Happy Birthday to you. 

This day is one of the very best days to celebrate. 32 years ago today the Lord gifted the world with you and 8 years ago today the Lord gifted you to me. That day 8 years ago is so vivid in my mind, like watching a home video. I can picture every bit of the moment our friends introduced us. I still get butterflies in my stomach as I remember how nervous-excited I was to be meeting this rather attractive man with the most wonderful eyes I'd ever seen, and I can still recall the very moment that, as we walked away, Hannah said to Chris, "we need to find a girl for Coobs," and I thought to myself, "it'd be pretty great if that were me." And I am grateful every single day that that thought is now, "it's pretty great being his girl." ;)

My love, you are the best man I know. Over the past months I have learned even more how true that statement is. Never have I known a love more patient, more sacrificial, more gentle, and more devoted than your love for me. To be on the receiving end of that love is to truly experience a picture of Jesus. The way that you live everyday teaches me so much. Every bit and piece of you is so firmly rooted in truth, in Jesus. I see in you a devotedness to the Lord and such a desire for Him that I'm daily reminded that "He is better than it all." My heart rests so fully in the way that you lead me because your heart rests so fully in HIm. 

I am so proud of you, Jason. I'm so proud to be your wife. I will never grow tired of saying, "this is my husband," or hearing you say, "this is my wife." You work tirelessly and uncomplainingly, you give generously and thoughtfully, you are creative and witty, you are wise and full of discernment, you love adventuring and you love home, you hung the moon for our daughter and you never cease to make my heart flutter, you are strong and gentle, stubborn and sweet, you are humble, gracious, kind, and faithful. 

8 years ago was one of the very best days of my life, but the flutter I felt then doesn't hold a candle to the love I have for you now. I adore you.

Happy Birthday, my husband. I'm so very glad you were born. 

With all my heart,

your wife