Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition

Hey everyone and happy start of summer! It certainly has felt like summer the past two weeks. One thing I have noticed so far this month is that our new city (two hours south of where we used to be) gets SOOO HOT. It has been accepted as normal if the temperature reaches above 90 every day this week. The random rain showers, followed by immense heat, has made me very thankful that, for the most part, we have already tackled our big yard projects already since moving in! Which leads me to today’s blog post topic;

Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

As I said in my last [post], the yard was pretty overgrown and unkempt when we bought the house. I mean, the fence looked like this;

Fence Before | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

The house wasn’t visible from the road, since our row of “bushes” -which actually turned out to be trees- had grown about four feet in diameter.

Front Yard Before | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

We had super dated bushes hiding surrounding the front and side of the house, and once the trees filled out for the spring/summer, it was nearly impossible to mow under them, as most branches practically touched the ground.

Our New House | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

Before we had even closed on the house, we went over to the property to pick up fallen limbs and sticks which had been left on the ground for who knows how long. Imagine our amazement when we had a 4ft high, 8ft long, 4ft wide pile of debris after our labors– before we even cut a bush or limb! Since our new city charges a crazy amount for leaf and stick pick up, we went with our next best option to get rid of our renovation mess and yard cleanup.

Our Yard Waste Life Saver | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.comYep. We actually have over-filled TWO of these big fellas so far in our reno!

Yard Waste! | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com
This is actually our second round of debris- and our second dumpster!

If we weren’t working on the inside of the house, we were sweating outside trying to make our property look lived-in. My husband did an amazing job tearing out those bushes that hid our house while I did the first round of limb cutting.

Tree Limb Removal #1 | Making Progress on Bush Removal! | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com  Bush Removal  | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com Before and After the Bush Removal | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.comMaking Progress on Bush Removal! | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

Here is what the house looked like after all that hard work:

House After Removing Bushes |  Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

MUCH better, if you ask me! Another huge improvement was cutting back and starting to tear out some of those trees in the front of our yard:

Before and After Tree Trimming | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

What do ya know? We actually can see the road now, and people can see that this house is not actually abandoned. We have big plans for this area, including tearing out more trees, adding mulch, and planting flowers up here, but we are taking baby steps :).

Another improvement to the front of our yard was our mailbox.

Mailbox Before and After | Home Makeover Series Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

We still have a lot of work to do in order for our yard to look pretty and “host a  party” worthy, but I am so proud of the work we have finished so far! Hopefully in the next few weeks I can show our pack patio all finished and ready to host our family or our neighbors for a little backyard picnic. Until then, here is a sneak peak at how the front porch is coming along. I still need to get a mat, some flowers, and update my wreath for the summer, but I love my Dollar Tree red, white, and blue ribbons!

Forth of July Decor | Home Makeover Series: Yard Edition | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading today! I would love to hear from you! What do you love or hate about yard work and outdoor projects? What have you been working on?

Advertisements

Once Upon a Time, We Moved…

April 8th was the day we closed on our new house (we closed on our old house the week before, but that’s a whole other story). Since then we have been renovating the property from mailbox to master bathroom; and its about time I start a series to share the results! To start my Home Makeover Series, let me back up and give some details about the move and start showing you around the new house 🙂

Once Upon a Time, We Moved  NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com

But first, let’s take a quick look back at what our first house looked like:

Our First Home- Moving Through Change Our First Home | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com Kitchen | Moving Through Change | Newlyweddedwurl.wordpress.com Our First House Tour | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyweddedWurl.Wordpress.com

In October of last year, we bought this house; we renovated both bathrooms (installing a much needed tub), added a washer and dryer, and cleaned up the landscape. By the start of February, we were fairly certain we would be moving to accompany an amazing job opportunity my husband had. You can see the pictures I used to list the house here. On February 16, we listed our first house with a little fear about the need to sell and a good dose of faith that if God had so clearly directed our path, he would provide for us. One week, four showings, and four offers later, we sold our home above asking price- and made a decent amount of money off of this home we hated to leave. Later that same week, we placed on offer on my dream home.

First Look at Our Dream House | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com

Seriously. We spent one day in what was to become our new city and looked at 11 houses with a realtor. ELEVEN. Do you know how hard it is to keep all the details straight when you look at 11 houses in one day? Well, I wasn’t very impressed until we looked at house number 9. I immediately fell in love.

Long View of the House | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com

With an acre of land, a long driveway, a quiet private neighborhood away from the city, and a long front porch with columns- I was in awe before we even went inside.

Four bedrooms. Two and a half baths. A family room- with a fireplace- living room, AND dining room. Two car garage, basement, and backyard patio. All hardwood flooring upstairs. Natural light. I am pretty sure my face looked like the heart eye emoji.

Kitchen Before | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.comNew Family Room | Once Upon a Time, We Moved |NewWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

Then I was angry. Nothing was going to compare to this place! Why did the realtor show us something outside our budget? I fell in love with the house before I felt the reality of the price.

Living/Dining Room Before | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com

We prayed about it. We looked at the numbers. We praised God that we had sold our house so quickly and that my husband’s new company would pay for us to live in an apartment for the first three months, until we found a place to live. We crunched, calculated, and carefully thought about every possibility of where money could go. We made a budget that included a hefty chunk of change for renovations on my dream home.

Entryway Before | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

And you know what? We could make it work.

Honestly, this house I fell in love with was priced well under market value. We found out that a bachelor had lived there for 25 years, got married at the age of 50, and moved out of town after listing his home for sale. The house needed a HUGE cleaning. The yard was overgrown. There was a pile of junk in the driveway that needed to be hauled away. It was going to take some elbow grease and buckets of bleach and vinegar. And paint. And new plumbing. And a washer and dryer. And a dumpster (or two) to throw everything away in. But we could buy this house and make it our own to raise kids, have family gatherings, and grow old together in.

Our New House | Once Upon a Time, We Moved | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

We made an offer. We counter-offered. He accepted. And after months of bank communication problems, delays, more problems, frustrations, and a whole lotta patience, we moved in.

Saying goodbye to our first home and welcoming the new house with open arms!

I cannot wait to take you room by room and show you what this place looks like today! It’s been a labor of love between my husband and me (and my mom- thanks mom for helping me paint for days!). This house that I fell in love with is now looking like a home we have made with love.

It has been two months since we moved all our stuff into the garage, started demoing the bathroom, and paint the entire downstairs, and you know what? We still have many months to go. I don’t quite have all my boxes unpacked (fear of actually committing to hang things on the wall has left all my wall pretties in boxes lol). But we are so loving this process of changing every inch of our house into a home we can  at least live in for more than four months lol  grow old together in.

Stay tuned for the next post in this Home Makeover series!

I would love to hear from you! Have you moved into a new place recently? How have you transformed the space into a home? What have been some challenges or blessings you have encountered? Thank you for reading today!

 

Memorial Day Adventure

Work, work, work, work, work; all we planned for our three day weekend was work projects both inside and outside our new home. And sleeping in, but that is a given for us when we stay home for the weekend. We had floors to finish, plumbing to tackle, new locks to install, trees to trim, a yard to be mowed, and a master bath to finish.

(Don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten the fact that I haven’t shared any pictures of our new house on the blog yet. In the weeks to come, you’ll get a room by room before and after tour- but we have to actually finish a few rooms first!)

We decided to take it easy this past weekend, taking breaks in between work to watch a few episodes of “Alone” on the History app (my hubby’s new favorite show), take a drive to catch the sunset, and go walk around the mall and a few thrift stores while we got his oil changed on Sunday. Though I had it in my heart to go to IKEA this weekend and buy a new couch and loveseat for our empty living room, I was settled on the notion to go next weekend instead. Monday morning came and we talked about what projects we would do first, chatted with each of our mothers, and ate brunch.

Before we started on any work, I recalled that this time last year, we were just coming back from our adventure-of-a-lifetime honeymoon! We took a few minutes to look through all 700-some pictures from our trip.

NewlyWeds at the Grand Canyon | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com Honeymoon in the Grand Canyon |Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com

Not only did we see the Grand Canyon and stay in Sedona, Arizona for two nights, but we also saw the Hoover Dam (the engineer in my husband HAD to go see it), spent one night in Las Vegas walking the strip and deciding that we never wanted to go there again, AND we spent a night in Los Angeles hanging out at Santa Monica Pier.

Engineer in his happy place - Hoover Dam | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.comNewlyweds in Vegas | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com New York in Las Vegas | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

"Fabulous" Las Vegas Sign | Memorial Day Adventure | Newlyweddedwurl.wordpress.com

When my husband and I do something, it usually ends up being “go big or go home”. Our honeymoon was a crazy busy week of new sights and miles of travel, but we made some amazing memories and can be satisfied that we made it out west at least once in our life.

Santa Monica Beach | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com Santa Monica Route 66 Sign | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com Windy Newlywed Love | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

All those memories of adventure and spontaneity sparked something in my love. When we finished reminiscing through all the pictures, he proposed that we skip out on house work and go to Chicago. Since about our second date, he has wanted to take me downtown to see the sights, walk the Navy Pier, and experience the city for the first time. Since the weather was perfect, the day was free, and adventure was on our minds, we headed off to Chi-town midday.

Downtown Chicago | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

It had been a while since we had gone on a spur-of-the-moment trip, and as I said in this post, we needed some time away from work to reconnect. We were both super excited about what the day would bring- and to be getting a break from work. I was also excited about our third ever trip to IKEA, though I doubt my hubby was, since I had big spending plans :O.

Chicago Cityscape | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com Lovebirds in Chicago | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com My Adventuerer Love at Navy Pier | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com

We walked for quite a while, enjoyed the weather, took in the sights, and appreciated our time together. It felt soooo good to be out having fun after the past few weeks (and months!) of crazy busyness and time apart. My love got to show me some of his favorite buildings and give me a tour of the city, and I was able to see Chicago up close and personal after our dozens of times of driving around the perimeter to get back home.

After our fun downtown, my superhero hubby braved a trip to IKEA with his very excited wife-turned-home-designer. Any trip to IKEA is a little intimidating, since it takes forever and three floors to see everything (and goodness is it easy to get lost or forget where you saw something you liked!), but I can imagine it is even moreso when your wife wants to fill up the house haha. Just look at his face! “What did I get myself into…”

IKEA Haul | Memorial Day Adventure | Newlyweddedwurl.wordpress.com

I am proud to say that I did come under budget of what we were expecting, even with picking out a last minute rug and duvet cover! The total contents of my haul- along with some house pictures!- will be coming to the blog soon.

Overall, this weekend showed me that
1) We can get work done and have fun at the same time- it’s all in the attitude.
2) Taking time to look back on our memories together is important- not only do we see how far God has brought us in our marriage and our life adventure, but it also draws us closer together as well.
3) Spontaneity and willingness to go outside of what is planned can lead to great things.

Instagram Chicago Loves | Memorial Day Adventure | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com
My Instagram post to commemorate our day. You can find me there @ newlyweddedwurl . I’ve posted quite a bit of our house renovations there, if you want a sneak peak!

Memorial Day was a wonderful adventure. I can’t wait to see what adventures we have and memories we make throughout this summer!

I would love to hear from you! What did your Memorial Day look like? How do you respond to spontaneity? And if you have gone to IKEA, what are some of your favorite things to look at? Thank you for reading!

 

How to Refocus Yourself

Or, how I overcame my fear and frustration of a crazy busy life season and found my focus once more.

It’s easy to lose focus, isn’t it? I know I can’t be the only one that gets distracted as easily as Doug from UP who’s dialogue is constantly interrupted with “SQUIRREL!”.  Life starts filling up with busy schedules or unexpected surprises and setbacks and I struggle to keep my mind on what’s really important.

Now I know that everyone is different and there are a million google results for “how to refocus yourself”. Your steps to refocus and regroup may look different than mine and I would love to hear about yours in the comments!  Today I am sharing five basic things I did these past few weeks that really helped me to regain my focus and peace.

  1. Realize that busyness/chaos is okay!

Life is busy. There are thousands of things that beg and call for our attention throughout the week. Work, chores, emergencies, responsibilities, family, meetings, errands; the list can go on. Being busy is not a bad thing! Experiencing some chaos in your life is not the end of the world. I think too often we believe the lie that if I just wasn’t so busy, everything would be better or if I didn’t have this chaos going on right now, I wouldn’t be so frustrated. Can we reduce our schedules and organize our lives in such a way that we are less stressed? The answer is probably yes! Learning to prioritize tasks and learning when to say no are both important tools to help us live “easier” lives. However, I know I too often have a negative view of busy seasons in my life, when in reality, it’s how I respond to such seasons that makes the difference- not whether or not I am busy.

2. Keep your goals in mind.

Several long months ago I wrote a series on “How to Be Happy“. In Part 1 (Which you can read here) I included a free Big Picture Goals printable (you can go download it if you want!) that divided my goals into each aspect of life; Spiritual, Personal, Married, Physical. Once I decided what my overarching goals for the year were, I then filled out Part 2’s free printable (you can read that post and download the document here) which broke down the big goals to monthly, weekly, and daily goals. I’m not saying you need to be so specific in goal setting- I’m just a type-A who goes a little overboard- however, I know the benefits of having a few goals in mind for yourself.

Blogging, Writing, Working on my Heart

I wrote that goal series when we were living in our first apartment; since then we moved into our first house, then another apartment in a different city, and most recently into our new house. Even with all the moves and changes of life, those goals I originally wrote still stand as goals I have for myself. But I lost sight of them in the midst of the busyness. This past week I reread through them once more and realized that my current attitude and actions were not leading me closer to those goals! I knew I had lost my focus and needed to adjust.

3. Remember that this season will pass.

Maybe you are facing an unusual season of life right now, like I have been. Sure, life is busy and a little chaotic as always, but there are some circumstances you haven’t had to face before; you are adjusting to a new job, have entered into a new stage of life, are facing new health challenges, or maybe you’ve lost your old community or support system  and are learning how to adjust. It can be scary. Uncertain. Frustrating.

As I mentioned in my last post, my breakthrough moment of changing my focus was realizing that this is just a season of life. It will not be this way forever. Just look back at all the seasons of life you’ve already conquered! You will get through these challenges and realize that it wasn’t so bad after all. I know that in this new season of my life, I am acquiring new information, gaining new skills, relying more on Jesus, and learning how to be more independent and to manage life on my own (when my hubby is away on business). I’ve just been too focused on the negative aspects of the last few months to realize all the benefits and blessings that this new season is bringing! This season will pass soon and I will enter a new season- so I should appreciate the good of this one while I can.

Finding my Focus
Appreciating the good in this season- which involves lots of tea.

4. Take time to reconnect with yourself, your Savior, and your spouse.

Isn’t it cool how we can have thoughts about our thoughts? Too often in the last few months I have just been thinking, acting, and reacting on autopilot. I wasn’t taking my thoughts captive to Christ; I wasn’t focusing on the positive; I wasn’t challenging myself in any way; in other words, I wasn’t thinking about what I was thinking about. I felt sad for myself, frustrated at the situation, and grumpy that I was “stuck” there. That is, until I stopped and forced myself to analyze the situation and my part in it! When I reconnected with my thought process, I saw that my thoughts, attitudes, and responses needed to change asap! I had been lazy and lost focus of my goals. I was unrealistic in my attitude that I was “stuck”, since I know that this is just a season and I also have power in how I react to the situation!

I also saw my need to reconnect to my Savior. Whenever life gets really busy, its so easy to cut back on these things first, when really, I need to step it up! I needed to prioritize time spent in God’s Word, time set aside in prayer, and simply talking to Him throughout the day.  Life is so much easier when I give up the sense of control that I have to Jesus, Who really has it all to begin with.

Once my heart was in a better place, I could see my error in how I have treated my husband throughout this season. Not only is he going through the same life changes I am, but he also has a new role at a new company with high expectations to meet and a new schedule to adjust to. In my selfishness, I had been adding more pressure on him to work long nights on home improvement after long work days, was a major complainer, and was not taking him or his needs into consideration at all. Obviously I don’t want to be a burden to the love of my life! But because I had been operating in autopilot selfishness, I was not achieving my goals of being his encouragement, his safe place, or his help meet. A much needed reconnect without house projects or to-do lists was in order, especially after our nearly two weeks apart. Though our anniversary date night was a good start, I know that I need to be making changes in my actions and perspective so that our home is a good refuge for both of us when life gets hectic. Hopefully this weekend is a good chance for us to relax and reconnect- even in the midst of some more home renovations :).

Reconnecting with Christ | How to Refocus Yourself | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

5. Lean back, laugh, and learn.

Take a deep breath. Actually, take several deep breaths focusing on inhaling and exhaling. Remember not to take yourself too seriously and that every difficulty, every mistake, every challenge is a chance to learn and grow. This season of my life, though busy and challenging, is actually a really amazing one. Looking back over the last few months, God’s faithfulness has been shown time and time again. From the ease in which we sold our house, to how fast we found this new one, to how well my husband has done in his new job, to how many more visits we’ve had with family now that we live closer; these and many more have been showcases of His goodness to us. My own faith has been challenged and grown in several ways already in this season. And as I mentioned earlier, I am learning so many new skills during this season, both handy skills like laying flooring, and life skills like managing the stress and anxiety of being alone at night. God is using this season to grow me and to refocus my attention back to Him.

Lauging in Love

Though it hasn’t been easy, I feel so much more energy and excitement now that my focus is back on track! I would love to hear how you refocus! Let me know in the comments. Thank you so much for reading my blog!

 

Back to Blogging and Routine

Life has different seasons.

Blogging Again

These past four months have been the busiest most uncertain season of my life. From my last post, you might recall that we were changing cities after only living in our house for about four months. I then proceeded to not blog for the following four months.

I am sad that I didn’t do a better job of recording things! However, life has been so hectic that I decided to wait until after storm to blog again. Here are a few updates that will be expanded on in the next few weeks:

  • We sold our house after six days on the market, four viewings, and amazingly, four offers.
  • We placed an offer on a new house in our new city a week after we sold our home.
Goodbye and Hello
Saying goodbye to our first home and welcoming the new house with open arms!
  • We moved out of our first home and into our second (much larger!) home the first week of April.
  • We have been working endlessly on renovations throughout the house.
New Floor and Counter
New kitchen counters, new floors throughout, completely renovated Master bath, and several coats of paint everywhere; these are a few of our renovations thus far.
  • I celebrated my 23rd birthday last week (I feel like I’ve aged a decade this last year though!)
  • My love and I celebrated 1 year of marriage on May 23rd!

IMG_8157

IMG_8080
We took a few pictures in special places (here where he proposed 1.5 years ago, and above is in the town where we got married) to celebrate our first year of marriage.

 

Though we are still in the midst of home renovations, adjusting to our new environment, and learning to deal with more business trips that keep us apart, we have really grown through these experiences- especially me! Nothing causes you to turn more to God than having EVERYTHING in life pretty much change over two months (though I may have struggled quite a bit on my own first, because #humannature).

The one thing that has really thrown me for a loop has been losing my routine. I’m a very  type-A personality and usually thrive on structure and routine. HA. those two words could not be more polar opposite of what the past months have been. HOWEVER, I am determined to create a new routine for myself starting this week. Birthdays have a way of making you re-evaluate where you are at in life. I realized that with the goals I have set for myself this year, I need to kick my butt in gear and discipline myself into some structure. Daily devotions in Scripture, regular journaling, and creating a blogging schedule are all a part of this new routine. One of my future blog-posts planned is “How to Re-center Yourself”, so I won’t go into more specifics about this new resolve for my 23rd year now.

Beginning to Blog - Family room

But I will say that I am back to blogging. I am getting back into a routine. I am seeing progress made on our house and am encouraged that this is just a season in our life. I don’t know what our new normal will look like, but I do know that God is working all things in our life for a reason and that I can completely trust His plan for me. And I am so thankful that at least our family room is finished so I can sit in here and blog and momentarily ignore the fact that everywhere else in my house is in disarray. For a season.

 

I would love to hear from you! What season of life are you going through right now? What is your best advice for getting through the tough seasons? Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog today!

 

 

 

Moving Through Change

Yes, this post is about how to manage and survive change- but it also implies that…..

WE ARE MOVING AGAIN!!

Our First Home - For Sale

But, let me start from the beginning. I had decided over Christmas break that I was going to take off the month of January from blogging. I wanted to take a step back from my usual routine, spend more time reading through the heap of books in my “yet-to-read” pile, take more time to connect with family and friends, and take a month off to relax and relieve stress. During this break period, my husband got several calls from different recruiting companies and responded to one. This lead to several interviews, visits to this new city (two hours away from our current house and two hours closer to our families), and the realization that packing up our belongings once more to move was a likely reality.  So much for reducing stress, right?

Within the course of a few days last week, Anthony accepted a new job offer, we started saying our goodbyes to our amazing church family, we listed our house on the market, met with a Realtor in the new city we will be living in and looked at 14 houses in one day (too many to keep them all straight!), and my love started his new job this week. I’m spending the week with him hanging out in our fancy hotel, trying to enjoy the last few days of the calm before the bigger storm of going back to pack up all our belongings in the house and move them to our temporary apartment in the next week.

Our First Home- Moving Through Change

Normally, I would be completely freaking out and stressed to tears. However, God has so clearly shown his hand in our situation, from bringing the opportunity to my husband when he wasn’t even looking for something new, to guiding us through the process with no hiccups, to paving the way for our move, to already providing people who are interested in our home, to showing us a few potential houses we could live in, and giving us a Realtor who is a leader in one of the churches on our “churches to visit” list.

So, with much prayer, debate, discussion, prayer, mulling over, stressing out, prayer, and anticipation, I can confidently announce that we are moving again. It is crazy that just four months ago we became homeowners!

IMG_5526

I have loved making this house our home. We renovated both the bathrooms, did much needed yard work, installed new fixtures and appliances in the house, and very much enjoyed having a place to call our own.

12699088_931811543534334_1404938232_o

Living Room- Moving Through Change

Home View- Moving Through Change

Kitchen | Moving Through Change | Newlyweddedwurl.wordpress.com

Kitchen | Moving Through Change | Newlyweddedwurl.wordpress.com

If God hadn’t so clearly shown us that this is the correct next step for our family, I would be incredibly sad to be moving out of our first house. Even now, I am still saddened at the thought of moving from here, let alone leaving our church family and friends. But I am so excited to see my husband grow in his career, to begin another new adventure, and to have all the shopping and grocery stores I want (jazz hands for having a Meijer twenty minutes away!!) within a short drive instead of a two hour round trip. Oh, and being closer to family is not too shabby either (I’m actually ecstatic!).

 

Guest Room | Moving Through Change | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com

Guest Room | Moving Through Change | NewlyWeddedWurl.Wordpress.com

Master Bedroom |Moving Through Change| Newlyweddedwurl.wordpress.com

Office | Moving Through Change | Newlyweddedwurl.wordpress.com

I didn’t include pictures of how we have changed the basement or the renovation of our bathrooms (that will be a future post), but as you can see, there was no lack of space in our home. I just hope whoever lives here next will love it and dream in it as much as my love and I have. It has been such a fun few months making this place our home, continuing to have lunch with my husband everyday since we were so close to his work, and growing relationships in our church.

Valentine's Day Love | Moving Through Change | NewlyWeddedWurl.wordpress.com
Valentine’s Day was spent relaxing one last day in our home before heading out for his first week on the job!

Obviously, many things are changing again in our life. From changing churches, to changes houses, to changing jobs, and changing cities. Nine months ago I was worried about leaving home for the first time to move out to a new state with my new husband to start our new life. In the past nine months I will have packed and moved all my belongings three times, lived at four different addresses, and gone through numerous changes to what had been my “ideal” plan. But through every change, I have been able to look back and see God’s careful handiwork. Every step of the way He has led me and my husband. Every change that seemed too much for me, He has carried me through. With every change that I have analyzed and thought about and will be making soon, I am realizing that God’s got this, even when I know I do not. His way is perfect, far above my own, and is the best case scenario for me and my purpose in Him.

So how does one move through change?

  • Pray. Pray before, pray during, pray after. God knows every aspect of your life, past present and future. Turn to Him when change seems overwhelming. Trust Him before change reaches that point.
  • Discuss. Before my husband even got serious about this new opportunity, we talked about it. We made a pro and con list. We thought through many scenarios, we talked about why staying would be best/worst, why moving would be best/worst. We thought about a year down the road. Five years down the road. Ten years. What was going to be best for us and our family?
  • Debate. We questioned why this opportunity came up. Was this a test? A temptation? Was this phone call supposed to show us how good we have it now? Were we being called to move to a new city or called to stay here? We prayed that God would bring any little thing to our attention if this was the wrong move for us. We debated with each other; one spoke for all the reasons to leave, one for all the reasons to stay. We wanted to think through every aspect of this life change.
  • Involve. We understand that we do not live on an exclusive island. The choices we make affect other people; our family, our church leaders, our co-workers, our companies, our community. So before we made a final decision (but after completing the steps above to see if it was still worth considering) we got others involved. We talked to our parents at length, on multiple occasions. We talked to our pastors to get their wisdom and prayers. My husband talked to his boss and a few of his close peers at work, so that they would not be blindsided if he moved on. Don’t just make a decision based on how you feel; you are not a solidarity creature.
  • Pray. It’s important to keep praying for wisdom, direction, and guidance. Pray for peace about the decision. Pray for unity for you and the others involved in your decision. Pray for God to clear the way and light your path.
  • Breathe. I need reminded of that often. Even good changes can be scary and intimidating. Take a deep breath. If this is what you are supposed to do, you will be able to do it.
  • Prepare. Make a game plan for accomplishing that change. For me and my love, we discussed the steps we would take if he accepted the job- and I actually started staging the house and packing non-necessities before he even gave his final answer. We knew who we wanted to sell our house (and at what price we wanted to list it) and contacted them the week before. We talked about what order we were going to tell people at church and when. We had been looking at houses in the new city and knew what we wanted to look at and what we could afford. We did all we could to make the likely change go smoothly. I am a Type-A and wanted everything in order, so this step totally helped reduce my stress.
  • Take Action. Once you feel more peace than fear, you’ve bathed the issue in prayer, you’ve looked at the change through many lenses, you have talked to others involved, and you have remembered to breathe (and maybe cried to release stress, that’s okay sometimes!), take action! Make that change happen. You’ve got this!

That is how I am moving through this change (and moving out of our house!). Hopefully I will be able to do an update and follow up post soon!

The Dangers of Defensiveness… and how it can harm your marriage!

 

(Because of the busyness of today and of last minute Christmas bustle, I’m re-publishing a post from July 20th- but many of my new readers didn’t come along until after that point, so the post will be “new” :). This week has been a little rough for me and I needed this reminder; so here is a little marriage advice from a struggling newlywed.)

The Dangers of Defensiveness

It had been a roller coaster of a day.

I am sure you’ve had them; those days where you get the opportunity to taste every flavor of emotion wheel within a few hours’ time. I was excited and felt accomplished for solving a problem on my self-hosted blog, then felt disappointed that I wasn’t further ahead compared to many others I had seen. I was missing my family a lot but didn’t get to talk to them much because of schedules that day. I was elated with what’s been happening on this blog (!) then had a wave of negativity hit me hard because of a conversation… you get the idea.

I was still riding this roller coaster when my love took me to our nearest Walmart and Aldi for our weekly shopping trip (LOVE Aldi, by the way, so many inexpensive gluten free options!). Though my meal plan for the week was made and missing ingredients added to my list (which was organized according to store and then section; dairy, produce, canned, etc.), I had failed to plan for dinner that night.

Not the end of the world- we could scour up something at home, right? Or buy something while we were at the store. Well, my brain translated this information as I am a failure as a wife- inadequately able to plan and prepare meals for my husband. This is an awful crisis- why didn’t I think about dinner for tonight? How dumb was that? Even though that was a highly dramatic response reflecting a heart set on self and not on Christ, that wasn’t the worst part. My love smiled and lovingly offered to make dinner for me with some of the things we have at home (sweet of him, right?). For some reason his offer to make dinner cut through me. How dare he insinuate that I can’t make dinner. He thinks I’m so disorganized. He saw how frazzled I just became and must not think that planning and making dinner is a big deal- well, that is a big part of my role as a wife, so he must not think my role is very significant…. and so went my thoughts. As my inner tirade of self-pity and self-loath (but somehow with a haughty view of self) continued, I clammed up. My poor love. He didn’t know why I was brooding, moody, pouting, and pulling away. I raised my defenses, closed up, and closed him out. And I hurt my best friend in the process- who was only being sweet!

Truth be told, I was harboring a heart environment that was desirable for defensive thinking and attitudes to foster and grow. My defensive attitude was completely focused on self with no regard for others. And that is was makes defensiveness dangerous to any relationship: focus on self. Defensiveness protects self at any cost. I skewed my love’s kind offer to make dinner when he saw I was flustered as an offense to me and my role- when it was honestly a sweet offer to show me love. I didn’t tell him what I was thinking or feeling because I chose to foster my negative feelings and pity party. I did not take every thought captive to Christ, leading me to deceive myself about my lack of importance in our marriage, my failure to fill my role (which has a LOT more to do than just make meals!), and my wrong perception of my love’s thoughts. Instead of asking him what he was thinking, I assumed. And even though I didn’t really believe that he was making a point about my lack of planning (he is far too sweet and caring for that), thinking that way fueled my self-pity, so I chose to indulge.

Instead of striving to grow unity and oneness in our marriage, my defensiveness drove us apart, damaging the relationship.

Eventually I broke down. My love held me patiently and let me cry. He listened to my thoughts and took actions to rebuild our closeness and oneness. He knows I don’t do a good job of openly sharing my feelings, and he worked to draw me out. Though looking back on my actions is a humbling experience, I can see how God used it to teach remind me of an important lesson.

Defensiveness is Dangerous to a Marriage.

May I guard my heart, my mind, my thoughts; may I seek Christ so diligently that my heart environment makes it hard for bitterness and defensiveness to grow or foster. And may I remember that when my husband offers to make dinner, it’s out of the sweetness of his heart! {Love you babe!}

Do you have a story of when defensiveness was a danger to your relationship? What about tips to keep defensive thinking at bay? I would love to hear about it in the comments!