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.

happy birthday, my love


Happy Birthday, my J

This year. This year has been a full one; the hard kind of full and the really good kind of full. Truly, it's been a significant year for us. The refining that has happened in both of our hearts, in the life of our little band of three, though many times painful, has been defined by the kindness of the Lord. The kindness of the Lord to not leave us to ourselves, to do the unexpected thing (unexpected for us) because He actually knows it's the best thing, to show us how sweet it is to trust Him, to show up with surprises that are filled to the brim with His grace.

I savor the fact that as we've had conversations about all this past year has held, all it has been defined by, that one of the first statements out of our mouths is: He is so good. He has brought us to a greater place of understanding and acknowledgement of the fact that He is so good, all the time. He has taught us to step back and take notice and say, "there's His grace," whether it's the good, the bad, or the ugly that we are facing. He's shown us how beautifully His goodness and His love are intertwined. He's prompted us to see His good, in the seemingly mundane things and in the not so mundane. And He's brought us to a place of craving more of Him, not the good we can get from Him. He's nicked away at our hearts to show us ways we've wanted and/or pursued the "good" rather than the One who does good, and He's changing that. I love that this year has been so significantly marked by these things.

Thank you for flying the banner of these things, my Love. You have lead so well, with words and without them. You have lead in making the rhythm of our home one that sets it beat by the truth. You have lead in change, the kind of change our hearts must have. You have lead in letting us dream, but putting a stop to the "if only" conversations. You have lead in choosing joy and being present. You have lead in desiring that our lives be marked by wisdom and a fear of God alone. You have lead in speaking truth. You have lead in being the one to take the first step of humility. You have lead in stretching us. You have lead in saying, "let's turn off the tv and pick up our books." You have lead in teaching me to not get hung up on things being "just so." You have lead in getting outside of ourselves and looking toward others. You have lead in saying "yes" even when we are tired and saying "no" when our motives aren't right. You have lead in the gentle and needed pushes. You have lead in doing the uncomfortable. You have lead in loving Him best.

 You have lead in this year, Babe. You have lead so well, in a way that makes me whisper many many prayers of thanks to the Lord that I get to be the one lead by you. 

I love celebrating you on this day, J. And it won't ever get told to me that, 9 years ago now, we met on this day. That was a really good day. 

Happy Birthday, my husband. You really are the butter to my bread.

I love you forever.


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