Monthly Archives: June 2015

The A to Z Guide For Those Ignorantly Entering Adulthood

I was straight-up blindsided by what it meant to be an adult. Throw a wedding in two weeks after graduating college (with a degree I didn’t have to pay for, rent money provided by my parents, and Mom and Dad a quick phone call away whenever I needed them), and I was a hot mess.

But, two years later, I am alive, cross-eyed from all the craziness, and loving being a “grown up.”

Below is an A to Z list of the lessons I have learned along the way. I am SUCH a real world amateur, but I feel like an expert at navigating (not always successfully) through the rough waters of ignorance.

Note how I had to stretch my imagination for a few of these, including but not limited to: Q and Z

The A to Z Guide For Those Ignorantly Entering Adulthood

A: Ask for help. A few weeks after we got married, I had a full-blown freak-out when I realized that Morgan was about to start a job to which he’d have to wear ironed shirts. I had never ironed a shirt! That’s what my mom was for! I called her crying (a little dramatic) because in my brain, not being able to iron my husbands shirts meant I was a total and complete failure as a wife (again, I was in a dramatic state. Give me grace.). I asked for help, and, because she is super-mom (and because she realized I was essentially in shambles), she drove down for a day to teach me how to iron. And she brought me cookies. People want to help–everyone’s been there. Just ask.

B: Go to bed early. Ha! Maybe this is just me. When we were in college, we stayed up until 2 a.m. and slept until noon. Now, my eyes start to flutter around 9:30, and I try to go to sleep by 11. Thankfully, my best friends are the same way, so our hang outs rarely go late. Going to bed early means waking up early, which is what adults do. I’m more productive and don’t feel like I’m wasting my day away. (There are obvious caveats to this tip. Sleep in if you want to every now and then. Remember: you’re a big kid now and you make your own rules.)

IMG_2481The only reason we were able to wake up at 5am for these impromptu bridal portraits with my girl Kaitlyn was because of an early bed time. [This caption is a stretch but I just love this picture so much.]

C: Cook food. It’s so good, it makes you feel great, and it’s cheaper than going out to eat all the time. I went from not knowing how to cook eggs to making many meals per week. Not only do I enjoy eating real food, but I also get to serve my loved ones in a super tangible way.

D: Dream big dreams. You’re in your twenties with limitless doors to try and open. You want to leave your office job and become a teacher? Do it. You want to run a marathon? I can’t wait to watch you as I stand on the sidelines. You want to pack up your house and move overseas? I will be your biggest fan. There is nothing stopping you except for your pride, your fear, and your agenda.  Dreaming big dreams is far from ignorant–it’s ambitious and it’s powerful.

E: Ignore expectations. If I was reading this list to you, I’d scream this one. Coming out of college with massive expectations of perfection royally screwed us up. We were certain we knew exactly what was going to happen next, and when the opposite happened, we felt like our lives shattered around us. Now, we’re fixated on Christ, remembering that: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21) Seriously…don’t bother putting plans and deadlines and timelines on your expectations. Sometimes it’ll work out exactly as you hoped, but sometimes it won’t; when you ignore expectations, you trust in the only trustworthy One.

F: Find friends and invest in them. The biggest lesson that Morgan and I learned post-graduation is that community is not easy to come by. While you’re in school, relationships are handed to us on a silver platter–you’re in clubs, on sport teams, ride the bus together, or live on the same hall. We moved into a neighborhood that was very hood-like a few months after getting married, and we realized that we were going to have to go farther than next door to find our people.

G: Grocery shop with a list and a meal plan. We stick to a really, really tight grocery budget easily because I know what I’m getting, how much it will cost, and where it is in the store. Full disclosure: we work to stay under $65 a week, and we eat meals full of really delicious meat and vegetables–lots of that food being organic or local. And I promise my husband doesn’t go hungry (he relies on a diet of pretzels and saltines, but that’s his choice).

H: Be hospitable. Shauna Niequist writes this: “The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” Open up your home to your community. Make yourself uncomfortable so they can be comfortable. We are all about our open door policy. If you need a listening ear, come in. If you need a shoulder to cry on, come in. If you need a bowl of ice cream and a chick flick on Netflix, I’ll snuggle you on the couch.

I: Invest in your health. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and friends and great things and forget to work out and eat healthy. An unhealthy lifestyle will sustain you only to a certain point, and, truly–it’s worth it to invest in living healthy. Your energy will be higher, you’ll be happier, and you’ll look hot.

J: Join a church. Or a community group or a gym or a book club or a service team or whatever tickles your fancy. Be a part of something that is bigger than yourself–it reminds you of your smallness, introduces you to people with similar interests, and–lets be real…it gives you something to do on days you’re feeling lonely.

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This was one of the best moments of my life. (Yeah I got baptized in a cow trough.)

K: Know your limits. We found out the hard way that we can’t fill our schedules to the brim and still have a healthy marriage and lifestyle. When you reach your limits, rest. There is so much goodness in resting–it’s where I reflect and grow the most.

L: Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. AJ-LM-WH. These letters are tacked up on my desk and engraved on my heart. These words from Micah 6:8 define how I want my life to be lived–seeking justice, giving grace, and remembering that I am so tiny in comparison to my King.

M: Find mentors that are in the stage of life ahead of you. People who will invest in you, be real with you, and guide you in directions you want to go. Two of the most influential people the first year of our marriage were this couple from church who simply let us in to their lives. We were really fragile after a whole bunch of unexpected failure, and they provided wisdom and listened. We love you, Taylors! Mentors walk alongside you, and you need that in the murky waters of adulthood.

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N: Watch the news. I hear so many people say that there’s just too much sadness that they don’t want to see, but, if you’re unaware of the sorrow of this world, how are you supposed to work toward change? I read the news every day, and, in addition to keeping me up to date on the world, I always have a fall back conversation in place for when I’m stuck in awkward small-talk conversations. “So, did you hear about Caitlyn Jenner…?” always gets people talking.

O: Be open-minded. Man…I am working so hard on this. I’ve wasted too many opportunities to learn and grow by shying away from the hard conversations. When I jump in and decided to listen, I am SHOCKED to discover that sometimes…just sometimes…my assumptions are wrong.

P: Pray. Pray for your family, your wife, your husband, your friends, your community, your world. Be intentional about thanking God for things–both the blessings and the struggles. Nothing makes Him more real than the way He rescues us from trials, so tell Him that. Here is my Bonhoeffer quote of the day (by this blog you’d think I read a lot of Bonhoeffer. That’s false. My wise husband does and I reap the benefits.):

“A Christian community either lives by the intercessory prayers of its members for one another, or the community will be destroyed. I can no longer condemn or hate other Christians for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble they cause me. In intercessory prayer the face that may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed into the face of one for whom Christ died, the face of a pardoned sinner. That is a blessed discovery for the Christian who is beginning to offer intercessory prayer for others. As far as we are concerned, there is no dislike, no personal tension, no disunity or strife that cannot be overcome by intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the community must enter every day.”

IMG_2480(Praying over my sweet friend Cary at her wedding last year. Another hats off to Kaitlyn.)

Q: Don’t take stupid Facebook quizzes. I don’t care if you’re more like Elsa or Olaf or if Facebook thinks you’re going to die at 112. Get off Facebook and start living.

R: Read books. Read fiction, read non-fiction, read magazines, read your Bible, read everything!

S: Serve the people around you. There are a million ways to do it–volunteer at an event, bring a meal to a new mom, offer to babysit for free, clean up someone’s mess, or–hey–become foster parents (Just kidding. You don’t have to do that. We know we’re crazy.)

T: Travel. Y’all. This world is so beautiful. If you don’t have money to travel the world, travel around your town. We are really intentional about traveling every now and then because we get a greater understanding of people, places, and God’s creation.

U: Unplug. A few weeks ago, I was lying in bed on a Saturday morning, perusing my Instagram feed when a message from a friend popped up. She was sharing this article with me. The timing was obnoxiously ironic, and I threw my phone aside and headed straight downstairs for some coffee+Jesus time. Ever since, I’ve been plugging my phone in across the room at night. It means that the last minutes before falling asleep are not spent staring mindlessly at a device and the first minutes after waking up aren’t either.

V: Be vulnerable with your friends. It’s not enough to have surface-level friendships just to have people in your life. Let them in.

W: Hang out with people on weeknights. I used to live for the weekends. We counted down days and dreamed of all the goodness that’d come starting Friday at 5. Then we started to realize that we make our own rules, and part of those rules is to have fun all the time. We love having friends over for dinner, going on random dates in the middle of the week, and staying up “late” (AKA past 11) to watch Netflix with our favorite people. Living for the weekends is a pathetic way to live. Have fun on Tuesday, people!

X: Explore the town you’re living in. We have it easy–we know we’re in love with the New River Valley. I was talking to my cousin who moved to Fredericksburg recently, and she was saying that, after a few months of settling in, they hit up downtown and realized that they love this little town they’ve moved to. She said they’d never realize how rich the history is, how interesting the culture is, and how cool the downtown is if they hadn’t intentionally explored.

Y: In the midst of trying to act old and mature and seasoned, stay young. You are young. Embrace the screw-ups and laugh at the mistakes because you’ve got a hell of a long life to live.

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Z: Go to the zoo. I don’t know. I can’t think of another Z. Enjoy the animals.

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Taking Stock 5

Cooking: I cooked maybe two meals last month. Due to this new healthy eating thing, I cooked so much this week! I forgot how good fresh food is!! My saving grace the last few days: homemade Ranch dressing. Except let’s not call it Ranch, because if you call it Ranch, you’ll be disappointed. BUT–you can use a ton of it and not feel guilty, and it tastes really, really good! Also, this chicken stir-fry. This is so good and so guiltless. Like, so good that I’m tempted to say it was better than take-out Chinese. I SAID IT.

Drinking: Water and coffee. And after I went on a run UP A MOUNTAIN with my friend Nichole, I rewarded myself with a Gatorade. (It’s sad when that’s your reward. But that’s the place I’m at, friends.)

Reading: Another turn for the better!!! I’ve officially reached the mark in Shanghai Girls that I feel confident to recommend it. Really good book that’s hard to put down–however, beware of some tough topics it covers. Not for the faint of heart. I started Changes That Heal this week–I’ve wanted to read this for years but am just now getting around to it. Bracing myself for some harsh convictions and beautiful life changes.

Wanting: “Sunny and 75” every day of this summer. It doesn’t hurt to dream.

Wishing: That there were more people in the world like Sue, the mom of my good friend from college. A few days ago, I came home from a long day overwhelmed and exhausted. I was feeling so down about expectations and failures and our crazy schedule that never slows down. At our front door was a package, and inside was a monogrammed casserole dish and note. She reads my blog (I still get so excited when people tell me that!), and, encouraged by our foster care journey, she wanted to bless us with this gift. Sue, you’ll never know the blessing you were to me that day. Thanks for bringing me back to reality and for making my YEAR. Your generosity spoke volumes to my soul.

IMG_2434Writing: I’ve been stressing myself out to write as much as possible. And that makes writing not as fun. So I’m praying for inspiration and direction, while chilling out and giving myself a break.

Enjoying: Spontaneous memories with my family that were made this past weekend. Saturday started with what we thought was going to be a trip to the Churchhill Downs parking lot just to catch a glimpse of the track, but we were easily convinced to stick around for some horse races. We ate Hot Browns (actually I got a stupid salad), drank mint juleps at 11 a.m., and bought $3 tickets to get in. On a whim, big Dan bet $5 on horse #2 AND WON! In my head, I was certain we were leaving Louisville with $1,000 minimum. Alas, he won $12.50, but I still smile when I think of him standing on the chairs yelling for a horse whose name he didn’t even know.

IMG_2407Noticing: That I’ve been blogging incredibly inconsistently for two years but today is the first day that I realized I can change the size of images I put in posts. LOL. Cheers to big pictures!!!!

Waiting: We’re floating down the river in big tubes with some of our favorite people on Sunday. Have I mentioned how much I love this small town we live in?

Listening: Pandora shuffled to Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Waltz Into Me” yesterday, and I about fell out of my chair. It is a little known song by Hootie, but Morgan and I danced to it as our first dance. I listened to that song on repeat all day Thursday.

Loving: How this man will forever and always be my dance partner. He rocks his signature moves, and, when Nelly’s “Just A Dream” comes on, people need to learn to CLEAR OUT because that’s his jam.

IMG_2419Dreaming: Back to the days of Pine Cove. Can I get an amen? Those were three of the best months of my life. When I tell people about PC, they call it more of a resort than a camp (which is fairly accurate), but all I know is that Jesus shows up in big ways in Tyler, Texas from May to August. I saw lives transformed–not to mention the work God did on my heart that summer. If I could rewind the years to any time, it’d be the summer of 2011.

IMG_0071(This was a just your classic summer morning at camp.)

Pondering: “There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story.”

Watching: FRIENDS! Can’t stop, won’t stop. Well…we’ll stop when we reach season 10. But we’ll probably need to go through counseling when the series ends because it’s a sick obsession.

Marveling: At how accurate this is. They set up motion-sensored cameras in the Serengeti. And then made memes out of their findings.

Needing: A tan. Woof.

Smelling: That smell of summertime. When you can sense rain is coming without noticing grey clouds, when grass is freshly mowed, when grills are lit and sunscreen is lathered on and citronella candles exude that anti-bug smell. I love that smell of summertime.

Wearing: All the shorts and tshirts I can find because IT’S SO HUMID HERE. And I had a realization yesterday that it is only June. There’s a slight chance I may have a heat stroke by August 1.

Craving: Remember last week when I said I was craving healthy foods? That was cute. Because right now, I want a massive ice cream sundae with a gooey chocolate chip cookie on the bottom. Thanks.

Rocking: The same outfit I wore for Easter this year. Whatever. Ain’t nothing like a classy Friday. (Or a not-classy Easter. You decide. Hint: I’m wearing jeans.)

Thinking: About the future so much that I so often forget about the present. I’m trying to be intentional about living in the now instead of always dreaming about and hoping for what’s next. Because there is so much beauty in today. How can we accomplish our dreams if we’re stuck in daydreams about the days to come?!

Feeling: So good! I guess people weren’t lying when they said eating good food makes you feel good.

Admiring: The woman in the peach jacket in the picture below. That’s my grandma, y’all. She raised six amazing kids and what seems like a billion grandchildren, displayed beautiful and sacrifical love to her husband of nearly fifty years, and, following his death, has continued to be the stronghold of our family. Most of all, she taught all of us about Jesus. She’s the ultimate picture of grace and truth and beauty and love, and my favorite moments are ones spent around her table following dinner, when she pointedly asks every single person, “Tell me how your heart is.”

IMG_2421(I don’t know that man in the center.)

Bookmarking: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Ernest Hemingway

Disliking: My heart toward horrible drivers. Confession time: while driving to work one morning this week, I found myself thinking, “I hate all people.” The condition of my heart is BLACK at 7:30 a.m. (While I am disliking my heart toward bad drivers, I still dislike bad drivers. Get off the roads during morning rush-hour if you’re tryna take in the scenery, folks. We may live in small town USA but some people need to get to work on time.)

Giggling: The livefromsnacktime Instagram account. It’s brilliant. Kids say the darndest things.

Louie’s Legacy

Louie and me and RobI want to tell you about a man named Louie.

Louie passed away peacefully, but suddenly, this past weekend. We had just returned from the greatest weekend trip to watch my cousin get married. Surrounded by family and friends, we smiled a lot, laughed until our stomachs hurt, and caught up way into the early morning.

And then this phone call came.

I didn’t know Louie. I met him when I was much younger, but the memories I have of him are pseudo-memories I’ve created in my head from the endless stories my dad tells about his friend. They led Young Life together in New York back in the 80s, and my dad credits a lot of his love for the Lord to Louie’s reckless abandon of self for the sake of the Kingdom.

I had just graduated from Cobleskill and was working in Ithaca. I had known Louie since before college and we kept up our friendship. One day, he said to me, “I’m going to start a Young Life group, and you’re going to be one of my leaders.” I said, “pffffft! I don’t even like high school kids. I was a high school kid and I didn’t even like myself!!” 

But the next thing I knew, I was sitting in someone’s living room in Interlaken, NY with a bunch of (ugh) high schoolers. And I started to fall in love with them.

Before getting involved in YL, Jesus was more my Savior, but not quite yet my Lord. I came to the realization that if these kids were going to look at me, I needed to change how I lived. I wasn’t a bad guy, just not passionate about my faith. That was my turning point. That is how Louie played a major role in my Christian walk.

In my last e-mail to him this past Christmas time, I said:

“I hope you’re well, Louie. I think often about our experiences with YL and how formative they were for me. And you were a huge part of that.”

I credit a lot of my faith in Jesus to my dad, so I guess I’ve got Louie to thank as well.

Just a few weeks ago, my dad had found some old photo albums from when he was in his 20s, and we laughed at the bad fashion choices and the goofy faces he and Louie made in the Polaroids. I commented on how outdated the Dr. Pepper cans looked, and Dad told us about how Louie had this quirky sense of humor that drove him crazy but made him love him.

And then this phone call came.

And he’s gone. One day he’s here, the next he’s gone.

I got on Facebook late Monday night and searched his name. I didn’t even know his last name, so I just typed in “louie new york young life,” and a little icon of Calvin and Hobbes popped up next to his name. Louie Rudin. I clicked and started scrolling.

He was the Area Director of Young Life in Tompkins County, New York, where my dad worked with him 30 years ago. Louie faithfully served youth and told them the good news of Christ day after day, month after month, year after year.

Looking through his Facebook wall following the announcement of his death, it became obvious that he changed lives. That sounds like a flippant statement. It’s what you say when someone dies, right? Below are some of the comments written about Louie:

  • “Everyone secretly wishes to leave this world better than they found it, and you did just that.”
  • “The man who made God seem approachable”
  • Louie wanted to turn our view of the world upside down. Congratulations, Louie, you did it.
  • “He is the epitome of the extension of Christ calling us.”
  • “There is not a man on Earth or in Heaven who has had more impact on my life than Louie Rudin.”
  • I would not be alive today without Louie entering my life 35 years ago.
  • “Truly this man walked with Jesus.”
  • “I’m sure heaven is saying ‘Thank you Louie’ for the many ways you’ve been a friend to the friendless and family to those of us who had none.”
  • “The number of people impacted by Louie’s life is remarkable. But even more remarkable is the quality of that impact.”
  • “I’ll always be different because of the example Louie set for me.”
  • “And I would not know Jesus Christ without Louie Rudin.”
  • “I met Christ at Windy Gap in 1984, ushered to the feet of my Savior by this weird and wonderful man. A man who loved without limits, filled the world with laughter, and poured it all out for the sake of Christ.”

Over and over, friends write, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” There are no other words I’d want to hear when my time comes to go home.

Louie impacted hundreds–maybe thousands–of students in his years here. Those students went on to impact thousands more, who have impacted thousands more. His impact will keep multiplying for the rest of eternity.

Isn’t that what this life is all about?

When my grandpa passed away in the early 2000s, Louie spoke at his memorial service. He talked about how my grandparents took him in as their own, loved him well, and showed him more of Jesus. My dad remembers Louie grinning big as he walked up to the microphone, and I’m certain it’s because Louie realized that this life is not it.

We can try and make it “it.” We can pursue all kinds of stuff. We can strive for more and more. We can aspire to great things for our own glory.

Or, we can surrender like Louie did. We can say, “God, you gave me this life. Use it for your glory.”

Louie smiled big at my grandpa’s memorial service because, as he talked about the love he had for the Lord, he–like all of us–was certain my grandpa was looking into the eyes of his Savior that very moment. And today, we’re confident Louie is, too.

Never before have I been so touched by someone I knew so little. May we all live lives like Louie Rudin.

As yet another Facebook post said, “Thank you, Louie. That’s all. Just thanks.”

WeddingUshers1My parent’s wedding…Louie is the second from the left (Dad is fourth from left).

Taking Stock 4

Cooking: I’m on a health food kick. We’re consuming our weight in sweet potatoes and grilled meat and trying to eat “cleaner.” I say “cleaner” because if I said we were eating “clean,” my sweet hubs may just collapse into a crying fit. I’m starting to realize that what we put into our bodies is what fuels us (I probably should’ve realized this about 20 years ago, but better late than never). I want us to become intentional about our health, which means a lot less processed food and a lot more veggies.

Drinking: Water, tea, coffee, and, of course, red wine. Grapes=fruit=healthy–>wine=healthy

Reading: Not enough. Our weeks have been packed to the brim, and, unfortunately, the first thing I’ve sacrificed is setting aside time to read. It is so much easier–and so much lazier–to watch Netflix instead. But, my mornings are spent in 2 Corinthians, and I’ve been stuck on this reminder from the fifth chapter: “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I’ve probably heard or read this scripture hundreds of times, but it’s sinking in and changing the way I look at the people around me. And, maybe more strikingly, the way I look at myself.

Wanting: To have a heart like this.

Wishing: For a clone of me that will handle all of the logistics of my life (cleaning, cooking, working, paying bills, etc.) so that all I have to focus on is fun things. I’m feeling logical this morning, friends.

Writing: I need help! Tell me what you want to know about our fostering journey. We’re up to our knees in paperwork, keeping in touch with our worker, and preparing our lives for this adventure. I’m weary to write about it on the blog because I’m overwhelmed and never, ever want to sound like I think I’m an expert, but I also want to keep you all updated. So tell me what you’re curious about!

Enjoying: We had our third Supper Club this week. There are four couples who have dinner together once a month, but it’s turned into so much more. We all just genuinely enjoy each other and spend lots of time together. I love it. And we eat such delicious food.

Waiting: Tomorrow, we celebrate my cousin Annie’s wedding. I remember years and years ago, when she was in high school and told me she was going to marry this boy named Caleb. And tomorrow, I get to see it happen. Also, I’m one of about 15 cousins on this side, and we wreck havoc at weddings. In a very not-classy, yet hilarious way. We are 15 incredibly strong personalities, and we leave zero square feet for any other guests on the dance floor. Last year, another cousin got married, and the DJ did something he will probably forever regret: he started a little game between the groom’s family and the bride’s family to see who could sing “We Are Family” louder. You don’t challenge Chapmans. We destroyed. I think I apologized to the elderly people on the other side for busting their ear drums.

IMG_2393The last family wedding. Looks like a normal picture (as normal as we do), but please note the “deuces” I felt it was necessary to throw up right as the picture was taken. [back right. can’t miss it.]

Listening: I’ve started to tune into NPR while driving instead of listening to music. I feel about six grade levels smarter, and I never forget to let everyone know all that I learned because I know everyone is as interested/obsessed with current events like I am. Right?

Loving: Pitch Perfect 2 was infinitely better than expected. I always doubt a sequel, but PP2 doesn’t disappoint. Not ashamed to admit it…I got a bit emotional. I think I loved it all the more because we watched it with a bunch of hilarious friends. We took up an entire row and laughed loud. I got all I need when I got you.

Dreaming: I actually had a dream a few weeks ago that I went to Kroger, and none of the produce was on sale. It was a travesty. Also, it’s a travesty that I have nightmares about sales on zucchini squash.

Pondering: I think it’s important to think about how and through what avenues we discuss really big, really sensitive, really sad and scary social topics. I have opinions…but I’m not about to take to social media. That takes self control because I don’t have a filter, but this article reminded me that “compassion doesn’t mean compromising.” Give it a read with an open-mind, because I fully admit I need to read opposing articles and opinions with one, too.

Watching: TED Talks like this one are making me a little psycho-obsessed with the whole food situation. (Trying to find the balance of being wise and informed while not being cray-cray.)

Marveling: At how sweet our anniversary was this year. This summer, we’re busy or traveling all but about four weekends, so just the thought of planning an anniversary trip made me tired. Morgan swept me away to the city we lived in most of our second year of marriage, we ate at some of our favorite restaurants, and we hiked up a mountain. It was relaxing and just what we needed. We spent our actual anniversary (Monday) eating Chinese food, watching lots of Friends, and getting cookies and catching up with the owners at Crumb and Get It, the local shop that made all the cookies for our wedding!

Needing: I keep saying “BEACH” (usually just like that, in all caps) each week, and I think my MIL got the point. We are potentially ACTUALLY GOING TO THE BEACH! Cue the luau music and hula dancing hips.

Wearing: Jeans and a shirt. Nothing to write home about.

Craving: I’m craving healthy foods. Which is of the sweet Lord because I love me some chocolate. Right now, I’d devour a taco salad, or a sweet potato (yet again), or some watermelon. Or an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen but I’m going to suppress that.

Rocking: This afternoon, I will most definitely be rocking yoga pants for this seven hour drive to Indiana.

Thinking: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the bio families of the kids we’ll take in through fostering. Thinking of the pain, the hurt, the fears. And thinking about how we can love them well.

Feeling: Y’all. I am feeling a lot of pain in my arms. This foster parent business is no joke. I also was years behind on immunizations (whoops) so they caught me up quickly by sticking my arm with a billion (two) needles this past week.

Admiring: I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. I love Jen Hatmaker. I think she’s one in a million and will read anything she puts out. I remember about a year ago when she announced that her mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she shared on her blog this week about how her family has coped with it. I think this tactic can and should be used when anyone in our lives faces trials.

Disliking: The new feature on the TimeHop app that remembers Facebook conversations had from nine years ago. NINE. Let’s all think back to nine years ago because I was most definitely a 15 year old with very few social skills. This daily reminder is shaming.

Giggling: I’m 99% certain these are made up, but if you–like myself–looked forward to 5 p.m. each school day to spend some time with my girl Oprah, you’ll giggle too. [Update: this as well.]

Bookmarking: Morgan sent me this from a book he’s reading by Paul Tripp:

“…Not only is God keeping your inheritance, he’s keeping you. He’s not only protecting what is to come, he’s protecting you, so that when what is to come has come, you will be there to receive it and enjoy it forever and ever. So remember today that no matter how hard your story is right here, right now, it is guaranteed for you as God’s child that it will end better than anything you can now imagine, and that glory will never end!”

Happy Friday friends! May we remember that His “better” is so much better than our “better.”

The Very Best Two Years

Today marks two years of marriage to my best friend. He is everything I never thought I could have, and I can’t imagine life without him by my side.

If I could tell 22 year old Holly one thing, it’d be this: you have no clue your capacity to love. And 22 year old Holly would’ve said: “You’re crazy! I love Morgan so, so much!” And little 22 year old Holly would’ve been right. But that love, compared to the love I have for him a mere two years later, was small and naive. I can only imagine what the next 2, and the next 10, and the next 70 (whoa!) will teach us.

I do know this: The Lord gave me the most precious gift on June 1, 2013. Morgan, being your wife is the single greatest privilege I’ve been given. Those vows we giggled and stuttered and rushed through on our wedding day have taken on renewed meaning.

I, Holly, take you Morgan, to be my husband.

To have and to hold from this day forward

In good times and in bad times

For richer or for poorer

In sickness and in health

I promise to love you unconditionally for all the days of my life

Because the ultimate purpose of our marriage

Is to display Christ’s redeeming love

Bringing Him the glory, and not ourselves.

I will joyfully submit to you out of reverence to the Lord.

We’ve seen good and bad times, sickness and health, and more poor days than rich days (but one can dream, right?). Loving you unconditionally is easy–liking you unconditionally isn’t, but that’s okay…I spend 99% of my days liking you. My prayer forever and always is that our love would bring glory to our Father, and I am so thankful that your prayer aligns with that. Thank you for challenging me to be a better person. I can’t wait to keep adventuring and exploring and growing side by side. Happy Anniversary, Pooks. You are the very best thing that has ever happened to me.

Holly and Morgan-9068

Holly and Morgan-9886

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Holly and Morgan-0434

   Holly and Morgan-0620

Let’s dance for the rest of our forevers.

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